I was feeling angry. I knew that part of my anger was due to writing my life history. Reliving the bad things that had happened to me was opening old and serious scars. My emotions were running in chaotic spurts as I recalled the various wounds my psyche had taken.
I wanted, or needed, I wasn't sure which James to spank me and then fuck me 'til I was pregnant. That last I was sure was a want. But being spanked? That was confusing me. Until I'd relived the memory of the first time Mr. Jacob had seen my bare butt I hadn't realized where my tendency to blur pain and pleasure had come from.
Now I was sure that confusion had started that day when simply by tending my hurts Mr. Jacob had brought me to an orgasm. Actually I'm fairly sure it was the first orgasm I'd ever experienced. I'd stopped writing at that point because reliving the moment had been both the best and worst thing that I'd done. I realized now that Mr. Jacob may have intended to bring me pleasure. The difficulty I had at that point was that his manner of caring for me was the only caring I'd ever received outside of Ms. Tannenbaum, the teacher who had taken me under her wing at school. At that time I'd viewed Mr. Jacob's attentions as more sincere because I had learned a terrible thing about Ms. Tannenbaum. None of the other students at school knew it but she was a policewoman who was there to find out why the school had failed to identify an abused child.
I didn't know what else Ms. Tannenbaum might be doing. I just knew that the police were as much to be avoided as the pimps who worked their girls on the main drag near where I lived. After all while looking like a scruffy ragamuffin I'd seen at least one of them pass money to the beat cops who were supposed to patrol the area.
I sat and stared at the wall of my private room and hated the fact that I wasn't sure what my motivation would be if I decided to hunt James down and ask for sex. I wondered what would be driving me. Would it be care for the wonderful tender man who had rescued me from the path of the Sa'arm or would it be the memory of the first man to ever touch me in a way that wasn't intended to cause hurt. And why did I seem to need to be hurt deliberately in order to reach my peak anymore. I considered the large recycler that we used to destroy Corporal Winter's body. It was mostly silent now, though James had worked out a system of robots that were working to enlarge our living area. They carried chunks of the asteroid that made up our home to it to be digested and formed into structural members for an even larger station or to become the bodies of the drones we sent out with our messages and observations. I could throw myself into the maw of that machine and end my pain. It was certainly tempting.
Rather than give in to that thought I got up and headed for the gym or dojo. Actually I think it is really a bit of both. If no one was there I was going to hit and kick the heavy bag James had set up until my hands and feet were bleeding. If someone was there I really would have to watch myself. I wanted to hurt someone, strangely enough I also wanted to be hurt. There was a part of me that even wanted to die.
I felt dirty. It was even worse than waking up the day after Daddy had beaten me. I really didn't understand why I should feel that way but I did. I hit the door to the dojo and saw the place was empty. I screamed and ran at the heavy bag. I hit it like I was trying to tackle it. Then of course I hit the floor. Luckily it was padded.
I got up and started hitting the bag as hard as I could. I hit it the way James was teaching us to hit. Then I backed off and kicked it. I'm not sure how long my frenzy lasted, but when I felt James and Serena put their arms around me. I had beaten my hands and feet raw and bloody in a couple of places.
When I felt James' arms around me I realized that I was exhausted and that I hurt. I went from frenzy to a weeping ball of pain. I didn't know which hurt more. My inside or my outside. The thing was that nothing could be done for my inner pain. It wasn't something that a trip through the med-tube could heal. It was in my mind. And if I was truthful it was a gaping wound that threatened to consume my life.
"What's wrong, honey," Serena asked, mothering me as naturally as she mothered my children.
"I ... I ... I ... d ... du ... dunno," I stammered.
"Addie says you've been getting more and more depressed since you stopped writing yesterday," she said.
"Why is that damn machine tattling on me?" I asked, with a little venom. I didn't have much though, my body was demanding that I sleep soon.
"Because I know what you wrote and told it to watch you closely," James said. "Actually I intended to let you work out your depression so long as you didn't get self-destructive."
"We love you. We know some of what you're going through will require you to work through your pain alone. But," Serena shook her finger at me before giving me a soft kiss, "we don't want you to hurt yourself working through your pain."
"How'd you get so wise?" I asked my youngest sister concubine.
