The story of Agent Denko

Part 1 - The Recruitment

by Mr. A_B

Chapter 1
Prelude to intrigue : -

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Fort of Punyanagari

It was a rainy day at Punyanagari. The fort capital of the vast and over-extended Maratha empire (stretching from Indonesia in the east to the very heart of Iraq in the West, from the Southern limits of Central Asia in Tajikistan to the isle of Madagascar and encompassing the whole of South Asia). The city however, has an uncanny trait for facing adversity of any kind. Come rain come shine, work never ceases. Office goers move about in their cars and bikes and public busses as usual not withstanding the torrential downpour.

Bureaucrats moved to their government offices, IT employees to the vast high-tech campuses in the outskirts, students to their universities. The women of Punyanagari in their typical fashion covering themselves from head to toe in a tight but all enveloping veil over their brightly colored and ornate saris and salwars move zip past in their scooties.

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Typical dress code of Punyanagari
The women of Punyanagari are quite a bit of a contradiction. Whilst they espouse modesty in their clothing and attire, they have rebelled against all bounds of isolation within the home and are reputed to be quite domineering wives once they become mothers. Yet a good number of them don't seem to shun almost extreme forms of modesty at times ranging form gags for voice modesty to binds for arm modesty, all this in addition of course to the mandatory veiling with scarves. As long as the measures don't interfere with their tasks (which much depending on what caste they come from could range from anything from a municipal cleaner to a nuclear scientist!) they are welcome as it keeps away the gazing eyes of the infamously sexually charged Maratha men.

Adi Raje Scindhia is a top bureaucrat from the defense ministry and a high ranking officer of the "Guptachr" spy agency, the most organized and lethal spy agency in the world today. Whilst almost all the high ranking bureaucrats of the agency are male, the vast majority of the operatives of the agency are women! The policy was a deliberate one of the government, to prefer women recruits for the agency. The Hindu women of the empire especially of the capital Maharashtra province were just as sexed up as their male counterparts and excelled as it would seem in the arts of seduction and Kama Sutra. Adi Raje was overseer of the agency's Ottoman empire operations. This was the most ambitious spy operation that the empire was targeting till date and if successful would not only bring about the complete end of the Ottomans from the world stage but also give the Marathas complete control over the world's largest oil reserves in Arabia. It was an oft excersized option by the agency to recruit foreign agents in some espionage missions. It was more convenient for the native women of the lands to slip in unnoticed and blend in with the local populace, and being more well versed with the local languages and dialects and customs, they are even harder to catch. Usually when foreigners are recruited for a mission, the mission is categorized as "Z class". The Ottoman mission would come under this category.

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Chitra's uniform
Adi Raje was busy in his office contemplating and evaluating the mission and its chief tasks. He runs over the papers on his desk and finds an item missing. "Mrs.Chitra!!" he calls out his secretary with a stern tone. His secretary comes out, and enters his office. She is wearing the standard uniform for a secretary in the agency: a scarf veil wrapped snugly around her face, a light scarf covering over the head which serves as an eye-blind, beneath that a wrap of gauze tape over the mouth *(The tape gag has Bengal glue which gives it superior adhesive qualities and no effect from water), and a shawl draped over her shoulders covering most of her upper body, and a salwar suit beneath these coverings. "Where are the maps of the Ottoman Empire you were supposed to submit. They had the drawings of key bases and administrative offices. You were supposed to hand them over two weeks ago!" . Chitra hangs her head in disappointment of herself. Her gags mean she can't retort or even reply from her voice but she can only write notes and that too must be of importance for the overseer must not be disappointed. She writes her explanation for this glitch on her scribble pad with her pen immediately. "Go and fetch it immediately you fool!" Adi Raje retorts with stern demeanor. Chitra bows and moves back into her cabin, a secluded chamber which contains a myriad of files and documents in ten separate computers. Frantically she searches for the maps her superior has asked for. The task being one not particularly easy for her arms are bound in two feet long chains fastened to a belt on her waist. Her uniform however, is enough only to give her space for basic tasks like typing on a computer and moving dossiers and handling files. Nevertheless her burdensome position as the secretary of the overseer of operations means she still gets an assistant. She rings a bell to summon her assistant. The secretary's assistant Sumitra enters the chamber. Her uniform being quite different yet similar to Chitra's. The all enveloping shawls have no provision here and the gag is different as is her veil. Since she is required to assist the secretary in filing her eyes are kept open and not further veiled and her salwar suit is both tighter and shorter than Chitra's. The standard color for both uniforms are white.

