Zee was beginning to regret her decision to visit her old college friend, Anastasia, out here in the Kuiper Belt. Why did Anastasia have to live so far out? Even with the incredibly fast ships that sped across the solar system, necessarily at a distant plane, it had taken Zee months to get to Theseus from her home in the crowded Earth orbit. And she wasn't sure when she'd got there that the journey had really been worth it.
Once upon a time, Theseus had been some kind of planet or asteroid, mostly composed of frozen water and methane. It hadn't taken very many years from the first landing to it being remodelled as a settlement to resolve the ever-pressing need for more and cheaper real estate. But it was old now, showing its age through the inefficiencies of its gravity simulators and by the evidence of its rather chunky architecture. And this far out in the solar system, there were never very many foreign visitors at all. Certainly not black ones. For whatever reason, the outer solar system had attracted mostly people from the old Central European and Russian ethnic groups, who had a reputation for their rough frontier personality. Not only her skin colour made her different, but also the fact that her hair was brushed out into an enormous afro and that she wore a tunic and trousers, unlike the dresses and skirts worn by most women in this corner of deep space.
Not that there was much for the people of Theseus to do, except stare at Zee as she walked through the spaceport with her bag of duty-free goods, followed by her luggage hovering a metre above the ground behind her. She felt like such a freak! Not something she'd ever felt before. But she knew it was only a small minority of the frontiersmen who actually had any useful work to do: those working in the media, or in fashion and design, or in scientific research. As everywhere else in the solar system, there just weren't enough jobs to go round for the number of people who wanted them. Not that those not in work were necessarily poor. Millennia of investment and property speculation had generated more inherited wealth than could ever be consumed in a billion lifetimes.
As Zee surveyed the concourse ahead of her, trying to spot her friend in the crowd, she reflected that wealth in these outer reaches wasn't that evenly distributed. Bizarre as it might seem in this advanced day and age, many people in Theseus had to rely on charity to survive. There were men and women actually begging at the spaceport. For whatever credit they could. These unfortunates had somehow not benefited from the legacy of wealth that continued to fuel the economic system and which, after all these hundreds of generations, was still generating a healthy percentage growth rate. One whose physical manifestation had literally spread to the stars.
And there was Anastasia with her brother Sergei and two older people, presumably her parents, standing together beneath a hovering holograph that had Zee's name engraved on it. Zee rushed across the marble concourse toward her friend and kissed her on the lips.
"Zee! I'm so pleased to see you!" burbled Anastasia, who was a slightly plump girl with very white skin and long red hair. She was wearing a long dress that flowed from her shoulders and whose train hovered in the air behind her. Dressed very much like her mother, in fact.
"It's been a hell of a journey!" exclaimed Zee. "And this must be Sergei." Zee kissed Anastasia's brother, who was thinner than his sister and had shoulder-length hair. He was dressed more like Zee - tunic, trousers, and knee-high boots - than like Anastasia. Fashion changed very little over the solar system, but quite clearly people in Theseus were slightly more conservative.
"Sergei's been looking forward to seeing you ever so much!" Anastasia exclaimed, squeezing her brother's crotch under her parents' approving gaze. Zee blanched slightly. But this gesture of her college friend reminded her of why she'd been so keen in the first place to come out so far in the solar system to stay a while with Anastasia and her family. Not that she'd much else to do. Like virtually all her college friends she'd so far failed to find any remunerative employment. Even with a qualification as theoretically employable as a degree in linguistics, there just weren't any jobs for her. There were only a few things left that couldn't be done much better by machine. Education. Medicine. Construction. These were all so much better entrusted to robots, nanobots and computers.
Zee kissed the cheeks of Anastasia's parents, who were both warm and welcoming. The mother gave her a friendly hug, her huge breasts pressed against Zee's rather smaller bosom. "I do so hope we get on together, you and I. Anastasia said you like the company of women."
Zee nodded her head. Anastasia had obviously told her mother about their love affair at college. However, Zee's own parents would have been a lot less enthusiastic. For whatever accident of history, these outer regions had a reputation for sexual license. And Theseus' reputation was one of the most licentious. A licentiousness that was not nearly as prevalent in the more ancient, slightly staid communities in the inner planets.
