"Volunteers for the Defense Forces with CAP scores of certain published levels will be afforded the opportunity to select others to emigrate and maintain their residences on other worlds while they perform their duties in the Defense Forces in accordance with their aptitudes and capabilities; certain high-priority individuals may select up to ten people to emigrate with for this purpose. Obviously, fertility is a criterion -- we will be looking to ensure the continuity of the human race as it expands to new worlds. Emigration is not a picnic -- colonization of new planets is hard, dangerous work -- but it is the future of the race and will provide the wellspring from which our eventual salvation will come."
David stared at the screen and tried to make sense of what the President of the United States was saying. He transferred his attention to the card in his hand. The card displayed the results of his CAP testing, his Capacity, Aptitude and Potential as it was now revealed. Those results had been a bit of a shock; he'd even questioned the result when he'd first seen them. After all he'd only taken the test when he was in town on a whim, he didn't expect to get picked for the Average Joes TV show, even if they did, as they'd said they where planning, to do a British version.
How could he, a mere estate manager in the wilds of Wales have gained a score of nine point one, he'd never heard of anyone with a score that high?
On the television the BBC switched from the live broadcast of the President's speech to their own studios. The host began, "The Prime Minister, after consultation with the heads of all the major parties and with the approval of Her Majesty has made the following statement," he shuffled his papers whilst the video started to run.
The Prime Minister appeared stood in front of the familiar black door of Number 10, Downing Street. A crowd of journalists, both print and television before him. They fell silent as he began his prepared speech.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, as you've just seen reported by the President of the United States the country, in fact, the whole planet is now facing an immense threat from these creatures, the Sa'arm. It is our duty, as a nation, to put aside our differences and unite to face this common foe. To this end I have tendered the resignation of my Government to Her Majesty and asked for permission to form a Government of National Unity. She has given that permission and so, in the next few days I will be announcing a new cabinet to face this terrible crisis with members from all sides of the House."
The Prime Minister looked up from his notes and gazed straight at the camera. "This will mean changes in our country, mandatory CAP testing will be introduced to all our schools, effective immediately. The age of consent will be dropped to fourteen and alongside that will be placed full sex education in schools. This will not," The Prime Minister, a devout family man looked like he was sucking lemons, "be based on the ideal family we've had for so long but on the future model that evacuation and colonisation have made necessary."
"I know this will be difficult, for many of us it will mean fundamental changes, changes that I am convinced are necessary for the continuation of our way of life. Over the next few days your government will make available the information we have so that you will be able to make informed decisions concerning the future as a whole and the part you can play in it."
The scene switched back to the studio and the presenter. "Religious leaders have, in most cases, accepted these changes with an air of resignation. Most citing that necessity should not be used as an excuse to confound God's word and hoping that the faithful will remain true to their teachings. Several Moslem clerics have pointed out that Allah allows more than one wife and the Mormons have announced a return to polygamy as their preferred form of marriage."
"In other news..." The scene shifted to a sports stadium and David ap Rhys sat back in his comfy armchair to think about the Prime Ministers words and his future.
Megan Rees looked around the noisy class of children and marvelled at the indifference they were displaying at the end of the world as she knew it.
The announcement carried on all of the television channels, the night before, and the ensuing burst of rumour and counter rumour had played merry hell with the nerves of adults. Yet here in her pre-school class of four-year-olds there was a total lack of interest in the turmoil and strife affecting the adult world. If only things could stay that way forever, thought Megan.
The announcement concerning evacuation and the importance of CAP testing had already caused two young mothers to return to her class close to tears. Pure chance had placed the local CAP testing station next door to the school and the pair, finding that they hadn't scored high enough to be considered for evacuation, had returned to watch their children.
The pair had sat watching and their anguish had become apparent to anyone who'd looked at them. In the end the raw emotion started to affect the youngsters and Megan had been forced to ask the pair to leave. They'd gone but she knew she could be facing a similar torment herself when she finally got tested tomorrow. At least she didn't have any children of her own to worry about, just these youngsters in her care.
As lunchtime approached she rounded up her charges and got them ready for the rush of mothers that always occurred at twelve thirty. In a way it was a relief to wave the children goodbye and head for the park and a leisurely lunch, though she invariably met half of them there as they had a play before being dragged off home by their doting parents.
Today was slightly different in that she was dragged into the conversation about the up coming invasion and the disbelief that some of the mothers were expressing over the way things had been organised. Most of them thought it should be women and children -- especially children -- first.
