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Nell Dameler sliced into the top box on the stack, and pulled out the manifest packet. It read (in part):
Threshold-Sensing Martinets —— 20 ct
Absorbent Sweat Bands ———— 50 ct …
She stopped at that point and shouted, “No no no no! Where are my fucking whips?” She grabbed one of the martinets out of the box and held it up, looking at it in disbelief. It had a plastic handle (plastic of all things), about 10 inches long, and about a dozen or so wimpish looking, clear, spaghetti-like thongs that were about two feet long on average. The handle had a dial, a small display screen, and a couple of buttons.
Nell held the implement out in front of her, clearly disgusted by it, and tapped the communication screen next to her. A few seconds following the screen’s illumination to life, a menu appeared, which Nell tapped to select “Warden”. Celeste Drummel’s face appeared in the display and, skipping conversational pleasantries, she simply said, “Yeah, I know. The new whips suck.”
“I don’t think you can honestly call them whips, can you?” Nell responded.
“Well, no. Actually they’re not. They’re martinets…” Celeste said. Nell finished the sentence with her, reading from a sheet, “… threshold-sensing martinets.”
“Look,” Celeste said, “just use ’em for now. The board cut a deal…”
“‘Nough said,” Nell sighed, resigned to the inescapable forces that protected the interests of their corporate-run world. “When is the next class of newbies scheduled again?”
Celeste turned to her left and said, “Stan, when is that shuttle due?” An answer, too low to hear, came from off screen. “Right after lunch,” Celeste continued. “The cable crew will be there on time this time for the welcome floggings and the gallery is sold out.”
“Great,” Nell said, rolling her eyes. She waved goodbye and touched the screen to close the call.
Nell hated having an audience, but these days having an audience was really what kept her employed at Bridewell-16. What with the rise of the more cost-efficient spanking machines, professional floggers were a dying breed. Now, even having a sold-out gallery for the welcome flogging of new prisoners, wasn’t considered profitable enough for the board of directors. They saw fit to sell the rights of exclusive broadcast to an up and coming cable network, and the sons of bitches proved to be right. “Welcome Floggings at Bridewell-16” was gaining a wider and wider audience. Adding to this rise in popularity was the decision by the warden, to move from the practice of upright back flogging to buttock flogging, where the punished woman was restrained in a bent over position, her prison dress pulled up and only wearing the equivalent of bikini briefs that left plenty of cheek exposed.
Now with the cable company producing this new real reality series, a camera was posted at the newbies’ rears as well as in front. The director of the show simply switched from rear views of the women’s bottoms as they became redder and striped with welts, to the view of their faces as they grimaced and cried in pain. Some directors even tried to display a little dramatic artistry by focusing on the women’s forearms and fists as they struggled in vain to pull out of their restraints. Running mascara was a bonus at times too, for the dramatic effect. Nell believed in the efficacy of corporal punishment, and in the value of that punishment being witnessed, but the whole spectacle of selling tickets and broadcasting it live over cable, somehow seemed particularly disgusting.
Nell began taking the martinets out of their boxes and scanned them into her inventory system. As she did so she thought about what she would have usually been doing in preparation for a new welcome class at the prison. She would have wiped down all the spanking benches with an antibiotic cleanser and done the same for the pain sensors that she would need to attach to each of their heads, once they were strapped down over the spanking benches.
The trick was to reach and maintain a pain level of at least 7 (of 10), but not to exceed 8.5 for more than 15 seconds, which was considered (by statute) to be a torture level. And she had 39 lashes to do it in… One of the features of the new martinets was the elimination of the need for pain sensors. That was what was meant by “threshold-sensing”. Supposedly, remote sensors in handle could sense the inmate’s pain level and adjust the strength of the lash accordingly. That was what riled Nell’s pride the most; that it wouldn’t be her strength or skill with the whips that determined how good a job she was doing. These martinets would cause the pain through indirect nerve stimulation. She could hit a prisoner as hard as she wanted to or barely brush her, and she’d feel almost exactly the same level of pain, regardless. Where was the artist in all this? The professional flogger? That used to mean something…
Today’s welcome class consisted of three women:
Sherry Ames – 2032-OCT-12 incarceration – 18 months for grand larceny
Krista Sutcliffe – 2032-OCT-12 incarceration – 24 months for fraud
Melanie Quinly – 2032-OCT-12 incarceration – 12 months for abortion
Nell entered requisitions for prisoner uniforms, basing their sizes on the physical specs section of each of the women’s files. There was a simple orange jumper, and white, high-cut panties. The uniforms would be waiting for the newbies after their initial strip search and shower.
