A Piece of my Imagination
"Jimmy, get a move on will you," yelled Margaret Walton, "we've got to be at the test centre in an hour."
James Reginald Walton, the Jimmy in question, rolled over and looked at the clock. Eight twenty-two in the morning on the last Friday of the holidays and his mother wanted him up. He shook his head as he slowly crawled from under the warm quilt and looked around his large bedroom. His clothes were scattered around in the usual haphazard fashion waiting for Pamela to sort the mess out. Various books and magazines -- on topics as diverse as computers and aliens -- competed for shelf and desk space with the trophies he'd won for high board diving, in other words a typical adolescents bedroom.
As his brain got into gear Jimmy started to think about the rest of the day, the major part of which was going to be taken up by the Government ordered CAP testing. His Capacity, Aptitude and Potential testing -- to see how much use he was to the human race -- or so the Government would have you believe. Which was not what his mother called it, she was convinced it was some sort of breeding project the Western governments had concocted to defeat the onrush of foreigners into the country. His mother was pretty vague about who those foreigners where and why they wanted to come into the country but she stuck by her principles on the matter.
Jimmy shook his head as he headed for the shower, his mother had many strange ideas like that, 'probably as a result of losing dad' he thought. Having to do his CAP test today was a case in point, the Government had decreed that everyone would be tested in their fourteenth year and most teenagers did it as near to their fourteenth birthday as possible, it marked a passage from childhood to adulthood in the new era. His mother had insisted that he should leave it until the last possible day -- which was today -- as tomorrow was his fifteenth birthday.
As he towelled off his hair his mind went back to the upcoming CAP testing and his decision to volunteer for service in the Confederacy, a decision he hadn't told his mother about and one that was likely to cause a major breach when she found out. 'It didn't matter, ' he thought, 'the Sa'arm are real, no matter what mom thinks and I'm going to fight them.' He'd already composed the letter requesting a slot as a fighter pilot and as soon as he had his score he was sending it off, the thought of not qualifying never entered his head.
Finally dressed Jimmy joined his mother in the kitchen, were she was giving instructions to Pamela, their maid, "and make sure that his bedroom is tidied up. He's made a right mess of it again." Jimmy smiled at Pam over his mothers shoulder. Pamela was kind of cute -- if a little slow -- and she'd been helping his mother for the last four years, ever since his dad had died, and was almost part of the family. She and Jimmy got on well, usually because they were both trying to limit the silliness that Margaret Walton inflicted on the pair of them.
Realising that her son had arrived Margaret picked up her handbag and headed for the door, "Come on slow coach," she said expecting him to follow. Jimmy raised his eyebrows at Pamela and followed his mothers, admittedly, cute bum out of the door and across to her five series BMW.
Margaret was thirty-seven years old and for the last four years seemed to have regressed to thinking she was twenty again. Her mode of dress and mannerisms were all those of a young woman from nearly twenty years ago which didn't mesh well with her real age and appearance, at least facially. The one advantage, as far as Jimmy was concerned, was that his mother insisted on wearing fitted skirts and high heels which presented her best feature superbly, unfortunately Jimmy was a devoted tit man and his mother was pretty short in that department.
The journey to the testing centre was fairly short and when his mother started on about what a palaver this testing was, Jimmy tuned her out and idle watched the world go by, dreaming of flying a fighter in the defence of the world.
The CAP testing centre for there area was located in an old classroom of a disused infants school, the former playground giving ample parking for the parents of those undergoing testing. Margaret Walton carefully parked her car well away from all the other vehicles and got out of the drivers door as Jimmy hopped out of the passenger side.
"Mom, you don't need to come," Jimmy complained, "I can do this on my own."
Margaret flushed at her son's tone, "You're not the only one being tested Jimmy," she said, surprising him. "The Governments order applies to everyone and I haven't been tested yet either. Philip tells me I'll get into trouble if I'm not tested, just as much as I would for not getting you tested." Philip was the solicitor who'd taken care of things when Jimmy's dad had died.
