The Ishtar Investigation
Chapter 6: Travel to the Scene
Copyright© 2010 by Allan Joyal
The trip to the teleport was swift and we found that we had priority in line. Moments later we were finding a comfortable place to sit as the courier ship's crew boosted for the jump point. "We've been told to hurry the trip, so we are boosting at max to the jump point. We'll be jumping in thirty minutes."
I nodded. Sarah was snuggled into my side, and I was going to nap when the lieutenant in charge of the courier spoke. "Sorry sir. I have a call from Admiral Himmel for you and the Lieutenant. Do you want to take it here."
"Its likely to involve some classified information. Is this room secure?" I asked.
Sarah giggled as the lieutenant returned an offended look, but he turned and left the room muttering about being around paranoid people."
Linda however merely sighed. "I guess we can speak now."
The AI chimed and the admiral's voice came through. "Don't worry too much about security on this call. First, I wanted Lieutenant Jackson to know that we have confirmed that her brother is alive. The report we received says that he lost an arm and a leg when his weapon overloaded, but that prompt action by the crew of the Nassau kept him alive until he was placed in a pod."
Linda started sobbing and Sarah wrapped her up in a hug. "That's wonderful," I said. "I hope you understand Linda not responding. I think the relief of knowing her brother is alive has overcome her."
The admiral barked a short laugh. "If she wasn't crying in relief I'd worry. I did have a question for you. Did you keep any of your skimmed records?"
Sarah nodded to me and spoke. "I have Norm's PDA, and last night the AI transferred what information and analysis we had completed. Why?"
Admiral Himmel sighed. "Tell me about Donna Daniels."
There was a pause. Sarah handed the PDA to me and shrugged. I understood that she was telling me that the information was mostly text and she was hoping I could interpret it faster. I gave the system a few commands and whistled. "I have it. Donna Daniels, she's twenty-seven. CAP of six point five, which isn't a surprise as just about every colonist taken to Ishtar had a six point five, I think there were only three at seven with James the highest at seven point two. Picked up at a coffee shop in Miami along with seven others, but three were sent to the Wisp. The other two are believed to have ended up in the rebels. Why?"
Admiral Himmel sighed. "What occupation did she have? I'm just wondering."
I looked more closely at the information. "She worked for a fashion magazine as an executive assistant."
The admiral laughed again. "Well, she is now the one writing up the medical reports on Ishtar. I just had to wonder, since the reports are some of the best I've seen. Clear, concise and yet detailed. I guess that comes from her magazine experience."
"So we have some more names?" I asked.
The admiral laughed. "Yes, but I also found that the people of Ishtar don't follow rules. When Captain O'Brien from the Nassau was released from medical and called me, it was a concubine who put the call through."
"What?" Linda said, finally reacting to something. "I've never heard of such a thing!"
The admiral laughed. "Well, naval ships do use concubines for scut work and as help on damage control teams during and after battles. I'm not sure which ship or admiral started that, but it's now standard on all naval ships. However, this is the first time I've heard of concubines working in communications. I must say the girl was very professional."
Sarah giggled. "Maybe she's a former receptionist. She'd know how to handle things."
There was general laughter, but the Admiral stopped it and spoke one last time. "Norm. I know you don't like to get nasty, but make sure you take a stinger with you. Monty did a little checking through his staff and we've now confirmed that the commander of Darling Downs was involved in a group of officers who were trying to force a reassessment of CAP scoring. The group has no power, but many are former military from Earth and as a group they have a nasty reputation. Your target is probably going to be quite hard to pin down and also is probably willing to kill to keep his secret."
The admiral signed off and we settled in for the start of the trip. Once the ship had jumped Linda and I asked around and discovered that the courier ship only had a single stateroom, which we were expected to share. I clumsily offered to sleep elsewhere, but Linda laughingly refused my offer.
"Oh, its not like I haven't seen men naked now that I'm in space. And I get a feeling you aren't the type to jump me just because you walked in on me changing," she said. "Or are you?"
Sarah started giggling and eventually fell over she was laughing so hard. I reached over to help her up, but she refused help until she got her laughter under control. "Oh, please can I tell Linda about your pickup? Please 'Normie'?"
I groaned, but after seeing the curious look in Linda's eyes nodded. "Go ahead and make me look like a complete idiot," I muttered.
