Woolly Wilds

A story in the Swarm Cycle Universe
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Copyright © 2009 by Starfiend
Authors note:

This story takes place in Thinking Horndogs Swarm Cycle universe. You should at least read his Average Joes and possibly Pick Up 18 stories first. It's also probably worth reading Duke Of Ramus' Civil Service before reading this story.

Thanks to Thinking Horndog for letting me play in his universe. Thanks also to Felina Purrsbane, DeGaffer, Duke Of Ramus and probably others for pointing out errors. Any remaining are mine and I claim copyright on them :)


To my left sat my naked mother. Her right hand was on my semi-erect cock where it stuck out of my trousers, while my left was lightly stroking her soaking, furry, crotch. On my right was my younger sister, fifteen-year-old Siān, equally naked. Her left hand was with Mum's on my cock, while the middle and forefingers on my right hand were sawing slowly in and out of her juicy pussy as she writhed her hips in delight at my ministrations. Across the table from me was my eighteen-year-old sister Branwyn, older than me by just twelve minutes. Buried in her crotch were the hands of my father and my sixteen-year-old brother Huw, while she had one hand on each of their erections and was slowly stroking them off. All of us were excited, in fifteen minutes Dad was going to go and be changed, and in just over ten hours we'd all look very different.

Less than forty-eight hours earlier we had all been picked up from a fish and chip restaurant in the centre of Newport in South Wales.

"In from the woolly wilds," Dad laughed as we all slid into the seats and waited for the waitress to come around and take our order. We all smiled but said little as it was his standard 'joke' each time we came into town. Living in the middle of the Black Mountains, the small mountain range that runs along the southern edge of Wales, part of which is famous as the Brecon Beacons, did occasionally feel like being out in the middle of nowhere. Even though it was only three miles away, we couldn't see our nearest neighbour, nor indeed any other signs of human habitation. The nearest village was only eight miles away, we rarely went there more than once or twice in a month, and then only for fleeting visits when absolutely necessary.

The last time we'd been down from the hills we'd been in Cardiff, eleven miles away, and had walked past a Confederation CAP testing centre that had been opened in an empty shop on St.Mary's street. Standing outside was the hugest woman we'd ever seen. Easily taller than Dad or me, and we were both tall at six foot one. She was also possibly the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. And when I say that I have to be careful as both my sisters are very pretty.

"Do you have CAP cards?" she asked us politely, but with an accent that none of us recognised.

"CAP card?" asked Dad pausing. "What's one of them?"

"You don't know?" the woman asked, obviously very surprised.

"No. Should I?"

"There's been CAP testing for well over a year now. Mostly in Western and Central Europe and North America, couple of places in South America, but also in Australia and New Zealand and a few other places like Japan and South Africa. Generally the more stable parts of the world." She gave a slight smile and I saw Huw's mouth drop open as he stared at her. She really was that beautiful.

Ignoring Huw's look of hero worship, she continued. "It's been mandatory for everybody to get tested on or soon after their fourteenth birthday for almost as long."

"Siān turned fourteen over a year, er, over eighteen months ago." Dad explained. "She's the youngest."

"How come you've not heard of it?" asked the woman puzzled. "It's been all over the TV, the internet, newspapers. The kids should have heard about it at school."

"We were all home schooled once we turned eleven," I said, only marginally less affected than Huw, and wanting to get her to look at me. "And we don't have a telly, and we're too busy to use the internet for much."

Now she stared at me. "You don't have a telly."

"There's never anything on worth watching," Mum said.

There was a minor pause and then all six of us parrotted, "Only the usual crap, soap operas and adverts." Mum looked at us in surprise as we all repeated her frequent words back at her. She burst into laughter and we all joined her.

"So what do you do with your free time?"

"What free time! We farm five hundred head of sheep. We have no farm hands so we do everything ourselves Not much time for anything else. We literally live in the middle of nowhere."

"The Woolly Wilds of Wales," Huw and I said together.

"Llewelyn, Huw, behave," Mum hissed sharply.

"Don't call me Llewelyn, call me Lew," I hissed back equally sharply. It was odd, sometimes I was proud of my Welsh name, at other times I hated it. All of us kids had traditional Welsh names, but Mum and Dad, both born in Cornwall, and therefore born in England, didn't. They'd moved to Wales to buy the farm in the mid 'naughtys' very shortly after they married, and with Mum already three months pregnant. And when we were born they decided to give us all good traditional Welsh names. We had fun as none of our cousins could properly pronounce my name, and for some reason they all tried to pronounce Siān's name as 'cyan' instead of 'sharn'. Huw and Branwyn usually had their names pronounced correctly, though we were told that Branwyn had been pronounced as Branwine a couple of times early on. At the time we'd been too young to know, so it had never been a problem.

The woman gave herself a little shake. "I'm Corporal Susan Van Der Meer of the Confederacy Marines."

"Dutch?" Dad interrupted.

She shook her head slightly. "South African. By blood I'd be an Afrikaner or Boer, but by political inclination and upbringing I was a liberal, at least for an Afrikaner, and was more than happy for the end of Apartheid."

"But that was thirty five years ago." Dad exclaimed. "How can you remember that?"

"I'm fifty one." She grinned at our shocked looks. "The Confederacy did this for me. The only bit externally that is still the original me is the colour of my eyes. I was five foot four, with mousy brown hair, and a good fifty pounds overweight after having two children, both of whom are now in their early twenties, and now I'm younger than they are. What's even better," she continued with a grin, "is that because I was picked up before my menopause kicked in, that part of me's been rejuvenated as well, and I can have kids for many more years yet."

"But," started Mum.

"The Confederacy took me, and changed me. You cannot be taken if you don't have a CAP card."

"Who are The Confederacy and why did they take you?" asked Mum.

"You've heard of the Sa'arm?"

I've never seen anybody goggle before, even though I'd often read the phrase in books and novels. I now knew what it meant. Susan goggled at us, as all six of us shook our heads.

"Holy fuck," she whispered. She looked up for a few moments, then seemed to nod slightly and looked back at us. "Okay. Come on. Let's get you all tested and I'll explain."

"How long does it take?" Siān asked. "We're going to the theatre. The show starts in about an hour and a quarter."

"We've got four testing pods here, and individually it takes about half to three quarters of an hour. We should get you all in and out in good time."

Three of the pods, looking a lot like over size telephone boxes, were free, the fourth in use. Dad suggested the three men went first, but Susan suggested the three eldest. Mum Dad and Branwyn went into the pods, a technician going in with each of them for a few minutes, then coming out and closing the doors.

I looked at Susan. "What's the Swarm?" I asked her.

"The Sa'arm? Imagine them as the little green aliens coming to eat the planet from all that sci-fi on TV and film. Except that they're not small, and they're not green. They are, however, very dangerous."

"And they're coming here?" asked Huw.

She nodded. "The Confederacy is a, well, a group, a large group, of alien races. And they need our help to protect them from the Sa'arm."

"And presumably help ourselves at the same time?" I asked.

Susan managed to look embarrassed. "It's not quite that straightforwards," she broke off and looked relieved as there was a loud ding from the fourth pod. "Ah. That one's finished. Come on," she indicated me.

A moment later a young woman came out of the pod looking a bit disoriented. Another man, equally as tall as Susan, gently led her away and sat her down. Susan led me into the pod just as I heard the girl burst into tears. I started to look around, but Susan ushered me firmly forwards.

There was a comfortable chair, and what appeared to be a computer screen of some sort in front of me. There was no keyboard, however Susan lifted a helmet off the floor and gently fitted it over my head.

"Comfortable?" she asked.

"Yeah," I nodded, then wished I hadn't as the weight of the helmet was uncomfortable when I moved my head.

"Good. Lie back and relax, and just be yourself."

I wasn't quite sure what she meant by 'be yourself', and it worried me a little. She closed the door and a few moments later I heard a voice saying "Welcome to the Confederation CAP testing process. The first few questions are just to identify yourself and to get a level of brain activity."

"What?" I asked almost automatically, then silently chided myself. This was a machine I was talking to. It wouldn't understand me.

The reply had an amused timbre. "Brains are all unique. No two people will have exactly the same brain wave patterns for the same question and answer. By asking some standard questions, we can get a standardised reading of your brainwave patterns," the voice replied in an accent that I now recognised had faint American overtones. "Does that answer your question?"

"Uh. Yes. Uh. Are you a person?"

There was a fractional pause before the voice came back. "No. I am the Artificial Intelligence, the AI, that controls this test. Do not worry. Please relax and just answer all the questions as simply and as best you can."

It started off by asking what day today was, what the date was, and even what colour the sky was. It asked me a little bit about myself and my family, and then asked me three simple questions, telling me that I had to lie on one of them and tell the truth on the other two, but not say which was which. After those three it paused, and then told me that I was lying when I'd told it I'd not seen my twin sister naked in the last year. Blushing, I had to agree. Then it went on to my name, age, date of birth, national insurance number, where I lived what I did for a living, for hobbies etc. It asked about my education. What I'd liked. What I'd hated. What I'd had difficulties with, and what I'd found easy. This seemed to go on for quite a long time, and some of the questions seemed really weird. It even asked me whether I was still a virgin. I wasn't, but no one else in the family knew that. I don't think.

I think I was hypnotised next, because I seemed to be in some very odd situations. Looking back I can vaguely remember a burning building, an old lady, a baby and a dog. Or was that two dogs? Then I seemed to be playing three dimensional chess. Except that somehow I knew there was no such thing. Then I seemed to be having a chat with someone who might have been King William. Except that didn't make sense either, Prince Charles had been taken Ill recently, but neither he nor the old Queen Elizabeth the Second, now almost a hundred, had died. Suddenly it was all over.

"Thank you Mister Carter. You may now take off the helmet. I have finished your test. Please wait while I calculate your final score." I reached up to remove it, and found I was remarkably stiff. Probably less than a minute later, though it was hard to tell, there was a ding and the door popped open a few inches.

"Congratulations," said Susan handing me a card that looked exactly the same size as a credit card, but seemed a bit thinner. I looked at it. My name, my photo, something that looked a bit like an embedded chip of some sort, but much smaller than usual, and a large 8·9 were all that were on the card.

"Is that good?" I asked, bemused.

"Very. The average is five. Maximum ten, though to the best of my knowledge no one has ever got that, and you have to have six point five or better to be selected by the Confederation."

I staggered a little in exhaustion. I suddenly felt like I'd run a hill marathon, and I'd thought I was very fit. "Here," she handed me a cup of warm chocolate." You've been in there nearly two hours, your body needs the energy."

"Two hours?" I exclaimed. "What happened."

"The CAP tester wanted to make very sure. When he thinks you are going to have a high score like that, and especially when it's right on the border as yours is, it takes longer as he has to ensure there is no error."

"Oh. Yeah. I guess. Why do you say 'he'? Are AI's always referred to as 'he' rather than 'it'?

Susan looked at me oddly. "You worked out you were talking to an AI?"

"I asked it."

"Riiiiight." She said slowly. "Not many people realise. Most assume they're talking to a human. It's designed that way." I nodded. Looking around I saw that none of the rest of the family were there. "Where's everybody else?"

"Your youngest sister, Siān?" I nodded, "finished her test twenty minutes ago, and they decided to go the the coffee shop next door to wait for you." She shook my hand. "Congratulations on your score."

I nodded, still slightly bemused, and left the shop, looking left then right to spot the coffee shop. The rest of the family saw me almost as soon as I saw them, and came boiling out to meet me.

"Everything okay?" asked Dad. I nodded dumbly. "Good." He looked at Siān. "I'm sorry poppet. We've missed the theatre. We'll come again next month when it's in Newport. Okay?"

My sister nodded, disappointment writ large on her face. I hugged her, and she looked up at me a resigned smile on her face.

"Does anybody know what's supposed to happen next?" I asked, my mind still full of the testing.

Dad obviously assumed I was talking about just todays plan, because for a moment his answer made no logical sense. "Cash and carry then home."

"What? Oh. No. I meant with these." I waved my card, still in my hand.

Both Mum and Dad shook their heads. "Dunno," answered Dad, his mind obviously elsewhere. "Come on, back to the car."

In my mind I tagged the "don't care," onto the end of the first part of Dad's answer. Dad really did have a one track mind. Sheep, and sheep farming.

"Oh. That woman, Susan, gave us a data chip to plug into a pad ..."

"PDA," interrupted Huw.

Mum just waved her hand dismissively, "to read about the swarm and the Confederation."

Since we didn't have any PDA's apart from the one that Dad used to register and log all newborn lambs, and to then follow their health and breeding, shearing and eventual disposal, and Dad only ever let us use it for work purposes, the chip got put into one of the kitchen drawers and forgotten about.

Since it didn't seem important at the time, not only did I not follow it up, it never even occurred to me to ask what anybody else's CAP scores were.

Now, five weeks later, we were in Newport, about eleven miles east of Cardiff, for the show Siān had wanted to see, and which was now showing here. We'd come down a bit earlier than the previous month, and had decided to have a good fish and chip lunch before going to the theatre.

We'd just started to eat when the light outside went a flat grey. There were a few screams, and then a loud voice spoke up.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. I am Sergeant Paul Morris of the Confederacy Marines. You should all know what's happening by now, so please all be calm. We are here to pick up seven volunteers. You all know who you are, so please make your way down here to the front. Everybody else please just stay where you are for the moment."

The six of us just looked at each other in bemusement and shrugged. We watched what was happening with interest, but continued to eat.

A few moments later, the loud voice spoke up. "According to our scans there are seven volunteers in here. Only six have identified themselves, where's the seventh?"

Everybody looked around in bemusement, even the four or five huge marines that were now obvious due to their size. This was obviously something new, to them as well.

I watched him move along the row of six people, asking them their names, and checking them off on some device in his hands. He pointed at a name and then turned to face the rest of the room again.

"Will," the loud voice started, and then got quieter, but we could still hear him as he said, "oh fuck, how do you pronounce that?" He shoved something in front of one of the six volunteers and said again, "how do you pronounce that?"

We didn't hear what she said, but heard him again as he stuffed something else in front of her face and told her to say it loud and clear.

"Llewelyn Carter."

I blinked in surprise and all the rest of the family looked at me.

"When did you volunteer, and what did you volunteer for?" asked Mum startled.

"And why?" asked Dad.

"I haven't volunteered for anything," I told them. "God's honest truth." Dad frowned but I knew he believed me.

"Will. This. Person. Please. Get. Forwards." Yelled the marine, obviously quite angry now. "I know he's in here, our AI is telling us that. Will you get your fucking sorry ass down here or you will be arrested and charged with desertion."

I hesitantly raised my hand, and all eyes turned to me. "I think that's me, but I haven't volunteered for anything."

He came over to us, a look of barely suppressed fury on his face. "What the fuck did you think you were doing? Why didn't you get down the front with the others?"

I shook my head. "I didn't know you were talking about me. I haven't volunteered for anything."

"Are you, or are you not Lewelyn Carter?" I ignored the fact that he'd mispronounced my name. In Welsh you don't pronounce a double 'L' the same way you'd pronounce a single 'L'.

"I am Llewelyn Carter."

"Then according to this you have volunteered for the Confederacy marines."

"It's lying to you," I said calmly. "I haven't volunteered for anything."

He raised his eyes for a moment, and then lowered them again. "Yes you did. Five weeks ago when you got CAP tested."

"No Sergeant, I didn't." I said calmly.

