— Posted in Always into Darkness, The Master Race, Vampire Noir

The Master Race, Chapter 31

Ronin Script – Dialogue Transcript

“You’re great in the locker room. And your reflexes might die hard. But you’re weak when you put your spikes on.”—Sam [Robert De Niro] to Gregor [Stellan Skarsgård], in a scene from the movie Ronin

 

Unlike Ruth, The Master does not overestimate its sway over the girl. Its caution is validated when it and its woman servant Noreen are later told of Ruth’s fate by Lickh. How the girl without warning did away with the librarian. Lickh related the incident to them chapter and verse.

Its misgivings about the black have been likewise vindicated. When it arose from its coffin this evening it found that the black had left of his own volition [something that he should be incapable of doing] while Noreen was away on an errand. Furthermore, it has “called” to him, and its summons has been unheeded—proof that he’s no longer its thrall. And, there’s only one way that a mortal could have accomplished that. He was false. It held sway over an impostor. His true self hidden from it, likely in a “hole” in his mind—a hole it doesn’t remember “seeing”.

The Master activates the robot [Sam, Seven]. It [The Master] looks like it’s pretty used to chloroforming [and un-chloroforming] chicks.

Seven does not arise from The Master’s coffin. She reanimates and steps out of her makeshift Borg alcove—an assimilated niche in the wall. The Master does not mince words.

“I’ve decided not to exercise my option. I relinquish all claims to you—future, past, and present.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

Noreen stands nearby, at the ready. Seven smiles at her and blows her a kiss as if to say, “Bring it.”

“Why?”

Trick or treat. She means for me to dance for my supper. So be it. It’s within her rights.

“In so many ways, I’m unworthy of you.”

“Name one.”

“I used to be human.”

“Us too. Name another.”

“But … I’m not even a person.”

“Being a person is highly overrated.”

“You’re gonna make me say it. Aren’t you?”

“Of course.”

“Bitch!”

“I’m …” Seven lapses, momentarily, and her usage is no longer the third person vernacular. Then it’s back. “We’re a bitch. So … And your point is what? All of the reasons you’ve just given were true the day that you acquired …”

“Threaten possession. I never acquired …”

“We stand corrected—threaten possession of us, same as they’re true now. Yet, none of them stopped you from laying claim to us.”

“Yes.” The Master pauses. “In spite of them. In spite of my grave misgivings about you. Provisional, notwithstanding. I did. I laid claim to you.”

“Stop beating around the bush. Say it.”

“Ruth is why. Lickh told us what you did to her. In the end, you’ll do the same to me.”

“We gave ourselves to you. Ruth took us. That’s the difference.”

“Bullshit!!!” The Master rails. “You killed her because you could. Whether she proved worthy or not, you were going to kill her anyway.”

She [Seven, Sam] flashes it in response to The Master’s damning accusation. It being that knowing smile of hers which always says, “Yes, of course, I was playing with you.”

“Yes. You’re right. No use lying to you anymore—not that we tried for very long. Not that we thought that you were fooled for a minute. But we so like our head games. And—truth be told—someday, when you’re least expecting it, we’ll do the same to you. Truth be told, you still want us for your very own, in spite of what we did to Ruth.”

“Not if I have Noreen beat you to death first.”

“If it were that easy, you would have already done it. You still want us, in the worst way. You crave us dirty like this. You crave us as yours to do with us as you wish. Use us.”

The ones who preceded you, they were already established with a past—people, sane and whole. A person in name only—you have no past, and are just a crazy psycho monster. That’s what people [including myself] crave most about you. You got in there, took Ruth, and destroyed her. You’re a sick and twisted individual because you had no purpose of doing it.

As if she is reading its mind, Seven’s wild, unkempt drapes and rug cease to be geriatric. Honey blonde mane and a blonde muff return. Teeth and tongue blunt. Baby-blues in place of bloodshot and fluorescent peepers. No more primal bosom. Two succulent double-Ds milked by cadaverous pasties shoved in her [bra] cups. No longer depreciated, her curves return. She stays dirty. Sabrina meets Borg drone meets junkie whore.

