Chapter 1: the Shipping Forecast
Copyright© 2016 by Phil Lane
BDSM Sex Story: Chapter 1: the Shipping Forecast - The sequel to "Touchdown", Sonnet 57 explores slave Jenny's further adventures after her return from captivity and the consequences for her husband Joe.
The time is 05:15am. Freddie Clegg and Ellie are asleep in the early morning in their flat in London.
Freddie has always had the habit of waking early, something left over from his army career. That was years ago, but habits once formed are hard to shake.
There is a soft click as the bedside clock-radio switches on. Freddie keeps the volume low, to leave Ellie undisturbed. In the soft and dreamy country between sleep and wakefulness, he hears the hypnotic recitation of the Shipping Forecast(1.):
“... Here is the shipping forecast issued at 0505 on behalf of the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency. The general synopsis ... low southern Norway 1009 losing its identity. High Biscay 1026 dissipating. New high expected Faeroes 1032 by midday tomorrow...”
The soft gentle voice of the newsreader carries Freddie back deeper into sleep as the meteorological lullaby continues through the list of the Sea Areas.
“... Viking: Northerly 5 to 7, perhaps gale 8 later in east. Moderate or rough. Fair. Good. North Utsira, Northerly or north westerly 5 to 7 perhaps gale 8 later in east. Moderate or rough. Fair. Good. South Utsira, Northerly or north westerly 6 to gale 8. Moderate or rough. Fair. Good. Fisher: North or north west 6 to gale 8. Moderate or rough, occasionally very rough. Showers. Moderate or good...”
By the time she reaches the western side of the United Kingdom, Freddie is returning to wakefulness and glad he is safe in a warm bed, on land...
“Southeast Iceland, west backing south becoming cyclonic later, 7 to gale 8 later. High or very high. Squally showers. Rain later. Poor...”
Freddie turns and snuggles close to Ellie as “the Latest Marine Observations from Coastal Stations” is read and the Inshore Waters Forecast is intoned. He dozes, serene and comfortable until, during “News Briefing,” he hears the word “Kushtia.” Kushtia is a place. Kushtia is somewhere Freddie knows well, somewhere he has worked and carried on business for several years. Kushtia is important to Freddie. Suddenly he is fully awake and listening...
“... and here is our Diplomatic Correspondent Peter Archer to set events in context...”
A different voice takes up the story...
“Kushtia is a small mountainous country nestling between Afghanistan in the south and west, Turkmenistan, Kazakstan and Uzbekistan to the north. It is a rocky, hard country and socially it is very traditional, many would say ‘backward, ‘ and certainly oppressive towards women. The country has never had quite the strategic importance of Afghanistan and there has not been much international pressure for change. However, the NATO invasion of Afghanistan has changed all that. In its fight against the Taliban, NATO sees socially conservative Kushtia as somewhere extremists might seek sanctuary to plan attacks on coalition forces, so NATO will be delighted to hear news that a new Kalinin has been enthroned, particularly someone who is a western-educated technocrat, someone who wishes to see Kushtia step away from its cultural backwardness and become a more modern nation state. This will not be easy but the new Kalinin is showing an astute political touch and an awareness of the political sensibilities of the nations who might provide aid and development expertise. His first act has been a declaration of his intention to put women’s rights to property, freedom of movement, and political rights on the same footing as those of Kushtian men. While that has been greeted warily within the country, it opens the door to investment and the promise of increasing prosperity to many ordinary Kushtians...”
By now Freddie is wide awake and out of bed. He knows all about the situation of women in Kushtia. He has helped a good number of western women to discover the unique pleasures of life in the country. The storm is no longer safe in Sea Areas Utsira or Southeast Iceland. The gravity of events in the East have caused the storm to wheel southwards, to vent its unpleasantness upon himself and Ellie and Freddie Clegg Enterprises.
Twilight of the Gods?
Freddie and Ellie are driving from their flat in Knightsbridge to Freddie’s office in the work-a-day east end of London.
As in all large, busy cities, driving in London can be a chore and Freddie has opted for a radical solution. He would like to cruise through the streets in a Jaguar but, in fact, he drives a small electric Smart car (2.). The parking regulations are much more benign for electric vehicles and he does not have to pay the Central London Congestion Charge(3.). In addition, in a Smart Car, he does not look like the principal of a criminal organisation and Freddie likes to be self-effacing in these matters.
As he drives, Freddie finds Ellie in a reflective mood.
“If this upset in Kushtia had not happened, you know: no new Kalinin...”
“Well, would we still be doing this in twenty years?”
“Huh? Twenty years? How do you mean?”
“We are both in our sixties. In twenty years we will be in our eighties. New Kushtian Kalinin or not, I just cannot see us still doing this when we are in our eighties...”
“Oh ... well no, I suppose not...”
“So when should retire? We’re not short of money. And, quite frankly, I think we have worked hard enough for long enough. I would just like to retire. Do what I want to do, not what I have to do. Do you see?”
“Yes, I see.”
“Don’t you feel it’s all a tie? The continued commitment? All those girls? Worrying about how they’ll turn out, where they’ll end up? It’s like having a family — an infinite number of daughters.”