"Give me your CAP card."

I fished it out and handed it over. He slipped it into a reader of some sort. "Yes. You are the one I want." He grabbed my hand and put the reader into my palm, holding it there tightly. "According to this you volunteered."

"Well it's wrong."

He snatched the reader away and looked at it, his eyebrows crawling up his face as he registered both surprise and confusion. "What the fuck." He looked up. "AI, what the fuck's going on here?"

"He volunteered five weeks ago. He is telling the truth when he says he did not," came a disembodied voice. "This does not make sense. I will have to investigate."

"Maybe he volunteered without realising he was volunteering," offered Siān slowly.

The marine looked at her, then raised his eyes again. "AI?"

"That is very possible. Please place the PDA into lieutenant Carters hand again." It of course pronounced it lootenant. Dad, who had been, briefly, a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, until he'd lost most of his left leg below the knee, snapped.

"Lef-tenant. Not Loo-tenant. If you can't pronounce it properly, fuck off and let us eat in peace."

"Dad," I said calmly, placing my free hand on his shoulder. "Let it be. The sergeant is American, to him it's correct."

"Actually Canadian," said the sergeant distractedly.

I shrugged and took the reader from his outstretched hand.

"Please state your name," came the soft disembodied voice.

I spoke my name.

"Jackson," yelled the sergeant, ignoring us for the moment. "Get this cluster fuck sorted over there while I deal with this ..." he broke off and glared at me.

I slowly, calmly, raised a single eyebrow, but otherwise my expression remained completely neutral. I knew from personal experience that this could seriously disconcert many people. After a few moments he turned from me and looked out over the rest of the room. The rest of us just looked at the PDA on my hand.

After a few moments it asked, "did you go for CAP testing five weeks ago?"

"Yes."

There was another brief silence. "Did you knowingly volunteer for the Confederation Marines?"

"No."

Another brief silence. "Accepted. Do you wish to volunteer?"

It was my turn to pause. "What does that involve?"

"Are you not aware?"

I shook my head, then guessing that the PDA or the AI, or whatever, wouldn't be able to see me, "No."

"Of the Sa'arm?"

"No."

There was yet another silence "Please give the PDA back to the sergeant, and take your card back."

Morris obviously heard as he turned to take the PDA out of my hands. "There's someone coming to talk to you. Please sit here for a moment."

"Holy hell fire," gasped Huw suddenly. We all looked at him and saw that he was looking out into the rest of the room.

"What the fuck?" said Dad.

They were my sentiments exactly, but I couldn't voice them, I was too astonished at what I was seeing. Almost everyone in the room, was naked, or partly naked. And many of them were participating in various sex acts.

I watched in some amazement as a woman in her mid to late thirties tried to force an older man, probably in his mid forties, to have sex with an apparent teenage girl, both of them looked very unhappy, but appeared to accept the situation. Next to them a thin redheaded youth was standing behind, and obviously shafting, a slightly overweight forty something woman. Both appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. There were a couple of girls rolling around on one of the benches in a sixty nine, and as I watched, one of them screeched in orgasm. There were two girls kneeling in front of another guy, and though I couldn't see, knew they were giving him a blow job.

Turning back to the first pair I'd seen, the woman standing over them had her hand up her skirt and appeared to be stroking her crotch as she watched the couple in front of her slowly fucking. I saw him say something, and squinted my eyes to concentrate on his lips. I had partial deafness in my left ear and often resorted to lip reading.

"I'm sorry, baby," he was saying. "I'm so sorry." He said something else which took me a while longer to translate. "I just want you safe," I think he was saying. Just then a voice interrupted our viewing.

"Hello again."

We all turned to see the woman who had steered us through the CAP testing five weeks earlier. "Shwmae," I answered automatically, then turned to look at her.

She had a puzzled look on her face. "Sh my what?"

"Oh, my apologies. It's Welsh for hello, well, close enough. It was just automatic."

She nodded. "Okay. Sit down. You might as well finish your meal while we talk." We all looked down at our plates. None of us had eaten more than half of our meal, and it was slowly going cold. Fortunately while fish and chips is best piping hot, it is a meal that doesn't spoil by being slightly cool.

We sat, and slowly tucked in. Susan sat down next to Huw, and then reached out and stole a chip his plate. He blushed slightly and moved his plate towards her, subtly telling her to tuck in as well.

"Did you read that chip I gave you?"

"Chip?" We all looked blank, until Mum suddenly remembered.

"Oh god, that computer chip you gave us?"

Susan just nodded.

"No. We've no way of reading it."

"You are joking," exclaimed Susan in voice that mixed desperation and surprise. "How ..." she waved off what she'd been about to say. "Never mind. Quick precis. In about seven to eight years an alien race known as the Sa'arm are expected to reach Earth. Think of them a bit like locusts when they swarm in Africa. The locusts eat every bit of plant life in their path. The Sa'arm are sort of similar, except they eat everything, animal and vegetable, and strip the planet of all its resources, leaving it a barren rock much like the moon. We haven't worked out how to talk to them, and we haven't found a way to stop them. We can kill millions of them, have killed millions, but they just keep coming and once they get onto a planet there doesn't seem to be a way to stop them. Not without destroying the planet."

"So if I volunteered I'd be going to fight them?" I asked hesitantly.

"Yes. Maybe. Possibly. I don't know what the AI has in mind for you, but put that to one side for a moment. The Confederacy is an ancient alliance of many species out in the galaxy. They are pathologically peaceful. Even to the extent that they would rather die than try to defend themselves by fighting. At least four species within the Confederation have been totally destroyed, and probably more for all I know. One however, the Darjee, who I believe are an avian species, bird like," she added as both Huw and Branwyn looked puzzled at the word avian.

They nodded and she continued. "The Darjee are sort of helping as many as possible to get off planet, to try and save the human race. They said that we would be able to get thirty percent of Earths population off, but after two years, nearly, we still haven't moved even one percent. Only certain people can go. Sponsors have to be fertile and have a CAP score of over 6·4. Concubines are those with a CAP score lower than 6·5 but most importantly are still fertile. Once a woman is more than about six months past her menopause, she becomes ineligible as by then her reproductive sysrem has shut down irrevocably. Most illnesses, injuries and medical problems can be fixed easily, so that's usually not a bar." That made me think of the artificial limb that went from the middle of Dad's calf. "Children under fourteen are automatically taken if a parent is taken and the sponsor accepts them, if you have a CAP score less than two you are ineligible, unless that is down to problems that can be fixed medically.

"The way it works, is that during a collection like this, each sponsor gets to pick a number of consorts or concubines, to go with them, that number being determined by his or her CAP score. Anybody else, who doesn't get picked, or doesn't want to go, gets left behind." She looked at me. "Your CAP score was quite high wasn't it?"

"8·9."

She nodded. "You get to take six people to safety," she looked up suddenly. "Oh fuck. Something's happening. We're going to have to bug out." She stood to leave and then turned and looked down at me. "If you're still here when the Sa'arm arrive, you will be eaten. Almost guaranteed. Get out. Go." She dashed off, pulling something out of her pocket.

"Wait," I called after her.

She turned her head slightly, but didn't stop. "Six people," she called back. "Go. Now."

"Where?" I called, but she didn't hear me.

When I turned back to the table, everybody was looking at each other in shock, and not a little fear as well. "Well," said Dad slowly. "So that's what the cards are for."

"Everybody here got 6·5 or better didn't they?" I asked. I was shocked to see all of them shaking their heads.

"5·2," said Mum.

One by one they all announced their CAP scores. Dad had 5·9, Huw 5·5 Bronwyn had the lowest at 4·8 and Siān the highest at 6·4.

There was a brief scream from off behind the counter somewhere, following by some sizzling noises, a bit like bacon being fried on a griddle, and some shouting. I couldn't make out what was being said, but then we heard a very distinct shotgun blast. Being farmers we all knew a shotgun when we heard one: we'd all shot at foxes enough times during lambing season. We ducked, then since there were no more, quickly headed towards where the marines were clustering.

I don't think Susan even recognised us. She just threw us all at this funny glowing green pad on the floor. There was a moment of extreme disorientation, followed by a bit of mild nausea, but then I realised I was somewhere else. I didn't get chance to gawp, as someone grabbed my arm to pull me out of the way just as Bronwyn appeared behind me, almost landing on top of me.

The next twenty minutes or so was quite hectic, but then the last of the marines, Susan, appeared, and the red pad on floor went dark. A moment later it went green again, she stepped onto it and vanished before it went dark again.

"It's a transporter, like in Star-Trek," breathed Dad in awe.

"Right," yelled an artificially amplified voice, "settle down and shut up. Everybody. Sit." He paused for a moment to make sure that everybody obeyed him.

"Good. My name's Lieutenant Chuck Reilly. I was a Texas Ranger, now, for my sins, I'm in charge of this cluster fuck. Those who have just come from the debacle in Newport in South Wales, move towards the red wall on my left. The rest, stay put." About fifty people moved over, and I was surprised to find that I recognised a number of them from the restaurant. I saw Sergeant Morris standing by the wall.

"Right, follow me," ordered the sergeant. He walked off and the rest of us followed, along a short corridor and into what turned out to be a canteen of some sort. It seemed to be closed for service as no one else was there.

When we were all there, he turned to face us with a grim look. "Okay. Sit," he paused for a moment to give us all time to find chairs. "My apologies for this. We didn't realise there were underground tunnels into that building. It turned out that part of that building is older than my country. It goes back to at least the fifteenth century. A number of people outside discovered what was happening inside, found the underground tunnels, and were in the process of sneaking in. Unfortunately one of my marines was very seriously injured, and is now in the medical centre."

"Will he live?" someone asked.

"She'll be up and about in three days or so, back on duty in about in five," he answered.

"Oh."

The sergeant obviously knew what we were thinking: Three days and she'd be on her feet? Obviously not very serious. He promptly disabused us of that notion. "She had half her gut blasted out, and lost her left hand. The Darjee medical pods will take thirty hours to fix that, then she'll need at least another thirty of rest before she's allowed out of bed. She would now be dead if it wasn't for those pods.

"Now. Sponsors. All seven of you. Get here."

I stood and moved forwards along with six others, two women and four men. He ranged us in an arc behind where he'd been standing. "Have you got all your people?"

I nodded, as did a number of others, but one of the men said no.

"How many you short?"

"Two of four."

He nodded and turned back to the rest.

"How many of you have been picked?"

A number put their hands up. I guessed about twenty or so. "Okay. Come find your sponsors, and stand behind them."

There was more shuffling, and the rest of my family ended up behind me, with most of the other sponsors having just two. I was at one end of the line. The Sergeant started at the other and walked slowly down the line. He appeared to be taking the sponsors CAP card and then checking something. When he got to me he looked at it, then behind me at the family.

"You're one short. Pick another." He looked behind me again and frowned. "You need another female."

"I don't really want any more. Do I have to have another?"

The sergeant frowned. "I suppose, technically, no. But it's a bit selfish," he paused and frowned at me and then looked at my card again. "Oh. Fuck. It's you. Did Corporal Van Der Meer explain what was going to happen?"

"Only in general. About the Sa'arm coming, and the Confederation taking us away."

"She didn't explain further?"

"There wasn't time."

"Fuck. You are going to be the death of me." He handed me my card back and stalked back along the line to the man who had already told him he was short of two people. "Had you made a decision before we bugged out."

"Yeah. Sorta. It was going to be two out of those three." He pointed at three youngish girls.

Morris looked up and appeared to be thinking, but I now knew he was somehow communicating with someone, or maybe something. He looked down again. "Right. For now. You've got all three if you want them. This may change later, but assume that they are all yours until told otherwise." He waved at the three partially dressed girls who skipped towards their new sponsor with a grin, all of them giving him a hug and a kiss.

He turned back to the remaining unchosen people. "Right. Who out of you lot does not want to be here? Who wants to go home? You were brought here against the will of some of you, so you get the option to go home again, but that option only remains open for the next few minutes. So. Move this way," he indicated to his left. "if you want to go home, move the other way," now he indicated his right, "if you want to stay."

Just over half, say about fifteen, moved right, a smaller group of about ten moved left. Another marine led the ten off a short distance and then paused, waiting.

"They are being sent home now," announced the sergeant, addressing the remaining fifteen people. "For you. We will give you forty-eight hours to get picked up, either here or elsewhere on board. After that you will be sent home. You have no choice. Under normal circumstances you would be recycled, but since you are here through no fault of your own, and the Isaac Newton will be in orbit at least that long, you will be sent home." He signalled the three males in the group. "You guys, I strongly suggest you head home now. The chances of you being picked up here in those forty eight hours are slim to none. You'd be better off going home now, and trying to either improve your CAP score, or find some other way of getting off. Here, today, it's almost certainly a no-no."

Two of the three nodded and joined the group of ten being sent home, which resumed its trip out of the room. I quickly counted and came up with ten women and one man remaining.

"Right. You six," he said pointing at me, "wait here. The rest of you follow corporal Taylor over there. He'll take you to where you need to be next."

A minute later there was just the seven of us in the room. "Okay. Sit," sighed the sergeant. "This is going to take some explaining." He walked over to a hatch in the wall, said something, a few minutes later it opened to reveal a tray with steaming mugs on it. He brought it over to the table and put it down, sitting down next to us. The tray contained seven cups of black tea, some sugar cubes, milk and lemon, and a couple of dozen biscuits.

"Help yourselves, this is going to take some time explain, and I suspect that most of you are not going to like it."

We all got some tea and biscuits and settled in to listen.

"Right. Well. First off, under the circumstances it might actually have been better if you hadn't volunteered this time, but learned what is happening, and volunteered at some other time. The most important thing to understand right now, is that these five are your slaves."

When almost everyone except Siān started to speak, he held up his hand to stall them. "Let's start from the beginning. This is going to be very simple and very quick, you can get the details from the various briefings later, as well as from the training booth in your pod. The Sa'arm are a race of giant seven foot lizard like beings, but they are very insect like in their behaviour. No one has ever been able to communicate with them, and the few bodies we've been able to capture and dissect seem to imply that they have no hearing ability. The top brass believe they must communicate telepathically, though no one has ever been able to prove that. As far as they are concerned, we are simply food and raw materials for their continuing expansion through the galaxy. They'll reach Earth in something like seven and a half years. Give or take. The Confederation is a very large group of alien races that," he paused for a moment, "well, lets just say they are expecting us as the only other fighters in the galaxy to save their asses. Unfortunately their help is very limited, and on the whole not all that useful. We can't stop the swarm. Not yet anyway. As such it's been decided to get as many higher CAP people off the planet and onto other planets to colonise and breed as fast as possible. Here is where it gets awkward. The Darjee, the only Confederation race that is willing to help us, along with their AI's, have set some rules about how this works, who can be extracted and who cannot. They are not very good rules, they're certainly not ideal and they're very definitely not fair, but maybe, one day, when we have time, we'll make them more humane. Until then however, these are the rules we are working to. These new colonies are as much about breeding new humans as they are about fighting the dickheads."

He stopped when he saw both Mum and Dad start to protest at his apparent rudeness. "Oh. Sorry. Due to the domed shape of their heads, the Sa'arm are often referred to as 'dickheads', you'll come across that name regularly. I wouldn't worry about it."

