The end of the world was a-coming and I had a “lift ticket” out of that future nightmare, with a couple of extras, all due to having a high CAP score-- “Capacity, Aptitude and Potential”, a measure of an individual’s worth to the gene pool-- and having volunteered for service to the Confederacy in their Sa’arm crisis.
All right, so us humans are weird-- once some news announcer blew his line and called ‘em the “Swarm” the name stuck. I have since heard that some of the races we’re sandbags for not only haven’t really heard of them much less know that there is a crisis threatening their survival.
CAP testing had not been all fun and games but the result had provided a major boost for my ego given my relative lack of visual appeal and desirability to women in general. I’d done it early on in the hopes of getting onto the “Regular Joe” series-- you don’t get much more regular than me, for instance-- but hadn’t made the cut for the show.
Granted, at the time, there were a lot of people out there competing for the show.
Now, of course, I’d come to know, along with the rest of the world, that CAP testing for “Regular Joe” was all just a ruse ... but my CAP score did get me more attention from my female co-workers, and, when I wore the little badge, women in general.
Though being an 8.1 is, well ... trouble. No one will, at first, believe that your score isn’t faked, until you pull out the little difficult-to-counterfeit ID cards with your CAP score on it. Finding my score of 8.1 left me surprised; I had been certain that I wasn’t anything special.
All right, so it doesn’t help make me the “life of the party”, for instance, but I have to admit that I was being invited to more of them. I was also surprised with suddenly being popular with my co-workers, both male and female, and was always included in lunch plans.
Heck, I’d find myself being treated to lunch more often, too. I was surprised...
Having a high CAP score sure helped me in getting my cherry popped, too.
With the news of why CAP scores were important came the news of how volunteers for Confederacy service were being picked up-- you know, extracted-- from the Earth. Given the desperation that many felt, there was no way for a fixed location to take the stream of people who had volunteered because the less desirable people were “in the way”, trying to ensure their own exit. Some examples had been made to show us all that the Confederacy wasn’t going to do this.
With the news of Sa’arm and the extraction process, things changed for me. Early on, I had settled down and married a a woman-- who I worked with-- who had a 6.9 CAP rating. She also put in as a volunteer, herself. Unfortunately, she now preferred to work from home and seldom came into the office with me, so she wasn’t with me on the day when I got scarfed up by a Confederacy pick-up team. This chance event-- and her absence-- enforced an instant divorce.
Well, I figured, maybe someday she’d wise up and try to get out of the house more. On this fateful day marking my final departure from the Earth, I had invited her to come out and meet me at this restaurant for lunch. Her downfall came from her reluctance to drive in to town for such a trivial reason.
Yeah, it has usually been the little choices like this one that have always had significant consequences.
With my 8.1 CAP score I could select up to six partners from the people currently present at the restaurant. My wife, if she had been here with me, would likely have chosen to stand on her own and select two partners, being just .1 point away from being able to select four.
But, then, my wife-- well, now, ex-wife-- would have to be present when and where a Confederacy pick-up was happening.
Like I said, such little decisions can have immense consequences.
With the lock-down imposed by an interdiction field, we’d avoid getting swamped by even more people begging to get off the planet. At the same time it seriously limited what was available for us in the way of “raw material” to pick and choose from, too.
So there I was inside a restaurant and expected to pick up to six people to be my concubines as part of an effort to boost the human population in a safer place. All I-- or any of the other selectees-- had to choose from was locked in here with us. Having four other selectees here for me to compete with didn’t reduce the pressure much, of course, given that I had never been particularly ambitious or having had a very competitive nature. That three of my four competitors for breeding stock were women rather than men did relieve some of the pressure on me, albeit slightly.
The Confederacy extraction team itself was composed of two women, both built for strength, first, but who still looked pretty attractive to me. I figured they both had to have serious CAP scores for inclusion within the Confederacy’s military ... and I figured they were both out of my league, anyway.
