Aunt Lydia describes how Commander Judd had summoned her for a meeting earlier in the day. She believes that he considers her “the embodiment of his will.” Commander Judd reported that his Wife was suffering some affliction of the internal organs. Aunt Lydia offered to arrange a consultation at the Calm and Balm Clinic at Ardua Hall. Commander Judd declined the offer, and Aunt Lydia suspected that his Wife would die soon, putting him in search of another young bride.
Commander Judd told Aunt Lydia that the Canadian government had officially ruled Aunt Adrianna’s death a suicide. Gilead’s official response would be that the Canadian government was covering up Mayday terrorist activities. Aunt Lydia praised the official response despite knowing the real story. Aunt Sally, who had served with Aunt Adrianna as a Pearl Girl in Toronto, had come to see her immediately upon returning to Ardua Hall. Aunt Sally had explained that Aunt Adrianna had suddenly attacked her and that she had killed her in self-defense. Aunt Sally also suspected that Melanie and Neil’s daughter may have been Baby Nicole. Once she confirmed that Aunt Sally hadn’t told anyone else about her experiences in Canada, Aunt Lydia sent her to the Margery Kempe Retreat House, where she would be drugged into oblivion.
Commander Judd explained that the Eyes discovered among Neil’s possessions a microdot camera, an old technology once used to print information on easily concealable microscopic dots. He suspected that someone in Gilead was using the same technology to communicate with Mayday operatives, and Aunt Lydia pledged that they would “outfox Mayday yet.”
Aunt Lydia returns to the story of her arrest. She describes the unsanitary conditions of the stadium and its restrooms, which reduced the women to subhuman animals. Each day more women were executed, and one afternoon Aunt Lydia noticed women among those performing the executions. On the sixth night, guards took Anita, and men came for Aunt Lydia the following night. The men escorted her to a former police station, where she met Commander Judd. He asked her if she would cooperate, and she said she couldn’t agree without knowing more details.
He ordered her sent to the “Thank Tank” for solitary confinement. After an unknown period of time, men came and beat her. Sometime later guards took her from the cell and brought her to a luxury hotel room. She recuperated there for three days, at the end of which she found laid out for her a garment that she recognized from seeing it on the female shooters at the stadium. Not knowing what else to do, she put it on.
Agnes describes the preparations leading up to her betrothal. One evening, Paula called her into the living room, where Commander Kyle, Aunt Vidala, and another woman named Aunt Gabbana awaited her. Aunt Gabbana, who specialized in mediating marriage proposals, physically examined Agnes. She declared her ready to marry despite being only thirteen.