The following is the personal log of Lieutenant Conrad Feldman. This man has been court-martialed for failure to obey a lawful order, cowardice in the face of the enemy, and conduct unbecoming an officer of the Confederacy. Our review of this log shows that many of his faults and failures are highlighted in his own words and this log is being distributed to all personnel so they might review his actions and then improve their own behavior in the future. Consider this a lesson in how not to behave as an officer.
Conrad's Log - One Month after pickup. - Recorded at lunchtime
Finally this stupid transport is arriving at my new home. I've tried wandering the halls a few times, but everyone hides in their pods and I'm getting a bit tired of having only Lilith and Martha to play with. At least they put out without complaint. But where is the fun in having a girl who just lies there half the time. They could at least show the same gratitude they did when I first selected them back at that basketball game. Now they just sit silently all the time.
Hopefully I can find some new pussy on the planet. I don't think I'm going to trade the girls in, but perhaps bringing in a new girl and showing that they aren't the only two women I can fuck might get a bit more energy out of them.
It's strange though. I thought they would be dropping the pod down to the planet, after all that's what this bloody thing did at some earlier stop, but instead they just announced that the transport is going to dock at a station and that we would need to walk to a teleport center. And I finally got this place just right! The bed is perfect with the ties I use to secure Martha before I fuck her tight ass. She hates that and I love to hear her complain as her body orgasms. Lilith likes it too much though, so I need to find a new trick to use on her. Maybe I'll go with a larger cock, I had mine made nine inches long with a decent girth, but I could go for twelve inches, it would serve Lilith right since the tiny little girl already complains that I hit her cervix. She hates the fact that I made her only five foot one, but it did take her down a peg after that first night in the pod when she was so happy to have a sponsor who was shorter than she was.
Well, the AI reported that it's time for us to walk to this teleport room. Martha and Lilith are standing by the door with their eyes on the floor like good concubines, so I should get going.
Conrad's Log - One Month after pickup - recorded at dinnertime
What shit was that? Following the instructions of the announcement, I led my sluts out to the location we were told would be a teleport pad. But when we got to the location, there stood a line of citizens. Most at least appeared to understand that concubines have no place in a line of citizens and had them standing against the wall, but the man in front of me had his arms around the waists of his two concubines and was actually kissing them. Disgusting to show them any affection, that's not why we have them.
It was worse once the line passed through the door and I could see what was going on. Some man in a uniform I'd never seen before waited for the last citizen to file in and then nodded and spoke.
"Thank you, I am Tribune Octavian Walesca. I'm in charge of Civil Service on Borneo. I know most of you have never heard of the Civil Service, so I'll make the explanation simple. I handle all the civilian and concubine affairs on the planet. If you die, I'm the one who has to explain to your concubines that they have no home, unless you prearrange to transfer them upon your death, something I very much recommend. However, today, I'm here because Admiral Himmel and General Montgomery want a human deciding where you are going to live on Borneo."
I heard some idiot shout a question. "I thought we all lived in one location."
The Tribune just looked in the voice's direction for a moment and then scowled. "You obviously didn't read up on your new home. Borneo has multiple townships. Many have no special rules or features, but some are irregular. Your commanders feel that giving everyone a place that can be a community helps increase morale. But that means I have to decide where your pod goes. The AI is perfect if I just want you dropped into a random empty location, but it doesn't check to see if it's dropping a square peg in one of our round holes."
There was muttering, and I looked back at Lilith and Martha who had followed my orders to kneel with their backs against the rear wall of the room. They hadn't reacted to the news, so I looked around at the troubled faces of my fellow citizens. The muttering lasted for a minute and then the Tribune held up a hand.
"I'll make it simple, I'm going to call you one by one, and when I do you can stand up. For most of you, I'll then send you towards the teleporter and the Phosphor will drop your pod. In a few cases I'll have some additional questions before your pod can be dropped."
This was a joke and I spent my time looking around as the Tribune called out several names. It seemed that his story of needing to ask questions meant little since he never did more than look at someone and then waved them towards the teleporter when I heard him call out. "Feldman, Conrad!"
I stood up without a word and saluted, although the Tribune merely waved off my salute. "Sorry, I can see you are marked for the Pebble Beach. Head to the door to my right and bring your concubines." He then said something quietly to the AI.
I turned to glare at Lilith and Martha, and the two ladies jumped to their feet. I smiled for a moment. They had been in their mid-thirties back on Earth. Unmarried secretaries who just happened to be at the game when the pickup started. I'd given them younger toned bodies and both were still adjusting to their new looks. I was thinking of how I might punish them for whatever they must have done when the AI spoke, apparently answering a question from Octavian. "Mary is on her way. Do you want anyone else to come?"
I was walking to the location when the tribune spoke again. "Can I get someone from Theresa's household? There likely will be a few women who can be placed in the Bewu Township and the ladies know the general atmosphere there."
I had reached the door that the Tribune had ordered me to walk through as the AI answered. "I have contacted the household. David is not available, but Monica is willing to show up and see if she can help."
Lilith's giggle caused me to turn away and I missed the answer from the Tribune. Instead I looked into the room to discover that it contained a number of chairs. My concubines were waiting for my order and I waved towards the left wall. "Find a chair and get behind it," I growled.
I turned back to the room, but the Tribune had resumed calling out names so I followed my girls and claimed the chair in front of them. I sat silently with my thoughts as occasional men and women entered the room to claim chairs, eventually there were sixteen of us waiting for the Tribune to enter.
It must have been about three hours before The Tribune finally entered the room. Two women who had not been with him when I left the first meeting chamber followed him. I stared at the women in surprise as neither was wearing a uniform.
The one on his left was short and blond, but still surprisingly pretty. She was wearing a blue mini-skirt and halter-top and looked around the room, nodding to a few of the concubines. The one on his right was wearing a vest that appeared to be made out of the material used in football jerseys. The top was black and had a pink sixty-nine on it. I felt a bit surprised to see that she was only wearing black thong panties below the top. Her long red hair almost reached the floor and swung widely as she looked around the room, paying close attention to the three females in uniform.
I was about to say something, but Tribune Walesca raised his hand. "Let's not make this last longer with questions. I know you want to find your new homes and get settled in. I'll start with the ladies since there are three of you." He turned to the redhead. "Monica, any suggestions?"
To my surprise the redhead giggled. "You're asking me? Theresa or Sophie might be a better advocate for our township." She pulled a piece of her hair and chewed on it for a moment as if thinking and then shrugged. "Oh hell! I guess I've watched David enough. Ladies, the question for you is simple. The powers that be have set up a small township with only female-led households and there are a few vacancies. Most of the ladies are lesbian or at least prefer women when it comes to sex, so right now of the ninety occupied pods in the township; there are only fifty-six men. I guess boss Tribune here wants to fill some of the ten empty homesteads."
One of the three women wearing a ship suit raised a hand. "Are the inhabitants helpful? And will my Marcie and Lola be safe?"
Monica actually giggled. "I'm safe, at least I think I am right now. Most of the citizens living there are in the navy, I think right now only five citizens are at home, the rest are with their ships."
I could hear murmuring flow through the room. I was just sitting in shock. Who was this woman? It sounded like she wasn't a citizen. I wanted to say something, but one of the women in the room beat me to the question.
"Wait! What are you?" I heard someone cry.
The Tribune held up a hand. "I'll answer that. Monica is a concubine, belonging to Commander Theresa Johnston, one of the inhabitants of the township. The household she is in has been one of the smoothest running on the whole planet and Theresa allows me to ask her concubines to assist me when I need it. I don't know the township well, but her concubines do, so they're the best ones to talk about it."
Monica giggled. "I don't know if I'd say I know it well. I don't spend that much time visiting the other pods. Our soccer field isn't finished yet."
I sat back and closed my eyes, trying to come to grips with the strange announcement as the three woman rose from their seats and walked up to the Tribune. Whatever they were talking about meant nothing to me, but I was insulted. Some concubine was offering information to citizens. Concubines are cattle. They are there to be fucked and made pregnant. What lies is this Tribune telling himself? He isn't even man enough to serve in the military.
My day only got worse once the three female citizens left with their households. Tribune Walesca coughed and I looked up to see the other woman looking right at me with a frown.
"I guess its time you learned what is going on," the Tribune said. "Some of the crews of ships assigned to Borneo have requested and received permission to create a new township we are calling Tawau. You are all currently assigned to ships that are part of that township concern. However, not every crewmember lives in the township. They have a standard that they require you to meet before you can move there." He turned to look at the woman next to him. Before he could say more she nodded.
"I haven't been able to walk around and really meet anyone," she said, "But for now, we can accept him, him and him." She pointed at three of the other men before moving to stand by the door.
I sat there in shock as the Tribune nodded again. "Very well, the three who just got pointed out follow Mary to the teleporter. The rest of you will be dropping to Miri Township in just a moment."
The indicated citizens filed out with their concubines following them. I sat there seething and upset until they left the room and this joke of a Civil Service officer spoke one final time.
"I'll make it simple for the rest of you," he said. "I know you all have little fantasies about how you are now great lords and are going to get sex from all the concubines you meet. Just about every new citizen believes that at some level. I have some advice for you though. Leave that idea at the door when you leave. Yes, we do have a brothel on the planet you can use if you want some variety, but the ships you are going to be stationed on have crews that don't support that type of thought. In your pod, you can be the abusive little hard-pricked bastards you have dreamed of being since you received your first CAP score, but you'll find your crew mates look down on you for it and won't be too happy to hear you bragging about your exploits. Now get out of my sight, and I hope I don't have to visit your pods because you've hurt your concubines."
The men I was with filed out quietly. I noticed that none of us looked at our concubines. In most cases the concubines fell in behind their owners without a word, clearly understanding their position in life. Lilith and Martha jumped up to follow me. I wanted to scream at someone, but Tribune Walesca's glare made it clear he had no time for any protests. It was a silent walk to the teleporter where we lined up to head down. As we did, the Tribune had one final set of instructions.
"Listen up. You'll be teleporting down to Miri Township. Your pods are on their way down right now, but it takes about ninety minutes for the pod to land safely, so when you arrive at the teleport center you'll have to wait there. If you want you can look up your orders while you wait, the AI knows that you are new and will want to know which ship you are posted to," the man said. Then the teleporter was turned on and I followed my fellow citizens into the field and to Borneo.
I arrived in someplace that reminded me a bit of an airport waiting area. Once there my fellow citizens quickly scattered throughout the waiting area finding quiet corners to wait in. Their concubines followed, so with a shrug I found a spot in the middle of the room to sit, watching as my concubines knelt on the floor in front of me.
