Araminta stepped with the greatest disgust onto the terraformed soil of the planet Draco. The year was 3301 by the old Earth Standard reckoning, and Araminta wished she were still on Earth, where she belonged.
Araminta knew that, just as her mother had patiently explained, her only future lay here in the colonies where her title meant nothing in the eyes of the upstarts who had destroyed her future on the planet where she had been born into a quickly vanishing luxury. Knowing it as thoroughly as she did, since Araminta herself had watched her family’s lifestyle deteriorate and seen the effect it had upon the father she worshipped, hadn’t reconciled her to the necessity of boarding the jump ship bound for Draco, and it didn’t reconcile her now to obeying the signs on the spaceport floor guiding Arrivals, with crimson arrows, This way to resettlement processing.
Nevertheless she did know that the only way to restore the fortunes of House Lourcy back on Earth, built up so high in the Renaissance of the early Fourth Millennium, was to seek her own fortune here on Draco. The bitter irony that it had been the upstart Draconians who had brought about that Renaissance when they returned bearing the secret of faster-than-light space travel, made it all so very much worse, but Araminta trudged over arrow after arrow, following the other fifty-seven young people chosen for this wave of the resettlement program.
She tried to trudge proudly, with a consciousness of her family’s history in the long-ago days before the great collapse of 2243 and of the rebirth of that legacy eight hundred years later thanks to the tireless efforts of her physician father both in genetic research and in mercantile agronomy. Araminta Roberta Elisabeth Richildis de Lourcy, self-styled suo jure tenth Duchess of Panton and fifteenth Countess of Mercester, and, with—as even she herself admitted—slightly less authenticity, seventeenth Comtesse de Lourcy, thought perhaps that despite the wear visible upon the deep blue gown she had chosen, the other arrivals could tell that she came from one of the noble houses that had risen to power in the Renaissance democracy by servicing the consumer needs of a then rapidly growing society.
The costliness of the natural material—damask silk no less—came from the economic boom Draco had given that young free-market egalitarian Earth. The wear it showed came from the swift collapse that occurred when Draco had withdrawn its subsidies for Earth’s off-world trade in the wake of the tragically foolish and comically brief Earth-Draco War of 3298.
Araminta arrived at a place in a long corridor where instead of trudging, the Earth arrivals ahead of her stood silently, pressed close together, in a queue that stretched to a door ten people ahead. Through the door the queue seemed to continue, and—if Araminta’s eyes interpreted the available evidence correctly—to bend to the right, so that no visible end of the line presented itself.
“What?” she asked no one in particular. Rather, she asked everyone there, because the Duchess of Panton was entitled to an answer from whoever happened to hear her question. It made no difference, back on Earth, that the formal system of governance rested upon a strictly determined one-person-one-vote scheme. The members of the noble houses exercised their influence through their economic power, their cultural leadership, and—as her father had been fond of saying—their style.
For the two hundred years of the first gratefully and then bitterly named Draconian Renaissance, egalitarianism and cultural aristocracy had existed hand in hand, and Araminta de Lourcy’s sense of entitlement sprang from both sources. As the Duchess of Panton she knew at any social occasion back on Earth that she wasn’t inherently better than the non-titled citizens around her; she was merely better educated. The same applied here in this awful queue: Araminta’s cultural superiority could not but shine through; the other young men and women in line came from Earth, and they would instinctively answer her request for information.
It seemed, however, that her fellow arrivals had no information to give, and to her chagrin, the response came from a masculine voice behind her—the same voice, Araminta realized, that had been saying, gruffly, things like, “Arrivals to the left. Form your line to the left. Keep the right clear for returning citizens.”
Now it said, with a severity that took its tone from gruff to angry, “Silence, arrival.”
Araminta turned to confront a tall man in a gray uniform and a peaked cap that bore as insignia a representation of Draco’s dragon flag. His dark eyes looked into her face with a scorn that seemed even to question her right to raise her own blue gaze to his. She felt her cheeks go hot with shame and anger.
