Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dark Winter: Chapter 12

Cahn looked around the elevator.  Fighting off this hoard was a physical impossibility.  Possibly he could frighten the few directly in front of him but that would hardly matter, the rest behind them would simply be pushed in with the rest of the human flood.

Trying to hotwire the control panel was hopeless.  It was too new, too electronic and now, too ruined.

The doors were starting to make a scraping sound.  The outer doors had been opened, now they were going for the inner doors now.

“Look,”  Oksana was pointing her flashlight at the ceiling.  

There was a very promising looking rectangle outlined upon it.  Roof hatch?  Maybe?


Shocker crouched beneath it and made a standing jump.  His open hand bounced off it.  

“Locked,” Aux stated the worryingly obvious calmly enough.

Shocker  backed up to the far wall from the broken control panel.  Planted his heel on the base of the wall and vaulted into a charge for the other side of the elevator.  He jumped in the dark at the last moment, the edge of his foot zipping down the wall.  Then catching off the thin wall railing.  He transferred most of his momentum upward and slammed his fist as hard as he could into hatch.  

Denting it.

Shocker instantly repeated the process.  Firing himself off the far wall and ricocheting himself upward with every ounce of his strength.  Denting the hatch further and lifting a corner.

There was sharp metallic spang like gun shot from the inner doors.  Something important had just given way.

Shocker tried to break the hatch again.  Charging for the wall and this time missing the side rail and sliding down the side of the elevator wall in a heap.  

Light was  suddenly invading the elevator in a narrow stream, as the doors started to open up.  “LET US IN! LET US IN!  LET US IN!” A shrieking mob screamed with one voice.

Shocker had one last try left.  He took a desperately needed second to focus everything he could possibly bring to this party.

It seemed like a hundred hands were suddenly gripping the edge of the inner doors.  A few agonized eyes could be seen being crushed against the doors.  Insane desperation now a mask on every face.  The now damaged inner doors started a scraping slide.

“Go!” Aux shrieked.

Shocker launched himself one last time.  Kicked off the wall.  His foot finding the railing this time catapulting himself upward strongly enough to bend the railing.  

He hurled his bleeding fist furiously into the hatch and blasted it off it’s hinges.

Shocker’s hand had enough momentum behind it to shoot through the now open hatch and grab the edge.  He dangled triumphantly for a quarter of second.

“Hurry!”  Aux shouted helpfully.

Shocker pulled himself up far enough to get his other hand in on the action.

Just as Shocker was winning his struggle the doors lost theirs.  They were suddenly scrapped to the side with metallic scream of a thousand steel nails on a blackboard.

The mob came gushing in.  

“Grab me!” He roared at Okasana as he pulled himself up.  Aux jumped and grabbed him around the waist as Cahn shifted his arms around and pressed downward.  Easily pulling up his own weight and that of the the much lighter Okasana Kerensky.

He felt the girl start to get battered by the crowd but it only her legs.  He was certain she was kicking at the brainless hivemind beneath her.  

The instant his waist was clear, he retracted his legs and planted them on the edge of the hatch.

In that moment he almost lost Oksana Kerensky.

Maybe one of the mob had been mad about being kicked.  Maybe that one was trying to follow her out the flesh press it was trapped in.  Or maybe it was just the instinct of a bunch of crabs in a kettle, pulling back into the pot any crab that dared to defy its fate by trying to escape.

”NOOOOO!!” Aux screamed wide eyed at the top of her lungs, ulating high in terror as she was being pulled back into the crushing mass of humanity beneath her.  As if she was being dragged down to Hell itself.
Shocker felt her arms go frantically tight around his waist for a moment and then break their hold on her only lifeline.

Shocker Cahn was faster then the mob.  His hands slapped down grabbing her just under her armpits.  She clutched his arms savagely, her fingers digging furrows into his arms.

He started to pull her up out of the teeming mass.   

She was almost safe.  And then the hive mind noticed she was about to escape.

Faceless hands suddenly dug into her jean’s pockets.  Front and back.  Hooking into the denim with frantic tightness.  Anchoring her in place and starting to pull her inexorably back down.  Shocker pressed hard with his powerful legs, straining as much as he could but there was only so much he could do without seriously injuring the girl or losing her entirely.  And his grip on her was starting to slip.