"AI," I called out. "Can you tell me what my assignment is?"
"Ensign Conrad Feldman is assigned to the corvette Pebble Beach as weapons officer. Corvette Pebble Beach is currently in transit to Borneo after undergoing repairs," the AI said.
"The Pebble Beach is a Patrician Class isn't it?" I said.
"Correct," the AI responded. "The Pebble Beach is one of twelve Patrician class ships currently active in the Borneo District. She currently has been awarded one battle star, making her one of three of her class with battle stars in the District."
"Battle stars?" I asked.
"Affirmative, Admiral Himmel discovered an old tradition of Earth wet navies of granting a mark of recognition to ships that performed well in battles or campaigns. The stars would be placed on the ship's flag for use in port and ceremonies. Ships in the Borneo District are now given battle stars to be added to the ship's flags which are displayed at Headquarters when the ships are in port," the AI said.
"Means nothing to me," I grumbled. "At least the commander will be battle ready."
"All officers on the Pebble Beach were killed during a battle at Wolf three-six-seven fourteen days ago," the AI reported. "Master Sergeant George Thatch as acting Bo'sun will be commanding the Pebble Beach on the journey back to Borneo after essential repairs have been completed to allow her to safely transit. The new captain once she reached Borneo will be Commander Jason Toms."
"How much additional repair will the ship need?" I asked.
There was a long pause before the AI spoke. "Corvette Pebble Beach suffered a hull breach that penetrated to the bridge during the battle, additional damage to her power controls also occurred. The repair logs from Ishtar indicate that the ship was returned to full combat readiness, however, the repair station here will want to review the repairs before declaring the ship ready for battle."
That information finally silenced me. I sat there fuming until the AI announced that my pod had landed successfully and provided directions to its new location. I left the waiting lobby with a curse, Martha and Lilith running after me. Tonight, I'll have to show them their place again.
Conrad's Log - Recorded one day after landing
I woke up and had a message waiting. Commander Toms wanted to welcome me to the crew and offered his condolences for not being able to meet me. He said that there were some last minute personnel issues he had to straighten out at headquarters, but that I was invited to a formal meet-the-crew celebration planned for tomorrow, four hours after the Pebble Beach docked at the repair station.
The message was insulting. Here I am, his weapon's officer. The man who will operate the guns in battle, and he just dismissed me because he had to deal with petty personnel issues. What is this place coming to? Where are the glory and rewards we were promised back on Earth?
Conrad's Log - two days after landing - recorded in the morning
Martha refused to get out of bed this morning to make breakfast. She claimed that I was too rough last night and she needed to rest. The dumb cunt is a complete wimp. Lilith at least was willing to follow orders and bring breakfast, but I'm pretty sure that she deliberately spilt the hot coffee on me after I told her to limit Martha to bread and water for the day. I fixed her though. The replicator created a wonderful pair of little devil horns that the stupid slut cannot remove. I think I should give her a tail as well, let everyone know just what an evil bitch she's become in the month since I selected her on Earth. At least there is the big ceremony for the Pebble Beach today. I just know I'll impress Commander Toms.
Conrad's Log - two days after landing - recorded post ceremony
What the fuck was that? I finally get to meet everyone and it was about as military as a circus. How can I be expected to perform in this situation?
I arrived on time, and was actually looking forward to meeting Commander Toms. If he was being given command of a ship that had won battle honors he had to be highly regarded by Admiral Himmel, so I was sure he would be a hard charging man.
Well, Commander Toms is this sandy-haired man who had a completely laidback attitude when I arrived. Rather than a salute he gave me a firm handshake and then waved me into a small briefing room where I found several non-coms hanging around. When I turned to look back at him, the man just shrugged and said. "Patrician's only have a standard crew of twenty-eight including only five officers normally, and we are going to lift with only four officers, so I don't see a reason to keep a huge line of separation between command and crew. We'll have to get to know each other fairly well during the cruise."
"What about command discipline?" I spat.
To my shock, Commander Toms shrugged as a woman with hair just as sandy as his walked up to give him a gentle hug. She was wearing a green outfit very similar to the one Mary had worn during the disaster up on the station. However, it was Toms who replied. "It will be there when we need it as long as you don't allow it to be destroyed. I've been on Patricians since I first arrived in Borneo a year ago, and we have a very good Bo'sun."
I was fuming again, but decided to walk away before I made a fool of myself. I noticed that there were nearly twenty men sitting around, all of them were wearing the rank of Lance Corporal or lower and wondered what I was in for when four people entered. I looked and the leader was a solid man wearing the stripes of a First Sergeant. He gave Commander Toms a sharp salute. "Bo'sun Thatch reporting as ordered sir. I would like to report that the Pebble Beach is safely docked at the repair station and preliminary reports indicate that she will pass inspection by Oh Two Twenty tomorrow."
Commander Toms returned the salute and then nodded. "Thank you Bo'sun. We are now just waiting for the new executive officer and then we can begin the briefing."
The men entered the room and quickly spread out among the others. I noticed that the Bo'sun's three companions all had sergeant's stripes themselves. It felt good to see that there would be some experience on the ship, especially as the Bo'sun looked like an extremely military person after all the slipshod discipline I had been seeing. I was thinking about that when someone slipped into the chair next to mine.
"What do you think of this?" I was asked.
I turned to look and found myself looking at a black man who appeared to be about twenty-two. He shoulder insignia declared him an ensign like myself. I thought for a moment and finally shrugged. "I have no idea. I just arrived at Borneo two days ago, and everything seems so disorganized," I growled. "All I know is that I trained as a weapon's officer on the journey here after my pickup."
The black man's eyebrows rose. "A rookie then. Don't worry; no one will hold that against you. I can't claim any ship experience either. I was based at Moreton until just over a week ago. I had just finished a shift at the proving yard when the AI told me that new orders had been cut and I was transferring to a ship based out of Borneo. They picked up my pod and brought me to Borneo. I arrived last night."
"Where are you living?" I asked. "I understand there are multiple townships."
The man laughed. "Well, I have a thing so I don't live in Bewu. That township is old; General Montgomery set it up during his first month here after a fight between several marines. One of the marines was a lesbian and didn't take kindly to another marine pawing at her concubine. Now, I'm in Miri; in the northwest section of the township."
I nodded. "I'm in Miri, too. I was wondering cause when I arrived some Tribune had a concubine show up to kind of select who could be dropped in a new township. Something about how some ships requested it."
The man nodded. "Yeah, Tewau. I read about it last night, but I don't know much. It was opened only two weeks ago. All I know is that living there is by invite only."
"So what did you do at Moreton?" I asked.
"Not much exciting, man," my fellow ensign replied. "Moreton is the main training and repair station for the navy around here, but they haven't been doing much training, so mostly I've been on crews giving new ships their final workups before we released them to the front. I do know that they were excited before I left. Some big battle occurred just over two weeks ago, and several ships were damaged. They expect some to have to visit for repairs."
I nodded. "The AI told me that the Pebble Beach was damaged in battle, but it sounds like she's going to be back in service almost immediately."
My friend laughed. "It was the same battle man. The damn swarm put up a big fight over a planet and did a number on several ships. They say the repair station they're at can get a corvette back, but AJ, Thena and Morrie need repairs and spares that they don't have, so those ships will get sent to Moreton."
"AJ? Thena? What ships are those?" I asked.
"Bah, I forgot you was a rookie. Sorry 'bout that. Let Maurice Bush learn you something. AJ is the carrier, Andrew Jackson. Thena and Morrie are two of the local battlecruisers, Athena and Morrigan."
"There are ships named after girls?" I said in shock.
Maurice laughed. "We have a whole class out here named after them. The Goddess class battlecruisers, and let me tell you they are tough bitches."
I was about to ask more when a young woman dashed in through the door. I looked up as she saluted Commander Toms. "Lieutenant Bernadette Werfel reporting for duty sir. Sorry for the delay, but the relief command to take the Jackson to Moreton was delayed."
I was shocked that this little wisp of a girl could be a lieutenant. She even was wearing glasses and had all the menace of a church mouse. Small and flat, she reminded me of little Judith Proctor, the little librarian who lived next door and loved to sit outside on the grass reading a book while chewing on her hair. How could this girl command anything?
Commander Toms returned the salute and smiled. "Don't worry about that lieutenant. Bo'sun Thatch tells me that Pebble Beach won't be released until sometime tomorrow morning, so this is just a quick briefing before everyone heads home for one last night on Borneo."
To my surprise the lieutenant smiled. "Good, it will be a nice surprise for Janie to see Thomas and I so soon. She worried about spending six months alone."
I turned to Maurice to ask about that command when Commander Toms stepped to a small podium and cleared his throat. "Please, I know you want to have a final party before we go, but if you can give me a few moments of your attention."
There was a moment of grumbling and then the bo'sun loudly called for quiet and the room fell silent. Commander Toms waited a moment and then resumed speaking.
"Thank you. You are here because you have joined the crew of the Pebble Beach. Now, some of you may be aware that the ship lost most of its complement during the battle at Wolf Three-Six-Seven, and many of the survivors have been transferred to other ships that also suffered heavy casualties, so only Bo'sun Thatch and his three sergeants are going to return from the previous crew."
I turned to look at the Bo'sun who was standing proudly at attention in the back of the room. The other sergeants all were sitting down, but there was an aura of efficiency and purpose in their pose that the other crewmen did not emulate. I thought on this as Commander Toms continued.
"Now our mission is going to be a bit hazardous. We are returning to Wolf three-six-seven on a long-range scanning mission. Rather than jump directly into the system, we'll appear outside the heliosphere and drift inwards following a set of drones we will release ahead of us. Our mission is to count the number of active hive ships in the system. The results of the recent battle suggest that there are more than one Swarm ship operating in the system and we need to know their numbers if we are to stop their advance. We will journey across the heliosphere on a mostly ballistic trajectory lasting about a month. Once this is complete, we will be jumping to Ishtar, where the information will be downloaded and transmitted to Borneo. The final three months of our mission will be to visit three systems on the far side of Ishtar and within area controlled by the Sa'arm. We have reason to believe that the local Sa'arm have discovered some remnants of another civilization as they have started to use new weapons and our mission is an attempt to locate any traces of that civilization. Any questions?"
I was wondering what I could ask to appear intelligent when one of the sergeants spoke up. "Sir, I have two questions."
"Go ahead, sergeant," the commander said.
"First, have you been to Ishtar?" the sergeant called out. I sat there in shock at this stupid question, but the commander merely smiled.