Now the Master gets to corrupt her all over again. Without a reset back to clean and pristine, because that would spoil the fun.

The Master bitch-slaps the girl, over and over again, until she stops talking. Two kinds of people become Borg, the corruptible and the degenerate. Sam, Seven, is clearly the latter. She’s also clearly the fore.

“I will use you as I please. But, I will not own you.” The Master sinks its teeth into Seven’s dirty neck and feeds, doing the girl with a vengeance. Likewise, Noreen moves over, catches the girl from behind, and sinks her teeth into the other side [the knobb side] of Seven’s dirty neck, ravaging sanguine—as brutal as if it were rape.

Sometime during the doing, the three rekall; additionally, Sam [distinct from Seven] does a [mind] meld. Rekall is shared, and consensual.  Melding is not. It’s analogous, psychically, to rape.

Seven reverts. Geriatric mane and muff. Primal breasts. Killer teeth and tongue. Bloodshot, fluorescent peepers. Depreciated. Skin, bones, tits, and hair. More, again—she ceases to be a person altogether. No longer a person even in name. The nullification has no effect upon her Id, of course. As such, her meld continues, uninterrupted.

In that sense … As kryptonite is to Superman. Sam’s Seven is to The Master. Or more pointedly … Shades of Norma Ann Sykes better known as Sabrina, the 1950s English glamour model who progressed to a minor movie career.

Sabrina’s main claim to fame was her hourglass figure of prodigious double-D breasts coupled with a tiny 17” waist. Sabrina had a natural waist-hip ratio of 0.47, from the waist measurement of 17” and her hips at 36” when she first started modeling, although she deliberately filled out in later years when advised by several model agencies. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Sabrina was called: “The British Jayne Mansfield”.

America gave birth to the popular stereotype of the bosomy dumb blonde through the likes of Marie Wilson and Dagmar. But it was British bombshell Sabrina who carried the image to its ultimate extension, and indeed epitomized the absurd and wonderful sex symbols of the 1950s that have lasted to the present day.

Everything about Sabrina was manufactured – her heavy makeup, platinum hair, long eyelashes, and stop-at-nothing publicity. Everything, that is, except for one of the most extraordinary figures ever immortalized by pinup photographers: 42½-17-36. The “½” was vital. She did grow as time went on!

In the absence of any known ability other than a genius for self-promotion, she came to rely entirely upon these remarkable attributes for her fame and fortune. They proved sufficient to make her a phenomenon that could not have occurred in any other decade.

The lewd coupling of the robot girl [Seven, Sam, whatever], Noreen, and The Master: Shades of Hollywood’s “Artists and Models” Ball circa 1962. An analogous, lurid coupling happened that year during that swinging annual event, except that it was a pairing [only two participants were involved] and it was done in public [not private]. Who was involved? Ask June Wilkinson, she’ll give the lowdown on the et al—in other words, who was the other person that she bonked!

Robot girl Seven gives way to robot girl Sam. Her geriatric mane and muff revert to a too-blonde rachel and a neatly-cropped blonde ‘tache [as in mustache as in rug as in toni as in pubic carpet as in etc]. Teeth and tongue blunt. Baby-blues replace bloodshot, fluorescent peepers. Ravaged creepy primal tri-bosom is replaced by two succulent double-Ds. Her cadaverous pasties crawl out of her [bra] cups and crawl back onto Noreen’s chest, the chest they were milking before they got the Borg drone’s bosom. No longer depreciated, her curves return.

Dirty gives way to clean and pristine, for herself and then for her attire—for a brief moment during the transition, it was a clean her wearing dirty stuff. Usually it’s the other way around. Usually it’s what you’re wearing that goes clean first, and then the now-clean-previously-dirty stuff that cleans up its dirty wearer.

Sam makes note, for future reference, of just how erotic it was for her to be a squeaky-clean person wearing ruined, dirty, infested stuff—all manner of “things” crawling across her skin and in her hair. Clean and pristine wrapped in ruins. The addiction of dirty—the reason for the hardcore homeless.

