Chapter 27 After Action
Samantha opened a bleary eye, and decided she was awake. It had been a wonderful birthday party, the like of which she could well believe no 14-year-old Earth girl would ever have the chance to experience. She and Carruthers had gone twice more, followed by a stream of people congratulating her. After the show she and the Base Logistics Officer had put on, there were other impromptu couplings around the floor, including her own parents (followed by her aunt and father).
She opened the second eye, and found herself staring at the sprawled form of her concubine Vickie. The British veterinarian was as naked as Samantha was of course, Samantha realized: she'd ordered her concubine to undress and had yet to countermand that order. The dark-haired woman was fast asleep, and had obviously gotten some action as well: tell-tale fluid oozed from her gaping vagina.
As she replayed last night's scene in her mind, she realized in frustration that she had still to learn Carruthers' first name.
'Sub-Decurion Redburn,' the base brothel's AI unexpectedly subvocalized in its feminine voice, 'you have visitors.'
'The bed to your left.'
She rolled away from Vickie, and found herself staring in complete surprise into three pair of solemn eyes attached to three youngsters lying on their stomachs on the bed next to hers. "You told me to bring the girls over for breakfast," Diana Deschenes reminded the hung-over Civil Service officer, indicating Vickie's daughter Mickey and niece Allie. The two Arbuthnot girls wore children's shifts of white that came down halfway to their knees; Diana wore the same outfit that her mother always did.
Despite it being close to oh-nine-hundred, the party was actually still going on Samantha could hear music coming up the stairs as she headed down to check out the joint. It might be her birthday, but the Beauty Saloon was still her responsibility, and besides, it was her birthday party. She left the two girls to wake up their mother.
At the bottom of the elevator from the party room, she ran into Colonel Deschenes and Penny walking up. Penny seemed in something of a hurry and was covering her crotch with one hand.
"Gottagopee!" came the hurried explanation from the older woman. She didn't stop in her scramble onto the elevator pad, but Michael paused.
"It's not just urine, is it?" Samantha asked as she observed the smirk on Michael's face.
He happily shook his head. "Like you, Penny is supposed to set a good example to the concubines, that sex can be enjoyed. So far, you both are doing a wonderful job. Plus, it's time and past time for Diana to have a little brother or sister, so we were working toward that."
"At least Diana can't see me like this. That would be just too embarrassing!" called Penny as the pad merged with the ceiling, one hand desperately clutched to her dripping crotch to hold the semen in. Samantha turned a worried face to her boss.
"Uh-oh," Samantha said softly, as Michael instantly grasped the situation. "Four, three, two..."
"...one," she winced.
Penny was obviously too desperate to spend a penny, as she didn't come down. Michael's shoulders shook as he silently laughed at his concubine's predicament. Together the two Confederacy officers climbed onto the elevator pad to the brothel's bedroom floor to provide at least some comfort to Penny.
Penny, however, didn't want comfort at that moment. She wanted privacy... and she wasn't going to get it in this room. The sight that greeted Michael was of her sitting on one of the line of commodes that lined the wall separating the showers from the enormous bedchamber. The commode she was perched on had obeyed its standing instructions by turning absolutely clear as glass. She was making a rotating gesture with her finger and saying, "Diana, honey, can you please turn around for a second?"
Diana gave her a shrug of mystification, even though she was perfectly aware of what her mother was going through the temptation to tease was just too strong. "Why? Nothing there I haven't seen before." The look was one of purest innocence.
Michael hadn't stopped smirking. When Samantha subvocalized, 'Remind me never to play poker with your daughter,' he almost burst out laughing.
Down in the dining room, Shelly Saturn's two daughters, 12-year-old Melissa and 10-year-old Macy, were belting out a little karaoke. The song they'd chosen, a quite risquι number by Nickelback, was clearly aimed at their amused yet embarrassed mother, who was sitting at a table near the stage with orders from her sponsor not to budge from that spot:
"I'm loving what you wanna wear I wonder what's up under there Wonder if I'll ever have it Under my tongue."
Shelly was perfectly aware that they'd likely have "what's under there" under their tongues the minute each turned thirteen. Her sponsor was definitely amused by the thought as was she, although she dared not show it and he had already indicated to her that when each girl reached the tender age of thirteen, Shelly was expected to teach her daughters about the pleasures of Sapphic love.
