I'd like to thank Mulligan and Steve T for their assistance in turning this into a better story than my initial effort, any errors remaining are of course mine.
The piercing scream captured the attention of everyone in the hold.
"What d'you think your doing?" called the big woman in the grey uniform as she turned towards the disturbance.
The young man let go of the girl he'd been dragging by the hair and turned to face the new threat. "This bitch," he said waving at the prone girl, "just told me to strip and thinks I'm going to do as she says just because she picked me to come with her." He stared at the woman in uniform and said slowly, spacing the words, "That's not going to happen!"
The big woman stepped forward and looked down at the angry young man. He must have been about five feet ten inches tall and she was a good six inches taller than him, she also outweighed him by a fair amount and none of it looked like fat under the tight grey uniform she wore.
She placed a hand firmly on the young man's shoulder, "Be still," she ordered as he tried to wriggle out of her grasp. As he stilled she turned her attention to the whimpering woman on the floor.
"I take it you're his sponsor?" she asked.
The dark eyed woman looked up and nodded in confirmation.
"Do you still want him?" the woman in uniform asked blandly.
A negative shake of the head was the only response to the question from the tearful woman.
"Right," said the Amazon before she turned her attention back to the young man. "Where were you picked up from?"
"London," he replied, a lot of his anger had fled and he wondered what would happen next.
The Amazon turned her eyes upwards and spoke softly, "Who's running the London pickup?"
The voice of the AI responded in her implant, "Sergeant Green."
"Steve Green?" she asked.
"Correct," replied the AI.
"Patch me through to him," she ordered.
There was a pause and then a hum let her know that she'd been connected.
"Steve, it's Sonia up on the Belle Alliance," she introduced herself. "We've had a bit of a problem up here and need a couple more males to round things out," she reported to the Marine on the ground.
"Do you need any help up there?" Steve Green asked anxiously.
"No, I can manage things up here but can you send me the males up?" she asked.
"Not a problem," replied the voice in her head.
"Give me a minute or so as the transporter is going to be off line while I deal with the problem and then you can send them up," she replied.
"Understood," said the Marine's voice in her head.
Sonia blinked as she shifted channels internally and spoke to the AI again. "Switch transporter nexus to orbit three," she ordered.
"Switched, " came the reply and Sonia dropped her eyes from the ceiling and back to the young man.
"Come with me," she said taking a firmer hold of the young man's shoulder and guiding him back to the transporter terminus he'd come through only minutes before. He looked at the shimmering disk which now had a red tinge to it rather than the familiar silver one and yelled, "I'm not going back to Earth," as he began to suspect that things were not going as he had expected them too.
"No, you're not," declared Sonia Makepeace as she used her enhanced strength to push the man into the transporter field.
Behind her the man's victim, who'd followed the pair when they'd walked off, gasped in shock as the young man that had attacked her disappeared from view.
Sonia turned to face the woman, "What's your name love?" she asked.
"Patsy," said the woman quietly.
"Well Patsy, he's gone," said Sonia simply, "but there will be a couple of more men up here in a minute for you to pick from."
"Where..." began Patsy staring nervously at the shimmering field.
"He's in orbit around Venus," said Sonia before glancing to the ceiling. "Continue extractions from London," she ordered the AI before returning to her duties in the main receiving hold of the Belle Alliance.
Patsy couldn't believe that the woman who walked away could be so indifferent to taking a man's life.
Patsy had a lot to learn.
The flight had finally settled down and the Boeing 747-400 was gliding along calmly ten thousand metres above the Atlantic Ocean doing just under nine hundred kilometres an hour.
The senior stewardess on the flight, Sonia Makepeace nipped into the galley space in the first class compartment to join Jenny Merryweather and Anton Dubeak, two of her fellow cabin crewmembers, for a well-earned coffee.
Anton handed her a china cup with the airlines logo emblazoned on it full of coffee, "Complements of the airline," he said and grinned at the older woman.
"Why thank you, kind Sir," responded Sonia as she dropped into the jump seat nearest the door.