Her ancestresses, she supposed, might have protested based on some divine right that came from their noble blood. Elisabeth de Lourcy, wed to a highlander but legendarily proud, might have slapped the arrival officer across the face. Araminta, however much she might have wanted to try such a tactic, knew her argument must have more reason in it.
“I am a citizen of the Earth Republic,” she said as calmly as she could. “I am entitled to…”
“You are entitled to nothing, sweetheart,” the officer replied, the anger in his face turning—to Araminta’s fury—into amusement. “Though perhaps in a few moments you’ll entitle yourself to a session with the paddle.”
“The what?” Araminta couldn’t restrain herself, though she hadn’t meant to dignify the officer’s disdain with any response at all.
“You heard me. If the Earthers around you were foolish enough to speak, I’m sure they would tell you that they read the packet you got back on the jump ship, and they know that female arrivals are subject to corporal punishment here on Draco.”
Araminta looked wildly ahead of her and behind her in line, and saw one grim female face and one grim male one that between them confirmed the truth of what the officer had just said. She wanted to say, I knew you colonists were barbarians, but I didn’t know how very far from civilization you had fallen, and she would have said it if her wits had managed to collect themselves in time. The awful pronouncement about corporal punishment, though, had stolen her ability to make such retorts, and the officer interpreted her silence as compliance.
“Just wait your turn, princess,” he said. “You’ll understand a good deal better when you get inside for your processing interview.”
Araminta’s face continued to burn at the insult for the next half hour as she stared at the red hair of the girl in front of her, who was dressed in work clothes but seemed nevertheless to carry herself erect. Quite right, Araminta thought. She is a citizen of the Earth Republic, just like me. Noble or common, we are all better than these colonialists with their awful dragon flag and their temerity.
At last they both made it through the door and into the anteroom of the office. Behind a glass wall, in a small room, a single hassled-looking Draconian woman sat at a desk, dressed in a business suit. She interviewed each Earth arrival in turn, and each interview took at least ten minutes. Five other young men and women were greeted, entered, and sat down to have an inaudible conversation before the Draconian official called in the girl in work clothes.
The official warmly welcomed the commoner upon her arrival, and Araminta, standing now close enough to the glass door to hear a snippet of the beginning of the interview, was pleased to hear the woman in the business suit say, “We’re very glad to have someone with your skillset, Hathera.”
Araminta couldn’t hear what the skillset in question comprised, but surely the highly educated daughter of a physician/agronomist and an attorney who argued frequently before the planetary court, ready to take up her own role in the professions, must possess at least that much worth. This colonial society after all declared itself so very ready to offer its condescending handout of an expatriate life to citizens of Earth down on their luck thanks to Draco’s destruction of their economy.
The pretty red-haired girl in the work clothes—not so lovely as Araminta herself, of course, with her flaxen hair and cornflower-blue eyes—emerged smiling and holding a piece of paper that seemed to bear a stamp upon it. Araminta realized then that each of the men and women who had preceded Hathera had also emerged with a paper, but she didn’t think the official had bestowed any other stamps.
The official shook the redhead’s hand and said, “You’re all set, Hathera. Just take this all the way down the hall to Final Disposition. They’ll give you your official naturalization papers and tell you how to get to your apartment.”
Araminta did her best to put an expression of happy resignation—even of obsequiousness—on her face as the official turned from Hathera to her. The woman in the business suit, though, to Araminta’s dismay, lost her own pleasant demeanor in an instant. An expression of skepticism—a distrust so great it almost seemed to Araminta to verge on angry disgust—transformed the official’s face, making the whole aspect of her appearance, from her sensible shoes to the tight bun of her hair, seem severe and forbidding.
Araminta felt her face freeze in the receptive affect she had attempted, and then become defensive and hostile, chin set and eyes narrow. She watched the official take in this new demeanor and, to Araminta’s horror, give a slight nod, as if in acknowledgment that the Earther had just shown her true colors.
