“And this is the machine you’ll use most when carrying out corrective treatment,” a distinguished gentleman in a white coat and thick spectacles addressed the gaggle of students following in his wake like chicks following a mother hen.
The cluster of white-coated young student doctors gathered around the machine in which a young woman was restrained, her bottom bright red from the swatting of a clear plasticized paddle wielded against her rear by the mechanism. She was naked from the waist down, her genitals swollen and wet from the stimulation being applied by a secondary smaller paddle that landed intermittently against her lower lips, simultaneously chastising and exciting her.
“The punishment machine is a prime mechanism for behavior modification,” the instructor droned, his tone strangely flat given the writhing female form trapped beneath the swatting arm. “In the course of corrective treatment, a woman is put in touch with her deepest desires. Her animal nature is activated, her primal need to be used by a dominant male is satisfied.”
“Does it always work?”
The instructor cast his gaze at the student doctor. “Corrective treatment can be tailored to the specific needs of any woman, from the lowest laborer to the highest in the land. It is simply a matter of discovering tolerances and accessing the desires that are most repressed. In the distant past, all we could do for criminal or rebellious elements was incarcerate them. Rehabilitation was rare. In contrast, corrective treatment has one hundred percent efficacy. The recidivism rates are close to zero.”
“Close to zero, sir?” a voice near the back queried.
“So close to zero it may as well be zero,” the doctor repeated. “If you follow procedures, you will turn the most hardened of criminals into compliant ladies in a matter of days, if not hours.”
“So you’re saying corrective treatment has never failed?”
“Perhaps one time,” the doctor admitted. “One notorious time…”
The young doctors took copious and serious notes while the subject moaned softly, lost in a disciplinary haze.
“Charged with crimes against decency, good taste, and social order, what will be the punishment for Newtopia’s first daughter?” A silver-haired reporter stood outside the Crystal Hall of Justice, his handsome face beamed into screens of every citizen in the city. The entirety of the colony was likely watching the proceedings either remotely or in person. At the hall of justice, thousands of people were gathered down the shining steps: reporters, fans, perhaps even a few surreptitious protesters all waiting for the arrival of the illustrious defendant.
Sophie Eins had been born special, a young woman of the highest echelon, one of a handful of truly noblewomen. She was just nineteen years old, the only the daughter of the premier of Newtopia. The press had taken to calling her ‘the first daughter,’ which was annoying the seven daughters of the president to no end. It was not quite right that the daughter of the mere premier received so much attention, but Sophie had a way about her that drew the eye and tempted the tongue.
A sound in the sky heralded her arrival, spinning silver blades bringing the transportation pod down to the base of the steps where dozens of uniformed guards were waiting to take the young woman into custody. Slowly, with the grace of a falling dandelion seed, the bulbous pod landed.
There was a hush as the silver walls began to unfurl, and then great rousing cheers as finally Sophie became visible through the peeling shafts that coiled up upon themselves and left her standing on the platform, greeting her public with her winning smile. As always, Sophie looked stunning. She wore a vintage cream cardigan with delicate pearl embroidery and a silk blouse that showed her fiery coloring to great advantage. Her legs were clad in delicate gossamer leggings that flowed loosely around her. As dark clad guards circled her, she looked all the more ethereal and feminine. Her bright red hair fell past her shoulders, brilliant green eyes lit with passion that was conveyed even when she was silent and still. Her body was soft and curvy, unaccustomed to physical exertion but naturally shapely. Sophie had not done a day’s work in her life, nor would she.
From the moment of her birth, images of Sophie had been distributed around the colony, her life story discussed and observed in the weekly gazettes and broadcasts as a matter of entertainment. If she wore a dress, the next week every woman was wearing it. If she chose a new shade of eye shadow, it would be worn from one end of the colony to the other.
Her celebrity was nothing more than an accident of station, and for many, many years she had borne it with grace. Now she was nineteen and rebellious and now the stories were not as much about her pretty dresses as they were the scandalous behavior she was alleged to be involved in. She had been seen wearing a laborer’s bracelet, an act that had sent ripples to the farthest reaches of the colony. Rumors had started that the premier’s daughter was an anarchist, that she perhaps did more than merely wear the trappings of the lower echelons, that she perhaps socialized, even fornicated with them.
The rumors were scandalous, almost unthinkable for a far-flung colony such as Newtopia. What had started out as a prison labor colony for undesirables from other planets had, over the years, become a bustling center of commerce and culture. Through the labors of millions of sweating convicts, beautiful buildings had risen and beautiful people had come to fill them.
The system of echelons was a natural consequence of distinguishing between laborers and supervisors, but as decades passed into centuries, it became more complex and evolved. Now there were five echelons. Convicts at the very bottom, then laborers, then merchants, then soldiers, then the ruling classes, of which there were very few. Sophie had been born to a position of privilege most could only dream about, and yet she seemed to be on the very brink of throwing it all away.
The precise details of her crimes were unclear, but there were rumors that Sophie might find herself sentenced to hard labor in the mines, though it was unlikely given that she was high-born and female. Women who found themselves afoul of the law faced a different punishment to that which men would endure. A shorter, but no less impressive sentence would likely be handed down.
“Free Sophie!” a bold, lone voice in the crowd piped up. It was quickly silenced by the swift motion of the many guards in attendance. There would be order on this most solemn of days; that much had been decreed. Sophie turned her head to watch the protester be swept away, her magnetic gaze saddening, her full lips turning down at the corners as a more resolute expression passed across her pretty features.
Slowly, she began to ascend the stairs toward the hall of justice. There were a great many of them and her progress was carefully watched by dozens of flying cameras, some of which would be broadcasting to various news stations, others of which would be feeding directly into the hall of justice itself. With each step, the crowd became more agitated. The guards could no longer keep them quiet. Cheers and jeers rose, but Sophie kept her head high, her expression composed, but determined.
She stopped at the top of the stairs, turned and smiled to the assembled men and women. She looked almost regal in that moment, like a young princess greeting her public. It almost seemed impossible that she was on the brink of being judged and sentenced for crimes against social order as she lifted her hand and waved to the crowds, some of whom seemed to be on the brink of hysteria. Women dabbed their eyes with handkerchiefs, men shouted encouragement and condemnation in equal parts. The roar of humanity at her feet might have overwhelmed a less stoic young woman, but Sophie took the reception of the crowd in easy stride. This was the life she had been born to. The adoration and hatred of masses were all as one to her.
Though she was being brought before the high court in disgrace, Sophie did not look disgraced in the slightest. As the cameras swept in for a closer shot, there were no nervous tremors in her lips or eyes. She was utterly composed, her face painted perfectly with lipstick and liners that emphasized her wide green eyes and her generous mouth.
The crowd’s roar rose to a high pitch as she turned toward the great archway leading into the hall of justice, and then silence fell as she passed under the arch—as if all who watched the popular young aristocrat go to her fate somehow knew that it would be the last time they would see Sophie Eins.