There is nothing for it, Aux decided fatalistically.  Nothing for it at all

Her hand dropped away from Shocker’s arms.

“Damn it” He bellowed and pressed hard with his legs one last time.

Oksana Kerensky rocketed up out of the elevator and through the hatch. Shocker slingshotting her up into the air.

He swept an arm under her knees as they flew past his own waist.  His other arm catching her under shoulder blades.  Gently cradling her shallow descent and keeping her from falling back into the now screaming pit beneath them.

Shocker took a couple of steps away from the hatch and set Aux down.  

He looked at her.  Yes, that was indeed the bare supple toned golden flesh of her naked legs.  Oksana Kerensky had at the last moment unzipped her pants.

“A mo-moment p-please,” she said tremblingly.  “I am so-sorry bu-but I need this for just a sec-second.”  The beautiful Russian girl suddenly threw arms around Shocker’s neck.  Buried her face in his shoulder and just shook violently.

Cahn hesitatingly wrapped his powerful arms around her, holding her in place.  Letting her get this out of her system as much as she could.  Just letting her be a vulnerable young woman for a few seconds that they could steal.

She had never been trained for this kind of life.  Or anything near it.   All things considered, the girl was holding up stunningly well.

Well, the girl was stunning after all.

As enjoyable as this was, he had to get her back on the clock.  They didn’t have all day or even all minute.

“You wore a thong,” he said conversationally. Then he added in as oily a manner as he could manage, “was that for me?”

Aux broke her embrace of him, in embarrassed irritation.  Her hand vainly trying to cover the pleasing curves of her buttocks.  “Your priorities could use work. Yes?”

Maia Hall proudly wore her bleakness on her sleeve.  The Queen of the Virgin Islands was the oldest dorm on the Michigan State University campus and was erected in an age that wasn’t afraid of building to deliberately intimidate.  The Cold dreariness of late autumn always framed her to chilling perfection. Trees with branches mostly stripped bare of dead and drying leaves that shuffled and rustled, whorling across a fading lawn, blighted by the sustained chill of the November air Randomly covering and uncovering the walkway through the random mounds of early snow.  Red brick set with white stone window frames. Slender, tall and somehow disapproving.  entrance doors ways fortified with sharply peaked roofs roofs above them.  Long thin windows, like the slits of a cat’s eyes glaring at any who would presume to cross her threshold.   To cross the threshold itself, one had to step inside a deep entrance way crenelated, like the a mouth with broken teeth. When the snow settled in it North neighborhood would look like Hogwarts Castle at Christmas time but now it was only unutterably bleak.

Aux had told Jessika that the vibe the place gave off was deliberate.  Aside from being the oldest dorm on campus (that was still being used as dorm), Maia Hall was also the first women’s dorm on campus.  Alice Maia had been a major advocate of women’s higher education in an age that wasn’t quite certain why it should bother with that. Alice also had money in a time that felt a legacy that improved your community was more important than pursuing mere political fashion.

“So it was supposed to look at little bit like a fortress?”  Jessika had once asked.

“More reminiscent of a prison really,” Aux had replied, her faint russian accent barely rolling the Rs.

“To keep guys locked out,” Jessika said with a sad clown face.

“To keep girls locked in,” Aux chuckled.  “They knew better than to trust girls with own honor in those days..”

“You are the worst sexist pig I’ve ever met in my life” Jessika laughed, but couldn’t disagree.  

Jessika Fallows wasn’t sure what to believe anymore.  That used to be the real point of a university education, but it wasn’t supposed be now

She loved life at MSU.  She loved navigating the insanely huge campus and and the way it made her feel like a sophisticated grownup.  She loved how she could spot how someone was living in Snyder-Phillips just by the way they dressed.  She loved going to Menna’s at 2:00 am for a Chik’n Philly Dub.  She loved singing Shadows and getting mushy about it.

The downside was that she was now wondering if everything she had been taught was a lie.

A good example of that was Small Pox being used as a weapon against Native Americans.  The famous if sketchy  incident, that was reported second hand in a single letter.  But was now considered historic fact because it was in Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee.