No. Better yet. Why wait? Why wait indeed. From now on, when I go from dirty to clean-n-pristine, I go clean first and then my stuff goes clean.

No longer is it Sabrina meets Borg drone meets junkie whore. The spell is broken. This precipitates a fit. Noreen and The Master drop to the floor convulsing violently and foaming at the mouth as if they are rabid. But … Before they dropped, they disengaged from Sam’s neck; else they each would have taken a chunk out.

Blank—Borg drone expressionless, except for when she’s sporting that deranged Borg queen smile of hers. Tons of harsh, heavy makeup—not shooto: Max Factor, flawlessly applied, applied extra thick and extra harsh, on par with shooto. Shoot makeup that drains all of the softness from her face, leaving a hard, pretty face in its “loathsome” wake. It’s how Marilyn Monroe looked at the time of her affair ending with President John Kennedy, because, by that time, she was wearing her makeup shoot. Knobb, underneath rivers of golden tresses. Klaw, and the total creepiness of prosthetic hands à la prudz. The robot girl is ready for the next stage in the hunt for the serial killer and hungry for their inevitable showdown. She’s undistracted and calculating.

This was never a detour. “We digress, again. Back to the narrative at hand.”—did not apply whatsoever. This was always part of the plan. What Sam is counting on is that when Noreen and the Master regain their senses they will be enraged, vengeful, looking for payback. They will hunt Sam down, an errant possession that must be found, all caution thrown to the wind. In spite of what The Master has previously proclaimed. In spite of what it said about Ruth’s fate swaying its decision. It will renege. It will need to own and use the robot girl, and anything less just won’t do.

Xi fades in. He walks over. Knowing better than to let her walk over to him. He can tell from the way she looks—just like Marilyn Monroe looked in those last days when it was “you have two choices: get over The President and keep your mouth shut or else”. The “or else” is rumored to be “have an accidental overdose of something so you can be found dead under mysterious circumstances”, but to this day Marilyn is mum on the entire subject—smart girl, very smart girl. Marilyn started wearing shoot makeup back then and has never stopped doing so, and she refuses to explain why. And what MM does other Hollywood peroxide-blondes soon follow. Ergo, shoot has been the only way that too-blonde starlets of the cinema have worn their makeup since the early 1960s.

“Your friend, Lady Tress-Macneille Chillingsworth, is creating quite a ruckus …”

“She’s a Dame not a Lady.”

“I stand corrected. Your friend, Dame Tress-Macneille Chillingsworth, is creating quite a ruckus at the retirement [home], looking for you. She’s with some gent called Puck, and he’s not wearing …”

“Any clothes, correct?”

“Yes, he’s naked. Naked as a jaybird. And, he’s pitching a tent at some of the girls there.”

“Xi, they’ll catch up and things will sort themselves out. Don’t bother me with that again.”

Then, Sam does something that reaffirms to him that without a shadow of a doubt the person in front of him is the Sam that he has always known, loved, and lusted. He wanted her when she was human. Now, with her having been made, he has to have her in the worst way.

“The reflexes die hard. And you’re great in the locker room. But, when you put on the cleats, your game is weak. Always has been. Always will be. The unexpected always throws you for a loop. You think poorly on your feet. You can’t improvise worth a shit. Don’t get me wrong. You’re an awesome administrator. As good a number two as China has had or will ever have. But, you’ll never be number one—that takes much more than just being an ace paper pusher. The West thinks that you’re the next president of China. But, we know better. They’ll promote someone over you, likely a woman will get the nod this time around, and she’ll ride you hard and rough just like all your previous bosses have.”

His face reddens. He’s fit to be tied. She knows which of his buttons to push.

“Just look at you. An amateur inserts herself into the scenario, along with a dirty masturbating cannibal, and you fall to pieces. Forget about ever being The Boss.”

Xi finally loses it. He bitch-slaps Sam. Busting her lip. She smiles as she tastes her own blood.

“You will not speak to me this way, now or ever again!!! I’m in charge here!!!”