Serena blushed as she hugged me tighter. "I'm not wise. But I have fought my own demons. Oh I know, they're not as bad as yours. After all mine didn't last for years. But for a long time until I got picked up by James I had fairly well decided that Brandy was going to be my only lover. I'd even sworn that I'd make her figure out a way to have a turkey baster used to make me pregnant if she managed to become a sponsor before we got picked up. We'd promised each other that we wouldn't let anyone pick us up if they wouldn't let her see their scores. She was on the potential sponsor track at school. They were teaching her how to read and interpret CAP subscores. So she would have a good idea of how to tell if someone had latent tendencies toward violence in relationships," Serena took a breath before continuing. "She approved of James' scores. I wanted to be with her. I'm glad I came. I've learned to love the feeling of a long hard cock in my pussy. I was wrong to judge every man by the measure of the monster who violated me."
I just cried silently. It didn't seem to matter how much James or his concubines loved me. I felt dirty and unlovable.
"Do you remember when you gave us all lessons on giving head?" Serena asked.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"You showed me that having a penis in my mouth could be enjoyable. A spanking might help you get going for regular sex. But if you have a chance to suck a dick you go of harder and higher than if you've been spanked. I heard you mutter that I can cum from sucking a dick. Well guess who I learned that from?" Serena paused for effect, "You!"
"We all love you Frances," James said as he rocked me and rubbed my back.
I moved with James. The gentle rocking did little to soothe me. I felt like the pain was a big as the Cold Black that surrounded Heinlein Station. I wondered if I could convince Addie to cycle me through the airlock into the drone hanger. Surely if I could do that I would put an end to the horrid pain that seemed to want to swallow me like a black hole.
"Frances, do you think that no one would miss you if you died?" James asked sternly.
"Are you so selfish that you'll put ending your pain above preventing our pain at your loss?" Serena frowned, then she slapped my breast hard!
I pushed away from James in shock. I looked at him and wondered if he was going to do anything to Serena. He frowned at me and said, "What? You sit here rejecting our attention. Refusing to believe that we care for you. Refusing to believe that your death would nearly crush all of your family. Refusing to think of what will happen to Mandy, Missy, and Kevin when their mother abandons them? Are you really that selfish?"
"I feel like I'm a leaking sewer line. But since I'm a person, that's not right. I'm leaking psychic poison on everyone due to the fact that I can't seem to let go of past hurts."
"Bullshit!" James exclaimed, "The only person on Heinlein Station who expects you to be well in an instant is you. I'm not sure how to deal with PTSD but that is obviously what you're suffering from."
"I don't know if I can survive writing anymore of my story," I said, between wracking sobs.
"You can take a break from writing your story," James said, "But only because it seems to be stirring symptoms of surviving traumatic stress. I intend to see if there is any possible way to get a psychologist here. I'm sure you won't be the only person who has problems that need that sort of care."
"I doubt that there is any way to get anyone here," I said.
"Well even if there isn't, never doubt that we love you," Serena said.
"The AI here offered to ship Corporal Winter back to Earth in a drone that had a biostasis field to keep him alive," James said. "I don't know the limitations of such a transfer but I will be asking."
"That would be an unacceptable means of transportation for someone who was not a condemned criminal," the AI put in.
"Two things follow then," James said, "How large is the smallest ship that could transport a person here, and would the Sa'arm detect it coming and going?"
"The Sa'arm don't seem to pay attention to Stagecoach class ships," the AI said, "But one of them would be barely adequate to transport a person and his goods if they were very limited."
"Put out the request then. Until then we will concentrate on loving Frances," James said. He was rubbing my back. I leaned into the caress. If I could have purred I think I would have. Having James talk to me and touch me was about the best thing that could happen to me.
We sat together in silence for a few moments before James asked, "So how much damage did you do to your hands and feet?"
That brought my attention back to the present and I took time to really look at my hands. I'd definitely managed to break the skin in several places. The same was true of my feet and lower legs. Who would help me if I'd really damaged my body? I was the only person fully qualified to operate the med-tubes. "I think that Randi ought to get qualified on the med-tubes," I said, "I know that the AI has created something somewhat similar for the veterinary needs of our farm. I know she's learning to use them. I think that she's the closest thing that we have to another qualified person."
"There's some antibiotic ointment here, but really I intend to let you live with any consequences of your actions that didn't do permanent harm," James said.
"I guess I can live with that. It might help me to feel a little less dirty."
"Why do you feel dirty?"
"I guess that is the best way to describe how I feel. I know it isn't normal to feel pleasure from being abused. The only other person who I know who receives pleasure from being abused is Randi."