Whilst Chitra and her assistant search for the espionage maps, Adi Raje reviews another paper. This paper dealt with one of the potential foreign recruits for the Ottoman mission. Of the seven all female candidates presented to Adi Raje the one that struck him the most was a twenty five year old violin player from Ukraine named Hosiana Denko. Her biodata seemed to suggest she would be most favored for entering into the harems of the Ottoman sultan. A musician, a young and attractive female, who has extensive knowledge of the arts as well as three different languages of the Ottoman empire. Her beauty of course was exceptional as is the case with most women of the Ukraine, fabled for their surreal beauty. She had long blonde hair with braids, light blue eyes, perfectly symmetrical facial features and an exotic nose and lips, features quite typical of Ukrainian women. This made them a favorite at Ottoman palace courts. But what struck him the most was her social background from a conservative Orthodox Christian background. He knew this from his earlier studies of their ways. "Hmmm... intriguing.." he said to himself, "perhaps we have found ourselves a winner in this match". At that moment a bell rang again at his desk, it was from his secretary Chitra. She had finally found the maps Adi Raje was looking for. "Come in," he answered. "So I presume you've found the maps?!" he questioned Chitra with a stern voice as always. Chitra nodded her head and revealed a dossier containing the maps. Along with that she added a note stating that her assistant had forgotten to deliver the said maps once they were submitted to her as cause of delay. "Oh! Sumitra ey?!" exclaimed Adi Raje in frustration. "She must be punished for such callousness. The Empire does not tolerate callousness!" With this he took out a pen and paper and a pad for scribbling, wherein he wrote "Punishment accorded for delay of submission of essential espionage documents, category VII, to be given to Sumitra Palsade." He handed it over to Chitra, who promptly accepted it.

"Hand it over to the concerned authority without delay. I think we may need a temporary replacement for your assistant." Chitra had understood the bosses words and she was not even slightly pleased by their implication. Category VII punishment was awarded for only those misdeeds or errors which would presume to cause irreparable damage to the agency's operations. But then again, the gravity of the mission and its strategic importance to the Maratha empire cannot be underestimated, and even the slightest failures must be made an example of. It was for this reason that the authoritarian Adi Raje Scindhia was specifically chosen for overseeing this mission. The punishment involved, in addition to permanent demotion in ranking, a rigorous retraining at level 3 intensity, the most intense level there is. A permanent bondage suit would have to be worn by her at all times when she is not into training to be locked and controlled by the agency. In addition to this Sumitra would also be subjected to repeated use of water boarding and suffocation at certain times of the day for the first two weeks of her punishment. Throughout the day however, she would be put through a 'disciplining', training the slightest mistake of which would involve extension of the punishment as well as augmentation of the strictness of her bondage. A special hood would be permanently fastened to her impairing her speech save for moments when a voice modulator would be activated, the control again being with the agency's controllers.

"That aside there is one more task at hand Mrs Chitra," said Adi Raje. "Here is a message to be delivered to our recruitment officer stationed at Constantinople. Message it to him via secret dispatch IP address 100.07.404." Chitra took the note and bowed to her senior. "You may now leave Mrs Chitra, notify me when you've sent the message. And don't forget to deal with Sumitra accordingly. That'll be all." With that he lit his pipe and took a puff. Chitra gave another bow and left the office to her chamber. As Adi Raje stood by the window pane of his office and smoked his pipe, he looked more closely at Hosiana's pictures on her dossier, in particular her veiled pictures. The more he saw her the more his eyes gleamed with fascination and intrigue at this exotic beauty. It was beginning to manifest in his mind that the conquest of the Ottomans would now be personified by his own conquest over this most beautiful Ottoman creature.

Chapter 2
Hosiana Denko : -

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Hosiana Denko without her veils

The Ottoman conquests around the mid 17th century were re-directed away from the heartland of Europe towards the border reaches of Russia. As a result of this, the Ottomans came in regular conflict with Russia. The victories of the Ottoman empire of this time stabilized it for the future and retained its hold over the Black Sea. The whole of the Ukraine eventually came under Ottoman sovereignty except a fifth of the eastern part of the region. The result of the conquest however, was an unprecedented rapid Islamization of the people of the Ukraine. This was the first time that an Ottoman conquest resulted in proselytization of its people. However, not every province of the empire was as willing to accept Islam in their lives. Eventually the Balkans and Greece rebelled and with Russian assistance became independent sovreign nations in their own right. Egypt and Arabia too decided to demand its pound of flesh becoming partly autonomous viceroyalties under the nominal rule of the Ottoman Sultan.

The fate of Ukraine however, was not spared so easily. The period of 'Tanzimat' under the third Ottoman Sultan ensured that no less than half of the population of Ukraine would convert to Islam by at least the middle of the 19th century. Modern day Ottoman empire has morphed itself into a federation of four sovereign nations with the Ukraine being a federative viceroyalty under Turkey. The year is 2011 and the country has now attained an Islamic majority with 74% of the population being Muslim. Traditions of strict theocracy passed down the ages and into the clothing. Despite the relaxation of model codes of conduct most of the women still dress under strict Islamic fashion. The minority Orthodox Christians are no exception to this. Hosiana Denko was one among this minority of Orthodox Christians whose family managed to escape proselytization through cleverly hiding their women behind burqas or niqabs and silenced under bondage. Hosiana was born into a family of artists and musicians who had mastered the violin and woodwind instruments, a tradition handed down from interaction with Germany and Russia.

