The Swarm Cycle Universe is copyright© 2007-2013 The Thinking Horndog
The time line for events in the Outpost Series is: Heinlein Station, Pickup in a hurry, Parking Orbit, Into the Mouth of the Lion.
James, his concubines and the two sponsors with their concubines boarded a K'treel and broke orbit. He spent the next few weeks after the ship was underway getting to know the people he would be working with. There were six in the families of the two privates, essentially a sponsor and two concubines, plus the assorted children of the concubines. For himself he found that at the last minute, the K'treel AI and the moon base AI had insisted that he was in fact the Civil Service officer for Heinlein Station. In light of the fact that Brandy would almost inevitably test to a sponsor level CAP score, he should therefore take along at least eighteen more unassigned concubines!
"Eighteen concubines!" James had exclaimed, "I thought everyone was limited to the number of concubines prescribed by their CAP score."
"Normally that would be true, but as with the goods you are bringing with you, we must plan for the future. That is why we would like this to be the last run of a ship into the system where Heinlein Station is located," the AI explained.
"Does that include supplies?" James asked.
"No, supplies will be delivered by drones, although it is hoped that some of the things, like plants, will help extend your food supply as well as making the station less stressful to humans," the AI said.
"Still I don't see enough sponsors to care for eighteen concubines. That would indicate an increase in CAP score for all of us, or that more than just Brandy will become a sponsor," James observed.
"We're doing this because we want you to form more stable families and because Sergeant Staunton is eligible for an additional concubine without an increase in CAP score," the AI informed him, "but according to the station AI she would rate an increase in the number of concubines she can sponsor.
"Also the concubines you are taking have been selected for their high nurturing scores, so you are being encouraged to take an additional concubine as well as to encourage each of the other sponsors in your group to take an additional concubine. That is half the available concubines that you are taking. If any of your other concubines should increase their CAP score, then the worry will be that some higher CAP score people will end up short of concubines rather than that there will be an overage," the AI told James.
"What you are saying is that if I take one additional concubine and each of the other sponsors with me take an additional concubine and Sergeant Staunton takes two additional concubines the pool of available concubines will be so small as to present no choice for anyone besides Brandy?" James restated the AI's assertion in order to assure himself that he had understood the machine.
"In part that is exactly what I'm saying. Consider that your insistence that all of your concubines be able to stand watch on Heinlein Station vastly increases the likelyhood that some or all of them will eventually gain sponsor level CAP scores," the AI said.
"OK you've convinced me," James said. The classes that he was taking through the sleep trainer seemed to be increasing his understanding of the permutations a situation could present, so he accepted the AI's analysis of the situation more readily than he might have otherwise. "But that begs the issue of how so many people will be housed..." James trailed off as the AI brought up a hologram showing Heinlein Station. He read that originally it had been a free floating construct that attempted to emulate a small asteroid. Sgt Staunton had changed that by attaching the station to a naturally occurring asteroid; thereby giving the station much needed camouflage. The moonlet or large asteroid that Sgt Staunton had attached the station to was noted to be more than a five and a half kilometers in diameter by nearly twice that in length. There were some areas of variance of course, but the important part was that all of the workings of the station had been moved inside the asteroid so that (according to the information that the AI had) it should be nearly impossible for the Sa'arm to detect.
James wasn't sure about that supposition. Still moving inboard of an asteroid seemed to be a good idea for more than one reason. Sgt Staunton seemed to have some of the same ideas as she had set the machinery of the station to opening up the interior of the asteroid so that there was a hollow that would eventually be about one square kilometer in area with a roof at least one hundred feet above the floor. He wasn't certain that there would be enough oxygen and trace gases to charge the space, but the potential of an open space of that magnitude was enough to make James think that Sgt Staunton had more than one idea of how to survive in mind.
More information on what Sgt Staunton had already accomplished flowed as James perused the report. Some of her ideas and accomplishments made it obvious why the Confederacy didn't want to move her from her station. A bit of exploration of the information that the AI was providing him at this point showed that the successful outposts that were producing streams of information on the movement of the Sa'arm that had to be very helpful in what appeared to be a thousand year war. The Sa'arm were slowly stripping hundreds of planets of resources, then sending off malignant new settlements to do so again. Only their habit of utterly exhausting a world's resources and a lack of cooperation between the various Sa'arm occupied worlds before dying out seemed to be restraining them from having already consumed the whole of the universe.
James continued to study the available information that was coming from the other listening posts including Ishtar. The picture could be depressing, he decided, so he switched to reading about the people who would be in his command. Since he had a chance to get to know privates Smith and Harold he concentrated on learning what the AI's knew about Sgt Staunton.
Some of the things he learned about the woman caused him to worry. The way she had reshaped her husband cum concubine worried him a bit. So he was digging into the AI's evaluation of the woman's psyche while he left a picture of Randi up. As often happened recently he failed to notice the passage of time until one of his concubines came in and reminded him that he had a family to build. Frances seemed to have appointed herself as the pod mother for all of them including James.
He was unaware that she had entered his study until she asked, "Is that a girl?" While she interposed herself between him and the wall he was using to project the reports he was reading.
"Believe it or not that is a male concubine," James said.
Frances shivered as she seated herself next to James on a chair that he kept there so that he could have the other members of his family give him input when he requested it. "You wouldn't do something like that to Lenny?" She asked.
"No," James said with a shiver. "I might like leaving Brandy and Serena looking young, but doing that would be beyond perverted as far as I'm concerned."
"Why did that man's sponsor do that to him?" Frances asked.
"I think it was done for revenge at first; though the analysis that I'm reading says that it actually helped him become a better member of his sponsor's family."
Frances rubbed her mostly naked body against James and said, "Maybe all of us need to convince the AI that you should be transformed that way. Brandy and Serena think you're ignoring them, as do Su Mi and Zenobia. Me, I expect to be ignored and I imagine that Lenny is comfortable fading into the woodwork, as it were. But I can't help but feel that we ought to be getting to know one another. After all it seems like we're going to be spending the rest of our lives together, and that might be a very long time if I correctly understand what I'm learning about nanites in that med-tube operator course you suggested I take."
James nodded at that, not really willing to do more as he wondered how he was going to get his shit together so that his family would meld into a unit capable of turning out humans who would fit into the mode of the Confederacy. Building relationships was not a strong point in his life. Indeed he had been a bachelor up until the moment he had been picked up. He had certainly gamed the possibility that he would be in the right place at the right time and had considered what he would need to think about in the way of personality traits for his as yet unselected concubines, but actually taking the steps necessary to build a relationship had been beyond him.
"I don't want to be a tattle tale and maybe you'll need to paddle me for it but, I think that you're going to need to paddle Zenobia because she gets away with so much because she is still ever so large. In fact considering the relationship between her and Su Mi you may have to paddle them both. Otherwise they are going to cause problems. They want your attention all the time to assure them that you care about them. A daily paddling or fucking would do us all good. It seems like that one thing that was definitely turned up in all of us was our libido," Frances told James as she pressed against him.
.... There is more of this story ...