2287: Can’t Happen Here

Posted: October 27, 2012 by Kelly in stories, the world

2287: Can’t Happen Here

The first abduction attempt comes after eleven months in Solchov’s ‘employ’, four months after Niki’s death.

Irina is alone in Solchov’s quarters, using his terminal to answer messages and write reports on her findings. He’s given her the task of going through his databases to see who might be embezzling money and who is doing their work well. Why he’s given her the task is beyond her – maybe it’s something to keep her mind busy while he’s gone. He’s had her tested not too long ago on her strengths and weaknesses because tying her to the bed all day has apparently become stale.

He’s promised her rewards if she does well. The punishment if she /doesn’t/ do well is something he doesn’t have to mention. Irina knows very well by now what it entails to be in Solchov’s vicinity and tries her very best to always please him. Pleasing him means that life is almost bearable. Displeasing him, however – well, she tries not to.

4 am finds her peering over financial reports, ledgers and files. There are empty cans of energy drink everywhere and some untouched sandwiches that she /really/ has to clean off the terminal before Solchov comes home from whatever out-of-city mission he is on at the moment, but for now she’s completely engrossed in her work. She thinks she’s found some discrepancies but she’s not completely sure who is responsible. Whoever has been doing this, he or she has hidden the tracks very well.

The room is lit by the lights from the terminal, giving the place a spooky bluish tinge. She hardly notices. She is sitting in sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt that she only gets to wear when Solchov’s not around, and is constantly wiping her unruly dark hair out of her face. It’s growing out because Solchov likes it, but it has come to the point where it is completely unmanageable. It’s the least of her annoyances, though, so she lets it be. Her fingers dance over the terminal as she compares financial reports, signatures and personal traces, completely lost in her own world.

At some point, everything suddenly starts happening. The window shatters, an alarm starts blaring, and there is a man in the room. He’s dressed in black and in the shadows, his face is unrecognisable.

For one wild, idiotic moment, Irina thinks that Solchov’s come home and that he’ll kill her when he sees the state of the place, before that irrational fear is replace by a very rational one.

The man walks over to her and she whirls around, holding up her hands in surrender. “What do you want? Do you even know whose house you’re raiding?” she asks with all the steel in her voice that she can muster up. Her heart is fluttering in her chest like a caged bird. “Solchov will have you killed for breaking into his house. You are /so/ dead.”

He just keeps approaching and something in his stance tells her that he’s amused. He’s much taller than she is. Broader. She’s been in her share of street fights, but by the way he moves she knows that she won’t have a chance if it would come to fighting. Solchov took his bodyguards with him on the mission and doesn’t let her keep a gun. She’ll have to stall the intruder, then – at least until his regular security people are here. “What do you want from him?”

He’s only a few feet away when he answers in an accent that’s totally not from the Black City. “You,” he says simply. “I want you. Come with me.”

Her heart freezes in her chest for a moment, but her mind is racing. The door is right behind her and it’s keyed in to her handprints. Well, her and Solchov. That’s why the man had to break in through the window. How he got up here, she doesn’t know – she’s on the eighth floor and there isn’t really a balcony he could have swung from. The area around the building is full of security. How did he get here? Or, more importantly, how does she get out?

“Fuck, no. You’ll have to catch me first,” she says with bravado she doesn’t feel, and abruptly pushes her desk chair in his direction to cause an obstruction. She doesn’t waste a second, but jumps over the desk to the door.

He’s right behind her; she can hear him. She slams her hand against the scanner and the door opens immediately. It’s just not quick enough to close after her, because he lunges for her legs just as the door starts to slide shut behind her. She collides painfully with the floor while he holds her legs in an iron grip. She trashes and screams, goes right for the face to try and claw his eyes out, but there is a mask that saves him there.

“Fuck you!” she screams as he tries to restrain her. All of her panic reflexes – the ones she has been trying to control for the past few months when Solchov plays his games with her – are in full swing. She fights for her life; for her sanity. /I will not be afraid!/ she shouts at herself while she tries not to imagine what this guy will do to her. /You will not touch me, you will not hurt me!/

And just when he hauls her up to take her wherever the hell he wants to take her, there is commotion in the hallway. There’s a bright flash and gas everywhere.

/Knock-out gas,/ Irina thinks when she smells the tell-tale scent of it. She tries to hold her breath to keep fighting, because the intruder doesn’t seem very affected. /Maybe he has a mouth piece under his mask./

He yanks her back into the bedroom, towards the window and all its broken glass and there’s a bright light outside; the sounds of a chopper. “No, no!” she protests, elbowing him in the stomach, wriggling in his grip, attempting to kick the snot out of his kneecaps. It is not working. “For fuck’s sake, /security!!/” she shouts – at the very moment they come rushing into the room. It is as if her shout has summoned them.