"I can answer that and probably your second question as well. Yes, I have been to Ishtar, I was the executive officer on Nassau when she became the first ship from the district to visit the colony. I know quite a bit about how they perceive things. Now, as to how that might affect you. Yes to anyone having time to work out some deals. Also, and more importantly, I want it clearly understood that abusing concubines while on the Pebble Beach will be punished. And this goes doubly for any of you who won't be bringing concubines because all of yours are pregnant."
I heard a bit of grumbling at that, but Maurice merely shrugged before raising his hand. "Sir, we know that there are a lot of newly unattached concubines. Do you think that one or two might be allowed to board since many of the crew are new and will not have any concubines they can bring if you require them to not be pregnant."
Commander Toms nodded. "I'll consider your proposal, ensign, and check with the Tribune. However, if we do get a few unattached concubines on the ship, they are to be treated with respect and care. I don't want any problems. Understood?"
The Bo'sun growled. "Don't worry, there will be no problems."
I just sat there silently. First, I find out that you can take concubines, but not pregnant ones, and then this commander tells me that I have to treat them with respect. They are toys, not people, but I'll pretend just to please him. I've already found ways to make them docile and leave no marks.
There were no more questions, so after exchanging a short word with Maurice I returned to my pod, for a final night with my ladies. I did have the replicator create me a wonderful red tail for Lilith. She whined the rest of the night about how humiliating wearing it was going to be, but once I placed it against her tailbone and secured it she became much quicker to obey me. I never looked too closely at the design, but it attached about where the tailbone was and the AI told me that it would require a replicated solvent to remove. Lilith is going to wear that tail for the rest of her life, if I get to choose.
Conrad's Log - recorded two days after launch of Pebble Beach
We're finally on our way to this Wolf three-six-seven. I have already discovered just what a wimp Commander Toms is. He didn't even take his command chair until we jumped. Instead he spent the time between launch and the jump kneeling next to private Simmon's chair at the helmsman's station and quietly guiding the idiot through his steps.
We don't even have a tracking officer. The mousy Miss Werfel kept switching between the communications and tracking chairs. God she is annoying. She giggles at everything and is far too familiar with the crew.
The worst was the first night's dinner. Once the ship was underway and in jump space, Commander Toms gave Private Simmon's an order to hold the course steady and call if there was a problem before asking Lieutenant Werfel and me to meet him in the mess hall with the sergeants and Ensign Bush.
I followed but I really had been hoping to stand down. Martha had been almost completely unresponsive in the pod the morning before takeoff, and despite her vocal complaints, Lilith enjoyed my attention too much. She doesn't seem to understand that she's supposed to be a little follower. But the Tribune had agreed to permit eight unattached concubines to go on the trip, since so many of the crew had all their concubines pregnant and therefore could not bring one on the ship. However, I had been on the bridge since the launch and now the dinner meant I could not visit them yet.
But Commander Toms was adamant about wanting his staff and senior non-coms to have a group dinner, so once he felt confident that the ship would remain on course, we left the bridge and headed to the mess hall.
When we arrived I found Maurice standing beside the door looking somewhat bored. One of the sergeants was standing next to him talking about the power-coupling repair that had to be completed after the Wolf battle, but it was clear that Maurice was trying not to be impressed. He looked at me and waved.
"Hey bro! How are things on the bridge?" he called out, stepping away from the sergeant who glared for a moment before shrugging and walking over to Lieutenant Werfel.
"Quiet, but my station is working smoothly," I said. "And my checks before we entered jump space showed all weapons ready to fire."
Maurice just nodded. "Well, the engines are running smoothly. Better than when the Pebble Beach passed through Moreton nine months ago after being finished. Have to give the repair station credit for that."
I could see Commander Toms had completed a quick chat with Sergeant Thatch and was preparing to sit down. Soon everyone was dashing to grab seats and sit down to eat. We sat quickly and the Commander waved towards the doorway.
Immediately several concubines entered carrying trays of food. Commander Toms was served first by a stunningly attractive brunette who was wearing the same green halter-top and skirt combo as the sandy haired woman who I had seen with the commander yesterday. I quickly noticed that the concubines who served Sergeant Thatch, Lieutenant Werfel and one of the other sergeants also wore the skirt outfit, while the other four were in simple shifts.
The concubines served us in silence, with the four in shifts leaving while the other four stayed behind, quietly standing behind the people they had served. Three of them were smiling, but I noticed that Lieutenant Werfel's concubine had a scared look in her face and decided to score points with the commander.
"Your concubine seems a bit uncertain, Lieutenant," I said.
She turned back and sighed, looking at her concubine. "Catherine, I've told you several times since last night. Relax. Janie and Thomas will treat your children well."
Commander Toms seemed interested. "She's new?"
The Lieutenant nodded. "I found out last night that Lieutenant Joseph had left instructions that if he died, she was to be transferred to my care. I'm having trouble convincing her that I'm happy to have her."
Sergeant Thatch snorted. To my surprise he looked back at his concubine and waved her forward, gently guiding her to sit in his lap. "Did her last owner treat her poorly?"
I could see the Lieutenant look back at her concubine who was staring at the ground. She sighed. "I don't know. I do know that she doesn't say much. I brought her along hoping she'd relax a bit."
I watched Commander Toms nod. "I can understand a bit about how that works. The Nassau left a concubine at Ishtar after our visit there. Her owner had died and I understand she was almost catatonic the first night we stayed."
The other sergeant with a concubine waiting behind him looked over. "Do you remember her name? I wonder how she's doing."
Commander Toms shrugged. "I'm afraid I didn't know the names of all the concubines we had on the Nassau. I just remember Commander O'Brien informing me about her transfer to the planet's authority when I observed we were leaving with one fewer concubine than had survived the battle as Ursus twelve."
Another of the sergeants spoke. "I heard about that. Wasn't it supposed to be just a simple smash operation and it went wrong?"
Commander Toms sighed. "That's what we had drilled for. The expectation was no more than one hive ship and few support craft. We were coming in with the hero class Volund and Ivar Vidfamne expected to quickly smash through any opposition and take up a position over the planet until the marines could arrive to dig the Sa'arm out. I've seen the sensor logs and we are still not sure how the officers on the Hearst Castle missed the two partially finished hive ships in orbit around the second planet. It was from there that the attack came that broke through our defenses. We had no Asia or Goddess ships to provide the particle beam point defense against the swarms they sent out at us."
Sergeant Thatch sighed. "That sounds exactly like the Wolf incident, doesn't it Matthews?" Leaning over to speak to the other sergeant who had a concubine waiting on him. "We expected some resistance, but they had more than we expected and caught us from a direction we hadn't anticipated. Once swarm ships get close to a formation Heros become obstacles to missile defense."
Lieutenant Werfel looked surprised. "Is that what happened at Wolf? I just knew there were problems when the Jackson's fighters died all at once. It was like they were swept away by a gigantic wave."
I could see everyone at the table except for Ensign Bush wince. "I hadn't heard about that," Sergeant Thatch said. "But I was working the railguns on the Beach here, and the information we received was confused enough. I'm still not sure how we got out."
Lieutenant Werfel shrugged. "Commodore Sprague ordered all ships to make a vertical break and push their engines to the max to try to make a run to the jump point. He didn't even give a target, just get far enough from the star to jump as quickly as possible."
One of the sergeants looked at her. "How did you know?"
Lieutenant Werfel sighed. "I was working at fighter central when the interceptors were wiped out. My next assignment was damage control, so I grabbed a few ratings and we started trying to clear damage to keep the Jackson moving. I found the bridge and flag bridge opened to space, but his orders were still being relayed by the speakers in auxiliary control. We jumped blind though."
The same sergeant snorted. "And yet we just happened to show up at Ishtar. That was a planned escape!"
Sergeant Thatch shook his head. "No, Timson. The Lieutenant has that part right. I sat in at the ship council's held by the commodore while we were at Ishtar waiting for the repairs to be completed. We emerged at Ishtar because it was the first system in the direction we happened to jump. Several of the ships would have been forced to emerge soon either way. Engines were failing on Sigurd, AJ, and Tintagel Castle, and the Lugh didn't survive once we came out of jump space. Things were bad."
I wanted to say something, but Maurice spoke up asking a question of Sergeant Thatch. "Can I ask why your concubine isn't in a shift, sergeant? Since yesterday I've noticed a few dressed like that and it just doesn't seem right."
"Why wouldn't it be right? My Madeline is a sweet lady and deserves to know that I appreciate her," the sergeant responded. "I can dress her how I like, and I think the outfit makes her look good."
Maurice almost blushed. "Its just... well..."
The sergeant I was guessing was named Matthews rescued my fellow ensign. "It looks a bit like a uniform doesn't it."
The one sergeant I still had no name for snorted. "Bloody is one, I say. Concubines don't deserve to believe they matter. Besides, it sets a bad example for the new crew. They need to concentrate on the weapons and engines. We need to be ready when we break jump at the Wolf system."
Commander Toms frowned, but nodded. "The last part is true Sergeant Collins. And I'll be conducting several drills before we emerge. However, the most important drills are going to be ones you haven't seen before. We can't win against the levels of force we expect to see in the system, so we have to make like a hole in space."
"What does that mean?" I asked.
The Commander smiled. "We will have to make sure we are emitting as little as possible once we break jump. The drones we are carrying are set up to use pinbeam lasers to communicate their findings back to us, and to self-destruct if they are noticed. Stealth is the key for this mission."
"That leaves me with little to do," I grumbled.
Commander Toms shook his head. "No, you'll have plenty. I expect you to keep the ship ready to engage the enemy immediately if we should be spotted by a scout. You'll be at your station constantly refining firing plans and solutions while the drones send back reports and data. Expect to be busy with interpreting the data as well."
I nodded and then Maurice elbowed me and started talking about the engine room and the differences he noticed being on a working ship rather than a test ship. The sergeants were talking between themselves so I resigned myself to listening to my fellow ensign's enthusiastic recitation of what he was accomplishing while finishing the meal.
Commander Toms finished quietly and then turned to give the concubine serving him a hug. She smiled and kissed his cheek before stepping away from him with a sigh. "You going back to the bridge?" she asked.
I watched Commander Toms nod as his concubine frowned. I couldn't understand it when the librarian of a com officer spoke. "Just let her sit at tracking for now and visit. There isn't much to track while we are in jump, so she can't cause any harm."
I was surprised by the laughter from the sergeants and Commander Toms. "And in a week she'd be as cheeky as the cheerleader duo. I'm not sure I can take that."