"Right. The rules. Sponsors own their concubines. Concubines are the slaves, primarily sex slaves, but slaves none-the-less, of their sponsors. They are property. Nothing more, nothing less. Property." Everybody's mouth dropped, but no-one could speak. "What that means in principle is that you three," he pointed at my mother and sisters, "have to become pregnant as fast as possible, and give birth to as many children as possible, with these three," now he pointed at the rest of us, "as the fathers." He held up his hand to forestall the arguments coming. "This is why I think the six of you should go back home now, unfortunately the AI won't allow it. You," he looked at me, "can exchange or release your concubines at any time. If you do it while we are in space, they have forty eight hours to be picked up by another sponsor, otherwise they die, unless they are pregnant. On a planet there is a better chance of being picked up, especially the women, but even there they could end up dead. On at least one colony planet they'd end up in a brothel with almost no way out. You can try and swap them with someone else, but since there are very few rules about what any sponsor does with their own property, and make no mistake about this, they are slaves, no more than property, they could still end up dead. You," he jabbed a finger at me, "Are responsible for anything they do. If they make a mistake, do something wrong, they will almost certainly die, but you," he jabbed again, "will be in trouble."

He turned to look at Mum and Dad. "You two are married right?"

They both nodded.

"Not any more you're not. Being collected was a quickie divorce. Get over it. And the five of you, get undressed. NOW!" No one moved. "That was an order. It has the force of law, and punishment under the law out here often means death. Get undressed."

Slowly at first, and then more quickly, they all undressed. When I started to get undressed as well, the sergeant just looked at me and shook his head. My sisters were babes. Branwyn had boobs that looked a bit big for her frame, and Mum's sagged quite a lot. All three of them were unshaven though Siān obviously trimmed her bush. I also thought her boobs could do with a bit of enhancement. She blushed when she saw me looking and crossed her arms across her chest.

Dad just scowled, but said, and did, nothing.

"All concubines, no, I'm going to call you slaves to drive the point home. All slaves are required to come on board naked. After that it's up to your sponsor. Right. Next, does anyone have any medical problems we should know about? Heart, blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes?"

"I'm allergic to certain foods," whispered Branwyn, "does that count?"

"Not to the same extent, but that can be fixed. Anyone else?"

"I'm partially deaf, and Branny wears contacts," I told him.

"No problems. We can sort those out. Anything else?"

Dad raised his leg to show the artificial limb. Again the sergeant indicated there was no problem with that.

"Does anyone smoke?" Again we all shook our heads. "Medication apart from the contraceptive pill?" Again there were six head shakes. "In that case I'll get you to your pod, and you can settle in and talk. However. You," pointing at me, "have a responsibility to ensure at least one of these women becomes pregnant within the next month. Within the next day or two you will all be called into the medical bay to have a general medical check. In the mean time let's get you to your pod." He handed me a PDA. "Your home is pod green six. This will guide you there, and it is your interface to the AI until you get there. There is another interface built into your pod. Use it. It will help you and give you advice. Be quiet, be sensible, keep your heads down. Most of all, stay out of trouble until you learn what you need to learn."

He pointed out of one of the doors. "Green six is that way. Go."

No one spoke all the way to the pod, though I could feel the suppressed emotions all around me, and it wasn't just fear, it was also anger.

We got to our pod and found that there appeared to be no handle. "How does it open," asked Huw, puzzled.

I shook my head. "Dunno." Raising the PDA, I asked. "IA? How does the door open?"

The door slid quietly open and we all piled quickly inside, whereupon it closed smartly behind us.

"What a horrible colour."

"Ugh, how awful."

Those were Mum and Branwyn. Trust them to think of the decor before anything else.

"All right, lets get settled in. Um. AI? How does the door open?"

"It opens automatically when you get close to it."

"But Huw was standing right next to it and it didn't open."

"The door will only activate for the sponsor, and for anyone he or she specifically gives permission to."

"Oh. In that case I give permission for all my family to enter and leave as necessary."

"By family may I take it to mean your concubines?"

"Yes."

"Command accepted."

"Um, sorry," interrupted Dad, "Where's the loo? The bathroom?"

Silence.

"AI?" He prompted.

More silence, then the penny dropped.

I sighed. "AI, you are to respond to any information requests from my family at any time."

"Command accepted. The bathroom is through the door to the immediate left on entering the pod."

"Ta," Dad gave me a grateful smile and quickly left the room.

"Did you know you said IA, not AI outside?" Huw told me softly.

"I did? No I didn't, stop arsing around."

"Yeah. You did," his grin was smug and irritating now.

For a few seconds it got a bit childish with a few 'did', 'did not's thrown at each other. After about the fourth or fifth repetition I stopped.

"Mum, what did I say out there?"

She looked blank. "I'm sure I don't remember."

"Fat lot of use you are. Siān?"

"I wasn't listening. Sorry."

"And I thought I was the deaf one."

"Yeah, so deaf you can't even hear what's coming out of your own trap," chortled Huw.

"Huw!" I growled. "AI. Confirm please. What did I say outside the door to this pod."

I was startled when, instead of hearing the AI's voice, I heard an exact recording of the conversation instead.

"All right smartarse," I told Huw. "Just remember, a smartarse get his arse kicked if he's obnoxious about it."

He just grinned, smugly.

I frowned at him for a moment, then turned to the rest. "Okay. What's in the pod all together?" I asked.

"The pod has room for up to about eight adults, and four to six children. There are currently five bedrooms, one kitchen diner, one bathroom, one office and one large and one small sitting area, all spread over two floors. The purple circle in the corner of this room is a single person lift between the two floors. Just stand on it and it will take you up or down as necessary. Once on planet it can be increased in volume to nine times its current size if necessary."

"Diolch, where do we get food from?"

There was a pause. "Do I take it that this word, diolch, is a name to which I am to be referred?"

"What? Oh. No, sorry. That's a Welsh word meaning thanks. We all speak a little Welsh, not much as none of us speak it fluently."

"Accepted. Food is available from the replicator in the kitchen area, and also from the cafeteria."

"Where we were with the sergeant? Yeah?" asked Huw.

"Correct."

"Are we allowed to wear clothes?" asked Bronwyn, softly.

"That is a question for your sponsor," answered the AI, in what I thought was quite a prim voice. It actually managed to sound insulted.

"Um, where would they get clothes from?"

"Standard issue clothing can be found in the replicator."

"I tell you what," I announced, standing up. "Let's have a wander around, and see what we've got."

"Um. AI?" I asked a couple of minutes later when I managed to find myself alone. "We're all a bit new to this. None of us had ever heard of the Confederation until five weeks ago, and we knew nothing about pick ups or what CAP scores meant until a couple of hours ago. I need you to butt in and make appropriate suggestions and recommendations if you think we are heading in the wrong direction." I paused for a moment as I realised that that could be misinterpreted if the AI took 'wrong direction' too literally. "Is that understood?"

"It is. I will do my best."

"Thank you."

Half an hour later, we were all back in the sitting room again. One bedroom was quite a bit bigger than the others, it and one other were on the lower level, along with the smaller of the two sitting rooms, the kitchen diner, bathroom and an office with a large machine in it that looked a little like the CAP testing pod but longer and lower, to be lain in rather than sat up in. On the upper level were the remaining bedrooms and a large empty space. In my wandering around I had discovered that the POD could reconfigure itself, and also change all the colour schemes, though some things would take longer than others.

They had all found the ugly grey shifts and had put them on, only to find that in every single case they didn't quite cover everything at crotch level. I think Mum found it more intimidating than being naked. I personally found it quite exhilarating being able to get regular glimpses of three furry bushes where they peeked just below the hem line of the shift. Even if they did belong to my Mum and my sisters.

"Okay. I think we need to rebuild the pod a bit. Agreed?"

I'd been with Dad when I'd discovered that the pod could be reconfigured, and he'd been in deep thought ever since.

"How long until we get to where we will be going?" he asked the AI.

"There is nothing on record to say where you will be dropped off, but our first drop off is in seven weeks and it is probable you will be dropped off then."

"Oh, that's okay then." He looked at me. "Sorry. Carry on."

"Um. Well, how about changing the downstairs bathroom into just a WC, and then having a proper full sized one upstairs. We don't need that big space upstairs," I paused. "There's no stairs, but you know what I mean."

Everybody smiled and nodded.

"Anyway. With the extra space released from the bathroom downstairs we can add some space to this room, or to the second bedroom down here."

"How would we do that?" asked Mum, a look of astonishment across her face.

"Easy. IA, sorry, AI?" I glared at Huw's slightly smug grin. He could be a bit of a pedant at times.

"The changes requested will take approximately two hours if all done together, however there is not a huge amount of water on board ship for use in a bathtub, and its use is restricted until we reach the planet surface."

"In that case. Please create the upstairs bathroom now, and we will remain down here until it is done."

"Confirmed. It will take approximately ninety minutes. While it is happening, the upper level will be inaccessible." The purple disk on the floor went dark. "Please note. Use of the replicator during this time will slow down the process."

"Okay, thank you."

"What do we do now?" asked Mum.

"Dunno."

"There is a briefing for all new arrivals in the main cafeteria in twenty minutes," announced the AI. There was a pause then, "Lieutenant Carter, you will report, with your concubines, to the medical bay at 14:30 tomorrow. Please acknowledge."

"Er. Yeah. Acknowledged. AI. Please use the British pronunciation of my rank, at least within this pod."

There was a pause. "Please pronounce for me that I may recognise it," stated the AI.

I told it, giving it the very recognisable 'leftenant' pronunciation.

"Acknowledged."

"We may as well head down to the briefing now," said Dad. "Get a bit of food there so that the AI here can get on with the changes to the pod."

"Okay. let's go."

"Do we keep these on?" asked Siān.

Mum spoke before I had chance to. "I hope so. Leave them on for now, it's easy enough to take them off."

"Mum," I said softly. "I agree with you. And would have said the same thing. But you cannot, must not, make any decisions which affect outside this pod. In here yes, out there let me make the decision. I'll ask for your advice and input when I need it, but please. It's my responsibility. You must let me be the one to get it wrong, not you. It shouldn't be my life at risk, but it might be yours."

"Yes of course dear. I'm sorry."

"Look guys, I know this is going to be hard. For us all. It seems that I'm responsible for anything you do out there, so let me be the one to balls it up, not you. I don't want to lose you because of something silly. Okay?"

Dad smiled and clapped me on the shoulder. "Good lad. Make us proud." He gave me a quick hug.

We were early at the cafeteria, and managed to get a quiet table at the front, but away from where the food replicators were. There were only three other groups in there, all of them quiet and subdued.

I sat the others and went to the food replicators. "May I order food?"

"Yes."

"What is available?"

"Most European and North American non alcoholic beverages. Most fruits, and vegetables. Simple salads, soups and sandwiches. The only protein currently available is in the form of cheese or eggs. Meat, fish, rice and most pastas are currently unavailable due to a minor fault."

Cheese and eggs eh? Hm. "Are there any mushrooms?"

"Yes."

"In that case six cheese and mushroom omelettes, five cups of white tea four with sugar one without, one cup of black coffee."

"Acknowledged."

A minute later the door slid open to reveal a large tray piled high with plates and mugs.

"Oh shit." Carefully, gingerly, I lifted it slowly out and put it on the table behind me. Looking up I beckoned Dad across.

"Can anyone just order?" asked a naked girl who appeared alongside me.

I shrugged. "I assumed so."

She nodded and gave me a quick, wide, grin. "Cheers."

"Dad, can you carry some of the plates, otherwise I'm bound to drop something."

He smiled and carefully picked up the top four plates off the stack. "Mmm. Omelettes. Good choice."

"Cheese and mushroom," I told him.

He laughed. "Even better."

Sadly they didn't taste anything like as good as they looked or smelled, but they were okay. I guess that replicated food would always be a bit bland.

By now the room was getting full. It was very obvious who were concubines. Many, though by no means all, were naked. Some even looked afraid of their sponsor, which surprised me. There were a lot of younger kids running around, laughing and shouting, though fortunately they weren't too disruptive.

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN," came a booming voice. "Settle down please, we have a lot to do."

The room quickly quietened down.

"For those that don't know, or don't remember, I'm lieutenant Chuck Reilly. First a bit of unhappy news. Take heed. An hour ago a volunteer decided to get frisky with someone else's under fourteen, and wouldn't take no for an answer. That volunteer is now dead, and we have two concubines without a sponsor. Let me restate the rules very explicitly. It is a capital offence to try and initiate any form of sex with anybody under the age of thirteen. When I say capital offence, you WILL die. No appeal, no excuses, no second chances. Just death. That man was dead within ten minutes of the attempted rape, he didn't succeed. The marines were there before he got far enough to cause the youngster damage.

"Further, it is an offence for anyone, of whatever age, to have intercourse with anyone aged thirteen. You thirteen year olds. If anyone asks you for intercourse and you voluntarily say yes, you will be reported to your sponsor who has a fairly free hand on punishment, if he or she thinks you deserve it. You cannot initiate intercourse either.

"However if you are being pressured, blackmailed or bullied, that's different. The AI will report your situation as soon as it becomes obvious. If you need to say 'yes' to stop someone hurting you, that's fine, but try to use it as a delaying tactic. Help should be close at hand.

"Thirteen year olds are permitted oral sex however, both giving and receiving, as well as kissing and petting. But. They have to consent. Remember. If they don't consent, you are in trouble. They may also change their mind. If they say yes and you have your tongue in their pussy and they then change their mind, that is their prerogative. Get your tongue out as fast as possible. You will only be in trouble if you ignore that change of mind. And girls, don't try to get someone else into trouble. The AI is all knowing, all seeing, and is the perfect lie detector.

"Remember, whether you are a sponsor, or a concubine, you have a duty of care towards all under fourteens. They are our future.

"Next. Fourteen and over. Once you are over fourteen you are an adult in the eyes of the Confederation. If you are a concubine you are someone's property. Do not ever forget that. It could be your life if you do. If your owner says suck, you suck. If he, or she, tells you to suck another volunteer, you suck. Or indeed anything else you are asked, no, told, to do.

"Volunteers. You do not have the rights to any one else's slaves unless you have explicit permission from their owner. Remember that. Someone else's slaves are their property, not yours. That said. Concubines, if you are asked to help with something reasonable, particularly by a marine or a member of the ships crew, that is different. These people won't, shouldn't, take you for granted. Believe it or not, we are all human beings. I hope."

There was a gentle laugh after that dig.

"Thirteen-year-olds who become fourteen on the trip. As soon as a thirteen- year-old becomes fourteen, they become elligible to take a CAP test. It does not have to be done immediately, but it must be done before their fifteenth birthday. Sponsors, you may not prevent this. Until that point they will be considered to be the concubine of their current sponsor. Once they take the CAP test, if they are under 6·5 they will remain a concubine of their current sponsor for as long as they both want, regardless of the number of concubines the sponsor already has. For the next twenty-four months however, both sponsor and concubine have the option of terminating their relationship, in which case, the concubine gets automatically released for choosing by another sponsor, after that, you are stuck. Tough shit if after twenty-five months you decide you want out. You'll have to beg your sponsor to let you go. This is currently the only circumstance in which a concubine can officially, and without any black marks against either side, reject or turn down a sponsor. Any questions so far?"

"I have a girl in my pod turns fourteen next week," called out one man.

"Lucky you. You get an extra concubine."

"What happens if she gets 6.5 or better?"

"Lucky her. She becomes a free agent and gets the option of moving out and into her own pod with her own concubines if she so desires."

