Chapter 23A

Copyright© 2005 by Al Steiner

Science Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 23A - A riveting story that takes place on Mars, a corporate planet controlled by powerful firms on Earth. Although humans, citizens of Mars are treated as a lower class race. The wind of change brings a new Governor, Laura Whiting, who will lead the Martian revolution. What will happen next to this fascinating society? Will they succeed to live in a world free of corporate puppeteers?

Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Science Fiction  

Eden main line of defense

September 14, 2146

0445 hours

The 17th, 9th, and 14th ACRs, the battered veterans of two Jutfield Gap battles, made their way into the rear areas, passing through the main line of defense and assembling in staging areas west of the city but east of the artillery positions. Eden defense doctrine dictated that these three regiments were to be resupplied and refueled and then utilized as tactical reserve units for the 2nd Infantry Division where their rapid mobility capabilities would allow them to be rushed — either piecemeal or fully intact — to portions of the main line that required immediate reinforcement. It was plain from the moment they came limping in that doctrine was not exactly being followed in this instance.

The first thing noticed was that all of their tanks and the support vehicles that supplied and fueled them were not in the staging area.

"Where the fuck are the tanks?" Jeff asked Drogan as the dismounted wearily from their APC. He was looking around almost frantically, seeing nothing but other APCs, armored supply vehicles, and, strangely, dozens of the tracked agricultural trucks that the 2nd Infantry soldiers had recently used to remove the WestHem dead from the battlefield between phases.

"I don't see them," Drogan replied, taking only a cursory look around. "Have you heard from Xenia? Maybe she can tell you."

"I haven't heard from her in more than an hour. She sent me a text after the last withdrawal so I know she was all right then."

"Nothing since?"

He shook his head. "The tanks aren't even showing up on the forces screen anymore," he said. "It's like they were never there in the first place."

"That is kinda strange," Drogan said. "I'm sure there's a good reason for it."

"Yeah," Jeff said worriedly. "I'm sure there is." First Hicks was killed and now Xenia was missing — vanished without a trace. What else could happen?

He soon found out. Colonel Martin himself — commander of the 17th ACR — arrived on a support APC. He was dressed in a brand new model 459 military biosuit but he carried no weapons on him. He stood atop the turret of one of the APCs and commandeered the main dispatch channel so he could address the entire regiment (except the tanks, which had disappeared).

"Men and women of the 17th," he said, his gravelly voice transmitted in clear digital audio. "We don't have much time before things start hopping around here again so I'll spare you the blathering bullshit about the last battle. We were hit hard and fast in all sectors and we took some heavy casualties — unacceptably heavy casualties. We weren't able to fulfill our primary mission of slowing down the WestHem marines at the gap and the defensive lines behind the gap. We were not able to inflict significant casualties on the enemy. This failure was not the fault of any of you out there — you people fought hard and you fought well and I'm proud of each and every one of you. Nor was this failure my fault, or General Jackson's fault, or General Zoloft's fault, or Governor Whiting's fault. It was simply the fortunes of war acting against us. The enemy got one in on us with their air strike and were able to prevent us from neutralizing their artillery. They came at us with overwhelming numbers before reinforcements could be fully deployed. In short, they kicked our asses in this particular battle. That is war and the Martian way is not to try to find someone to blame but to try as hard as we can to learn from what happened and to prevent it from happening again.

"That is what we're trying to do now. Our reinforcements from the 12th and the 5th ACRs out of Proctor have now all arrived and are being deployed to the main line. Most of the 4th Infantry Division from Proctor are on their way here right now and should start arriving early this evening. So please take assurance in the fact that help is here and more is on the way."

He took a few breaths and looked around at the sea of faces staring back at him from behind their helmets. "People," he said, "I fully understand why some of you are doing this but desertion is starting to become a serious problem out here. I know that right now many of you are contemplating leaving before the next phase of this battle begins, particularly those of you in the anti-tank platoons. It was you folks, after all, who were hit the hardest out there in the gap and in the blue line positions. But before any more of you leave please let me explain a few things to you. All I ask is that you listen to me and trust me as you've trusted me in the past. I made a vow long ago that I would never lie to my troops and I'm not about to start now."

He paused to let that sink in. When he felt it had, he went on. "Okay, the first point I want to make is that the defensive positions you'll be manning here on the main line are much more formidable then the positions in the gap. The main line has always been regarded as the place to make our final stand and it was constructed with that in mind. Those positions are solid, reinforced concrete bunkers with concrete overhead protection that will stand up a lot longer to artillery bombardment before crumbling.

