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Authors: John; Norman

Plunder of Gor

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Plunder of Gor
Gorean Saga, Book 34
John Norman

Chapter One

I knelt before him, head down, as was appropriate.

“Beat me, if I am not pleasing,” I said.

“Lie here, to my side,” he said, “the bara position will do.”

I lay then beside him, prone, my hip to his left knee, my head forward, away from him as he sat, cross-legged, perusing a scroll. My ankles were crossed, and my wrists, too, were crossed, and held behind my back. In such a position one may be conveniently bound. My head was turned to the side, that my right cheek might be on the carpet.

“Would you like clothing?” he asked.

“It will be as Master pleases,” I whispered.

He returned to his reading.

I had made the mistake, once, of begging clothing too zealously, even the clothing such as I might be granted, as humiliating, brief, and revealing as it would be.

He had kept me as I was even in the streets, in which I had heeled him, wrists bound behind me, without even the dignity of being leashed.

How free women in their robes had mocked me, and sometimes struck me. He had not seen fit to shield me from such abuse.

Why should he? Was it not clear what I was?

Too, I was a barbarian, a woman of Earth.

In those days I did not know if I most hated him, or feared him. But I most feared him.

But that had been the way with many of my masters.

They had been very different, but they were all masters. They treat us as they will, and they do with us as they will. We are slaves.

“You have not yet earned clothing,” I had been informed. I had then been switched.

I had known so little of this world!

I lay beside him.

Would he touch me?

I was such that he might do with me as he pleased.

I had come to long for his touch. I had not realized, once, such men could exist. I had not known what it was to be grasped, and owned, to be seized and mocked, and thrown to his feet, to be handled with such authority. I had not known such men could exist.

I had come to need his touch. It was that for which I lived. What had been done to me? I lived for his touch.

I had been acquired months ago.

Certainly it was not the first time I had been acquired.

Once I had been free, but that was in another place, one far away.

As I lay beside him, obedient, in bara, my mind wandered.

The subject matter of the ensuing accounts began better than a year ago, in another place, on another world.

It began with my first master.

I did not realize, at first, that he was a master. And surely I did not realize that he would be my master, my first master.

It was he who taught me that I was a woman, and what it was to be a woman.

I had not, at that time, in full consciousness, save in dreams, and intrusive thoughts, realized that I was of the slave sex, and that I required a master, that I would be empty, incomplete, forlorn, meaningless, desolate, and useless without one. What is a slave without her master, and what is a master without his slave?

How he hated the women of Earth!

Why did he hate us?

How wrong that was!

Why did he not simply take us in hand, and collar us?

I would, were it in my power, he had said, bring ten thousand of the best to a better world, to ascend the block, to learn the whip and chains.

They would look well on the block.

Let them be bought and sold!

They deserve chains, and the collar.

Alas, I was not one of the best.

It was not my fault that I had been lied to. It was not my fault that I had been acculturated as I had. It was not my doing. It was an accident of time and place. I had no way of knowing, at that time, on Earth, that he was a master and I was a slave. Fool that I was, I had thought him another man of Earth, a mere man of Earth. Why had I not seen the master in his eyes, in his mien, in the nature of his regard?

In my vanity, and pride, I had displeased him.

How foolish I had been!

I was a barbarian, I could not even speak the language, I had no Home Stone, and yet I had dared to stand before him!

How natural it had seemed then; how frightful it would seem now!

But I do not think I should have been blamed. I had been taught to deny the most obvious and profound biological realities, to dismiss or despise patent differences, to deny nature, the very nature of which I was an outcome. Were humans not essentially unreal, a fraud, unlike the lion and the hawk, more honest forms of life? Were human beings not a counterfeit currency of sorts, masquerading as a genuine life form? Were they not shallow sociological artifacts, nothing in themselves, only clay waiting to be shaped, simple nondescript matter waiting to be formed as society might decree, empty vessels waiting to be filled with whatever contents were currently brewed, following the approved recipes of the day? Glory to the engineers who design automobiles and people. Hail the managers who assemble and produce the new improved model of the human being. Men were to be dethroned, from a throne they had not occupied for millennia. They were to be put aside, diminished, reduced, crippled, confused, and conflicted. Let them be meaningless and homeless in what was once their world. Teach them to spill their own blood. Let them tear their own flesh. Let them pretend to be weak and small. Let them make themselves weak and small. Let them deny and doubt themselves. Make them their own worst enemy. Who can defeat a man but himself? Let lies be spoken with confidence and authority, and repeated frequently. Is it not the case that the lie heard many times comes to wear the mask of truth? And how dangerous it is to speak truth in a world of lies!

I slipped the folder into the drawer of the filing cabinet and thrust shut the door. It was summer, and late in the afternoon. The others had gone. It was late in the week, and toward what we spoke of as “the week-end.” I would close the office. I was looking forward to the beach tomorrow. I turned about, and, startled, realized he had entered the office. I had not heard the door open. He had closed it behind him, as well, an act which, for some reason, I found disturbing.

“We are closed,” I told him.

“It is early,” he said. “The hours posted on the door—”

“Everyone is gone,” I said.

“You are not,” he said.

He was a large man. I could not place the accent, if it was an accent, for the matter was subtle. Perhaps it was only that he spoke carefully, and clearly. I suspected the idiom in which he spoke might not be native to him.

“Everyone is gone,” I said. “I am closing the office. Come back on Monday.”

“You are a secretary, a receptionist, something like that?” he said.

“A secretary,” I said.

“You can make appointments?” he said.

“The office is closed,” I said. “I am leaving.”

“You do not even have a moment to make an appointment?” he asked.