The noise that Jimmy produced was inarticulate, which was probably just as well because if he'd managed to say what he was thinking is mother would have been shocked and displeased. Biting his tongue Jimmy led the way into the testing centre and after a couple of turns was confronted by a middle aged woman wearing a bright badge that proclaimed she had a CAP score of six point nine. "Good morning," she purred, "what can I do for you?"
"We've appointments for testing, Margaret and James Walton." said his mother sternly.
The receptionist glanced at the screen before her, "Uhmm, yes, Mrs Walton," she looked up, "if you'd go along to door number four, which is in that direction," she indicated a corridor to the left, "someone will guide you through the testing process." She glanced back at her screen then up at Jimmy, "and you young man are in room nine, which is off that way," she said indicating the opposite direction to his mother.
Jimmy glanced at his mother, who was starting to look apprehensive. Jimmy smiled, "I'll see you back here when we've finished mom, good luck," he said brightly, before turning and walking off in the direction indicated.
The door to room nine was ajar -- so when Jimmy knocked it opened on its own -- the screen on the wall opposite the door lit up and a voice intoned, "Come in James Walton, take a seat in front of the screen and relax for a moment."
Jimmy, his own apprehension becoming a physical thing in his stomach, edged into the empty room. "AI?" he asked diffidently.
"Correct," replied the voice, "please take a seat and we will begin the Capacity, Aptitude and Potential testing."
Jimmy settled into the nice, leather chair positioned directly in front of the screen and tried to relax. The AIs voice began an introduction that seemed to drone on and on. Jimmy became aware, peripherally, of different images appearing on the screen and his own voice responding to questions being put to him.
He blinked at the screen that seemed to be fading to grey, "Thank you for your patience, your ID card is currently being fabricated and will be delivered to you shortly. If your score his sufficient would you be willing to volunteer for service in the Armed Forces of the Confederacy?"
Jimmy was confused, was the test over, how had he done. "I, uhmm, that is, Yes, yes I would like to volunteer. I want to be a fighter pilot," he burbled.
The voice came back, "Please confirm that James Reginald Walton wishes to volunteer for service in the Armed Forces of the Confederacy, as a fighter pilot by preference."
"Yes," said Jimmy, firmly this time.
"Thank you," the voice said. "Where possibly your stated preferences will be taken into consideration when allocating Confederacy service." There was a pause, then, "Your ID card is now ready for collection at the reception desk," and with that simple statement the screen went blank.
Jimmy rested for a minute, confused, had he actually volunteered or did it all depend on his score? Springing to his feet he made his way to the reception desk where the woman was waiting for him, "Congratulations James, here's your card," she said pushing a piece of laminated plastic across the counter.
Jimmy took the proffered card and looked for the big number, the one that really counted as far as the world was concerned.
Seven point three!
He grinned like a mad man and only just refrained himself from dancing around, the woman smiled at him. "Feels good doesn't it?" she asked, fingering her own badge.
"Oh yes," he breathed, then thought of his mother, "How did..." he tapered off.
The woman's face clouded over, "Not as well, unfortunately," she said, but before they could go into any details Jimmy heard the clip clop of his mothers heels on the tiled floor. Margaret didn't say a word, just held out her hand and accepted the lump of plastic that the receptionist offered her, after a quick glance she dropped it in her handbag and glanced at her son. "Come on then Jimmy, we need to get a present for your Aunt."
With barely a backwards glance his mother set off for her BMW, Jimmy shrugged to the receptionist and followed his mother out into the sunlight, his happiness tarnished by his mothers attitude.
'Happy Birthday', thought Jimmy sarcastically, as he crossed the grass verge next to his mother, the pair of them approaching the small marquee with the happy birthday banners strung up outside it.
Jimmy and his Aunt Maureen shared a birthday and whilst it was his fifteenth it was also her fortieth. Being as this was considered special by the family, they and her friends had organised a party for her at the Merryweather hotel. The hotel had large gardens and erected numerous marquees throughout them and it was one of these that was hosting his Aunts party.