"Now I understand the basic theory of defensive positions. No matter how strong your defenses are, a determined concentration of firepower will eventually break it. We haven't neutralized the WestHem artillery and, if we don't, it is possible that they might be able to inflict significant, even lethal damage upon these positions. I don't like telling you that, I know it isn't helping my pleas to stem the flow of desertions, but it's the truth. If we don't do something about the WestHem arty, we may have a repeat of the Jutfield Gap and the Blue Line casualties. It will just take a little longer.

"So... on that note, I have been authorized to tell you that General Jackson and General Zoloft are working on a way to reduce or neutralize that artillery in this theater of action. I can't tell you what their plan is — although I have been briefed on the rudimentaries of it — but I can assure you that there is a plan in effect and it stands a very good chance of being effective. Now if this were WestHem and I was a WestHem marine colonel telling you this, I would expect you all to think it was a bunch of bullshit. However, I'm not a WestHem marine colonel, I'm a Martian colonel and I've told you this same thing before during the first phase of the battle. I was telling you the truth then, wasn't I? I am not lying to you now. I hope you will all consider my record before making any decisions.

"And there is something else I'd like you to consider as well. I have been told by General Jackson and General Zoloft that our forces here in Eden will not be subjected to that volume of fire again even if their plan should fail. If we cannot knock out or neutralize the WestHem artillery and they began to bring shells down with impunity as they did before, you will all be pulled back and the city will be surrendered to the WestHems before we even have a chance to experience the sort of losses we suffered in the gap and at the Blue Line.

"So please, have faith in your leadership a little bit longer. We need every man and woman with a gun, with an AT weapon, with an APC or a tank to stand between our city and those forces of corporate WestHem that are trying to take it away from us. We can do this, people, if we only stay united. We're fighting for our very freedom. Don't let us lose it after everything we've gone through to get this far. If we lose, then all those who have fallen will have fallen in vain. That is all I have to say on that subject. Now then... I have reserve assignments for those who will be staying."

He tried to go onto his reserve assignments but he was interrupted by the sound of applause. He wouldn't have thought he could hear something like that out in the thin atmosphere, with everyone wearing gloves on his or her hands, with his own head covered with an insulated helmet, but sixteen hundred people doing it at once made a noise no matter where you were — as long as there was any air to carry the sound.

"Thank you," Martin said when it finally died out. "As I said, I'm proud of each and every one of you and when we beat those fucks back into orbit you will all know that you played a major part in it. Now, on that note... those assignments.

"As you might have noticed, the tanks and their support units are not here. They have already been reassigned and redeployed to the 2nd Infantry to help shore up certain positions on the line where a particularly thick barrier is needed. Many of the tanks from the 2nd Infantry have joined them. Unfortunately this has left some armor gaps in other places along the line and our APCs, minus their mounted infantry crews, will be used to augment these gaps."

"What the fuck?" Jeff heard Tim Locker — the driver of their APC — mutter over the tactical channel. "Augment the tanks?"

"I know this is a departure from MPG doctrine," Martin was saying. "Trust me when I say it is a necessity. And, like the AT positions in the bunker complexes, our fixed armor positions are a bit more considerable than the gap positions. They are all hull-down depressions surrounded by concrete and reinforced with titanium shielding on the front and sides. The APCs will not be placed in any position where they are not augmented by at least one 2nd Infantry main battle tank."

"How are we supposed to reinforce anyone if they're taking our APCs?" Drogan asked. "Are we supposed to walk to where they need us?"

"No," Jeff replied, pointing to a group of the tracked agricultural trucks. "I think they've developed alternate transport for us."

It turned out he was entirely correct as Colonel Martin explained just seconds later.

"Great," said Walker, who, though he had applauded as loud as anyone a few minutes ago, seemed less than thrilled with all the change in basic doctrine. "We'll be riding in the back of trucks, completely exposed. One proximity shell from one artillery gun or even a mortar will shred us all."

They all pondered that unpleasant image in silence.

"Okay, folks," Martin wrapped up. "The WestHems are currently performing a textbook assault on the Purple Line, which they don't realize is completely empty. After that, it is anticipated they'll do the same for the Red Line. After that, we expect they'll have to refuel and rearm before they can move on the main line. That will take most of the day to accomplish and our arty, special forces teams, and aircraft intend to make that process as slow and painful for them as possible.

