The Immigrant
  • Author - lexi
  • Rating -   
  • Site Rank - 2629 of 2955
  • Story Codes - F-f, M-f, MF-f, non-consensual, analplay, bodymod, bondage, chastity, extreme, humiliation, kidnapping, latex, public, slavery, torture, violent
  • Post Date - 4/29/2021

Author's Note: This story and the characters and places therein are 100% fictional. Please don't take this as an endorsement in any way of the actions of any character. This material is intended only for getting off and should be kept completely divorced from reality.

I wrote most of this story in about a month, then added the last few chapters over the next couple months, and now it's been two more months and I can't write another word of it. I will probably never finish it, I'm afraid. I'm not even sure what the appeal was in the first place. Do note that Gagged Utopia does not have a "transgender" tag, so consider this it. This story doesn't take place in the real world or any particular fictional world. Feel free to email with any other feedback, although I rarely check my inbox, or leave a comment.


THE BELLS OF Greenmont chimed four thirty just as Jessie sidled into the small garden. Several other women were waiting there already, milling around the statue at its center, of a local folk hero. The park was poorly tended, and lightly littered with trash, but Jessie couldn’t help being impressed at the lush grass and flower bushes. The city of Greenmont and its seemingly bottomless wells of clear water were a marvel to her, having been born and raised in a village that had so little.

Two large, open-topped carriages came down the street and stopped at one end of the park just a minute after Jessie’s arrival. She couldn’t help but gawk at the bizarre sight. Yes, she had seen the carriages, rickshaws, and carts that their tenders pulled around the parts of the city she’d visited since her arrival four days ago. Their drivers were usually bulky, muscular, and dressed in practical clothing. Many didn’t simply pull their vehicles by the power of their legs alone, but pedaled bicycle-like gear engines attached to the front. These carriages, on the other hand, smacked of impracticality. Where one or two drivers could have pulled them, each of these was pulled by a team of six women who seemed to have been selected more for their figures than their athletic ability. And they were dressed in gaudy outfits of red and gold that matched the paint of the carriages.

What was she getting herself into?

As she joined the girls waiting at the center of the park, a pair of women, forty or fifty years old, stepped down from the first carriage and made their way over to the assembly. They were dressed elegantly, in draped gowns of red silk. “Good evening, girls,” the shorter one greeted them. “We’re so pleased you found time for our little affair. Let’s see your invites, if you please?”

Jessie pulled her invitation out from a pocket in the modest, linen dress she wore. A couple of the girls had no invitations, and were asked, politely but firmly, to leave. This left ten hopefuls. The taller of their hosts addressed them, in an excited tone that was a little shrill for a woman of her age.

“On behalf of Duke Pharis, welcome to Greenmont, everyone! I’m Madame Darla, and this is Madame Schiff. You’ve each been invited to a little get-together the Duke hosts for newcomers. For the most eye-catching of newcomers, which may I say you ladies are!” She paused to allow murmurs of thanks from a couple guests. “Our soiree will take place in the upper districts, but the two of us are going to give you a little tour of the city on our way. So let’s not waste any time, what?” She clapped her hands and strode back toward the carriages, everyone else jumping to follow her sudden departure. They broke into two groups, with five guests and one hostess per carriage. Jessie made sure to follow after Schiff, as Darla’s forced excitement was already getting on her nerves.

She let out a breath as they left the park. Now that she’d had a chance to look at the other girls who had been invited, she was a little nervous. They were all dressed in clothes that, as far as Jessie could tell from her limited experience here, were if not the height of fashion then at least firmly in line with the sensibilities of this frankly decadent city. Their dresses featured lots of leg, and plunging neckline that showed their impressive endowments. And what would the hosts of this “soiree” make of Jessie herself? She couldn’t afford to buy new clothes, so she wore a quite nice dress of dark blue linen and lace that she’d brought from her village. Next to the others, though, she was sure she looked like some kind of dowdy librarian. She resolved that, as soon as she got a private moment, she would at least remove her white stockings, and show some leg.

As they reached the open-topped carriages and climbed aboard, Jessie got a better look at the girls harnessed in front of them. Each was a lithe, muscled beauty, with long, luscious hair bound into a tight braid at the top of her head. They were dressed in long-sleeved leotards, bright red with a diagonal gold stripe, like something in a circus. Their well-toned thighs were bare, but they wore strange golden boots on their feet. They looked like high heels without the actual heels, and ended in broad, black hoofs. They were bound to the carriage with a harness of wide leather straps that wrapped around their chests and over their shoulders.

These must be the “ponygirls” she’d heard about. Of course she’d seen the well-muscled men and women who pulled carts and coaches in the lower city, but they looked nothing like this, and they pulled their charges by handles rather than being strapped in. Ponygirls were their upper-class equivalent, both functional and aesthetic. It was a bizarre practice, Jessie thought, but she had to admit they were a pleasant sight.

Madame Schiff took the center seat of the forward-facing bench, and Jessie squeezed in next to her. Schiff gave a signal to the driver, a gaunt woman in a suit jacket perched at the very front, who cracked a long whip in the air. The ponygirls trotted forward with a measured pace, and they were off.

“Do they actually get whipped, or is it just for looks?” one of the other girls asked.

“They do, but it’s a very wide lash. It smarts, I’m sure, but it barely leaves a mark,” Schiff explained. It still sounded cruel to Jessie, who wondered just how much of a choice the ponygirls had in the matter. Everyone knew they kept slaves in Greenmont. The stories they’d shared on the way here made it sound like a depraved sort of place. But they had water here, plenty of it, and that had been the end of the discussion.

Turning her attention back to her surroundings, Jessie watched the houses climb by as they approached a wide gate in a rough sandstone wall. Greenmont was divided by these walls into dozens of districts. Some were open to anyone, but now they were entering the upper city. As a noncitizen, Jessie wouldn’t normally be allowed through this gate, but the carriages barely slowed as they passed through unimpeded.

“We’ve just entered the Wide Crescent district,” Madame Schiff announced. “Mostly shops and kitchens here.” The buildings here were higher and in better repair than in the lower city’s market districts. Most of the shops had a floor or two of apartments above them, and every few blocks the street opened onto a wide square with a fountain and a few trees at the center. At this hour of the afternoon the streets were crowded despite their width, and the carriages slowed as they navigated the throng. Jessie winced as the whip cracked across the backs of the unfortunate ponygirls.

Jessie’s eyes drifted to the passing storefronts. There was a greengrocer’s shop with a stand of fruit trees poking up from behind it; a printer’s shop with a flurry of activity around the large press visible through the unglazed window; an open-air courtyard where barmaids in harem pants and sparkly bras were serving drinks to the crowd of folks getting off work; a huge sundries store with a guard casting a careful eye over the checkout counters. Very much like the market districts in the lower city, actually.

At one end of the next square, a wooden stage had been erected. As they approached, Jessie could see a woman being tormented at its center. She was naked except for a pair of quite high heels and a large ball gag, her wrists bound to a crossbeam above her head. Two men in black robes and white masks were standing at her sides. Their gloved hands stroked and pinched her, finding her most sensitive areas no matter how much she danced and writhed. Every so often, one would whip her with a stiff crop, or jab her with a black implement that never failed to elicit a muffled shriek. At one side of the stage was a few similarly dressed women chained in a line, waiting for their turn and completely failing to fend off jabs and pinches from passers by.

“Today’s crop of shoplifters, no doubt,” sniffed Madame Schiff. “Kindly providing us with an example of why we work for our living.” Jessie gazed in horror at the teary-eyed victims. No one had shoplifted in her village, because everyone got whatever they needed. Even if someone had stolen her own possessions, she thought, she would never wish this upon them.

They moved on, traveling uphill through another gate. “The Mayview district,” Schiff informed them. “Private residences, mostly.” Apartment buildings gave way here to townhouses and garden courtyards. The streets were narrower than in Wide Crescent, but less crowded. Over the roofs on their left loomed a tall, round structure of dark gray stone. Schiff saw her charges looking. “That’s the Colwell Stadium. It seats over fifty thousand people and I am told it is a marvel of modern engineering.”

“What sort of games do they play here?” the girl across from Jessie wondered.

“Oh, all manner of things,” said Madame Schiff. “Wrestling, derby, mock warfare. I’m afraid I don’t pay much attention to any of them.”

As they approached the next gate, one of the other passengers asked, “Are they slaves?” Jessie looked down the cross street and spotted a pair of women hurrying down it. They were wearing tight dresses, high heels, and had tattoos circling their necks in shiny silver ink.

“Perhaps. They’re demales,” Schiff said, “you can see by the collar tattoos. Failed men.” Jessie had heard a few things about Greenmont’s third gender, but there were none in the lower city. The nation’s strict gender hierarchy was a stark example of its depraved and backward culture, according to Jessie’s elders. She was inclined to agree.