She then started to get out the sensor pads and then stopped herself, remembering that the new equipment to be utilized would make them unnecessary.
Nell waited, drinking her strawberry flavored vitamin water, watched while the prison shuttle parked and the new prisoners began disembarking. They were lead to the dormitory section, where they would be strip-searched and showered. In the next half hour they would emerge sporting their new stylish orange jumpers, prepared for the first flogging of their prison terms.
A few minutes before the newbies re-emerged, the “Pow!” Network van parked, and out of it popped host Shandy Townes, a couple of camera operators, and Shandy’s p.a. – Parker. One tripod was set up at an angle to the rear of the spanking benches and another was set up in front of the heads of the benches. One of the camera operators called over to Nell and waved. Once he had her attention, he gestured towards the spanking benches in a questioning shrug. Nell held up 3 fingers and pointed to the center of the row of spanking benches. He and his counterpart on the other side, moved their cameras closer to the center of the row of benches.
The prisoners were escorted in through a side door, their hands bound in front of them.
Sherry had beautiful brown skin and a classic hourglass shape. She would look good on camera and her face seemed to indicate that she was highly expressive. Shandy, although brown-skinned herself, made a note to the director that he should focus on her face more than her butt, because with her skin tone, the welts wouldn’t stand out as much.
Krista had more overall “broadcast appeal” – pale-skinned with short, blonde hair and a cute, dimpled face. She also had this gleam in her eye that clued the wise in to why she might be so good at fraud. When Krista noticed the cameras, she immediately made her eyes bigger and exaggerated her best “feel sorry for me” expression.
Shandy knew her audience would love Krista and Sherry. Shandy felt like her two new starlets helped to make up for the dignified and noble-looking Melanie. She was clearly bad for business, looking like a young child’s mom or your favorite friendly neighbor. Showing her being physically punished on television was just the type of fodder that some of these feel-good, lefty humanitarian organizations would need to begin turning the tide of the corporal punishment movement. And then where would the show be? And how about her career? Shandy didn’t want to have to start re-building her fame with so much competition out there.
The escort guards bent each of the prisoners over their respective spanking benches. Servo motors raised or lowered the bench heights for each individual so that the balls of her feet just touched the floor. Then the prisoners were fastened down with straps around their waists, causing their bottoms to be displayed more prominently. The cuffs that held their wrists together were locked in front of them at the head of the benches. Then their ankles were cuffed and secured to the feet of the bench.
Nell, flipped each of their prison skirts up over their hips one by one as the gallery began to fill with spectators. Some in the higher rows, took out their mini-binoculars and mini-cams to get a better view.
The three were then given a cursory preliminary examination by Kathy Varagnos – the chief prison doctor.
A pre-recorded announcement began to play over the gallery speakers: “Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Bridewell-16 – prison for women. You are about to witness the traditional welcome for all new prisoners. Each prisoner will receive 39 lashes on her bottom to begin her sentence of discipline and punishment in this institution. The welcome flogging is a long-honored tradition and is at the core of every successful re-training project. On this day, October 12, 2032, we are welcoming three prisoners. Please be respectfully quiet as the flogging is administered. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.”
Nell decided to administer the floggings using her usual technique of delivering 13 lashes at a time to each of the successive prisoners. This served the psychological advantage of each prisoner hearing the reactions of the other prisoners as she got a third of the total strokes, plus dealing with the knowledge that this was only a third of the total.
Shandy walked in front of the rear-bench camera and faced it and the gallery audience and announced the show. “I’m Shandy Townes, broadcasting live, the “Welcome Floggings at Bridewell-16″, episode 23. And today we’ve got three young trouble-makers receiving their welcome floggings – a thief, a fraud, and an unborn baby-killer. And as always, you, the audience play a crucial role in reforming these criminals, by witnessing part of their punishment,” Shandy announced.