To my surprise the concubine giggled. "Oh, I'd rather manage the grace of Bonnie, although you make me dress like her and I'll figure out how to get revenge."
Again the sergeants laughed at that and Sergeant Matthews leered for a moment at the concubine. "Aqua isn't your color anyways." To my surprise the lady covered her face as she blushed.
Commander Toms just shook his head and stood up. "Well, I should go and relieve Private Simmons. Sergeants please make sure to review the training schedule I have set out and have the crew ready for the drills. I want everyone to know their jobs in a week when we break out of jump"
He left, with his concubine following. After he left the sergeants continued their conversation for only a few moments before heading off. I noticed that Thatch and Matthews, the two who had dressed their concubines were a bit distant towards the others. I wanted to relax with Maurice, but before I could utter a word Lieutenant Werfel turned to her concubine.
"Catherine," she said with a sigh. "I don't care what you were taught before. You need to trust me. Now, I know you have to be hungry. Come up and eat something."
I watched the concubine walk up. She was cowering like a good concubine should, but the frown on the Lieutenant's face surprised me. It was clear my fellow officer did not like seeing the fear in her concubine's eyes, and I was about to say something as the concubine reached out to a plate on the table.
Bernadette growled. "No. You don't have to grab the food and run away. You need to sit while you eat."
"But mistress there are no chairs on this side. Should I walk around the table?"
The Lieutenant shocked me by reaching out to gather up her concubine and firmly seat her on her lap. "This is the perfect chair for you," she said. "Now tell me what you want to eat."
Maurice was shaking his head as the concubine stiffened in shock. I finally decided to speak up. "Was the sergeant right? Is that outfit some kind of uniform?"
Bernadette was holding some bread and feeding her concubine. I thought she was going to ignore me, but once the concubine took the food from her fingers the mousy girl turned to look at me. "I wouldn't call it a uniform. It's just a much nicer outfit to give your concubines. Especially if you've given them nice bodies like Catherine's here."
Maurice looked confused. "But why worry about that? I didn't bring a concubine because both Devanie and Shanesha are pregnant and close to giving birth. If I did, they'd be wearing shifts. They don't need more to excite me."
Bernadette shrugged. "I can't really explain it. I just know that I like seeing concubines in this outfit, and it does no harm. You'll learn someday."
After that she turned and whispered something to her concubine, who giggled nervously and looked at me. I had finished my meal and Maurice looked tired, so I got up from the table and headed the concubine's room, looking for someone to warm the night away.
Conrad's Log - recorded eight days after launch of Pebble Beach
We finally broke out of jump space this morning. The drills that Captain Toms put us through the last week have been boring and stupid. During the month-long journey from Earth to Borneo the training I endured have several of the same scenarios, but the ship ended up in combat almost every scenario. This time the drills concentrated on just sitting there and refining tracking patterns and firing solutions as we reviewed data returning from drone scouts.
It's not glorious or even challenging. The scenarios predict the dumb swarm ships will sit around and fail to detect us. In fact the only time they did detect the ship was during the two drills where I attempted to use my instruments to actively update a solution and they reacted to the ships emissions. Captain Toms didn't say much the first time, but the verbal thrashing I took the second time I did it was completely unnecessary and embarrassed me in front of Bernadette and Private Simmons. Even worse was when Captain Toms' concubine giggled during the reprimand. What that cunt is doing sitting at the communications station during drills I can't imagine.
At least I found a new plaything. Toni isn't all that exciting, because she accepts whatever I want to do, but I can see in her face that she hates being taken from behind, and I only wish I could find a good place to tie her up. The bitch is becoming close friends with the concubines wearing that idiotic top and skirt outfit though, so I haven't tried to smuggle her out of the room. And since one of the privates was nearly brigged after he left a visible bruise on the cheek of one of the concubines I can't just use my fists on the cunt.
Conrad's Log - recorded seventeen days after launch of Pebble Beach
Joy! Captain Toms announced that we have held our momentum a bit better than expected and should finish our long and silent drift through the Wolf system in another twelve days. It's been so fucking boring I can barely describe it, and really don't want to write about it.
About the only excitement has been watching Bernadette try to get her concubine to loosen up. I swear that she's got a defective concubine because half the time the cunt ignores her mistress and the rest she is so slow to respond its sickening. But the Lieutenant just smiles and acts like it doesn't bother her. I've even walked in once and found Bernadette giving her concubine a massage. I had to leave quickly and find someplace to retch. Concubines don't deserve any kind of consideration and just the thought sickens me. To see a superior officer act like that was disgusting.
Conrad's Log - recorded twenty-six days after launch of Pebble Beach
We had to break off the survey and boost out of the Wolf system early. The Sa'arm had sent a ship out to investigate a drifting asteroid and the ship ran over one of the drones. It was like kicking an anthill as suddenly dozens of ships broke orbit and started scanning for us.
At least I managed to get some glory in. Our position forced us to break past a pair of small scouts. After more than two weeks of refining firing solutions and using the passive scans to build a picture of the point defense any missiles we fired would face I finally had an opportunity to command the weapons to fire.
It wasn't perfect though. The port side railgun was under Sergeant Thatch's control and fired perfectly, but the starboard one under Collins was slow. He blamed it on one of the privates, but Captain Toms has refrained from taking action. All I know is that we had the second swarm ship in position for a direct shot that would have caught it mid-turn and by the time we did fire the ship's heavily armored flank was turned to face us, making the shot much less devastating.
It was still nice to finally see some action, and we left the first ship with no active engine emissions just before we jumped. I have already started reviewing the battle logs and am putting together a package of highlights. I want off this stupid ship. Captain Toms still allows concubines far to much leeway and has become quite vehement about treating them well. I thought Toni was going to betray me shortly after we jumped, but the slut just looked at the floor when she served dinner once we were in jump.
One of the other concubines did complain about Sergeant Timson forcing her to accept what she claimed was a brutal and unnecessary rough anal fuck. I wanted to shout at her and berate her, but Captain Toms nodded and then issued orders banning the sergeant from spending time with the concubines for the rest of the journey. He followed that up by announcing that the sergeant would not be permitted shore leave at Ishtar. It's disgusting how much consideration is shown to these sperm receptacles.
Conrad's Log - recorded thirty-one days after launch of Pebble Beach
The investigation on the delayed firing of the starboard railgun is over and somehow it's Sergeant Collins who will get the bad mark on his record. The wording Lieutenant Werfel used was inadequate preparation and failure to properly maintain essential equipment. I can't believe that anyone trusts the mousy little cunt. The worst thing was walking into the concubine room and finding her sitting with Maurice. The man was enjoying the attentions of Reba, one of the spares we brought along, but it was clear that he was also listening to the bitch talk. I'm going to have to spend more time with Timson and Collins; they at least are real man.
Conrad's Log - recorded thirty-five days after launch of Pebble Beach
Jason, God, I can barely call him captain in person and I won't do it in this log. Anyways, he's announced that we will be breaking jump at Ishtarat in the morning. I was shocked when he had The Mouse open up the intercom and inform all the crew about the breakout. He said we would be enjoying a one-week stay before heading on to explore the three systems.
That all sounded good, but then he said that all concubines would be allowed to enjoy the shore leave, but that the unattached ones needed to remember that they belonged to the ship for the time being. Just that instruction upset me, but then Jason's bitch giggled and promised that once we left, the concubines would be very happy. It's become a complete mess. I joined for martial glory, not this stumbling around hiding from the dickheads.
Conrad's Log - recorded thirty-six days after launch of Pebble Beach
Cheerleader outfits?! Who the fuck allows anyone to dress his concubines as cheerleaders and wander outside their pods?
We broke out on time and the Mouse was soon in conversation with some girl named Tiffany. At least it sounded like a girl over the overhead. Jason joined in and soon had the girl reduced to giggles. I thought my ship was unmilitary, but it sounded like Ishtar was worse.
Ok, I'll admit, the instructions on how to slot into the dock so we can teleport down were spot on. We could hear Tiffany talking to someone named Tamara and they walked Private Simmons through each burn. If they had to turn on any tractor or presser beams I never noticed until the final faint bump. Jason just smiled and told the girls that is was a lot smoother than when the Nassau had docked on his last visit.
Jason than announced that we were docked and shore leaves would begin shortly. He pointedly stated that Sergeant Timson was not allowed down to the planet. After that he had the bridge staff shut down their consoles before heading to the docking tube.
That was another disaster. Not only was the crew there, but all the concubines were lined up. The strangest thing was seeing Master Sergeant Thatch standing there with an arm around his concubine. His concubine was carrying what looked like a bag filled with acorns! Once again Jason said nothing until the airlock popped open with a hiss.
It revealed a man of about eighteen to twenty. I can't really tell, but he was young and handsome. My first surprise was his outfit. It looked like the standard uniform, but was colored purple and gold rather than the standard grey. Even worse there were no rank markings on the man anywhere. Behind him stood the cheerleaders. One in the same colors as him, the other in green and gold.
Jason smiled and offered the man a handshake. It was the man that spoke first. "Welcome to Ishtar. R and R planet to Borneo and points Earthward. I'm Brad and came up to greet you. We are happy to announce that there have been no Sa'arm visits for fifty-seven days."
I could hear laughter from the old sergeants and Thatch's grumble of. "Good, now we have to see if you have a better bowling team. This time we can play against you."
Jason smiled. "That's good. I do need to talk with James and Yvette. All our logs should have been downloaded and I want to discuss the survey results with Borneo command immediately."
Brad nodded and turned to speak to one of the cheerleaders. "Candi, run back and let James and Yvette know. Randi, you can guide everyone to our party hall."
The cheerleader in green started tumbling down the umbilical and quickly vanished into what I guess was a teleport room. The other girl stepped forward. "If you'll follow me, I can guide you to our main recreation area for now." She looked at Brad. "Are they staying on planet or in the ship?"
Brad looked over at Jason. "Do you have orders regarding that?" he asked.
Jason shrugged. "Let me guess we'll all end up sleeping in that massive chamber you call a multi-use room. I'm not sure everyone will like that, but if they want, I'll understand."
Brad nodded and then called out. "AI, could you alert Yvette about this, so she can ask Louis if he's willing to have Heather fix up the multi-use room. And remind James and Terrence that we need to open a couple of housing pods for crew visiting on R and R."
The only response was a loud ping. I could see most of the crew now following the purple-garbed girl. The Mouse stopped to say something to Brad, but Maurice had found me and was pushing me to follow the rest of the crew and concubines as we walked down to the teleport.