“How does the song go? ‘When you’re the father of girls ... you do more than that, you pray, ‘ isn’t it?”
“Freddie, be serious. We are not immortal. There has to come a time when we harvest what we have sown.”
“That sounds a bit ominous...”
“Well all right. If you prefer, there has to come a time when we start to live. Some people live to work. Some people work to live. It is time to live. Maybe these developments in Kushtia are a sign that life has to change for us.”
“Er, yes, well, perhaps you are right; it is just that I have enjoyed what we have done. Seeing the organization grow.”
“Are we talking FCE, the bit that everyone sees – or Special Products?”
“Oh ... well, both of them really. FCE was the most difficult. Special Products was the most exciting. Retiring? — that makes me think I am getting old. I don’t want to get old. Not just yet. Anyway, we can’t dispose of FCE without a lot of careful thought. And, Ellie, we can’t walk out of the Special Products Division ‘just like that.’ We are going to have to put it to bed very carefully so it does not wake up and bite us.”
“Freddie, I think I know that, but the first step is to make a decision about what we are going to do with the rest of our lives. Then we can think about the transport business and, well, the rest of it.”
“Well, FCE is a private company. We could float the business or sell out. A competitor maybe, a venture capitalist perhaps. I’m not sure about flotation with the way the Stock Exchange has been lately. Selling out to a competitor would be better. That means fewer fish in the sea and so the fish which are left have more to eat.”
“Freddie, I think we are going to have to make serious plans. Let’s make the decision and deal with the slavery business first. Agreed?”
“Yes ... yes, agreed. It hurts but, yes, I agree.”
By 09:30, Freddie is in the “Board Room” in an anonymous commercial building in East London. He is with Ellie, Larry, Dr Pamela Jordan and Harry. Connie, his former Head of Training has left the organization to return to Africa. Sarah, Harry’s secretary and a slave herself, would normally attend Board Meetings to take notes but, this time, she has been confined to her office.
Freddie begins. “This morning, I learned that there is a new Kalinin in Kushtia and his first act of government has been to announce very significant changes in the status of women. I learned this from BBC Radio 4 ‘News Briefing, ‘ so it is safe to assume that the report is reliable and now widely known internationally. I am sure I do not need to tell you that the consequences for us could be considerable.”
Harry joins in. “Freddie, my first reaction is to ask if he will get away with it? Will this initiative last? What are the Kushtian household heads going to do without their domestic — and other — help?”
“And, how long will it take for these ‘freedoms, ‘ if that’s what they turn out to be, to take hold?” adds Larry, the FCE liaison with Inward Bound, their subsidiary. “Is this anything more than ‘window dressing’ for a new regime? Heaven knows, there have been enough of them in Kushtia before.”
“The point is,” says Ellie, “the point is that the tide of events may be running against us. The immediate situation is that we have almost certainly lost our market in Kushtia. In due course, it could be months, it could be only weeks, some of our recent ‘exports’ might get the chance to make contact with their own diplomatic people and appeal for repatriation. There is nothing to hold them. The Kushtian Authorities are no longer going to stop them leaving the country and, again in due course, they will tell their story.”
Freddie begins to speak again. “To answer your question, Harry, I think the Kalinin’s chances of getting away with it depend on whether he can bring prosperity to his people and, first and foremost, to his henchmen. Of course, it may well be that those who have taken delivery of our ‘product’ in the past aren’t keen on this change, but they won’t have quite the benign climate for their enthusiasms that they have had in the past. Further to which, the new Kalinin is going to get a lot of help from the international community — the creation of an equal society is close to the ‘liberal heart’ and, if you think for a moment about the amount of blood and treasure the Americans are spending in Afghanistan, sorting out Kushtia is going to be peanuts by comparison. Also, dollars spent there to prevent it becoming a haven for the Taliban might well sound to them like a very good investment.”
There is a moment or two of silent reflection around the table before Harry begins again:
“Freddie, Ellie, I agree that we may have lost a market, but does this really mean that the whole business is gone? When you look around London, but I suppose it is going to be the same in all major cities in the developed world, there is a small number of people who have everything, and then a lot of people who have next to nothing, and finally a group in the middle in danger of slipping backwards towards the ‘have-nots.’ The people at the top can have anything they want, have the economic clout to get it, and have the connections with the powers-that-be to hang on to it. If they want people to serve them — slaves — we can still supply. We are taking people from the bottom and supplying them to people at the top. We are just a specialized form of recruitment and employment agency. Also, the modus operandi of the business — namely, request received, researching suitable targets, reconnaissance, abduction, training and export — all that is still viable. The only thing we have to do now is merely to adjust our position in the market. Sorted!”
“Sorted? You think?” Ellie’s skepticism is obvious in her voice.