Sam lovingly caresses his cheek. Briefly, she shows her points: Her teeth go jagged and her tongue goes killer. He has turned her on.

“Now, that’s the Xi I know, love, and lust.”

Xi calms down just as fast as he went mercurial. Then … He goes inscrutable, again. He’s flicked that switch of theirs—the one that all Asians [mortal or immortal] possess.

“We will deal with the matter at hand. But, later I must discipline you for your grievous offense. You have insulted me. I cannot ignore what you’ve said to me. You can offer no apology that will assuage me.”

“I hadn’t planned to offer you one.” Her face is totally deadpan when she says it. It’s as if she were Borg speaking in Their third-person plural.

He stays his hand, this time. She’d love for him to slap her again, but the further expression of violent emotion on his part would serve no purpose other than to get her off. He’ll save it for later, when this is all over, and he can beat her in private just the way she likes it—it will be like a Goon would do [making love to] her—violent and sexual—in other words, he’ll rape her. After he beats her black and blue, he will throw her on her stomach, rip off her clothes, and fuck her in the ass—hard and rough.

“You’re despicable.”

“It’s one of our best qualities.”

Our, not mine. Another Freudian slip or more mind games, or a little bit of both?

“Time for work.”

“I wasn’t aware that I was ever off the clock.”

First-person singular, again. Tit for tat.

“Where shall we go then?”

“To the scene of the crime.”

“Which one?”

“We’ll start with the last one and work our way backwards. Please make sure that Hawk and Fisher are there when we arrive.”

“As you wish.”

Xi and Sam fade from sight. They materialize in front of the downtown Hilton. An agitated Dame Chillingsworth, with Puck in tow, struts over. This is where it all began for these two tough titty broads. Another example of things coming full circle.

This time it’s the Dame who bitch-slaps the girl, which brings the expected smile to the girl’s face. That was the Dame intent. She’s learned the girl well in their short time together. They embrace passionately and French kiss. Afterwards, the girl gives Puck a peck on the cheek, which causes him to sport a toothy grin from ear to ear [literally].

The Dame hands Sam her holsters and purse. She reaches through her jacket, as if it isn’t there, and clips them to the waistband of her mini-skirt. The things in her jacket pockets appropriately purse themselves. Shoot makeup stays. Klaw and knobb go bye-bye—Borg implicit, for now. She purses her prudz—almost-lily-white plastic hands give way to lily-white ones. Sexy. Sexy. Sexy. Back with a vengeance. Dominatrix never looked so good.

Harsh, ugly voice. Large, cruel mouth. And … Hard, pretty face. That loathsome, lust-filled combination. Robot girl almighty. Shrew. Comely. Perfection. Scary that makes you cum.

The claim check that was in her pocket has righted itself—it materializes back in the hands of the hatcheck girl who doubles as the doorman back at the retirement home.

“Oh, almost forgot,” Sam teases as she hands Xi the trace.

“Thank you.”

“Hawk and Fisher?”

“Inside, waiting for us.”

From the moment that Sam enters the hotel, she stalks the interior like CSI at a crime scene. Hawk and Fisher, dressed and armed, are waiting for them in the lobby. Sam acknowledges them with a nod—so casually that it borders on being dismissive. Seasoned coppers, they blend into the woodwork. Becoming unobtrusive. This is Sam’s show. They’re just here for the ride, and act accordingly. Hence the fade.

Puck stays in the lobby. The rest of them take one of the elevators to the penthouse suite where the mayhem took place. With the door to the suite kept open, Sam walks the rooms. At the threshold she doesn’t pull her voluminous hair back into a sternka so that it won’t get in the way. It never gets in the way—her hair has been well trained. No one else enters. She works the rooms with her linq’s tricorder mode shutoff and then she repeats the exercise with her linq-as-tricorder. Mentally, she compares the “with” and the “without” walk-thru. Concise, detail oriented, very German—a reflection of her Prussian roots.

By this time, a bored Dame Chillingsworth has gone back downstairs and rejoined Puck in the lobby.

