I hate traveling.
I'd taken a transfer within the company after being notified that I had 60 days to find a new job or I was Oh yoU Tee. While the package would have been nice, I kind of liked the idea of staying with the company, so, when I found a suitable job opening in global business solutions, I took it.
Even though it was touted as requiring 80% travel.
One of my former co-workers who decided to take the package and leave the company teased me about the travel percentage by saying "Well... that means you get to spend 20% on the customer site and the rest of the time waiting in line to get through airport security".
After six months of this, I think he understated the ratio of time spent waiting in security lines.
So, there I was, stuck in an airport, waiting for a delayed flight, hoping it wasn't going to be canceled since I wanted to get home – well, back to where my apartment was – before Christmas. The whole of the north-eastern United States was, for the most part, guaranteed a White Christmas, though some spots were getting black ice, instead.
Here, the snow was blowing outside. This airport was keeping up with the deposition of the white stuff, so the local weather wasn’t likely to close the airport. What most people - those who do not travel much - do not know is that the delays and cancellations are NOT caused by the airport you are waiting to leave from, but, rather, due to the airports that planes are supposed to be leaving from, in an almost transfinite cascade.
I would not mind traveling if I could use those matter stream "transmat" devices the Confederacy has shown off, but we are not likely to get them in the kind of volume we would need to make a difference. The fact that the Confederacy has been pushing their replicator technology at us in huge quantities has been handy, though.
The windows showed a snowy day outside with flights both leaving and arriving, though I could tell that the arrival rate was falling short of the departure rate, pointing to a situation where we would, eventually, run out of planes.
Gray, cloudy, snowy... and then just... gray.
I've seen this in the news, before, though, nowadays, Confederacy extractions no longer get video air-time, just a mention of how many were done "today" in local news. Unless something spectacular happens, there’s almost no national coverage. There are websites where you can get counts, and, I am told, even names. I didn’t tend to peruse these lists.
Looking at my flight’s information on the “Departures” screen, I saw that my flight had been canceled.
This cancellation no longer could bother me much, since, with a CAP score of 7.9, I wasn't likely to need to head back to my empty apartment for the Christmas Holidays any longer.
I wondered how big a pickup this was and how many people I could choose from.
If you think I should have been thinking of collecting my ex-wife, well, she'd already re-married, giving me one more reason to be happy with the idea of a job that required travel. I might've wanted to grab our children but they were all already over 14 years of age.
So I found one of the Marines - who, with three others, had just finished disarming the TSA folks - and asked her where I needed to be.
After looking me over - and, I thought, talking to an AI or others in her group - she pointed at the nearest gate area, Gate 12, and told me they were setting up over there.
So I ambled over to that gate, still dragging my usual carry-on (or is that carrion?) bag, my parka bungeed to it, and my back-pack with my laptop.
I'll admit that I wasn't expecting to leave with much in the way of luggage, but, in another corner of my mind, I wasn't sure I wanted to leave bags that the bomb squad would want to try to detonate. I don’t like to litter.
So I got in the check-in line when they announced that they needed to see all of the volunteers with CAP scores over 6.5.
I think some joker in the extraction team was having fun, given that we were in an airport. They first called for what they called pre-packs, of which there were three, and got them through the transporter gate first, then called the rest of us by CAP scores, starting with the 9s.
The two, both women, who lined up were, to my eye, all go and no show. Easily near my age, these two were Type A all the way and didn't waste time trying to look like anything other than serious workers. You know the type, function and to hell with everything else.
In other words, the kind of people I liked to work with, far more interested in getting the job done rather than garnering political capital. In the business world I guessed they would be considered performance oriented rather than politically or socially oriented, though, in this changed venue, the term "performance" suddenly had a much different connotation.
When they were set loose to find concubines, they each had a Marine following them as they worked through the people there. One of the women came to me and asked for my CAP card, and, once she saw my number, smiled at me and shook hands before moving on.
The next group-- with CAP scores of 8 and above—had 5 people get in line and were checked in and got their escorts to find concubines.
At this point there was a bit of a stall since they needed to get the first two clusters out of the way. The two 9s worked through four large family groups to build their harems. In the end all four went... but they had separated all husband and wife pairings.
