Additional Material by John
Special Thanks to
Avuk, Imbrium, Spacebabes, Fullytank, KN, Ash and Strange Beasties
The Sixth Day
The man was dead.
The breath still huffed from his lungs, there were still involuntary sounds as he moved, but everything that had made the man into something vital and unique was gone, there was only meat left.
She cowered back into the cleft, the stench gusting towards her, his body still flopping, the light long gone from his eyes, but not from the burning yellow beyond, did they see her?
She checked her gun again, though she knew it too was dead, the power packs drained.
She closed her eyes.
She listened to the huffing of what had been the man.
And the low growl in the darkness beyond.
The First Day
The shuddering finally began, rolling from the front of the bridge back to the Captain’s chair. She never liked this part of a mission, as the great ship lumbered towards the dark heart of the ring of light that formed the jump point ahead of them. The shudder rolled again, the consoles rattling, she always thought it felt as though some great hand was rattling the ship like a stick against railings. She watched the screen as the ring filled it and the darkness of Hyperspace approached, her stomach lurched, she never liked this part, as the deck shuddered again.
"These old ships", she thought to herself, "it's a wonder they hold together long enough to pass through the jump points safely at all. Where the HELL is the new ship she was promised? What? Three years ago now?" The shudder rolled through again, the vibrations seeming to resonate her lungs, and this time, this time there are other worries.
"Entering hyperspace now, Captain Lin, expected ETA at Iridanus IV... 64 hours", the pilot broke her concentration for a moment.
Yes, other worries, the Corps, the PhiKappa (or PK) Corps, Earth's elite, or what passes for it these days, highly trained female operatives, if this truly were a simple watch patrol, then why were they here?. If it were a simple mission to visit the outer colonies, smash a few heads, remind them EarthGov is always there, then the grunts could handle that.
Yes, the presence of the PK Corps was a worry.
And then there’s the worry of the men, the mobile infantry men could be trusted to do a job, but they could be an unruly mob and the presence of the Corps presented a problem, the grunts always became restless when they got the scent of pussy in their nostrils.
No, Captain Lin Jie was not a happy woman, not at all. The ship shuddered again as it passed through the eye of the Jump point storm... she always hated this part. She always hated all of it.
The lights faded to orange as the ship entered hyperspace, Jessica Travis paused, slowly they brightened to white again as the shuddering stopped and Jessica finished cleaning the refraction chamber of her pulse rifle, her slight fingers dancing delicately over its fragile lenses, her long auburn hair pulled into bunches in order not to fall into the rifle’s optics, before finally placing the gun, butt first, on one of the transit containers in front of her and resting her cheek against its reassuring smooth coldness as her clear grey-blue eyes wandered over her comrades around her in the barrack room.
There was Miyuki, the youngest, rawest recruit, already dressed in her regulation whites, red boots and gloves, shined and smooth on her legs and arms, her red and white breastplate and red briefs to protect her modesty in the whites that cling so tightly to the body's every curve and line. They may only be preparing to go the mess, but they knew. The Corps has standards to uphold, no matter where or what, they were Corps, and that demanded respect. Miyuki sat, her knees together, hands on her knees, watchful, nervous.
Behind her Dayna was smoothing her whites, dark hands in stark contrast to the uniform whites running up and down her thighs to ensure its fit, the shiny fabric clinging to her, pulling tight. To the right of Dayna were Faizah, Alison and Maia, sat on her bunk, feet perched on one of the transit containers, a bowl beneath her as she shaved herself, for comfort in the tight fitting uniform. Her long dark hair draped across her pale body as she bent to inspect herself, long fingers checking for any remaining stubble, pushing her soft skin to the left and right.
Next to Maia was Catherine, already dressed, she was praying, but she knew to stick close to Maia. When trouble occurred, next to Maia was a safe place to be. The habit had stuck even out of the fire. Jessica pondered, Catherine may be a problem, disheveled, her hair untidy... the sign of an untidy mind. Jessica pondered and worried too… Catherine had seen combat, and it’d taken its toll on her, already.
Yes, Catherine had seen enough death and killing, but not as much as Maeve, oh yes, she was a war horse alright, she leant against the wall by the door, her whites pulled up only to mid-thigh as she injected the cortisone into her groin, sighing as if the pain relief were instant. "She's seen the lot", thought Jessica, more experienced than all of them, war had taken a toll on her body, there's no knowing how much more she could take, it’s a short brutal life in the Corps. Maeve pulled up the catsuit, slipping her arms in, smoothing it to her body.
With a hiss of releasing hydraulic pressure, the door slid open, Christina Rand, Section Commander, entered.