Men had the most authority here, and were generally favored by the law as well as by custom in interpersonal relationships. Many were required to serve in the city-state’s powerful military, but they were well-rewarded for that. However, it was dangerous to attempt to be male. If a man was found to be insufficiently masculine to deserve the label, he was classified as a “demale” and slid straight to the bottom of the social hierarchy. Demales were considered inferior to all others, and had strict rules imposed on them regarding dress and behavior. On the whole, Jessie was glad of her status. Noncitizen women didn’t have much power here, but they weren’t subject to the restrictions and humiliations that demales were.

As night fell, they passed through a third gate. The guards actually stopped them at this one, and checked the paperwork handed to them by the driver before waving them through.

“We’ve nearly arrived, ladies,” Madame Schiff announced. “This is Gravity Circle. Many of the city’s movers and shakers have estates here, and a good few of them will be present at the soiree.” The houses here were large, surrounded by carefully tended lawns and gardens, and hidden behind hedges and low walls.

They soon arrived at the gates of a towering mansion, with squared off roofs, sandstone walls, and wide windows on each floor. The group spilled out of the carriage; Jessie waited until everyone else had stepped out and took the opportunity to wriggle out of her white stockings and stuff them in her bag. She stepped to the ground a few seconds after the rest of them, trying not to let her embarrassment show. As the group proceeded through the gates, one of them smirked at her, and she looked away, knowing she was blushing.

THE FORMER RESIDENTS of Yurilen Village had arrived at Greenmont exhausted and parched, marveling at just how green it really was. Farms sprawled for miles around its outer walls. When they entered the city proper, they were processed by Sagesec, the corporation responsible for the protection and administration of the city. Each was issued their resident noncitizen papers and then let into the lower city, to find what food and shelter they could pay for.

Just inside the city gates, Jessie had been confronted by a stylishly appointed man, who handed her an invitation in red ink. A soiree was being held in a few days, he said, for just such attractive newcomers as her. Marriage to a citizen was, after all, the easiest path to citizenship for women, and she would meet a number of powerful men and women who would be able to afford another wife.

Jessie hadn’t intended to go, at first. Becoming a trophy wife, practically someone’s property, was not how she wanted her life to go. After a few days, however, the difficulty of finding a job, let alone one that paid a living wage, and the high price of living in the city had worn on her.

There was no harm in simply attending one party, right?

SELTZER LAMPS HUNG from the elaborate trellises, woven with climbing plants, that spiraled over the wide patio, their soft light playing over the gathering. In total, almost thirty new arrivals had attended, women of striking beauty who had immigrated in the past two weeks. There were also about twenty men and women of means, citizens who were seeking wives of fine quality.

Jessie and about half the other girls were hovering around the tables beneath the wide portico, where platters of tiny foods and glasses of strong wines were laid out. She was trying not to seem greedy, but she hadn’t been eating well since her arrival in the city and couldn’t stop herself from filling her mouth with the occasional handful of melon-and-date biscuits or tiny skewers of rabbit meat. Many of the other guests seemed to be in similar straits, though, so she wasn’t as ashamed as she might have been.

She glanced at the quartet of musicians playing sedately at the far end of the patio. There were a few couples speaking softly to each other around the perimeter, but most of the partygoers were milling around its center. Several of the hosts stood near the portico, occasionally glancing toward the tables but not wishing to interrupt their hungry guests.

Jessie was just steeling herself to head in that direction (and masticating a few final trifles) when she felt a presence at her side. She spun to find a short, smiling man in an emerald green vest. His hair was cropped short, his chin was square and rugged, and he was holding a nearly-empty wineglass. He looked about forty years old.

“Good evening, sir,” Jessie stammered. “Sorry I didn’t, uh...”

“No, I apologize for startling you, miss,” he replied cheerfully. “How are you enjoying the canapes?”

“Oh, they’re good. Divine, in fact. Thank you for your hospitality.” She could feel herself flushing. She had been taken off guard, and now she was making a fool of herself.

The man grinned. “Oh, make no mention of it. I’m Silas Gage, financier. Silas to you, charming.” He began to walk slowly away from the tables, to a less-crowded edge of the patio, and Jessie followed.

Jessie wasn’t sure what a financier did. Probably it just meant he was wealthy enough not to have to work himself. “I’m Jessie Caster,” she replied. “I’m, that is I was a cook in my village, but I also helped garden, and hunt.”

“Quite a skillset, I’m sure,” Silas said. His eyes swept across Jessie’s body: her thick, straight black hair, reaching halfway down her back even in a braid; her warm brown skin and wide eyes; the graceful curve of her neck rising from the high collar of her dress; her well-shaped breasts, an ample size at least for her slender build; her narrow hips and muscular thighs. She stood six feet tall even in flats, with a frame that would have been gangly if not for her lithe movement.

She squirmed under his penetrating gaze. “Uh, I guess so. I liked it a lot.” She cursed herself for her awkward speech.

“What brought you to our fair city, then?” Silas wondered.

“Well--” Jessie began to explain.

WHEN JESSIE HEARD the collection plant had been bombed, after she’d been woken in the night by yelling outside her room, she thought at first that there had been some mistake. She had never traveled more than ten miles from Yurilen Village in her twenty-four years of life. She had always expected to live and die in the village, as had her mother, grandmother, and at least four more generations of her ancestors.

But without a plant to collect water from the surrounding air and soil, there was no hope for a settlement of even a dozen people. Their plant was destroyed beyond repair, or at least far beyond what they could afford to repair. The plant was dead, and therefore, so was the village. Its residents would be dead, too, if they didn’t hurry to somewhere with enough extra water to sustain them.

So, although a very few of them had gone to live with family in nearby villages, most of them took the only option available and began a desperate pilgrimage to Greenmont. The nation-state was authoritarian, militaristic, and cruel, and the villagers knew it. But it had a seemingly unlimited source of fresh water, and that alone accounted for a large part of its rapid growth.

SILAS SHOOK HIS head. “The civilian casualties of warfare. Tragic, it really is.” His dark eyes were cool, but a frown tugged at his lips. “How are you adjusting to your new life here, if I may ask?”

“To tell the truth, it’s been very difficult,” Jessie admitted. “I’m not used to, well, any of this. We barely even used money at home, and now it’s the be-all and end-all of life, it seems like.”

He nodded thoughtfully. “I suppose civilization takes some getting used to, if you aren’t born to it. Still, perhaps I can be of some help.” He pulled an emerald-green calling card from the pocket of his vest, jotted a note on the back, and handed it to her. “I would be so glad if you would pay a visit to my home this week. My staff will speak to you about a potential arrangement.”

Taken aback, Jessie thanked him, and then he was off, mingling with the other partygoers. She glanced at the card, and tucked it into a pocket of her bag. Had that really been a prelude to an offer of marriage? She wondered how many wives Mister Silas Gage already had, if he was so hasty. Still, she was more than a little flattered.

After another quick trip to the canape tables, Jessie made more of an effort to converse with some of the hosts. None of the others seemed as interested in her as Silas had been, but nevertheless she had soon acquired two more calling cards. Feeling satisfied with herself, she filled her belly, had a few drinks, and wandered around the darker areas of the garden listening to the calm music.

FOUR DAYS LATER, Jessie returned to Gravity Circle to present herself at the Gage manor. Her search for employment had exhausted her, and she’d turned up nothing that would pay even close to a living wage. At this rate, she would be broke in two weeks. So, she’d decided, she would accept Silas’ invitation and see just what she was offered.

She found the address and presented the emerald calling card to a guard standing at the wrought-iron gate. He handed it back to her and pulled the gate open, nodding her through.

The Gage manor was impressive, even by the standards of this part of the city. Its facade of white stone towered three floors over its gardens of rushes and small trees, and an even taller edifice rose from the back parts of the building. Jessie glimpsed servants through its wide windows as she approached the ornate bronze gates that stood in place of a front door.

A housemaid in a short black dress and a white apron met her at the entrance. Jessie handed over the card, and the maid led her through the gate and into a lush courtyard garden. She indicated a curved stone bench by the fountain in the center. “Just you wait here, and I’ll fetch someone to take care of you,” she said, and hurried off.

Jessie took a seat and gazed in amazement at the lush flowers and climbing vines, such a contrast from the well-tended but dull grasses of the manor’s yard. Birds tittered from the garden’s upper reaches as she drank in its sweet perfumes.

She hadn’t waited long before she was joined by a woman in refined clothing: a grey dress that reached past her knees, billowing sleeves checkered green and black, shiny black flats, and a dark tricorner hat. She looked about forty years old and carried a small paper-case under one arm. “Good afternoon, Miss Caster,” she said in a businesslike tone. “I am Corsca Gage, Silas’ second wife. I handle most of his household affairs. If you’ll follow me to my office?”

Jessie stood to follow, feeling awkward despite herself. She knew that the practice of having multiple wives was perfectly accepted, even expected, for the wealthy citizens of Greenmont. Still, she couldn’t help but feel like a homewrecker in this woman’s presence. “How many wives does Mister Gage have?” she asked to the woman’s back.