Samantha swept into the room at that point, making an impact not unlike a hurricane: a naked, happily-freshly-deflowered, newly-promoted fourteen-year-old force of nature tended to do that. Her mother and aunt were flaked out on the bench seating in a U-shaped booth, sleeping off the carnal attentions of their sponsor, her father. Samantha had a whispered consultation with her father and Lieutenant William Barker, after which the two men went over, gathered the two heavily-pregnant concubines in their arms like they were toddlers, and carried them up to the upper-floor party room to sleep for awhile.
Still feeling the effects of insufficient sleep, Samantha plunked herself down next to the shift-clad interstellar chanteuse and gave out a prodigious yawn. No sooner had she settled into the high-backed, armless chair than a concubine waitress dressed in a scandalously scanty version of a 1930's waitress' outfit with bobbed dark hair matching the era walked over with a reproduction Von Nessen coffee set.
The girls finished their bawdy song, and went over to give their mother a big hug. "I'm glad they don't know the meaning of the song they were singing," Shelly confided to Samantha.
"Yes. Right." Samantha avoided looking in Shelly's eyes. She was quite aware how mothers liked to think their daughters were still innocent an innocence one encountered only rarely even before the social changes created in the Swarm era.
Shelly cocked an eyebrow as her younger daughter giggled. "I sense a scepticism in the Force."
Samantha just grinned at the older woman. Then, cup halfway between table and lips, she froze as her face drew a faraway look. She was receiving a subvocal communication.
She shook off the look and apologized to her table companion. "Sorry about that duty called. Just a sec, got to make a call."
"Quite all right, my dear," reassured Shelly. "I understand pity about it being on your birthday, though."
'Is it a court martial?' Samantha was quizzing Colonel Deschenes.
"And what does that song mean?" asked Shelly of Macy.
'No, it's being called a Board of Inquiry. They don't think we've done anything that would subject us to a court martial, not yet anyway, but they think there are lessons that can be learnt here,' came the voice of the Colonel into the Sub-Decurion's ear. 'You can stay dressed in your birthday suit today,' he chuckled, 'they won't be arriving for another week.'
"It's about sex," Macy replied, confident in her interpretation of the lyrics, much to her mother's dismay. "Y'know, making babies."
'I recommend, though, that you review your action reports, and maybe get up to speed on mine and the Admiral's,' added the Colonel soberly.
Melissa continued, to her mother's additional discomfiture, "Yeah, what we've been watching you and Frank do every night since he picked you up." Corporal Frank Evans was their sponsor and on track, if his development kept proceeding as it had, to becoming an officer in the Confederacy Marines.
Samantha asked the AI to provide her with the aforementioned action reports and schedule a time for their review, and returned her attention to the star vocalist sharing her table.
"Sam, I'm just NOT used to colony life yet," Shelly moaned.
"Hm?" asked Samantha, mystified as her conversation had been entirely disconnected from Shelly's. The AI had to bring her up to speed, subvocally. This link was invaluable, Samantha realized. "Look, on Earth, even when I left it some six months ago, fourteen-year-olds getting pregnant was still a subject for scandal and shame for their families. Out here, fourteen-year-olds, be they concubines or sponsors, are expected to get pregnant, preferably sooner rather than later, and therefore are expected to not only have sex, but to enjoy sex. We need lots of little Marines and sailors to fight off the Swarm, and we aren't going to get them soon enough if we make the teens wait about six years after puberty kicks in to reproduce. And that means that when they turn fourteen, they're expected to know what sex is all about. And that means they need to learn what it's all about before they turn fourteen."
Shelly gave her a desperate look, but Samantha just sighed. "And that means you need to give them the right kind of sex education long before that birthday, and show them the right attitude so they realize that it's OK and Mommy is happy and supportive even if Mommy has to fake it." She grabbed Shelly's hand comfortingly, her eyes full of sympathy. "So, where will you be in about a year and a half when Mel has her fourteenth birthday? Pretending she still needs to wait for her eighteenth birthday, or holding her hand while she rides a cute Marine?"
At that point another work call came in, and Samantha was forced to disappear into her office. She left behind a very thoughtful mother.