That being said, this team did not look all that happy with this situation, either. Like I said, out of five selectees, there were two men-- and I was obviously one of them. Two of the women in my lunch group were also selectees, too. Sandra, the tall, elegants black woman who I’d been pining over for for the last two years, was one of them. I would have salivated over the opportunity to sponsor her and suddenly had to shift gears as I learned she had a higher CAP score than I did, at 8.7. Well, between her and Kim, it was obvious that I had an eye for quality. So, suddenly, I had to put her out of my mind because she was even further out of my reach than I had ever felt her to be, before.
Kim, the other selectee from my lunch group, worked over in the research library and was a friend of Sandra’s. She was no slouch with a 7.7 CAP. I had always found her small body and oriental appearance attractive which had led to her role as number two, behind Sandra, on my “wistful longing” list. Having my top two candidates-- and my wife as number three-- suddenly out of reach, made the need to change my plans a shock.
The other two selectees were people I had not met before-- some gal named Josephine with a 7.3 and a guy with a 7.4 named Harry. The pick-up team, once we’d been in lock-down, spoke up and called us all out by name to come up to them to be introduced to all of the people in the restaurant. We got a quick briefing from the leader while the junior member of the team started getting people lined up for their chance to leave with one of us.
Sandra turned to me, and, once we shared our CAP scores with each other, asked “Jeff, are you willing to partner with me?”
Was I? I gulped, a brief sensation of fear running through me. Even though I’d idolized her, Sandra cut an imposing figure given that her eyeballs were six inches above mine without heels. This height difference to my disadvantage wasn’t all bad having made her well-shaped accouterments immediately obvious to my eye. Now, with her CAP score, Sandra well-nigh irresistible to me.
I proved to her that I am no fool. I nodded. More than a little bit enthusiastically, in fact. “Sounds perfect, Sandra,” I added, making sure she didn’t misunderstand me. I couldn’t believe I was still capable of this much of an understatement, however. I didn’t realize, at the time, that she was able to see the adoration I’d tried holding inside for so long suddenly so clear on my face.
Sandra smiled-- no, beamed-- back at me, looking happy, before pulling me away from the crowd being lined up under the orders of the soldiers driving this process, wanting to discuss terms of our partnership.
I’ll admit that I was enough in her sway that I would very willingly surrender to her.
“So, Jeff, between us we can pick up to twelve ... concubines ... for us to breed with. How would you like to break this out? What do you think we should prioritize on?”
I’ve always respected Sandra’s organizational abilities, you should know, from projects to picnics, and her question just increased my admiration. “I feel we should try to maximize genetic diversity as long as we don’t take on any zeros. While you and I are already, well, genetically diverse, just to start with, we will probably want as much variety in genotypes we can get. I know we’re kind of limited to what we can find, here, but we have little choice. On top of the genetic angle, I think, also, that we need certain skills and mindsets, say, strong maternal instincts, for instance, who can cope with raising children. Conception isn’t the only priority, after all, we want help, don’t we?”
Sandra nodded and smiled as I spoke, apparently in tune with me. “And a couple of paternal men, too, I think.”
Well, that was my cue to nod. “Yeah. While I don’t fancy much in the way of competition, I have to agree. Anything less would be unfair to you, so ... at least one would have to be a great fuck for you, since, truly, I am no prize ‘tween the sheets.”
Sandra smirked. “Somehow, given your scores, I don’t doubt that you will be able to scratch my itch just fine. We don’t really need more than one-- well, maybe even two-- men in our mix. Maybe some weak minds and strong backs, for instance, that will do as we need them to.”
I laughed at her phrasing, knowing that she was trying to lessen the sting for me. I smiled some more and looked up just as a little scene caught my eye. I spotted one man-- a little shorter than I was-- kissing a woman’s cheek and carrying an infant to the back wall. I pointed him out to Sandra. “Start with him, all right? And I’ll go talk to the woman he was with. If he’s willing to give up his wife and increase her chances of being picked, probably hoping to save his child, too, in an act of sacrifice, he’s probably got enough of the kind of spirit we’re looking for. If he’s that thoughtful his CAP can’t be all that low, either.”