“Twenty-one,” was the haughty reply. “He really does very well for himself -- and for us, of course.” Mrs. Gage led her to a well-appointed study with a large window overlooking the lawn on the house’s left side. “Sit,” she commanded, and sat herself behind a wide desk littered with documents and forms. Jessie claimed a chair opposite Corsca upholstered in leather.

“Now, then, Silas believes you would be a fine prospect for his twenty-second wife, and I have to say I can see why.” Jessie was taken aback at the compliment, but Corsca didn’t seem to notice as she continued. “Of course, looks aren’t everything. Can you read and write?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Jessie replied.

“I have some forms for you to fill out, then, and after that our house nurse will look you over. Silas is a busy man, so before you take up any more of his time we must ensure you are worth the investment.”

The paperwork was dull business, demanding everything from Jessie’s birth date to her previous employers and landlords to her preferences in food and music. Still, she didn’t ask questions about it, as Mrs. Gage seemed to be busy with paperwork of her own. After at least half an hour, Jessie came to the end of the documents and handed them across the desk.

“Excellent, my girl. Would you care for some coffee before we head to the nurse’s office?” Jessie declined, hoping to be finished with this probing sooner rather than later. They headed downstairs and to the opposite end of the house.

The nurse’s office was a small room with a porcelain-tiled floor, lit with an electric light as well as a glazed window facing the back of the manor. Corsca waved Jessie in and took off, leaving her to the ministrations of the nurse within. She was a short young woman dressed in a red tunic that barely reached past her hips, worn over a white latex catsuit that covered every inch of skin below her neck. Her shoes were sensible red flats, and her curly black hair was pinned under a tiny hat.

“Hello, Miss Caster. I’m Nurse Rachelle. Here for your physical exam, are you?”

Jessie nodded. “That’s right.” She hesitated. “If I can ask, why are you dressed like that?”

“What?” The nurse looked confused. “Oh, you’re new to town, yeah? This is how most nurses dress here. It’s only practical not to have a lot of loose clothing or exposed skin in my trade, you know.”

“I see,” Jessie said, although she didn’t.

“Now, if you don’t mind, dear, let’s have those clothes off.”

“All of them?”

“That’s right.”

So Jessie slipped off her leather shoes, long white socks, her simple gray shirtdress, and the silky slip she wore underneath, setting them on a stool in the corner and leaving her standing in nothing but her bikini-cut white panties and bra.

The nurse cleared her throat. “Sorry, miss, but I really do need you to strip completely.”

Reluctantly, Jessie peeled off her smallclothes. The nurse glanced at her in surprise. “Oh. Um, just take a seat here. I’ll be back very soon.” Seemingly distressed, she hurried out of the room.

What was that about? Jessie sat on the examination table to await the nurse’s return, crossing her legs uncomfortably. And how soon was very soon? After the nurse had been away for nearly ten minutes, Jessie lost patience and pulled her underwear and her slip back on. She’d never seen a nurse before, having gotten all her medical advice from village healers, but this didn’t seem quite normal to her.

Another five minutes, and Jessie was just about ready to leave the room and look for someone who could tell her what was going on. Before she could, though, the door opened again. She was relieved for a moment, but then she froze as she realized it wasn’t the nurse, but a pair of black-and-blue-uniformed Sagesec officers.

She leapt to her feet and grabbed for her clothes, but the officers grabbed her by the shoulders. “None of that now, missy,” the burly woman told her. “Did she really think she could pull off a scam like this? What a mush-for-brains.”

“What are you talking about?” was all Jessie could find to say as they cuffed her hands behind her back and frog-marched her, half-naked and barefoot, out of the room.

The male officer snorted. “She puts on a good show with her clothes on, I’m sure, but she really thought that poor nurse would stay quiet about her. Wonder if the rest of her plan was quite that foolish?”

Jessie was frightened, but also livid at being talked over as if she wasn’t there as she was marched out of the manor, servants staring at the spectacle as they went about their duties. “Please, what the fuck are you talking about? Why are you doing this to me?”

“Even aside from the little matter of fraud, you need to be properly marked. Now shut your holes if you don’t want a baton in them, hm?” The male Sagesec officer indicated the length of polished black wood hanging from his hip.

Confused and mortified, Jessie shut up and let them push her up the boulevard. She barely knew what fraud was, and had no idea what kind of mark they wanted to put on her. Sagesec was the Lord Mayor’s own corporation, responsible for the protection and policing of the people of Greenmont. She could only hope that, wherever they were going, someone would be there to explain to her what was going on.

They soon reached a guard station built into the district’s wall, dragging Jessie in through a sally port and up a narrow staircase. They entered a wide office space, with half a dozen desks in two rows down the center, and brought Jessie over to one of the desks.

The clerk there looked up. “Made an arrest?” she asked.

“That’s right.”

The clerk opened a ledger full of short entries. “Name?”

“What’s your name, missy?” asked the woman officer.

“Will you tell me --”

“Shut it and tell the nice lady your name.”

“Jessie Caster,” she muttered.

“And the offense?”

“Fraud. To whit, misrepresenting herself as female in an attempt to get an offer of marriage from Mr. Silas Gage,” said the officer.

“But I --” Jessie started, only for the male officer to cuff her across the back of the head.

The clerk scribbled in the ledger. “She’ll need initial demale processing as well, then?”

“That’s right.”

The clerk shut the ledger. “There’s room in the cells, and the next transport to Southwest Central isn’t until tomorrow morning. Do you have time to get her outfitted and locked up?”

“Sure,” said the male officer. “Thank you, Maxine.”

The pair of officers took Jessie through a door into a hall between four barred jail cells. Two were occupied; they brought her into an empty one, pausing to grab a light blue bundle of cloth from a shelf. Without a word between them, they forcefully pulled off what little clothing Jessie was wearing, and handed her the blue garment.

“That’s standard wear for prisoners. Put it on.” Fearful of further violence, Jessie complied, pulling it over her head and forcing her arms into the sleeves. It was a straitjacket of heavy, rough material, canvass-like but still stretchy enough to ensure a nearly skintight fit. The sleeves had no openings at the end, leaving Jessie unable to use her hands for anything at all delicate. Still, at the officers’ prompting, she was able to grasp the tail of material hanging from her back, pull it uncomfortably between her legs, and fasten it at the front. The officers clipped the fasteners at her wrists to the ones at her waist, ensuring she wouldn’t be able to pull the thing off. They weren’t locked, but she had no hope of manipulating the catches through the thick material.

As the officers left the cell, closing the door behind them, Jessie cried, “I don’t know what’s going on, please, can’t I talk to someone about this?”

The man ignored her and left, but the woman paused. “You’ll get your counsel at central carceral tomorrow. Until then, just shut up and cooperate and you’ll be fine.” With that, she hurried after her partner.

Jessie sank to the floor in despair for several minutes. They’d called her a demale, hadn’t they? She had a heavy feeling in her stomach. As she’d had it explained to her, demales were failed men. And she had never in her life professed to be male. She knew next to nothing about Sagesec’s operations, and could only hope that she would have the chance to explain herself tomorrow.

Sitting up, she took stock of her situation. The straitjacket she’d been dressed in was thick and confining for her arms and upper body, and left her with a very limited range of motion for her hands. She couldn’t lift her arms very far from their position at her sides. Her legs, on the other hand, were bare and unrestrained. Aside from the crotch strap, the garment ended above her hips, and most of her ass was exposed. The contrast between her tight-swaddled upper body and her naked lower left her feeling even more vulnerable.

The cell was six feet by eight feet, with a narrow metal cot against each side wall. The only other feature was a small metal toilet with a drinking fountain mounted on its side. The walls and floor were smooth stone, except for the wall of bars looking onto the hallway.

Sighing, she sat on one of the cots, trying to make herself comfortable and to calm her wildly-beating heart.

THE CENTRAL CARCERAL building was a wide tower that squatted over the intersection of four of the city’s walled districts. It was sheathed on the outside in sandstone and marble, so as not to ruin the sight of the skyline from higher up in the city. On the inside, though, it was all ugly concrete and white paint.

“Of course we understand there are cultural differences, but surely you understand that when you are within our walls, you must do things the civilized way?” Ms. Nali gave an insincere smile.

Jessie would have preferred to bang her head against the wall a few hundred times than continue to speak with her legal counsel. It probably would have been more productive. “I understand that, but do you really expect me to learn everything about how you do things here in a couple weeks?”

“Surely something as basic as one’s own sex should be obvious enough, don’t you agree?”

“It’s not as if you’re handing out pamphlets about it at the gates...”

Ms. Nali sighed. She was a short, gray woman. Graying hair, gray clothes, and a flat affect. She shuffled her papers on the polished wooden table between the two of them. “And as I said, you can expect a much lighter punishment than you’d receive if you were better informed. Nevertheless, fraud is fraud, and it simply wouldn’t do to let it slide with only a slap on the wrist.”