But it was this very liberal sexual attitude that had saved Zee's friendship with Anastasia after they had been an item for more than a whole term. When Zee discovered boys, and became more sure of her sexuality after having played both ways for so long, Anastasia merely shrugged when Zee told her that she had started having sex with Roy on a regular basis. "So what? What difference does that make? As long as I can taste his cock as well." It was then that Zee learnt just how far Anastasia's sexual permissiveness went. Boys. Girls. Two. Three. Four. All at the same time. Her brother. Her father. Her mother. In fact, Zee wasn't convinced that Anastasia would even have drawn the line at animals. Although Zee was more than delighted to introduce Anastasia to her parents as her close friend and lover, she would not have told them about some of the wild group sex sessions they had enjoyed together.
Zee had come to miss all that in the years since she had left college on the elite campuses of Haley's Comet and had returned to live with her parents under the rather more predictably constant glare of the Earth orbit Sun. Her parents might not mind when she brought home a boy, or even, rather less often now, a girl, but they preferred that she kept her sexual games confined to her own rooms in the condominium. If she'd brought back two or more friends at a time, her parents were unlikely to be nearly as understanding. But attitudes were rather different here.
Anastasia's father kissed Zee gently, but she could see the lust in his eyes. "I hope we get along famously. And you'll have plenty of opportunity to get to know every inch of us as intimately as you want to. We're having a party tomorrow night. We've invited a few friends around. If you like dick, as well as my daughter's cunt, then you're going to have a good time, Zee sweetie."
"And none of them have seen black cunt before!" commented Anastasia's mother, squeezing Zee's hand in her own. "Not for real, anyway. That'll be ever so much of a treat!"
Zee smiled again. But there was a hint of nervousness behind her eyes and the brilliant whiteness of her teeth. She'd often wondered what Anastasia's parents might be like, as she and her lover had rolled around together on the mattress, her tongue exploring the darker pink interior of Anastasia's vagina. Anastasia had so often described them to her. Sergei's long thin dick and his keenness on anal entry. An interest he shared and expressed with his male friends. Anastasia's mother and her massive nipples. Nipples that Anastasia liked to get stiff and long and then stroke against her clitoris. And her father... There seemed to be no acrobatic feat of sexual endeavour that he wasn't expert in. And when he and Sergei were together, her father fucking her in the front and her brother at the back... Why! You couldn't believe the fun they had!
Zee could never, would never, imagine such behaviour within her own family. But with Anastasia's family, out here in the Kuiper Belt, where the round trip for a videophone call took nearly a week, Zee felt she could be adventurous in a way that even at college she'd felt a little constrained.
There was no denying that Theseus was a fairly claustrophobic kind of place. Architecture in the time of its creation had simply not envisaged the five kilometre high vaults and open green spaces of more recent developments. And the worst was that there was no Sun. Zee knew that outside the settlement, where the temperatures were frighteningly close to absolute zero, the Sun was really almost exactly the same size as all the other stars in the sky. But it wasn't just the long walkways and towering buildings that made Theseus such a claustrophobic settlement, home though it was to between five and six million souls. There was the constant brush of people's gaze as she walked along with Anastasia and her family, astonished by her huge bush of hair and the skin-tight fit of her clothes, not to mention her skin colour. Zee was relieved when the family entered their transport pod and sped through the underground tunnels to Anastasia's home in the outer suburbs of the second city of Agamemnon.
Compared to Zee's own home, Anastasia's home was enormous. Real estate was much better value here. Wide open gardens, a huge swimming pool, two or three floors of mansion with verandas for every room, and huge trees towering above the house around which were fluttering doves and gibbering monkeys. Zee knew that Anastasia's family weren't too badly off. The inheritance of a fortune made from low temperature nanotechnology, when exploration to these outer corners of the solar system was driven by good economic reasons. They might not be rich, exactly, but they were far from being poor. Unlike the few beggars that Zee saw at the spaceport and whose presence followed them to where the transport pod was parked.