There’s a commotion at the front door. A maid tries to do her rounds. Hawk and Fisher bar her way. Xi does nothing. He seems apprehensive for no good reason then he goes inscrutable again, when he notices that his behavior has caught Sam’s attention.

Sam walks over—tall, statuesque, and, of course, haughty—the personification of what it means for a woman to be stiff-backed. The walk says to admirers and potential suitors alike, “You’re not good enough!” Additionally … Her heels audibly stab the carpet, something that she craves to do on any persuasion of rug floor. How vulgar. Emily Post would be aghast [in public and giggle enviously in private]. Stilettos should be seen and worshiped, but never heard—to do else is dominatrix.

“I’m done. You can let her in.”

The maid is allowed to pass.

“Thank you, mam. I won’t be long.”

Perfect English. Impeccable diction. Counter inflection of syllables, vowels … and consonants. A stilted, halting voice that wants to get out but can’t, because it’s imprisoned by this one?

As the maid goes about her business, Sam shadows her. The maid’s reaction to this close scrutiny isn’t what you’d expect. At least, not from someone of normal intelligence. The woman looks normal enough. She speaks normal enough. Actually, as aforementioned, she speaks too well for a domestic who isn’t coloured.

I can’t put my finger on it. But, something about you screams … retard!

It’ the same kind of vibe that Sam has picked up from other hotel employees that she’s observed. Not from all of them, mind you. Just the worker bees—except for security, that is.

Why source your labor when you can go retard? Cheap, hardworking, conscientious retards. And, I’d bet my bottom dollar that they’re non-union.

There’s something else. Something vaguely familiar. A word keeps coming to mind. No. Two words: Maximo # W1283462. It’s a facer. A face-mold keyed to their decrepit DNA which “normalizes” their mongoloid features and voices. Anecdotally, it seems to also “calm” their sometimes spastic movements.

Xi has other things on his mind. Sam’s Sherlock Holmes [detective] schtick has really put his panties in a bunch.

She’s piecing things together! Slowly but surely! Where the fuck did that come from?! Was she always like this?!

Internally, Xi is a wreck. Externally, he’s inscrutable—calm, cool, and collected. In other words … A hell of a poker face.

By Xi’s way of thinking … What’s going on in Sam’s mind? As client Titus O’Neil tangled with Kofi Kingston in a singles match, A.W. yells from ringside, “Titus O’Neil is like Kobe Bryant at a hotel in Colorado hotel room. He’s unstoppable!!!”

In other words, she’s means to rape him wholesale, anyway but loose. He knows it. She’s done everything short of saying it to his face. He sees it in every look that she gives him. The question is, is he reading more into her consummate detective vibe than she’s giving off than is really there or is he not reading enough into it. If it is the latter, then it’s Detective Peter Columbo, not Sherlock Holmes, who he’s gaming with.

Peter Vincent Columbo is an American detective mystery television film series, starring Peter Falk as Columbo, a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The character and television show were created by William Link and Richard Levinson. The show popularized the inverted detective story format. Almost every episode began by showing the commission of the crime and its perpetrator. The series has no “whodunit” element. The plot mainly revolves around how the perpetrator, whose identity is already known to the audience, will finally be caught and exposed. In other words this is a “howcatch’em” format.

The character is a friendly, verbose, disheveled-looking police detective [of Italian descent] who is consistently underestimated by his suspects. Most people are initially reassured and distracted by his circumstantial speech and increasingly irritating, pestering behavior. Despite his unprepossessing appearance and apparent absentmindedness, he shrewdly solves all of his cases and secures all evidence needed for indictment. His formidable eye for detail and meticulously dedicated approach, though apparent to the viewer, often become clear to the killer only late in the storyline.

Then, there’s that other factor to think about. Something that is bona fide. Sam is not a master spy engaged in an adventure of espionage and daring do. She is a talented murderess, fluent in police investigative procedure having been a Grimm, who has been tasked with solving a murder mystery. Not a fish out of water. Solving instead of committing a murder, she seems to be equally in her element.

