It was 8 o’clock in the evening on a Tuesday in late June when Victoria Bidarte was k**napped. It had been dark, damp, overcast and unusually warm, and every worker on the roofing site was sweating in the 90-degree heat. The men were sullen, and tempers were high. Those who worked on the ground envied the workers who perched on the roof, hammering and stapling the sticky shingles into place, for their access to what little breeze there was.
Victoria was of course one of those on the roof. One of only two women on the construction site, her small size and agility made her invaluable as a worker on the highest portions of the roof. As a farmer’s daughter, she didn’t mind heavy labour, but on this hot day she certainly would have preferred to be in the air-conditioned university lab across town, doing her winter job as a sample analyst for the biology department. Unfortunately, the university lab, as a teaching lab, closed during the summer. Some of the lab assistants were lucky enough to land part-time jobs at the hospital, but it was generally all volunteer work, and anyhow, Victoria didn’t want to be around premeds if she could help it.
So she had taken the roofing job, just as she had the past year. Everybody at the company knew her, so they were perfectly willing to re-hire her for the summer. In fact, she was legendary among the employees of Gerhardt Roofers, Inc. Victoria, unlike the older, rougher and generally much larger woman roofers, stood only 5 feet 3 and weighed only 111 pounds. However, she was far from weak. Her lithe frame was solid muscle, without a spare ounce of fat anywhere on her petite body, apart from her 32C-cup breasts. Her f****y was mostly of French-Canadian origin, but her Basque grandmother had contributed the genes for Victoria’s black-haired, olive-skinned looks.
Although she was good-looking, Victoria had had only two boyfriends in her twenty-two years. She had never been a friendly or personable girl, preferring to roam the fields around her home collecting insect specimens when she was not needed for farm work, or to sit on the weathered porch in front of her father’s white-shingled farmhouse and sketch pictures of various epic battles and daring romances from science-fiction books, conventional comics, or manga. Her favourites were the manga Berserk, the Star Wars Jedi Legacy series, and later, the manga bl**d+ and the Star Trek manga adaptation. Most of these she had borrowed, then inherited from her friend Jolene Lockwood, who had run away from home when she was sixteen and was never heard from again.
Victoria had always been a bit of an oddball, but she made up for it with her intelligence, professionalism and resourcefulness. Always a rationalist and an atheist (with slight Buddhist leanings on a few issues) from the age of eight, she tended to irritate the religious folk with her frank statements to the effect that she thought the Abrahamic faiths silly, but no-one really hated her, although they did not exactly like her either. This neutrality of feeling extended to her f****y. Living in Toronto, more than a hundred and fifty miles from her hometown, she rarely saw them except on Christmas and Easter. They were good to her, and obviously loved her in their way, but her parents, especially her father, were not the warm-and-fuzzy sort, a trait which they had passed on to their son and particularly their daughter.
Her boyfriends, however, were decided disappointments. The first, a Korean boy named Adam Li, was an intense but troubled high school romance. A brooding, Emo-ish boy, he had fascinated the lonely Victoria. For three years, she had done everything in her power to win his love, even dressing in a feminine version of his clothes and carrying a notebook with her wherever she went. Finally, in their senior year, he had returned her affections by asking her to the prom. On prom night, the two had bundled into his decrepit 1993 Honda Civic, ditched the party, and driven into town to catch the last, bargain-rate run of I am Legend, then high-tailed it down the deserted street at 120 k’s an hour with the windows down, drinking their soda and shouting nasty comments about the “popular” crowd at the top of their lungs. They finally ended up at the local make-out spot, where Victoria had reluctantly lost her oral virginity to Adam’s pubescent rod, swallowing his seed with a wince as he pulled her short hair.
Unfortunately, this relationship, seemingly made in heaven, did not last. Adam revealed himself to be extremely jealous, following her around and searching through her things for clues that she might be attracted to another boy. He never hit her, but he shouted at her terribly and would break her possessions and threaten to kill himself if he had any suspicion that she had thoughts of other boys. He had no interest in her vagina, but preferred short, rough sessions of fellatio, especially when he was jealous. The breaking point had come when Adam had found a drawing of a shirtless Keanu Reeves circa the Matrix trilogy in her sketchbook. He had lost it completely, and had actually pulled a knife on her, threatening to kill first her, then himself. The tearful, frightened Victoria had thrown a textbook at him in self-defence and run. They never saw each other again, and the last Victoria had heard he had joined the army.
Louis was a different story entirely. She had met the gangly, gentle, blond-haired lad at a meeting of the college anime-fanciers club, and they had taken to each other immediately, until she had learned that by dating Louis, she was dating his mother as well. Louis’s mother controlled every aspect of his life, even down to the clothes he wore, and was both a strict disciplinarian and a religious fanatic. This had decidedly warped Louis’s mind, and indeed the boy was her brief but terrifying introduction to bondage.
Yes, Louis was obsessed with hard-core femdom, as well as being a foot- and mother-fetishist. He could only sustain an erection after (entirely coerced) verbal and physical abuse, anal fingering, breast-worship and foot-worship of Victoria. She was revolted, of course, but she would do anything to please her man, and so she had reluctantly participated in Louis’s perverted fantasies. They had had vaginal intercourse several times, but it was only due to the fact that Victoria was fingering his anus and verbally abusing him as he penetrated her. Louis’s favourite activities had been being tied and blindfolded with Victoria’s dirty socks as she ground her almost always dry crotch into his face, sucking on her sweaty toes while calling her “Mummy”, or suckling wetly at her breasts, again addressing her as his mother in a sickening, c***dish voice.
The relationship had ended when his religious mother had dropped over for a “surprise clothes inspection” during one of their face-sitting sessions. Under orders from his mother, Louis had tearfully dumped her on the spot, still maintaining a rather disturbing erection.
And so Victoria was alone. She didn’t mind it terribly. Obviously, she had little sexual satisfaction, but a dildo constructed out of a marking pen, several layers of felt, and a layer of duct tape was enough to keep any annoying needs at bay. Lonely, but not disablingly so, she led her cold, quiet, reserved life in relative peace. Until that Tuesday.
Victoria was usually the last to leave the site. She knew this was a dangerous thing to do, but she had always carried a switchblade and felt herself completely prepared to fend off a r****t. It was the quiet, the dark beauty of the summer nights that drew her; the desolation of the construction site and the scent of warm tar, oil, cut wood and freshly turned dirt. She would often sit on the roof of the a new house, sipping on a thermos full of cold tea and admiring the semi-apocalyptic scenery. She could almost imagine herself in a world with no other humans, wandering the post-industrial wastes and watching the chaos spring to life with thin, warped plants as the years went on.
The key word on the safety issue, however, was “r****t”. Most Earth r****ts are outwardly ordinary men with a sickness that drives them to brutalise women, but do not devote their whole life to the career of a*****ion and ravishment. They do not necessarily train at the gym or in martial arts in order to overpower women, may or may not carry a weapon, and do not always meticulously plan their attacks. In other words, they are not professionals. A space slaver, however, is a different matter entirely. Experienced, trained and suffered to live by his Kurii employers, he a*****s pretty young women with the cunning and ease of a hunting lion, but is arguably not so intelligent or civilised as the cat.
Victoria didn’t even know what hit her. She heard what sounded like a small air rifle being fired, then there was a sting in her neck, a sensation of coldness, and she fell u*********s, splayed out on the warm tar roof.