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.
James considered Frances' advice. Some of the things he was learning from sleep training included being able to understand what the psychological profiles of his concubines and the other concubines on board the ship meant. Frances was correct, he decided, as he reviewed the information that he had learned. Concubines were almost always inclined to be submissive. But some of them like Su Mi and Zenobia expressed that by demanding attention from their master.
James gently rubbed the side of Frances' breast as he considered what to do about what the woman was reporting to him. After a few moments he had his thoughts together. He asked, "What do you think I should do with you? Do you want to be spanked?"
"Maybe," Frances said softly, "I want your attention too..."
"Never be thinking that just because I cede a bit of my authority to you, like planning the menu for our family's meals, that I don't appreciate what you do for me," James told the woman who was slowly being reshaped into a Rubenesque ideal, with full milky breasts and a wide set of hips setting off a gently curving belly with none of the unsightly rolls that had been beginning to form on her body when he picked her up.
Either James' words or his caresses caused Frances nipples to erect and to create a letdown of milk so that the front of her shift that had been colored to compliment her complexion was soaked through. James observed the reaction and said, "I think that it is time for me to stop work here today. Will you make sure your kids are involved in some other activity?"
"All of the concubines aboard the ship have registered to help with a creche so that we can have alone time with our sponsors," Frances told James. "I'll get them there now." She got up to suit her actions to her words.
James followed her movement with his eyes for a few moments before he closed the documents he'd been reading and had the computer stop projecting the pictures of Heinlein Station. He didn't know if the Confederacy quite realized what Sgt Staunton had started, but to him it looked like she was going to get their technology to build the equivalent of a generation ship. When he stepped into the main room of the pod James let go of that thought as he was overwhelmed by his concubines on display. All of them except Frances were standing and watching the door. He considered the changes that he had made in them. The most visible so far was the roll back of Su Mi to the apparent age of 17 or 18 as well as the removal of some fairly ugly acne scars from her face. The smile that lit her features at his entrance into the room and his heart sped up as a lump formed in his throat at the look of adoration in the now gamin face of the woman. It was hard at times to admit but she and the rest had worked their way into his heart.
He again felt the pressure of the need to protect them. Yet he knew they needed reassurance of his care. Serena and Brandy stood next to Su Mi, as they had been since the second week after being picked up they were naked except for body paint. The only reason that they had not worn body paint between the first day they had been picked up and then had been that James insisted that they not do so until one of them found paints that were not so unpleasant to lick if he decided that their bodies with their various schemes of paint looked good enough to lick. Not that they didn't look good in their bare skin. But the tiger stripes that Brandy wore today and the flower garden that Serena had painted on herself with the help of a sleep trainer enhanced their beauty. Their faces too were lit with broad smiles as he took inventory of their display of their bodies. The open affection there nearly drove him to retreat. He knew he had done so little to earn it. His choice of them had been because he was attracted to their youth and blatant display of sexuality. He rather doubted that even with the knowledge that they would have been incompatible he could have resisted the temptation to take at least one of them with him just to have their nubile body to slake his lust upon. That thought made James want to retreat to his study and not face the people he had dragged into danger with him. For he could not entirely convince himself that the danger he and his family would face at Heinlein Station would be as little as the Confederacy claimed it was.
Next he looked at Zenobia. The patient pain in her eyes told him that he had waited too long to return to the arms of his family. Again as with the other older women he had chosen, Confederacy medical technology was working a miracle. Besides being morbidly obese when he had chosen her Zenobia had suffered from a mottled complexion. What caused it James wasn't sure but, one of the changes he had made was to smooth the woman's complexion out so that she had a fairly uniform silky black skin punctuated by her areolas and nipples which were a shade or two darker, and a sparse mat of curls which framed her pussy lips (though at the moment they weren't visible) her weight had dropped at a rate that would have been unhealthy under any other circumstance and James was sure that in a few more weeks, perhaps shortly after the family arrived at their destination she too would be a Rubenesque beauty.
His eyes were drawn to the exit that led into the main part of the ship by movement there as Frances moved her children through the area. He watched her sway and exaggerate her hip movement when she realized his eyes were on her again. With difficulty James returned his eyes to his other family members; the final two were the concubine he had picked from among those who had been essentially forced on him by the moon base AI, and Lenny. Strangely enough Lenny had appointed himself the new woman's protector. James paused a moment to evaluate the man he had brought with him a concubine; gone was the mousy demeanor that would have had him failing to meet his sponsor's eyes.
As James looked away from the other man he wondered how far he was from being a sponsor. He sub-vocalized the question to the AI using the implant that had been part of his mandatory equipment. <The concubine Lenny may never reach the level of sponsor. But your habit of setting high expectations will allow him to maximize his potential.>
"I think I'm going to need a paddle," James sub-vocalized to the AI, "Do you have the specifications for a ping-pong paddle?"
