Chapter 1

Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Mult, Consensual, Romantic, NonConsensual, Reluctant, Rape, Coercion, Science Fiction, Space, Light Bond, Oral Sex, Anal Sex, Caution, Violent, Military, .

Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Fourteen years ago, the Qiin conquered earth with overwhelming force. Now, every year, more than a million young humans go off to fight for the Qiin in a war that stretches across the stars.Four new recruits join the Qiin military for very different reasons.

Denver, Colorado May 19, 2031

After fifteen minutes with nothing to do but stare at his watch, Calum forced himself to close his eyes, clear his mind, and try to think through the disaster that was evolving around him. It was hard to block out the noise of his classmates muttering to each other or the smell of diesel exhaust the stilled bus was pumping out and leaking back into itself. Even having Colleen pressed lightly against his arm, distracted him in an entirely different, but much more pleasant way. Most of the time, he could take that distraction in stride. She was his friend and, whatever else he might want from her, that was all she would be. But, with everything else running through his head, it was difficult to keep track of all the things he was supposed to ignore.

Once he closed his eyes, he realized that Colleen was fidgeting. To do so, she must be wound at least as tightly as he was. Only his own nervous energy had kept him from noticing before. He opened his eyes again, "You okay?"

Colleen slid her visor to rest on top of her head. Calum glanced away long enough to let her eyes focus on the real world. No matter how many times he saw it, the million mile stare that he would see in her too-green eyes if he watched as she shifted her attention from the grid to the world around her was unnerving.

She shook her head and smiled. Like her eyes, the teeth were a little too perfect, vat-engineered to stay white and straight, "Sympathy jitters. I was following the feed from a Qiin observation drone and the audio from police bands, trying to keep track of the protest outside. I know you must be ready to..."

Someone shoved Calum's shoulder from behind. The shove was too hard to be playful, but not hard enough to be an immediate attack. Even so, he was on a hair-trigger and had to draw his hand back into his lap to keep from responding violently.

He turned far enough to see who had shoved him. Sitting on the edge of the seat behind him and Colleen was Craig Patterson, who'd started the bus ride three seats back. Calum registered his malicious grin and glanced back at the seat Craig had vacated. Anne sat where he'd remembered her being, staring out the window like she wasn't watching.

"What do you want, Patterson?" Calum asked evenly.

"When your peacenik parents were meeting with their peacenik friends this morning, did they mention how long they were going to be blocking Colfax Avenue?"

Calum considered throwing a punch and ending the conversation right there. Once you heard the "p" word, violence was pretty much guaranteed. And, he was presumably untouchable by human authorities. Even conscripts had gotten away with much worse than breaking a civilian's nose once they were drafted and, if they'd suffered any sort of regimental punishment after enlisting, the Qiin hadn't bothered to tell anyone on Earth about it.

He glanced at Anne again. She was resolutely not watching. Even so, he could read the tension in her shoulders and the way she crossed her arms across her chest. He might not like her choice for a new boyfriend, but maiming Craig wouldn't make her remember him more fondly and would immediately derail his entire reason for leaving her in the first place.

"We don't get to pick our parents, Craig." he said, quietly imbuing his words with a sneer. "Even those of us who only have two."

The next shove came immediately. Calum was waiting for it. He caught Craig's wrist, twisted at the waist, and bent forward. Craig, already precariously balanced, fell on his face. Calum rolled on top of him, coming to rest with a knee in the center of the other boy's back. He held onto the wrist and wrenched it far enough that it rested against his own knee.

"Back in your seats," shouted the bus driver, struggling to rise from his own seat. Calum didn't waste a glance on him. The man was old, fat, and slow. He would never get there in time to stop what Calum had to do.

Calum leaned down and snarled in Craig's ear, "I know you're too stupid to realize that waving your dick at me is not going to impress my ex, so I'm going to tell you something even your monkey brain can understand. I'm in a state of grace." He wrenched the arm higher, "You know what that means?"

Craig cried out even though Calum doubted he'd hurt him much. Fortunately, he didn't seem to need to be hurt more, "You ... failed the exclusion exam?"

"Close enough," said Calum. "More importantly to you, it means that, if you don't want to be wearing a full body cast when you pick Anne up for the prom, you'll go back to your seat and shut the fuck up." He rose and slid back into his seat just in time for the bus driver to reach them. Even in the cool air of Denver in May, the man was sweating from the effort of walking a couple dozen feet. He helped Craig up and glowered at Calum. Craig glowered too, but Calum could live with quiet animosity.

