A Piece of my Imagination
Centurion David ap Rhys, his grey uniform distinctive amongst the Marine and Navy uniforms dotted around the room, was greeted by several of the women with happy smiles as he passed and, it must be admitted, by the odd scowl.
He meandered his way through the reclining couches and low tables to the back of the room and the bar, where a tall glass had appeared before he was half way across the room. He slid onto the corner stool and looked around; nothing appeared to be untoward so he returned his attention to the drink, the glass of which was covered in a fine layer of condensation, and the woman behind the bar who was waiting for him to speak.
"How's everything going Mandy?" he asked, his voice just loud enough to be heard over the background music and the chatting of the customers.
"Fine David, no problems at all," said Mandy as she allowed her own eyes to scan the room, noting which girls were hard at it and those that seemed to be coasting.
Like all buildings on the planet Trident this one had started off as several linked pods but in the past eighteen months it had been opened up to create a convivial atmosphere for the customers, predominantly visiting Marines, to go about their business.
In many ways it was typical of similar establishments everywhere, slightly garish colours — but not as loud as some of the more extreme examples in Thailand — muted to a certain extent by hanging swathes of soft fabrics. The background music was really the sound track to the porn films that were being shown on the various screens dotted around the room.
Perhaps the biggest difference was that this brothel was unisex — not a fifty-fifty split admittedly — but there was a selection of males as well as the normal bevy of delectable females from which the customers could take their pick. The sexual composition of the visiting Marine formations and the Navy ships crews had made that essential if the place was to be successful. The other real difference was that the customers didn't have to pay for the sexual services of the establishment. These were provided — on the house — by the Civil Service, though not the food and drinks that were also available.
Mandy leaned onto the bar, displaying her ample cleavage, and asked the Civil Service officer, "Have you heard how Sonia's doing?"
David smiled back at Mandy, who at forty- eight, was one of the oldest women in the building — though you couldn't tell by simply looking at her. Her CAP score of six point four, besides being just below the cut- off point for volunteering, indicated that she had a brain in her pretty head. Back on Earth Mandy had run a catering business and had been extracted by her husband — of all people — on the same colony ship as David. When her husband had been killed in a stupid accident in training she'd become one of the first cases David had been required to deal with.
"Sonia is doing fine," said David, "the medics have got her blood sugars back under control and the baby appears to be fine." He sipped his drink, "They reckon it'll pop out in the next couple of days and I'm sure Sonia will bring him round for everyone to see," David said as he ran his finger through the condensation on the glass.
David had taken advantage of Mandy and her business sense and the need to accommodate about a dozen spare concubines he'd inherited on arrival in the Neptune system and had set up a holding pen, which had morphed — originally — into a guest house. Mandy had run the place with a rod of steel — though often encased in velvet — for David, and he'd had no complaints.
When visiting Marines had started to call on the concubines it germinated an idea and Mandy, who was fond of the occasional frolic herself, had taken that idea and run with it. The result had been beyond their wildest dreams. Now the brothel not only served the purpose of getting concubines pregnant, it also kept Marines out of trouble and turned a profit, so much so that David had recommended the idea to the Civil Service Organisation as one of the first things that CSO's should set up.
His train of thought was interrupted as a big busted, dusky woman undulated into view with only her hips covered by a very fine piece of orange lace. She was leading a young looking Marine off to one of the bedroom compartments at the rear of the establishments and, probably, an hour or two of unadulterated enjoyment for both of them.
"Is there anything else you need Mandy?" David asked, his eyes returning to his brothel manager.
"Not at the moment, though I'm keeping a special eye on a couple of the new girls," she said.
"Problems?" asked David, frowning.
"Not problems, just a little difficulty in attitude adjustment." Mandy shrugged, "It's probably why their sponsor dumped them in the first place, but they'll come round," she smiled at David, "or end up pregnant."
Pregnancy was one way out of the brothel business and David was always happy to remove a woman in that condition. The Civil Service had a barracks set aside to cope with pregnant women and their medical needs as well as a crèche for the newly arrived kids. He'd found that after six months in that madhouse most women were more than happy to come back to work, even if it was on their backs.
"OK, just keep an eye on things and let me know if I need to do something about it for you," he said finishing off his drink.
Trident was the third planet of the Neptune system and had been a Confederacy colony world for a mere two years. Prior to that it had been mapped by the Confederacy but was of no interest to any of the member races and so had been ignored, simply being identified by a number. The third planet itself was benign and as such had very little to recommend itself if you wanted any sort of excitement.
It was lacking in the great mountain ranges and wild rivers that gave a planet character, it's weather was so predictable that if it had been set up as a farming world you could have harvested two full crops a year. The oceans were not wide enough or deep enough to cause massive changes to the weather patterns and the almost circular orbit had failed to influence the weather. The planet didn't even have a satellite to provide the tidal surges that so many places on Earth were familiar with.
The system had only one real negative point, and that had proved to be a major hindrance to its growth even as a human colony and that was it's galactic position — it was situated right on the edge of the path that the Sa'arm were following. Why a colony world had been put here was a point that was debated by those who were privy to the information, whenever they got together but no real answer had been forthcoming.
Yes it did have advantages for troop and ship deployments but it had to be expected to be invaded in short order, which probably accounted for the lack of infrastructure development taking place. The Navy had a minimal repair and re-provisioning facility in orbit around Neptune eight, a gas giant way out from the local G2 star. That was all ship based and as such they could pick up and run at the first sign of danger and that was the standing orders the Navy operated under.
... Which is more than can be said for the local Marines...
Trident was the home base for a Marine regiment, each of its three battalions being associated with a township on the planet. These three townships formed a pyramid around the headquarters and spaceport complex, which also housed David ap Rhys and the small Civil Service encampment he represented.
The total human population of the planet had reached twenty five thousand or there abouts and then, well short of the original projections of a hundred thousand, it had stopped growing. The consensus of opinion was that somebody had got sensible and decided that throwing away breeding stock just to feed the Sa'arm was not a good plan and had done something about it.
The three battalions of the Marine Regiment spent most of their time hitting Sa'arm incursions in penny packets, an annoyance to the oncoming aliens rather than a full-blooded attempt to stop their invasion.
When David ap Rhys had been dropped on the planet he'd arranged for his home to be positioned close to the headquarters and not as part of one of the towns. This had originally caused a little hardship for his concubines but had allowed him to be associated with the whole regiment and not any one particular battalion. Over time his own house had grown to five pods, two of which were set up as temporary accommodation for any spare concubines he was forced to look after — concubines who really should have been taken care of by their owners before they went off to battle and not just left to fend for themselves when things went wrong.
David sighed, none too quietly, as he cooled his heels in the administration office of the Second Battalion. His appointment with Major Helios, the newly arrived deputy commander of the Second Battalion, had been for fourteen hundred and he'd already been kept waiting for twenty minutes. His temper, never his best attribute, was starting to fray around the edges and he knew it — petty bureaucracy and empire building had always had this effect on him and it would appear that Major Helios was out to build himself as big an empire as he could manage.
.... There is more of this story ...