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Hosiana gagged with standard
Ukrainian gag and wearing an abaya
"Hurry up! Hosiana you're getting late! Put on your clothes fast! Don't forget the gag!" shouted Tyhorov, Hosiana's father. "Yes papa! I'm coming, wait.. I'm having some difficulty adjusting my niqab," said Hosiana as she adjusted her long dark blue abaya over her forehead to make way for the black half niqab. She had worn a long draping salwar suit and pyjamas of matching color which was the standard uniform at her institute. Around half way through with wrapping her niqab over her abaya, her father came into her room. "Let me help you with that.. but wait a minute...where's your gag?" asked Tyhorov to which Hosiana replied "Oh please papa, can't I go without the gag today?" pleaded Hosiana. "NO! Never! That is not done Hosiana! You know our family tradition. It was this gag and this veil that saved us from being converted away from the path of Christ! You will honor this as did your mother!" Hosiana sighed and with a slight sense of helplessness accepted her gag "Sigh! Okay Papa. But please you fasten it on me and softly please." With this she opened her mouth to make way for the gag. The standard Ukrainian gag was made of soft leather with a protruding plug which went into the mouth. The gag is fastened at the back of the head with a strap that can be tightened to any degree from soft to hard. The soft leather made the gag flexible and take the shape of the face covering from the bridge of the nose to the edge of the neck, encompassing the whole of the lower half of the face as well as the chin and cheeks. Tyhorov took the gag and tied it behind her back and strapped it on tight. "MMmmmhhh!" moaned Hosiana as the protrusion entered her mouth and the strap tightened behind her back. "I'm sorry my dochky... but I must tie it tightly. It is the family tradition. Moreover, I don't want my daughter being parceled off to a Sultani harem to please some oil mafia pig!" With that silence reigned and Hosiana drooped her head at her predicament. She knew as well as any other Orthodox Christian of Ukraine about the side business of the Congregation of Young Turks ( the political party that rules Turkey with an iron fist ) , they kidnap young and beautiful Orthodox Christian girls and sell them off for a hefty sum to Arab sheiks and Duvaqi royals as sex slaves.

As Hosiana and her father walked outside to the door, he paused for a moment and put his hands comfortingly on Hosiana's shoulders and gave a melancholy look. "Hosiana.. please understand.. this is for your own good. I know it's difficult to be like this. But our Ukraine is not the country it was during our ancestor's time. You must understand as a Christian Orthodox woman, you must be steadfast in defending your modesty. This gag, this veil, it is your protection against the tyranny of men. I have lost your mother in my life .. you is all I have and I can't lose you." With this tears started to roll down Hosiana's eyes. She couldn't express herself in words because of her gag but her gesture of a hug was enough to indicate the feelings inside of her. The two hugged each other one last time before Tyhorov would put on Hosiana's mandatory 'arm modesty' measures and her full enveloping burqa. "Now put your hands forward Hosiana, there's just one more piece in your dressing left." Tyhorov took a case holding Hosiana's violin with chains attached to it which can be tied to a belt at her waist. Another chain linked cuffs with the case which can be put on her as handcuff bracelets. Hosiana's father cuffs her securely and binds the case to her waist, then drapes the burqa over her covering her entire body from head to toe. Her eyesight is now limited through an ornate grille made of lacework. She is now complete in her uniform. Just then they hear a bus horn. "Oh! The bus is here and just in time too," said Tyhorov. "Now you take care of yourself Hosiana." With this he kissed her forehead and bid her goodbye. The bus had around fifty students from various other fields of music.

It is a rather special day in Kiev today, as the ambassador of the Maratha empire was due to visit the city in an effort to extend diplomacy in the Ottoman empire. But that was only the official position, the actual position was something much different. The ambassador had after all visited Ukraine on a separate visa and with a separate permission. The Maratha empire had long since considered the Ukraine to be a sovereign territory of its own with its own jurisdiction and its own autonomy in foreign affairs with no link whatsoever to the Anatolian centre. This visit was the first step towards the break up of the Ottoman Empire and the eventual annexation of Arabia. Hosiana of course was oblivious to all this, all she knew was her music and her violin and the training she received at the academy of arts. Little did she know that her fate is no longer in her hands, but in the hands of a ruthless and iron fisted overseer of the Guptachr spy agency and its surreptitious and seductive recruiter Natasha Ogmadova.