"You were saying?" he asked Colleen.

Colleen rolled her eyes, but took only a second to resume their conversation, "Anyway, here's what I got. There are about three hundred cops keeping an eye on the protest, maybe twelve thousand protesters. For now, everything's relatively peaceful. Or, at least, if the police are planning to move in, they're doing verbal relay only."

"Twelve thousand?" Calum didn't hide his surprise.

"It's a big one," said Colleen. "But, only a little bit bigger than the last two Exclusion Day rallies. There's a big H4H contingent this year."

Calum frowned, "That probably means trouble. Peace Now doesn't have a lot of love for Humans for Humanity."

Colleen gave him an uncertain smile, "If the police move in and your parents get arrested, you'd probably get home ahead of them."

"And I could be gone before they got back," said Calum, looking thoughtful. "There's some appeal to that, but I should at least try to say goodbye."

Colleen frowned, "This is one of those family-related things I'd understand if I were natural-born. Isn't it?"

"Or if your mother didn't have an adding machine in place of her heart," Calum nodded, "I don't doubt they're going to be awful. But, it's up to them. I won't be the one who snuck off in the middle of the night. It will matter when I come back."

Colleen pursed her lips. Calum knew she was probably fighting the urge to tell him yet again how little chance he had of surviving long enough to come back to Earth. Instead of bringing up the subject they'd argued about most in the last few months, she said, "If the police do move in with those kind of odds, they'll probably use tear gas first. That's standard."

"And my parents will take off at the first whiff of it," said Calum evenly. "They do have a way of stirring up trouble, then letting everybody else deal with it. Can you keep an eye on the situation, please?"

Colleen nodded and slid the glasses down. With her eyes hidden, she looked almost normal—a little too symmetrical and flawless, a little too physically fit, a little too beautiful, although not everyone saw her that way. Commentators who covered the return of the veterans loved to talk about the disquieting sense ordinary humans got when looking at Veterans. The theory was that people identified each other by their flaws—irregularities, scars, breaks in symmetry. Veterans lacked many of these flaws. Colleen wasn't a veteran, but she'd been grown using a similar process to the enhancement veterans went through.

The favorite term for that bit of cognitive dissonance was borrowed from the early days of computer graphics, when attempts to render human forms had fallen short for the same reasons unenhanced humans thought some veterans looked odd. The term was "looking at veterans across the Uncanny Valley." It was overused now, but the earliest veterans to return had liked it enough to name their first isolated settlement out on Maui after it.

The first time he'd met Colleen, she'd been less than a week out of the vat she'd been grown in. The result had been unnerving. It had felt like making friends with a hologram of someone who wasn't really there. Since then, life had left just enough of its mark on her to distinguish her from her sisters, who'd come out of the process at the same time.

He remembered how happy Colleen had been when Oakley started making stylish glasses that worked with the indexer's visor system and she no longer had to choose between "looking like a life-sized doll and looking like an old, blind diabetic."

Of course, once she was on the grid, Calum had no one to talk to again. He glanced around. Craig was still scowling at him. Anne was scowling at Craig and saying something about how stupid he was being. That made Calum perversely happy. He looked around the rest of the bus, taking in faces he knew he would probably never see again after today. People he'd been friends with, guys he'd been teammates with, everyone was a little too engaged, talking a little bit too loudly. It was absurd. As high schools went these days, PHS 15 was pretty good. None of them were likely to fail the exclusion test, but the tension of not knowing was palpable. By midnight, almost eighty thousand eighteen year-old Americans would find out they'd been drafted to serve in the Qiin military and fight a war against an enemy no one on Earth had ever seen, on planets none of them had ever heard of. Nobody from Calum's school had been drafted, but it was still a cause for celebration not to be chosen.

Calum already knew he wouldn't be a draftee. He'd volunteered.

"They're firing tear gas," said Colleen, keeping her glasses on. She rose and slid past Calum, "Let me tell the driver."

A minute later, they were being instructed to exit the bus in an orderly fashion. In between drills and actual evacuations, Calum and his class had probably done so three dozen times. This time, people jostled nervously on their way out. A girl fell back into Calum. He helped her upright and got a genuine smile in return.

Somehow, even with the nervous energy and the bus driver screaming at them, everyone got out without injury. Calum glanced to where he thought Colleen was standing and realized she'd gone over to talk to her sister. Heather was nearly identical to Colleen, but kept her long, red hair crimped and wore the standard-issue blocky, black visor given to prospective indexers. She was much more involved in the clone pride movement than Colleen.