"And for you, fair lady," said Anton turning to Jenny and passing her another coffee.
"We shouldn't be so generous with the company's quality beverages," said Jenny as she took the offered cup.
"Oh pooh," responded Anton as he lowered himself onto a convenient storage box. "The coffee is free to passengers in this compartment and no one keeps check on how much we use. If we didn't drink it this would be the dreg-ends of a pot and I'd have to throw it away anyway."
Sonia raised and eyebrow and Anton looked defensive, "I would," he reiterated.
"I don't care," said Sonia letting him off the hook, "I'd rather drink your dreg-ends than the stuff they give us for our own use."
"It is rough," agreed Jenny taking a sip, "and this isn't," she concluded with a sigh.
Their quiet moment was shattered when the speaker above their heads sprang into life.
"Good afternoon, this is your captain speaking and I just want to give you a short progress report. We've just crossed the coast of Ireland and will spend the next few hours crossing the Atlantic..."
Out of the corner of her eye Sonia spotted two big guys nod to each other and leave their seats. She watched as one of them reached into the luggage rack above their seats and the second man headed for the stewards' cubbyhole.
If this had been five years ago she'd have been thinking terrorists but there hadn't been anything like that on aircraft since the Darjee had announced the coming of the Swarm.
Curiosity got the better of her and she rose and stepped through the curtain that separated the galley from the cabin to meet the approaching man.
"Can I help?" she asked professionally.
The man grinned and held up a piece of plastic, "I'm Sergeant Steven Green, Confederacy Space Marines and we're here to do an extraction of volunteers for service with the Confederacy."
"Oh my God," gasped Sonia as she looked around, "Where? How?"
"We'll be doing it here, Ma'am, just as soon as we've got a few reinforcements," said the Sergeant, leading her by the elbow back into the galley.
Anton started to rise but the big Marine just waved him back into his seat.
"My partner is setting up a transporter terminus across the way," said the Sergeant. "In a couple of minutes we will start transporting men onto this bird to run an extraction. The AI's tell us that there are eighteen volunteers on board so it shouldn't take too long or cause too much in the way of disruption."
He glanced towards the front of the aircraft; "We don't need to tell the flight crew that anything's happening back here," he said, "It would only cause confusion that we don't need."
"Shouldn't they get a chance to go?" asked Jenny.
"There are only two women on this plane with high enough CAP scores to volunteer," said the Marine, "and they'll have over two hundred men to pick from." He turned his attention to Sonia; "Will you want to pick one of the flight deck crew as a concubine?"
That was the first inkling that Jenny and Anton had that Sonia was a volunteer.
Sonia looked the Marine in the eye and shook her head, neither of the men appealed to her. The aircraft captain was nearly fifty and a hard-headed male chauvinist that despised anyone not like him. That made the co-pilot he had to work alongside a bad choice, not that the captain had been given any choice, because said co-pilot was thirty-five years old and publicly gay.
"So if you don't want them do you think we should force them on the other woman?"
Sonia shook her head again.
"Good, that's settled," said the Marine. "In a moment I'm going to get on the public address system and let everyone know what's happening and then we will take it from there."
The second Marine stuck his head through the curtain, "We're ready to roll, Sarge."
He looked at the three cabin crewmembers, "Stay here until I come to get you," he ordered and left without waiting for a response.
"Sonia, you're a volunteer, aren't you?" asked Jenny.
"Why?" asked Jenny, "I thought you believed that the Confederacy should evacuate everyone, not just the chosen few?"
Sonia looked at Jenny and said, "Not me, I just didn't correct you when you made that assumption."
"But everyone should be given the chance," said Jenny.
Sonia looked at the younger woman and took a deep breath, "Jenny, in five minutes there are going to be sixteen men out there looking for a woman or two to take with them when they leave this planet. Most of the women on this flight are executives of some sort and are therefore middle-aged or older. You on the other hand are young, slim and used to flaunting your body to get what you want."
.... There is more of this story ...