She uses the diversion to elbow him in the jaw and is able to break free. That way, she is not in his grip the moment they begin to fire. The intruder doesn’t have a chance. He dies before he hits the ground.

Some security guard installs her in the living room with a blanket around her shoulders and a cup of hot cocoa to calm down, while cleaners take care of the glass and fix the broken window. Irina quietly hopes they clean the terminal place as well before Solchov comes back.

He returns two hours later, enraged that someone had the gall to try and take her. She’s just happy he doesn’t say anything about the mess.

Strangely enough he rewards her for her behaviour. He gets her a diamond necklace and a bottle of vodka. “They wanted to abduct you to get to me,” he says later, when he pulls her against him in the jetstream bath tub. “You fought like a lion, though.”

“I couldn’t let him take me,” she murmurs with her eyes on the bubbles in the water.

“I know,” he says, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her in his lap. “Good girl.”

A couple of days later he walks into his rooms when she’s behind the terminal, still trying to find that elusive traitor embezzler in the tangle of financial files on Solchov’s system. He’s not alone, though – there is a boy walking next to him. He is tall and well-muscled under his outfit, with ragged blond hair that is in dire need of a cut. He doesn’t seem that much older than she is and her first idle thought when she looks at his pretty face is that maybe Solchov’s gotten another bed warmer, that maybe she’s off the hook.

“I’ve got a gift for you,” Solchov announces. The possessive look in his eyes tells her that /that/ was a silly, silly thought.

She gives the boy a curious look. “That’s kind. You shouldn’t have,” she retorts carefully.

He grins. “Irina, say hi to Pjotr Gershan. He’ll be your bodyguard from now on.”

“Hi,” she says automatically.

“Hi,” he retorts and looks at her with clear, sharp hazel eyes. As if he’s trying to look right through her. He’s smart. She likes him immediately. “Nice to meet you.” His voice is nice, too. Even though he probably doesn’t have to shave for quite a while, his voice is already that of a man’s. Warm. Pleasant to listen to.

She looks at Solchov and tries to summon disinterest in her face. “Isn’t he a little young to protect me?”

“He’ll do fine. He’s a great fighter,” Solchov answers, while Gershan’s eyes flash with something that might be pride. “Besides,” Solchov continues, “I know you like the pretty ones. He reminded me a little bit of your dead boyfriend Nikolay. What do you think, Irina?”

She blinks and keeps her face impassive. /Another one of his fucking headgames, then./ To please him, she really looks at her new bodyguard and tries to find similarities. Yet Niki was dark where Gershan is blonde, and Niki was stocky and about the same height as she was, while Gershan towers over her. He’s much healthier looking than Niki ever was. So she lies. “Yeah, I guess,” she says. “I can see what you mean… Around the eyes and jaw line, mostly.”

“Great,” Solchov says. “Do you like your gift, my dear?”

Irina nods slowly. “Yeah, thank you very much. If he can keep me from being abducted again, that would be great.”

Solchov quickly lays down the line; Gershan is to be around her pretty much day and night. They’ll keep similar sleep schedules, he’s always on call, and he’ll always be at least in the very next room. He’ll walk around with sensors that are wired to her, tuned in to things like her heartbeat and anxiety levels. He’ll be responsible for her safety. And, what goes is unsaid, is that he of course will guard her as well – if she still had any dreams of escaping, any chances of that sure as hell will be gone now.

“And, of course,” Solchov finishes cheerfully, “I know I really don’t have to say this, but Gershan, you’re new here and I like to be clear with all of my employees: keep your hands off her. I know she’s beautiful, but she’s mine. Understood?”

She doesn’t even feel mortified anymore. He loves doing that; stressing his ownership over her in front of other people. She just stands there, evenly looking at the two men in the room. Maybe it displeases Solchov that she doesn’t act uncomfortable, but she’ll take her victories where she can get them.

Gershan squirms enough for the both of them anyway. “Understood,” he says stiffly. It is all he says, but she can see that he understands very well what is going on. He can see the way she defers to him, her little lies. There are no tell-tale bruises on her bare arms or her face this time, but the faded needle marks are still there. Or maybe the low cut of her shirt and the short skirt tell him enough. Either way, he looks at her and he indeed understands.

/Don’t you dare pity me,/ she thinks vehemently, surprised at her own passion.

There is no pity in his eyes, just acceptance. And for that, she accepts him into her life as well.

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