One woman, trailing three children, came to me asking if I had a high enough score to be a sponsor. This woman, Kate, told me that she had watched when one of the 9s had approached me, earlier, and was hoping I would take her. Body-wise she was a definite hausfrau type, a pleasant face but cushioned body, but her kids, a 13 year old boy and two younger daughters, seemed to be happy and well-behaved. I could tell from the clothing that they weren't rolling in it though her children had better coats than she did. Finding that her CAP card displayed a score of 6.2 was a surprise. I got up and went to the counter to get one of the readers for CAP cards and put hers under it. Her libido was not as high as I might have liked, as were her scores for aggression and independence, but her parental drives were way up, matching her intelligence, with a good dose of initiative, proven by her seeking me out.
She was in, even though she was rated as a "dead fuck", but, then, considering my track record with my ex, so was I. I could probably collect four dead fucks and still come out ahead.
I smiled. "Kate, you're with me."
She smiled back. "I know that you can tell from my CAP score that I am not thrilling in the sack... so... thank you..." she trailed off.
"My name is Alex, Kate. Just keep an eye on the kids for us."
She nodded. "Always."
I got introduced to Joey, 13, Jackie, 10 and Joanie, 7. They all seemed bright, pleasant and far better behaved than mine ever were. They also didn’t look at me like some kind of pond scum and I later learned that their folks had been divorced for a while.
Once both of the 9s were finally through the transport gate, the 8s were getting their harems in order with only a little bit in the way of friction.
It seemed odd that, of the seven who had already been through the line, five of them were women, especially in an airport.
When they called for the sevens, I managed to be the fifth in line out of twelve. I didn't even want to think of what it would be like when the sixes got to pick.
This time there were eight men and four women... and I was one of the men.
When I met the sea of supplicants I went through CAP cards and eliminated a whole bunch of all-show-no-go women and even girls, which seemed to be the majority of those in this pool. I noticed that many of these women also tended to be high in independence, a trait I wasn't too keen on, especially when combined with low parenting drive, low libido… and low intelligence.
Some of the other men had gone on to road-testing some of these folks. I ended up discouraged so I stepped away and sat down next to Kate to think it over. In hindsight, it was odd how much I felt I could share with her, but she proved to me that she was smart enough for me to lean on her.
"Alex, what's the problem?"
"The vast majority of the women in that pool, there, are vain, self-centered, arrogant... and, in my opinion, have little to offer me."
"So why are you restricting yourself to just that pool of eager women? I wouldn't have chosen to present myself like that since I'm not exactly eager to fuck or be road-tested, I want to be more valuable to whoever picks me. There have to be others who aren’t able to cope with the idea of rejection so they won’t get into that pool. I can’t believe I had the guts to approach you, for that matter."
I smiled and hugged Kate. "Thank you, Kate -- that helps me a lot. You’ve just proved your worth to me. Wait here for me."
This time I wandered and stopped by various women who were near the concubine pool but had children they kept out of the way. I went through CAP cards and four of the women I checked with were over 6.5, making them ineligible. I guess I was pretty picky.
As you may recall I told you that Kate had a pretty, if soft, face.
Tami, however, had plenty of acne scars and was better padded than Kate. Seventeen, she sat with her mother Theresa and six younger siblings. Theresa had scores like Kate's but her shortfall in intelligence dropped her to a 5.3. Tami, on the other hand, was a 6.4; with decent enough scores in various areas that I felt she'd be a good boss for my harem. Unfortunately, I figured that her mother would not want to take orders from a daughter so I figured I'd peel Tami away, even though I wanted to take both of them. I pulled Tami away.
"So you weren't interested in my mom? It looked like you were interested, you know."
I smiled at her, answering, "Yes, I wanted her, too, but I was concerned that she would not want to take orders from you."
Tami smiled. "Wanna bet? Hey, mom... get naked and blow my owner, now!"
To summarize things, after a demonstration that was not as quick as I expected, Theresa and her four minor children went with me. Her two sons over 14 were going to have to get by on their own and I was still taking on four more minor children, three girls, Anne, at 13, Casey, 11,adorable little Lois, 5, and a boy, 7, named Wallace.
I now had three of my four concubines. Tami pointed to a rail-thin black girl who was sitting with what looked like a family group, though the father was white. "I was talking to Bobbi, there, she’s 15, a 6.3... and she wants to go, even though her family wants to stay together no matter what. Wanna check her out?"