"All right.. Ladies! Prepare to move in...", she dramatically paused to exaggerate checking a watch, "FIVE minutes", still standing in the open doorway.
Jessica replaced her pulse rifle in the locker, already uniformed she too checked and smoothed the uniform on her thighs, belly and hips, pulling up her boots and gloves, watching as Maia, Dayna and Maeve scrambled to finish, she moved to stand by Christina, she glanced at the Commander, she hoped her glance conveyed the message "I know.. but they’re good troops." Maia was last to finish, pulling on her gloves, Jessica shouted the order to move out.
They entered the hall, "Ground Pounders...GROPOS", mobile infantry grunts, all around, they heard the cat calls, the wolf whistles, but it meant nothing, they marched to the mess, even without shouting time, they were in unison, they were the elite, Corps is Corps, and everyone should remember that.
Jessica led her squad to the mess, opening the doors she saw the unruly rabble inside, looking more like a high school canteen than a respectable military organisation. She ordered the squad in but at the sound of her voice, the place quietened... silence radiating outwards from her as the troops, turned to look at the source of the female voice.
A shout went up..."Grunts like CUNT!"
Jessica noticed Miyuki flinch, stepping then in front of her troops, her heels ringing on the metal floor amidst the silence following the shout.
"Grunts like CUNT!" The shout rang out again.
She took a step further into the room.
"Grunts like CUNT!, Grunts like CUNT!" The shout was taken up as a chant.
Jessica led her squad another step into the room.
"Grunts like CUNT!, Grunts like CUNT!" The roomful of men pounding their cutlery on the tables in their meaty fists. "Grunts like CUNT! Grunts like CUNT!"
Suddenly one of the ground pounders was standing in front of her, stretching, a large muscular brute, towering several inches above even Dayna, his shaven head glistened sweatily under the harsh yellow lighting. Jessica always wondered why Mess lighting was yellow, she wondered if it was to make the food look less grey. He roughly thrust his hand between her legs, his meaty fingers pressing at her. "You got a juicy one huh?"
"Move your hand if you want to keep it" she replied coldly.
Stiffening he looked at her with a mixture of surprise and ridicule... "Cunt... I could snap you!"
She paused, his fingers moving again on her, trying to press inside, she beckoned to him. He paused, confused then lowered his face closer to hers in order to hear..
"You may be stronger..." she whispered to him, "but we're faster!" she finished as she broke his nose with the heel of her hand.
In an instant he was on the ground, blood pouring from his nose, and the chants of 'cunt' turned to coarse laughter, the more experienced troopers not surprised in the slightest. One would think the grunts would learn eventually, but it had become almost ritual for the PKs to take down a large loudmouth every time there was a longer jump or some new men arrived. Better do it hard and fast to get it out of the way.
Dayna stepped up behind Miyuki, having seen her tense during the exchange, as big and strong as many of the men, put her hands on the young girl's shoulders. Her grip firm, reassuring... but almost possessive. ”Don't worry, Miyu, we'll look after you...”. Miyuki relaxed but with Dayna behind her she didn’t see the hungry look in her eyes, but Jessica had seen that in the troops many times before. Dayna also liked cunt.
Maeve, on the other hand, looked with more interest at the grunts, as though making mental notes and evaluations about them. The veteran has been through too much to be able to feel any particular desire for relationships or intimacy, but she did like her men, as large and as rough as possible, sometimes two or three at a time, or even more. Anything to sate that feeling of emptiness inside her. No love or affection, just men.
Jessica stepped forward, her heel poised above the big man’s groin, “Does anybody else want to try?” Her gaze scanned the room with a cold look of disdain. “That’s what I thought”.
She looked down at the big man his face covered with blood. “Do YOU want to try again?” she asked, but he shook his big bald head, small droplets of blood flying from his nose. Disappointing.
“No? That’s also what I thought”, she lowered her heel onto him anyway and ground a little.
She motioned for the squad to sit, Corps never served themselves, and then motioned for the mess staff to bring trays of today’s slop.
Maeve sat a few seats away from Jessica, had never made any particular secret about her resentment of the new Squad Leader. Dayna and Catherine sat either side of Miyuki – the young pair had made friends quickly. Both of them relatively new and inexperienced. Maeve looked across the table at them, she and Dayna already had a pool on which of them will be KIA first
Jessica, sitting last, turned her attention back to her squad, “They're ok, Miyuki still shaken, she'll have to toughen up, that one. Maia, smiling, like she has forgotten it already, Dayna, looking hungry, Catherine, somewhere else, Maeve, well Maeve's Maeve, sullen, resentful, but a damn good fighter.”