She turned to look behind her at the row of spanking benches and at Nell, who nodded back at her. “I see that the prisoners have been prepared and that our flogging specialist, Nell Dameler, is ready to do the hard work of trying to whip these miscreants into shape!” Shandy continued, “You go, Nell!” She gave her a thumbs up and stepped off camera.
Nell started with Sherry. Having read quickly over the instruction file that came with the new martinets, she powered it on and waited for the display to glow green. She really hoped the thing worked as it was supposed to.
Standing behind and to the left of Sherry, she swung the martinet against Sherry’s half-bare bottom. As the stroke landed, the clear, spaghetti-like thongs, glowed red as they transmitted the pulse of pain stimulation into her bottom. Sherry yelped and pulled at her restraints as she instinctively tried to reach back to rub or protect her bottom. Nell thought that the martinet seemed to be working after all, so she continued the flogging, establishing a judicial rhythm. She delivered a lash, waited two seconds, and then another lash. As the lashes fell, Sherry yelped at each one, sounding more and more desperate until her voice filled with tears. The pain was clearly real for her, and as the count reached thirteen, Sherry was begging to be let go and promising not to “do it again”.
Shandy was thrilled. Sherry’s reactions were better than she’d hoped for, and seemed to highlight how these floggings were no more than grown up versions of the childhood strappings most people received growing up.
Nell moved on to begin flogging Krista, who was swallowing hard in fear after having heard Sherry’s flogging. Her expressive blue eyes were wide as she began to wonder if it was worth it to be the next famous, sexy “bad girl” sensation in the media. Almost unconsciously, she began chanting, “No please, no please, no please…” until the first lash from the martinet struck her and she squealed. The squeal sounded more extreme than Nell expected, so she looked at the display on the handle of the martinet. The pain meter showed 9 instead of 7. Reading further down the display, she realized her mistake in not doing a re-set calibration for the next body. Different body, different pain tolerance, and apparently these martinets were not as automated as she had thought. Nell made the adjustment and continued flogging Krista.
Whereas Sherry had been a yelper, Krista was a squealer, which Shandy thought made an excellent contrast and added some variety in terms of dramatic appeal. Krista’s flogging seemed somehow more judicial because it seemed more painful, but something was missing… As she watched Krista take the remainder of her first 13 lashes, it dawned on Shandy what was missing. Now that she could see a pale-skinned bottom getting flogged with this new martinet, she realized it wasn’t getting redder. This was a disaster! There were already skeptics out there that thought the show was as fake as pro wrestling. This would only give them further evidence.
Then Shandy realized the other problem with these new martinets. There was practically no sound of flesh impact. She felt she had to step in and step in quickly to stop this disaster. After Krista had received her initial 13 lashes and was crying, her torso heaving up and down with her sobs, and wriggling her hips, Shandy walked over to Nell and pulled her aside.
“Nell, this is a disaster,” Shandy said. “Is there any way you can pull out the usual flogger? This new martinet isn’t turning them red and it doesn’t have any sound on impact.”
Nell rolled her eyes, “Yeah, I know. I hate them too, but the warden… It’s policy now.”
Shandy whispered to Nell, “What if there were a malfunction?”
Nell answered, “Then we’d have to switch back. But it’s been working fine so far…”
The statement was interrupted by a loud crackling sound that came from the martinet. Nell dropped it quickly as she noticed smoke starting to emit from the display in the handle. She looked over at Shandy, who had a slight grin on her face and seemed to be pocketing some small device. Shandy stepped back in front of the camera and the gallery, where the audience was starting to murmur, wondering what was going on.
“We’re sorry for the interruption, but I’m afraid Ms. Dameler was experiencing some technical difficulties with the new electronic martinet. She’ll be back presently, with a good, old-fashioned leather flogger in just a moment,” Shandy continued.
Seeing Nell emerge from her office with an actual leather flogger and sensor pads, Shandy felt a great sense of relief and security. “Ah, I see she’s back already with traditional gear.”
Nell placed the sensor sets on each of the three prisoners heads and then turned to the third prisoner – Melanie Quinly. She shook out the 20 inch leather thongs of her traditional flogger, made a measured back-swing and aimed, and then followed through with a lash square against Melanie’s bottom. This was the impact of real leather on flesh and made that unmistakable “WHAP” sound that most of us are familiar with and that signify a whipping in progress.