The teleport was smooth and I found myself standing with a group in a side chamber to a small but active control room. There were several chairs, but at the time I arrived only two were manned. And again the citizens shocked me. I expected uniforms, but the twin blond girls sitting at the stations were dressed in dresses. For one the dress was blue and she looked like she was about to go on stage to play Alice in Wonderland. Her sister's dress was cut the same, but was green.
The girls waved, but returned to monitoring their displays. Unfortunately I had paused to watch the girls at their displays and found that other than Maurice, no other crewman from the Pebble Beach was in the room. I coughed and the girl in blue turned to look at me. "Problem?" she asked.
Maurice saved me. "I think we waited too long. Where are we supposed to go from here?"
The girl smiled. I have to admit it was a surprisingly bright smile. "Is that all? Any preference to who acts as your guide? Or do you know the route to the Rec hall?"
Maurice looked puzzled. "I'm afraid I've never been here before. And now that I'm here, I'm confused. What is this place?"
The girls looked at each other and the one in blue responded. "This is the command center for the Ishtar body and fender shop. This is where we monitor the local space and handle communications."
"No," Maurice said. "I'm puzzled because this place doesn't seem military."
"Its not," a female voice said. Maurice and I both turned and found a woman standing there. She was of average height, and had curly black hair. For once she was wearing the standard uniform and in the regulation color. She looked back and smiled. "We here at Ishtar aren't that much of a puzzle. This outpost was established through rather irregular means. Officially the citizens here are marines, but there aren't many of us, and we don't fit in the standard chain of command."
At least I now understood why this place was so unmilitary, but before I could say anything Jason and The Mouse appeared behind me. Jason cried out. "Yvette! How are you doing you renegade?"
The woman laughed. "Not bad since we received word from Admiral Himmel that he will support our rules regarding shore leaves. This will be a good test of the rules."
The Mouse had dashed past Jason and gave hugs to the two girls still sitting at their displays. She whispered something and the girl in green nodded and called out. "AI, could you summon Paula and Marilyn here?"
Yvette was guiding Jason through a door, but I could see a table beyond and this obviously was not the way to this mythical recreation room. I was about to call out when a man walked into the room and The Mouse screamed, "James," before running forward and giving him a hug.
It was obvious that this was the James that Jason had mentioned earlier. He was again completely unimpressive. I had increased my height to almost six feet, but he stood considerably shorter and was wiry rather than muscular. His hair was brown, but I did feel a strange aura of authority surrounding him.
The hug ended and the man looked over his shoulder as three women, clearly concubines as they were wearing shifts, entered the room. I noticed that all three were pregnant.
The tallest of the trio offered her own hug to The Mouse before looking at Maurice and me. "You need a guide to the hall? I can do that." She offered.
The Mouse and James headed into the same room that Jason had entered, followed by one of the concubines, a small figure with black hair held back by a hair band. The tall concubine smiled at me and waved me. Maurice and I stepped up to follow her and she immediately led us into a hallway.
I guess Maurice noticed the ceiling first. "Why is there a ceiling in the hallway?" he asked.
The third concubine, an attractive girl with a brown ponytail spoke. "The whole colony is underground. The air on the surface can strip a man's flesh from his bones in seconds."
"What? You are kidding!" I barked.
The woman shook her head. "I watched it happen once. There was a ceiling breech in the other part of the colony and people tried to run to our area. Most made it, but the last one was a little too slow and her legs ended up in a flow of vapor. Debby was in battle armor and grabbed her and tried to carry her to safety, but it was far too late. The acid had stripped the poor woman's legs of everything except the bones. It was a grisly sight."
Maurice seemed surprised. "But you live here!"
The taller concubine shrugged as she led us past what sounded like a nursery or school as it was clear children were at play inside. "The Confederacy dropped our master here. We go where he goes."
I stopped for a moment. "You mean I'm following concubines?" I hissed.
"I'd park that attitude while you're on shore leave Ensign," a deep voice growled at me. I turned to see a massive black man wearing a grease covered uniform standing in a side passage. He was leading a fantastically beautiful black woman who was only wearing an aqua colored camisole and high heels. The woman looked fantastic despite being visibly pregnant.
I know my jaw dropped, but I kept my first outburst down. "I don't understand," I said.
The man smiled, but the smile did not reach his eyes. "Let's just say that we treasure our concubines and children here. You don't have to like it, but if you have a problem with it, keep it to yourself or you'll find your privileges to be here revoked."
He was a citizen, but who was he to tell me that?! And the concubines? They just smiled. Finally the duo with Maurice and I led us the a bit further down the passages and turned us through a doorway.
Inside was the most decadent place I've ever seen. I could hear the sound of people bowling. Just inside I could see several of the crew playing games using some console system. It was completely unmilitary, and Maurice roared in approval. "Man, I like this place!" he shouted and ran forward. I could see Sergeant Matthews relaxing and chatting with a red haired girl wearing a green halter and mini skirt like Jason's concubine always wore. What shocked me was seeing that a small grey rabbit was sitting between them on the table.
"Rabbits?" I asked.
The tall concubine who had led me to this hall spoke. "Yes, it looks like Brittany brought out one of the older ones to play. That's Gremlin. If you have some seeds we could arrange a trade."
I just stared at the woman. Just then I saw Sergeant Thatch approach leading his concubine. The woman held out the bag of acorns. This tall concubine burst out laughing and called out. "AI, let Tanya know that we have some acorns to add to the rest of her collection."
The red hair turned to look and called out. "What color should I grab? I'm about to take Gremlin home and I can bring the set up. Or do you want to select your own?"
This massive master sergeant burst out laughing and waved that he wanted to choose his own. The redhead jumped up and started leading him away. It was so quick I could barely get a look at the rabbit. The taller concubine looked and hissed at a young teen concubine who was clearly pregnant. I heard the name James mentioned and then the black concubine dashed off.
The rest of the afternoon was like that. I have to admit that the room was definitely set up for relaxation. I even saw some of the citizens dancing with their concubines. It looked fun, but why dance? Its not like a concubine was going to refuse to bed you once you returned to your quarters. The friendly competitions over the sports games and bowling made sense, at least that was with other citizens. I even won a free fuck with the concubine Sergeant Collins brought aboard. He whispered me that the dumb bitch needed to be taken hard, but that I should be careful not to leave any marks since Jason was being a pill about that. We both remembered what happened to Sergeant Timson after he was honestly rough with his girl.
At least Jason did not appear for hours. I don't know what was up, but he and the Mouse did not reappear until most of the crew had wandered off for sleep. That was another disaster. Some almost dumpy male concubine led me to another room; only this one was just a large open space. He was happily telling one of the lance corporals about how the room was used for an indoor soccer league they had and that currently a team of male concubines was leading the competition.
Oh how I wanted to say something. Male concubine, it was such a bloody fake. I mean how could any man stand up and call himself a man if he couldn't qualify for pickup on his own. And I'd already learned that none of the male citizens scored high enough to take more than two concubines, so what man would only bring along one girl to share? Therefore the male concubines were hiding behind the skirts of some bitch who by a miracle scored high enough to avoid her proper position. Women are supposed to be on their knees for men.
I also hated the lack of privacy. With Jason keeping me from treating one of the concubines as they are meant to be treated I really wanted to give some cunt a really rough fuck, but it was impossible in that room. I did see Sergeant Thatch enjoying the attentions of his concubine and some dumb blond I didn't recognize. She wasn't from the pool we had brought with us.
Conrad's Log - recorded thirty-seven days after launch of Pebble Beach
Finally I managed a bit of sleep, but things were no better in the morning. The food was nice, but the dumb citizens on this planet show no respect for me. I couldn't figure out what their ranks were. No one wore any kind of badge. Finally I asked Sergeant Matthews. Boy was that a shock. There was no military command on the planet?! James and Yvette were in charge, but they had no rank at all? I do remember calling out "What the Fuck?" when he told me, but his scornful look silenced the rest of the tantrum I was about to have.
Jason reappeared at lunchtime. He and The Mouse were smiling and passed some paper on to Ensign Bush. He smiled after reading it, but refused to show it to me. The two citizens I had watched enter that conference room with them accompanied them. The man then announced a party that night. It was the first time that I saw the concubines of the planet jump like they were supposed to. As part of the crew of the Pebble Beach they refused to listen to me, except to move out of my way when I demanded. However, with the news of a party they went into overdrive decorating the recreation room. I even saw a few run into the room with instruments.
It was then that I found out about the basketball court. I can't remember which private challenged the Ishtarians to a game, but I found myself dragged along. I guess it made sense. I was one of the taller members of the crew so it made sense, but oh that game incensed me.
First was the starting team that we faced. Two were clearly male citizens. One was the big black man I had seen before. The other was this wiry kid who looked to be college age. He was accompanied by the two concubines wearing cheerleader outfits, only today one was in orange and white while the other was in red and white.
The other three though, really left me angered. First was the woman citizen. She stood about six foot one, so I understood, but there was something about her. She acted like competing with and against men was not an issue. Even before the game started I wanted to take the ball and throw it in her face. The second was a male, but clearly a concubine. He was as muscular as Tyson, and I guess a woman would have loved to be seen with him, but the fucker was so god-damned humble. More than one of us from the PB tried to get a rise out of him with insults. The man just shrugged our comments aside. He even had a little cheering section as this pregnant Hispanic concubine brought two children along and they chanted for David every time he touched the ball during warm-ups.
The final starter really got to me. That fucking little concubine uniform of halter-top and mini-skirt, and this time on a girl who might have been fifteen, she barely looked old enough to be a concubine. She did have long brown hair that even with some braids in it fell down to her thighs. I made a mental note to try extending Martha's hair to that length.
Anyways, it was a joke of a team we were facing. Or at least that's what I expected, as did Sergeant Collins and the three privates playing with me. We were facing this joke of a team.
Five minutes later we were behind by seven baskets. James and some other older citizen were acting as officials, but the funny thing was that it became clear they were actually tougher on their home team than us. I got away with a number of pushes, including one grope of the little girl concubine. That got me chewed on by Sergeant Collins though. The cunt didn't even notice when I pinched her nipple through the halter-top and made a perfect pass to the cheerleader man for a quick lay-up. My assignment had been the cheerleader man.
After that there were a few substitutions. The black man went out and was replaced by a guy who looked like he belonged at some accounting firm. He was athletic, all the citizens of Ishtar had had that much work done, but his face and demeanor reminded me of some fussy bean counter. The tall bitch left and was replaced by another girl. Man was I shocked when she said. "Go get them Amanda, make your mother proud again."