As the bus driver was trying to organize people into columns, Colleen walked past Calum and broke into a trot. With one last glance back, Calum turned and followed her. By the time the driver realized they'd bolted, his voice was almost too far away to hear.

"Something up with Heather?" Calum asked.

Colleen shook her head, increasing her pace, "Holly. She lost her job at the Rationing Department—got into some kind of trouble in the process, too. Heather's taking care of it."

"Sorry."

Colleen didn't respond, "You set the pace today. I'm following your lead."

Calum nodded, "How far do we have to detour to get around the gas?"

It took Colleen a few seconds to answer. Calum knew her response would be accurate based on their speed, the disbursement of the gas, wind conditions, and any other variables she could think of.

"Four blocks west will keep us out of the cloud 99% of the time," she said. "The weather's a little unpredictable."

Calum nodded and set off at a run. Colleen caught up after a second and kept next to him. For the next twenty minutes, the only sounds were their feet on the ground and their breathing. Then, as they crested a rise, Calum spotted his father's black Ford pick-up already well ahead of them.

"Shit!" He slowed to a trot and waved to Colleen, "I'm not going to beat them there. I'll just have to take whatever they shovel out when I get there." He sighed, "At least I'm packed."

Colleen nodded, "Why did you go to school today anyway?"

Calum shrugged, "There were some people I had to say goodbye to ... even if I couldn't exactly say goodbye."

"Anne?"

Calum nodded, "I didn't actually talk to her, but I wanted to see her again."

"So, you didn't tell her?"

"I didn't tell anyone," Calum slowed the pace more. "Well, I just told Patterson, but only in the context of explaining that I was showing remarkable restraint by not beating him into an unidentifiable mass."

"You could have told her today," said Colleen. "I understand that you couldn't trust her not to gossip if you told her sooner, but the harm would have been minimal today."

Calum sighed. Denver passed by them on both sides, "Are you asking as a friend or as a student of human relationships?"

Colleen took no obvious offense, "As a friend, but I may integrate the results into my self-socialization."

Calum nodded, "When I made the decision to break up with her in time for her to find somebody else to go to the prom with, it felt like a rock-solid plan. But, I'm not sure I want to have to explain it to her. I'd rather she have a decade or so to mull it over before I have to address it with her."

Colleen turned onto a side street. Calum followed, trusting that she had a reason for the detour. They ran quietly for a while. Finally, she said, "Calum, I know it's kind of late to ask this, but why did you sign up anyway?"

"You don't know?"

Colleen shook her head.

Calum glanced at her only long enough to register any emotion in her face. He found none there, "What would I do if I stayed?"

"Play baseball," said Colleen immediately.

"I could," said Calum. "But, look at me. I'm supposed to be a star athlete, but I can only keep up with you if you don't try to outpace me. And you're enhanced for brain-work. The only reason I could even compete in baseball is because the enhanced aren't allowed to play. Any veteran on the planet could pick up a bat tomorrow and be taking me out of the park by the end of the day. Besides, a veteran could probably throw a ball so fast that the rest of us couldn't see it. I think baseball is on the way out."

"I know what you mean." Colleen spoke conversationally, her breathing normal, "I've interfaced with a couple of veterans who became indexers. I may have been grown for the job and spent the last four years training to do it, but I doubt I'll ever be as good as they are after just two years. It's more than a little intimidating."

They didn't speak again until they got to the crossroads where Calum's house was in one direction and Colleen's in the other. Colleen stopped her forward momentum, but kept jogging in place. She looked up at Calum and tilted her head, "Don't leave without coming to say goodbye to me ... Please."

Calum almost demurred. He was eager to get his things and get the hell out of Denver, afraid of what his parents might mobilize once they had time to consider their options. If he'd still been with Anne, he'd probably stop by her house on the way out. Failing that, Colleen was his closest friend. Most of the others had fallen away when he'd dropped out of sports and lost interest in academics. He nodded, "Are you sure? I wouldn't want you to miss all the Exclusion Day parties?"

Colleen nodded, "I'm sure."


In spite of his expressed fatalism, Calum reached into the black, iron mailbox attached to the front of the house, hoping that his parents had been too busy to check. But, it was empty. Not for the first time, he frowned at the primitive nature of government communication. There were a thousand better ways to provide the information in that letter, but voting any kind of funding for the Draft Board was political suicide.