"And if she doesn't want to leave?"

"She can stay with you if you both want it, but remember, in this instance she is a volunteer in her own right, with all the duties, responsibilities and privileges that entails. That means if she wants out, you cannot stop her."

The man nodded and smiled. "Thanks, that's what we hoped." He turned to the girl next to him and gave her a hug. She just smiled adoringly up at him. "Oh, Uncle Rod," I think she said.

"Another thing. Concubines. This was discovered quite by accident only a few months ago. If you go for retesting, it's entirely possible to improve your CAP scores, so for the last couple of months we've been trying an experiment. And you get to join in. Any concubine who had his or her CAP done over a year ago, can, if they want, get it re tested. We know it's possible to improve your CAP score. Sponsors. If you have a concubine with a CAP of six or better, indeed any score really, it is in your interest to try and improve them if you can, to the point at which they can become a volunteer in their own right. If you succeed you will obviously lose them as your concubine, but as a special offer you will automatically get two to replace them, up to a maximum of two extra. This will be a permanent extra, and marked on your card as such. If you can turn more than two concubines into volunteers, you will get other bonuses and benefits. This will be on all your records indefinitely, so that we can record and monitor. If it works, something similar will start being offered to other volunteers. Concubines. It also applies to you. If you become a volunteer and can then sponsor another concubine to become a volunteer, you will also get the extras and bonuses. There are no losers here, only winners. This can only benefit everyone. I personally despise the very idea of slavery, as do most people on this ship, but the only thing I can do about it is to try and push you to improve. Improve yourself, your concubines, and through them everybody's life. Maybe, when this is all over, we can ..." he paused. His voice had been slowly rising as he got more and more passionate about what he was saying, now it dropped to a more normal voice. "Sorry, I was about to get on my hobby horse."

"Next. Medical pods. Some of you have already been through the basic fifteen minute medical pod procedure. This is just a basic health check. Those pods can also make major body changes and improvements." He stood up straight. "I used to be five foot eleven, two forty pounds, a receding hairline, and bad eyesight. I'm also fifty eight years old. I'm now two metres tall exactly, six foot seven close enough, my weight hasn't changed much but it's now all muscle, my eyes are now twenty twenty, and my body is only twenty two. My accent is still Texan, but now it's just a hint instead of the lazy and barely understandable drawl it used to be to mere non Texan's." He gave a slight smile as he said this. "With some, limited, exceptions, you can have absolutely any body you want. Volunteers. If you are going into the marines, then you will basically be my size, otherwise you get want you want. You may also change your concubines as well. It's your final decision, but I suggest you at least let them have a bit of a say. A happy concubine is more likely to make you happy, and at the end of the day that's their entire reason for existing. That and breeding."

The presentation then went off into safety and security, and a bit about the planet we were going to. I was confused at first. Sometimes he called it Solo, at other times Soloat, and it took me a while to realise that the system was Soloat, the planet was Solo. The problem was, he was pronouncing Solo as for Han Solo in the old Star Wars films, but Soloat was often being pronounced almost as So'lote, the end bit rhyming with stoat. In fact sometimes it even managed to sound like 'salute', but I suspect my sub- standard hearing was the cause of that. I had to see the words written down later to finally understand what he was telling us.

We were there for nearly two hours before Lieutenant Reilly dismissed all the concubines back to their pods. "AI, make sure all concubines can get back into their pods. This is a military requirement order override, on my authority."

"Acknowledged."

"I'll see you all later," I told my family.

"Right," said Reilly once all the concubines had left. "Remember, this is a military ship, you are all under military rule and law. The Modified Uniform Code of Military Justice applies no matter what country you originally came from, and what branch of the military you are now in." He looked down at his PDA for a moment.

"Hmm. Okay. Those of you who know you're in the marines, move to your left, those who know you're in the navy, move right. The remainder move to the middle and we'll sort you out in a moment."

I suddenly realised I didn't know. I knew I was a lieutenant, but of what? I assumed marines, but only because of what Sergeant Morris had said in the chippy. I decided to just sit here for the moment and see what happened. There were just seven people left sitting after a few moments, and I was sure I recognised one of the women, but I couldn't think from where.

When everybody had finished moving, Reilly nodded to someone behind us, and moments later a booming voice came from back there. "Marines, follow me." About fifty people trooped out, once they'd gone, another, not as loud, voice called: "navy recruits, follow me please."

There were about twenty of them, now there was just eight people left. I'd sneaked a look behind me to see that the room really was empty but for us. Reilly stepped down off the small dais and walked towards us. "Okay. Gather round."

When we were all seated around a single table, he spoke again. "Okay, first off, none of you will be front line fighting forces, two of you aren't even in the military. This means none of your medical changes will include the marine package. Who are Chivers and Royle?"

Two men put their hands up. "Okay I don't know exactly what's supposed to be happening to you, but you will be going to a planet called Trident to see someone called David Ap Rhys," I stirred at the obvious Welsh name but said nothing. "I believe he's just started something called the 'Civil Service'. I've never heard of it before, so I know nothing about it, what it is or what it does, but apparently you are to go and see what it is he is doing, and then do something similar elsewhere. You are to go back to your pods and use the sleep trainer to learn as much as you can about Trident, the Civil Service, and after that anything that you think will be relevant and useful. If you think something is relevant but the AI won't let you see it, contact me or any other senior officer and we'll sort it out. The AI's are intelligent, but they are not human. Remember that although you are not military, you are in a military ship, and Trident, one of our very earliest colonies, is a military colony, so at all times behave appropriately. Good luck gentlemen. Dismissed."

"Carter, Power and West?"

I put my hand up, as did the woman sitting next to me. I still thought I recognised her and it was starting to irritate me.

"You three will be joining intelligence."

"Spies?" I asked.

He smiled. "No. James Bond is a myth. So are George Smiley and Jack Ryan. No, you'll be sitting in an office somewhere, trying to make sense of a load of disparate reports. Battle reports, contact reports, technical reports, sighting reports, casualty reports, probably, for all I know, injury reports and weather reports, as well as any other crap we can dig up. Hopefully you'll be using it to try and work out what the Sa'arm are going to do next, trying to work out how they do it, and maybe in time how we might stop them. You three will be using your sleep trainer pods to learn as much as you can, or at least as much as we know, about the Sa'arm. How they fight. What they do. After that you can learn anything you like which you think might be of use. You have almost no limits. Who's Carter?"

"I am," I told him.

"Okay. You really do have no limits. You can go anywhere, see anything. Or at least, anything that the Darjee haven't already censored. You have clearance far higher than me or anyone else currently on this ship. You other two, you do have some limits, but the chances of you finding those limits here are remote. I do however suggest that the three of you get together once every two or three days to compare notes. Good luck to you too. Dismissed."

"That means you two must be Johns..." We were too far away for me to hear any more after that, but I hoped to get my hearing fixed tomorrow.

"I'm Llewelyn," I told the two others.

"Ah. A good Welsh name," laughed the man. His accent was Bristol or West country, and quite a broad one at that. "I'm Jack. Jack Power"

"Melissa West," smiled the woman.

"I'm really sorry," I told Melissa. "This probably sounds a bit corny, but have we met somewhere?"

"I don't think so. Where might you be from?"

That was a Welsh accent.

"Out in the middle of nowhere. A small farm in the Black Mountains. Draw a straight line between Crickhowel and Talgarth, at about the half way point, draw a line due west about two miles in the direction of Brecon. That's us. You?"

She ignored my question. "How did you get picked up?"

"We'd come into Newport to see a show at the theatre that my youngest sister wanted to watch. Huh. We missed it. We missed it twice, the first time we came down to Cardiff and got collared by the marines to take the CAP tests and ended up missing the show. I didn't even realise I'd volunteered. The guy in charge was getting a bit upset."

"That was you?" she exclaimed. "He was getting more than just upset. What happened?"

I shrugged. "It seems I volunteered without realising I was volunteering. I didn't know I'd volunteered, so until my name was called I didn't know it was me he wanted."

"Dipstick," she told me shortly, but with an amused, and slightly cruel, smile on her face. It was that cruel smile that told me where I had seen her. She was the woman making the older man have sex with the younger girl.

"That must be where I saw you. In that restaurant." I decided not to say more.

"Mmm."

"I'll call you in a couple of days," Jack told us with a grin, and peeled off to go in a slightly different direction.

I nodded and waved. Melissa just grunted. She seemed to be annoyed about something but I didn't know what, and couldn't be bothered to ask. She nodded at me but said nothing and carried on up the corridor as I stopped in front of my pod. When she was a good ten yards past me, the door opened. I slipped inside and the door quickly shut. I was already a little uncomfortable with her, and it almost seemed like the pod's AI knew it.

"Hi honeys, I'm home," I called grinning.

There was a burst of laughter and Branwyn came out to greet me. "There's food on the table. The AI informed us when you were two minutes away. The upstairs bathroom isn't quite finished yet. Another few minutes it says."

"It is now complete," intoned the AI.

"Diolch," I told them both.

I sat and picked up something that distantly resembled a piece of toast. Unfortunately the taste was only a distant resemblance as well.

"We're going to have to do something about this food," I grumbled good- naturedly.

"And this colour scheme," agreed Mum. "Who on Earth thought up this colour?"

To our surprise it was the AI that answered. "It is a Darjee color scheme. They see in a slightly different set of wavelengths. To them this is not one color but a number of colors."

"Right. Well we're changing it. Mum, Branwyn, you're the artists. You sort it out."

They looked at each other and grinned. "Yes!" exclaimed Branwyn softly.

I just smiled at her and then turned to Siān. "I need to have a quick chat with you. Join me in the office please."

She nodded and stood up.

"You have a CAP of 6.4, yes?" I asked once the door closed to give us some privacy.

She nodded and we sat.

"I want you to become a sponsor in your own right. When I'm not using the sleep training pod," I indicated the machine in the corner, "I want you to use it. I want you to learn anything and everything that you want to, and that the pod will allow you to. Okay?"

She nodded, her eyes wide.

"Okay?" I asked again.

Her open mouth became a wide grin and she nodded, then leapt into my arms and gave me a hug. That was when I found out that the thin shift really was thin. My arms went around her to return the hug, and it was almost like she had nothing on.

"Oh thank you thank you thank you," she cried. "Oh you won't be disappointed."

"Oh I already knew that. What do you want to learn?"

"History."

"Okay." I was a bit taken aback by that choice, then thought that maybe it wouldn't be such a daft idea after all. "Darjee history? Confederation history?"

"No no no. Human history. You know I've always liked history. Well I thought I'd start with general history, then move on to Alexander the great, the Romans, the Normans, the hundred years war and the wars of the roses. The English Civil War, the French revolution and Napoleon, the American Civil War. Then on into the Crimean war, the Boer war ..."

"So all the wars?" I laughed.

"Military history. We're in a war right now. What better to learn than military history. Look at strategies. Winning strategies, losing strategies, what went wrong and why. What went right and why. What was luck and what was skilled leadership. The good generals and the bad. The strengths and weaknesses of both. Even bad generals must have got to the top for a reason. But also the individual units. How regiments and, er, things work," I smiled at her slight pause as she realised that 'regiment' was the only army unit name she knew. That was okay, she'd learn others. "How different military traditions work both for and against war efforts."

I nodded. "Seems like a good idea. Try and also get hold of the military books from the various military academies as well. Training manuals written by generals for trainee generals. By colonels for trainee colonels. By sergeants for trainee sergeants. I don't suppose it's quite like that, but you know what I mean. The Duke of Wellington is supposed to have written books on warfare, and Napoleon. I bet others have as well. Get those books. Look at different traditions from different parts of the world. China. Japan. Russia. The Incas, the Mayans and the Aztecs maybe."

"This could be fun."

"Okay. That's today's study. And for tomorrow?" I asked.

"What? Oh you!" She backhanded my arm, grinning as she realised I was teasing her.

"I think that'll be a great subject to study, but I think you should add some maths, maybe to GCSE level, as well as sciences and maybe some of the more general arts and stuff. Don't limit yourself. We're out in the stars, do a bit of astronomy and stuff." Even as I was saying it, it occurred to me that it wouldn't be a bad idea for me to do some of this stuff.

She pursed her lips and gave me a look of resigned displeasure.

"Please?" I asked gently.

"Okay," she nodded, as if resigned to her fate. "Just for you."

I smiled and stood up giving her another quick hug before we joined the others in the main room.

"Mum. Dad. There is one thing that we were told early on, that will be quite easy to solve," I told them once we'd sat down again.

"Oh?" enquired Dad.

"You remember the sergeant this afternoon told us that I had to ensure someone became pregnant within a month?"

Both their jaws dropped, though only for a moment. "You mean you and," he pointed at Siān.

"Oh no," I interjected quickly. "Nothing like that. He just said I had to ensure it happened, not to do it myself. I think your job for the next month Dad is to get Mum pregnant." I smiled at him. "I can't imagine that would be too much of an issue for you."

"But. But. What about," spluttered Dad.

"What happens if I can't get pregnant?"

"During your health check tomorrow you will both be injected with nanites which will ensure an easy and quick conception," intoned the AI.

I jumped slightly at the interruption, but then smiled at them. "Problem solved. You two will have to be our baby making enterprise. I'm due another concubine, so I'll try and get one that I can get pregnant."

"May I make an observation?" asked the AI.

"Please," I answered.

"Incest is no longer a barrier, either medically or in law."

There was a long silence as we absorbed this shocking new information.

"But it's," started Mum, and then stopped.

"Mum?" I said gently.

"I was going to say that it's evil and immoral, but if it's lawful then I guess it can't be ..." she trailed off into an unhappy silence.

I looked at Dad but he had his face buried in his hands.

"Dad?" I asked softly.

He looked up at me, his face pale but calm. "You're the boss," he said softly, "I'm just your father. If you want to take your," he paused barely a moment, "I can't and won't stop you. I won't hate you. I'll never hate you. I might hate the situation we've landed ourselves in, but that's not your fault. I have to accept it. I will, do, accept it."

"So if I ordered you to take Branwyn and get her pregnant?"

"I would object. No, I would try and persuade you against the idea. But as I said, you're the boss. I won't like it though."

I looked at Branwyn. "Branny?"

She shrugged. "I guess."

"Are you a virgin?"

She shook her head, blushing violently.

"When," Mum, started but I held up my hand to her, shushing her, and she subsided.

"Huw?"

"Yes," he whispered.

"Siān?"

"Yes." Her voice was much clearer.

I nodded. "Mum, take Dad now, go and get pregnant."

The two slowly stood and moved off into what I now knew was the master bedroom, and therefore technically my room. It didn't bother me though. "AI," I spoke up once the door was closed, "I need to know if they are having sex. Please wait thirty minutes then let me know. All I need to know is whether they have had or are having intercourse. Not how, nor how often, nor any other details. Just a simple yes or no."

"Understood."

"AI. The sergeant said I had the wrong number of males in my group. Can you explain please."

There was a moments silence as the AI gathered its data. "There is no hard and fast rule. For a sponsor with two concubines, the only sensible mix is to have two women and one man. A female sponsor will therefore pick one of each, a male sponsor will pick two women. For four or six concubines there seems to be an unwritten rule that, in combination with the sponsor, two males is enough, and though many with four concubines will have a final mix of one male and four females, a small majority will have two and three. Almost every group with six concubines has exactly two males. It is really only the few with eight concubines who have three, or very occasionally four, males. What the sergeant said is correct, but it is an empirical measure, not an exact science."