Even the girl concubine was replaced. This time by the one with the long red hair I had seen the day before. I did notice that these two were the only female concubines who weren't visibly pregnant and finally decided to try to get information. Since cheerleader man was still in I tried to talk to him during play. It was hard, but neither team was trying many fast breaks so there were a few times when we were fighting for position that I could speak.
I have to admit that I started it by asking for names. I realized that I had not paid any attention earlier, but the man didn't see upset by my question.
"So, what is the name of everyone on the court for your side?" I asked as the man posted up against me.
He snorted, but responded. "I noticed you were a bit distracted. Timothy just came in for Tyson. Amanda replaced her mother Barbara, and that's Brittany over there. She replaced her sister concubine Kitty."
"Sister concubine?" I had never heard the term.
The man had the wind to laugh at me as he caught the ball and turned to shoot. The shot missed and Private Dugan grabbed the rebound. "That's what concubines who belong to the same master call themselves on Ishtar," he said as he turned and started racing back on defense. I followed watching for an outlet, but Private Graves had positioned himself in the corner and a flash pass from Private Dugan set up a three point shot that scored.
Amanda was bringing the ball up when I pointedly glanced over at the cheerleader girls. "Yours?"
The man laughed as Amanda tossed the ball to him. I could hear the girls cheering for Brad. He tried to fake me inside, but Private Brooks stepped over to help and the man passed the ball over to the redhead who found Timothy open for a short jumper that came up just short allowing me to grab the rebound.
I decided to bring the ball up myself and Brad was now almost taunting me as I dribbled. "Yup! Candi and Randi, the two sweetest and most loyal women I could ever ask for. Jealous?"
Oh how that last word angered me. I hid it and found Sergeant Collins streaking to the basket and managed a perfect pass for a lay-up. We were still far behind, but it was still nice to score on two trips down the court.
Shortly after that Tyson came back in and Brad sat down on the bench. I noticed that his two cheerleaders immediately bracketed him as he sat on the bench. They were fawning over him like the women used to do back before my pickup. Fuck me. Martha and Lilith pretty much hide from me when I'm in the pod and here is some dumb hick who is barely a citizen and his two concubines are all but giving him a blowjob while he sat there on the bench.
I was so distracted by the antics of those two, especially once I realized that neither was wearing panties. It was disgusting and exciting at the same time. They had to be five months pregnant, but they still were damn sexy.
But the distractions were too much and the rest of the team forced me to sit down while Lance Corporal Smith went in.
Sitting on the bench did allow me to look around. Once again I was surprised by the complete lack of military discipline. Heck, I was wondering if they ever did anything when one of the twins came into the chamber where we were playing and sat down. One of the cheerleaders called out. "Need us to cover the command post?"
The twin just shook her head. "No. Mike, Mike and Mike decided to take it for now. I just wanted to peek in and make sure Craig wasn't here. Tam and I want to play a bit."
She left moments later. By then whatever timekeeping they were doing indicated that it was halftime, and everyone cleared the court. We were still down by more than ten, but I'll admit the crew was laughing about it. Except for Sergeant Collins no one seemed to care that concubines and women were on the team beating us so soundly. Maybe it was because they obviously had a chance to practice, but still. We were men and citizens.
There really was no reason to have a long meeting about strategy. We all knew what the problems were. I ended up watching the citizens as they went in and out. There were two major shocks during the halftime.
The first involved James. He has been sitting and chatting with the other man working as an official when the tall concubine entered and walked over to him. I was not surprised to see her give him a loving kiss, but after her greeting, three more concubines entered and offered their own kisses. I realized I had met two of the concubines, but it was definitely a shock. I had just barely avoided my jaw dropping when the two girl concubines who had been playing dashed over and jumped into his arms to offer their own kisses.
"Fuck me!" Sergeant Collins exclaimed. "He has six?!"
No one said anything and moments later the concubines headed off although the one with black hair and a hairband stayed with him for the rest of halftime.
The other shock was less striking, but left a bitter taste in my mouth. The male concubine who had been playing for Ishtar collapsed during the halftime. It looked to be a bad hamstring cramp. I'll admit none of them panicked and moments later a woman wearing a surgical gown entered, followed by two female concubines pushing a gurney. The situation seemed almost casually routine, and I was ignoring it until Lance Corporal Smith blurted out. "Damn! That's Lindsay!"
"Who?" I heard Maurice ask. He had not played during the first half, but was sitting on with us during the halftime and had talked about joining in.
Smith pointed at a tawny haired woman who was standing by the gurney. She was wearing a lacey green camisole. Like every other female concubine I had seen other than the two playing she was visibly pregnant. "That's Lindsay Michaels. Don't you know her?"
"Never heard of her," I admitted.
"Damn man," Private Dugan said. "Where were you living? Siberia?"
I glared at him. "No. I lived in a small town near Ashland. You know the town in Oregon where they still do Shakespeare every year."
Smith snorted. "No wonder you don't know Lindsay. She was only one of the top ten swimsuit models on Earth last year. And the top American-born one. Everyone said she vanished from Florida about eight weeks before I got picked up. To find her here is a shock."
Sergeant Thatch, who had been watching the game, smiled. "She's a really sweet lady, but don't try too much with her."
"Why not?" I asked. "She's a concubine. Couldn't I just ask her owner?"
The man laughed at me. Not a snort, but a full-bellied laughter. His concubine sitting next to him giggled.
"You'll get told 'No'," the bitch said. "Donna doesn't do trades like that."
I glared at the Sergeant who merely shrugged at the fact that his concubine spoke out of turn. "She's right," he told the group. "I'm sure all of you are thinking it would be nice to score with a supermodel, but I wouldn't ask. Now if you become a friend of Donna, she might invite you, but I wouldn't count on that either."
"Why not?" Private Dugan asked.
I could see Thatch's concubine about to speak but he must have signaled her to be quiet and then looked at all of us. It was a fierce and cold stare. "Look," he said. "Captain Toms hasn't made a big deal about it, but landing here is a huge privilege. And those of us who have been here before learned a few things the last time. I'm not going to explain how things work here, but if you don't respect these people, you will find yourself sitting back in the ship with Sergeant Timson."
He refused to say more, although I did see Maurice go over and chat not with Lindsay, but with the woman wearing the surgical gown. He came back later with a huge smile on his face.
"Scored a fuck?" Collins asked.
Maurice shook his head. "No. But I wasn't trying. I only figured on going over there and chatting with a supermodel. I mean back on Earth I would never had had the opportunity."
Sergeant Collins snorted. "Yeah. They are all stuck-up bitches only interested in having other women lick their cunts and looking down on all men."
Maurice laughed. "Man, you are totally missing it then. That lovely lady over there was perfectly approachable. She might not want sex with me, I never asked, but man was she fun to talk to."
"But you didn't talk to her," I heard Private Graves say.
Maurice smiled. "That woman in the surgical gown is Donna and I guess Lindsay belongs to her. As soon as I started talking Lindsay joined in. It was definitely fun, even though Lindsay was mostly teasing the man, David."
"Why?" I asked. "They are both concubines. What is there to tease him about? They are just slaves to their masters."
I could hear a snort from Sergeant Thatch, but it was Maurice who responded. "No. At least, I found that that trio of concubines doesn't feel that way. Lindsay was teasing David because she was doing his job. I guess he's normally the first sent with a gurney if someone is hurt."
"So what does she do?" I asked.
Maurice burst into full-throated laughter. "Stand around and look pretty. Or at least that's what the others kept teasing her about. Turns out the other concubine was a nurse back on Earth and for a cramp like David has is likely to do most of the work."
I wanted to ask more, but the game resumed. The second half wasn't much better than the first for my side. A new citizen had replaced David and while he lacked some of the skills of the concubine, he always seemed to be able to find an open pass for an easy basket. In the end we lost by almost twenty points.
I headed off to the room we were using as a dorm, planning on writing my journal entry and taking a nap before the party planned for the evening.
Conrad's Log - recorded thirty-eight days after launch of Pebble Beach
I've been banished from the planet! Those cretins demanded that I leave their halls. And what did I do? I claimed a kiss from some dirty blond concubine slut who no one even owned.
It happened just after the party, which was in itself a disaster. Well, the others I'm sure loved it, but I hated every minute of it.
I arrived at the recreation room feeling a bit refreshed after the nap I had taken. I had even been directed to a little dorm area set off from some large room filled with plants growing in some kind of pipe setup. There was a coed working there who told me that it was a hydroponics lab.
The dorm area had a shower though, so I felt ready to charm some girl. However, at the start of the party the few unattached concubines seemed to be uninterested. Instead they were rushing around bringing food to the various tables. The one shock was when they provided cans of beer. I had tried the piss that came out of the replicators, but this was real beer. I was shocked by this, but no one would tell me where the beer came from.
It was the next thing that completely shocked me. Jason had been sitting with James, The Mouse and a couple of concubines. It seemed that just about everyone there knew Jason and he was enjoying visits from many of them. I even got a shock when his concubine started making out with Lindsay, until that coed from the hydroponics room started calling out suggestions and the duo separated still smiling. Jason did nothing to stop his concubine and only shared a laugh with his companions at the table.
Everyone had been eating for probably an hour when Jason stood up and held up a hand for silence. I wanted to keep talking just to annoy him, but everyone else quickly became quiet so I shut up.
"Everyone! Citizens of Ishtar. Crew of the Pebble Beach. I know you want to get to the games and dancing, but I have an announcement for all of you."
It was frustrating to see my fellow crewmembers actually sit up straighter clearly interested. They did however and Jason continued.
"First, command back at Borneo was very happy with our survey of the Wolf three-six-seven system. They are still processing all of it, but expect to be able to return to the offensive soon. And they were pleased with the fact that we not only escaped with no damage, but destroyed a dickhead ship during our escape."
"Now, I know most of you are new to being citizens. One thing that the Confederacy does have is medals for gallantry and distinguished service. I was told that Master Sergeant Thatch will be receiving the Bronze Star for his work at the rail gun which destroyed the dickhead ship."
I wanted to jump up and shout, but Sergeant Collins was sitting next to me and held me down. He whispered into my ear attempting to calm me. "Don't. You might have planned the shot, and I'm sure Jason made that clear in his report. But morale in the district is low and I'm sure that District Command wants to show everyone that they are needed. You'll get your recognition."
It was unfair. Yes, I had not been the one to pull the trigger, but it was my plan, my firing solution, my hours of refining our scans to give the ship the most perfect shot. However, it was Jason's next comment that shocked me.