I smiled. I pointed out Kate to Theresa and told her to go and sit down and get acquainted while I got my fourth concubine. Theresa looked at Tami after nodding before continuing on her way.
"Alex, I think my mom wondered if you wanted me to go with her."
"I understand, but I need you to introduce me to Bobbi."
"OK, boss…" she said, smiling at me, seductively enough to cheer me up enormously.
"So, Tami dear, you need to peel her away from her family. From the looks of things… I want to talk to her without her folks going ballistic."
"Sure, hon" I got back, along with a kiss on my cheek.
I watched as Tami sat next to the thin girl and pointed me out. Bobbi gave me a sad smile and whispered something into Tami's ear. Tami got an angry look on her face and stomped back over to me.
"Her fucking parents are holding her card!" she hissed at me. “Fucking control freaks!”
So I got a Marine as an escort with the name of Toni, a name that didn't fit the tall, strong and intimidating frame, to follow me as I walked over to ask Bobbi for her CAP card. Bobbi shrank away from me as her father - a short and angry man - tried to get in my face. "You take all of us or none of us!"
I decided to raise my voice "I asked her for her card! She's over fourteen, isn't she?"
"Yes, but she is my daughter! I have her card, you talk to me!"
Toni spoke over my shoulder, saying, "If she has a CAP card, it is hers, not yours. She is supposed to be holding it. On top of that, since she is over fourteen, she can make her own decisions, here. If you do not want to be stunned you will hand the card back to your daughter and back off, now."
The calm voice of Toni didn't calm down Bobbi's father. "I don't fucking care! She is my daughter, dammit! She's mine!"
He calmed down suddenly when zapped by Toni's stinger. It didn't look comfortable, either. I turned to Bobbi's mom and asked, "Where is Bobbi's CAP card?"
The scared woman looked at me and pointed to her unconscious husband. "In his wallet..."
I turned to Tami and told her "Would you please pull it out for us? If, for some reason, I don't take her, I don’t want any reprisals."
Tami almost looked happy getting to do something this invasive. There were, it turned out, four CAP cards in his wallet. Bobbi's big sister Alicia was another rail-thin girl... and, even though she had, like her younger sister, a desirable set of qualities, would be one body over my limit. I wasn't going to leave Kate or Theresa behind just for a sixteen-year-old girl. Both of their CAPs indicated that they were pretty beaten down, but, to my thinking, there was hope for them both.
I turned to Toni. "I am aware that I cannot take both girls... but can you try to get someone to take Alicia?"
Toni smiled. "We can bring her aboard as an extra if she isn’t selected by someone else. I’m sure we'll be able find her a good home."
I nodded. "Thank you. Bobbi, you're with me."
Let me tell you that a happy squeal of a teen-age girl, when directed at you, is quite an ego boost and having her jump and wrap herself around me was a pleasant distraction, keeping me there for almost a minute as she squealed, cried, and squealed again.
Toni tapped me on the shoulder, telling me, "You will be bringing Alicia with your group, all right?"
Again, I nodded. "Sure. Alicia, you may not belong to me, but here's your card. You're traveling with us."
Another happy squeak as she jumped up and gave me a hug.
It took a bit of hugging but I finally got loose from my second tight hug without getting any more bruises from her bony body and turned to Toni. "As soon as we collect the others we will be ready for transport."
"All right. Alexander Peters, do you select Kate, Theresa, Tami, Bobbi and Alicia as your concubines?"
For me, answering in the affirmative was easy, though I assumed Alicia was added just to make sure she’d be transported.
Once we got back to Kate and Theresa, each of the five women was asked if they accepted me as their sponsor. Hearing each confirm that, yes, they accepted me as their sponsor and owner, did build up my feeling of acceptance and approval. I wondered, for a moment, why Alicia was included, but figured that it was to make sure she got to the ship.
All twelve - five concubines and seven children - stepped through the gate, with their carry-on baggage, first. Before I could step through, Toni stopped me for a moment. "You have been allowed Alicia as a supernumerary, in case you weren't paying attention. The AI told me to paste Alicia to you given that she was in an abusive house-hold and, with your scores, were likely to be able help her heal and make good use of her qualities. With her dad stunned, we are hoping that one of the sixes will collect the rest of his family and leave him here. So... have fun."
I nodded to her and stepped through the gate, catching up with my new family.
And, yes, I dragged my luggage with me, still seeing no reason to litter the terminal.
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