Why so agitated? Personality-wise, Xi’s engineered to be as sober as Raydor’s dark horn-rim glasses. Knowing what he knows about me, he seems genuinely surprised about my prowess stalking the crime scene. And his amateurish attempt at trying to hide that surprise is quite unconscionable. It’s also quite unlike him, secondary and primary. As was his response to me joking about his lack of improvisational skills or him being the perennial brow-beaten Number Two. The latter is a private joke between the two of us.

More to the point—it’s code. If I’m not myself, and I thus need your assistance, please help posthaste. Now it’s time to see what’s what. Is Xi being controlled, has he been replaced, or has he just gone bad and is subconsciously pleading for her to put him down.

Her makeup goes bye-bye. As such, her perpetual scowl gives way to an underlining sternness in whatever [facial] expression she wears. Minus prudz, klaw, and knobb, and now minus makeup. End result: banal? No. Never. Still—the harsh, pretty face of a dominatrix. Still—implicitly Borg; explicitly loathsome—implicitly Borg that comes off as explicitly loathsome.  Stiff-backed—haughty, unbending—literally, that erect posture. A switch-hitter, who can “role play” either dominant or submissive equally well, is a dominant, nonetheless—preference as opposed to limitation.

Xi’s reaction is most telling. He’s stone-faced and perplexed—contradictions that are punctuated by an involuntary twitch. Followed by a brief moment of being vexed. Then, he just goes inscrutable, again.

“Xi.”

“Yes.”

“Where is the dark-haired woman?”

“How should I know? She ran away before I had a chance to wash out her filthy mouth and put her in a modest blouse.”  He pauses in mid-sentence and just gives her that look. The look that says, “Where the fuck have I been?” At first he sees bits and pieces. Then, images flood his mind. Embarrassment flickers briefly across his face. “I’m sorry; it seems that I have been rude to you. Worse, it seems that I have secretly lusted after you.”

“You’re really sorry about the lust part?”

His response: He raises an eyebrow and smiles. Then he just goes back to doing his Asian thing, again—inscrutable. Internally, he’s much more descriptive.

Leggy. Generously built. Stiff-backed. And, haughty. A statuesque bombshell. Like hell I’m sorry about the lust part, and you know it.

“How much do you remember?” She asks. Having politely decided to change the subject. Besides … There’s nothing more to be gained from pursuing the “personal” one.

“A lot. But I just don’t know who or what did this to me, let alone the context of my subversion.”

The maid points at Xi’s back and begins screaming. Hawk and Fisher show their moxie by not rushing in upon hearing the commotion. They stay the course and remain at their posts.

Sam walks toward the maid who’s gone hysterical. Her approach doesn’t calm the domestic. It has the opposite effect. The woman bolts for the door, shrieking—the delusion having gained ubiquity.

“Stay back! You’ve got one of those things hooked into your back, erupting through your clothes, just like he does!”

Hawk bars the door, while Fisher grabs hold of the maid. The domestic proves more than a handful to control, but she’s unable to break free of Fisher’s tenacious grip.

Sam abruptly halts her advance. Xi stops dead in his tracks, three measured paces behind her. Not all that previously transpired was a lie. He does lust for her—always has—always will. He stares at her, fantasizing.

As if they’ve been dipped in living “feature-rich” plastic, her borgz glove her upper limbs. So … Just like her prudz and her dollz, her borgz look like plastic, living plastic, and feel disturbingly like flesh. Shades of Star Trek’s Borg Queen, Alice Krige. Shades of any Borg queen.

Of course, it’s more than just a look. And her borgz are more than just Borg gloves. They have evolved over time into something else. Something much more insidious.

When she wears them, her limbs become artificial, just like the body of a Borg queen. So … Just like when she wears her prudz, or her dollz, her limbs don’t just look prosthetic, they are prosthetic. The total creepiness of prosthetic limbs à la borgz.

The transformation is hardly complete. More Borg queen, means more dominatrix. Shoot makeup [all of the softness drains from the girl’s face, a face that’s hard to begin with], klaw, and knobb return. Explicitly Borg; explicitly loathsome. The automaton smiles that smile—resistance is futile—because, this babe is Borg.