Zee settled into her bedroom, which was one of several spare rooms on the top floor overlooking the swimming pool and with a view across the lawns to the other houses and mansions that also lined the long tree-lined avenue. She gazed out of the window and could just about make out the even glow of the powerful light generators two or three kilometres above her head, under which floated several clouds that, against the blue painted background, made the place look deceptively like a proper natural planet. Of which, of course, there was only one. And Zee had never been able to afford to go there. Earth was by far the most expensive and exclusive tourist destination in the populated universe.
It wasn't long until Anastasia wandered into her bedroom. Zee knew exactly what her friend wanted. She was wearing no clothes, and she had perfumed the blonde curly hairs of her vagina. She wandered across the room, past the bed and sofas to the veranda where Zee had been standing, smiling seductively. Zee sighed. It had been so long! And she'd last had sex with a woman ooh! months ago. In fact, if it hadn't been for that evening with that man on the space ship who was returning from a trip to Jupiter, she'd very nearly had no sex at all for over a month. Zee put an arm around Anastasia's naked back, who reciprocated in kind, and the two of them watched the monkeys running up and down the tall trees.
Making love with Anastasia again was so much like jumping into the same pool again. She remembered her friend's smells and scents so well. The roll of her white flesh. The slightly thickened lips and the flattened face. The smoothness of her vagina: its folds intricate and beautiful, the curled blonde hair thick and luxurious. Her buttocks into which her fingernails sunk in so deep. And Anastasia, as always, was expert in pushing Zee to the limits of her passion. How could a tongue, teeth and fingers be all that was needed to transport her to such loud gasps of ecstasy? Their hands and legs entangled, their sweaty bosoms slid against each other, the spicy taste of whatever Anastasia had been eating on Zee's tongue.
And all the while, the artificial dusk spread across the suburbs and Zee's image of her lover's ivory white skin became greyer and darker, until it was so dark that Anastasia commanded the lights to come on. Zee rubbed her vagina. It had got quite sore from the attention of Anastasia's tongue and her crotch rubbing against hers.
"Sergei will love that. He really would," remarked Anastasia, stroking Zee's crotch.
"Not tonight, please," pleaded Zee. "I really am very tired after my journey!"
"Of course you are, sweetest. I forgot. But we're all dreadfully keen to know you better."
This was very obvious at dinnertime, which was in the garden over the swimming pool and under the shade of some palm trees. But Zee was genuinely tired. Her lovemaking with Anastasia had truly exhausted her, as if she were not already drained after her voyage through deep space and the odd sensation of shifting through so many different gravitational forces. The wine that accompanied the excellent food, served by the almost human-looking androids, made her feel even more tired. She watched with slight amusement as Sergei began kissing his mother. And then his father pulled off his clothes, pulled down his grinning son's trousers and began thrusting his erect penis into his son's arse. His mother knelt down and licked and stroked her son's erect penis, while also caressing her husband's and guiding its tip into Sergei's hairy arse.
Anastasia placed a hand on Zee's arm and gestured towards the activity. "Come on, lover! Let's get it on. It'll be fun!"
Zee shook her head sadly. "I really am very tired. I think all I really need is a good night's sleep."
Anastasia frowned. She was genuinely disappointed. "Oh! Come on, Zee! Sergei's not been talking about anything except getting his dick up your arse. And my father... You can see that he's pretty well hung!" Anastasia could see that Zee wasn't going to budge. She shook her head again, pulled off her dress and joined her family as they rolled around on the lawn by the edge of the swimming pool.
Zee felt slightly disconcerted as she watched Anastasia's father push his penis into his daughter's anus. Not that it was the first time she'd seen Anastasia penetrated in that way. But from her father! And Sergei was fucking his sister's more commonly used orifice from underneath, while her mother kissed and licked her daughter's face. Customs in Theseus were clearly quite different from those back home in the inner planets. It would take her a while to get used to all this. But there was the prospect of the party tomorrow at which she was determined to let everything go. Then she also would know what it was like to have Sergei's dick in her arse. And Anastasia's father's dick in her cunt.