"Do you think I abuse you?" James asked me with a frown.
"I don't know. Isn't hitting someone or spanking someone abuse?"
"Maybe ... It's harder to quantify that here than anywhere else might be. Or at least outside of worlds where replicators are available. But imagine for a moment that instead of a replicator we had to cook our meals from ingredients that we grew or gathered. If one of the children got into our food supply in such a place they could endanger the whole community. So that child must be punished. Not abused, yet they must receive some sort of consequence that will remind them that the food supply is off limits unless there is an adult present to supervise what they are doing."
"I remember," Serena said, "that my parents told me not to play in the vacant house where I got raped. Now I don't know that a spanking would have or could have kept me out of that house, but I can see where James is headed. A spanking for doing something that endangers the child or the family is a lot different than what your parents did to you."
"So, how come I'm wired so crazily that being paddled can increase my pleasure in sex? Doesn't that make me dirty, or insane?"
"No." James and Serena said in unison.
"Is it selfish to ask you to spank me to help me experience enhanced pleasure?" I asked, looking at James.
"Is it selfish for Kevin to demand to be changed?" James asked.
"I don't think that is the same thing," I said.
"It isn't and yet it is. We fill the needs that Kevin has because we love him. We will work on filling your needs because we love you," James said, as he pulled me close.
"I think it's still going to be a long time until I don't feel dirty or broken. I often feel useless too. I love that you're taking care of my kids," I told Serena, giving her a tender kiss, "But in some ways that makes me feel even more useless, like I could disappear and no one would even miss me."
"I read what you wrote," Serena said, "Does the way you're feeling have anything to do with the fact that your parents beat you and your neighbor molested you?"
"Maybe, I just realized that I'm fairly certain that my first orgasm was when Mr. Jacob was putting salve on my welts."
Both James and Serena nodded as if they expected that answer. "Do you think that was what he intended to happen?" James asked seriously.
"I'm not sure. I want to tell my story in order. You do know from the outline that I gave you that he did seduce me eventually. Whether he started that day or not I don't know."
"You're not to write any more on that for at least a while. Give yourself time to get used to what you've learned about your past before you push yourself into remembering more," James ordered.
"But..." I started.
"Maybe I need to paddle your butt and then leave you in a chastity outfit and order Lenny not to let you suck his penis," James said sternly, "You have a week off from school, from duty, and most especially writing about your past."
The first day of my vacation I spent in the barnyard. I petted the sheep and learned that they had been suggested by Madeline Bell, one of Mike Hancock's concubines. Since we were so far from the rest of the diaspora the powers that were in charge of such things at Earth had reluctantly approved of us bringing them so long as James purchased them from his own funds. Cats had been rescued. Though I did remember that James had tried to bring his own. Unfortunately it had reacted badly to Mandy and Missy who wanted to pet it.
Madeline or Maddie as she preferred to be called had evidently been doing handcrafts including spinning her own yarn since she was younger than her oldest daughter, Sheila who was nine years old. The goats had been purchased too but not by James. I had contributed the money to start our flock of chickens, so in all the barnyard was in a way a cooperative operation. I supposed that some university some where had encouraged us to take the bees and food crops as an experiment in whether or not humans could provide their own food without replicator in the Confederacy era.
I thought that it would be a good idea the second day of my vacation to see how the 'school' that James had set up was doing. We didn't have a teacher per se, but any adult with skills or knowledge was contributing time to instruct the few youths we had brought with us.
I arrived at the area where I assumed that classes were being held to see the three oldest of the children working at a mockup of the station controls and sensors. In fact as near as I could tell they were shadowing the current watch shift from a different location. James, however was not monitoring this class like I expected but rather Margaret Staunton's senior concubine, Helga was watching quietly as the youngsters went about their tasks in a businesslike manner.
I looked around for the other children. When I didn't see them at all I approached Helga and asked, "Where are the other kids?"
"They're out running off some energy so that they don't get fat and lazy."
I nodded in understanding, then asked, "What are they learning?"
"The basics: reading, math and writing for the youngest. Then more complex math and science for the older ones along with continuing instruction in writing and age appropriate literature."
"Age appropriate literature?"
"Books and stories that they can understand without talking down to you. I might be dating myself but when I was young I hated the books that were used to teach us to read in classrooms. They talked down to us in my opinion. Have you ever heard of the Dick and Jane books?" I shook my head indicating that I had no idea of what she was talking about. "Addie, are any examples of the Dick and Jane books in your archives?" She quietly asked the station AI.