Sandra smiled at me and nodded. “I like the way you think.”
I chuckled. “I’m not sure which of us should be more worried about that, dearest.”
My new partner swept me up in a hug and gave me one hell of a toe-curling kiss, which I did my best to return. Until this moment I had only thought I was in love with her ... but our kiss sealing the deal confirmed how hopelessly I had fallen in love with her. Before she could get away from me I did my best to kiss her senseless, too, though I had my doubts that I had enough skill to do so.
Best of all, from this shared set of kisses, I could tell that she loved me, too.
Once I was back on my feet-- and, at least, marginally functional again, after a kiss that fried my brains-- we split up to handle the first two interviews. I hurried over to the woman whose husband had shown his thoughtfulness. Fortunately I got to her just before Harry could work his way along the line to her and I asked her for her ID card.
Pam, with her CAP of 6.4, was, to my eye, a keeper. Blonde hair, blue eyes, a button nose, a pretty face ... and, once I started to talk to her I didn’t care that her itemized CAP score indicated that she was, to be honest, not much better than a “dead fuck”. This didn’t scare me much since my now ex-wife was, too. Pam’s maternal instincts did show she’d be a good mommy, though. Additionally, Pam was smart and adaptive even in this mad-house, showing her sense of humor despite these pressures ... and the worry about her husband. I asked her about her husband’s CAP and got the answer of “Five and a half” with a hint of sadness in her voice. I didn’t want to raise her hopes until I saw, over her shoulder, a thumb’s up from my tall, dark, partner.
“Pam, go get your husband and child and bring them both over there” I ordered, pointing to the extraction team. “You’ve both been chosen. Sandra wants him, I want you, and, with Sandra and I being an item, you won’t be far apart. Now git!”
I have never seen such an adoring look on a woman’s face directed at me. Never.
Well, never before. I would turn out to be surprised how many more I got as the extraction wore on.
And, yeah, I could tell that Sandra was basking in the same kind of glow, too.
Sure, we were their ticket to escaping the earth, yes, but the price was damn near abject slavery. Heck, slavery might have been a step up from what the price tag to survival was going to be ... and it struck me, in that moment, that there was a price tag for Sandra and I that was not immediately obvious to the eye: responsibility. I could not see why Pam had given me the look of enthusiasm and happiness that I had gotten from her. Hell, the look Paul, her earthy husband, gave to Sandra wasn’t any less freighted with happiness.
Sandra rejoined me and, once we smiled and kissed each other again, we worked our way along the line of women.
Our next pick, though, was a pretty little oriental girl named Tina. Her CAP of 4.0 had great scores for her sex drive and cooperativeness even though her maternal drives were weak, especially compared to Pam. That Tina was nowhere near as bright as Pam and her lack of womanly curves explained why Harry hadn’t even paused before passing her by, but my partner whispered “We’ll have her hips widened a bit, OK?”
I giggled, nodding. We were, with Tina, up to three out of our alloted twelve picks. Pickings weren’t quite as slim as I had originally worried.
We settled easily on Susan as our fourth pick. Yes, she was a bit heavy at thirty two years of age with two children in middle school. Brunette, a sweet nature, with a nicely (to my eye) padded body shape, not too bright, but a very strong maternal drive, eclipsing Pam’s. We found more than we bargained for when Sandra had her strip to show us what she had to offer us, or, really, me.
Given that she stripped without complaint or even hesitation gave her good marks for obedience even with her shortage of enthusiasm, but what we found then explained everything.
I almost got ill, I really did. It didn’t make any sense ... but Sandra and I shared a look. Susan was going to leave with us.
Why did we take her? Even without any effort to test drive her?
Her husband, to my mind, was an utter imbecile. Her body was marked with welts and scars. Her back, sides and legs all bore marks of abuse. She was reluctant to let us know that her husband had been doing most of this, but, at least, she bowed to our authority.
It was fortunate that her husband wasn’t here today; I have seldom wanted to kill anyone ... but...