However, Zee was getting quite dizzy with exhaustion. She staggered out of her chair, dragging the length of the dress she'd chosen to wear across the grass, until the train recognised what was required of it and levitated several centimetres above the ground. She staggered into the house, partly with the intention of finding somewhere to relieve herself and partly with the intention of collapsing into bed. But as she walked in, past the androids that were as lifeless as shop display dummies now that they weren't doing anything, she wasn't at all sure where to go. And she didn't want to interrupt the rather loud and abandoned lovemaking to ask directions from any of Anastasia's family. The effects of the wine weren't helping her sense of direction either.
It was in this way, after pushing open so many doors that really didn't lead to anything that resembled either a lavatory or a bedroom, that she entered an unlit room on the basement floor of the house. At first she thought it was empty. In fact she thought there must be something wrong with the lighting system that it remained so dim after she'd entered it. She had to actually verbally command the light to shine brighter. And it was then that she saw Themira.
Zee wasn't at all sure that she was seeing correctly. Surely the wine hadn't affected her that much. The girl was totally naked. Her neck and ankles were secured by thick iron chains and bolts to a post in the corner of the room. She appeared to be fast asleep. Zee strode over to the girl. She was quite young, certainly younger than either Zee or Anastasia, and her head was totally shaved. As indeed, Zee could see, so too was her crotch. There were huge metal rings threaded through her nipples and another ring through her nostrils. There was even a huge metal ring threaded through her vagina, right through both sets of lips. As Zee's eyes became more accustomed to the sight of this pale skin, she became aware of red and blue marks all over the girl's back and legs. They were long and thin, as if the girl had been hit by a cane or a whip.
Zee hovered over the girl for a few moments. She was feeling somewhat dizzy, and she wasn't sure whether this faintness was due to alcohol or to the disorientation caused by seeing this peculiar sight. Her main thought was how very uncomfortable it must be for the girl to have to sleep on that hard floor, with all those metal rings and chains restraining her. But the girl seemed to be sleeping. Her eyes were closed and she was breathing heavily. Whatever else Zee should do, she shouldn't wake the girl up.
Zee staggered out of the room and made her way to her bedroom, where after finally emptying her bowels, she pulled off her clothes, collapsed on the bed and was fast asleep almost as soon as she'd closed her eyes.
When Zee woke up, she found herself lying next to Anastasia, who was similarly naked and whose arms were around her. Zee smiled and dreamily kissed her friend.
"I'm oh! so looking forward to the party tonight!" Anastasia exclaimed.
Zee leaned over and rested her face on Anastasia's bosom. It was so warm and soft. The bush of her long curly hair formed a kind of pillow, strands of which brushed against her cheeks and thick lips. "I'm sure it'll be fun."
"Everyone'll be there. We're inviting everybody. There's Ivan. He's got a massive cock! And you'd be amazed at what Sonya can do with a bottle! And you might remember Boris. He was a year or two below us at college."
"Will that girl in the basement be there?"
"Girl in the basement? What are you talking about?" Anastasia frowned in genuine puzzlement.
"The naked shaven girl. The one with all the chains."
Anastasia laughed, though Zee didn't think it was an especially pleasant or sympathetic laugh. "Oh you mean Themira. The slave. Yeah, of course she'll be there. She's the main attraction. Besides you, of course."
"Slave?" wondered Zee. Was she hearing right?
"Yeah, of course. Slave. You don't have them in your part of the solar system, do you? Here, everyone's got one. Well, those who can afford them, that is. We've had Themira for months now. She's not worn out yet!" Anastasia laughed indulgently. "And that's despite Father's best attempts!"
Zee frowned. "Slave? The girl's a slave. How can that be? Slavery's not existed for millennia. And anyway, what's the use for a slave? Robots and machines do everything. There's not been slaves since the Second Millennium."
Anastasia laughed delightedly. "You really are funny, Zee! Slaves are for sex. You can do it with machines. And you can do it with robots. And you can do it in cyberspace. But nothing beats the real thing."
"But you don't need a slave for sex. You didn't need a slave for sex last night, for instance."