His mother sat on the couch with her arms crossed, the letter open on the table in front of her. She had tears on her cheeks. His father sat in the old, leather recliner, eyes red, but dry.

"You shouldn't have opened that," said Calum as evenly as he could. He'd expected no less, but there was no reason all the accusations should flow into him.

"You ... enlisted." His mother rose, her entire body shaking. "You ... volunteered?"

Calum didn't answer. He'd hoped this would go differently, but heard enough anti-Qiin screed from both parents to know to expect histrionics. He glanced at his father, whose face was unreadable, his knuckles white where he gripped the arms of his chair. Normally, the older man, a former pilot in the US Air Force, back when the US had an air force, looked unusually robust and fit. Today, he just looked old.

Calum leaned down and reached for the letter. His mother snatched it away and clutched it to her chest. He stood upright again and stared at her, one hand extended. His mother shook her head, big angry tears rolling down her cheeks.

Calum dropped his hand, "Fine. I can get a copy at the recruitment center. Could you at least tell me where I'm training?"

"Rio," said his father, ignoring the daggers his wife glared at him. "Officer's training." He sounded so tired. Calum's resolution wavered. He should be handling this efficiently. The longer he stayed, the worse it would get.

Still, he nodded and closed his eyes, "Thank you."

He was in his bedroom when his mother caught up with him, "Why?"

Calum looked up from double-checking the contents of his duffel bag, "Do you really want to know?"

"I knew there was something wrong with you," she went on. "I thought it was drugs. God, why couldn't it have been drugs?"

Calum resumed taking inventory of his bag, "I'm sorry I'm not taking drugs."

"Don't be smart with me!" His mother's voice took on a hysterical edge, "Why are you doing this? Why did you pick the worst possible thing you could do? Do you hate us that much?"

Calum zipped his bag and hoisted it onto his shoulder, "This has nothing to do with either of you."

"How can you say that?" His mother was shrieking now. She turned to his father, "Walt, say something."

Calum's father shook his head, "No, Allison. I told you before he got home. The boy's made up his mind and the choice is irreversible. Nothing we say is going to make this better."

His mother whirled back to face Calum, "You're a traitor to humanity. You're going to murder..."

"Allison!" said Calum's father sharply. His wife turned her glare on him, which gave Calum the chance to slip past them. His mother followed him, telling him not to ever come back and that she hoped he died before he became a murderer. Calum hunched his shoulders and ploughed forward, weathering the abuse as if it were a storm. As soon as he opened the front door, his mother's voice immediately dropped to a stage whisper. Whatever she said, Calum was moving too fast to hear. And, he kept moving until he was out of sight of the house. Then, he sat down in the grass on the side of the road and took one deep, shuddering breath after another until he could control his breathing.

As bad as he'd imagined things getting, Calum hadn't expected such an extreme reaction from his mother. He'd seen video of some of her more impassioned anti-Qiin speeches and found them full of hatred, fear-mongering, and screed. But, she'd always been articulate. She was an English professor for God's sake.

His father was panting when he appeared around the bend, clutching the folded-over letter in his hand. When he offered the letter, Calum looked past it to the man holding it and rose to his feet, "You can't be any happier about this than she is."

His father shook his head, "My feelings are ... more complex."

Calum took the letter, "They would sort of have to be. Wouldn't they?"

His father sighed, "Don't be too hard on your mother. It's not your fault, but the timing on this couldn't have been worse."

"She was ... surprisingly inarticulate."

His father sighed, "Can I give you a ride to the airport?"

Calum laughed, "You really don't want to go back in there. Do you?"

His father shook his head, "It's not that. I..." He scratched the back of his head. Even though it was going gray, he kept it regulation trim, "I always hoped you'd follow me into the military. I guess I just ... hoped it would be the US military."

Calum nodded, "Not much left of that. It would have been nice ... Major."

His father nodded, "You sure I can't give you a ride?"

Calum shook his head, "You should probably go back inside. I need to swing by the Leary house before I leave town anyway."

His father raised an eyebrow, "Oh?"

Calum shook his head, "Nothing like that. I'm just going to say goodbye."

His father looked doubtful. But, after a moment, he stood up straighter, looked Calum in the eye, and snapped off a salute. Calum smiled briefly and returned it.

"Be careful, Calum. There are a lot of new ways out there to get killed than there were when I served."

Calum dropped his salute, "Thank you, sir."

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