“Fraud is --” Jessie began, but Nali hushed her.

“I’m afraid that’s the way it is. Let’s not waste any more time on this.”

Jessie sat back in her chair, arms crossed. She would have crossed her arms even if they weren’t bound in that position by the straitjacket she still wore. They’d reversed the positions of the clips on her wrists from their connections at her waist, moving her arms from her sides to keep her more helpless for transportation. And also to keep her from leaping over the table and strangling this condescending bureaucrat.

“Well, it seems they’ll have a space for you at the demale processing clinic the day after tomorrow. You’ll be held here until then. Not too long. And your sentencing will come after that.”

Jessie sat in sullen silence.

“I wish I could say it’s been a pleasure,” Ms. Nali sniffed, and left the little consultation room.

A minute later, a guard came in. Jessie blinked away tears as he steered her by the shoulder, out the door and through the wide, white-painted hall. They passed a barred window as they entered a stairwell, and Jessie glanced out over the roofs, wishing she was anywhere else.

The guard brought Jessie to a door of heavy iron bars. He nodded to a sentry in a fortified booth, who pulled a lever to let the door swing open. Jessie and the guard passed through, into a hallway lined with narrow cells on each side. Most were occupied by women sitting or lying on their cots, staring blankly at Jessie as she was pushed past them.

The guard opened the door of an empty cell, and redid the clips on Jessie’s straitjacket so that each wrist was attached to the waist clip on the same side of her body, putting her arms at her sides. He shoved her through the door and slammed it shut, walking off without a word.

Trembling and trying not to cry, Jessie sat down. The cell was only three feet wide, but seven feet long. The five and a half feet at the back were raised off the ground and covered with a thin, plastic-coated mattress, leaving only a tiny space at the front where she could have stood upright. Part of it was occupied by the dinghy metal toilet, as well.

The back wall was concrete, but the other three were iron bars. She glanced through them at her neighbors on either side. One was a short woman with very light skin and blonde hair, who glared at her and turned away. The other was an older woman with close-cropped black hair. Sitting on her own cot, she leaned closer to Jessie and quietly greeted her. Jessie knew she would start crying if she tried to speak herself, so she only gave the woman a brave smile.

“I understand, love. I’m sorry,” the woman whispered. “I’m Lisa. Be discreet if you do want to talk, because it is against the rules.” So saying, she laid on her narrow cot.

The small kindness was enough to let Jessie calm down a little bit. She laid down herself, but then realized she had to pee. She got up and pretended she was alone as she fumbled open her crotch strap and sat down on the cold toilet.

As she stood up and buttoned the strap back in place, she noticed her blonde neighbor was staring daggers at her. She tried to take no notice as she got back on her tiny cot.

“Where’s your collar, fag bitch?” the blonde hissed at her. Jessie sat against the concrete wall and pretended not to hear. The blonde crawled on her knees to the back of her own cot and pushed her face up against the bars. “Stupid little bitch, I said where’s your collar?”

Jessie closed her eyes and pretended she was part of the wall, inanimate, as the blonde girl continued to whisper invectives and threats. It only lasted a few minutes, but Jessie knew the girl was still staring at her. She pulled her knees against her chest and let out a breath.

It was only a couple days. She had no idea what demale processing would be like, but that was the future. She tried not to worry about it, not to worry about anything, to shut off every thought in her head. But she couldn’t stop kicking herself for being so slow on the uptake.

Ms. Nali had identified Jessie’s mistake, albeit in an incredibly condescending way. Speaking as if to a child, she’d explained that the definitions of “male” and “female” were used here in a very different way than what Jessie was used to. In the mountains where she’d grown up, children simply decided which gender fit them best as they came of age. The local healers would help them maintain the hormone levels that felt right to them, if necessary. Here, though, the culture was entirely prescriptivist. Anyone with a womb was automatically and without contest considered a female; anyone with a penis was automatically considered a male, unless they failed badly enough at their masculine role that they were designated demale; everyone else was automatically a demale. It was so crude, so barbaric, so cruel. And the worst part was, others from Yurilen Village would be sure to walk into the same trap as Jessie had, and there was nothing she could do to warn them.

Deep in the fortress, it was impossible to tell just how late in the day it was. After some amount of time, a couple of prisoners rolled a cart down the hallway. They wore straitjackets like the rest, but with their wrists free, and with a white apron. Through a slot in the bars of each cell, they pushed a metal canister onto a wire rack designed to hold it. Jessie examined her own canister. It reminded her of the food cans she’d seen in the stores here, but it wasn’t sealed. There was a half-inch-wide hole in the side near one end with a small lip around the edge. The prisoners who’d delivered it had placed it so the hole was facing upward. Jessie watched her neighbors place their mouth around the hole and then lower their heads to let the contents spill into their mouths. She followed their lead and was surprised to find that, although the texture of the slurry it contained nearly made her gag at first, it didn’t taste bad. She thought it was a mixture of vegetables, beans, some kind of grain, and meat drippings. It even had some seasoning.

Shortly after that, a guard walked down the hallway, stopping at each of the seltzer lamps hanging from the ceiling and using a long tool to adjust a knob at the bottom, dimming its light. Jessie laid on her bed and tried to sleep, but the crowded, unfamiliar environment made it difficult. She drifted in and out of consciousness until she was so frustrated and exhausted that she quietly cried herself to sleep.

The next day was dull and empty, punctuated only by two more meals and by the departure and arrival of prisoners. This hall was only meant for short-term holds, so these were frequent events. Both Lisa and the vitriolic blonde were taken away early in the day, to Jessie’s respective disappointment and relief. That night she barely slept at all, turning over and over again in her tiny space, dreading the coming morning even though she couldn’t wait to be anywhere but this terrible cage.

EARLY THE NEXT morning, Jessie was brought to the waiting room outside the demale processing clinic high in the tower. She was clipped to a chain set in a sliding track in the wall, and stood in line with other newly-designated demales to wait for her turn. The line moved slowly, and she wished she’d been allowed to eat the morning meal before being brought here.

Eventually, a young woman in the white latex uniform of a nurse came and brought Jessie through the white door, down a hallway, and into a small room in a row of identical rooms. In a chair in front of a wide, barred window sat a muscular guard reading a paperback book.

“Now, then, missy,” the nurse chirped, “I’m Meli and I’m going to be taking care of you today. You don’t seem like the troublesome sort, but just you cooperate and don’t make a fuss. Carlisle here likes his romances, and if he has to put it down to deal with you, he’s not like to be pleased. So just you cooperate.” The guard looked up from his book, nodded solemnly, and continued to read.

Businesslike, Meli stripped Jessie naked and gave her an appraising look. “Well look at that. Not many who come to us already have tits like yours.” She circled around Jessie, who flinched at the nurse’s light touches and prods. “Not much of an ass, but she’s got shapely thighs, doesn’t she, Carlisle?” The guard grunted without looking up.

“Well, let’s move this along. Lie down right here.” The nurse indicated the padded table at the center of the room. Jessie climbed on and reclined there, heart pounding with nervous anticipation, head tilted backward into a shallow depression. The nurse bound her hair into a tight ponytail to keep it out of the way, then began to bind her in place with leather straps that dangled from the table’s edges. Soon Jessie couldn’t move at all. Meli, then strapped a rigid, rubber-coated bar between her charge’s teeth. It wasn’t thick enough to keep her from talking, though. Maybe it was just to make her feel a little more helpless.

Meli wiped down Jessie’s throat and neck with alcohol-smelling antiseptic, then wheeled out a bulky machine from a niche in the wall. When she pulled a cord a couple times, it coughed into life with a low rumbling sound. It was a small gasoline motor, Jessie realized.

“You’re going to get your collar tattooed now,” Meli announced, holding up a slender metal rectangle attached to the machine by a flexible tube. “It’s going to be painful, but I promise you, wiggling around will just make it worse. Making any noise will make it worse too. Stay still and it’ll go faster.” She brought the rectangle closer, and Jessie saw that within the hollow tip were a row of tiny needles pumping in and out.

“Wait,” Jessie yelped around the gag, “are you going to use that on my neck?”

The nurse nodded absently, dipped the device into a pot of silver ink, and brought it to Jessie’s throat. Jessie stifled a scream, but it wasn’t the blinding pain she’d expected, and she wasn’t bleeding to death. The needles must be extraordinarily thin, she thought. She bit down hard on the gag, whose true purpose, she realized, was to keep her from gritting her teeth together.

Although it wasn’t as painful as she’d expected, it seemed to take forever. By the time Meli had gotten halfway across her neck to the sensitive skin at her throat, Jessie was sweating profusely. When the front half of the tattoo was done, Meli shut off the motor and undid Jessie’s bonds, then dropped into the chair next to Carlisle for a quick break.

Jessie sat up. “I really need to, uh, use the restroom,” she said urgently.

Meli pointed to a wide drain in the middle of the cement floor. “Go ahead.” She watched idly, leaning into Carlisle’s arm, as Jessie crouched over the drain and released her aching bladder.