“Araminta Lourcy, age eighteen,” she said, “greetings. I’m Administrator Johanson.”
The woman’s brusqueness, Araminta told herself, bore the blame for what happened next. The Duchess of Panton said, for she simply could not have helped it, “De Lourcy.”
For a moment such naked fury came into the administrator’s eyes that Araminta took a step back, pushing up in the most humiliating way against the young man behind her. Then, almost as quickly, the anger dissipated, and amusement took its place. When Administrator Johanson spoke, though, her severe tone cut hard across the smile she bore on her lips. “Ah, yes. I saw in your file that your family styles itself to be of noble birth.”
Araminta’s skin felt like ants were crawling all over it, now. She didn’t see how this interview could possibly have begun so badly. Still, though, she couldn’t suppress her indignant reaction.
“My father proved our descent, and the Earth Republic recognizes…”
Administrator Johanson laughed in a way that made clear all her actual amusement had in fact vanished.
“Specious genetic claims are among the things Draconian society has left far behind, Miss Lourcy. Those who try to maintain them will find themselves quickly subject to Draco’s inclination to use a firm hand in correcting misplaced pride.”
A retort died on Araminta’s lips and her cheeks burned as she remembered what the man in the uniform had said about the paddle, but she still glared back as much defiance as she could.
“Come into my office, Miss Lourcy. This interview already threatens to consume far too much time.”
Without another word, Administrator Johanson turned and led the way into her office.
“Close the door behind you, Araminta,” the official said, “and sit down.”
Somehow, Araminta thought, the woman’s voice had entered an even more peremptory register now. It frightened her so much that she did not in fact obey, but rather said, in a stammer that made her face get even hotter, “Why… why will it… take so long?”
The administrator had sat at her desk, now, and as she looked up at Araminta she gave the impression of a power enthroned not on birth but on merit. It made the Earth girl’s heart quail.
“Because, Araminta,” Administrator Johanson said slowly, as if wanting each word to strike the new arrival like a spank from a paddle, “we must discuss each aspect of the very lengthy, very severe disciplinary process your case demands.”
Greven Nesterius put the paper version of the Lourcy file on the conference table and looked around the expanse of real polished oak, the product of Draco’s terraformed old-growth forest, at the four other men assigned with him to this difficult case.
“The algorithm says, gentlemen, that it’s going to take at least a month before our girl shows the slightest inclination toward thanking us for what we need to do with her.”
Greven fixed his eyes first on Red Strekin and then on Promin Federan as he finished delivering this opening gambit, the two colleagues he thought would pose the biggest challenge to the way he planned to direct the shaming of Araminta Lourcy. The relevant policies gave Greven, as the special master appointed by the arrival court, authority to tell each of the four ordinary masters exactly how to discipline the girl, and if necessary to replace each of them. In practice Greven felt sure he wouldn’t have any actual difficulty keeping even these two in line—and Nebor Masdin and Victornian Ged, the other two men at the table, seemed amenable to advice, despite being alphas in their own right.
Araminta, after all, was the very first Earth girl to whom the algorithm, and then, in human confirmation, the arrival court in the person of Administrator Gera Johanson, had assigned five masters. No previous girl had ever even received as many as four; two three-master cases had occurred, but even two-master cases popped up with great rarity—of the approximately five thousand Earth girls processed through the shame system, as Draconians called what legal documents dryly denoted as Special Procedures for the Naturalization of Terran Arrivals, only about a hundred had required the assignment of two men to shame the girl in question.
Greven had received the Lourcy assignment because he had served as a master for one of the girls whom three men had reeducated, and as the special master for four young women who had undergone citizenship training at the hands of two. He had also, of course, mastered dozens of girls to whom the system had assigned only a single man to teach the sometimes difficult lessons necessary to foster a happy citizen of the colonies.
The three-master case, a girl who had worked in the office of the president of the then-defiant, now-subjugated, Earth Republic, had made him long for sole control of the re-educational process. He hadn’t disagreed with the special master so much as he had early on decided he could have done much better by the confused, proud girl than his senior colleague had done. Greven had enjoyed the two-master cases much more, since in every case they had felt like a partnership, especially when it came to the girls’ sexual education.