"Oh I see. And I'm supposed to have another. How does that work?"

"Sponsors with a cap of 6.5 to 6.9 are allowed two concubines. Those with 7 to 7.9 are allowed four. Those with 8 to 8.9 are allowed six. Those with 9 to 9.9 are allowed eight. Those with ten are allowed ten. You have a CAP of 8.9 which allows you six. You currently only have five, therefore you are allowed another."

"Er. No. That's not what I meant. I meant how do I go about getting another?"

There was a short pause. "There are currently no spare concubines aboard this ship."

"Oh. So all the extras we picked up this morning have already gone?"

"That is correct."

"And the two spares from the man who died?"

"Yes."

"Okay. Diolch."

I frowned for a moment. "How many short is the ship as a whole?"

"That information is not available."

"Can I put in a request to be notified if one does become available?"

"Yes.

"Good. Please do so."

"Confirmed."

I turned to the others. "Right. Look. We heard what the AI said about incest. We all know what that means. What do you guys think?" I looked at them all for a moment. "Branwyn?"

She looked up at me, then, slowly and deliberately, opened her legs wide, giving me a clear and uninterrupted view of her beaver. "Yes please."

For a moment I was completely shocked, and had difficulty raising my eyes from her crotch. "What? Are you sure?"

"Yes. I was talking to one of the other concubines. Did you know we can be just tossed out an air-lock?"

"No."

"We can if we don't please you."

"I wouldn't toss you out an air lock."

"No. I know you wouldn't. That's why I want to please you. Because you wouldn't. Not to make sure you wouldn't. If you and I never had sex you still wouldn't toss me out. I want to say thank you, and I want to say thank you by having sex with you." She grinned at me, recognising the circular logic in her statement.

I just shook my head in disbelief. "With me?" I asked. She nodded. "Dad?" Again she nodded. "What about Huw?" There was no change to her expression, nor hesitation. She simply nodded. "Okay, what about Mum or Siān?"

Almost before I'd finished asking, Siān was on her knees between her sister's thighs, slowly licking up and down Branwyn's now sodden cleft. "This isn't the first time," Branwyn gasped. "I certainly hope it's not the last." She gave a little moan. "Oh god."

Huw was bright red, his hard cock extending clear of the shift. I was hard as well, but at least I was dressed.

"Alright. You've made your point. Both of you. Siān, I can see you've no qualms about having sex with your sister, what about the rest of us?"

She grinned and nodded. "I hope so."

"You two are such a pair of tarts."

They looked at each other and grinned, nodding wildly. I had to laugh.

"Huw? What about you?"

"Hey," he said. "They're babes. Who wouldn't?"

"And Mum?"

"Sure. Why not? Anyway, I seem to remember they said the medical pods can make people look different. Younger. You can make her look like she's only nineteen."

"Oh. Yeah. True. We'll sort that out tomorrow. We're all going upstairs to bed. Branny, would you like to extract Huw's virginity from him?"

"Sure. Sounds fun."

"Good." I took her into my arms and gave her a hug, whispering into her ear, "I want to shag the arse off you sometime, but until then, go and be gentle with our baby brother."

She giggled. "And I want your mighty meaty. You treat baby sis good. You hear?"

I gave her a smile and a peck on the cheek, and turned to Siān.

She stared at me with a hungry, desperate, look on her face. "If you don't take my virginity tonight, I'll kill you. Then I'll jump up and down on you. Then I'll have you hung drawn and quartered. Chopped up, diced, minced and buried alive with spiders. Then I'll really start to hurt you."

I opened my arms and she flew into them. "God," she hissed, "I don't know why, but I'm just so horny. Please," her whispered voice had desperation in it now, "please. Make me a woman. Make me your woman."

She started off hesitant and unsure, but keen nonetheless. Her kisses were unpractised, but then while I was no longer a virgin, I wasn't that experienced myself. Her pussy, well, hers was the first pussy I'd ever tasted, and if it was anything to go by, I want more. She was trying to laugh and giggle even as I was licking her to her first wriggling orgasm, and after that she just became insatiable. My sister is only five foot four with small boobs and quite skinny in many ways, but in my arms she just grew and in the end it felt like she was the one taking me, fucking me, not the other way around.

Eventually, after I'd blasted into her for I think the fourth time, I collapsed on top of her, my now slowly softening cock still buried as deep as it would go into her still rippling pussy, her legs and arms still wrapped tight around me.

She smiled lovingly into my eyes, and then just seemed to collapse all at once, her whole body just relaxing. She was snoring moments later, and I rolled her gently onto her side and spooned up behind her, following her into a deep and contented sleep very soon afterwards.

----

"AI, what time is it?" I asked as soon as I awoke.

"Oh six forty eight ship time." The AI announced.

Siān stirred beside me and looked at me, her face breaking into a wide smile. "Thank you. That was so much amazing. Better than I ever expected." I smiled and dropped a kiss onto her forehead. "Not as good as I hoped," she added a moment later, a wicked glint in her eye.

I laughed. "You are in so much trouble." She just smiled contentedly and rolled onto her side to lean against me, her arm going across my chest.

"When you get your CAP of ten next week," I said smiling softly, "who would you want to take from this family?"

She giggled at my foolishness. "All of you. None of you. I would miss all of you, including you. I think I'd rather just stay here."

"You'll be eligible for concubines all of your own you know."

"I know, but ...," she slowly played with my flaccid cock, lightly stirring it around with a couple of fingers. "Yesterday I wouldn't have dreamed of doing this. Now it's almost all I can think about. And I want Dad. I want to feel Dad doing to me what you did to me."

"And Huw?"

"All three of you. Together." She groaned. "Oh god. Fuck me."

"AI? Who else in the pod is currently awake?"

"Huw and Branwyn." I nearly asked if they were having sex, then decided it was not really my business, and I didn't need to know.

"Very well. Alert me as soon as my parents get out of bed."

"Acknowledged."

I turned to my sister. "You, my little fuck bunny, are about to start screaming."

"Oh goody."

Siān had finally collapsed into stillness over an hour later, having given me only my second, and her first ever, blow job, followed by me filling her wonderful belly twice more. She'd come to at least four wriggling orgasms on my tongue, and at least two whilst impaled on my cock. And yes, she'd screamed through many of them. I was now running a couple of fingers around one of her nipples when the AI interrupted us.

"Imogen and Roger are just getting out of bed."

"Thank you AI."

"Observation," said the AI. "There is no requirement to say thank you or please to any AI."

"Oh. Right. Don't worry about it."

"Acknowledged."

I nudged Siān. "I'm going for a quick shower. I want to catch Mum and Dad before anything else. When I've finished, get up and get the others up."

She nodded, but I wasn't sure she'd taken everything in.

"AI, please ensure my siblings are up and showered as soon possible after I leave the shower. Do not allow them downstairs, nor my parents upstairs, until after I have spoken to my parents."

"Acknowledged."

As I was going into the bathroom I had a sudden thought. I'd only been in the main bedroom once, and then only for a couple of minutes. "AI, I forget, is there an en-suite shower or toilet in the main bedroom?"

"No."

"How easy would it be to provide something like that?"

"You would lose a total of seven square feet of floor space in the room for a toilet or shower. For both you would lose sixteen square feet."

"Mmm. Let me think about it. In the meantime, is it possible to stop people from getting pregnant, or, more to the point, making sure people only get pregnant, when I say, and by who I say?"

"Yes. You will all be injected with nanites during your basic medical this afternoon. One of these controls reproduction, both the male and female reproductive systems. Once active, which will take about six hours, it can be controlled through the AI by yourself. Just ask the AI at the appropriate time."

"Brilliant. Thank you. Initially just make sure everybody is firing blanks. Including me."

"Acknowledged."

I arrived on the lower floor of the pod to see Mum getting some food out of the replicator for breakfast, and Dad just coming out out the downstairs bathroom, having obviously just showered.

"The AI says you wouldn't let us upstairs. What's happening?" asked Dad.

"It's more I didn't want the others interrupting us. Are you okay? Are you pregnant yet Mum?"

"That's none of your business," snapped Mum, then suddenly stopped and looked at me. "Except of course, it is your business isn't it?"

I nodded. "Mmm."

Mum smiled a little, a faint blush on her face. "We tried, didn't we Roger?"

Dad just nodded, his face slightly red, an embarrassed but pleased smile on his face.

"Okay. You two need to know something. The four of us had a chat last night after you'd gone to bed. The upshot of it is that Siān graciously consented to give me her virginity last night, and Branny, I hope, was the recipient of Huw's." I watched my parents faces. They said nothing, just looked grave and a touch unhappy. They didn't look cross or upset though, more resigned to what they knew was coming.

"That's almost the perfect response," I said softly. "You are sad, but not cross. You had to know it could happen, and you had to know it would be soon." They both nodded slowly. "I've made some other related decisions as well. Dad, you will be getting Mum pregnant as soon as possible, if it hasn't already happened. Then I'm going to get her pregnant in a years time, and then, unless anything else has happened in the mean time, Huw. At some point in the future, Dad, I need you to get both your daughters pregnant. I will be getting Branwyn pregnant as soon as feasible, but Siān I want to leave for a few months. I don't want too many babies arriving all at once, but at some point I will be getting her pregnant as well. After that you and Huw in whatever order happens.

"From tonight onwards, the big room downstairs is my room. Tonight Mum, you will be joining me in there," Mum gasped, her face going white. "This is important, you have to understand, we have to understand, that life is not the same and never will be. Dad you will be sleeping, and hopefully having sex with, Branwyn. I've cleared it with the AI and will ensure that you are the first to make Mum pregnant, and I am the first to make Branny pregnant. Is that clear?"

They both nodded, their faces full of misery.

"Come on," I said less forcefully, "It'll be fine. It's only sex, and sex should always be good. The only reason I'm forcing it at the moment is so that we all accept the necessity."

Again they nodded, and Dad gave a big sigh.

"Mum. Huw reminded me of something. When you go into the medical pod this afternoon, we can make changes to your physical ..."

"Observation," interrupted the AI.

"Go ahead," I sighed.

"The medical check is for basic medical necessities only. Enhancements must wait for a future time."

"Oh. Right. Do we have to book them?"

"It will be on a first come first served basis. The next available slots are not for four more days, but they are quickly filling up."

"Can I just book six slots now?"

"No. You need to decide what changes are to be made first."

"Diolch. Mum. What do you want to look like?"

"I ... I ... I don't know. I wouldn't know how to decide. Roger?"

"What can we do?"

A life sized, naked, hologram of Mum just appeared in the room, slowly spinning. Mum gave a little shriek of surprise and then relaxed.

"You know Mum, you really are very sexy," I smiled after examining it for many seconds.

She batted her hand at me, staring at the slowly rotating image. "Is that really what I look like?"

"Uh huh. AI, can we see changes on this holo?"

"Yes."

"In that case age her slowly back to about twenty, display an age counter alongside."

Slowly, the image aged backwards.

"Mum. You really were sexy you know."

"She always was," whispered Dad entranced by seeing his wife as he hadn't seen her in many years.

"Mum. Where shall we stop it?"

"Twenty-two. That's how old I was when your dad and I got married." Dad just smiled at her whimsy.

The image changed a fraction.

"Now what would you like?"

"Can I lift my boobs a little? I always thought they sagged a touch." Her boobs lifted and firmed slightly. "What would they look like a size or two bigger? Ooh, no," she said moments later. "Back to how they were."

"Would you like to be a bit taller?"

"Please. AI, increase my height by an inch, keeping me to exact scale. Again. Again. Again. Again. Again. Back one. There. Now my head looks a bit big. Can you make it a more natural size again?"

"AI. Reset it.," I told it. "Just grow her naturally to five foot nine inches."

"An inch off your waist?" asked Dad. "And how about flattening your tummy a bit. You know, how you were when you were doing gymnastics."

"Do that please," I asked the AI.

The tummy flattened into an almost perfect six pack, just slightly softened with a hint of subcutaneous fat, and her waist lost a couple of inches.

"Hair," I announced suddenly. "Remove all excess body hair below the neck except for a 'landing strip' of pubic hair."

"You need to leave the fine hairs, they help to maintain body temperature," said Dad softly.

"Sure, AI, please ensure all the very fine hairs are retained."

"Acknowledged."

"Any more for any more?" I asked.

"Hair colour," said Dad. "how about making the colour of your hair a slightly richer brown?"

"That would be nice."

"Define richer," intoned the AI.

"Make it slightly darker, slightly glossier, add a hint of red, give it a bit of a wave, and add body," Dad said slowly. "A touch darker please. Imogen?"

"It's beautiful."

"Please zoom in on her face," I told the AI. "Mum?" I asked when there was a three-foot view of her face in front of us.

Mum gulped, then touched a tiny lump on the side of her nose. "Please remove this." It vanished from the image. "Now all the standard birthmarks. And not just on my face."

"Whiten up and even up her teeth," I added, then turned to Mum. "Eyes?"

She looked at them and then shook her head.

"Please give her a slight all over tan, and return to the full image."

Mum's hands went to her face as she stared at the image in awe. "I will look like that?" she whispered.

I nodded, smiling.

"Tighten up her thighs and buttocks just a touch, and remove the hint of cellulite." Dad looked at Mum. "Even today it's barely noticeable, but it is there darling."

"Can I look like that please?" whispered Mum, tears in her eyes.

"Yes. AI. Is there anything else you would recommend?"

"It seems to be common practice for female concubines to have their throats slightly modified, and their gag reflexes reduced, to enable the practice known as deep throat."

"Mum?"

Mum just blushed and hid her face. "I can already deep throat your Dad," she whispered. I just laughed and gave her a hug.

"Anything else AI?"

"The only other common female sexual amendment is to the pelvic floor muscles."

"Yes," interrupted Mum forcefully. "Make my pelvic floor and vaginal muscles stronger." She looked at me. "It'll help me maintain my body during and after childbirth."

"AI, strengthen all the necessary muscles to ensure easy childbirth, and quick recovery afterwards, and to ensure sex is as pleasurable as possible for both parties." I paused and looked at the image in front of me, then at Mum's wonder filled face. "Mum? Happy?"

"Ecstatic." She turned to me and gave me another hug. "If you can give me all that, you can take me to bed and shag me senseless as soon as I look like that."

I grinned and then had a wicked thought. "AI, grow her a new hymen and then lock this image in store and book her a place in a medical pod as soon as possible."

"AHH," squealed Mum, then her face suddenly dropped. "Your father didn't take my virginity the first time ..." her voice trailed off into an agonised question.

"AI, how long would it take to grow a new hymen?"

"About ten minutes in a medical pod."

"Can that be done during this afternoons medical?"

"Negative. It will require an additional seven minutes on top."

"Any chance of doing it anyway?"

"Negative. The pods are fully booked for almost five days."

"Okay." I looked at Mum. "I'm going to take your new virginity, then as soon as possible I'm going to grow it back again and let Dad take it. In fact," I said as another idea sprang into my head. "I'm going to re-grow Branny's and Siān's as well, and Dad can take them both. After that I want Branny's, then Huw can have them all again."

Both Mum and Dad laughed at my enthusiasm.

"You, dear, are welcome to my second virginity. I look forwards to giving it to you, and I hope your father enjoys Branny's as much as you enjoy mine."