Jimmy was miffed for two reasons, the first was fairly obvious, he would have much preferred to be having a party with his own friends rather than with a bunch of middle aged boring old farts. The other was much more subtle and was aimed squarely at his mother, not once since they'd been tested had she asked how he'd done. Nor had she given him a chance to edge the subject into conversation and it was niggling him, as was her reluctance to talk about her score.
As he approached the marquee he could hear the music from the slightly larger tent across the lawn and briefly wondered if he'd be able to sneak over there later. Entering the tent he was greeted by a squeal as his Aunt spotted him and rushed to embrace him. Jimmy grinned at the over the top manner of his mothers eldest sister, she always did try to be flamboyant and as she hugged him and kissed him on both cheeks he felt himself blushing. Just as she was pulling back from him she gave his bum a squeeze that really caused him to blush.
"Auntie," he exclaimed.
Maureen bent down and threw her arms around him before whispering in his ear, "Sorry you've been dragged along to this," she said, "I'm sure we'd both rather be somewhere else."
He grinned up at the woman as the two of them separated.
Margaret, spoke up then, "Maureen, Happy birthday, this is for you," she said as she pushed a small, neatly wrapped package, towards her sister.
"Thanks, Sis," Maureen said, "Why don't you go and get a drink and I'll see you both later."
Jimmy meandered around the tent, speaking to a few of the people he knew, his grandparents, his Uncle Phil and the odd person who'd been a family friend for sometime. He'd managed to get a drink, in part thanks to the changes in attitude because of the approach of the Sa'arm. When the age of consent for sex had dropped to fourteen, many of the other age barred activities had followed suit, if not in law at least in practise, drinking had been one of them.
Jimmy drifted outside to get a bit of fresh air and to cast an eyeball over the other party, which was proving to be a bit of a noisy affair. He sat on a convenient crate and watched the far tent in the falling light of dusk, puzzled as people would dash out, rush round and then run back inside.
Fascinated Jimmy rose and slowly drifted across the intervening space, unaware that his mother was looking for him. He reached the entrance and plonked himself down on a convenient plant holder to watch and learn. His mother, who'd spotted him as he crossed the lawn came bearing down on him at a much faster rate than he'd moved, intent on dragging her wayward son back to her sisters party where he belonged.
Jimmy spotted his mother and cringed, just what he needed, he thought, another scene. He rose to his feet as his mother reached him preparing himself for the tongue lashing to come. So focused were the two of them on each other that neither of the Waltons spotted the four Marines who stepped out of the glowing terminus of the transporter field a few yards behind them.
Before Margaret could say anything a beefy arm gathered her up and almost carried her inside the tent, Jimmy, his mouth flapping around, half stumbled along with the group, the speed of the pickup and the large size of their assailants put a stop to any sort of protest. By the time Jimmy had overcome his surprise at being manhandled he'd been presented with another, the people pushing him around were Confederacy Space Marines.
From his new position by the door Jimmy was able to watch as one Marine moved around the outside of the tent and took up position to block the rear entrance. The second Marine moved over to where the DJ had his equipment set up and looked back, waiting for some command.
Jimmy clearly heard the Marine who had his arm around his mother say "Now," and everything changed. The music died and a strange grey colour cast covered the tent, the Marine with his mother let her go and stepped forward, fiddling with his collar as he did so.
His voice boomed out over his amplifier rig, " Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain where you are for a moment while I explain what is going on here. My name is Paul Robinson and I'm a Lieutenant in the Confederacy Space Marines, I and my team are here to carry out the extraction of volunteers who wish to serve 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."
Around the tent people stared, open mouthed at his words.
Lieutenant Robinson stepped forward urging those close to him to move backwards, his presence clearing an area around the entrance as he did so. "We'll accomplish this in three simple stages," he announced, "first of all we'll get the volunteers up here and check them off against our pickup list. Then we'll sort out those who would like to go with them from those who are happy to stay behind and let our volunteers make their decisions, and finally we will all leave and allow you to continue with your party."
Jimmy and his mother had been moving steadily away from the entrance as the Lieutenant had been talking, now they came to a halt and waited to see what happened.