At that same time as Samantha was off dealing with yet another issue between sponsor and concubine, Admiral Vincent Van De Graaf was reviewing his action report from the Battle for Hesperusat in his quarters in Scott Base.
The Admiral's quarters had started out as just another pod, but like every other sponsor he'd put his personal stamp on things. Unlike his Marine counterpart, his tastes ran less toward Art Deco and more toward Edwardian a taste reflected in the decor and architecture of not only his quarters but also Scott Base itself. The corridors were filled with fluted columns, the capstones of which were decorated in plaster vines and grapes. The base buildings, similarly placed to those of Camp Shackleton, were done up in a style that would not have looked out of place to warriors from the first Great War, including Georgian columns and eight-over-eight windows that actually opened. The entrance to the Base Headquarters was flanked by lions whose design was taken right out of New York's Central Library. If Hercule Poirot would have looked like he belonged on the streets of Camp Shackleton, then Sherlock Holmes would have looked at home at Base Scott. Even the high-tech was artfully disguised to look like it fit into the Edwardian Age, giving the Base a subtle steam-punk effect.
His straw boss, a blond-haired Dutch 31-year-old mother of three named Katelijn, waddled into the room, covering her near-term belly protectively. Katelijn had been overweight and somewhat out-of-shape when Vincent had selected her and three others back at that coffee shop in Breda, but, thanks to the med tubes' magic, she now resembled a 23-year-old vixen. Vincent hadn't changed her much from how she was at that age, aside from her pregnancy, which was now in its eighth month. She headed straight for the love seat opposite his desk and with great difficulty, settled in.
"This thing," she announced, pointing at her protruding abdomen and pouting, "is coming out. Now."
Vincent smiled gently and moved to sit beside his beloved concubine. "It isn't time yet. Besides, I like how beautiful you look right now, with the life inside you complementing your natural loveliness. You have this... glow."
"Flattery will get you anywhere," Katelijn responded dryly, "but I still look and feel fat and ugly."
"You're not fat. You're not even fluffy." He tickled her, causing the foetus within to kick.
"Stop that," Katelijn giggled. She settled down a bit, her eyes filled with love. "You're mean. If you really meant that, you'd fuck me until my eyes rolled back."
"Sounds like just what I need, too." Vincent, his normal pre-extraction strength bolstered by his body's modifications, lifted the petite woman with ease and carried her into his bedroom. It wasn't long before her giggles had changed to cries of passion.
The cries that greeted Samantha as she entered her office were not ones of passion, but of grief and of fear and pain. The concubine was tall and lithe and Nordic, with long blond hair to her waist, dressed in the standard ugly grey concubine shift. She cradled an obviously broken right arm, and the tears fell freely. Her sponsor was not in the office.
"You've got to stop him!" the injured female pleaded to the naked Sub-Decurion. "He's going after my daughter!"
Those were the only words the woman needed to say. Sub-Decurion Redburn turned to the AI, addressing it aloud.
"AI, identify this concubine's sponsor, and monitor."
"Sub-Decurion Redburn, Concubine Mary-Jane Corbell's sponsor is Private James Corbell, 1201st Battalion, who arrived with the last draft. He is currently in his quarters, attempting penile penetration of his dependant Laura-Lee Corbell, 10 years old."
Great, Samantha thought frantically. A brand-new Marine. The high aggression that made for a good Marine tended to make for a rough sponsor, especially with a low overall CAP score. And privates overwhelmingly scored under six point eight. "Duty sergeant!"
The AI, aware of the urgency of the situation, plastered the picture of Private Corbell's bedroom onto the wall in front of the all-Navy duty crew manning the Control Centre. It showed a screaming 10-year-old girl with long blond hair like her mother, naked and terrified. The man was beginning to lean into the youngster, determined to take his pleasure from the heavily-underage dependant. She was resisting, but as he had had his body modified to the standard Marine two metres tall, it didn't count for much. Her pleas for him to stop were all but drowned out by his shouts to "shut up".
The duty sergeant shouted a command to "Fire stinger!", but the duty corporal's fist was already halfway down on an arc that terminated at the large red button that had suddenly appeared on his control bench. It hit with impressive force and the corporal grunted in pain, aware he'd broken at least one bone in his hand.