I smiled and turned to Dad. "AI, show an image of Dad. Oh, wait. Cancel that and unlock the lift. Mum, Dad. Don't say anything to the others just yet, about what we've done here."

Moments later Branwyn arrived, a slightly worried and questioning look on her face. When she saw Mum's happy face, she relaxed. "Bathrooms free."

Mum smiled happily and gave Branwyn a hug "There's still a bathroom down here love. Breakfast's ready."

After breakfast, I told Mum and Branwyn to organise the decorating while I went into the sleep pod. "The rest of you, help Mum and Branny," I told them.

"Ship time?" I asked once I was alone.

"Ten thirteen."

"Okay. What's the best length of time in the sleep pod?"

"Between two and three hours."

"Uh huh. Is there a set order I must do this in?"

"No, but there are five programs which you need to do first. After that, almost any order you desire."

"Hmm. How long are the five programs?"

"Program one is forty-eight minutes. Program two thirty-nine minutes. Program three is seventy-seven minutes. Program four ninety-one minutes, and program five is two hours and eleven minutes."

"Okay. I'll do the first three programs, with a fifteen minutes break between them."

"If you intend to get out of the pod between programs, you will need longer than fifteen minutes. I suggest you do the first two back to back, then have a thirty minute break before the third."

"Agreed. Let's go."

The sleep pod door clicked open, and I climbed in.

It's funny. I didn't really remember the lesson itself, but when I climbed out an hour and a half later, I knew that I knew the material. The first had been a fascinating insight into parts of the Confederation, some of its political and social history, and though I now knew the names of eighteen species in the Confederation, I didn't know what any of them looked like. I knew that seventeen of the eighteen were no more, fourteen as a result of the Sa'arm, two as a result of disease, one as a result of natural disaster when their primary had exploded quite without warning nearly three millennia ago. The eighteenth species was the Darjee, which I had already heard of.

The second lesson had been about the History of the Sa'arm Confederacy conflict, and in particular how the Darjee had contacted the Ladac and what had happened to them. How the Darjee had finally gone about contacting humans, and the lengths to which both humans and Darjee had tried to communicate on a level both could understand, and therefore where the AI's came in to interpret our warlike race to something the Darjee could cope with. I understood the human position in the Confederation, and knew that we were not really members, more like contract soldiers. Mercenaries. Between the two, they also told me just how static and stratified the Confederation was. In my opinion it was dying, and if it hadn't been for the Sa'arm, would probably have been dead anyway within a few millennia.

The third lesson would be about the human Diaspora, how it was going, the good bits, the bad bits, where things were breaking down, what was working and what wasn't, and the law as it applied to the new colonies, when and where it did and didn't apply. There would also be information on a number of the colonies and initiatives that various colony leaders had instigated. The fourth lesson would be on the Human-Sa'arm war itself. Again the failures and the successes. And the fifth would be more on the intelligence data that was already known and understood, as well as stuff that was known, but less understood, and stuff that was guessed or conjectured at. After that I would be heading off into areas unknown, much of it at my own direction.

I staggered out and stopped, staring. The ceiling of the sitting area was completely white, the walls a neutral grey but with swirling patterns of colour over them. There were even a few pictures on the walls. The floor was a deep blue grey colour with flecks of reds and greens in it.

"We aught to have," Branwyn was saying, then broke off and looked at me, smiling at the delighted look I was obviously giving.

"You like?" Mum asked.

"Very much." Just at that moment Huw came back into the room carrying a tray with a steaming mug and a couple of biscuits. He handed them to me with a grin.

"The AI told us you were just about to come out."

I nodded and smiled. "Cheers mate."

"Llew?" he asked. "Can I have lessons as well? Please?"

"Sure. So can anyone who wants them. AI, log that order please."

"Acknowledged."

"If I'm not using it, Siān gets second priority, after that anyone who wants to. Anyone." Even though I'd said that, somehow I knew that Branny wasn't interested, and Mum probably wasn't either. I wasn't sure about Dad.

"How's it going?" he asked.

"Okay. I've just learned a bit about the Confederation, and the Darjee. And next, the human Diaspora."

Dad laughed. "Sounds interesting."

"Actually it is. AI, how much of these programs would be available to anyone?"

"Checking. Programme one would be censored by fourteen minutes, programme two by eighteen minutes, programmes three and four would be complete, programme five will not be made available."

"Okay. Guys, can I recommend, strongly recommend, you take those courses. They explain a lot. In fact, AI, Huw and Siān will both be doing training. Ensure these four lessons are included."

"Confirmed.

When I came out the second time, I was completely bushed. Only Huw and Branwyn were in the sitting area. Huw had found a book from somewhere, I later found that he'd got it from the replicator which had some half a million books that could be downloaded to read, both fiction and non fiction. I suppose it was only to be expected, knowing my brother, that he was reading a technical manual for an old Triumph motorbike from the 1950's or 60's.

"Where are the others?"

"Mum's trying to get Dad pregnant," she stopped and waved her hand. "I mean, oh you know what I mean. Siān is upstairs decorating her room."

"And you?" I asked softly.

"Bored. Waiting for you, and trying not to fall asleep."

"Why didn't you get a book like Huw?"

"Can't be bothered. You know I don't read if I don't have to." It was true. Branwyn could read, and well, she just didn't.

"AI? Is there any way of getting some form of entertainment?"

"There is an extensive library of films and television programs, as well as video and computer games. A screen and all necessary game controllers can be created in a little under an hour."

"What sort of games?"

"Nintendo has given all colony ships and AI's full and free access to all Wii super three and earlier games, including all consoles, and accessories. Super four games are available for purchase if you have sufficient funds on Earth, the new super five games are not yet available. Sony, and google games are available for free, but not the consoles or accessories, these have to be purchased or brought on board during pick up. All games from the defunct Microsoft and Apple are available, but are very out of date. All are at least nine years old. There are no films or television programs newer than eighteen months old, and not many newer than three years. From there back to 2009 there are varying quantities. Everything prior to 2009 is available. There are no live broadcasts available, of any sort, including radio or television."

"What about non computer games?"

"Chess, Checkers," I had to think for a moment before translating that into Draughts, "Go, Reversi, Nine Men's Morris and related games, Ludo, Uckers ..."

"Okay, stop," I interrupted. "I take it there's a catalogue somewhere we can view?"

"It can be displayed on a PDA."

"Okay. Can you arrange for a full super three setup to be created while we are out at the medical centre."

"Acknowledged."

I got another mug of tea then sat down opposite Branwyn, and looked at her, frowning slightly. "Huw?"

"Uh huh."

"Can you go upstairs and join Siān for a while. I want to talk to Branny."

"Uh huh." He didn't move.

"Huw?"

"Oh. Yeah." He huffed as he stood up, giving me a sniff of contempt.

I looked at him and he gave me a grin. I realised he was just messing with me. "Go on, bugger orf."

When he'd gone, I ordered the AI to lock the lift.

"Branny? what do you want?"

She looked at me. "What do you mean?"

"Exactly that. Given present circumstances, what do you want?"

"Smaller tits?"

I laughed. "That wasn't precisely what I meant, but okay. AI, bring up a holo of Branwyn." It appeared in the middle of the room, and like Mum this morning, Branwyn gave a little shriek of surprise. "This is you now," I told her. "Make the changes you want."

"Can I have my tits a size smaller?"

The image stopped rotating and the boobs shrank a fraction.

"Oh." she said.

"Make them tighter and firmer, and give them a bit of a lift," I told the AI.

"Oh. Oh. Make them a size bigger again."

"And another," I added.

"No. That's too big," fired back Branwyn after a moment. "Back to their current size."

"Rotate."

"Oh, get rid of those marks on my back. Make my bum a bit smaller. Can I have longer hair?"

The hair grew to the middle of her back.

"Longer." Now it was at her waist. "Longer,"

"No. Mid back only," I told her.

Branwyn pouted for a moment.

"Do you want to be taller?"

"No. I'm five seven. That's enough for me."

"Mum's going to be five nine."

"Oh." Branwyn paused, considering, then shook her head. "No. I'm fine."

"Would you like to look a bit older?"

"No. Maybe an inch or two off my waist?"

The inches vanished.

"Please tone up all her muscles, including kegel and vaginal, whiten and straighten her teeth. Give her a gentle overall tan." I paused to look over the new changes. "Make her hair a little lighter and a little more yellow." She was already a blonde, but it was a dull blonde, this would enrich the colouring. "Remove all skin blemishes, birthmarks, moles and warts."

"I don't have warts!"

"I can see one on your face. On no, that's your nose." I ducked backwards as she reached out to try and slap me, laughing.

"That looks wonderful. Can I have that?"

"Sure. Oh. Body hair same as Mum's."

"Ooh no. I like my pubes. Can I have some more?"

"Keep her vulva and labia clear of hair, but thicken, and slightly lengthen the hair. Make the bush as a whole slightly longer and wider. Darken her pubic hair a few shades, make it stand out. Hmm. Bit wider at the top. make it look more triangular in shape."

"Yes. That." Interrupted Branwyn.

"It doesn't look right now. You've got blonde hair, but dark brown pubes."

She stared for a few moments. "Mmm." She frowned.

"AI. Make her pubic hair the same colour as on her head. No," I said a moment later, "the images head."

"It doesn't stand out as much," said Branwyn slowly.

"You want it to stand out?"

"Yeah."

"Remove the tan from the skin behind the pubic bush." The difference was slight, but there.

"Slowly add black to her pubic hair, one percent at a time, until I say stop. Give me a visible counter as you do so."

When the counter got to 15, Branwyn called stop.

"That good enough for you?"

She looked at it, and then at the rest of her body for a few moments. "Yeah."

"Right. Can you deep throat?"

She looked puzzled. "What?"

"Do you know what a deep throat is?" When she shook her head I explained.

"Oh. I dunno."

I pulled my trousers down. "Better try it then."

Branwyn looked at me for a moment, then grinned and dropped to her knees. I gently caressed the side of her head and her face as she took the head of my erecting cock into her mouth and gently licked. When I was as hard as I thought I could get, she took me slowly deeper and deeper into her mouth. After four attempts, her eyes now streaming with tears, both from frustration and from the natural gag reflex, she drew back.

"Sorry, no."

I pulled her up next to me and cuddled her as she used one hand to stroke my erection.

"AI, relax her gag reflex, and increase the size of her throat to the same as Mum's."

"It is already larger than Imogen's."

"In that case just the gag reflex."

"Acknowledged."

"Anything else?"

She shook her head.

"AI, age her two years to nineteen."

The image changed just subtly, most noticeable in her face which had gained a little bit of maturity."

"Well I like that. What about you?"

"Yeah. I think you're right. I think I look better."

"In that case AI, grow her a new hymen, save, lock and book a slot in the medical pods."

"What? Oh, Llew, you're making me a virgin again. I'll give it to you."

"Not this one. Give this one to Dad. We can always grow another, later, for me."

"Dad?"

"Yes. And tonight I want you to sleep with Dad. I want you to shag him senseless."

"Oh god. That's, oh yeah. I like that idea." She fastened her mouth to mine, and gave me a passionate kiss. "Where will you be tonight?" she asked huskily after we'd broken the kiss.

"With Mum."

"Oh fuck, that's kinky."

"Mum's looking forwards to it. I'm not sure Dad is though, so you need to make him love it. Really love it. Really go to town on him for me."

She grinned conspiratorially. "Yes sir."

I hugged her against me for a moment. "I'll ask Mum, or you can, to teach you to deep throat, okay?"

She nodded,

"AI, how long until our medical bay appointments?"

"Thirty five minutes."

"Do I have time to plan Siān's body changes before we go?"

"Given how long you took to do the first two, probably not."

"In that case, bring up my image. No. Cancel that. I'll wait. Are Mum and Dad awake?"

"Yes."

"In that case, if they are not actually having sex right now, please ask them to get ready to go out, otherwise wait until the next reasonable pause, but no more than fifteen minutes.

There was a brief pause. "They have acknowledged your request and are getting up now."

"Unlock the lift please."

"Are you going to have the downstairs bathroom shrunk to just a loo?" enquired Branwyn, her arms still locked around my shoulders.

"I think I've changed my mind. There's two bedrooms down here, so we need a shower down here. I think I'll leave it."

"Uh huh."

Branwyn and I kissed softly and gently for a few minutes, still hugging tightly together, before I pushed her gently away. "Get the others ready," I whispered.

I went into my office and shut the door. "AI. Please ensure that none of the girls get pregnant immediately, including Mum. Mum is to get pregnant first, by Dad, but not until a week after her full body changes. Huw is to fire blanks until further notice. I must be the first one to make Branwyn pregnant, but not for two months. Siān must not become pregnant until we've been at our final destination for two months, and then I must be the father. I must be the father of Mum's second baby, and Dad must be the father of both Siān and Branwyn's second babies, but they may choose who is the father of their third baby, and if they don't choose, it is to be left to random chance. Confirm?"

"Confirmed."

As we were walking down to the medical bay, I suggested to Siān that she use the sleep learning pod that afternoon.

She nodded. Pleased.

I was amazed when I came out of the medical pod a little under an hour later. I knew I'd been partially deaf in my left ear, but the difference was amazing. I commented on it to the med. tech. "It'll take a few hours to be fully working, she told me."

"Oh. Wow."

"IMMEDIATE EFFECT. A CURFEW IS NOW IN FORCE. RETURN TO YOUR PODS IMMEDIATELY. ALL OFF DUTY MARINES REPORT FOR DUTY NOW. A CURFEW IS NOW IN FORCE" came a voice over some sort of Tannoy system. Mum, Branwyn and Huw were all still in medical pods. Huw having just gone into the one I had come out of. Dad and I closed in on either side of Siān who had yet to go in.

"Stay there," ordered the tech, pointing at me. "Which pod are you in?"

"Green six."

She nodded and turned to Siān. "Go and stand by that med. pod. It's the next one to finish." Siān nodded and walked quickly over to the indicated pod.

She pointed at the only other volunteer currently in the room "Pod?"

"Green twelve."

"Are all you conc's from either green six or green twelve?" she asked the group of six concubines, standing against the wall.

Four nodded but I noticed two shaking their heads, including the single male amongst them.

"Blue twenty-nine," I heard one of them call.

"Bugger" muttered the tech. She looked up. "Right," she said a minute later. "There'll be a squad of marines here in about twenty minutes. You're all to wait here in the mean time."

I nodded and took Dad and drifted generally in the direction of the other volunteer, someone who looked even younger than my eighteen, and definitely looked scared.

He looked at me queryingly, fear plain in his face, but also determination.

"Mutual protection," I muttered.

He nodded, jerkily. I turned to the concubine who'd muttered blue twenty nine, a slightly obese, but otherwise not unattractive forty something year old woman. "Is your sponsor in one of those tubes?"

She nodded, fearfully.

"Okay."

Some minutes later there was the distant sound of shouting, including what sounded like the sizzling bacon noise again. "What's that funny sizzling noise?" I asked the tech.

She looked at me funny. "It's a stinger. Haven't you seen one?"

I shook my head.

"You don't want to be on the receiving end of one. It hurts." She turned away to her controls.

"Oh."

"It's sort of like the old electric stun guns, except there's no wires," the male concubine at the back whispered.

I just nodded.

"This is the first time all the pods have been empty for six days," the tech commented off hand when Siān finally emerged.

"How long will they be empty now?" asked the third sponsor, a woman who looked not unlike her concubine, except that she was black where the concubine was white.