Chapter 3
The ambassador's visit : -

The Maratha ambassador, Joyonto Nath Chaudhuri, was born into Bengali aristocracy. As such the aristocracy of Bengal were great connoisseurs of the arts and in particular European classical music. The art flourished in Bengal alongside indigenous Bengali culture creating an exotic hybrid of Bengali-European art. The viceroy of Ukraine of course knew of the ambassador's preferences which is why she had assembled the most talented students of Kiev's best music academy to set up a performance for him. The relation between the viceroy, duchess of Lowie Yevgenia Birkolenko, and the ambassador is well known. The duchess is the newest in a line of thirty viceroys of Ukraine appointed from Topkaki palace by the Sultan himself! But unlike all the viceroys before her, she had a mind of her own. She would not satisfy herself being a mere insignificant pawn of the Ottoman sultanate without any power or authority, but the Ottoman framework had very little to offer in terms of power. That is where the Indian ambassador had a critical role to play. It was the practice of the Ottoman sultanate to pacify the concerns of Ukraine's Christian minority by appointing one of their own community as the viceroy of Ukraine. The ploy seemed to work well so far. But the present viceroy was in no mood for keeping this status quo and along with Ambassador Chaudhuri she would work to assert her own power.

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Viceroy Yevgenia Birkolenko
The convoy of the Maratha ambassador landed in Kiev airport. He was accompanied by his secretary and four veiled bodyguards, which was standard for most Maratha dignitaries. This was a practice carried on from the third century B.C by emperor Chandragupta Maurya who had a regular bevy of Amazonian bodyguards. The ambassador was to be greeted by the dignitaries of Ukraine led by Viceroy Yevgenia. The viceroy was in her traditional costume which was as restrictive as any other traditional Orthodox Christian wear in the Ukraine, but with some very unique modifications. The Viceroy's costume was a long orange gown with gold thread embroidery, similar but not quite the same as a traditional burqa worn by most women of Ukraine as it left the face uncovered but covered the rest of her just the same. The gown had sleeves as well, accompanied by full arm length silk gloves. The whole garment was made of the finest silk imported from Bengal.

Her face was covered with a satin mask which covered her forehead, mouth and nose revealing her eyes and eyebrows, fitting snugly over her face. One could see the enchanting features of her face and the faint outline of a gag covering her mouth. She was silent and restrained as the long gown restricted her movements to only the most elegant steps and gestures. A corset under the gown and a Victorian umbrella skirt completed her attire and gave her the most elegant appearance but contributed to restricting her movements. She was indeed a pinnacle of beauty and a model to follow for every young Ukrainian Christian girl. She was the lone example of a woman of power who could overcome her restrictions. However, her regal duties meant that she would have to work a lot, for which she still required an assistant. Her most trusted secretary was Victor Smuts. A British migrant who has made a name for himself in the Ukraine. When the ambassador landed with his convoy it was Smuts who was the first to greet him, followed by the viceroy.

“Welcome to Ukraine ambassador,” said secretary Smuts in a shrill and sly British accent. “We are honored to have you as our guest.” With this the ambassador and the secretary shook hands. “The pleasure is all mine honorable secretary. I look forward to a productive visit. But for now I have been told by your viceroy that a very pleasant surprise awaits me,” said Ambassador Chaudhuri. Yevgenia greeted the ambassador next with a gentle and elegant bow, her hands folded over her waist. “Ah viceroy Yevgenia. It is such an honor to see you after so long,” the ambassador gave her a kiss on her hand. The viceroy gave one more bow before proceeding ahead. The students of the music academy would greet the ambassador next with garlands and the present of a gold and diamond bracelet. Hosiana was one of them. The ambassador was a handsome man around six feet tall, with a gentlemanly Oxfordshire accent and charming demeanor. No woman could resist his appeal and definitely not the women of Ukraine. He was a definite hit with the women of the country and more particularly so with its viceroy. One couldn't say the same for the Ottoman authorities at Constantinople though, but there was little they could do anymore. The ramshackle Ottoman empire was but breathing its last, and one whiff would have it crumbling down into an abyss, and enforcing their sovereign right was the first casualty. Ottoman authority now did not extend far beyond Anatolia and Thrace over which it was still tight.

The dignitaries moved on after the initial greetings were made and the speech delivered. A state limousine awaited them to take them to the P. I . Tchaikovskogo institute of music where the viceroy had arranged for a special treat for the ambassador, a four hour extravaganza of European classical music. Hosiana and her classmates took the bus back to the institute to get ready for the performance. Her instrument was the violin. After a two hours ride in the limousine the dignitaries finally reached their destination, whilst the student bus took a shorter route and arrived half an hour earlier. “Ah we're here!” exclaimed secretary Smuts. “This is the P.I Tchaikovskogo academy of music. We have organized a musical extravaganza for you ambassador featuring classical music. There will be Bach and Beethoven this afternoon,” explained secretary Smuts with a coy smile on his face. “Oh what a splendid surprise! I am sure this was Yevgenia's plan?” “But yes of course your excellency, she took very special concern for your taste in music,” replied Smuts. “Then you have my debt of gratitude duchess.” Yevgenia smiled with her eyes, gave a small nod and her hand touched the ambassador's lap. It was training for royalty to speak as much as possible through simple gestures. It was considered a sign of sophistication for them to be able to do so. The ambassador having been educated from Britain understood these quite intrinsically. His knowledge of Europe made him a favorite of the Marathas. He understood every gesture that the viceroy made. They walked into the grand hall of the academy which had a thirty feet high ceiling decorated with gilded patterns and ornate designs on the walls. It was indeed what it claimed to be, one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole of the Ottoman empire. In the meantime, the students were getting ready backstage.