Larry picks up the conversation: “We all know times change. The world is not the place it was when I joined the company and it is definitely not the place it was when Freddie and Ellie developed the Kushtia market. Harry’s pitch is very encouraging but, from my perspective, we need a safer business model. It seems to me that the Police are beginning to take people trafficking more seriously. The Government and the Police put it about that they are working to do what is ethically right — but I am sure they are just as worried about uncontrolled immigration, destabilization of the labour market, bad press in the newspapers, things like that — but actually it does not matter why they are taking more of an interest, they just are and that is a critical operational risk for us.”
He looks around the table. “I know you have been a bit skeptical about Inward Bound but Inward Bound really does alert us to submissives who might be potential slaves. Consensual at first but later, well ... who knows? And we even get them to pay us for their training! We might be looking at a new way of operating the business, but I think we will still be a going concern in the future. Barring unexpected developments, of course.”
“Freddie, this risk business,” says Harry. “I can get Sarah to look at who we exported when and who their buyers were. I can review the information to see if I can have a stab at estimating the ‘risk’ that any particular slave might pose.”
“Thank you, Harry, but I don’t think we can rely on the slaves to wake up slowly to the new situation they are in. We have to think about the western ‘advisors’. We know about the reality of ‘female oppression’ in Kushtia because we have made a lot of money out of it. They know about it because it offends their liberal principles. You saw the fuss when the UN tried to run that ‘cultural experience programme.’ They will be off to Kushtia to make the world a better place and to see how many oppressed women they can liberate — and that is when the stories are going to be told.”
Ellie rejoins the debate. “Harry, you are right about ‘risk, ‘ but let’s start here, in London and the UK. What are the local risks we have to contend with?”
Harry looks down at some notes. “Right now we are between consignments. We sent out the last ‘units’ a month ago. Now Connie’s contract is over, we have been looking for a new Head of Training anyway, so there is no one at the Warwickshire Centre. That’s empty. In London, we have got Sarah, here, and Dr Jordan, you have got Suki and Larry has that Rachel Kernow woman...”
Ellie responds. “So what are we going to do with them? Can we leave them where they are or can we put them somewhere else for safe keeping until we get a better idea of what the future will be like? We can’t pack them off to Kushtia anymore, but maybe we could maroon them in some other middle eastern country doing normal jobs — shop work and such, domestic help, anything like that — but prevented from going anywhere because their employer has confiscated their passports from them. Slaves in fact if not in law?”
“Excuse me, but I bought Suki from Larry and, even though she is still a slave, she is my slave and we are de facto partners. I do not want Suki to go anywhere, nor does she need to,” says Pam Jordan, to keep the record straight.
“OK, thanks for that, Pam. That seems to deal with Suki. Larry, are you determined to stick with Rachel?” inquires Ellie.
“Rachel is fun, but I don’t feel any sort of commitment to her. She is congenial company, but she is a slave so I am happy to think about other customers for her. What about Anatoly Kustensky?”
“Unreliable. He would always put his own interest first. We can’t rely on him to get our chestnuts out of the fire,” Freddie replies.
“What about ‘The Contessa’?” offers Harry.
“Yes ... mmmm ... yes, I would go to her before I would go to Kustensky,” says Freddie and continues. “Larry? You bought Suki off Steve Glennis. He has his own Island. We can sell the girls to him or at least get him to stable for the time being or until we can sell them new owners, if it comes to that — that’s excepting Suki, with respect to Pam.”
Harry nods, “I like that idea. You can do business with Steve. The only problem is getting Sarah and Rachel across the Atlantic and on into the Caribbean.”
“Unless we ship them conventionally?” adds Larry.
Pam Jordan replies: “Uncooperative patients — slaves in our context — are always more difficult and technically challenging than newly broken slaves, who are normally the sort of subjects we are freighting out. Rachel might be an easier prospect if she felt inclined to cooperate. Perhaps if Larry starts talking about going on a Caribbean holiday, plants the idea in Racheal’s mind that she might have to be in custody for several weeks, and then Larry offers to take her with him, something like that? The biggest problem is Sarah. Sarah knows a lot about the Organisation. She also knows all our names. She will need secure enslavement abroad or we are going to have to make her an employee of the business and bring her on-side.”
“Yes, Pam is right. Sarah is a much more significant issue. I like the sound of Secure Enslavement. If Steve Glennis was to agree to look after only one of our slaves here, it would have to be Sarah,” agrees Freddie.
He glances round the table and sums up the meeting: “Very well. Let’s leave matters there for now. I will speak to Glennis and the Contessa. I can level with Steve, but I will merely do business with the Contessa. Harry, you see what sort of risk estimation you can make about the units already in Kushtia. Ellie and I will decide what we are going to do with the Warwickshire Centre.”
“Freddie? Do you want me to do anything about Inward Bound just now?”
“Inward Bound?” says Freddie, blinking. “I think that is the least of our problems at the moment, Larry. Just keep the Inward Bound people happy...”
(1.) The Shipping Forecast on BBC radio: a long standing tradition with its own peculiar language, this weather forecast is a fixed point in many people’s day.
(2.) Smart Cars : a range of small city cars, known for their high fuel efficiency and small size.
(3.) The London Congestion Charge tries to keep pollution in the capital at a tolerable level. It only applies to motor vehicles, people suffering with a bad head cold are exempt.