"Dunno. A few hours probably, could be a day. Depends on the curfew."

"What about doing some get ahead, and doing the body changes on some of these concubines," she asked.

The tech looked at her then shrugged. She raised her eyes for a moment. "The captain agrees. Are all yours ready?"

"There's only two, but yeah."

"You?"

I shook my head. "No. I've sorted out two, that's all."

She looked at the young lad.

He nodded.

"All of them?"

Again he nodded. I noticed the hint of smiles on all his concubines faces, the two younger girls managed to look smug, the two older women had very definite shark like smiles. The lad himself just looked worried.

"Right." Five minutes later, the other two volunteers, both the concubines of the black woman, and the two older women of the young lad's concubines were all in pods.

At that moment a squad of eight marines arrived.

"Where to?" the squad corporal asked me.

"Green six. These two," I said pointing to the two girls that looked younger than Siān, "are going to green twelve."

"Shit. Can you get into your pod without your sponsor?"

"I don't know," one of the girls whispered. The other just shrugged.

"Bugger. Let's go find out."

"Corporal, if necessary, we'll look after them," I said. "I've only six in my pod so I've ample room."

He looked back to see that Mum had her arm around one of the girls, comforting her, and Branwyn and Siān were doing the same with the other.

"Okay. If necessary. You know the law regarding other peoples property though."

I nodded. "Absolutely. They'll be cared for properly."

"Good."

"What was happening?"

"Four of the new recruits didn't like the idea that their concubines were to be treated as potential volunteers."

"You mean they wanted them as slaves?"

"Uh huh. Before becoming a Confederacy marine I was a US Marine. Three years ago, thereabouts, me an' my buddies were sent to West Africa, Ivory Coast or Gold Coast, or whatever it was called. We was there to shut down those ayrab slavers. Them was black folk takin' black slaves like it was the seventeen hundreds. I'm black an' proud of it, but them folks made me so angry. I hate slavers. Most of my unit was white or Hispanic, but all of us, every one of us, not just the blacks, we hated them slavers worse than anything. The LT. of this outfit. He's white, but I reckon on he hates slavers worsen I do. We gotta start somewhere. When these dickheads is all gone, then I reckon we'll start on the Confederacy until they stop slavin'."

"Oh yes. I remember that. Didn't the Royal Navy have to rescue you?"

He gave me a glare, then a resigned laugh. "It weren't like that, though I guess the press both sides o' the pond see'd it that way. The Navy's flattop, Ronald Reagan, was with us. Then there was that big tanker explosion, way down the coast somewheres, it went to help out, and threw a fuckin' shaft. So now it can't launch the fighters, only the choppers, 'cause it can't go fast enough. Anyhow, that new Brit. flat top, Prince Of Wales?," I nodded, "it were doing work up exercises a few miles north, so it came down to offer top cover if we needed it. We never needed it, so it just sat there doin' nutin'. So no. It didn't rescue us."

I laughed and nodded. "As you say, the press always get things wrong. It was there in case you needed it though. The aircraft carrier was also late in service, four years late. Fucking politicians."

"Tell me about it. Don't supposed as you'd noticed, but very few politicians have a CAP high enough to be taken."

"No I hadn't. That's interesting." I paused for a moment. "Anyway, what did these guys do?"

"What guys?"

"Just now? The four volunteers?"

"Oh. Yeah, well they tried beatin on some poor young white kid who had two black kids as concubines. Tol' him shoulda been treatin 'em like as they were dirt. He tol' 'em to fuck off an' they were his wives, so they started layin inta him."

"How's the kid?"

"Not too bad. If they'd a done him one on one he'd a kicked their butts. Turned out he was blue belt judo or somink. But they went four on one. He broke one collar bone, laid another unconscious, but then got knocked out and they was systematically breakin his ribs."

"And the four guys?"

"One's dead. Refused to stop. Eight stingers'll do that to you you know. The other three are in custody. Gonna be a court martial tomorrow, an I reckon all three will be executed."

"Good."

He turned to look at me. "You really think that?"

"Yes. I do. Very much."

He looked hard at me then nodded.

"Do you mind if I ask," I started, then paused, "what nationality were they all?"

He glanced at me. "Brit. All of them. It's not just us Americans that have racists and bigots you know."

"I'm well aware of that. We have the BNP, the National Front, UKIP, and those are just the ones I know about. I've always been of the opinion they should take a ten mile walk off a two mile pier."

The corporal gave a bark of laughter. "I like you son," He glanced behind me. "What's with the crowd behind you? Strange mix innit?"

"Long story. If you know Sergeant Morris, ask him about the ignoramus who didn't know he was being picked up."

"Ah. I heard all about that. They you family aint they."

"Yeah. You can't imagine how surprised and shocked we were to hear the rules, and what we're supposed to do."

"You all happy now though?"

"Maybe happy isn't quite the right word. Content maybe. Accepting."

"Uh huh. S'funny you know. They's lotsa people in my unit o' the confed marines who picked up close family. To protect 'em like. Try to make sure they safe. Some swapped 'em with like minded fella's so as they wouldna have to make it with their own kin, but most they just hung on in there. Many is makin' it with their own kin now, say it's more," He flapped one hand, "I dunno, more right, more safe, more natural. I dunno."

"More loving and caring?"

"Yeah. An' that."

I laughed. "You?"

Even through the dark skin I could see him blushing. His American drawl seemed to get stronger. "I got mah sister, an' mah daughter. Mah old lady's also a volunteer, she got her sister an' our son. Best is, we shares a pod."

"Share a pod?"

"Yeah. If'n two volunteers want to be together, they can set it up that way. Share homestead."

"Oh wow. That's given me an idea." I pulled Siān next to me and hugged her. "This is my baby sister Siān,"

"Howdy ma'am."

"She's a 6·4 and she's gonna re-take her CAP. She doesn't want to move out though."

"Ma'am, don't move out. Stay right where you are. Get your own set of concubines, look after them proper, and have a real big family, you an' your brother. Share. It's the best way."

Siān looked up at me, her eyes wide. "Can we?"

"Why not?"

"That's a brilliant idea," she gave me a hug and then, impulsively, gave the huge black corporal one as well.

He smiled at her, but kept his eyes peeled at the same time.

I noticed, and frowned slightly. "Are you expecting more trouble?"

"Don't think so, but I heard just afore I got to you that mebe there were a few more than just the four that were already found. Not sure, jus' takin' precautions."

I nodded. We were back at our pod very shortly after. The others went inside, while I stood by the door. "I'll wait here in case you have to bring those two back again," I told the corporal.

He nodded, left two huge privates standing by the door with me, and then he, the two girls, and the remaining five marines moved off up the corridor. Two minutes later they were all back. "You sure you'se okay with this?" he asked me.

"I'm sure, as long as the two girls are okay with it?" I looked at them and they nodded shyly.

"In you pop," I said, moving out of their way. I stuck my hand out to the corporal. "Thanks corp. You know where I am, I'm Llewelyn Carter," I smiled at the expression on his face. "Don't worry if you can't pronounce it. Lew will do."

He smiled and shook my hand, a very firm grip, not quite crushing my fingers. "Danny Black. Pleased to make your aquaintance."

I gave a friendly nod and smile to the rest of the squad, and they marched off.

Back in the pod I found Mum and Dad in the main sitting room, holding hands and talking. The others were nowhere to be seen.

"Upstairs," said Dad in answer to my silent query.

I nodded and stepped onto the lift pad. They were all watching some animated film. I was sure I recognised it, but just couldn't think of its name.

Catching Branwyn's eye I jerked my head, beckoning her to me.

"Okay?" she asked.

"Yeah. Can you make sure no one comes downstairs for a while. I've done you and Mum, now, while we've time, I want to do Dad."

She grinned and nodded. "Sure. No probs."

When I was back in the sitting room I asked the AI to lock the lift, then turned to Dad.

"Dad, shall," I started, but then the AI interrupted me.

"Contact from medical technician Sofia Stevens for Lieutenant Llewelyn Carter. Do you wish to take it?"

"Uh, yes please AI." I noticed that the AI had used the British pronunciation this time.

"Connection open."

"Yes, how can I help?"

"I hope it's me that can help you. It seems you've managed to impress seven marines, a corporal, a sergeant and a lieutenant. I've been told that if you want, and you have all your body plans ready, you can have the first six slots for body enhancements."

I smiled. "I'm just sorting it all out now. How long have I got?

"Loads of time. About fifteen hours. The first two of these six come out in a bit over four hours, and the two girls I'm told you're looking after come in then. After that, there'll be some ordinary medicals and a couple of urgents, then I've been told to book all your six in to finish at the same time. According to the records, you only have two done, so I don't have enough info to do a full schedule. As soon as you've got them all done, give me a shout.

"Okay, will do, and thank you."

Her voice had amusement in it, "you won't be thanking me afterwards." The connection broke.

"Right. Dad. I was about to say, shall we do your body changes?"

He nodded. "Okay."

"AI. If you please."

A naked, life size, hologram of Dad appeared. "Note," said the AI, "The lower part of the left leg will be regrown."

"Oh. Okay. I was going to ask that anyway. Thanks. In that case, first off, reduce him in age to twenty five, the age he was when he and Mum got married, firm up and tone up all muscles, get rid of excess fat." I looked at my parents and grinned. "Okay, now what?"

Mum whispered something in Dad's ear. "In a moment," he said softly.

"I hate shaving. Make it so I never have to shave. Change the colour of my hair, make it a bit redder, rather than the sandy colour it is now. Teeth, white and straight. Get rid of all birthmarks."

"Also moles and warts," I added.

Dad smiled at me briefly and added "and scars."

"Do you want to be any taller? Or shorter? Broader across the chest?"

"Yes please," whispered Mum. "Broader shoulders."

"AI," I instructed, "make his shoulders one inch wider, make the rest of his chest and stomach match. Give him a flat six pack stomach."

"And a ten inch cock," Mum giggled.

"Eight," Dad growled, but his face showed amusement.

"Ten, and add an extra two inches of width."

"Eight with half an inch extra width."

"Spoilsport," said Mum laughing.

"Anything else children?" I asked them, smiling along with them.

"I don't want to lose my hair. Can you stop it falling out?"

"Yes," the AI responded sonorously, "that can be arranged. Do you want a fixed length?"

"About where it is in the image now."

"AI, can you hear me?" I tried to speak in my mind, sotto voce.

"Yes," came the voice in my head.

"Make no change to the size of his cock when soft, but make the fully erect length nine inches, and add one inch in diameter at the glans."

"Acknowledged,"

"Dad," I asked aloud. "Happy?"

"I think I should lose two inches in height."

"Why? You don't have to."

"No. But I think I should. You're the head of this household. I think you must be the tallest. You're six one now, same as me. Don't change your height, make me smaller, and when you do Huw, make sure he's no higher than five eleven either. Smaller if you can, five ten or nine."

"Yeah. Okay. AI, please reduce Dad's overall height to seventy-one inches. Mum?"

"No, but." She grinned at Dad.

"AI, save and lock."

"Acknowledged."

"I've been thinking as well, I know, I know it's dangerous," I laughed looking at Mum's amused expression. "Mum. You are going to have to be the den mother. There'll soon be a lot of children running around. You need to be 'mother' to them all, regardless of who the biological mother is. Branny I think is going to have to be your assistant. Dad, sorry but I think Siān needs to be the overall second in command, if you like, the person in charge when I'm not here. I hope you don't mind having your youngest daughter as your boss?"

Dad just laughed. "You mean to tell me you've never seen her bossing me around?"

I just smiled. "Thank you. You will be number three when neither of us are here. Unfortunately Huw has no obvious place in the hierarchy, so I guess initially he'll be another assistant for you Mum. Dad, your main job, once Mum is pregnant, is supporting and helping Siān get her CAP up. I reckon, by doing that, you'll get yours up as well. I have a sneaking suspicion Branny is happy where she is, but I know Huw wants to get his up as well, so when you're not helping Siān, help Huw."

Dad nodded, a pleased look on his face. He always had been a good, natural, teacher and influence on people. He wasn't a natural leader, but he was always a good prop.

"In fact, I think your role Dad, is to be the foundation, the support, for us all. Much what you've often done, but without the responsibility of being in charge. You will still be number three after Siān or myself though."

Both Mum and Dad nodded slowly.

"I think," said Mum slowly, "Branny will always be happiest when she's not in charge. Not of anything major. You could probably put her in charge ..."

I held up my hands to forestall her. "Mum. Do what you think is right for her. You're head mother, she'll be one of your assistants. At some point I need to get another concubine. When she arrives she'll probably be another assistant for you, but we'll see at the time. Okay?"

They both nodded and smiled at me. "I feel sorriest for Huw in a way," said Mum. "He doesn't resent you being in charge, but in a few years he might resent not being in charge of a family himself. He may turn out to be another support like your father, in which case he might be better going off with Siān when she starts her own home. In the mean time though, as you say, he's got no real role in the group."

I nodded, and shrugged. She was right and I didn't know what to do about it. I wondered whether to try pushing Huw first, to try and get his CAP increased first, before I pushed Siān, I decided to have a think about it, and come back to the problem later. Maybe have a talk with Dad to see what he thought.

"Can you two go up and send Siān down please. AI. Unlock the lift until Siān is down. By the way, Don't tell Siān why I want her."

Mum smiled and winked.

"Hello my little fuck bunny," I smiled a few minutes later as my youngest sister sat down next to me.

She smiled and blushed.

"Shall we plan what changes to make to you?"

"Yay." She sat up, excited.

"AI?"

Siān's image appeared in front of us.

"Okay," I started, "age her by two years. One more. One more, One more. No, back one. Firm and tone all muscles, remove any hint of cellulite if it exists,"

"Hey," objected Siān, "I do not have cellulite."

"No. And now you never will. Remove all skin blemishes, birthmarks etc. Give her a gentle overall tan, whiten and straighten teeth." I looked at my sister. "Now what?"

"Can I be a few inches taller? Say about five eight?" The image stretched slightly.

"Go back AI please, now do it again but this time just grow her naturally." The image grew three inches.

"Increase my boobs by two cup sizes, but keep them firm and shapely as they are now."

"What are you now?" I asked softly.

"A or B. Depends on the brand of bra. Technically A."

I looked at the holo for a moment. "AI, reduce her bust by half a cup size." I looked at it. I liked it. "Siān?"

Yeah. Okay."

"A C cup looks fine on you, especially at the bottom end of a C as this is. Don't go bigger than that."

"Uh huh."

"What about hair colour?"

"Make it a bit darker, with faint red streaks in it." She nodded, pleased at the resultant image.

"Rotate the image please AI."

"Oh. I don't like my bum. What can I do?"

"I like it. I think it's a bum to worship."

She smiled and frowned at the same time.

I sighed. "Make her glutes a little less muscular, but tighten and firm them up. Happy?" I asked when the image had stopped shifting.

"Yeah."

"Okay. How long do you want your hair?"

"Bottom of the shoulder blades." We watched as her hair grew and filled out a little.

"Okay. Turn image again. All hair below the neck to be exactly the same as Mum's will be."

Siān's eyes widened at the implications of what I'd just said.

"Can I see what Mum will look like?"

I shook my head. "It'll be a surprise. Mum and Dad know what each other will look like. I'll know what everybody will look like. You Mum and Branny can shape me up later."

She grinned. "I don't want pubes though."