“Come back on Monday,” I said.

He made no move to go.

“Did you hear me?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“You may leave,” I said.

“It is true,” he said, “as I was informed. You are what on this world is termed a ‘bitch'.”

“‘On this world'?” I said. “A bitch?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Get out!” I said.

“The whip takes that out of a woman,” he said.

“The whip?” I said.

“Yes,” he said.

I was alone with him in the office, and even the shades had been drawn, against the sun, and heat.

“I am sorry,” I said. “I will make an appointment for you. Did you wish to see Mr. Wilson, or Mr. Barrett?”

“Neither,” he said.

“I do not understand,” I said.

“I am here to see you,” he said.

“Me?”

“Yes.”

“I am not an officer of the company,” I said.

“I realize that,” he said.

“I am not important,” I said.

“That is true,” he said, “but you were noticed, and I have been delegated to make a preliminary assessment.”

“‘Assessment'?” I said.

“Yes,” he said.

“I do not understand,” I said.

“It is not necessary that you do,” he said.

“You are considering a girl?” I said.

“Precisely,” he said.

“I am content here,” I said.

“No, you are not,” he said.

“Perhaps not,” I said.

I then regretted some short, tart, uncomplimentary remarks I had made to some of my friends, friends of a sort, other girls, other employees, working in the same building, with whom I often lunched. These remarks had appertained, largely, to my views of the firm, my employers, and some of the other gentlemen in the building, with some of whom our firm had dealings. But it seemed unlikely he would be apprised of such things. On the other hand, he may have heard something of this sort of thing, one way or another, doubtless through the other girls, they speaking to others, and others to others. And, I was surely open to an improvement in my circumstances.

“I do not come cheap,” I said.

One must be prepared to bargain.

“You might,” he said.

“I might be available,” I said. “It is possible. What sort of position do you have in mind?”

“One of docility, subservience, and meaninglessness,” he said.

“I do not understand,” I said. “What company do you represent?”

“No company, at least as you are thinking of it,” he said.

“Some business?”

“In a sense, yes,” he said.

“I may be available,” I said. “Perhaps we can arrange an interview.”

“This is an interview,” he said.

“Surely this has to do with clerical skills, with office work,” I said.

“No,” he said, “nothing like that.”

“I do not understand,” I said.

“This has more to do with you, you as you are, your hair, your eye color, your carriage, your figure, your appearance, what I sense about you, such things,” he said.

“Oh!” I said, delighted. “I see! It is a different sort of thing!”

“Yes,” he said, “altogether.”

“You are a talent scout for a motion-picture company?” I said. “You are representing a modeling agency?”

I knew that I was attractive. Certainly the other girls, those catty chits, had resented that. That had never been hard to tell. It was not my fault that I was more beautiful than they, far more beautiful.

“Would you please step over here, to the center of the room and turn before me?” he asked.

“Certainly,” I said.

“Again,” he said.

I turned about, once more.

I felt delightfully brazen.

I trusted he liked what he saw. Had I not auditioned for plays? Had I not submitted a portfolio to more than one agency? With good fortune I might soon be able to leave behind the hated office, the dictatorship of clocks and calendars, the endless routines, the instructions of boring superiors, phrased as requests or suggestions, the pretentious prattle of inane companions. And soon I could rid myself, too, I supposed, of this troublesomely masculine oaf, this menial, who dared to presume to speak of “assessment.”

“Why are you standing?” he asked.

“I do not understand,” I said.

“I am a free man,” he said.

“I do not understand,” I said.

“You are in the presence of a free man.”

“What do you expect of me?”

“You should be on your knees,” he said.

“I beg your pardon,” I said.

“Kneeling,” he said, “before me.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Is it not obvious?” he asked.

“I do not understand,” I said.

“You are a slave.”

“I am not a slave!”

“Do you think I do not know a slave when I see one? You lack only the collar.”

“Get out!” I said.

“You might look fetching in a slave rag, or a slave tunic,” he said, “and, perhaps better, clad only in your collar.”

“Get out!” I said.

“I can visualize you on a slave block,” he said.

“Get out!” I said, again, tears in my eyes.

“On a slave block,” he said, “it is clear that a woman is a woman.”

“Go away!” I said.

“You are not yet on your knees.”

“Get out! Go away!” I said.

“That will be remembered,” he said.

“Why are you looking at me in that fashion?”

“It is the way one looks upon a slave,” he said.

“Get out!” I demanded.

“I am perusing your lineaments.”

“How dare you!” I said.

“It is not hard to conjecture their nature,” he said.

“Beast!” I said.

“They will make a difference in your price.”

“Price?”

“A pot girl, a kettle-and-mat girl, at best,” he said.

“I do not understand.”

“Fit for rep-cloth, not silk,” he said.

“I do not understand,” I said.

“A girl of modest market value, not much market value.”

“Market value?”

“What you might sell for.”

“Sell?”

“Yes.”

“As a slave, I suppose,” I said, angrily.

“Of course,” he said. “What else?”

“I am beautiful. I am very beautiful,” I said. “Many men have told me so!”

“They have seen no better.”

I was then infuriated, and I slapped his face, sharply. It must have stung, and I had surely intended that it should.

Then I was frightened, for I feared he might return the blow, and I did not doubt that such a blow, even if merely with the flat of his hand, that of a male, given his size, his strength, so much more than mine, might strike me to the side of the room.

But he merely touched the side of his face, where I had struck him, and smiled. “That was a mistake,” he said. “Another mistake.”

“Another mistake?” I said.

“Your first, failing to kneel, failing to kneel instantly, before a free man,” he said.

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