She was not a yelper or a squealer, but let out a pained “ow”, and added “Please don’t beat me for exercising my human rights”.
Shandy went pale as her jaw dropped, wondering how much worse this episode was going to get. Nell went on with her job as she was supposed to. She landed a second lash on Melanie’s bottom. Again, Melanie said, “Owww… Please don’t beat me for exercising my human rights.”
Shandy stepped away to call her executive producer and find out what he wanted to do. This was the big risk one took for broadcasting live. There are many things that can happen that are unplanned for, that can make or break the show.
As the lashes reached seven, eight, nine… Shandy got the impact sound of leather on skin and the deep reddening that she’d been hoping to show, but it was small comfort against how sympathetic this protester was coming across. Melanie was stealing the show as she kept repeating her statement, her voice broken by the pain and crying she experienced. But, where to put the cameras? The audience would obviously want to see her face, regardless of what side of the controversy they were on, but then that would give her protests a free voice. They couldn’t cut the show early, because how would that look? After talking to their p.r. department and their legal group, they knew they just had to continue broadcasting it and to do damage control later.
After finishing Melanie, Nell went back to the first newbie, Sherry and began flogging her with the real leather this time. For this next thirteen, her yelps were more connected by sobbing and the camera views of her face showed more tears streaming. Even on her deep brown skin, a red, painful looking blush was evident and she wiggled her hips a lot more in vain attempts to avoid the lashes. Again she promised not to do it again and begged to be let up.
Nell then started on the middle third of Krista’s flogging, each set of red stripes from the flogger very apparent as her squeals elongated into long cries of punished pain. The face camera was treated to her tears, her fetching frown, and the skyward rolling of her eyes as she cried.
Then Nell again began flogging Melanie and again as before, each lash was followed by a protest. This time it was, “Owwww…. It’s my body and you shouldn’t abuse it”.
Shandy just shook her head and said, quietly, “Seriously?”
Nell continued flogging Melanie for the rest of the thirteen lashes of that middle third, resisting the temptation to allow less time between lashes. That could easily have pushed the pain levels up to high for too long or she would have had to give lighter lashes. Neither of these options was acceptable.
The prisoners, Shandy, and Nell were all keen to see the final set of lashes delivered. For their own reasons, they were each eager to see this welcome come to a close. Only the audience members, in person and by media device, who attended and tuned in for their own various personal reasons, were hungry for more. And Nell had a job to do, as did Shandy.
Nell flogged Sherry once again, who for the last 13 lashes of 39 was almost fully regressed as she cried from her flogging like a little girl. She would have sucked her thumb, and tried to do so, but couldn’t reach her mouth because her hands were cuffed too far out from her face. When her flogging was finished, she just lay there sobbing, her body heaving in occasional spasms.
Krista continued crying for the final third of her flogging too, of course, but the cute crying from before had turned more into angry, determined crying, but because of how she was built, it ended up being cute anyway. Her squeals had become guttural groans that almost seemed petulant, making her seem even more the bad girl who deserved this grown up spanking session.
Nell, then finished up with Melanie. This time, practically everyone was curious about what she would say during these last lashes of her flogging. Nell struck her with lash 27 and she cried out, “Owww… Please stop torturing me.” They had to admire the brilliance of Melanie’s planning. She had assumed she would be less able to remember what to say throughout her flogging and have less and less energy to say it, so she came up with shorter and more obvious sayings for each section of the welcome flogging. The warden and Nell realized right away that she would mean trouble during her stay, both internally and in terms of publicity. Shandy Townes stepped back in front of the camera, as the three prisoners were unstrapped from their benches and monitors and examined once again by Dr. Varagnos. As Shandy announced the end of the show and what was coming up next on the network, the three were lead, shuffling away, their heads bowed, and their wrists cuffed in front of them, back to their home cells where they would undoubtedly spend a few hours napping on their bellies as the endorphin high wore off. Nell looked down to see an urgent meeting notice appear on her communicator from the warden – Celeste.
“I figured…” she said and began walking towards the lift as a couple of members of her staff began putting equipment away and sanitizing the benches.