Not the Brightest Idea
A series of quick raps against Nikki's cell alerted her presence to another inmate. Most screws didn't have the tact to be so polite, usually they tended to push the door open without much aplomb. Nikki had decided to stay close to her cell since the Peckham Boot Gang took it upon themselves to bully a large portion of the inmates on G-Wing. Yvonne poked her head around the open door. "Nik?"
"Come in, Yvonne. Gods you're a sight for sore eyes."
"Nikki, I don't want to alarm you, but the mod squad are back." The sound of chaos erupting outside on the wing confirmed that.
"What for this time?" Nikki was more than a little indignant. What had started out as a peaceful sit-in demonstration on the floor of the wing to protest the handling of one of the foreign prisoners had quickly resulted in an all-out riot thanks to the Peckham three.
"Your Miss Stewart came onto the wing a few moments ago with just one other officer."
"Yes, so?" She'd let the comment about Helen being hers slide. Nikki'd been frustrated by Helen pretty solidly placing the blame for the riot on Nikki's shoulders. It hadn't been an easy few weeks since Helen had yet again put the brakes on their relationship.
"So, Maxi and her band of idiots grabbed her and hauled Miss Stewart into their cell. They're holding her hostage until their demands are met. The screw was knocked out."
While Nikki couldn't give a toss about the other screw, she still loved Helen. Yvonne hadn't seen anyone move so fast as Nikki had just then. The tall brunette pushed past Yvonne and out the door of her cell, and quickly moved down the stairs. Almost as suddenly as she'd arrived down on G1, she'd stopped. Or rather had been stopped by the other screws that had come on to the wing.
"Where's the fire, Wade?" old Bodybag asked with contempt. "Where do you think you're going?"
"Miss Stewart is in a lot of trouble because of you."
"Oi, Miss, Nikki didn't do nothin' to cause that," Julie Saunders piped up.
"No, nothin'," Julie Johnson added in.
"Oh, and I suppose she didn't start the riot either." Sylvia 'Bodybag' Hollamby, quipped her usual manner.
"No, Sylvia, she didn't," Yvonne added, placing specific emphasis on Hollamby's first name, solely to piss her off.
Nikki was pretty much stuck where she was. As much as she hated having to take a back seat while the woman she loved was held hostage by fellow inmates, there was no sense in getting either herself or Helen into more trouble by revealing the nature of their relationship. She had to wait out the screws getting Helen out safe and sound. It was going to be the hardest wait she'd ever been through. Multiple scenarios ran through her head about what Maxi and Al might do to Helen. Each scenario worse than the previous. It wasn't setting her mind at ease at all. She needed a cigarette, a drink, something to calm her.
A brief break in the commotion as Wing Governor Karen Betts arrived on the wing.
"What's going on here?" Karen Betts asked one of the officers.
"I'd have thought that was blindingly obvious," Nikki responded. "Didn't they tell you?"
"Wade, mind your own business," Hollamby interjected as she sauntered her way over, pretending for all the world she was boss.
"No. I was in a meeting. My secretary just stated I was needed down on the wing immediately."
"The Peckham gang are holding Miss Stewart hostage in their cell," Yvonne called out. Nikki was beside her just shaking. Yvonne didn't think her friend could have spoken any further at the moment if her life depended on it. She'd never seen her so worried.
"What the hell? Why didn't anybody tell me before this?"
"It only just happened, Ma'am. How are we supposed to know where you are every minute of the day?"
"Sylvia, you're digging yourself in deeper. I don't care where I am, you page me, call me, do whatever it takes. Now will somebody, please, tell me what happened?"
Barbara Hunt, another of Nikki's friends stepped forward. Even though it was generally looked down on by all inmates grassing on another to the screws, majority of those present liked and respected Helen Stewart. She was still considered a screw, she was one that many of the inmates could count on to help out when she could. Help push the boundaries when it was needed. And this time she'd come to speak with Barbara herself.
"She was on her way to talk to me about something. She'd come onto the wing with Miss Rossi. Before she had a chance to reach me, the Peckham three cornered her and pushed her into their cell. But not before knocking Miss Rossi unconscious."