Hosiana and her best friends came backstage to get ready. She was playing the violin while her two friends were playing the clarinet and flute respectively. Quite logically though, keeping in line with Ukrainian customs, there was segregation between men and women. It was not usual for women with their gags and veils to be able to play woodwind instruments, and most of them were being played by the male half of the orchestra, but Hosiana's friends were from that rare breed of women who were trained to play these instruments despite their veils and gags. They exchanged notes and readied their instruments for the play. One last check up of the tunes to be played before actually performing. Hosiana was tensed as were her friends. This was a performance which demanded skill and expertise. She and her friends were of course the best in class, but even the best sometimes falter.

The very next moment their instructor told them to come on stage with their instruments in their hands. Hosiana was ready with her violin. The violin did not require her to be unveiled or ungagged, so she kept them on. What it required was only that she be ungloved so she can feel the strings of the violin and grasp the device properly. There were about a total of 150 people in the hall, all government officers and courtiers and officials from the Maratha embassy, including of course the viceroy, her secretary , the ambassador and his convoy. They had the best seat at the VIP corner. The ambassador was full of glee and excitement to see the performance of the students and hear an extravaganza of classical music. It started with compositions by Bach for the first half hour. For four hours the ambassador would be entertained to the beauty and grace of orchestra. By the end of it he was clearly enthralled. For the hours that the music played, the ambassador was lost away in ecstasy and art. The students and Hosiana in particular had proven their skills in the art. This performance was important for all the students involved as it would fetch them extra credits, and perhaps even the chance for a double promotion. However, there was another reward in store for Hosiana, one that would change her life forever.

Throughout the time that Hosiana was away from home she was being tracked by Natasha Ogmadova. She was there at the hall when they were playing music. After the performance they went to their classes in the institute to await an announcement from their instructor. Hosiana exchanged notes with her friends “That was a good performance, wasn't it?” she wrote to Galina. “Yes it was, but it left us wood-winders breathless :P,” Galina replied. “Owww.. maybe you should've taken the violin instead .. hehe,” wrote Hosiana. “Ha ha very funny .. by the way, you played your's very nicely too. In fact I'd say it was the best violin performance in the whole band!” wrote Yulia in flattery. All that Hosiana replied to this was “*blush*”. At that moment the instructor entered and called out for Hosiana. A bit surprised Hosiana rose up a little shaky. “Hosiana Denko, there is someone who wants to meet you. It would appear that your performance was most excellent today, you have done all of us proud. But one guest in particular was extremely impressed. Hosiana, meet Natasha Ogmadova.”

Chapter 4
Natasha Ogmadova: -

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Natasha Ogmadova
And there stood Natasha Ogmadova, the recruiter for the Guptachr spy agency. “Hello Hosiana, nice to meet you,” she said in a thick Russian accent. The reply startled Hosiana, as did the appearance of Natasha. She wasn't wearing the usual Ukrainian attire of khimars, niqabs or burqas. Instead she wore a rather loose garment of silk and her face covering was a silken bag-like hood! One could well see the contours of her body. On top of this she wasn't even gagged and spoke freely! Clearly, this was a woman very different than any Hosiana had come upon. It is unusual for women of Ukraine to wear anything like this. Immediately she concluded she must be foreign but from where? Her master continued with the introduction of Natasha “Hosiana, Natasha is form Turkey and works for the musical association at Smyrna. She has come with a proposal for you and other exemplary students such as yourself for interning with them.” Hosiana's eyes lit up with excitement but her gag prevented her from expressing herself. Natasha explained to Hosiana,“Well as you know the musical association brings together some of the finest talents in the whole of the Ottoman empire. But after the departure of some of our violinists we are in need of new ones to fill the places. So my job has been to search for such violinists and focussing on budding talent in the Ukraine. You Hosiana, are one among only three who have been selected for an internship. It will of course be a learning experience for you over there, and what's more you will be performing for the Sultan himself. If that weren't enough there's a stipend at the end of the term.” Hosiana's excitement suddenly died down. The 'Sultan' was a word of dread for Ukrainian women. It was known fact that the women of the Ukraine were renowned for their beauty and were the target of enslavement for his harem. “Of course, I do not expect you to respond to us immediately. But do consider it,” continued Natasha. “Here is my card with my number. If you ever wish to take this opportunity please call me. I will make for an appointment and pass on your application for an internship. Here is a brochure.” Saying this Natasha handed over her business card and brochure to Hosiana and went on: “It was good meeting you Hosiana, and you too Professor. But before we part there is one other business I'd like to discuss with you.” “You may leave now Hosiana,” the professor told Hosiana.