Araminta Lourcy was as lovely a girl as he had ever seen. Greven felt sure that every one of his fellow masters looked forward to fucking her as much as he did. The Earth girl, however, seemed likely to pose a few difficulties to the team of masters assigned to her case. Greven could see that obtaining full cooperation among the five of them when they gangbanged her—let alone when they tried to teach her the finer points of Draconian culture—would challenge his organizational skills and his self-control, though certainly not to anywhere near the breaking point.
He had no real doubt that he would close this case successfully and make of Araminta a happy, productive citizen. He wouldn’t need to tell Colonel Promin Federan that his military training didn’t make him the top dog among the masters, or Red Strekin that his bulging carpenter’s muscles didn’t entitle him to be the sole disciplinarian when it came to giving the girl the many bare bottom punishments she would certainly require. As the training continued, the men would eventually come naturally to work as a team.
The true difficulty lay in the undeniable fact that some of their special qualifications—for which of course the administrator had chosen each of them—would necessarily dictate Greven’s approach as he planned Araminta Lourcy’s shaming.
He would want Red to do a greater-than-equal share of the spanking—the hand spanking, at any rate, which the algorithm had highlighted as an essential part of the girl’s training. The very sight of Red’s stacked body would fill Araminta with precisely the shame, fear, and arousal that would teach her so much about letting go of that particular aspect of her ancestral pride. When Red fucked her as hard as the man’s dossier indicated he would, Araminta Lourcy would learn to respect the common man more thoroughly than she would ever have imagined she could.
Greven would also make good use of Colonel Federan’s olive-skinned good looks and his arrogant officer’s demeanor. The kind of military discipline only such a man could provide would help greatly in curbing Araminta’s defiance. When Colonel Federan told Araminta to spread the cheeks of her ass for the vigorous insertion of the enormous cock noted in red in the officer’s dossier, his special warrior’s manner of using her there would teach an irreplaceable lesson.
Blond-haired Nebor Masdin’s hard-headed financial sense, when Greven decided to deploy it and give the Earth girl to him for a session, would mean that he took no nonsense—above all when it came to the bottom line, for the man’s dossier told the special master that he enjoyed using his belt on his acquisitions’ bare backsides. Victornian Ged, principal cellist of the Draco Symphony Orchestra, might seem to Araminta at first a strange choice of disciplinarian with his black hair and his piercing, sensitive blue eyes.
Dark-skinned, dark-eyed Greven’s own abilities as a teacher by training—a schoolmaster really as much as a professor, in Draco’s unique educational system where young women past eighteen bent often over their desks for the old-fashioned correction of a rattan cane—would cure Araminta of her pretensions of Earth’s intellectual superiority. His huge cock—bigger even than Colonel Federan’s—would train her sweet young cunt and her pert bottom in sexual obedience. Every man’s talents had their roles to play, for of course that was why the administrator had chosen them for the team. Greven just had to maintain a balance, so that—among other things—when they all fucked the girl together the lessons each man wished to provide might be heard alongside his fellow masters’ not in discord but, as Victornian might well put it, in a sweet, though perhaps also severe, harmony.
Colonel Federan smiled back with the kind of hostility only a military man can get into a smile. “It’s going to be a fun month, though, right, Professor?” If the smile contained hostility, the word professor dripped with a disdain that made the hostility just this side of unbearable.
Nebor Masdin spoke up. “Yes, but it’s going to cost me a great deal of money. I mean, I like fucking pretty young Earth girls who need to learn their lessons as much as the next guy…” Here he looked around the table and produced a chuckle that rose a bit above the dutiful level required when a captain of industry attempted a subtle joke. Looking a little put out that his humor hadn’t had the same effect here it might have had at a meeting of the department heads of his gravitium mining consortium, he continued, “But the pro bono requirement of the Basic Law has gotten a little onerous in this case, am I right?”