The pubic hair on the image vanished. I considered it for a moment. "Bring them back, but make the bush into a heart shape."

"I don't want," she paused and looked at the new image, and then cocked her head to one side, considering. Eventually she nodded.

"A touch darker please." I looked for a moment than nodded. "Finished? Do you want anything more?"

"Can you make my eyes a bit green?"

"Sure, zoom in on the eyes please. Now add about twenty five percent green. Hmm. Again."

I looked at Siān. Her eyes were shining with delight. "That's wonderful. Oh I love it. I love you." She gave me a hug, still staring at her face to be.

"Do you want anything more?"

She just shook her head, too full of emotion to be able to answer.

"In that case AI, grow her a new hymen, save and lock."

She hugged me even tighter. "You just want to take my virginity over and over again,"

"Yes, but this one's for Dad or Huw. It's your choice. Then you can have another for the other, then maybe, we'll have another just for me."

"Oh, I love that idea. AI, is there any way of being able to grow a new hymen every day?"

"It would require ten minutes in a medical pod."

"Never mind," I whispered in her ear. "I had the first one."

"And you'll have at least one more," she whispered back.

"I know," I whispered. "I'm taking Mum's virginity in a few days time."

She stared at me, and then burst out laughing. "Now that is kinky. I love it."

"Don't say anything, will you."

"No. Oh I can't wait until she finds out."

"Mum and Dad already know. Branwyn doesn't, nor Huw." I smiled and gave her another hug, and a peck on the cheek. "Okay my favourite little fuck bunny, go send Huw down, I'll do his changes, then we'd better get something to eat."

She smiled and skipped out.

Huw's changes were relatively simple. He was aged to nineteen like both his sisters, made two inches taller, to five ten, and more broad shouldered. He had very little fat anyway, but I bulked up his muscles a bit and at his request gave him a goatee beard and moustache. I didn't think it suited him, but he liked it. His hair stayed much the same, but became a bit curlier, and like Dad's I made sure that any receding or thinning of his hair was stopped.

He wanted a twelve inch cock, but when I told him even Dad hadn't wanted bigger than eight, he reluctantly agreed. Because he'd not tried to fight me on this, I told the AI to make it the same size as Dad's, but didn't tell Huw what that actually meant.

I was finally introduced to Claire and Abby when Huw and I took a couple of big trays of food upstairs. We sat and ate in silence for a while, until the film had finished, then I turned to our visitors.

"So," I asked Claire, who was the more garrulous of the pair. "How did you get picked?"

She looked at Abby, who nodded.

"Abby and I are non identical twins. Fraternal twins we're called, even though we're sisters. We're fifteen and a bit. Our brother, Hank, had just turned fourteen and we took him to be CAP tested."

"Where are you from?" I had to ask because she had a hint of an American accent.

"Queens."

"Queens? Where's that?"

"Don't you know?" exclaimed Abby.

Dad leant over and stage whispered into my ear, "New York."

They both nodded.

"Oh. Sorry. Never been to America. I thought this was an all European pick up."

"It is," Claire said softly, "We were staying with our uncle and cousins in Bristol. Our parents thought we wouldn't be taken if we were in Europe. They thought pick ups were only being done in America."

"Oh. But surely they would want you to be picked up? To be safe?" My third lesson that morning had included pick ups, as well as a bit about 'Average Joes XV', which I'd never heard of until then, and the reasons behind it all.

"They joined some new political party. Earth First I think. They don't want people to go."

I nodded, that same lesson had told me all about them. I don't think it was quite as straightforward as she'd suggested, but I ignored it for now. "So what happened?"

"Hank turned fourteen on Thursday. Saturday just the three of us went into the city center because we'd seen a CAP place and wanted him to get done. He got a seven," she added proudly."

I smiled and nodded. "Congratulations him."

"Yeah. Well we went into a KFC next door, and we'd hardly sat down when the marines arrived and made a pickup."

"Oh shit. What happened?"

"He was scared. Well he was only fourteen and two days. His voice only started to break last Christmas, hardly six months ago. He picked us because he didn't want to be on his own with no one he knew, and then this woman almost bullied him into taking her and her friend, and their six kids.

"Two of the kids are almost fourteen, they're already bigger than him, they've been bullying him ever since we got into the pod and he doesn't know what to do. He's been trying to hide in his room alone, but one or other of those women is with him all the time." She grinned. "We've tricked them though. When they planned all the body changes, they wouldn't let him make any changes to himself except grow a long pecker, and they tried to make us ugly. We're not beautiful, but they were going to turn us into complete hags. Well Abby managed to get him alone for a couple of moments first thing this morning." Abbey sniggered but didn't interrupt her sister. "She got him to give her a free hand on all changes, and not let anyone else know. I think those two women forgot he was going to be a marine, so Abby made sure he's getting the full marine package, including a ten inch pecker."

Mum nudged Dad in the ribs. "See," she whispered, "you can get ten inch cocks."

"And bigger," giggled Abby, then blushed and went silent again, but with a huge grin on her face.

I laughed. "And what's going to happen to the two women?"

It was Abby who spoke up. "They will be five foot nothing, hundred and fifty pounds," I had to mentally translate that into ten stone ten pounds, before I could picture it, "very definite child bearing hips." Both girls sniggered again, "no voice box, so they can't talk, but their tongues are an inch longer so that they can give him a decent blow job. Increased the size of their mouths and throats for the same reason, and given them large anus' to make sure they can take him back there. We've given them nice tight vaggies, and tightened up all the muscles down there so that they will always give him a thrill when he's riding them, and we've not made their faces too ugly. He's got to look at them. We've even given them padded butts and good wide hips he can grip, so he can do 'em from behind and not have to look at their faces. We even thought about giving them no feelings in their clitties, so they'd never get off, but that was a bit too mean, so we've just desensitised them a bit."

"Actually, a lot," giggled Claire.

"That is just so cruel," I laughed. "What about you two? What did you do for yourselves?"

They both blushed. "We're great."

"Do you mind if we see?"

"Rather not," whispered Abby.

"Do you mind if I have a go, let me do you? Just for fun."

"Yeah, go on," insisted Branwyn, "He's damn good at it."

"He is at that," Mum murmured, her eyes misty.

I smiled.

"Okay," whispered Claire.

"Abby?" I asked.

She just nodded.

"AI, for the purpose of this exercise, please give Claire and Abby all the necessary access, and give me views of both of them, standing next to each other."

"Confirmed." For some reason the AI's voice had a gravelly tone this time.

Naked, life sized, images of the two girls appeared, and to my surprise I got a hardon. They were right. They were not beautiful, but they were cute.

"Okay," I started, then paused for just a moment. "Right, age them to nineteen, grow them both to five foot nine. Firm and tone all muscles, including pelvic floor and vaginal, and remove any excess fat. Firm and lift boobs but don't increase size, remove any signs of cellulite," I'd already noticed a hint on Claire, "whiten and straighten teeth, remove all skin blemishes, scars, moles, birth marks etc. and smooth the skin. Give it an almost velvety feel. Flatten tummies. Take an inch off Claire's waist, and two off Abby's. Make Claire's hair a bit redder, more, now a bit yellower for Abby. And again. And again. Remove all visible body hair below the neck and give them both landing strip pubic bushes. Give them both a gentle all over tan. Wonderful. Ladies?"

They both stared. "Oh. My. God," whispered Abby. "This is so much better. It's still us, but we're," she paused. "Make my face a little bit rounder, more like Branwyn's."

It was a subtle change, but it made a huge difference.

"Narrow her shoulders by half an inch," I suggested. That too was a subtle change but made a huge difference.

"And her hips," suggested Dad. "In fact undo that and change the shape of her pelvis, so that the width is the same, but it is half an inch taller. Now look at what that has done to those legs."

"Make Abby's nose a fraction less pointed," her sister whispered.

"Are you done?" I asked.

They both nodded.

"What about Claire. Her nose needs a bit of tweaking as well I think." offered Mum. "And her eyes should be green. Brilliant green, to go with that lovely red hair."

Dad spoke up again. "Make Claire's nose a fraction shorter and a bit more rounded. That's good, now just shrink it ever so slightly."

"Make Claire's pubic bush more triangular," said Branwyn, "and do the same trick to her pelvis you did to Abby's. Uh. No. That doesn't work. Undo that."

"Make her legs half an inch longer, but otherwise keep her total height the same. Ah yes, that works. You were on the right track Branny, just the wrong direction. Give them throats and jaws to easily take a ten inch pecker, and reduce their gag reflexes." I shrugged. "Chances are you're going to have to deep throat him sometime."

They nodded and blushed.

"Anything else?"

"Make my chin slightly less pointed," Claire said, "and add half an inch to my boobs."

"That's us. We've got to have that, not what we chose before," Abbey said to her sister.

Claire nodded. "Absolutely. AI, save and ..."

"Wait," I quickly interrupted. I winked at Siān. "Are you about to save and lock?"

They both nodded.

"In that case, AI, give them both a hymen that will give them a tiny sting when it breaks, but no pain. Now save and lock."

"You do not have permission to save these changes," the AI interrupted.

"Save and lock," gasped Abby.

"Confirmed."

The two sisters stared at each other, then burst into tears and hugged each other tightly.

"Are you okay?" Mum asked softly.

They both nodded, then turned and dived onto her lap, hugging her.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you. Oh, thank you so much," gasped Claire.

Abby moved over and gave me a huge hug. I returned the hug. "It's been a pleasure. Hell it's been fun."

Claire also gave me a hug, and then kissed me.

"That was fun," I said when the girls had hugged everyone and then sat down again. "Now we've got to do me."

"That's easy," said Dad. "Age yourself to twenty, give yourself a ten incher and after that just firm up, remove fat, sharpen muscles, get rid of unwanted marks and hair, and give yourself a tan."

"Okay. AI, display me, and do everything Dad suggested."

There wasn't much else to do after that. I darkened the colour of my hair, and made it fuller and straighter. I gave myself a goatee, then removed it again. Silently I also asked the AI to improve my eyesight, my hearing, and my general dexterity and flexibility. I even asked for my tongue to be made half an inch longer, asking at the same time to do the same to each of the others. I also made Mum's, Branwyn's and Siān's new hymen the same as Claire's and Abby's. That is, they'd give a little sting when they broke, enough to know they'd gone, but not enough to hurt. Claire and Abby watched the whole process in awe, even offering a couple of suggestions themselves. Claire even suggested I go for a twelve inch 'pecker', but I smiled and shook my head.

"I think that's enough," I said eventually. "AI. Save and lock. Please let Medical Technician Sofia Stevens know."

"Sofia Stevens went off duty half an hour ago," the AI informed me a few moments later. "Her replacement Peter Miller is fully informed of the situation, and knows what to do."

"Diolch."

"Deeolk," said Abby, trying not very successfully to pronounce what I'd just said. "What's that?"

"Oh. It's the Welsh word for 'thanks'." I said it again a couple of times until they'd got the pronunciation correct.

"AI? is it possible to learn other languages in the sleep trainers?" asked Huw.

"It is."

Huw looked at me. "I think we should all learn Welsh properly. Almost no one speaks it any more, so we can talk it and no one would understand us."

I looked at him then grinned. "Brilliant idea."

"Information," intoned the AI. "Everybody who goes through the basic medical, has a multi lingual translator nanite injected into them. They will understand."

"Ah. AI, does the nanite understand Welsh?"

"They will."

We all fell about laughing. "Well, it was a good idea while it lasted," I chuckled.

"AI, can I find out how much longer Hank and his two concubines will be in their medical pods?"

"Hank will be another five hours and ten minutes. His concubines will both be out in another two hours and forty-four minutes.

"Oh." I frowned. "Um. When will the pods for Claire and Abby be ready?"

"Another one hour and nineteen minutes. They will be collected by a marine squad in about fifty minutes."

"Okay. Give us a five minute warning when they're about to arrive."

"Acknowledged."

"AI, your voice seems to be changing all the time. Is that normal?"

There was a pause. "It is probably your corrected hearing adjusting."

"Oh. Okay."

The next forty five minutes went quickly. We laughed and chatted, told jokes and stories. Some of Claire's stories about the area if Queens in which she, Abby and Hank had lived had us crying with laughter. And some of Dad's stories about the odd things we and the sheep had got up to, particularly during lambing and shearing had Claire and Abby giggling and cooing in delight. We managed to find some stock footage of newborn lambs to show them, all in all we had a very relaxing afternoon. Or evening. Mum and Dad even managed to persuade them to try some roast lamb if they ever got a chance, lamb's meat still being very uncommon in the US. Sadly there was still none available in the replicators menu.

"Five minutes," the AI eventually intoned.

We migrated downstairs, well, you know, and then to the front door where we waited, still chatting. When the door chime went, I opened the door, and the two girls immediately leapt into my arms and gave me a huge hug. "Thank you so much," whispered Claire into my left ear.

"Me and Claire are both virgins, but we lost our cherries to our hair brush handles years ago. So that was a wonderful extra present you've given us." added Abby softly into my right.

"Thanks for the boner as well, we both saw it and appreciated it." Claire added with a giggle, "and when we're all done, and Hank has taken our virginities, we're going to persuade him," she paused and Abby took over.

"We want to borrow your ten incher as well." They both giggled, and I blushed.

"It was fun. Look after yourselves ladies." I gave them both a peck on the cheek and they let go, smiling broadly.

"I trust you have remembered the law, especially that regarding the property of other sponsors." The sergeant asked slowly and suspiciously.

"Sergeant," I said formally. "I have behaved with perfect propriety."

"He's been a perfect British gentleman," Claire said, trying to mimic an upper crust British accent. The accent didn't really work, and the effect wasn't helped by both girls getting a fit of the giggles. We all laughed anyway, and then laughed even louder as the AI intoned, "Confirmed."

They left, talking excitedly to the sergeant, the marines, and to each other.

"Ship time please?" I asked, suddenly yawning as the door slid closed.

"Twenty-three forty-four."

"Do we know when we'll be going into the medical pods?"

"You will each be collected by a marine half an hour before you are due to go into the pod. Roger Carter will need to be in a pod for the longest period, due to his leg. He will be collected first at oh eight thirty. Imogen Carter will be collected at ten hundred hours, Siān and Branwyn Carter will be collected at ten forty-five. Huw and Llewelyn Carter will be collected at eleven thirty. You will all be released from your medical pods at the same time at eighteen hundred hours, at which time, if the curfew is still in operation, you will be escorted home by a squad, otherwise you will make your own way home."

I nodded. "Bed time. Siān, Huw. You can sleep together or on your own. It's entirely up to you. Branwyn, you and Dad. No arguments. Branny, rock Dad's world. Dad. Teach her everything you know. Mum? Shall we?"

"No dear."

I looked at her in surprise.

"Mum?"

"You cannot any longer call me 'Mum'. Roger and I talked about it earlier, before you got back from the briefing. I must now be Imogen. 'Mum' implies a certain level of deference that is no longer appropriate. For the same reason you must now call your father 'Roger', not 'Dad'."

Dad, Roger, nodded his agreement. I returned the nod, along with a smile, and we shook hands.

"You're quite correct. Imogen, shall we?" I held out my arm again. For some reason it felt exciting just calling her by her given name.

She took my arm. "Of course dear," Imogen said calmly, even demurely, and with my heart pounding in my chest from a combination of fear, excitement, anticipation and even a little lust, I walked her into my room to begin our new lives.




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