Since we were fairly well shielded from the students at the control boards Addie displayed a child's book. The pages were open and I could see what was written there. I didn't know much about education but I had to admit that I thought those books and now that I thought about it some of the books I'd been taught with had similarly treated me like I was stupid.
"These are bad," I said, "and if I remember my school days correctly the ones that were used there were just as awful. What are we using?"
"Mostly story books."
"Are they working?"
"They seem to be."
"What about the basics? I mean teaching them about letters and that sort of thing?"
"Symbols that represent sounds?" Addie put in.
"Essentially," I said, "I didn't have a scientific name for them, but that is close enough. I assume that for now English is the best language to teach, though I expect that we'll be borrowing terms and concepts from Confederacy races eventually."
"For now we're using what the adults in the community are familiar with, which is essentially the Roman alphabet."
We talked about the education our children were receiving and forwarded some of our discussion to James. I knew he would probably agree with my assessment, but I really didn't feel comfortable telling Helga to make the changes without at least giving James a chance to see them.
Before I left to see what the younger children were up to Helga rubbed her stomach. "How are you doing with your pregnancy?" I asked.
"Better in some ways than with Tori, but worse in others. One thing you'll find out if you don't know it already is that the AI's seem to have programed the nanites they injected us with to make sure we have twins."
"You're not having trouble because of your age?" I asked, I knew her daughter Tori was 14 and had become Margaret's concubine as well.
"No I was way younger than I should have been when I had Tori. And even if that wasn't true the nanites really do an excellent job of rolling back your age."
"When are you due?"
"In about four months."
"Why don't you stop by the med center and I'll give you a check up later today?" I suggested.
"That won't help any will it?" Helga asked, then went on to ask, "I mean there really isn't much that can be done to alleviate the sore muscles that I get from carrying these two acrobats around is there?"
"Actually there is," Addie said, "I'll let Frances know when you are ready to be examined so that she can come and meet you at the med center."
"That sounds good. Helga, where are the other children likely to be?"
"In the park of course."
I guessed that the park was what she called the play area where I'd gone the other day to exercise. So with a small wave to the woman who was one of the few on the station who would out weigh me even if she didn't have nearly as round a figure as I did since she was at least six inches taller than me, I headed to the play area. As I went I wondered if I could do anything to change the fact that I was so heavy. I decided that I'd ask James about it later. I still had a hard time believing that anyone would see someone as heavy as I was, as desirable.
I had a lot to consider. I ran the gamut of emotions from bleakest black that felt like the Cold Black that surrounded Heinlein Station to an elation that felt like it should outshine the artificial sun that Margaret had caused Addie to put at the apex of our domed ceiling. I thought that I should work hard on acquiring a second as a med-tube operator. Randi would do in a pinch and if I had time today I'd hunt her down and put that bug in her ear.
I also decided that I needed to take time to get to know Private Howard and Private Hancock. I knew their concubines and dependents a little, but hadn't taken time to get to know them very well. There were also, I knew about a dozen unclaimed concubines who James had been pushing to get at least qualified to monitor the station's sensors. I realized that I didn't really know them at all. I blushed. I wondered how James could think that I'd be good at being the Civil Service Officer for the station.
There was a tall muscular woman with black hair in braids that reached her waist walking and stretching on the exercise path. I guessed that she must be Lisabet's mother. Certainly the tall gawky girl I'd met a few days ago after Mandy'd broken her leg favored this woman in height and facial features though her hair was closer to a mouse brown and cut to hang just below her shoulders.
"Hi you must be Lisabet's mother. My name is Frances Parker I don't think we've ever met formally but your daughter carried my daughter, Mandy to the med center the other day."
The woman said with a fairly pronounced German accent, "I'm Annalise Schmidt, I'm glad that Lisabet had more sense than a lot of the other people around here."
I raised my eyebrows in question at what Annalise said, "What do you mean?"
"Some of the girls in the dorm for concubines without a master are very flighty. Even with Ensign Parker telling them the best way to attract the attention of a family is to get involved in doing the work of the colony they tend to think that they will be picked out because they look good and are enthusiastic in bed."
"I don't suppose that they'll listen to me?" I asked.
"I doubt it. Your master had to order them on pain of a bread and water diet and exposure in a set of stocks to get them to even qualify for watching the sensors here."
"What about children? I thought that all the women who were pushed off on James were supposed to have high nurturing and mothering skills."