Susan had been lucky enough to stop here for coffee on the way to pick him up from work ... and I took a perverse amount of pleasure in thinking that he would have a very long wait. Sandra’s look showed me that we were in accord.
While there may be a shortage of justice in the world, I was enjoying an opportunity to exercise some, right here.
When Susan got the nod from me-- and Sandra-- her smile and look of adoration made the memory of Pam’s seem to dim in comparison. I had my hopes that Susan’s CAP scores would have a chance to improve in an environment that would help such growth.
I’m still not sure what motivated her razor-edged glee at our acceptance and approval of her. Was it me? Was I attractive to her? Or was it that she’d never have to face her husband ever again?
I don’t know ... but Sandra, when I discussed this with her later, told me it was likely a mix of everything.
Now, realize, the single biggest problem I saw with a high CAP score is that you can’t really avoid a well-developed sense of empathy. All right, so some people can have a low level and score well in other areas, but, truly, you have to have some, you know?
The problem, though, come from having “too much” empathy. It undermines your ability to make dispassionate decisions, especially when you most need to. Susan was empathy, pure and simple ... and we lucked out with her. God, did we luck out, though that’s a consequence that comes much later.
Why is empathy a crippler? Well, it can make you indecisive when faced with tough situations. If you want a prime example of this conflict, just look at the Presidency of Jimmy Carter: Empathy kept him from breaking any of the eggs needed for an omelet.
So, sure, you’re afraid of hurting or killing people, but, at the same time, a real human being is going to want to feel like they are connected to other people.
Well, except for sociopaths. You don’t have to be male to be a sociopath, by the way. We skipped over a couple of them. They usually came in with zeroes and ones since there must be some empathy to enable the other scores ... and, truly, in hindsight, it was obviously a requirement of the Confederacy, perhaps to keep us from being a threat to them.
While I was looking around for something to catch my eye, Sandra surprised me by grabbing my arm and telling me “Let’s pull one from that set of twins over there.”
After seeing them I smirked at my partner. Those two blonde Valkyries could have been on the Swedish bikini team ... and Harry had taken one look and passed them by, shaking his head, apparently not wanting to break up a set of book-ends. Tina and Toni, as twins, turned out to have decent scores for everything but maternal instinct, but, hey, we had that covered better than we’d originally expected. There was nothing wrong with their wombs, though, and their bodies would need little assistance to carry children. The problem they had, to my eye, was that they had chosen to stand together as a pair ... and so Harry obviously didn’t want to use up two of his slots on them ... and was too nice a guy to consider breaking up the set.
But I figured that this would give one of them a chance.
Sandra and I could afford to take both of them on even given they would have cut into our avowed interest in genetic diversity. At the same time I saw them as both good stock, too.
That’s when it hit me-- maybe something could work out after all.
“Harry!” I called out. “I got an idea, c’mere!”
He paused, talking to an older Hispanic woman (who looked pretty cute, too), telling her that he’d be right back, and stepped over to us, standing by the twin girls. “Yeah, Jeff?”
I told him, Sandra nodding with me, “Sandra and I want one of the twins, but not both. You willing to take the other one?”
Jeff looked them up and down, his eyes popping open. “Yeah, I’m willing to take one, not both.”
The twins looked worried for a moment and then relieved ... and, almost in synchronization, started stripping, without being asked.
Harry asked them “Are you willing to be separated?”
They both paused in undressing, their fingers in their panty waist-bands, when they answered, in stereo, “Sure! As long as I know my sister is okay!” Then they skinned the rest of the way.
One had a birthmark on her left hip, the other on her right. The one with the left-side mark was also left-handed, it turned out, and, with being a southpaw myself, I pulled her hand and told her to join the group we were collecting. She made sure I knew her name was Toni. Harry got Tina. The twins turned to each other, gave hugs and then each turned to their sponsor.
I got crushed in a wonderfully warm hug from a hot woman. My dick, still in my pants, hardened further and enjoyed the pressure. When I got a chance to look at Sandra she was smiling at me. Then Sandra was startled by the hug Toni gave her ... including a very hot kiss.