The second half of the tattoo was less painful, since the back of her neck was less sensitive. Still, she gnawed powerfully on the rubber gag. Eventually it was complete, and Jessie was once again released.

“You did a good job, girl,” Meli proclaimed. “Lots of our guests thrash around a lot, make things difficult. We’ve got some time to spare, so we can take a little break. Do you want an apple or something? I think I saw some in the break room.”

Jessie, feeling that her situation could hardly get any more absurd than it already was, nodded. “I’m really hungry actually.”

“I’ll grab one for you then.” Meli left the room, leaving Jessie to sit on the padded table.

Carlisle looked up from his novel. “You ever suck a dick before, little lady?”

Jessie’s heart just about stopped. She didn’t know how to respond, so she pretended she hadn’t heard.

Carlisle stood up, and Jessie did too, putting the table between her and the guard. “Answer me when I’m talking to you. Ever suck a dick before?” Jessie went for the door, but it was locked. Carlisle frowned as he approached her. “An escape attempt, plus you still haven’t answered me. What a dumb bitch.” He was an inch shorter than Jessie, but had to weigh at least a hundred pounds more. Jessie shrank against the door as he got closer.

“I -- I have. So what if I have?”

“So if I told you to suck me off you’d know how to do it.”

Jessie shook her head. He ignored her, pulling his pants down. He put one hand on her shoulder and pushed her to her knees. She knew that if she fought, she would lose. She opened her mouth and he shoved his dick in. She dutifully and mechanically began to work her lips and tongue around it. It wasn’t very long, so she could at least avoid choking.

He cuffed her in the temple, and she reeled. “No teeth,” he commanded. She obliged, stroking his cock more gently. In just a couple minutes, she could hear him breathing quickly. “Swallow it! Or you’ll regret it,” he groaned as fluid gushed into her mouth.

Jessie sank to the floor, sobbing, as he dressed and returned to his chair, picking up his paperback as if nothing had happened. “Oh, quit whining and get off the damn floor. You’d better get used to it, anyway.”

She moved to sit against the padded table, out of Carlisle’s line of sight. A few minutes later, the door opened and Meli returned. She took in Jessie’s reddened eyes, and her eyes flicked over to Carlisle. But all she said was, “I found you an apple and some leftover egg noodles, too. Don’t take too long, we’ve got to get you finished up.”

Jessie ate the food quickly, not even tasting it. Once she was done, Meli got her to stand up, and cuffed her wrists to a pair of chains bolted to the ceiling. She strapped the gag back in, as well. “All right, it’s time for your waxing. This will go a little quicker, and it probably won’t be quite as painful.” She began to spread warm wax on one of Jessie’s shins. “You’ll have to do a full wax once a month, and your face and underarms every two weeks. As a demale, you’ll be punished if you’re caught with any body hair. It gets less painful after the first few times, though.”

Methodically, the nurse spread wax over an area of Jessie’s body, fixed a strip of fabric to it, and tugged it off, pulling the hair out at the root. First her legs, then her arms, then her face, then her chest and underarms, then her back were denuded. Most of it was unnecessary, but it didn’t matter to Meli. Jessie stood in place, not making a sound, adrift in a sea of pain, humiliation, fear, and loathing for both Carlisle and herself. Finally, Jessie’s pubic hair was stripped off, and Meli put the waxing supplies away.

“That’s the worst of it over with,” she announced. “All that’s left is to fit you for your chastity device. Then you’re free to go to the demale quarter.”

Jessie wanted to ask what the demale quarter was, exactly, but couldn’t find the wherewithal. As Meli took a pair of calipers and began taking measurements of Jessie’s dick, Carlisle spoke up. “Actually, Meli, she’s got a sentencing in two hours for a charge of fraud.”

“Oh, shit,” Meli exclaimed. “We’ve got ourselves a criminal mastermind here.”

“It was an accident,” Jessie murmured, but neither of them seemed to hear her.

“Just a quick couple of piercings,” Meli said, swabbing Jessie’s dick with antiseptic. Jessie’s eyes widened as Meli retrieved a piercing needle, and she gasped as the nurse drove it three times through her skin. “And now your first injection. You’ll need to get them weekly, or you can be punished harshly.” Jessie barely even felt the syringe’s needle slide into her buttock.

“All right, mastermind. Although you did get caught, so maybe that’s not the best nickname for you. Anyway, we’re all finished in here. I’ll send your measurements to the machinist, and he’ll have your chastity device made up in half an hour.” Meli uncuffed Jessie and handed her the blue straitjacket. “Put this back on and I’ll bring you to the waiting area.”

THE OFFICES OF Warden Cole sat at the top of the cement-and-sandstone tower. He was a high-level executive of Sagesec, and he and his staff were responsible for sentencing any prisoner confined at the southwest Central Carceral building. Two uniformed guards brought Jessie into a chamber full of polished wood, granite, and silk hangings. She stood in her ridiculous straitjacket that left her ass hanging out before the high bench of Magistrate Vishka, who was reading the record of her arrest.

“As I see it, Jessie,” said the magistrate, “it is very likely that you were, in fact, merely misguided by your barbaric cultural beliefs, and did not intend to mislead or deceive Mr. Gage. Is that still your contention?”

“Sure,” Jessie muttered. Of course it was her own culture that was barbaric, not the one that tortured her based on an accident of anatomy. “Yes, it is,” she said more loudly, when she realized Vishka hadn’t heard her.

“I find your assertion believable. However, I must weigh that against the needs of our larger society. We cannot have an act of fraud go unpunished for all to see. Moreover, I understand that Mr. Gage was quite embarrassed, and he has been quite insistent that you face consequences for your actions. Do you understand?”

Jessie was barely listening to his rationalization. She nodded.

“I hereby sentence you to a single session of public, corporal punishment. You are to ride the horse from this building to the Westspire demale quarter. Make it so, Sergeant Gibbs.”

“Yes, sir! By your leave, sir,” said the short-haired woman who’d brought Jessie here, taking her arm. She and the other guard took their confused charge out of the chamber, down many flights of stairs to the dungeons at the base of the tower. Exhausted, fearful, and in pain, Jessie didn’t ask what “riding the horse” meant as they tethered her to a wall, leaving her there as they went off to prepare whatever was in store for her.

She wasn’t waiting long before Sergeant Gibbs came back for her. She brought her up a staircase and to a room with an oversize, sliding door. At the center of the room, set atop parallel braces that brought it to chest level, was a heavy beam with a triangular cross-section. Against one wall were stacks of crates, boxes, and barrels.

Four prisoners were already there, sitting in one corner and watched by a trio of guards. They were dressed like the ones who’d pulled the carriage that had transported her here from the guard post at Gravity Circle. Sentenced to labor for the good of the public (or at least of Sagesec), they wore tight shorts, with sports bras for the women, in the light blue color of the prison uniforms. Each one had a heavy steel collar around their neck, and the four of them were chained together in a circle.

Gibbs and another guard set to work preparing Jessie, stripping off her straitjacket and replacing it with a leather armbinder. It kept her arms pulled behind her back, her hands pointing upward between her shoulder blades.

“Spread your legs,” Gibbs told her. She did, but she almost revolted when the sergeant pushed a plug between her ass cheeks.

“Relax, bitch. Let it through.” She knew she had no choice, and it slid past her anus. It wasn’t too large, but she still felt it filling her. Despite the circumstances, her new chastity device tugged lightly on her piercings as her dick reacted to the feeling. It was a short sleeve of rigid wire encased in rubber, curved slightly downward and locked in place. It was secured to the underside of the penis in two places -- at its very base, where it met her scrotum, and to her foreskin. Her foreskin was pierced at the top, too, pulling it back, and the effect was to leave her clit exposed, with the rest of her dick covered in silver rubber. It was a peculiar and humiliating sensation.

Jessie got a better look at the horse as the guards pulled her toward it. It was a yard-long beam made of a heavy, well-polished wood. The sides were steep, but the upward-facing edge was rounded off to about an inch in diameter. Two sturdy bars extended forward from the front, and two more from the back, almost reminding Jessie of the handlebars of a sedan chair.

That was when she realized, suddenly, what it would actually mean to ride this horse. Panicking, she struggled to break free from her minders’ grip. “Stop that, girl!” one yelled, but she was past the point of caring. The guards threw her to the ground, and Gibbs kicked her in the ribs. She curled on herself and began to sob, but they just picked her up and made her straddle the horse anyway, standing on a wide stool that had been placed underneath.

Wordlessly, the guards set to preparing her for the journey. A heavy bar of metal was cuffed to her ankles. She shuddered, realizing it would keep her from gripping the sides of the horse between her thighs, and the bar itself was heavy against her ankles. Then she cried out as they fastened clamps to her nipples, adjusting a screw until each one pinched her firmly.