Megan figured that they were hoping the criteria would change and allow them to get away but she didn't hold out much hope for herself. She'd never been a fighter and with only an average education she wouldn't be much of a catch for anyone with a high CAP score.
One comment caught her attention, "If I find a man around here with a CAP score above seven I'm following him everywhere." The comment was greeted with laughter but Megan noticed that the two women she'd had words with earlier were looking very thoughtful.
Katherine Kurr, a mother of three under fives, added her barb to the discussion, "and what would you do for this man. I mean, have you read this crap they've put out about what your so called sponsor can and can't do?"
"I suppose you have?" someone asked with a hint of malice.
"Too true I have," she said, "I spent a good part of last night on the net and I'm telling you it's slavery by another name. The only good thing is that it works both ways, if you volunteer you get to pick a man and use him any way you want." The whole group dissolved into giggles at that, but it was tinged with a nervousness that was starting to creep into everyday life.
"What about you Megan, are you getting tested?" someone asked.
"Oh yes, there's no point not getting tested." She waved in Katherine's direction, "I was on the net too and if you don't have a high enough score to volunteer then you're dependent on being picked up by a sponsor to get off the planet, and a sponsor can only pick you if you've been CAP tested. No CAP score, no go, it's as simple as that. Besides," she said with a grin, "I might have a high enough score to take you lot with me."
This was greeted with another bout of, almost hysterical giggles before things settled down, but the truth was out there for all to see and already it was changing the way she and the other mothers around her thought.
David entered the volunteer station and looked around at the milling throng. The small market town had probably seen nothing like this since the Napoleonic or First World Wars when patriotism swept the nation. Before he could decide which way to go a big man in a strange dark blue uniform stepped up to him. "Marines are over that way, Sir, and the Navy is through here." he said, pointing first in one direction before swinging off in another direction.
David grimaced, there was no way that he was volunteering to fight, he'd done enough of that in two Gulf wars and Afghanistan thank you very much. "What other options are there?" he asked.
The sailor, as David labelled him, stopped dead, staring at him, as though the request was totally out of the blue. "Other options, Sir?"
"Yes, other options." he responded.
The sailor got a faraway look as though he was thinking of something else, then his eyebrows shot up as if the answer surprised him, before blinking a couple of times and refocusing on David. "If you go down that corridor," he said indicating a dark opening in one corner of the room, "to the green door on the left, someone will be along to help you, Sir."
David sauntered off casually, amused in his own mind at the gung-ho attitude of those around him, an amusement tempered by his own unpleasant experience of war. The green door was unmarked and when he pushed against it, swung open smoothly to reveal a plain office with a desk and a row of chairs against one wall. David plonked himself down on a chair to wait and automatically scanned the room, which with its beige paint was devoid of any point of interest.
The door swung open and a woman in a mid-grey uniform clattered into the room. Without even looking at him she stomped over to the desk and dropped a field cap onto one corner of it and, rather more gently, placed some sort of electronic device onto the blotter, before reverting to type and thumping down in the chair behind the desk.
She glared across the space between them and finally spoke, "What makes you think we want volunteers for anything other than the Defence Forces?"
Her attitude just got up David's nose, he'd met more than his fair share of jumped up wannabes in the forces and then whilst dealing with civil servants. To take them down a peg or two was an essential step in doing business. So he didn't respond immediately but looked around for a second before launching himself into the fray.
"What's your name and position?" he demanded, glaring back just as hard.
Her eyes narrowed before she spat out, "I asked you a question?"
"And when I know what I'm talking to I'll answer it." he spat back just as icily.
Her eyes softened, an intelligence that had been masked before starting to show through. "My name is Melissa Horton and I'm currently the recruiting officer for the Confederacy Civil Service - Human Branch. So, your turn."
David allowed his face to soften, "I'm David ap Rhys, and if you read the full text of the President's speech there was a piece that said 'Volunteers would be requested to participate in the Defense Forces, and other volunteers would be selected to emigrate to a dozen worlds'. Now I know that the spin that is being put on it is that these volunteers would be used as troops at a later date, but that isn't what was actually said. Add in yourself and QED volunteers are needed for jobs other than fighting."
Melissa smiled across the desk. "The Civil Service is an afterthought, something that was missed out in the rush to get troops and breeders away from Earth before the Sa'arm knew of our existence. Because of that we are playing catch up, we are under-strength, under-resourced and over-committed, and every time one of our units goes into action we pick up a higher work load."