"Sergeant Culpepper, if you please."
"Sir, according to our scans we have six volunteers in the uhmm," the Sergeant glanced around and chuckled, "tent. The first is Felicity Kendal, so if she could make your way up here we'll get this show started."
A slightly chubby brunette in a lemon party frock rose and self consciously made her way forward.
"Thank you," said the Sergeant after checking her ID card. "Philip Munroe, if you please."
A middle aged, slightly balding man stood and moved forward. As he did so Margaret Walton tried to edge further to the side and take Jimmy with her but the young man stood his ground, keeping her in place as well.
The Sergeant looked up once more, "Adrian Childs," he called out.
Another middle aged man stood though this one had a full head of hair, he was however decidedly over weight.
"Jimmy," Margaret hissed at her son, but he ignored her, fascinated at what was going on.
"Thomas Moore," called out Sergeant Culpepper.
A cheer went up from the back of the room and a young man strode confidently forward. The sergeant greeted him with a smile and checked his ID card.
He checked the list again and called out, "Donald Formby."
A tall, grey haired gentleman stood up slowly and, after releasing a grey haired woman's hand, moved carefully forward.
"Thank you sir," acknowledged the sergeant, "and finally can we have James Walton."
"Yes!" hissed Jimmy as he started to move towards the sergeant. Behind him his mother whimpered, "No," and collapsed back onto a convenient chair as her only son strode off to war.
Sergeant Culpepper grinned as he took Jimmy's ID card and checked it against his list. "That's all of them, Sir," he announced.
"Thank you, Sergeant," said the Lieutenant before turning back to the majority of the people. "If those of you who wish to be considered as concubines could come forward it would make it easier for everyone, as would having your ID cards handy."
"OK ladies and gentlemen a few points, you've probably heard them all already but I'll just run through them again to make sure," said the Lieutenant, "First, if you are declining from putting yourself forward for medical reasons you need to remember that we now have systems that can cure most of your problems. If you're not sure just check with one of the Marines and they'll let you know if its a stopper or not." He looked around for a moment, "Second, the Sa'arm invasion of Earth is still on so the best chance for the human race is to get as many people away from Earth and have them breed, which is what you will be doing if you are picked. This has good and bad points, colonising a new planet is hard and often dirty but that in itself can be rewarding and you don't have to worry about how many babies you drop because you'll be put back together after each one."
"Third, for those of you who are married this can be a quickie divorce. If you step forward and a volunteer picks you that's it, your marriage is over. If you have children and they're under fourteen you can ask your sponsor to take them with you. Please note, it is your sponsor that decides whether the kids are picked up or not, not the other way around." The Lieutenant took a sip of what looked like water before continuing, "Finally the hard part, you will have no rights at all. You will belong to your sponsor and what they say is law, if they want to breed you to the hump backed dwarf next door it is going to happen. Refuse and you're out and concubines without a sponsor are recycled and believe me, that is as bad as it sounds." The Marine took another sip of his drink and said, "Now that you've got the basics it's time for you to make that decision, please keep the noise down but move to the area you want to be in." People began to move, some towards the Marines and a few others attempting to get as far away from the proceedings as possible.
Whilst this had been going on Sergeant Culpepper had pulled the volunteers together and began his own briefing. "The LT there is giving them the standard briefing, it should put them all in the right frame of mind for what's going to happen next." He looked each of the volunteers in the eye, "This is not going to be pleasant, everyone here knows that you are their ticket off this planet and some of them are going to become pretty aggressive, we will keep them in line, so don't worry about that too much. On the other hand you need to keep in mind what you are selecting for, these people are going to keep your home running, they're going to produce and raise your children and offer you comfort when you're there."
"It is slavery," he emphasised, "and no matter what you think of the institution it is how you're going to be living for the foreseeable future. If some woman -- or man," he said with a nod to Felicity, "drops your trousers and dives in there you do not have to take them with you -- even if you enjoy it," he concluded with a smile.