<A ping-pong paddle will be available in the clothing replicator in one minute, > the AI informed James. To the room at large but mostly focusing on Lenny and Arlene James said, "Some of you may think I'm ignoring you or otherwise letting you have your way without ever really taking responsibility for you as a sponsor. I know you all saw the presentations with regard to what the end result of bad behavior by a concubine is. Now I have been working with you on two things: first we are going to a place where the station is woefully understaffed so I'm having the AI test you all and work with your strengths to fill the watch roster so that no one has too much time when they are at work. Second; I've been working with you and training you in open hand combat. The reason for that is that I don't entirely agree with the idea of making you all slaves.
"Lenny I don't mind you taking Arlene under your wing as it were, but just like me you're going to have to spread your attention. As near as I can figure each man in this merry cluster fuck that the Confederacy has sent us to will have at least four women. Now maybe all the women won't be available to all of the men, but I can assure you that no one will be without at least one woman and that woman will most likely be the same person all the time. Also you women should remember that there is no way you are ever going to experience or expect monogamy again. I can't tell you how to work together as a team but that is what you will all need to learn to do.
"If you make your sponsor unhappy he or she may forget that there will be no replacement flights and kill you," James raked his eyes back over his family and decided that a lecture hadn't done what he wanted. He wondered how he was going to build the crew of Heinlein Station into a team when he was having trouble getting his family to work together as a team. The worst part of that thought was that he realized that his family represented a significant portion of the crew that he would have to build into a team. "Everyone, sit down," James told his gathered concubines. "Brandy," he started, "would you come here and sit on my lap?"
Brandy was in James arms before he managed to get seated. "Frances says that some of you want to be spanked," James said as he felt his penis rising at the contact with Brandy's naked and nubile body. "I want to tell you all that I would rather not spank any of you. But I do realize that may not be the way some of you are wired. For some of you spanking may tell you that I care for you." He paused and looked at the rest of his family that was now seated in an arc facing him. "Su Mi, come here," he commanded patting his left side. He felt Brandy stiffen and told her quietly, "I don't know what the problem is between you and Su Mi but I suspect it is part of what has me out here rather than studying where we are going so that I can formulate a plan to keep us all alive."
"Su Mi would probably recommend that you spank me," Brandy told James.
"Why would you recommend that I spank Brandy," James asked the ethereal Asian beauty as she approached him.
"I wouldn't say that I would recommend that you spank Brandy, but I do think that she wants more of your attention than you're giving her."
"Brandy," James said gently, "do you want more of my attention?"
"Yeah, I mean I thought that you picked me and Serena out because you wanted to have sex with us. But you've forbidden us to have sex for at least six months!"
"What did the AI tell you about that?"
"That if you weren't going to accelerate our development that we should wait at least that long to get pregnant," Brandy answered frowning.
"And what else did it tell you?" James probed.
"That anything it did to keep us from getting pregnant would interfere with us maturing."
"So," James said patting Brandy's firm butt cheek, "I can do something to push you forward into being able to have children or I can wait. I've chosen to wait. There are a couple of reasons for that: First I think that we all need time to learn to live together as a family before we start adding more children to the mix. And second, I don't see how increasing the number of people who are in an isolated area that is apt to remain isolated unless it is overrun by the Sa'arm at all advances the cause of the Confederacy."
"If you feel that way about Heinlein Station, why did you accept the posting?" Lenny asked from across the room reminding James that he needed to keep his voice low if he wanted this to be a private conversation. James considered that thought for a moment and then decided that what he really needed was contact with the skin of as many of his concubines as possible. <Expand this chair to a bed so that we can all be on it together.> James ordered the AI.
Brandy and Su Mi squeaked as the chair began to shift. "I'll never get used to furniture doing that," Su Mi said as the chair became a low wide platform. She glared at the corner of the room that she had assigned to the AI, "You could warn us!" She said with some urgency.
"I suppose I should have warned you too," James said to mollify his senior concubine. "If the rest of you would join me here when this is finished shifting," he patted the bed, "I think I'd like some time of just holding you all."
Lenny held back and Arlene followed his lead. Finally when everyone else was on the bed, James looked at Lenny and said, "Everyone includes you."
"Boss I feel like this," Lenny launched into a bad rendition of The Hard Life of a Cabin Boy.
"I think you're exaggerating," James told the other man. "After all I have all these beauties to tend to my sexual desires and I do use them for that purpose at least a little."
"Yeah you do," Lenny agreed, "But that hasn't kept you from occasionally poking me."
"Nor will it so long as you remain my concubine," James said. "That is what you accepted when you agreed to become a concubine." He added to see if he could apply a bit of the stick as it were to Lenny to prod him into a greater effort toward becoming a sponsor.
"Maybe you ought to exchange me for that girly looking concubine that Sgt Staunton has when we get to Heinlein Station," Lenny complained.
<James, Lenny is in a moderate amount of pain due to the fact that you have ordered that all body changes to yourself or him take place over 6 months.> The AI informed James as he was trying to formulate an answer to Lenny that didn't increase the tension between himself and Lenny.