Sarah reached up and pulled me down on top of her, giving me a long and loving kiss. "No, it doesn't make you look like an idiot. It merely will assure this lady that you will respect her no matter the situation."
I nodded. "Let's go to the stateroom. This courier only has a crew of four, but they don't need to hear this."
We walked the short distance to the small and sterile stateroom. I wanted to claim the chair, but Sarah directed Linda to the chair. Once Linda was seated, my concubine pushed me down on the bed and snuggled into my chest.
"This might take a while to tell," she said. "But I know it will leave me wet, so I want to give my savior all the love he deserves."
Linda looked surprised and held up a hand. "This makes no sense. I mean I have my own concubines, Jason and Jill, but they don't act anything like you do Sarah. Aren't you the least bit upset about being a concubine?"
Sarah giggled and opened her top. She had worn her hooker outfit of painted on shorts and tied under the breast shirt. Before I could say anything she was rubbing her naked breasts on my arms and chest.
"No," she said completely unnecessarily. "But that's part of the story I'm about to tell. I should start from the beginning." "It was almost midnight at the little truck-stop diner. It was called Mother's but no one who worked there knew whom it was named after or by. The place seemed to change owners every two or three years, but the food never changed much. I've heard some people call the place a "greasy spoon", but all I knew was that it mostly served truckers and tourists traveling the interstate.
"For me, the place was where I took refuge after spending the afternoon trying to drum up business as a hooker. The men knew me as a sleeper leaper. If a semi pulled into the parking lot and it was clear that the driver was going to go off clock, I'd offer to join him in his sleeper for money. I'd been doing it for twelve years, after I had been driven from my home. My father had remarried and my stepmother had decided that she didn't want to deal with a teenaged girl. I had found myself with no place to stay until I ran into a woman of about thirty who had been practicing sleeper leaping for more than a decade herself. She showed me the ropes and got me started."
Linda gasped, but I held up a hand to warn her to be quiet. I had heard the tale before and knew that as long as Sarah was not interrupted she could get through this portion without crying. Any interruption might unleash a fountain of tears, which would take hours to quell.
Fortunately Linda noticed my hand because she covered her own mouth and Sarah continued. "As I said it was nearly midnight, so I had finished checking the few trucks in the lot. I had found a couple of johns who were willing to pay, and afterwards had retreated to the diner to warm up and get a hot meal before I trekked the two miles to the drafty apartment I lived in. I was actually chatting with Heidi when the place lit up with the grey interdiction field."
"The marine in charge of the pickup announced what was going on and the fifteen or so people in the diner all laughed. The place served as the bar for the nearby town, but even with that everybody figured that there could be no volunteer in the crowd. However, to our surprise the marines found three volunteers, including Norm who had been sitting just behind me looking over some paperwork."
Sarah smiled and kissed me again. "You want a laugh. I'm sure everyone thinks of pickups as orgies, although I've heard of some prepackaged ones where the sponsors have organized everything and know ahead of time when and where the pickup is. However, this clearly wasn't one of those, so several of the derelicts at the bar started looking around for which women were going to strip their clothes off. I still can't explain it, but for once I did not want to undress. Several of the men there had seem me naked after handing me money, but I still wasn't ready."
"Well, the marines were talking to the three volunteers and discussing the lack of women in the diner when one of the men walked up to me and grabbed at my top. He clearly intended to strip it off. I understand that the marines are supposed to help, but it was Norm who rushed over and shoved the man away while screaming, 'Let it be her choice not yours.'"
Linda looked at me as I blushed. "It was a noble impulse, and I still don't understand it," I replied. It had become my standard refrain when Sarah told the tale and Linda could see that because she giggled.
Sarah gave her usual response. She stood up long enough to strip her shorts down and started grinding her pussy against my thigh. "And yet, I, a damsel who had never had a knight suddenly found myself with one," she hissed. "Norm, I've told you every time, you won my heart forever that night. Stop pretending that you aren't a special man."
I shrugged and grabbed Sarah. It took a moment until I got her motionless and she sighed for a moment. I could see the lust in her eyes, but after kissing my nose she spoke again. "Fine, be that way. I'm sure you'll be begging for me to strip that uniform off when I finish."