“Bring her over here to me, now. But … Do it slowly,” Sam commands.

Fisher complies. Xi gets hard. Aroused … He revels in the carnality between and betwixt his loins—the “game” smell [of fresh jism]—the moistness [of his “juices”]—that warmth—the stickiness. With none the wiser [as to what’s going on in his trousers].

Xi contemplates the profoundness, meditatively—exploring its spirituality. Carnality and spirituality … All in one fell swoop. Later on, in private, this former Buddhist monk will masturbate in earnest—vigorously “handjobbing” [his own penis] while further pondering the metaphysical implications of this moment vis-à-vis the cosmos—what it means to worship her [Sam], his bitchin’-hot Borg babe. Yes, this is the real Xi.

Kicking and screaming, straining against her stronger captor, the maid stops struggling and goes limp once she’s shoved in Sam’s face.

“In effect or an affect?” Questions Xi. His curiosity gets the best of him. He moves up front and center into the middle of it [the situation]. In doing so he bumps up against Sam. An accident or a Freudian slip?

“Possibly a wallaby,” Sam ventures. “If so, the Borg is too much.”

“Too bad. I like it.”

“So I just noticed.”

Xi does not break kayfabe. He displays no reaction whatsoever to her verbal jab—choosing wisely to keep doing his Asian thing. Even though the cat is out of the bag, there’s no good reason for him to acknowledge his slip and a lot of really good reasons to keep things close to vest like he’s doing.

She’s playing with me as if I am a young thing and she is the older one. This I like very much.

“The maid is only food. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. No loss, either way,” Xi observes dryly. As if nothing is going on between them.

“Agreed. The Borg stays put, even if it kills her—death by gambit overdose,” Sam decides. Then she invokes the appropriate trigger. “Carmen speaks with modern colloquialisms and phrases. The dialogue is so contemporary, in fact, it really doesn’t support the fact that so much time has passed or that we’ve seemingly regressed in our educational capabilities.”

The maid comes to herself. Sam motions for Fisher to release her. The copper obeys, but remains proximal to the maid, just in case.

“I do not wish to be rude, but I must get back to my duties. If you have any more questions, please take them up with my supervisor.”

With that said, the maid goes back to her duties.

“What’s next, Sam?”

“I’d like to visit surveillance and speak with the security officer in charge.”

“Let’s.”

“Make sure that hotel security keeps a tab on the maid. Also instruct them to make sure that she doesn’t leave the premises when her shift is over.”

“Consider it done.”

That’s when she drops a bombshell. Her prudz and borgz trade places—prudz glove her and her borgz get pursed. Nothing else changes [in her couture]. Yet the effect is profound. Simultaneously, her look is now—submissive and dominant; Borg queen and Borg drone—that paradox, literally. Xi soils himself. Facially, he never loses his composure. His clothes clean him up, but not so quick that she doesn’t get a whiff of his game smell. Mind you, he’s only game for a brief moment, but it’s long enough for her to catch the scent. She smiles that knowing smile that says, “You dirty, dirty boy! I must spank you, later!”

And … As if to spank him [figuratively] now [as opposed to literally spanking him later as she plans to], her hair goes back up into a sternka and she slips on her Edith Head glasses. They’re the very dark ones; the ones with the blue glass lenses. Now she looks the part—that of a well-dressed, inscrutable schoolmarm who’s also Borg.

Back in the 30s and 40s, the heyday of black-and-white films, it was commonplace for designers, cameramen, art directors, people like that, to wear dark glasses on movie sets—looking at the sets through blue glass showed them how it would photograph in black and white.

Of course Sam has a very different reason for wearing them, and it has nothing to do with wanting to look inscrutable. Looking inscrutable wearing them is merely a side effect.

The glasses allow her to see who’s been harnessed. Those are the people who have [knowingly or unknowingly] come in contact with the killer. From that disclosure, Sam hopes to discern a pattern.