"In the meantime, we ourselves need to refuel and re-arm too. Let's get that done and then start moving to our new assignments." He paused for a second or two. "Free Mars, people. Free Mars. We're not just saying it, we're fucking doing it!"

AgriCorp Greenhouse 02.13223 — 05.66542, 14 kilometers northwest of Eden

0645 hours

This particular greenhouse was full of tomato plants that had been days from being harvested. Now it looked like most of the yield would have to be written off since 253 main battle tanks had entered the sanctity of their growing area and smashed most of them flat with their treads — enough agricultural destruction to make an AgriCorp executive cry had any of them known about it.

The tanks were spread out in staggered lines all across the fields, their ranks closing like a funnel into four distinct lines near the north end where four fueling and resupply cars were waiting to service each of them. At the head of each line the tanks would be pumped full of hydrogen for fuel, oxygen for oxidizer, and would have any shells or bullets they'd shot off in the first engagements replaced. They would then move onto the access tunnel that led to the next greenhouse to the north where a final assembly for... for something was taking place.

Out the west side of the greenhouse the first foothills of the Sierra Madres mountain range could be seen. Beyond that, the higher peaks of the range were poking up above the horizon, dust devils and plumes of red being blown from their summits. This section of agricultural land was among the oldest on Mars, the first to be cultivated in Eden's earlier days. It was also the furthest west the greenhouse complexes stretched — most of them were off to the north and the east of the city on the vast flatlands known as The Plains of Eden. The two greenhouses the tanks were assembling in were the very last ones built in the westerly direction before the land began to rise into the foothills.

Xenia sat atop the turret of her tank, her legs dangling down into the commander's hatchway. Since they were in a pressurized environment she, like most of the rest of the tank crews, had removed her helmet, unzipped the top of her biosuit, and pushed it down into a bunch around her stomach. Her braless breasts jiggling beneath her tight and sweaty MPG t-shirt had become a point of distraction for most of the males — and many of the females — within visual range of her. She pretended not to notice as she munched on a tomato she'd picked from one of the surviving plants and chatted with Belinda who was poking out of the driver's hatch, also unprotected to the waist and also eating a tomato. Belinda's large breasts created some distractions as well, although not quite as much since they were firmly encased in a cotton sport bra beneath her t-shirt.

"So what do you think?" Belinda suddenly asked, breaking a lull in conversation that had gone on for the past fifteen minutes.

"What do I think?" Xenia responded, looking at her with a sparkle in her eyes. "I think I'd love to come down there right now and lick that tomato juice off your pouty lips."

Belinda flushed with arousal at these words but she refused to take the bait. "I mean what do you think about all this?" she asked, pointing at the formation of tanks all around them. "What in the hell are we doing out here, fifteen kilometers away from where the action's gonna be? What are they gonna do with us?"

"I liked my thought better," Xenia grumbled. She sighed and tried to take her mind off how fucking horny she was right now. She was ordinarily quite amorous in her pursuits of pleasure but combat seemed to wrench this up by a factor of four or so. She wasn't able to completely banish the erotic thoughts from her head but she was at least able to push them back to their own red line. "I heard a few rumors when I was out picking these tomatoes."

"Yeah?" Belinda asked. "What are they saying?"

"They're just rumors," she qualified. "Probably based on nothing but speculation, but the consensus seems to be that we're going to be used for some kind of surprise flank attack."

"A surprise flank attack?"

"That's what they're saying," she confirmed. "They pulled 250 or so main battle tanks off the line where we're desperately needed and moved us up here to the north, well beyond where any fighting could conceivably take place. They cut all outgoing communications from our combat computers and our tank computers — Jeff must be worried sick about me by now."

Belinda frowned at the mention of Jeff Creek, a stab of black jealousy piercing straight into her heart. "Uh huh," she said, just barely maintaining a civil tone. "What else?"

"I was talking to one of the 2nd Infantry guys out there. He said his battalion was split in two when they sent out the movement orders. He doesn't know where the other half got sent — they cut off the com link before he could talk to one of his butt-buddies assigned to the other half — but he saw them heading south from the main line. He seemed to think there's another group of tanks teaming up somewhere south of the city."

"Hmmm," Belinda said thoughtfully. "What the hell kind of flanking maneuver do they think we're gonna be able to do? The marines have more than six thousand tanks out there. They're stretching them all across the valley from the Sierra Madres to the Overlook Mountains. How can you flank anything if you can't get around it?"