Melissa looked David in the eye; "We are dealing mainly with the concubines who haven't got a sponsor. Whether because the volunteer doesn't want them anymore and dumps them, or because the volunteer is actually dead. How it happened really doesn't matter to us. We have to look after them, hand them on if possible and if not get the maximum number of children out of them possible. As has been pointed out by many people, older and wiser as they say, this is not a war which we can afford to lose and not breeding is a way to lose it."
Melissa took a big breath, which strained her uniform jacket in an interesting way, "If, after all that you're still interested in volunteering hand over your ID card and I'll get you registered, otherwise have a nice day."
David had a list of questions that was growing by the second, but he reached into his jacket pocket and flicked the high tech. ID card across the table.
As Melissa dropped her hand on the card her eyebrows shot up, reminiscent of the sailor earlier, "Nine point one -- good God -- you must be a superman." she gasped looking at him with a new found respect.
The next month was most interesting, to say the least. David watched as public attitudes regarding sex, age and what was acceptable behaviour changed,, in some cases drastically. When the Average Joe Defense Forces Selection Special was aired you'd have thought that real life murder had been committed on prime time television for all to watch. Many of those who were in denial about the whole alien invasion scenario raged against the show, saying it was just a way of lowering peoples morals and not really a practical demonstration of what was happening.
David laughed out loud as he watched the show and the performance of the contestants, but it did make him wonder how he'd react in the same situation, given that he'd have to choose eight concubines.
After the way that the Confederacy was handling extractions, using places that were easily isolated but with a reasonable cross section of people, became clear, David made the first major change in his own lifestyle. Instead of sticking to the estate he managed, out in the countryside, he started to spend time in more public places, many of them around the local town, just to be available for extraction.
Looking around the places he frequented also let him give real consideration to what he would want in a concubine. He made a habit of looking over the other customers and staff members wherever he was. One thing he didn't do was wear one of those silly badges with his CAP score on it, that really would be asking for trouble, which he could well do without.
He also looked at all the information the Confederacy had been making available and was surprised to see that soldiers had been leaving the planet to fight the Sa'arm for eighteen months before it became general knowledge that there where even aliens out there. They'd been working under the same sponsorship rules as were now being applied publicly which gave credence to the story Melissa had told him.
He eventually found details of the Civil Service but it was only because he knew it existed that he'd kept digging until he'd discovered the single page that applied.
The Civil Service was an all officer corps of non-combatants.
Its primary mission was the continuation of the human race away from the planet Earth.
Staffing was set at a small team of Civil Service Officers in each colony, but to date the Civil Service would count themselves lucky if they managed to get one CSO per colony.
They carried equivalent rank insignia to the Marines but wore a grey uniform. Their ranks ran from Decurion through Centurion, Tribune, Legate and Dux the service equivalent of Captain, Major, Lt. Colonel, Colonel and Brigadier. To David this seemed stupid. Officers without men seemed pointless but he could see where being the same rank as a Major or a Colonel would have it's advantages when trying to get something sorted.
David became voracious in his reading, burrowing out anything he could find on the colony worlds and how they were being run -- on what provisions, if any, were being made for the treatment of the injured and assistance to those left behind.
To say he was shocked would be an understatement.
Darjee medical science was such that most injuries that where not immediately fatal could be treated in very short order, if the injured could be recovered in the first place. Soldiers were returned to battle almost as soon as they were physically fit because of some psycho gizmo's the Darjees had that treated any traumas that might have occurred. For those dependents who were left behind when a volunteer died there was nothing!
At least that had been the case until the Civil Service came into being and the Civil Service was not there for the assistance of the survivors but to keep them functioning in their intended role as breeders. If the concubines happened to gain by this activity all the better, but it wasn't a requirement as far as the Civil Service was concerned.
In many ways the Civil Service were there as judge, jury and executioner. Taking on the role that the volunteer had in the first place if said volunteer hadn't made adequate provision for the disposal of his possessions in the case of his death.
An interesting position to be in, given all the circumstances, thought David.
Megan once again had been asked to join the wives in the park's conservatory for an afternoon drink, an event that was happening with greater frequency and for a longer duration as the news of extractions spread around the country. The disappointment that her CAP score of four point nine had engendered had long ago given way to a mild air of desperation as she hoped to be picked up by some lucky volunteer, a hope that had no real basis in fact as far as she could tell.
Just glancing around the eight other women that made up the group she'd joined and you could tell how things had changed in just the six weeks since the initial announcement had been made. The blouse she'd picked out this morning was nearly see through and her skirt was as short as she thought she could get away with and Megan knew she was still one of the most modestly dressed of the women in the conservatory.