"Also, I have a bit of a surprise," he said with a smile. "I was not at the Wolf disaster, but I've heard tales of shattered and dying ships arriving in this system. While we were traveling here and scanning the system, Borneo command was reviewing all the recordings they were able to salvage from the surviving ships computers."
"Well, they are still reviewing the data, but they have made one decision. The formal presentation won't occur until we return to Borneo, but they have granted me the unique pleasure of announcing this. Bernadette Werfel please stand."
God! It was The Mouse. That little librarian girl. And the scary thing was it was clear she had no idea what was going on. Jason just smiled as James handed him a sheet of paper. I sat there, trying to keep my dinner down as Jason held up the sheet and read it.
"During the battle at Wolf Three-Six-Seven, the Sa'arm deployed a new weapon. This weapon, which we are still trying to define unleashes a hail of metal slivers that somehow can rip through ship battle armor. The Andrew Jackson was hit multiple times and while the command crew did manage to execute Commodore Sprague's desperate command to jump, every crewman in the bridge, flag bridge and auxiliary command was killed by this new weapon.
"With all but three officers on the ship dead, then Ensign Bernadette Werfel did at great personal risk make her way through twisted and irradiated passages to check each of these commands, finally determining that the Auxiliary Command was still barely functional. With no training and understanding that any mistake could result in the destruction of the ship and its surviving crew, she brought the Andrew Jackson out of jump at Ishtar and then despite damage that left most of the maneuvering thrusters inoperable, guided it to a repair dock.
"After a review of the data available and the post-action reports, we have found that had Ensign Werfel not taken her decisive action, the Andrew Jackson would not have emerged from the jump in time to make its way to Ishtar, and that the damage to the engines and life support could never have been repaired without the docks at Ishtar. Therefore we do issue to Bernadette Werfel, the Confederacy Cross in recognition for her heroism."
There was a general gasp from the crew. I looked over at Sergeant Matthews and his mouth was open in shock but he closed it with a huge smile and nodded.
"What is it?" I asked.
"It's the highest medal the Confederacy offers," he whispered back. "And from everything I've heard she deserves it."
"That mouse?" I asked.
The only response I got was a look of complete scorn. Damn, what was wrong with these people. So the useless little mouse had managed to push the right buttons. Any monkey could be right once in a while.
After that the party started up in earnest. Most of the crew went over to congratulate The Mouse. I did as well, not wanting to draw too much attention, but I think she knew I wasn't happy as she quickly turned her back to me to chat with one of the citizens of Ishtar who was offering her a small glass of some amber liquid.
It was later, after I had drunk a few additional beers, although these were from the replicators. The taste was still almost completely undrinkable, but I had a need to get drunk.
Finally I decided to stagger back to my cot. I was in a sour mood and walking down the hallway when I stumbled into this blond concubine. I had seen her the day before and remembered that she was currently unattached so I attempted to kiss her. God, how is that a crime. I was drunk, she was in my arms as we leaned against the wall, and it wasn't like anyone owned her. But the slut screamed. I discovered that James might not look like much, but was surprisingly strong as moments later he picked me up and slammed me to the floor.
There was a very short discussion. My ears were ringing because of the force used to slam me to the floor so I could not understand what was being said. However, when I was finally lifted to my feet it was Sergeant Thatch and Sergeant Matthews who took my arms and marched me to the teleport and threw me into the beam. I arrived back at the chamber and airlock leading to the Pebble Beach. Someone, I'm not sure who coldly informed me that I was not to return to the surface of the planet for the rest of my life.
Conrad's Log - recorded forty-three days after launch of Pebble Beach
Finally, the end of my five-day exile. Well, not so much an exile since officially the ship is my home until we return to Borneo. However, the rest of the crew is now aboard and Private Simmons has backed us out of the docking bay.
It was rather lonely. When I first arrived Sergeant Timson and I were the only ones aboard the Pebble Beach. Later Private Dugan and Lance Corporal Sofele joined us. They had been banished for the same reason as I was. Damn we all sat up there hating the situation. We couldn't even take turns with Rochelle, Sergeant Timson's concubine because she was down on the planet. Timson complained about that, but that was fruitless. James and Yvette even allowed him to take his protest to Borneo command.
That was a surprise. I had never met Admiral Himmel, but Timson definitely recognized the voice and sat ramrod straight during that discussion. Heck, I'm not sure how they managed it. Anyways Admiral Himmel ripped into Timson and anyone else "so full of himself as to get himself kicked off the only R and R planet in the Confederacy."
So we had to spend five days sitting around. God, the others aren't even interesting to talk to.
Well, everyone has returned, except for Toni. The unattached concubine was left behind at Ishtar. No one will tell me why, but Sergeant Collins wouldn't look me in the eye when I tried to get him to tell me about it.
We did end up with one new unattached concubine name Katy to replace Toni, and one additional one. She came up hanging on Maurice's arm and laughing. I asked him who he gave up and he told me that Delores was joining his household without him having to give up a concubine. "She wants to be with me and I even got to call back and talk to my girls. They want to meet her, but man could they gossip over the comm."
"But you only get two." I insisted.
Bernadette, that little mouse was standing right behind Maurice. "No. Those numbers are for when you leave Earth. After that you can end up with more although its not always approved. It depends on a number of things."
It is just more proof of the injustice of everything. I have been near perfect in my duties and I can't get a break with my captain. He's too interested in being all nicey nicey with the concubines.
Conrad's Log - recorded sixty-four days after launch of Pebble Beach
Twenty days from Ishtar and we finally visited the first of the three systems we are to visit. The system is ugly. The star is this strange yellow and what planets we saw in the initial scan were airless rocks. The Mouse was sitting at tracking for this and immediately started ordering drones to launch and scan each planet.
Jason was quiet until she turned to speak that all drones were in transit. "Good. Ensign Feldman, do you want to run any drills against some of the asteroids? It might be good practice for the crew."
It was a wonderful opportunity, even if I had to ask the Mouse's concubine Catherine to run the com board as I announced the drill and the requirements. I had not planned ahead of time, but the system had plenty of asteroids I could use as targets and there were a few beacons used for drills I could launch to mark specific rocks as targets.
The crew did appear to enjoy the drill. Overall, things went perfect except for the railgun that Sergeant Collins was supposed to be servicing. That gun was erratic in its firing. Sometimes they fired the gun early; sometimes they were late getting the shot off. They even managed to undercharge the rings one time during the drill and the projectile actually caught on the rail. We had to stop the drill and have several crew exit the pressurized section of the ship in order to clear the rail.
I knew that Sergeant Collins was going to be in trouble for this and I volunteered to handle it. At least there Jason allowed me to take Sergeant Collins into a private room.
That was a miserable experience. I found out that Sergeant Collins had lost any and all confidence after the Wolf battle. He admitted to me that it took all his willpower just to enter the gun control room, and that his lack of nerve kept him from thinking ahead and performing his duties. I hated to do it as he was one of the few that thought right, but I relieved him of his duties and put Lance Corporal Smith in control of the railgun.
Bloody Jason thanked me and congratulated me for my decisive handling of the issue. I had possibly ended Collins career and Jason didn't seem to care. God I hate that man.
Conrad's Log - recorded seventy-four days after launch of Pebble Beach
We have just left the system. There was nothing special in it, but damn if Jason didn't make sure that we had time for the drones to visit every planet and return. At least the Mouse hasn't been around. She and Ensign Bush are down in the hold reconditioning the drones to prepare them for the next system.
Conrad's Log - recorded ninety days after launch of Pebble Beach
Our second system. This one at least looks a bit nicer. The sun looked much like Earth's. The Mouse seemed especially interested in one planet. It was a bit too far to see clearly, but I did notice a slight green tint to it in the long distance scans.
Conrad's Log - recorded one hundred one days after launch of Pebble Beach
Jason and the Mouse are excited by something one of the drones found. I'm not sure why. The green planet turned out to be covered in moss. Nothing special. The only thing is that the moss was all clearly very young. Mouse was saying that perhaps the dickheads missed something when they stripped it. I do know that they sacrificed a drone to try and get soil samples. That was a joke. We don't have the right tools for that and I remember the Mouse having to apologize to Jason for throwing away equipment when the drone crashed on the planet and was unretrievable. Stupid bitch, but even if the Confederacy thinks she's special I've seen her work. I've never met anyone as indecisive as her.
Conrad's Log - recorded one hundred eighteen days after launch of Pebble Beach
We just broke jump into the final system. There are Sa'arm scouts here. And Jason insists on fighting so he can get the scans in. It's only four or five scouts, but at least he's revealing that he has balls.
Conrad's Log - recorded one hundred twenty-two days after launch of Pebble Beach
Four days of stalking and being stalked. It wasn't the four or five scouts we thought. It was twelve! And we have no fatalities, but it was close and everyone has at least a cut or bruise.
I want to describe this in a blow-by-blow, but I can't. I just don't remember it all. Jason had called for us to take out the two closest ships and then we were going to take advantage of our practice running silent and try to stalk and ambush each of the remaining Sa'arm ships. It sounded like a great idea. The system had four different asteroid belts and two of the planets had plenty of moons we could use for cover. You always imagine fighting in space as being fought on an open field with everyone able to see all participants. Not in this system. There were so many pieces of space debris that the Mouse struggled to give me accurate tracks for any ship that was more than about four light minutes away.
The initial ambush of the two dickhead scouts went perfectly. Sergeant Thatch and Lance Corporal Smith followed my firing sequences like clockwork. In seconds there were two rapidly expanding balls of metal in the system.
But even if you attack the dickheads from ambush and they never see the attack, they know where someone died and I can remember the squeak of surprise from the Mouse when she saw the tracks of all the dickhead scouts in the system lit up. It was more than the two or three additionals that we expected.
Jason stayed calm and had Private Simmons turn us so we would boost on a tangent to the closet dickhead and fire a short but full power burst from the engine before we shut all emissions.
We got away, and then started a cat and mouse game. The Sa'arm didn't search in pairs, so we would watch until a scout wandered from the main group and pounce on it. It was extremely stressful. The Sa'arm seemed to be patrolling randomly, but three times we had one in our sights when another stumbled on us. I hate to say it but that Mouse kept us alive more than once. Private Simmons had the helm, but Patrician class Corvettes have to turn to face their targets to use the railgun, so once we were in close the ship attitude controls defaulted to my station. I'd be concentrating on setting one dickhead scout up for a clean shot when I'd hear. "Incoming! He's coming from four o'clock!"