"I don't know," Xenia said. "As I said, it's just a rumor."

"What if that's not what they're planning?"

"What do you mean?"

"What if they mean to have us blast straight through their line?" Belinda asked. "That would be suicide."

"Yes," Xenia said, nibbling on her bottom lip a little. "The strength of our tank forces is our fixed positions. If we go mobile we lose our advantage and they outnumber us twenty to one — or at least ten to one if there's another 250 of us assembling to the south."

"That's still nowhere near enough for a head-on confrontation," Belinda said. "I'm sorry, but if that's what our orders are they can count me out. I'm willing to risk my ass out here but I'm not gonna throw my life away for nothing."

"Me either," Xenia agreed.

The four tanks in front of them finished up their loading and moved off, heading for the tunnel. The loading bosses waved the next four forward.

"About fucking time," Belinda mumbled. She dropped back into her hatch and disappeared. A moment later the tank's engine started up with its distinctive turbine whine. Xenia held onto the barrel of the commander's machine gun as they moved forward nine meters and stopped next to the supply cars. The engine shut down and Belinda popped back up again, climbing completely out. Xenia climbed out as well and waked across the top of the right tread guard where she opened the main hatch to the turret.

The ammo supply technician, a greasy, dangerous looking type of about nineteen or so, walked over to her. He was shirtless, his skin shimmering with sweat in the early morning light, his gang tattoos (he had honorably retired from The Dust Devils of 44th Avenue) showing prominently.

"Hey there," he said as he unabashedly looked Xenia up and down. "You are one sweet looking piece of ass, darling," he told her.

Xenia smiled at him. There had been a time when she would have been deathly afraid of such a person but that time was now gone forever. Her exposure to Jeff and to the horrors of the battlefield had burned such fears right out of her. Instead, she wondered if there was a way to take advantage of his lustful infatuation for her. "Thank you," she told him, giving a deliberate bounce to make her breasts jiggle.

The loader groaned lasciviously. "Damn, bitch," he told her. "Those are the juiciest fuckin' melons I ever seen. I been scopin' on them titties since you was six tanks back."

"I thought I felt them burning," she said sexily, giving a little shoulder shrug.

"Mmm hmmm," he said. "You gotta let me check them things out, baby," he said. "I won't be able to sleep tonight if I don't."

"Well... we'll see what we can arrange maybe," she said.

"Fuck yeah!" he yelled enthusiastically.

"But first," she said, "business before titties. Aren't you supposed to be laying some ammo on me?"

He sighed in mock consternation and then turned businesslike himself. "The fuckin' war effort must go on," he said. "What you be needing?"

Xenia turned businesslike as well. "Six eighties and a hundred twenties," she said.

"Fuckin' aye," he said. "You good on four millimeter?"

"Haven't fired a round of that yet. We could use some extra food packs and waste packs though."

"Coming right up, sweet tits," he told her. He walked over to his car and disappeared inside.

Meanwhile, a prim and proper woman in her early thirties, wearing a wedding ring with a huge diamond on it on a chain around her neck, had attached a fueling hose to the inlets at the front of the tank.

"What do you need?" she asked Belinda.

"Eighteen K hydro, twenty-one K O2," she replied.

"Fuckin' aye," the woman said. "It's loading."

"You look very familiar," Belinda said. "Do I know you from somewhere?"

The woman smiled. "Everyone says that," she said. "But no one can ever figure it out when they see me dressed like this and pumping fuel into their tanks. I'm Callie Hashbar."

"Callie Hashbar?" Belinda said in surprise. "No shit?" Callie Hashbar was a longtime news anchor for one of the primary MarsGroup video channels. She was married to one of the upper echelon executives for MarsGroup.

"No shit," she said. "Back when the war started I figured I could serve Mars better by signing up for service instead of reading off a teleprompter in front of a camera. I asked for combat duty but... well, I wasn't in good enough shape so they put me in a support position." She shrugged. "I don't mind though. If it wasn't for people like me you folks wouldn't have any fuel to fight those fucks, would you?"

"Fuckin' aye," Belinda agreed.

The fueling took about five minutes. By the time it was done the greasy former gang member emerged from his car with an electric cart full of eighty-millimeter shells, a case of twenty-millimeter shells, and stacks of food and waste packs. He drove it over to the side of the tank.