Katherine Kurr, always the most overt of the mothers, was blatantly displaying her nipples through the finest mesh top Megan had ever seen. Perched on a stool next to her was Sylvia, who had a wrap-around skirt on that just wasn't being allowed to wrap and so uncovered one of the nicest pairs of legs around. Felicia, a middle aged mother who really should have known better was wearing what was basically a baby doll nightie over a pair of white boy short knickers. Nearly all of the women had taken to wearing heels, and moaning about the havoc it was playing with their feet, and why? Because they were living in hope.
How long that hope would sustain them was another one of those questions that no one seemed to be willing to deal with. The news had reported an unsettling increase in the number of suicides immediately after the President's speech and there where rumours circulating that in some places whole villages had died together.
Taking in the wider picture, Megan wondered if any of those who sat around them were volunteers. She'd seen a group of youngsters who'd been wearing CAP score badges that proclaimed they were all in the high sixes but she wasn't sure if she could trust them. And anyway they looked about eighteen and they wouldn't be interested in a bunch of thirty something women with kids, would they?
A couple of business men had been giving the group the eye but Megan had them pegged as predators, an old breed in new clothing, just looking to pull a desperate woman in with a promise that they had no intention, or probably ability, to keep.
The most interesting man in the place was sitting over in the corner, appearing to read a newspaper, whilst drinking a coffee. He'd entered the place so smoothly, checking out the entire room fluidly before crossing to the counter and placing his order. He'd checked out the room again and given her group a casual smile, probably at their antics, before collecting his order and crossing to his current seat in the corner
Megan had no idea who he was but she'd noticed him a couple of times before when she'd taken lunch with the ladies.
As Megan was looking around she was the first person to spot the two uniforms entering the room. A chill ran up her spine as she identified the uniform of the Confederacy Space Marines. Did this mean, she wondered? Then everything went grey and she didn't need to wonder any more.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain seated for a moment while I explain what is going on here. My name is Paul Robinson and I'm a Lieutenant in the Space Marines. I and my team are here to carry out the extraction of volunteers who wish to serve with the Confederacy and as I'm sure you are aware they will be given the opportunity to take a certain number of individuals along with them."
The big man looked around, checking he had everyone's attention. "Now if those who've volunteered would like to make their way over to Sergeant Donaldson here, we will get started."
Sergeant Donaldson held his pad and watched as three young men, all about twenty stood up from the far end of the room and made their way towards him, amidst a fair bit of catcalling and general rowdiness. A middle-aged woman stood up two tables in front of him and looked around shyly before starting towards him. Then he leapt as a hand tapped him on the shoulder, the man stood there looking at him quietly, how he'd got that close without making a sound was not something the Sergeant wanted to happen again.
"Who the bloody hell are you," he stormed.
"David ap Rhys," David replied calmly.
Sergeant Donaldson glanced down at his pad and looked back in disgust, "What the hell is a non-combatant?" He snarled.
"Obviously, Me." answered David with a smile, a smile that no longer reached his eyes.
The Lieutenant, sensing that something untoward was happening stepped across to join the pair. "Problems Sergeant?"
"No Sir," he replied allowing a certain colour into his voice, "I've just never picked up a non-combatant before."
Lieutenant Robinson looked surprised -- clearly it hadn't happened to him before either. He got that far away look that David now knew meant he was consulting with one of the Artificial Intelligences that ran most of the show.
"Sir," said the Lieutenant to David, "welcome aboard." He half turned so he could speak to the sergeant, and although he spoke softly David could still hear what was said.
"Dunc, he's the same as a Major so go easy on him will you."
"A Major, what the bloody hell is he going to be doing?" spluttered the Sergeant.
"I've no idea but the sooner we get this over and done with the sooner we can pass him on to someone else." answered the lieutenant.
After that the rest of the volunteers were checked in quickly and efficiently against the sergeant's list. The Sergeant then handed the volunteers over to the lieutenant who spoke to them, "Right, I'm sure you've all heard what happens now," he said, "so go and make your choices," he finished with a nonchalant wave of the hand.
David was a little surprised at the casual way the show was being run, especially as those who were not interested had not been separated from those who were. The three young men went straight back to their peer group and came back with a girl on each arm -- six required and six picked in less than a minute. The middle-aged woman, Susan Dawley, was much more uncertain, walking backwards and forwards amongst the front row of tables and fiddling a lot.