“Hey, shut up and open wide,” Sergeant Gibbs said. Jessie didn’t dare disobey, and she stuck a gag in her mouth. It was shaped like an uneven ring and fitted around her teeth to prevent it from turning over. As she strapped it on, the other guard attached an elasticized string between her nipple clamps, looping the center over a hook at the front of the horse and making Jessie lean forward to avoid its pull.

They checked her over, nodding and grinning, ignoring her unintelligible pleading. The four laborers were waved over, and they took their places around the horse. The large doors were hauled open, letting sunlight in and revealing a paved ramp up to street level. Sergeant Gibbs reached up and turned a knob on the end of the plug in Jessie’s ass. She squirmed as it buzzed to life, vibrating madly inside her. And then Gibbs cried, “One, two, heave!” and the squad of prisoners lifted the horse onto their shoulders.

Jessie’s breath was knocked out as her own weight drove the horse’s narrow edge into the tender flesh between her legs. She clenched her thighs together desperately, but the spreader bar kept her from getting any real grip; she rocked backward, the clamps pulling at her nipples, and the vibrating plug pressing harder into her ass; she rocked forward, and moaned with pain as the edge pressed into her genitals. As Gibbs led the way into the city streets, Jessie tried to stay as upright as possible, but the ache in her perineum quickly became too much to bear and she leaned backward, wailing at the pain in her nipples. The gag in her mouth didn’t let her swallow, and soon drool was spilling onto her chest. And all the while, despite her agonizing predicament, the little butt plug buzzing away in her rear had her panting for a different reason altogether.

They proceeded through the streets, not fast, not slow, heading uphill. Jessie was too occupied to take much notice of the people they were passing, but the mere thought of being seen like this would have been enough to make her burst into tears, if she hadn’t already been sobbing and wailing. One of the guards leading the procession was holding a hastily-written sign summarizing the charges against her. Most passers-by only gazed at her curiously, but some of them glared at her, or spat at her. A few even threw overripe fruit at her, and soon she was splattered with juices drying in the sun. She barely cared. All her attention was focused on the impossible desire to escape. Her bearers were strong and steady, but even the smallest jolts were agony. She cried, and screamed, and threw up what little was in her stomach. Gibbs and her guards didn’t care, and the procession carried on.

It took nearly fifty minutes before they arrived at the gate to Westspire. The guards there stood aside to let Sergeant Gibbs and her underlings through, nodding in satisfaction when they saw the insensate Jessie. Once they were through the gate, the bearers put down the horse. The guards unlocked and removed each of Jessie’s restraints, pulling out the gag and butt plug. They left her propped naked and semiconscious in a dirty alleyway, and went on their way.

Jessie knew she had to get somewhere safe, but where? She couldn’t move anyway. The world was fading away too quickly. Her body and her spirit were both past their limits many times over. She fell unconscious, slumped at the base of a brick wall.

THIN SUNLIGHT FILTERED through a row of narrow windows. It picked out the dark orange tiles of the floor, the walls of chipped sandstone bricks, the ceiling of pale wood. It fell across Jessie, still half-asleep, tucked into sheets of white linen, clean but stained, on the bottom bunk of one of the three beds in the cramped room.

She closed her eyes against the pale glare and her throbbing headache, but her mouth and throat were so dry. Painfully, she sat up, narrowly avoiding banging her head against the upper bunk. She realized she was still naked. Her inner thighs ached horribly. The bandage had been removed from around her throat.

“Hey! You’re up. Careful, hold on a second.” The girl who rushed over to hand Jessie a glass of water was bulky and frizzy-haired. She wore only a pair of black panties and a loose-fitting tank top. The collar of silver diamonds that marked her as a demale stood out against her dusky skin. Jessie thought that she was a couple years older.

Jessie took the glass and gulped the whole thing down so fast she coughed roughly. The other girl snorted. “I said be careful. Hold on, I’ll get you some more.” She hurried out of the room and returned with a large, tin pitcher.

“I’m Marcah,” she said. “This is the dorm they assigned you and you’ve been asleep for, uh, almost forty hours. I hope you’re feeling better. We figured the pigs got pissed off at you when you were getting processed, we see this kind of thing a lot but it’s not normally quite this brutal.”

Jessie, having drunk the pitcher dry, found her voice still dry and whispery. “Thank you. They made me... I mean, it was an accident and they knew it, but they said it was fraud anyway and that I had to ride the horse here.”

“The horse. That explains it,” Marcah said, her face drawn. “I’m sorry.”

“I need the toilet but I don’t know if I can walk,” Jessie sighed. “Could you maybe..?”

“Yeah, of course I’ll help you,” Marcah said. “We’ll take it slow.”

Jessie nodded and swung her legs over the side of the bed. She grimaced at the sight of her inner thighs, which were bruised an ugly mix of blue and green and purple. With Marcah’s help, she stood up. “Didn’t notice how tall you were,” Marcah commented. She was bigger than Jessie, but four or five inches shorter.

She hobbled for the door, leaning heavily against Marcah. When the door swung open, Jessie froze momentarily, realizing it led outdoors. She considered asking for some clothes, but decided against it. She didn’t want to deal with dressing given how sore she was, and if Marcah didn’t see an issue, that was good enough for her.

They stepped out onto a small wooden platform in a breezeway between two buildings. They climbed carefully down the narrow stairs to ground level. Jessie took stock of the dilapidated brick walls to either side, with six doors into each of the two buildings that framed the passageway. It was covered with a flat tile roof supported by timber rafters. The only light came from the open arches on either end of the breezeway.

“By the way,” Marcah pointed to a string of numbers and letters carved into the handrail of the staircase they’d just descended, “our address is 15-B-9. Room nine, building B, dormblock 15.”

“How many buildings in a dormblock?” Jessie asked as they headed down the passage.

“Six,” Marcah told her. “Six girls per room, six rooms per building. Two hundred sixteen per dormblock, although we always have a few beds free. And I’m afraid we all share a bathroom,” she laughed. Jessie wasn’t sure if she was joking.

They exited the breezeway into a large courtyard surrounded by the six buildings of the dormblock. Much of it was occupied by rows of wooden benches and narrow tables. There were two additional, single-story structures that sat at either end of the courtyard. “That’s the kitchen over there. The bathhouse is this one,” Marcah said, indicating the one they were walking toward. Adjacent to the bathhouse was a stone fountain, water bubbling out of a plinth at its center, framed by rushes, blooming weeds, and creeping vines.

There were a couple other girls occupying the courtyard. None of them were any more dressed than Marcah. Jessie wondered aloud if there was some kind of dress code. “Not exactly,” Marcah explained, “but we’re only allowed to shop at the stores in the quarter, and they’re limited in what they carry. Demales aren’t supposed to be modest. Sometimes people make their own clothes, but the pigs tend not to like it.”

As if on cue, a pair of uniformed Sagesec officers paced into the courtyard, leering at the girls there. “There’s a lot of them around the quarter. Be careful around them, because there’s all sorts of little things that offend them.” Marcah commented when she noticed Jessie looking at them. “Like when you leave the dormblock, you have to have a good explanation for it if one questions you. Especially after sunset.”

The bathhouse was a wide, open-sided pavilion, a roof supported by rows of tiled arches. Its floor was fashioned from large slabs of textured concrete, and it had one full wall on the side facing away from the courtyard. On it was a line of mirrors hanging above a counter with sinks set into it every few feet. Everything was in the open, with no stalls or dividers. There were two long rows of toilets, each set across from a crude bidet. There were also two rows of showerheads set across from each other above large drains. Jessie averted her eyes from a couple girls showering, and from one on a toilet.

“It gets crowded in the mornings, when everyone’s getting ready for work,” Marcah said. “Like I said, there’s two hundred of us living here.” She helped Jessie over to a toilet -- not a flush toilet like those she’d seen at the manor where she’d met Silas Gage. There was just a chute that would empty straight into a cart or a sewer line or something. Probably the latter, judging by the smell. “Sorry, there’s not a lot of privacy here. I could leave if you want, though.”

Jessie shook her head. “It’s fine. Thank you,” she murmured. Marcah wandered politely over to the sinks as Jessie released her bladder and bowels, wincing with pain.

When Jessie was done in the bathroom, she hobbled back to bed. Marcah helped her lie back down. “So. It’s important that you take what time you need to heal. But you should also know that you’re already being charged rent.”

“What?” Jessie was alarmed. “I barely have any money -- I don’t even know if I still have it, the place I was staying --”

“Calm down,” Marcah said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “It’s not that big a deal. Most of us are in some amount of debt. It’s set up that way. They want us desperate for work. You can’t really avoid it, so there’s no use worrying too much about it.”

“I see,” said Jessie, laying back. “Good to know. How much is rent here? Could I find somewhere cheaper, do you think?”

“It’s a standard rate for everyone living in the dorms. There’s nowhere in the quarter less expensive. If you’re lucky enough to get a really well paying job or a generous patron you can pay for a private room. Or there’s becoming someone’s concubine and living with them outside the quarter. Really, you shouldn’t worry about it for now.”