He checked his list for a moment before continuing, "Felicity, with your CAP score you get to pick four, as do you James. The rest of you can take a pair so I'd suggest that you give it a couple of minutes thought and then we'll get the selection process on the road." He paused for a moment before speaking directly to Felicity, "If you need any advice go and speak to Emily," he said indicating a big female Marine, "she can give you an insight into things from the female perspective."
The volunteers milled around for a few minutes as the Lieutenant finished his speech and then approached the crowd.
'This is one hell of a birthday present, ' thought Jimmy, not catching how his opinion had changed in the last twenty minutes. What caused the change of heart was watching various women preparing themselves for the selection process, more than a third of the women who'd stepped forward were pulling off their clothes, be it blouses, dresses or bras, a couple were even going the whole hog and stripping down before they'd even been approached.
Only the thought that his mother was out there somewhere -- watching him -- kept Jimmy from dribbling and probably coming in his pants. At fifteen -- just -- he was not experienced with the opposite sex in any way, his only exposure to the female form was through the internet and the odd illicit magazine he'd been able to get hold of. None of which was a good basis for picking his future partners.
When the Lieutenant bid them begin Jimmy stayed off to one side as the older volunteers headed straight for the crowd. Only the presence of the Marines and their stingers kept the potential sponsors from being mobbed. Jimmy watched -- open mouthed -- as Philip Monroe walked down the line and simply lifted the tits of each woman he came to and had a good feel.
Donald Formby, the old guy walked back to his table and pulled his -- presumably -- wife up by the hand and whispered something in her ear. He then returned to the Sergeant and Jimmy, who hadn't moved far yet, heard him explain that his wife was going to choose their partner.
Jimmy slowly drifted over to the bar, more to keep out of every ones way than anything else and watched along with the barmaid as the circus developed. Granting the barmaid a quick glance Jimmy surprised himself and asked her, "How come you're not out there?"
"What's the point," she said, "I can't compete with that sort of young stuff," she indicated a red head -- who must have been about nineteen -- and was currently bent over a table holding the cheeks of her bum wide open so that Adrian Childs could have a good look. "I find it hard enough to come to work in a top like this," she said, fingering the side of a black halter necked blouse. "My boobs are practically falling out of the damn thing all the time and nobody other than me seems to notice or care."
That simple statement pulled Jimmy's attention from the antics in front of the bar to the woman behind it, he looked her over and was pleasantly surprised with what he saw. She was younger than his mom and still had wrinkle free skin surround a pair of light blue eyes, her hair was light and judging by her eyebrows its colour came out of a bottle and the simple hair style framed an above average face without hiding it. The black top she'd gone on about covered her ample but slightly sagging boobs but you could tell that any sort of movement would entice the observer to pay closer attention.
Jimmy raised his eyes and was greeted by a friendly -- if knowing -- smile. He blushed before asking, "All that talks fine but would you want to go if some one offered to take you?"
"Yes," she stated firmly, "especially if I could take my little girl with me, she's the one thing I worry about all the time."
"So what's your name?" Jimmy asked, on a roll for the first time in his life.
"Bridget," the barmaid answered and then confused him by adding, "and I've heard all the jokes about midgets."
"Well Bridget," said Jimmy, placing both hands on the bar, "why don't you show me your tits."
"Now why would I want to do that?" asked Bridget, looking cross for the first time.
"Because if you do I'll take you with me," said Jimmy.
The woman behind the bar looked at the boy before her and then back towards the Marines by the entrance; Jimmy saw realisation sparkle in her eyes as she fathomed his identity. Jimmy held his finger to his lips for silence when it looked like she was going to yell or something and waited. Bridget settled down and looked at Jimmy, still standing and waiting across the bar -- it was only when he stared pointedly at her chest that she remembered what he'd asked. She grabbed the sides of her top and literally ripped it open, her free swinging breasts slithered into view and Jimmy had to close his eyes and swallow to contain himself.
"Thanks, Bridget," Jimmy said, his eyes still shut. "I think you have to go over and wait by the Sergeant now."
He heard some movement and was then surprised as a kiss was placed on his forehead, a whispered "Thank you," told him who'd kissed him and then he was alone again.