Jess had been genuinely angry about the deliberate genocide that her country had inflicted on Native Americans, when she had heard about it from Ms. Gardner in grade school.  She had literally shuddered at the cold-blooded ruthlessness of the  American government. It had been a shock to learn such a vicious horror had been inflicted on the innocent people who had lived here first and in complete harmony with the land for centuries.  How could anyone do that to their neighbor?  Jess had still identified as Christian when she started high school (she had a few doubts invading, given the horrors that the church had inflicted on...well everyone, really).  And little Jessika had felt a disturbing sense of betrayal by all of this.

She wanted to believe in something better.  Like most of her generation, she wanted to be inspired.
Then she arrived at MSU and she got her wish.  Professor Wheaton had been her freshman AH 101 instructor.  What he had said about White Privilege wasn’t really new at that point.  But he said it with such fearlessness and such passion, that she couldn’t help but get swept up in it all.  All the Baby Boomer professors had told them that the Millennials were the generation that was finally going to bring the change to America that was so badly needed.

Jess read Marx and wore a Che shirt.

And then she had worn that Che shirt to a 201 biology class that Aux Kerensky was teaching.  

Aux had asked her why she was wearing, upon her tits, the face of a noted and proud killer of homosexuals and toddlers.  She had assiduously ignored the question at the time, but Jessika was intellectually honest enough that she looked up the citation.  It was perfectly true.  None of her friends asked why she had stopped wearing the Che shirt.  That was good.

Later, Jess had raised the matter of the Small Pox Blankets in class, as proof of America’s intrinsic evilness.   Aux listened to her impassioned rant and then asked her if she knew if the Variola Major virus could live outside the human body for days with nothing for nourishment but air and sunlight.  The answer as it turned out was, no.  The smallpox virus will die within hours outside of a human body. If you were determined to keep it alive you would have to provide a suitable nutrient media and culture conditions.  Wool blankets were not an effective transmission vector.  No matter how hard you whipped the horses,   you couldn’t possibly have gotten them to an Indian settlement in time to do any harm.

The bad thing - the really bad thing, was that Jessika already knew that.  She knew it and still she had pretended that she believed the Smallpox Blanket story.  Why hadn’t she been able to  connect these two contradicting pieces of information.  When had the Chinese Wall in her mind been built?

For a chaser, Aux had also asked Jessika if she knew when this story was supposed to have taken place and if the Germ Theory of disease had been been proposed and accepted at that time?  

Jessika had stopped dying her hair purple and green, about then.  She hadn’t asked any of her friends the questions that Aux had put to her.  She knew it wasn’t safe to do that.  

Apple would not have approved.

In her deepest heart she knew her friend(?) Apple would make trouble for her if she did.  Serious, life changing trouble.  Apple frequently made trouble for a lot people.  She spent hours scanning Twitter for things to be offended about and then acted upon them.  She didn’t hesitate to write to companies that had hired racist, cisgendered misogynists that had come to her negative attention and demand that these men be fired.  She had a number of different accounts under different names for this very purpose.  The fact that their families would be ruined and impoverished was a plus for her. It was her little way of being a Che in her own right.  

If Apple heard something disturbing in a class that hadn’t been prefaced by a trigger warning, she would be launching a reporting text about that professor to the administration diversity provost’s office before the class had even ended.

Jessika had fallen into Apple’s orbit her Freshman year. Apple had been her RA and had taken a real interest in her.  Mostly, Jessika now suspected, because she had been friends with Roy Scheer.  She had been dating his younger brother Philip.  Phil was a really great guy but he was a year younger than her and he was still back home.  Bigger issue, he wasn’t going to be coming to MSU after all - he had enlisted in the Marine Corps.

Apple and her partner Andrea had listened to her when she had talked about the problems she was having maintaining a long distance relationship with Philip.

“Yeah, I understand honey,”  Andrea had said.  “But things are what they are with him. You really need to move on.”

“Honestly you need to cut the cord,” Apple had said.  “You are already thinking about it and you are right.  You are in college today.  You’ve left that world of White Privilege behind you.  Sweetheart, you are in the big leagues now.  There is now no point in pursuing a relationship with a boy who isn’t going to go to college, even if he is Roy Scheer’s brother.  Be honest with yourself, Jessika.”

Jessika was honest with herself.  Although that was of little comfort when she had cried herself to sleep for a month after she sent the ring back to Phil.