Hosiana held the card in her hand and pondered over whether to go or not. Several thoughts were ringing in her head at the same time. On one hand she was being recognized for her performance and being offered a prestigious internship, on the other hand she'll be performing for the one every good Ukrainian was brought up to hate! Back in the class her friends were eager to know what transpired and started exchanging notes with one another. “What was it Hosiana? Who was it?” asked Galina. “Internship :) “ is what Hosiana wrote in reply “To whom where?” replied Galina. “What kind of internship?” asked Yulia. Hosiana showed them the brochure. “Oh I know this place! It is from Smyrna, it is really a good place, you should go there Hosiana,” wrote Galina. “Yes I agree with Galina,” wrote Yulia seeing the brochure. “What's more ! They're paying you a 1000 dinar stipend ! That's huge !” Hosiana agreed but she still expressed her reservations: “I don't want to have to perform for the Sultan. I feel scared of it. What if they take me.....” Hosiana's hands shivered a bit while writing the last line. “Look, it says here that it's only optional. I don't think it's compulsory you have to go to the Sultan,” she pointed out the items in the brochure. “I still don't feel comfortable... I will talk with my father about this let's see if he will agree,” wrote Hosiana. Eventually the bus was ready and the students left for their homes.

Chapter 5
The decision : -

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Who is this burqa woman?
By the evening the bus reached Hosiana's residence. The internship proposal from Natasha was still on her mind. She still didn't know whether to take it or not and what would await her at the other side. Entering her home there was a small surprise awaiting her. As she opened the door she was being greeted by two people, her father and a female figure draped in a burqa. “Ah Hosiana, guess who has come to stay with us,” her father said with a grin. Hosiana looked a bit perplexed. “Mmmmh?” she moaned indicating her gag. “Oh, of course you're gagged, come in and freshen up then we'll introduce you to our guest”. Once Hosiana came inside her gag was removed along with her veils and her arms freed. “Phew! What a relief..” Hosiana sighed. “Now who is it? Tell me?” she asked. “Aha! But that's the trick you'll have to guess. Until you guess who she is she'll be veiled like this. Oh yes and she is gagged too, so don't expect her to say anything either,” said Tyhorov with a smirk smile. “Haha funny game papa... ok I will freshen up now.” Hosiana went to take a shower. Ukraine is not a particularly hot country however, wearing a burqa for 5 hours on end and being gagged for just as long can be tedious. Her body was tired, her mind strained and her eyes dreary from work. She desperately needed a nice cool shower. Hosiana undressed slowly from all her coverings and immersed herself in a filled bath tub. After half an hour's cool bath, she came out in her home wear which was far more simple than her outdoor wear.

Although tradition dictated that Ukrainian Christians be modest at all times, over time the restrictions were relaxed at home and women were free to wear whatever they wanted, as long as it didn't show too much skin and the hair was covered. Hosiana slipped into a long sleeved shirt, a pair of trousers and wrapped a headscarf over her head. “Ok so now for last time who is it!?” Hosiana asked her father “I will only give you a hint.. she is from the village,” replied her father. “Now do you know who ?” Hosiana thought for a second who it could be. Could it be an old friend? Or perhaps a relative? Then it struck her. There was no old friend from the village, but her older sister, who visits once a year, lived with her grandmother there, but she used to come in August and it is March now? Could this be an early visit? “Olga? Is that you?...” asked Hosiana with a slight smile on her lips, and her eyebrows raised in excitement.. In reply Tyhorov just gave a smile. “Show her your face,” he asked the veiled woman. She opened her burqa revealing an inner veil with an outline of a ball gag. Her eyes were covered too. “So much covering?...” questioned Hosiana but after another few seconds, her face was revealed in full, only the gag remaining. “Ira ?!” Hosiana was surprised to find that it wasn't in fact her older sister Olga but her younger sister Irina whom she lovingly called 'Ira'. She was also from 'the village' but a different one, it was on the East side of the city where their uncle lived. “Oh my God! Ira.. I'm so happy to see you again where have you been, why were you away!?” with this Hosiana gave a big hug to Ira. “I planned a surprise with papa,” replied Ira. “Well we had one month holiday at the training camp and I decided to come by here.” Irina was listed in the armed forces as a cadet. While the women soldiers did veil themselves with a balaclava they never wore a burqa nor gagged themselves, but wore a normal soldiers uniform. Irina was a much more feisty girl who earlier could put down men much stronger than her. Quite the contrast of gentile Hosiana who had been bullied at school more than once. Which is why it was all the more surprising to see her in such strict garments. “But tell me why are you dressed like this Ira? I mean burqa, gag, double coverage? What's the reason?” asked Hosiana. There was a slight chuckle from Tyhorov and Irina blushed. “It was papa's idea..” “Hehe I thought to see if you could guess who it was which is why I let her wear some of your clothes and put one of your gags on her and let you guess.” Everybody in the room had a good laugh. “Oh your pranks again papa.... but we'll return the favor some time,” said Hosiana. “Well I have a little surprise of my own.” “Wait, let me go and change first,” said Ira. “What is the surprise Hosiana?” asked her father. “Well .. let Irina come back and I will tell you then.”

