The night Lucas and Diana got together:
Diana is always texting on her second phone. She has no time for Lucas.
She remembers the words of Vanguard spoken in the hot tub: “Diana, it’s good to suffer. Don’t complain. For this makes you better than the people who are laughing and happy. If you don’t understand this, don’t try to understand. Everything bad comes from the mind, because the mind asks too many questions. It is better to believe, than understand. So if you have pain, be glad of it. It means you are better than other women who would never consider having sex with a buffoon for the sake of the mission.”
Diana got a text on her second phone: “He’s ready.” She tells Lucas she has to go. “It’s for the mission.” It’s 1:00 am.
Lucas thought of what Vanguard told him: “Every loneliness is a pinnacle.”
She came back at 3:00 am. Lucas is ready for his SOP ejaculation. But Diana’s face is shimmering. Was it a reflection of moonlight? He thought he smelled something. Had she put on scented skin creme?
He was ready to ejaculate on her face, to show he owned her for life; but her complexion was too beautiful to spoil, she said. She got undressed and he saw it – Keith Raniere’s initials branded near her vagina.
He thought of the words of Vanguard: “We must not think. We must believe. Believe, Lucas, even if your mind objects. Don’t think. Believe.”
As Lucas looked at Diana, he saw she was uninterested in him. He thought of something Anthony, his friend, a former SOP leader, told him: “You can’t fight Vanguard on his terms. You’re only a tank—and that’s a very clean, innocent weapon. An honest weapon that goes first, out in front, and mows everything down or takes every counterblow. Keith is a corrosive gas. The kind that eats lungs out.”
Was Vanguard eating his brains out? Then he thought of something Vanguard told him; “Worry is a waste of emotional reserves.”
Lucas achieved the highest level of understanding of Vanguard any male possessed: His woman did not love him. She was branded and had given Vanguard collateral. Vanguard might have given her herpes. If Diana were willing to sleep with Lucas, he realized, she might give him herpes too. Lucas resolved to accept it as a gift from Vanguard. He would proudly carry herpes as his brand. At every outbreak, he would be pleased, where others would be horrified. One day, he would marry Diana [if Vanguard approved]. Lucas looked forward to the day when he had to ask permission of Vanguard to have sex with his own wife.
Lucas fell asleep. Diana sent a text from her second phone: “Permission to sleep?”
DOS rules were she had to wait an hour. If she got no reply, she could sleep. She rested on the couch making sure to stay awake.
Once she saw Lucas as a man, as strong, proud, clean, wise and fearless. She saw him once as a heroic being. But Vanguard taught her: Lucas had been a parasite all his life.
As for herself, she realized she had taken that which was not hers and given nothing in return. She entered into a world of obedience. A world where her thoughts were not her own, but an attempt to guess the thought of the brain of Vanguard.
She hoped Lucas would go back to Vancouver and Vanguard would think to order her to remain in Clifton Park.
Lucas [r] places the DOS ring on Diana’s [l] finger. He is a member of the Society of Protectors. Vanguard [c] as the true protector, carries Diana across the threshold to enjoy the “Right of the First Night.”