"Than you, Barbara." Karen turned towards the other officers. "What are they asking for?"
"What do you mean, what are they asking for?" Hollamby asked.
"What are they holding her hostage for? Surely they've asked for something." Karen shook her head. Hollamby was going to be the death of her yet. The woman was incredibly obtuse.
"How the hell am I supposed to know? Asking cons what they want..." Apparently Bodybag forgot who she was speaking to. "Next thing they'll want is breakfast hand delivered to them every morning,"she muttered under her breath.
"Yes, and you'll be first in line to deliver them." This caused quite a few not-so-muffled laughs from surrounding inmates and officers alike. Bodybag just stalked off in the other direction.
Karen Betts walked over in the direction of Maxi Purvis's cell. She looked through the peep hole before she knocked, just to be sure of where the inmates inside were positioned, and where Helen Stewart was located. Karen unlocked the cell door and opened it once she knew where everyone was.
"Helen, are you all right?"
"Fine, so far. Aside from the initial pushing they really haven't laid a hand on me."
Nikki put her head down and breathed in a deep shuddering breath and let it out again. A quick raise of her head in prayer to whatever deity looked over her was sent out to make sure Helen remained safe. Yvonne and Barbara wrapped arms around Nikki.
"Good. Now what is it they're asking for."
"The usual, fags, phone cards, to get out of Larkhall."
"Oh well, if that's all..."
"No, it's not all, Miss," Maxi walked right up to Karen and emphasized the 'Miss'.
"You don't scare me, Maxine Purvis." Karen also used deliberate intonation of the prisoner's full name when addressing her. "You must also know by holding hostage the Governing Governor and the assault on officer Gina Rossi you will all have extra time put onto your sentence, you, Al and Tina will be sent to the block for a month." Karen looked out onto the wing where some more of her officers had gathered. They came up to the cell door as Karen ushered Helen Stewart out of the cell.
"You three can take them down the block," Karen directed them.
"That ended rather painlessly," one of the other inmates intoned.
"Yeah, not like the last time with Shell and Mr. Fenner."
"Pipe down. We'll deal with everything a bit later. Just hang on tight unless you want to be banged up for the next few hours."
"No, Miss," the inmates spoke almost in unison. Most of the inmates broke up into their little groups. Before Helen had a chance to leave the wing, she and Nikki shared a quick but meaningful glance. Nikki started to walk towards her.
"Not now, Nikki. I'll talk to you later. Let Barbara know I'll talk with her later as well." Helen nodded her head then left the wing with Karen.
"Yes, Miss." Nikki stood still as she watched the two women leave, followed by a loudly protesting Maxi, Tina and Al. Not one to pass by an opportunity, Nikki goaded, "Well, that was a brilliant idea, wasn't it, Maxi? Not in the door two days and your getting time added to your sentence."
"I'll get you, you interferring bitch!"
"Oh, that's really intelligent."
"Knock it off, Nikki," Mark Waddle spoke as he walked across with a jostling Al McKenzie in his hold.
"Yeah, yeah." Nikki spoke before heading back to talk to Barbara and Yvonne. They walked back over to Nikki and Barbara's cell on G1.
"Are you all right, Nikki?" Barbara asked. She knew of Nikki and Helen's relationship, but also knew the dangers of such knowledge amongst the others. And she knew the restraint it must have taken Nikki not to want to go bust down Maxi's cell and rescue Helen herself.
"I think so. Gods I was so relieved when I could see that she hadn't been hurt in any way. I don't know what I..."
"Don't think like that."
"I'll try. Thanks."
"I think I've got something to help your nerves." From the back of her closet space she pulled from a bag a bottle of scotch.
"Barbara Hunt. You are one devious woman," Yvonne commented with a big grin on her face. "Where did you get that?"
"Cleaning up the screw's office."
"Won't they know it's missing?"
"I somehow doubt it. It wasn't the only bottle there if you know what I mean."
"Cheers to bent screws." They sat around in the cell talking about the various happenings over the past week, as they tried to wind down from the short-lived hostage crisis.