Anastasia laughed again. "You mean that little bit of fun by the pool? Well, we didn't need a slave then. But when Father got really excited, then we brought the slave out. He gave her such a good thrashing, I can tell you. Didn't you hear her scream? No, poor dear. You were sleeping so soundly." Anastasia kissed her lover on the shoulder. "And Sergei and Father did a double rear entry while I gave her a bit of a whipping myself. That was fun! If you'd been with us, you'd have been able to play."
Zee's face disintegrated into disgust and revulsion. "I just can't believe you're saying all this, Anastasia. What you were doing doesn't sound like sex to me. It sounds like humiliation and cruelty. Surely, this girl, Themira, she can't enjoy all of that."
"Fuck what she wants!" Anastasia snarled. "She's a slave. We bought her as one, and we can do what the fuck we like with her. Until we get tired of her, and then she'll just be chucked out. Then she can be a beggar or a whore or whatever else slaves do when they're not slaves any more."
Zee pulled herself off her lover, astonished by Anastasia's callousness. "Do you mean you seriously don't care?"
"Of course I don't. No one cares about slaves. We give her a bit of a beating. Make her suffer. Make her hurt. That's what slaves are for. And as long as you don't damage them too much they've got everything to be grateful for. At least they're not starving to death in the streets."
"Starving to death? What do you mean?"
Anastasia frowned. "Things are too soft in your corner of the solar system. You have it too easy. Here in Theseus, not everything is wonderful. Many, if not most, people here are just not doing that well. They can hardly afford food. Fuck knows how they even manage to afford clothes to protect their precious privacy. What do you think a slave would rather do? Give us pleasure? At a cost. Or starve?"
Zee didn't like this side of Theseus' culture at all. Nor her friend's unsympathetic attitude to it. Back home, there was no poverty. Not very many people were as wealthy as Anastasia's family either, but everyone was cared for. Everyone had a full, rich life. There were those who worked or had a particularly fortuitous inheritance, and therefore had rather fuller and richer lives than others. Zee could count herself in that fortunate category. Her father worked as a set designer on cyber-television. But nobody starved and nobody was a slave. Zee had heard about poverty, of course, but like the other unpleasantnesses in the solar system, like the long-running war in the Asteroid Belt or that horrible plague in the Oort Cloud, she'd never really paid much attention to it. She'd just hoped she'd never have to confront it directly.
Later that day, Zee knew she had to see the slave girl again. Thoughts about her had haunted her all day. It even had a detrimental affect on her lovemaking with Anastasia, which was not as passionate as the day before. In fact, she was almost pleased when Anastasia said she had to leave to visit her friend, Natalie, and could leave Zee alone on the come- and sweat-soaked sheets. Zee wandered around her room naked and languorous for several hours, not at all sure what to do. She could log into cyberspace. She could watch a film. Even just relax on the veranda with a book. But she found she was spending most of her time staring at her naked black figure in a full-length mirror. Perky firm breasts with the large aureole, dark brown nipples. The lighter pink of the flesh inside her vagina. The trim slim figure. How was it that she was any different than the slave in the basement? Who was just as pretty as her, even if her baldness and her welts and bruises made her seem less so.
Zee eventually built up enough courage to make her way down to the basement, past the lifeless androids in the hallway and the busy domestic robots that were eating the dust and preparing the house for the evening's party. When she arrived at the place where she'd seen the slave, she found the room just as dark and miserable as it had been the night before. And the slave, Themira, was chained up in exactly the same way, except that in front of her was a bowl of water and a bowl of some fairly unappetising gruel.
Zee was horrified to see that what Anastasia had been saying was quite true. There were fresh marks on the girl's back and buttocks, and scratches over her face and shoulders. One scratch was quite prominent as it cut across the light blue stubble of her shaven pate. Zee stood by the door and looked across at Themira, not sure what to do or say. And then she noticed that Themira was staring at her through light blue eyes underneath pale blonde eyebrows, and the expression on her face was one of fear. In fact, the girl was visibly trembling.
"Please don't hurt me, miss. Not now. Later this evening, you can hurt me. Then you can whip me. But not now. Please not. I'm not ready."