She turned to look at Linda. Linda giggled at this and I guessed that Sarah had winked at her. A moment later the story continued. "Well, as I said, Norm suddenly stopped the man and spoke as if I was special. I was still trembling from how quickly it all happened when Norm stepped back to look at me. Now, he's cleaned me up quite a bit, but back then I knew I wasn't very pretty."
"I had lived a hard life for years. Although I had made decent money that night, customers weren't common and many were rough; sometimes they left bruises that took forever to heal. Worse, I had not been all that attractive to start, and twelve years of inconsistent and mostly greasy meals had not helped. Norm has actually had a bit of fun with my looks. Back then I weighed probably forty pounds more than I do now, and my breasts already had considerable sag. The biggest issue was my belly. It seemed no amount of exercise would keep it down and I had a very unattractive muffin top sprouting over my shorts. My hair was longer, but hung greasy and listless most days. I tried to keep it clean, but I never seemed to have enough money to shampoo it regularly."
Sarah sighed. "That was me at that moment. There was a pickup and here I was a hooker who was barely getting by and was ugly to boot. I figured that Norm would look elsewhere, but he surprised me by pointing to the booth he had been sitting in. "Let's go over there and talk briefly," he told me."
Linda looked confused as Sarah took a moment to stand and push my uniform pants down. Sarah did not blush as she saw Linda's eyes drift to her pussy and noticed that Sarah was hairless. "Sorry, I'm getting turned on and I want to be sure Norm can take me."
Linda looked surprised. "By this? So far all you've told me sounds like you should be completely against any kind of sex."
Sarah giggled. "Let me tell the tale, it will make sense, I hope. Well anyways, here is this pickup. One man had tried to undress me, but Norm dropped him and asked me to join him at a table. I went over there with him. I actually was rather frightened. The diner that night had only sixteen people, including the staff. There were five women. One was some business lady who had stopped for a quick coffee. She was already down to her panties and giving Leroy a blow job."
"Leroy?" Linda asked.
Sarah nodded. "Yes, one of the other two volunteers. I never caught the name of the trucker who was picked up. I think it was Terrence. He was a strange one and took along one of the men at the bar along with Cindy, one of the two waitresses that night. Leroy however, everyone in town knew. He was this massive man with chocolate skin and muscles on muscles. He had starred in football for a few years and then came to town because his wife wanted to live near her ailing grandmother. Within six years he owned the town, he turned out to be a patient and intelligent man."
I laughed. "Just as nice once he was selected too. Unfortunately when I was transferred to the Borneo district a year ago, he remained back at Konat. He's applied for a transfer, but last I heard it had not been accepted."
Linda smiled. "What about his wife?"
Sarah giggled. "Oh, she was picked up as well. Like I said there were only five women in the place that night. Leroy took Steph, the trucker took Cindy, and no one wanted anything to do with Robin, so after Norm's selections, the marines needed to let Leroy and Norm both to have additional concubines. Since they had to pick up Leroy's children, they agreed to take his wife if she was willing. Latoya was more than willing."
Linda looked puzzled. "Latoya, that name sounds out of place for the redneck kind of place you are describing."
Sarah giggled again and wiggled against me. "It's not her birth name. She came by the diner some days, and she was a beautiful blond woman before the pickup. However, once she was picked up she begged for Leroy to make a few changes. Does the term Nubian Princess give you any ideas of how she looks now?"
Linda's jaw dropped and Sarah fell over laughing. I guided Sarah onto the mattress of the bed and finished removing my uniform pants before lifting her back up so she was sitting on my lap. She needed a few moments to stop laughing, but once she did she wiggled her body until my cock was sliding along her pussy entrance.
Sarah blushed a bit, but looked up. "Well, that was nice, but let me try to continue. Norm, you know I love this, but please don't distract me too much."
I could not help myself and tickled her right breast for a moment, watching her nipple turn hard as she squirmed on my cock. I kept that up for a moment and then stopped Sarah's squirming with a kiss.
"Norm..." she moaned when my lips left her. "That's unfair. Let me tell the story!"
She stared at me silently until I nodded. She stared a bit more and then kissed my nose. "Very well, let me go back to that moment in the diner. Like I said, it was strangely silent in the place after the marines announced the pickup. After Norm knocked over the man accosting me I allowed him to lead me to the booth he indicated and sat down. He sat across from me and Heidi stepped up to ask if he wanted coffee."