The stinger rendered the child unconscious, which was probably a blessing for her, and rendered her sponsor groggy and temporarily unable to complete his carnal mission. The situation was very temporary, Samantha and the duty sergeant realized, and both took steps.
The sergeant shoved the corporal out of the way so that he could man the post, ordering the injured sailor to the Medical Inspection Room. He then ordered the AI to get a relief corporal from somewhere anywhere.
Samantha ordered Colonel Deschenes and Sergeant-Major Blondell notified immediately, and requested the nearest Marines be notified to prepare to go in and rescue the dependant from her demented sponsor. She added a request for the closest sponsor to her office, regardless of rank or service, to report to her as soon as possible or sooner, if possible for medical escort.
As a knot of Marines led, Samantha noted, by the capable and seasoned Sergeant Kowalski prepared to enter the pod, the AI announced the presence of Fleet Auxiliary Corporal Henri Cournoyer. An impressively tall and lanky black man entered, and Samantha blinked at the loud Hawaiian shirt and mirrored sunglasses. He came to attention, but as he was in civilian clothes he didn't salute. "Corporal Henri Cournoyer, reporting for medical escort duty, SIR!" he called in a gentle French accent. There was nothing gentle about his attitude, though. Not only did the ranking (only) Civil Service officer have a reputation for not requesting assistance lightly, she had a reputation for discipline when on duty.
Samantha, also being out of uniform, likewise didn't salute. She pointed to Mary-Jane and tersely ordered, "Her. M.I.R. Right. Fucking. Now."
"Sir!" he acknowledged forcefully, and turned to Mary-Jane. His voice turned honeyed as he dealt with the obviously emotionally traumatized concubine as gently as possible. "If you could come with me, madame, I will get the corpsmen to fix that up for you," he suggested in a gentle Quebec French accent.
"My daughter," Mary-Jane objected, unable to articulate further.
"I'll deal with your daughter," Sub-Decurion Redburn growled, her words made of the hardest carbon steel. Henri felt a shiver of fear dance up his back. He did not want to make Sub-Decurion Redburn mad at him for anything. "AI," Samantha added, her voice dangerously controlled, "transfer concubine Mary-Jane Corbell and dependant Laura-Lee Corbell to Civil Service protection temporarily, pending resolution of any and all charges against sponsor James Corbell. Also, temporarily transfer any other concubines and dependants that James Corbell is sponsoring to the Civil Service's protection."
"Sub-Decurion Redburn, that will have to be authorized by Governor Michael Deschenes," responded the AI in an even, feminine voice.
"Then ask the Old Man to authorize it."
"The 'Old Man' authorizes it." Michael's voice rattled the speakers as he responded. Inwardly, Samantha winced, knowing how much Michael hated hearing others refer to him by that nickname. He always seemed to be right behind you whenever you used it.
"Acknowledged," came the soothing voice of the AI. "Concubine Mary-Jane Corbell and dependant Laura-Lee Corbell have been temporarily transferred to the responsibility of the Civil Service. Concubine Callee Corbell and dependant Jason Corbell have been temporarily transferred to the responsibility of the Civil Service." The AI paused. "Both Callee Corbell and Jason Corbell are in the upper level of the Corbell pod."
On the screens where the fight in Private Corbell's quarters was being monitored, people witnessed him pick up a chair and attempt to hit Sergeant Kowalski and his pick-up squad. The chair smashed against Kowalski's chest, but it might as well have been made of balsa wood, as the two-metre-tall Marine NCO was quite uninjured from the blow. Kowalski responded by landing a hit to the man's solar plexus, leaving him breathless. As Corbell staggered back, a second stinger blow harder than the first hit him, and him alone. Corbell landed on the deck like a sack of potatoes and was tackled and restrained by his fellow Marines.
As the others, under the instruction of a lance-corporal, hustled the now-handcuffed man off to the brig, Sergeant Kowalski gently lifted the still-unconscious girl and tenderly cradled her. "I have the dependant. I'm taking her to the M.I.R. right now," he reported.
As Henri escorted Mary-Jane to the M.I.R., Samantha began the process of investigation that would inevitably lead to charges against the errant Private Corbell.
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