Greven nodded. “I can’t deny that. Remember that it’s not full time, and we’ll all get credit for all the time we give to this case, though. If it takes as many hours as the algorithm thinks, that will mean it’s several years before we have to serve again.”
That brought a sarcastic comment from Red. “I’m sorry all you high-society types aren’t making as much as you do on your jobs, but I can’t say I mind getting more than I get for mine, when I can still work in the off hours.”
Victornian Ged nodded. “This is exactly what we need to teach Araminta, too. Earthers don’t have any sense of community life and universal contribution. We Draconians might grumble about the way the Basic Law enforces it, but…” The cellist looked around at the other masters. “I can’t be the only man here who thinks it’s his duty to give back this way to Draco.”
Greven had to keep his answering smile from becoming mocking, because Victornian could get rather sanctimonious sometimes, and it rubbed a professor of psychology in almost as wrong a way as Colonel Federan’s arrogance. He nodded. “Indeed. And of course this duty will carry a good deal more pleasure than, say, patrolling the forest boundaries.”
Nebor nodded, looking a little mollified. “You’ll never hear me turn down a gangbang, Professor.”
Colonel Federan snorted, an impatient look crossing his dark features. “Can we move to the assessment?”
“Certainly,” Greven replied. “Call up the file on your tablets, please, and we’ll get started.” He had been standing while the other masters sat, but now he took his seat and opened the paper file. The exquisitely detailed Draconian Basic Law called specifically for a paper copy of every administrative document to be kept, as a precaution against the loss of electronically stored data and as a tribute to the lumber industry’s success—which in turn pointed to the success of the terraforming effort of Draco’s original colonists, the first such in the known universe. Customs had developed around such details of the Basic Law, one of them being that the special master in arrival court matters always used the paper copy of the file, as his far-distant forebears would have employed paper documents thousands of years before him. It always filled Greven with a certain sense of awe, as well as putting him in what he considered the right frame of mind: he would now direct the mastering of Araminta Lourcy as men throughout the ages had ensured that young women learned the lessons of submission to proper authority.
“As you’ll see,” Greven began, “Araminta Lourcy went through the standard battery of tests back on Earth. She displayed resistance to every part of Draconian culture, but in particular—and this is almost certainly why the algorithm decided to assign all of us—to the idea of the voluntary suspension of rights.”
“Look at that,” Red said. “Question 705.”
Greven paged through the file, which contained the algorithm’s assessment of each of Araminta’s responses to the more than a thousand questions asked of her as she had sat at the special terminal designed not just to gather her answers but also to assess her eye movement and body language. Many of them, like question 705, presented a brief video clip and then asked whether the test taker approved or disapproved of what he or she had just seen, and in what degree.
Question 705 had showed Araminta a clip of a man bending his wife over the back seat of their family car to give her a spanking, skirt up and panties down, presumably for some infraction she had committed in a restaurant or a shop. The other masters could see the clip itself on their tablets, while Greven had only the description, but though his dominant nature made even that rather arousing, what Red had called their attention to wasn’t the clip but Araminta’s reaction to it, as assessed by the algorithm.
Subject shows antipathy to public family discipline in a degree not previously measured in any Earth arrival. Recommendation is for regular public spankings and other humiliating disciplinary techniques, including as allowable in adult zones public nudity and sexual service.
This brief algorithm-produced note accompanied the numbers: Araminta had of course noted her disapproval at the bottom end of the numerical values provided, but her bodily reaction had broken all records for aversion, even as the warmth between her thighs, measured by the thermometer in her seat, had betrayed a good deal of the source of the repugnance she felt.
It would take a very long while, and a great deal of effort, but Greven would make sure all the girl’s new masters put in the time and performed at a high level. The reward, as the algorithm itself foretold, would be very great.
Subject is likely to prove very successful as a naturalized Draconian citizen. Her submission to Draconian norms will render her happy, as well as providing her native-Draconian sexual partners with the pleasure to which they are entitled from her.