It wasn't always four, but always from that rear oblique. The warnings came in time for me to set up snap shots and then start the wild evasion gyrations that gave Simmons time to cycle the engines up for an escape burst.
Simmons was our first major casualty. It was a missile that I had seen and dodged, but it exploded off the bow and we quickly discovered that it was one of the new sliver weapons. They didn't do much damage thanks to the armor and the attitude of the ship when they struck, but one came through the bridge and sliced through Simmons right arm just above his elbow. He collapsed and I'm sure the follow up shot would have killed the whole ship had Jason not jumped forward and slammed his hand down on the emergency engine burst.
That's when I found out that the concubines were working on the ship. Jason shouted something. I didn't hear it, in order to keep my concentration on the fighting I was wearing noise-canceling headphones that were connected to my gun crews and the Mouse over at tracking. However, moments later four concubines dashed in. One put a tourniquet on Simmons arm before two others lifted him from his chair and carried him out of the room. The last dropped into the chair and at Jason's direction raced the ship to the nearest asteroid belt. How she knew the controls I never found out, but we outran the Sa'arm ship. The concubine even was able to grant control back to me when missiles came near and evasive action needed to be taken.
The concubines managed to keep Simmons alive. And later when other missiles snuck through all our evasions and jamming they again saved the lives of the crewmembers who were injured.
My martial spirit wanted a stand up fight, but we just couldn't do it. Against a single scout we had an advantage thanks to our great maneuverability. Sergeant Thatch proved to be unbelievable at his station. Over the four days we lost both of our missile launchers, our port particle beam and our starboard rail gun, but the port rail gun that Sergeant Thatch captained kept firing, despite taking two direct hits. When it did go down, he refused to leave his station and within three hours he had it back up and operating. Without him, we would have had nothing for the final scout.
The final scout left the system only five hours ago. I wanted to collapse, but as I finally allowed myself to sag into the chair, Bernadette's concubine Catherine walked onto the bridge. She was carrying a rabbit. As I tried to figure that out she walked up to me and held up the little thing. "Bogey here wants to congratulate you and offer a kiss," she told me.
I was confused by this. Part of me wanted to crush the rabbit's head. After all why was anyone on this ship being sentimental and a rabbit as a ship's mascot offended my sense of rightness. However, I lifted an arm heavy with fatigue and patted the rabbit on the head. The concubine gave a cheerful giggle and went on to Captain Toms to offer the same. I just closed my eyes, wanting to sleep.
Suddenly I could smell fresh and hot coffee. It was Celeste, Captain Tom's concubine. She had a tray with coffee and some biscuits, she held it out for me. "You need this," she said. Once I took it she told the Captain that she's bring him a tray next and left.
I removed my helmet, fumbling with the catches due to my fatigue. The coffee was typical of replicated drinks, but at that moment it smelt and tasted heavenly. I found myself thinking about how the concubines had been bringing food and drinks and even removing and replacing the bags in our spacesuits that held waste so that the bridge crew could concentrate on fighting the ship for the last four days. I guess Jason noticed my puzzled look.
"Just realizing how much the concubines did during the fight?" he said.
I nodded. "Why?" was all I said.
Jason smiled at me. "We ship with minimal crews. There aren't enough citizens to have the multiple redundant personnel that old Earth warships did. The concubines may not have our training, but work like bringing food, acting as medics and offering muscle and hands to clear damage they can do."
I nodded at that. The Mouse had sat quietly and turned to Captain Toms. "I've launched what drones we have left and I did do some scanning during the fighting, but we lost sixty percent of our drones using them as decoys and remote sensor platforms.
Exhaustion almost took me. Captain Tom's said one last thing and as I closed my eyes, I could feel several hands lift me from my chair. I knew I would wake in my berth.
Conrad's Log - recorded one hundred twenty-six days after launch of Pebble Beach
It's only been four days since the battle, but our last drone has failed so Captain Toms has us turning for Borneo.
The Mouse is excited about some of the data. She's shown it to the Captain and me, but I'm not sure what it is. It looks like some kind of metal structure on one of the airless moons. I guess it's important. But most of my time has been spent down at the fighting deck trying to determine if any of the damaged weapons can be repaired. I think we can get the starboard missile launcher back up.
Conrad's Log - recorded one hundred sixty-eight days after launch of Pebble Beach
We have just exited a jump point at Borneo. The Mouse was back to sitting at the communications station. I know that our ship looks nothing like any Sa'arm ship, but I was still nervous until she relaxed and acknowledged some command. Private Dugan was at the helm controls and listened closely as she relayed the directions to head to the starbase.
I am looking forward to getting off this ship. The battle at that unnamed system was wonderful, but I can't stand the other officers. Even Ensign Bush has become one of the weak wimps who doesn't demand respect from the concubines.
Conrad's Log - recorded one hundred sixty-nine days after launch of Pebble Beach
I have new orders. I'm to get twenty days of leave, but after that I will be on the Destroyer Siberia. I've looked up the class and it's a beauty. The class has thirty particle beam turrets. At last I'll be able to show the Confederacy what manhood is all about.
I've even received a promotion to Lieutenant although it would not become official until I set foot on the Siberia. Oh how I love that.
I'm not sure what is going to happen to the others. The Mouse received a promotion and I heard she's being transferred to a new ship. Maurice supposedly is up for promotion as well. I'm not sure what will happen to him.
It wasn't all good for the crew. Sergeant Timson was marched off under guard. Captain Toms told me that he would not be executed, but he and Sergeant Collins aren't going to be serving on ships again for a while.
Home in my pod wasn't very good. Martha continues to be silent. She cowers nicely but has not said a word to me since I returned. Lilith just smiles and answers every demand or command with a "Yes master" and rushes to do what I tell her. It sucks that she now seems very happy with the tail I forced on her before I left. I've caught her posing in front of the mirror and playing with it. I can't fault her energy or work, but its no fun anymore. She isn't fighting me. Its clear she has not broken, but unless I want to beat her nearly to death, I just can't beat her spirit.
Conrad's Log - recorded nineteen days after end of first tour
I've met the Captain of the Siberia. Wow, is he a hard charger. Commander Maxwell Kent is his name, and while the Siberia has no combat record, the ship has been the top-scoring destroyer in the district for over a year. I've met most of the gunners and they are a proud and cocky bunch, cheerfully promising that they will never miss a shot not matter how difficult a firing solution I give them.
Note from Borneo Command:
There will only be two more of Conrad's Journal entries in this report. One was written just before the battle of Borneo, and his final entry, which he wrote just before being taken from his cell and executed. We will include a brief synopsis of what happened during the battle between the two. As the earlier entries reveal much of the personality of Lieutenant Feldman these final entries are included to show his mental attitude before and after the battle.
Conrad's Log - Recorded one week after boarding the Siberia.
It's time for me to show what I can do. I can't believe that they announced medals for the last tour of the Pebble Beach and I didn't receive one. It was my firing solutions that allowed us to get the kill in the Wolf system. And it was my hard work and reflexes that kept the ship alive during those four days in that system I still don't know the name of. I can't remember the number of times I frantically twisted the controls and slammed buttons making the ship dodge Sa'arm missiles. Even the one hit that injured Private Simmons was only a partial as my maneuvers kept the missile from striking the hull. All the damages we took were from missiles that exploded near the ship.
Report on events from the battle of Borneo
Two Sa'arm cruisers broke out of jump just inside the orbit of Borneo 5. System sensors immediately detected them and alerted all ships in the system. Lieutenant Colonel Tanya Walker, commander of the goddess class BC Freya immediately called for all ships in the system to rally on hers. The ships that responded included the Siberia.
The arrival was very inopportunely timed. All carrier task groups were out of the system, so the defense was Freya, three destroyers and seven corvettes. It was barely adequate as Sa'arm cruisers are deadly fighters. Worse, the Siberia was the only Asia class destroyer. The others were the Morocco and the Sahara. The commands coming from Freya were designed to maximize the ability of the Siberia to provide point defense for the other two destroyers.
The Sa'arm ships separated, so Captain Walker took her ship along with two corvettes after the one making for the space station while she ordered the other ships to take down the other cruiser.
It should have worked, with minimal casualties. The Siberia is an Asian class with plenty of particle beams, which can provide point defense against the Sa'arm missiles and dead fire weapons.
Lieutenant Feldman never released the particle beams for full defense. Instead he kept plotting targeting solutions for the Siberia's cannons. Master Sergeant Valmond overrode the bridge commands to free up the turrets, but he did it a bit too late. The Morocco survived untouched as its own point defense stopped the missiles that the late defensive fire from the Siberia allowed through. The Sahara will be spending two weeks in the repair docks at Moreton and lost half her crew. She took four direct hits from the new sliver missiles the Sa'arm have started to use in the district.
Even the Siberia took a hit. Captain Maxwell Kent and his executive officer Yancy Tanner were both knocked out. At this point Lieutenant Feldman panicked and ordered a general retreat. The Morocco did fire one volley at extreme range before breaking off. How much damage they did is unclear, but the Sa'arm ship turned to run to the jump point, leaving the system.
The other battle did not end for several hours, which is when a recovering Captain Kent had Lieutenant Feldman seized and held for trial.
Conrad's Log - Final Entry
Those fuckheads! And that fucking dyke commander! I've heard she only has two female concubines and no male ones! What the fuck was she doing ordering my ship to cover the others! Our particle beams were perfect to hurt the dickheads and have twice the range of the stupid Africans.
The missile fire wasn't even heavy! Shit I faced worse back aboard the Pebble Beach. I've been told that I'm responsible for all the deaths on both the Siberia and the Sahara. Like I fucking care about the twenty dead concubines from the Siberia, or the crew of the Sahara. I'm here to kill the dickheads and some dyke cunt ordered me not to. She didn't want me to show her up! That's all it was!
And the charge that I cut and ran!? What was I supposed to do? The rest of the bridge crew was unconscious. I had no tracking officer in support and while the weapons station allows me to make some maneuvers, without a helmsman the major maneuvers were going to be impossible. Heck, I was the one who carefully put Lance Corporal Oksana Valkova's body on the floor before jumping into the chair and turning the Siberia around. Yeah, I pinched her nipple and cupped her mound through her suit as I put her down. Like it hurt her, but she still screamed about it after the battle. What a fucking cunt. I help her lie down and rest after she took two of those damn slivers and all she cares about is I touched her inappropriately.
Fuck it! The Confederacy was a bloody joke. They lied about what life off Earth would be like. I just hope that Martha and Lilith get recycled. I could use companions in heaven.
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