As she struggled with her orientation, Lauren realized she had been undressed and left in nothing but her bra and panties. Her clothes, always so immaculate were no where to be seen and her proper fedora was perched across the room on a wig stand.
"All right, I'm movin'" thought Lauren. "An' movin' fast. A jet?" A glance out the small porthole proved Lauren's assumtions correct. She sat up, and put her feet on the thick carpet, then surveyed the cabin.
Her eyes lit on a steel sarcophagus, where White Owl continued her vacant stare. "This is all YOUR fault, Red Robin," she muttered. Swaying to her feet, Lauren tried to cross the room, only to be stopped by the heavy chains around her ankles.
"Someone wants to play kinky games," she said. Her head was pounding though, and the tough crime boss sat on the bed wishing for a cigar, Scotch and a bottle of aspirin. But when the cabin door opened, Lauren's headache stopped and she snarled in fury.
"YOU! How DARE you kidnap me! There's not a country on earth you'll be safe in Hao Chin, once I get free. And I will. There's no one who can keep Lauren O' Rourke. Well maybe only one person who MIGHT be able to keep me and he's ..."
"He is Boris Andreyavich Neyk. The head of the mafia in all of Russia."
"Boris the Bloody Spider? He was cooling his heels in a maximum security prison in Siberia last I heard. How did he get free? What did I ever do to him?" Lauren asked indignantly.
Hao Chin settled into a comfortable chair, just out of Lauren's reach. "He said you would ask that. He told me one word. 'Odessa'."
Despite the serious situation, Lauren smiled. "My girls saved his from the Honey Trap he was running there, an' left HIM to fill the bill. He looked rather fetching in that tight little French Maid outfit. The Beyalarus government ripped him a new one then too. But his money taled and he was escorted back to the border--first class. But that was at least two years ago. The man has no sense of humor."
"I disagree," said Hao Chin. "Mr. Neyk has quite the sense of humor. It is why he requested you be wearing this when you are brought before him." He proffered a box toward Lauren. The mob queen opened it, then frowned.
"Never in a million years. There's no way in Bloody Hell I'll ever wear this."
"I'll take me chances with nothing then," said Lauren, defiantly. "It's not like he's not seen me in the buff before."
"We shall see." Chin stood, and opened the door to Lauren's cabin. "This flight is almost over. We will be landing in Mr Neyk's private retreat in an hour. I would suggest....compliance with his wishes. Mr Neyk can become most disagreeable. But I believe you are already aware of that fact?"
As the door closed, Lauren's eyes remained fixed where Chin's retreating body had been. "More than you'll ever know."
She shuddered in the cold and sat back on the bed. As she glanced out the window, she could see the deep forests of central Russia and tried to remember where Neyk might have his lairs. Lake Baikal came to mind and Lauren frowned. "middle of Bloody Nowhere!" she muttered. "An' even if I DO get away the only way out is through the damn Gobi or through Mongolia! She looked at the sarcophagus once more and wished she'd paid better attention to Suzy Q's lecture on the devices.
"Just my luck, the one time I actually DO succeed in getting rid of the Big Bad Birdie, its the one time I could use a friend--or a heroine." Lauren felt a cold wind on the back of her neck and shuddered.
"Just like Hao Chin to turn up the cold," she said. "But if he thinks I'm going to wear THAT..." She shuddered again.
"Lauren, ye can't be daft if you want to survive this, an' bring down the big bad Spider. You'll need your cunnin' and all the tools you can use." With a sigh, she opened the box again, and slid into the bright red satin dress and apron.
(to be continued)