“Okay,” Jessie said, trying not to despair over already being in debt. “Marcah, could you get me three things?”

“What things?”

“Another pitcher of water, something to eat, and some clothes.”

Marcah brought her the water first, and part of a loaf of bread, and some rice, and some dates. Jessie devoured them and was still hungry, but Marcah said there wasn’t much around and she’d have to wait for supper. Some of the tenants, including Marcah, cooked two meals in the kitchen each day for the whole dormblock. Given her injuries, Jessie couldn’t wear any kind of pants, so Marcah found her a simple white dress. Jessie tried it on. The hem was higher and the neckline lower than she would have preferred, but it was a good fit.

Feeling better, Jessie asked Marcah if it would be possible to get her a pair of glasses. Marcah looked pensive. “Generally they’re not considered necessary for demales,” she said. “You probably won’t be able to get any, at least not to your prescription, but I could ask around.”

Jessie slept soundly for a few hours until she was woken up by her new roommates returning home. They welcomed her, happy to see her recovering. When the chime of eight o’clock came from some nearby clock tower, they all hurried to the common area for dinner. Lucy, a short girl with big breasts and wavy hair, and Rea, who slept in the bunk above Jessie’s, helped her walk. They were some of the last ones to join the line for food.

Dinner was chickpea curry, rice, and frybread. Jessie sat at one of the rough wooden tables in the courtyard, along with Lucy, Marcah, Reah, and one of their other roommates, Priya.

Jessie hadn’t been outside in several days, not counting her ride here or the short walk to the bathhouse earlier, and happily drank in the last of the day’s sunlight. The grass and dirt felt so good on her feet that she could ignore the pain of sitting on the hard bench for a little while. The curry was a little plain, but it was still the best food Jessie had eaten in a week.

She went to bed early that night, her heart infinitely lighter than it had been two days before. If there was a silver lining to being designated a failure of gender, she felt sure she’d find it right here.

FOR THE NEXT three days, Jessie refused to worry about anything. The first morning, she found she could walk by herself, although her legs were still mightily stiff. She had woken up after breakfast, and hung around the courtyard or in her room, and got her own water from the fountain outside. Marcah had checked that she was okay on her own, then gone out to look for work.

Jessie slept most of the second and third day, and by the fourth, she was feeling much better. Her ordeal in the halls of the Central Carceral tower seemed distant, and she was enjoying the company here. She felt surprisingly at home, more than she had since she’d left the mountains.

That day, she put on the falling-apart shoes Rea had found her and took a walk, moving slowly but surely through the streets of the Westspire quarter. The neighborhood was shaped roughly like a hexagon, its streets radiating outward from a central core of businesses and shops. Beyond that core were a few smaller apartment blocks that held the private rooms Marcah had mentioned, and past those were the rows of near-identical dormblocks.

She sat for a while beside a fountain on one of the main streets, watching people go by, squinting to make up for her lack of glasses. Almost all were marked with a silver collar, or wore a leather collar over it. She couldn’t help being a little turned on – a lot of her neighbors were cute, or downright beautiful, and most of them were wearing revealing or sexy outfits. A few of them wore nothing but underwear, or nothing at all, and no one seemed to think it was odd. She tried not to stare at a tall, slender woman whose midnight skin was covered by nothing but a startlingly white thong and high-heeled shoes, her breasts hanging bare. There was a procession of girls in leotards and thigh-high stockings, a woman who paced by in a shiny red catsuit, and any number of girls in filmy harem pants and skimpy tops.

She headed back to dormblock fifteen as the sun was sinking toward the horizon. She was just arriving there when a Sagesec officer stopped her. She looked at him wide-eyed.

“What’s your name, and where are you coming from?” He was short and stout, with a beard and watery eyes. Jessie, frozen, managed to stammer the excuse she’d prepared about going out to buy shoes. The guard gazed at her implacably for a moment, then shrugged. “Get along then.” He waved her past, and she hurried under the arch and into the dorms.

After dinner that evening, Jessie didn’t go straight to bed, but stayed up late talking with Marcah, Lucy, and Priya in the courtyard. She learned that Lucy was a waitress at a bar and restaurant in Hummels, a district up the hill. Priya worked at a brothel in Darling Court, which was between Westspire and Hummels. Marcah had been a dishwasher until she was fired last week, and was still looking for a job. Unlike Lucy and Priya, she hadn’t grown up in Greenmont. She was a refugee from Kalastan, a small nation that had been conquered by Greenmont three years before. Her city had been the victim of heavy bombing.

Jessie told them about her simple life in Yurilen Village, and how it had ended. She spoke of her arrival at Greenmont, her fruitless search for work, and Silas Gage’s interest in her. Soon she was confessing all that had happened to her at Central Carceral. She even told them about the guard Carlisle forcing himself on her.

“The worst thing was, when he was finished with me, he told me to get used to it. That this was my life now. After that I didn’t think anything good would ever happen to me again.”

Lucy leaned into Jessie’s side. “It’s not the end of the world. It just makes things harder, that’s all.”

“Things were hard enough before they decided I was a demale, though,” Jessie griped.

Still, when she woke up the next morning and found her bruises had mostly faded and she could walk without much pain, she felt good enough to handle the struggle to find work. After breakfast, she headed to an office she’d noticed in the commercial core of the neighborhood. The shops there were some of the only buildings in the area that had been kept clean and well-maintained.

She stopped at a narrow, two-story building whose sign read “CENTER FOR EMPLOYMENT.” Stepping through the open door, she was greeted by a woman sitting behind a small desk. Jessie indicated she was here to find work, and made an appointment to speak with an adviser that evening.

Not seeing the need to return home in the meantime, Jessie wandered for a while from shop to shop. She took note of a few different salons, knowing she would have to get her body hair waxed again at one of them soon enough. Her roommates had confirmed that even the suggestion of hair anywhere but her head and eyebrows could land her in trouble. Eventually she found a tiny park and spent the day there, watching birds and taking sips of water from a nearby fountain.

At five thirty, Jessie returned to the employment center and was ushered into a closet-sized office. A tired-looking woman sitting at the desk offered her the other chair.

“Anne Keaning,” said the woman, extending her hand in greeting.

“I’m Jessie Caster.” She and Anne grasped each other’s wrists briefly, and she sat down.

“Yes. Well, Jessie, let me be blunt. You’re a demale who has been in Greenmont for less than a month, and you’ve already been convicted of a criminal charge. Your prospects here are not exactly rosy.”

Jessie’s heart sank. “But even the magistrate understood that it was a mistake, not a criminal act. Can’t I just explain what happened?”

“Oh, sure. It’s still not going to look good to employers. You need something on your resume that makes you stand out a little.”

“Like what?”

“Your best option is going to be a course at the Opencorp Service Training School,” Anne opined. “An intensive, week-long class. It will train you to be obedient and to please your betters, so it’s quite attractive to employers.”

“Oh. Intensive..? What’s it like?” Jessie wanted to know.

Anne shrugged. “Never been to one. This week’s class starts tonight, though, and if you don’t make it you’ll have to wait another week.”

Jessie’s mind swam. She didn’t want to jump into something so quickly, but she also didn’t want to waste a full week, getting nowhere and accruing debt. “I guess I’ll do it,” she decided. “How do I sign up?”

Anne gave her an address and told her to get there as soon as possible. The school was in Westspire, but at the very edge. She hurried down one of the main streets, dodging her way through the crowds.

BY THAT NIGHT, Jessie was standing against a cold stone wall in a long room with fifteen other demales, regretting her hasty decision. Like the others, booties with five-inch heels had been locked on her feet, and a thick collar was locked around her neck just tightly enough that she was reminded of it constantly. At the moment, a three-foot chain was linked between her collar and the wall. Aside from that, she was dressed only in a garment of white rubber like a modified leotard. It had a thong bottom, cut high on the sides; the section over her stomach was constricting, not quite a corset but similar; it had a halter back, with the neckline cut below her breasts, but holding them pert with a sort of rigid shelf. It was a humiliating and uncomfortable thing to wear. She had to admit, though, that it was also frustratingly sexy. She stole a glance across the room at Marcah.

Seeing her here had been a surprise, but Jessie remembered Marcah’s own difficulty finding employment. The two of them hadn’t had a chance to talk, and Jessie wasn’t sure how to interpret Marcah’s expression when they made eye contact. She guessed that it was a mixture of embarrassment and pity, and she wondered what Marcah knew about this class that she didn’t.

Soon after all fifteen of her classmates had arrived, a man strode into the room. He was almost as tall as Jessie, even though she was six foot five in these shoes, and huge muscles rippled under his crisp black shirt and slacks. His light brown hair was cropped very short, and his unusually pale face was cold and expressionless. He was followed in by a group of eight women, who were dressed in white button-up shirts and short black skirts, their heels clicking on the stone floor. They hung back by the door while the man walked to the center of the room.