Linda looked puzzled. "Heidi? She was the fifth lady at the diner that night?"
Sarah nodded. "Yes, she was a waitress there, had been doing that for almost thirty years."
Linda seemed to be counting. "Thirty? Wasn't she too old to have children then?"
I sighed. "Linda, how about we finish the tale and then Sarah can tell you all about Heidi. That's another story she loves to tell, even if it's normally Heidi's."
Sarah blushed for a moment and muttered something about me interfering with a good storytelling, but shrugged a moment later. "Anyways. Heidi asked about coffee and Norm nodded. She dashed off and brought back three cups of coffee, giving one to Norm, another to me, and finally sliding in next to me saying she wanted to be involved."
I shrugged when Linda looked past Sarah to me, but Sarah continued.
"Well, I expected Norm to ask for me to disrobe and was actually working to untie the knot in my top when he surprised me by saying, "Tell me why I shouldn't accept you as my concubines."
I had to hide a laugh at Linda's surprised gasp. "He didn't!"
Sarah only nodded. "He did. I think both Heidi and I had our jaws hit the table when it happened. I was the first to react and answered, "I've been a whore for more than a decade."
"Norm waved almost as if he was bored by that. "Doesn't matter unless you are saying you'd refuse sex with me in the future," he told us."
"Heidi was next. 'I'm too old, shouldn't you take a twenty-something girl?'"
"Another wave and rejection of the comment was Norm's response. "See any in the diner tonight?"
"I was baffled, but continued. "I'm not pretty," I said sadly."
"Norm laughed at that. "The announcements about pickups included word that volunteers could make their concubines pretty after pickup. So again, not a problem."
Sarah paused for a moment. "Oh, I guess I should explain. This pickup happened less than two months after the Average Joes special. Back then most people didn't have a good understanding of pickups. I understand that most now become orgies within minutes of the barrier going up, although I've heard a few stories of pitched battles with some idiots who somehow believe that stopping one pickup will change Confederacy policy. However back then no one knew what to expect."
Linda nodded. "Many are like that. Most volunteers seem to love the idea of seeing all the women naked and crawling on the ground. I remember my pickup. I was in a café with my boyfriend and my best friend, so my selections were already made, but one man forced five coeds to lick each other in a daisy chain just because he could. In the end he didn't select any of them, although two did find other sponsors."
"Scum," I muttered. Linda looked at me in question and I sighed. "Sorry, but as an investigator I see the less than pleasant side effect of the concubine system. Some volunteers are very good, and most are at least decent to their concubines, but there is a growing minority of sponsors who treat their concubines extremely poorly. I can guarantee you that the man who watched the daisy chain back then is one of that minority by now."
Sarah nodded. "He's right, but back to the diner. So I'd come up with two reasons why he shouldn't take me when Heidi added her second. "I'm not good at sex."
Sarah laughed at Linda's stunned reaction. "She was telling the truth too, or at least the truth as she believed it. However, Norm laughed at the comment. "Just means that we can spend time learning what brings out your personal lust and practicing, practicing, practicing..."
"I was now completely confused," Sarah continued. "This was a pickup, and from what I'd heard about the Average Joes show, Norm was supposed to be asking women to strip, but instead he was talking to Heidi and me. I wanted to scream when he nodded."
"Right," he began. "Let me be clear. I actually have the CAP score for four concubines, but looking over the crowd here, I don't see many that I'd want with me. Now, you two might not be supermodels, but you seem sensible. Do you understand what would happen if you become my concubines?"
I was confused, but nodded. "I didn't see the show, but it's been the biggest topic of conversation since the pickups started. Basically I would serve you in any way you wished and make babies while you fight the Sa'arm and work to save the Confederacy," was my response to Norm."
"It was Norm's turn to nod. "Very good, you do understand. Now I guess I should see if you can obey me a little, how about you remove your shorts."
Sarah blushed. "That shocked me. I expected him to ask me to undress, but it came across as an order and I pushed Heidi out of the way and removed my shorts. Norm gave me a bit of a frown as my belly fell down. It was the mass of pubic hair that he commented about though."
"Why all the hair?" he asked. "It really makes you look even more sloppy than you already do. I can't imagine you want to remain here for life."