Half an hour later all three were together in the lounge when Hosiana showed the proposal for internship to the musical association. “So what exactly is this?” asked Tyhorov in a rather stern voice, noticing that it was in Turkey. “This was a proposal for an internship which was given to me at my college. I will be away for six months to work and live among very talented musicians. It will be a very educational experience for me, and there is a stipend at the end of it,” said Hosiana. “Hey it's a thousand dinar! That's huge!” exclaimed Ira. “If I were you I'd take it.” “But the fact is my darling you are not her and she is not you,” said Tyhorov interrupting Irina. “It says here you may be performing for the Sultan?...” Asked Tyhorov in a very questioning tone. “That is the reason I did not say yes to the ma'am who came to us today.” “And what was her name?” “Her name was ....” Hosiana took out the card from her drawer. “Her name was Natasha Ogmadova”. This made Tyhorov think a little bit. “Hmm a Russian.. a Muslim Russian at that.” Hosiana grew more anxious with each observation her father made. “It seems interesting yet ...” Tyhorov said thinking “It was good that you did not just say yes outright and asked for my permission. Honestly this stipend is the main thing that would let me allow you to go there, otherwise the whole thing seems somewhat fishy. I particularly don't like this Sultan business,” her father concluded. “But let her go for once, and let her do what she pleases papa,” pleaded Irina. “No! I could entrust you with that but not Hosiana. Even less after losing your mother! I will let you go but first I will like a word with this Natasha Ogmadova,” Tyhorov finally concluded. Hosiana called up Natasha and gave the phone to her father who fixed an appointment with her for tomorrow. All settled it seemed that Hosiana will be allowed to go to Turkey after all.

The meeting and an accident at the airport : -

In the morning Hosiana and Tyhorov went to the office of Natasha Ogmadova. She was temporarily in the branch office of the association at Hosiana's college, so there was no problem finding the place. Hosiana was in her usual uniform which included her gag, her burqa and an additional inner veil which she wore at certain occasions. Hosiana and her father went to the office after her first session in college was over for the appointment. There Natasha greeted them. “Ah Hosiana and Tyhorov I presume, please come in,” she welcomed them speaking in her thick Russian accent which was identifiable despite the muffling of the inner veils. “You look rather surprised Mr Tyhorov, what is the matter?” she asked a decidedly surprised Mr Tyhorov Denko. “Well in the Ukraine it is very unusual to see women work as freely and without a gag as well to speak with strangers like you are doing now. I am a bit surprised by that actually. Also your attire...”said Tyhorov. “I understand. It is indeed quite a different world for me to find here too. In fact I normally do not cover my face but here there were customs. Thankfully, the Ottoman authorities do not require for foreigners to dress in the same manner as locals. I wouldn't have been able to speak in that case now, would I,” replied Natasha with a slight smirk on her face.

“Well this is regarding the internship Mrs Ogmadova,” said Tyhorov. “Well I have a few doubts honestly, see I don't feel secure sending my daughter to Turkey all by herself. The mentioning in your brochure about performing for the Ottoman Sultan too is a bit difficult for me to digest. But understanding my daughter's liking for the offer and the stipend I would like to let her go there and learn. But to accept I have a request.” To this Natasha replied “Mr Denko, we have a complete sense of security for our interns and members, you need not worry about that. Regarding your worries about her performing for the Ottoman Sultan, I can't imagine the reasons, but I assure you your fears are unfounded. It is not usual for us to take requests but I will consider it after I've heard what you have in mind.” Natasha had unnerved Tyhorov even more, the thick Russian accent and the demeanor made him softer. “ Well I would like if somebody could go with her, is what I was asking for actually,” said Tyhorov in a very nervous tone. “Is that all?” Tyhorov nodded. “Well, then it isn't a problem. I shall be accompanying her. My time here was only temporary in any case, and my commission with the Tchaikovskogo institute ends with this month. I will be returning to Smyrna boarding the same plane as Hosiana. You needn't worry, she shall be safe.” With that Natasha closed the matter. “Then it is settled. Welcome to the Musical Association Hosiana. You will find this stay will be quite a learning experience for you. This time next month you will be in Smyrna working with some of the finest talents in the empire. Thank you for your cooperation Mr Denko, your daughter will be grateful for you giving her this opportunity.” It will indeed be an educational experience, but the outcome will be something neither Tyhorov nor Hosiana would ever have expected.