The food arrived, the usual slop, but in the Corps you learn to accept what you can get, they ate, gratefully and quickly. And before the grunts were half finished, they were done.
“Squad! Attention” shouted Jessica, the grunts flinched en masse, and she led her troops out of the mess, the noise rising only when the door closed behind her. The lights were dimming for artificial night on the ship, she led her troops back to the barrack room, watched them from the door as they flopped onto the bunks, pulling off gloves and boots, she waited a while, she’d protect them the best she could. She closed the door, leaning against the wall a moment and headed to the observation deck, there’s something magical about the way the clouds of hyperspace move, enveloping the ship like a soft red... she paused, why?... like a womb. She headed towards the turbolift.
Inside the barrack room, Maeve watched the others lounge, undress, squabble… she had an itch.
Some people are scared of hyper-space, saying that there are... ‘things’ living in it, dark and ominous, or merely that it gives them horrific night terrors. Hyperspace pilots tend to be more superstitious than old Earth sailors. But to Jessica – once she'd arrived – it's nothing like that. Outside the reinforced observation window, patterns shifted in crimson, with occasional brighter spots of orange or even white, or purple hazes. In the corner of her eyes, more complex patterns formed, then melted away as soon as one focused on them. It was always so easy to just watch, letting time melt away...
“There's nothing like it, is there?” a deep male voice behind her. Then, quickly, “Sorry, ma'am, didn't mean to startle you... I wouldn't want a dose of what you gave to Weber.” Still, despite the apology, the man's voice was even, relaxed, belonging to someone with an easy confidence.
Jessica turned quickly at the sound, ‘He's quiet this one, not like the others, big lumbering hounds, no this one, he’s a cat’. The trooper was tall and while he was well built, he was leaner than the man she broke before. That didn't have to mean much, though – many of the more brutish grunts bulked up their muscles with drugs and without really learning how to use them, and this man looked like he was far more capable. None of the overblown bravado of men like the one in the mess, either – not a man who felt he has too much to prove. Certainly someone who had seen combat. Maybe even alien combat.
She looked back out into the red "No.. there's nothing like it." She looked back at him.. unlike a grunt to even think of things like this, what was that on her face she thought for a moment.. 'Am I smiling?'
Things quietened quickly in the barrack room as they undressed and rapidly fell asleep, one thing about the Corps, like food you took sleep when you could get it. Maeve watched… was Miyuki crying? 'That girl will have to toughen up... or die, one or the other... the quicker the better.'
Quieter and quieter, Maeve sat up, the itch was worse… quiet. She slipped to the door and out into the corridor.
Whilst half a ship away one ground pounder looked Jessica over, not leering like most of the grunts would, but not concealing his interest either, for Maeve, mindless brutishness in her men was a good thing, as she made her way through the metal corridors of the ship. She was a veteran, she knew which kinds of places the worst scum would be drawn to. Someone was certain to have used a far corner of engineering room to set up a still and a secret bar – they're all too predictable. And the only thing more brainless and horny than a grunt was a drunk grunt.
Jessica looked out into the shifting tides of hyperspace, not watching but knowing she was being watched, no good Corps Squad Leader doesn't know how to watch without looking, almost subconsciously she switched her weight to one leg, pushing out her hip and accentuating her legs, the curve of her back and bottom, at least this one could communicate in full sentences, she felt suddenly sad, but not sure she could remember why.
The man's eyes opened wider for a moment, a little surprised at Jessica's easy display of her body. “Nick Harrington, PFC,” he said, “Private First Class” – was there a hint of resentment in his voice? He was a few years older than her, yet still a private (albeit the highest grade). Still, the way he looked at her was appreciative, and unlike most grunts, he didn't eye her with the kind of gaze usually reserved for holo-porn. “If you prefer the deck for your own, ma'am...” he began, feeling fairly confident that she didn't want him to leave.
Jessica shifted her weight to her other leg, looking over her shoulder, not sure why she was doing this, could she be feeling lonely? "No - I don't need anything to my own" she said, finally turning and leaning against the viewing port. "What about you soldier? You have anything to your own?"
Nick made a noise halfway between a scoff and a sigh. “Not a single thing, ma'am. You heard of Fomalhaut VI? Turns out there wasn't anything to fight, but what there was… was an alien mold, got into all the equipment. You know the quarantine steps – Evacuation, Decontamination, Purging? We had to have every single piece of equipment or personal property incinerated, then six months in quarantine, no outside contact.” He cracked a wry smile. “Only upside is, this mission can't be any worse than that one. Not that we've been told what the mission is yet, of course...” He took a step closer to Jessica. “What was your last mission? Or was it the kind you can't talk about?”