"I don't know about that. I know that some of us did. Then again Mike traded one of his girls for me."
"So the girls who are left in the dorm are the undesirable ones? Not physically but mentally?" I asked, to be sure that I'd understood what she said. Annalise nodded in agreement. Her report caused me even more embarrassment. I knew that James had brought along women to fill his own house as well as Brandy's house when she reached the level of sponsorship. In a way if the only women who were left were fluff balls who were best at dropping children but not caring for them we had a problem. Or I had a problem on Brandy's behalf.
The fact that I barely knew the names of the women would work against me I suspected. In a way though thinking about those women and what they must be going through helped me to put my own problems into perspective. I had a master who loved me. I had a family that loved me. Even the least affectionate of my sister concubines had been available to make love with or just for a comfortable cuddle.
I had no doubt that some of the women in the dorm turned to one another for comfort, but I was willing to guess that they avoided even that for fear that they would lose their close friend when they were chosen to be a member of a sponsor's harem. I paused and ran that last thought back a little. When, I wondered, had I begun to think of most of the other families on board Heinlein Station as harems? From what Annalise told me that wasn't entirely true of her household. But the fact that Private Howard had traded a girl for her did not bode well for the women in the dorm.
I didn't have anyplace to be except where I wanted to be for the day. I needed to do exercise, but it seemed to me that I needed to check into the situation at the dorm. The question was; how should I approach the visit. I also wanted to see the area where the younger children were doing learning activities. I realized that suddenly my day had gotten full of things that I wanted to do.
"Can you show me where the younger kids are?"
"Yeah, c'mon," Annalise said motioning me to follow her, "if we go this way they might not see us. Then you can get a real idea of what they are learning and how they're taught."
I walked along behind Annalise and realized that I was getting turned on by watch the bottom of her butt as it flexed with each stride. I nearly stopped so that I could think about what was happening. When, I wondered, had I gotten to the point that I considered the possibility that I could have sex with any woman I saw? When had I come to have the attitude that many men had, that sex made a relationship. It was something that I'd certainly have to watch myself for, one thing that wouldn't go over well with the women in the dorm was to have them see me as just wanting to use them.
I mulled on that while I followed Annalise through what seemed to be a tunnel or covered walkway. Looking around I decided that the walkway existed so that the interior of the structure could be accessed by an adult. There were ladders and tubes extending vertically that seemed to indicate that some accommodation had been made. The tubes and ladders were not sized for children except perhaps the oldest of the group.
We came around a slight bend and I could hear the children laughing. "How can the kids be learning if they're laughing and playing?" I asked.
"John Dewey was not looking to make sponsor class people when he put together the education system you're familiar with. In fact if what I understand from what I'm reading in order to keep ahead of the kinder here, John Dewey had the idea that factory workers were what the education system should produce. So concubines would be the goal. That is certainly not Ensign Parker's goal, nor mine. I want my babies," she rubbed the just emerging bump of her pregnancy, "to be sponsors if they at all can. Don't you want your kinder to be sponsors?"
"I do, I just never imagined that education could play a part in that."
"Ask your master about what he thinks. He credits his concentration on martial arts and education with raising his score enough to become a sponsor."
"Is that why he insists that everyone participate in martial arts classes?"
"In part. You know that he has instituted a rule that even a concubine's sponsor must have their permission before they have sex?"
I shook my head. "I was an unassigned concubine waiting to be chosen by a sponsor. There is a whole ship load of women who've been picked up and not sponsored in what amounts to a barracks in the moon," Annalise explained, "any sponsor from the lowest private to the generals who think they know how to allocate resources for this war could demand sex with any of us and we had to provide it on pain of death. If you're an unassigned concubine there's no such thing as rape!" she finished angrily.
"Is it that..." I started.
"Bad?" Annalise interrupted, "This isn't Mike's baby, and I wasn't pregnant when the marines offered to take me along and let me have a chance at finding a sponsor later!"
I blushed. "I didn't mean to make light of what happened to you. I can't imagine being treated like a piece of meat."
"Humph!" Annalise snorted, "a piece of meat, or even a whore has the interest of her customers."
"Did they hurt you?"
"Personally? No, but it's still like being raped every time if you don't have the option of saying no."
"Do the women in the dorm know how few men are here?" I asked.
"No," Annalise told me, "but they don't really get out that much. Now be quiet so we can see the kinder without being noticed."