Turnabout is fair play

Sir James Masters wondered who his mysterious benefactor was. He had been snatched from the city jail in Abidjan right under the noses of the guards, whisked away to a private jet, and was now enjoying comfort as his emancipators flew him to who knows where. He hoped it was someplace warm and tropical with lots of pretty girls for him to charm and enjoy.

He turned to the burly man sitting behind him. "Could I have another one of those lovely martinis? You have the gift of putting just enough vermouth in the gin." The man nodded, and silently shook up another highball.

These blokes don't talk much, he thought, but that was fine with him. He was sure he'd find someone interested in his keen sense of humor, his dazzling wit. He thought of the trio of engineers who, he was sure, had engineered his downfall: his old "friends" Hiram K. Hackenbacker and Bekkah Barnes, and their lovely associate, Tin-Tin Kyrano. They were the reason why the sub-basement lab was hit by that group of commandos. They were the reason he had ended up in that dull and dirty jail. They would pay for their interference. Oh, yes, and their employer, Tracy Industries, too. He would see to it personally.

His eyes grew heavy as he finished the drink. As he slipped into unconsciousness, he realized that someone had drugged his martini. Not fair! he thought. Not fair! I'm...not....the...hero....

Sir James woke to a light shining brightly in his eyes. He tried to move his aching head, but could not. In fact, he could move nothing at all. He was strapped down tightly. He shut his eyes against the bright light, and opened them slowly, blinking to become accustomed to the brightness. Finally, everything came into focus. And his blood ran cold.

He was in The Chair. The Chair that he and Elise Rudd had ordered to be built. The brain scanning chair. Why was HE here? This had been his scheme!

His eyes detected movement off to one side. Someone was coming towards him out of the dark. He sighed with relief when he recognized her.

She was a slight woman, no more than 5' 1" in her stocking feet. Her skin was the lovely cafe-au-lait of the tropical Pacific. Her eyes the inscrutable almond shape of the Chinese. Her long black hair, plaited down her back and past her buttocks was the smooth, silky hair of the Malay. Oh, he knew how silky it was. It had cascaded over and into his hands the night they made wild, wanton love before the conference. Her lovely face looked at him with just a hint of amusement in the corner of her full, wet lips. Her long fingernails, now painted red and decorated with Chinese words in gold, were her only true vanity. No acrylic fakes for her; hers were real down to the quick. One of them reached out at the end of a forefinger to travel along Masters' jawline.

"So, Sir James. We meet again," she breathed. He grinned, his fright diminished by the sight before him.

"Ah, Heimana. As beautiful as ever," he purred, his famous charm working its magic...he hoped.

"I am looking for something, Sir James. Something I believe you have hidden in that devious mind of yours."

"Whatever it is, it is yours, my lovely Heimana."

"I am glad you are willing to cooperate, Sir James. If you help us find it once your brain is scanned, I might let you live. You have many... functions that I have found pleasing in the past."

"What is it you want to know, hmmm? I might be able to save you the trouble of scanning my mind."

She moved from one side of the machine to the other, closer to the control panel. "I am looking for the specifications to the third component. The third component of the Space Shield project."

Masters began to be nervous. There might have been changes in the design since he had last seen it. It would make sense that his old employers would have tweaked the design so he couldn't sell it to the highest bidder. "Why don't you get my replacement in here? His memories are probably more up-to-date than mine are," he suggested, fighting a rising panic.

"I did. Gregory Martin sat where you now sit. But he didn't have the whole blueprint. Just part. I am hoping to get the rest from you." She reached out and adjusted the scanner so it would shine on the base of Masters' blond covered skull.

"Really, Heimana. You surely don't think that my memories of it would be of good enough quality for you. I'm sure they've made some changes in it since I was arrested." He could feel the painful tingle as the scanner activated.

"I hope they are, Sir James. Because if they are not, you will die."

Penelope finished her converation with Sir Jeremy Hodges. She was not happy about the news he gave her.

I had best let Jeff know of these new developments, she thought. She picked up her teapot and activated her direct line to International Rescue's base.