A month later the day came when Hosiana would be leaving for Smyrna. A plane ticket was arranged for her and all formalities completed. Hosiana's sister and father came to bid her farewell. “Take care of yourself Hosiana. And please be with her always Mrs Natasha,” said Tyhorov pointing to both Hosiana and Natasha. “Don't worry your daughter is in safe hands Mr Denko. I can't imagine why she's gagged though but all the same well enough.” With that Natasha and Hosiana went ahead. After the baggage check-in Tyhorov lost sight of the girls. All the formalities were taken care of by Natasha. It was however after the security check-in that the switch of plans took place. The day before the flight, Natasha had notified her superiors back in India on the commencement of the operation as well as updated them on the security of the ambassador. Two agents of the guptachr were present at the airport tailing Natasha and Hosiana. At the waiting area Natasha carried out her plan to leave Hosiana alone “I'll just go and get us some refreshments. I will be back in a moment okay?” said Natasha, to which Hosiana nodded. Her gag was fitted with a small hole through which a pipe could fit in and she could drink. Natasha of course had no objections to opening her face mask completely if needed.

While Natasha was away the two agents came up to Hosiana from behind. Amoment later she felt the piercing of a needle on her shoulder and two big strong hands were holding her two arms. Her gag prevented her from screaming. There weren't many waiting for this flight. The waiting area was largely empty save for the three of them. It was a perfect scenario for the kidnap to take effect. The next step was to take her to the restroom to get her changed. There they were met by Natasha. Next she was stripped of her burqa and her gag replaced. Her hands were tied behind her back with handcuffs and her elbows cinched. The new gag was a white elastoplast tape gag with bengal adhesive which would last 8 hours, the entire duration of the flight to Punyanagari. She was given new clothing, Indian clothing this time. A saree was draped over her and on top of that two long scarves were fitted. One was laid over her entire head also covering her eyes, and another wrapped in Punyari style leaving her eyes uncovered but snugly covering the rest of her face. The 2nd long scarf was large enough to cover her entire upper body up to her waist leaving no evidence of her tied hands. The injection had a sleeping serum which would knock her out for the next 3 hours, enough time to miss the flight to Smyrna and take the flight to India via a private jet. When the time came the agents led by Natasha went to the chartered flight to India. There her recruitment would be complete and her training can begin.

Hosiana masked and gagged in the plane
Around an hour into the flight Hosiana regained consciousness. She opened her eyes to a blurred vision which was caused by a white gauze. It felt like soft cotton and was easily breathable. She saw that she was wearing different clothes, a green saree, but realized soon she couldn't move her hands normally because they were bound to a chair as were her feet. She looked around and saw she was in an airplane cabin, and from what she could make out a rather luxurious one. In front of her she saw the blurred vision of a woman wearing black silken clothes, but without hood and veils, and holding a glass of wine in her hand while sitting cross-legged. Eventually she recognized it was Natasha but in a completely different incarnation. “Hosiana Denko,” said Natasha, “you are now going to be recruited to the Guptachr spy agency of the Maratha empire.” These words boggled Hosiana's mind and with a deep breath she tried to speak out and demand to know what was happening, but her gag made sure what would come out was only a loud 'mmmph'. “Don't bother screaming Hosiana, no one can hear you in mid-air,” said Natasha in a sarcastic tone. “Once we land in India you will be trained to be a covert operative for the agency and will be sent to Turkey. There you shall work for the Sultan's harem as his concubine.” Hearing this Hosiana got agitated and shocked, her worst fears were coming true. She struggled against the straps on her arms and feet, “hmmmhmhmhmmmph!!” she moaned in agony knowing what fate awaited her. “It has come to our information that the Sultan, who as you should know is also the supreme commander of the armed forces of the Ottoman empire, has strategic maps and documents in his palace. These maps and documents are of interest to us as we believe that they hold secret information about the military machinery of the empire. Our intentions are to gain these informations and get access to the inner decision making circles of the regime. Our past attempts at this have hitherto failed leaving us with this one alternative. The Sultan's greatest weakness is for women and his penchant for debauchery. His specific tastes were taken into account when selecting you as candidate. There are of course many more details which shall be disclosed to you in your full briefing once we land in India.” As Natasha explained these details of the mission tears rolled down the eyes of Hosiana, her father's and her own suspicions were coming shockingly true. She was meant to attend to one of the premier musical associations in Turkey, instead by all accounts it seems she will be converted into a slut for debauched royalty! A humiliation which every Christian Ukrainian fought and defended against. This was how her mother was lost and now her. Natasha of course noticed her emotional pain and attempted to soothe her with a cryptic message “Don't worry Hosiana, you shall see once you land all your efforts will be rewarded for at the end of the mission there is a special gift for you which I know you will appreciate.” Hosiana didn't seem even slightly relaxed, then Natasha said “We know where your mother is. And if you complete this mission for us successfully you will be reunited with her.” These words startled Hosiana and suddenly she started to think twice about the mission and the cost of it. Would she really get back her dearly departed mother? What fate awaits her in India? She had only once heard of this exotic country where elephants and tigers roam, but she also knew of it from the negative propaganda talking of the land of Hindu 'kafirs' where Muslims lead an existence worse than animals. Personally she did not mind the negative reputation, Christians and Muslims haven't exactly gotten along well in the Ukraine either. Now it seems that India shall decide her fate and that of her family, and possibly millions of people in her homeland.

The story is continued in Part 2 - The journey to India.

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