Harry, we could tell, was as happy as a clam. We was up to three of his alloted concubines with Tina and chose to cut short his search by choosing the hispanic woman he’d been talking to when I interrupted him. He did decide to lay her down on one of the tables for a test-drive, obviously finishing off in her.
We paid attention to other selectees, too, like Josephine, as she worked her way through the meat market. Now, as a selectee, Josephine had a good CAP score, but she must have been carrying some extra emotional baggage to fuck up how she would exercise it. She had picked out three men for herself ... and then chose a mousy little woman to round out her stable. I had no idea how she was going to cope with three big men-- two of whom were black, not that they seemed like trouble-- but Sandra and I got a giggle out of it. Each of her men, however, was way better endowed than I was and Sandra commented that they’d probably be a real pain in the ass.
I teased her back saying “If sex is a pain in the ass, you must not be doing it right, and, somehow, given the need to reproduce, I don’t think anyone wants any more lawyers born. You know, of course, that you get ‘em by having anal sex.”
I’ve always loved the sound of Sandra’s laugh, and felt joy hearing it here. One of the soldiers overheard my remark and giggled, too, passing it along to her team member.
Kim had chosen two men for herself, one black, one hispanic, along with two women, taller than she was, both looking like the stereotypical soccer moms. One was blond and the other brunette. Sandra and I were pleased that our former co-worker was thinking so far ahead.
We did pick one other man-- and his wife-- because they not only had decent scores but also had strong parenting scores. Granted, both Carol and Jim weren’t going to impress anyone sexually, but their scores in that area showed that he was a deader fuck than she was.
Sandra picked out the rest from a collection of high school girls and managed to mix together some “sluts” and virgins, and, as I learned to my pleasure later, managed, somehow, to cull out whiners. I swore, later, that she must have some kind of psionic gift.
I was accumulating more and more ways that I loved Sandra.
I had no idea that she was accumulating the same kinds of reasons to love me, too.
The senior member of the pick-up team smiled at us and said, as we were lined up for transport out, that we’d at least kept it from being a complete cluster fuck given the size of our merged entourage.
Just as much as older people I’ve talked to have remembered Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, I paused to set my last step on the face of the Earth into my own memory.
Given my past ... it came with a sense of relief.
The trip out to our new home was ... was...
We were assigned a a pair of personnel pods which would be our home for the trip to the colony world and would be our homes on the surface, too. We tended to stay in just one of the two pods so we could all stay close together. The kind of crowding was ... well ... pleasant.
The ship we were being carried as exterior cargo was a huge ship optimized for carrying as many of these pods as possible. Given the size-- obviously an effort towards maximizing economic efficiency-- left me suspecting that it was too big for there to be many of them. I hoped I was wrong because that would certainly cut into how many people could be evacuated from Earth.
We didn’t get to see any of the Darjee in person-- I was under the impression that our chauffers found us more than just a little bit disquieting-- but the twenty of us, six children along with us fourteen adults, stayed packed in one pod. It was comforting, somehow, to have my extended family close to me, for instance, and, in talking this over with Sandra, she felt the same way.
Susan’s pre-teens did watch all of the adults around them closely for several days before their tension finally abated enough for them to relax around us. Like their mother, the medical work had already removed all of the physical scar tissue, but, I knew, it might take a life-time to heal the emotional and mental scars, too. It had been obvious to me, and to Sandra and Pam, that they were waiting for a fight or beating to break out. Once they’d relaxed they were both much more helpful in dealing with Pam’s infant and Carol’s elementary school-age children.
At least the two girls didn’t go “Ewwwwwwww!” more than once or twice while the adults were having sex or lounging around in the nude.
And, yeah, Sandra and I decided that nudity would be a good start to mental health. Lying, for instance, seems to be more difficult when one’s body is there. Clothing helps us to lie about-- and to-- ourselves. Consider the phrase of “clothes make the man”, for instance.
All right, so it makes sexual contact easier, but, really, I calmed down a lot after the first couple of days, even with Sandra whispering suggestions in my ear.