That, naturally, had suddenly put her seriously on the outs with Roy.  Which put her on the outs with a lot of people and sent her even deeper into Apple’s orbit.

She had tried dating Apple and Andrea’s friend Lil.  Lil.  That was his actual name.  It was on his birth certificate and everything. Lil.  Apple and Andrea had really pressured her to go out with him.  LIl was way different from Phil.  He was really evolved and he followed the right politics, and everything.  He was also a lot skinnier than Phil.  He sort of had a beard, which is to say he had hair on his face, there just wasn’t a lot of it.  He had more on his head, of course, but he kept that in a bun.

Lil had been really great about consent too.  He asked before doing anything.  Anything at all.  And he kept asking, too.  The whoooole time.  Jess was willing to give him credit, he tried to make it hot. He was really breathy and excited when he would ask if could do something.  And she tried to get into it with Lil.  She had told him him, “no,” experimentally when he asked if he could take her bra off and he promptly didn’t  She had meant to go there that night, she really had. So when Lil asked if he could go down her, she said, “yes.”  With her bra still on.

It was weird and wrong and embarrassing.  After less then a minute she told him to stop.  Which he immediately did. No problem at all.  She got dressed quickly.  The “date” was over. Everything had been utterly consensual and she felt completely violated.

She was done with Lil.  Apple hadn’t been happy about that.  Andrea, for her part, pretended to be understanding again.  She was also trying to get Jess wondering about her own gender identity and orientation.  If she wasn’t interested in a great guy like Lil.  Maybe Jess should...experiment.  Andrea had put a hand on her cheek. She would be willing to help her.

Jessika took the hand away.  Pointedly.  No woman touches another woman’s face.

No, Jessika was absolutely certain she liked guys.  Masculine, unevolved guys.  Hanging around Aux made that a little easier.

A lot easier.

Aux hated Apple.

Apple hated Aux even more.  

Apple was known to have tried to make trouble for Aux in the past and had amazingly, for once, failed.  As Aux had pointed out to Jess,  “A lot of their tactics depend on you confessing your guilt in public. Once SJWs like Apple know you won’t do that, they don’t have a lot they can do to you, except lie about you.  They can’t bring the full pressure of the community against you when you aren’t part of that community.”

“She can get you fired, Aux,” Jessika had told worriedly.

“Only if I was working in the social sciences.  My department’s donors are from Grand Rapids.  They don’t give fuck about the Cry Bullies,” Aux smiled, shark-like.  “Come to the Dark Side, little Jessika.  You actually have a brain.”

Jessika was beginning to realize her relationship with Apple had been less senpai and kohai and more terrorist and hostage.  She had had Stockholm Syndrome and hadn’t even realized it.  These days she was starting to do her best to avoid Apple whenever she could.

Apple would have created a howling shit storm if she had known about the Asset List.  

The Asset List was completely undefendable from a feminist perspective; it was a Godsend from a rational point of view.  It was an inventory board located in Maia Hall, where the various students, both grad and undergrad, assigned to the Special Project were now co-located. Various tools and equipment from the animal science lab were listed on it.  None of it was particularly important

However, each item on the AL was assigned one of Major Castillo's Marines on any given day.  If one of the grad students (or, in her case, one of Aux’s pet undergrads), took that item out of the building any time day or night, the Marine went with it.  Effectively giving the girls bodyguards.  

When Apple had asked about the Marines, Jessika knew she had to lie about it.  It was in that moment she had finally confronted the honest truth of it.  Apple would have seen Jessika raped and murdered, rather then have her protected by a man with a gun.  

“Hey, Stacia,” Jessika didn’t raise her voice too much.  She was mindful of her friend’s earlier hangover.

But Stacia appeared to be all right.  Kelly’s custom made cocktail of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, glutathione and 750mg of nabumetone, plus a gallon of water had once again pounded a hangover into the mat.  Medical students aren’t that freaked out about human experimentation, or at least not when comes to other medical students.  

“Hey, Jess,” She replied brightly but absentmindedly, as she examined the Asset Board.  

The Marines were close enough by that she refrained from asking Stacia about her bra.  But it was a painful effort.  

“Who’s on for the ///EQUIPMENT1///?” Jessika asked Stacia before she got to board.