“Stand up straight when you’re being addressed,” he spat, glancing around at his students. The short chains attached to the walls meant they couldn’t slouch much in the first place, but at his order they stood to attention.

“When I give an order, you will follow it immediately. Immediately! You were the last to obey me,” he hissed at a short girl standing near the door. As soon as he’d indicated her, one of the women who’d followed him in skipped over to the girl and struck her across the thighs twice with a leather crop.

Ignoring the cry of pain, the man continued. “If you address me at all, it will be as Master Ricard. You are here because you are useless scum, so get that through your fucking skulls. The only way you can hope to become a productive member of society is if you learn respect, obedience, and humility. I will instill these virtues in you, and you will be grateful to me for saving you from a life of pointless futility where you’re of no use to anyone! I am saving your worthless lives! Thank me.”

Jessie gave a hurried cry of thanks, along with all the others. Ricard pointed at an unhealthy-looking girl with short hair and visible ribs. One of his enforcers bounded across the room to clip a chain between her nipples. She tugged on it a couple times, eliciting a hiss of pain from the girl, then returned to her place by the door.

Jessie felt tears on her cheeks, though she wasn’t stupid enough to make a sound. If she’d had any idea of how brutal this training would be, she would never have been so hasty to enroll in it. Maybe, like Marcah, she would have been forced into it anyway, but as it was she was completely unprepared. She choked back a sob as she remembered it would last a whole week, and that she had gone further into debt to pay for the privilege.

Master Ricard interrupted his pontificating with another command. “Kneel to me, bitches.” Jessie had been distracted, and she only had a moment of horror when Ricard pointed at her before an enforcer was slashing her across the tits with a crop. She couldn’t help a cry of pain and shock, but fortunately, it went ignored.

The lecture went on for nearly two hours. Master Ricard seemed to have a bottomless well of vitriol toward his students. Sometimes commands would come rapid-fire, with every other sentence, four or five enforcers busy at once. Other times Ricard would speak for several minutes and then try to catch them off-guard. Most punishments were simply a quick lashing, but occasionally the enforcers would fit the girls with devices like clamps, or gags, or butt plugs. By the time it was over, each of the sixteen of them had been punished many times, their tits and asses red with welts. Jessie was enduring the sensation of a heavy clamp on her tongue and a huge dildo in her ass; Marcah sported a ball gag.

Ricard checked his watch. “Almost midnight. Class is over for the day, ladies, so be respectful of your trainers as they show you to your rooms. Wake-up is in five hours.”

With that, the enforcers freed their clients from their devices of torment and led them by the collar into an adjoining room partitioned into cells. They were each pushed into their own tiny compartment, divided from each other by a grid of iron bars. Each cell had just enough room for a narrow bunk, no cushions, and a large drain in the cement floor.

As the neatly-dressed women filed out of the room, one of them lingered at the door. “Talking to each other isn’t permitted,” she said. “We’ll be listening, so keep your mouths shut.” She exited and closed the door gently behind her.

Jessie stole a glance at Marcah, in the cell across from her, but she wasn’t about to risk getting punished for talking. She noticed some of the others stripping off their uncomfortable leotard-things. Well, no one had said that wasn’t allowed. She got naked too, and hung the outfit through the bars of her cell door. She took a long drink from the spigot that protruded from the wall, then over the drain, balancing on the locked-on high heels. She laid down on her bunk, drained enough that, despite the lack of any pillow or cushioning, she was asleep within a few minutes.

THE NEXT WEEK was a hellish blur of brutality, violation, and torment. By the second day, Jessie’s mind was like a watery soup from the restricted sleep, little food, and the constant vigilance demanded by her instructors. Master Ricard led a lengthy session each day during which each girl desperately tried to avoid being the last to obey him. The rest of the day was occupied with “private instruction” in which each enforcer took charge of one, two, or three students and put them through exacting drills and demonstrations of their powerlessness.

When the week was over, the girls were unceremoniously released into the late afternoon streets of Westspire, naked but in possession of an official-looking diploma printed on heavy parchment. Dead on their feet, Jessie and Marcah made their way back to dormblock fifteen.

“What were you thinking, signing up with Opencorp there?” Marcah blurted as they made their way up a steeply-inclined avenue.

Jessie was puzzled. “What do you mean? What were you thinking?” It was the first time they’d had the chance to speak since the beginning of the class, and she’d sensed a strange attitude from Marcah the whole time.

“I’ve been unemployed for almost two months. I was desperate. Did you even spend a day looking for work?”

“Well, kind of. I went to this employment center downtown, but they said that with my criminal record...” She trailed off at the strange look Marcah was giving her. “What?”

“That office is paid for by Opencorp,” Marcah sighed. “If you’d talked to literally anyone they could have told you that.”

Jessie flushed. “I didn’t have a chance, I didn’t want to wait another week...” She felt tears coming to her eyes. “So I did all that for nothing?”

Marcah sighed, hesitating. “Well, I don’t know. It’s possible they were right and you wouldn’t have been able to find anything, and been railroaded into this anyway. And it is useful to have the certification. It’s just that it should’ve been a last resort.”

Jessie hung her head. “Are you mad at me?”

“I’m not mad. I’m sad for you, I guess.”

“I’m sad for you too.” It was the truth. The hellish ordeal had been that much worse for the knowledge that her new friend was going through the same thing.

They got back to the dorm just in time for dinner. The two of them wolfed down huge portions of cornbread and rabbit stew as their roommates welcomed them back, expressing their sympathy by petting them and exclaiming over their wretched treatment.

MANY OF THE wealthier citizens of Greenmont had slaves, subservient wives, or were simply in dominant sexual relationships. Naturally, the truly aristocratic, like Silas Gage, had fully-equipped dungeons in the depths of their manors, where an unruly submissive could be punished, tormented, or trained. But of course, not all dominants and masters owned private facilities like these. Bridging that gap were the city’s dungeon clubs, offering these services on a membership basis or for a cover charge.

After a couple days of rest, Jessie began to work her way through a list of job openings she’d found in a free broadsheet. On the very first day of her search, she paid a visit to Fiat Cruce, a polished, flashy building in the upscale neighborhood of Darling Court. The proprietor, Mistress Elmira, seemed impressed with the Opencorp diploma and offered Jessie a position as a dungeon maid. The figure she named was comfortably on the upper end of what Marcah had told Jessie to expect as pay. Jessie eagerly accepted, calculating she would be able to pay off the debts she’d accrued within a few months.

Two days later, she arrived at the dungeon for her first shift. She was met at the staff entrance by a severe woman with braided hair and a black dress. “Are you the new dungeon maid?” she asked.

“That’s right,” Jessie said, nervous at the woman’s stony demeanor. “I’m Jessie.”

“Excellent. I am Mistress Uma, the staff manager. I’ll be ‘showing you the ropes’ today.” She waved Jessie in through the door.

The back rooms of the club, in contrast to its lustrous facade, were dark and dinghy. A few feet from the staff entrance was a door into the locker room, where Uma assigned Jessie a locker. “Your uniform is inside. Go ahead and change into it.”

Jessie pulled out a bundle of latex and cloth, as well as a few accoutrements. Seeing that Mistress Uma was not going to so much as turn her back, Jessie hurried to comply, stripping out of her dress, panties, and shoes. The first component of the uniform was a bright red bodysuit, thin enough to be slightly see-through and covering everything below her chin. It took her a few minutes to pull on, and she needed Uma’s help to pull closed the zipper that ran from the small of her back to the turtleneck collar. Then there was a black corset, which shaped her body from ribs to hips, and which Jessie also needed help putting on.

“Usually, you’ll be starting a shift at the same time as a few others, and you can help each other dress,” Uma explained. “If it happens that no one is in the locker room, you can check the staff room.”

To the bottom of the corset buttoned a white linen petticoat, several layers of short, lacey skirts that flounced out voluminously. Over it all went a short, sleeveless black dress trimmed in white lace and a small apron. Also included in the uniform were a pair of thick, black latex gloves that reached over her elbows, high-heeled black boots that reached her thighs, and a black leather collar. The whole thing took almost half an hour to put on.

“Beautiful. Mistress Elmira has excellent taste, don’t you agree?” Uma simpered. Looking in one of the room’s tall mirrors, Jessie had to agree.

Now that Jessie was properly attired, Mistress Uma showed her some of the other back areas, then brought her to one of the club’s private dungeons. “Your primary role as a dungeon maid is to assist the patrons using these rooms. You’ll need to be familiar with where each piece of equipment is stored, and how to use it safely. One of the other maids will show you around in detail, and you’ll be shadowing her for the next week. After that you’ll be tested for proficiency and take on your full duties.”

“I see,” Jessie said, feeling like Mistress Uma expected a response.

“It will also be your responsibility to clean up the dungeon after use. Those supplies are here...”

After showing her around the private dungeon, Uma took her to the main club floor. Jessie had passed through here before when she’d come in for an interview. It was a wide space, dimly lit with purple and blue lights.

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