Mankind entered the last third of the XXI century. Civilization had survived the world wars and crises that reshaped the world order, with sentient AIs and robots taking over most of the jobs and creating thousands of new ones, with the ecology nearly crashing and then recovering, with the first colonies firmly established on Mars, the Moon and orbital habitats. The human race was spreading its wings, ready to dominate the Solar System and take a leap to the stars.
Then the Alliance ships arrived. They were huge, gleaming, and impressive. The Masters (we did not call them Masters yet, they called themselves Luminarchs, as you know) wasted no time in making contact with humanity.
“Hello, humans,” they said. “This star system is now officially claimed by the Alliance.”
“Wow!” said the humans. “Are you going to invite us into the Alliance? Or to enslave us? We will fight back in the latter case!”
“Actually, neither,” the Masters replied. “You are far inferior to us, and we can take whatever we want because your resistance would be puny and futile. But your skills could be of great use to us, so we have a proposal for you...”
A shadow fell on the page. I raised my eyes and, of course, it was Jed, right out of the pool, drops of water glistening on his naked body.
“Whatcha readin’, baby?” he asked.
I showed him. He chuckled.
“Still going through the kids’ textbooks?”
“It’s really interesting to read them now, to see how the emphasis is placed, what messages are conveyed. It feels very different from our childhood, you know. You should read them again sometime.”
“No, I mean, if you are interested in history, you could read the really serious works.”
He sat down next to me. I leaned against him, felt his skin against mine, and my heart melted. We had been in love for two years and it showed no signs of cooling off.
“I read them too. But it’s still interesting how complex things are explained to children.”
We kissed. Nancy approached, her little Stacy and Mike following her on unsteady feet. She was nursing little Lily.
“Hi Nancy! Sit down.”
Mike looked curiously at my open book. “Oh! Masta’s ship!” he exclaimed, pointing to the picture.
“That’s right, Mike. Same as ours.”
“I know!” he said proudly, and wobbled off to other toddlers playing by the water.
Nancy followed him with her eyes, smiling. We were the same age, but the Masters thought she was better suited for motherhood, so she was assigned to breeding. She already had three children and would have about fifteen in her lifetime.
“How does it feel to dedicate your whole life to the children?” I asked.
I was still not sure if I would ever want to give birth myself. It’s good that the Masters thought the same and kept me infertile. The Masters understood, of course, that we weren’t a hive species like them, but it was still the most natural thing for them to divide us into several different working castes.
“Feels good!” Nancy replied. “I’m doing something important for the Masters and the ship. And raising children is fun. Besides, my partners have been assigned to fatherhood, so we spend a lot of time together. There’s a lot of work, of course, but nothing I can’t handle. And no generator assignments unless I volunteer for them. I still love sex, you know!”
We laughed. That was our usual conversation. Yes, the breeders weren’t usually assigned to the generator chambers, and never at peak load. Of course, in a serious emergency, we would all be there, and even the Masters would join us to generate, but I personally had not seen those emergencies yet in my life. Well, to devote one’s whole life to the children and to joy and not to any pain looked tempting ... But so far I have preferred some pain to bringing up children.
“Mike!” Nancy jumped up and ran to stop a fight. Stacy followed her. In four generations aboard the ship, the Masters have made great strides in transforming our primal agression into expanded sexuality, but our youngest children still showed signs of our ape ancestry.
“Twenty minutes to Warp,” the loud broadcast said. “First stage of generators to warm-up. Second stage, standby. Third and fourth stages, sleep mode.”
I felt a tingling sensation and looked at the flashing light on my wrist, the same as Jed’s. We were in the first stage, as usual. Not bad. I like the littoral Warp, there is rarely a need for peak load.
I pulled up my ponytail. We stood up and walked to the nearby chamber. Behind us, people were leaving the pool, and it was slowly covered by the moving lid. You don’t want a large open water surface near you when you’re in the Warp, believe me.
“So how can we be of use to you?” the humans asked.
“We need the power sources for our ships,” the Masters replied. “We have other inferior races that serve us as well, of course. But you could be a great addition. We need your sexual energy, and sometimes the energy of your pain.”
There was an awkward pause.
“Are you kidding?” the humans asked. “There is no such thing as sexual or pain energy. We’ve explored that area long ago. Only crazies and freaks claim that.”
“In the physical world, yes,” the Masters said. “But not in the Warp. We need you as Warp generators.”
We have entered the generator chamber - a nice, quiet place with soft floors and walls. We’ve been here hundreds of times, doing our job, fulfilling the purpose of our lives: to be the Warp generators, to give the ship the energy of our intense bodily sensations and emotions. Because the other energy sources do not work in the Warp, you know.
“Ten minutes to the Warp. Ten minutes chamber warmup. Stand by for generation of cruise power.”
Dozens of naked men and women were still entering, hugging and kissing like me and Jed. (Did I mention that there is no human clothing anywhere aboard? Because of my interest in history, I know there were such things on Earth. But we don’t need clothes here.) The air was filled with the spicy scent of aphrodisiacs, as if we needed any kind of arousal boost, but that was the protocol.
Of course, soon the vortex of the Endless Orgy will separate me and Jed, but we loved to start it together. We kissed passionately, hugged tightly, stroked each other, then I moaned softly and began to breathe faster and faster as Jed entered me, thrusting deep.
By the time we entered the Warp, we were already warmed up as hell and generating. In a few minutes I screamed in my first orgasm of the day, tensing and pressing my body as tightly as I could against Jed’s. We held each other for a few seconds, then kissed, separated and went to change partners. The generator chamber was on steady drive, people breathing hard, moaning and screaming.
As always in the Warp, the chamber changed shape, its walls bending and pulsating like the insides of a giant body organ. The air became thicker and filled with a light mist. Of course, we never saw our ship from the outside in the Warp, but we saw many recordings. The strict, precise shape of the hull was also changing, it was bulging segments, sprouting long gnarled antennas and several pairs of miles long transparent rainbow wings, becoming similar to a giant insect. Much like the things we encounter in the Warp.