“Oh,” the disappointment was obvious in her voice.  MacKay, was nice enough and bright.  You could talk to the guy, he could keep up. But still at five foot one...

“Naisbett is on the ///EQUIPMENT2///,” Stacia said with a knowing smirk.

“Is he, really?”  Jessika voice failed to disguise her more then casual interest.

”Aren’t you on necropsy today?” Stacia smirked, “you don’t you need ///EQUIPMENT2/// for that do you?”

“I’m starting to remember.  What was it now?  Something about taxidermy...a moose?” Her voice was rising in volume, “Victoria’s Secret?”

“Fine, be that way,” Stacia waved dismissively.   “I’ll have more fun watching the game with the boys, anyway.”  

The Marine Security Det had taken over the central rec room of Maia Hall.  She could hear them cheering wildly for MSU and on occasion booing savagely against U of M.  Most of them were from outside the state, but for some manish reason they had to adopt a football team as their own and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be the Detroit Lions.  
Some of the other girls had drifted into the lounge, themselves.  Kelly had just checked herself back in with Sergeant Anderson.  Anderson was lugging what was possibly the last keg of this year’s batch of Bell’s Oberon.  

In the past two weeks, the female vet students now in Maia Hall (and vet students these days are pretty much all female) had taken a proprietary view of their Marines.  

These weren’t college boys.  They were men with a capital Mmmm.  Mostly sergeants and staff sergeants.  Guys who were mid to late twenties.  A lot them were married but a lot of them weren’t.  And those that weren’t were starting finding their way off the market.  It wasn’t that easy for Millennial girls to find a good man.  Boys yes, no problem there but men were harder to come by.

There was a steady supply of homemade party snacks drifting into the lounge.  Custom built Pigs-in-a-Blanket.  Various designer bean dips accompanied by made from scratch nachos.  And many forms of custom bred hot wings were being delivered into the newly renamed Marine Pit.

Part of it was simple courtesy.  When the girls had found themselves pretty much literally drafted in the Special Project, Wheaton, (dick that he was),  announced that Maia hall would no longer be serving meals.  The campus cooks were immediately extracted by his dickish order.  The Marines, for their part, instinctively took over.  Staff Sergeant Papadopoulos was a career cook and frustrated chef.  He had been delighted to be out of the constricting suffocation of Marine Corps chow hall uniform menus and was finally able to let his decade long constrained imagination loose on a kitchen.  Staff Sergeant Papa was married with kids so he wasn’t going to be here today.

Which was quite all right so far as the girls were concerned.  They had been around their Marines long enough that they were certainly felt a need to show off a little.

A lot of samples were getting dropped off at the duty desk.  Master Gunny Anguiano  (AKA Top)  made a big show of being delighted with every offering that was laid before him.  Top was a Marine Corps lifer.  He was fighting a pot belly as hard as he could and had a nose any Aztec warrior would envy. Top was quickly becoming every girl in the dorm’s daddy.  He didn’t mind that at all, or at least not much.  No man of his generation liked to be viewed as harmless, but  Top was closing in on his fiftieth birthday and retirement.   Also, Mrs Anguiano, who showed up at the Hall from time to time, had a definite Salma Hayek vibe going for her. Time was being more than a little unfairly kind to her.  At the end of day Top wasn’t really missing out on anything.

“Morning, Top,” Jess said to him with a bright smile.

“Good morning, Mam,” Top replied with a smile of his own in his gravelly voice.  This wasn’t worst duty he had ever pulled.  In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad place to run out the clock.

After a few more pleasantries were exchanged, Jess said, “Top I need to check out the ///equipment2///”.

“Is that so?”  Top said with an understanding smile that embarrassed Jess.

Jess simply nodded, while she blushed a little.

“Well, I do believe that that is available...”  Top’s phone rang, he scowled at the caller ID for second, before answering “Hang on,” he said to her absently.

Jess nodded,  just a little concerned.  Top suddenly had lost the Dad look on his face.  His eyes narrowed and wrinkles on face went from friendly to menacing.  The Daddy vibe was still there but he was now a really tough Daddy..

“On it!”  Top barked at his phone.

He jumped up from the desk, ignoring Jessika completely.  He charged into the Marine Pit.

“INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!  Drop your cocks!  It’s show time!”

The Marine Pit erupted.

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