"Your supplies are ready, sweet tits," he told Xenia.

"Right," she said. They began the loading process, which consisted of the loader handing the shells one by one to Belinda who, in turn, handed them to Xenia inside the tank. Xenia would then put them in the ammo slots that loaded the main gun. After the eighties they loaded the twenty millimeters in. After that they loaded up the waste packs and the food packs and handed out their used packs.

"You're all loaded," the gang member said with a grin. "Now how about flashin' me a quick shot of them titties to keep my morale up?"

Xenia looked at him, as if considering. "Well..." she said, "you don't get somethin' for nothin' in this world, you know what I mean?"

"I just loaded you up with fresh ammo," he said. "Ain't that somethin'?"

"That was your fuckin' job," Xenia told him. "I'm looking for service above and beyond the call."

"Like what?"

"I smell cigarettes all over you," she told him. "How about you break down with some for me and my friend here."

"You show me them titties first and I'll break down with something."

"Dust Devils honor?" she asked.

He laughed. "Someone been talkin' to you, baby," he said. "Yeah, Dust Devils honor." He tapped the side of his tattoo two times to confirm this.

Xenia smiled and then slowly pulled her t-shirt up, revealing her alluring bare breasts to his gaze. The nipples were hard and the loader's eyes widened in arousal, his tongue licking at his lips.

"Damn, baby," he said. "They even nicer than I thought."

"Thank you," she said, letting her shirt fall back down. "Now pay up."

He smiled, removing half a pack of premium West Virginia smokes from his pocket and pulling one out. He handed it across to Xenia. "And there's your payment," he told her.

"One fuckin' cigarette?" she said, outraged.

The loader shrugged. "That's the goin' rate here in the north end of the godforsaken greenhouse."

"But you got to see two tits," Xenia countered. "That oughtta be worth at least two smokes."

"You shoulda negotiated your terms beforehand," the loader told her. "Hell, I only got a eighth grade education and even I know that shit."

"Hmmph," Xenia pouted. "If I show 'em to you again will you give me another smoke?"

"Fuck no! I already seen 'em. You want another smoke you gotta up the ante a little."

"Like what?"

"I wanna touch 'em," he told her, nearly drooling over the very thought.

"One lousy smoke for a touch of these?" she asked. "You must be dusted. Gimmee what's left of that pack and you got a deal."

He shook his head, though only after a moment's hesitation. "No way, baby. This is my last fuckin' pack. I'll give you three of them."

"I want 'em all," Xenia told him. "Take it or leave it."

"I guess I'll have to leave it then," he said with visible regret.

"Are you sure?" Xenia asked in her sexiest voice. She cupped the breasts in question through her t-shirt, squeezing them together. "I bet you never touched a pair like these before, have you? Did you see how hard my nipples were? They want to be touched, baby. They're begging for it."

"Five smokes," the loader said, his eyes wide, his voice cracking.

"All of them," she insisted. "Final offer. Going once... going twice..."

"All right, all right!" he said. "You fuckin' win. Now bust 'em out."

"Hold on a sec," she said, continuing to push them together. "Dust Devil's honor?"

"Yeah, baby," he said, making two quick taps of his tattoo. "Dust Devil's honor. Now bring it on!"

She let go of her breasts and slid down to the tread guard, sitting on the edge of it, her feet dangling down toward the ground. The loader stripped off his work gloves and dropped them indifferently onto the compacted Martian soil. He walked over and stood between her legs, his eyes wide, a prominent bulge pushing out the front of his MPG shorts. Xenia pulled up her shirt, baring her breasts once again. His hands attacked them, squeezing them roughly, twisting them, tweaking the nipples to the point it was almost painful. It was so arousing she almost had an orgasm right there on the tread guard.

It went on for about fifteen seconds before she made him stop. She knew if she didn't she would lose control of herself, would put her hands on that bulge and start doing some squeezing of her own. After that, who knew what could happen?

The loader was speechless as he backed away from her, looking at her in lustful awe.

"The smokes?" Xenia asked with a voice that wasn't quite steady.

"Uh... sure, right," he said, pulling them from his pocket and docilely handing them over.

"Thanks," she said. "I... uh... guess we oughtta get moving now."

"Sure," he replied. "I guess you'd better. Uh... listen, after this thing is over maybe you and I could kinda... you know... hook up?"

"We'll see," she said. "If you see me in the Troop Club some time, don't be afraid to come and talk to me."

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