Geran’s mother told her, after the guests had left, to go get her info tablet. Britana, eighteen that day and feeling like the belle of the ball—in that old Earth expression her father liked to use of his wife and his two daughters—began to say that she could deal with her schoolwork later. Then she noticed the odd, sad expression in her mother’s eyes.
“Turn it on in your room,” her mother said, “and look at it.”
“Mummy,” Britana said, almost shifting her tone into a teasing sort of address but holding back at the last moment as her mother’s serious face affected her. “I know how to use a tablet.”
Bellare Geran’s lips moved as if she wanted to smile. Her forehead creased, and now Britana suddenly felt a strange, nameless dread.
“Yes,” Mummy said. Her voice faltered. “Just… when you turn the tablet on, you’ll see.”
Britana frowned, and went to her room. To her dismay, her hands trembled as they picked up the old tablet on which she had done so many school lessons—and wouldn’t have to do many more, now that she had turned eighteen. In a week, the slim, dark-haired girl would travel halfway across her world, Normeria, to begin her service-learning program in the ecological corps.
Just three years before, when the space war had raged and Normeria had chosen the wrong side, her older sister hadn’t been able to travel for her own service learning. Fostera Geran had remained in Allenton, the Normerian capital, to start her career as a physician.
After the peace, though, and despite the defeat of the Vionian coalition the Normerians had so unwisely joined, young people’s prospects once again lay wide open. Britana loved her family, but she wanted to spend at least the next few years far away from Allenton, in the still largely unknown wilderness created by the planet’s terraforming.
The tablet came to life in her hands.
Alert: Important message received from Planetary Authority
The only other time Britana had seen the red notification on the tablet’s screen had been when the Vionian Empire had surrendered, leaving all its allies—including Normeria—to their individual fates at the hands of the Magisterians who controlled the Galactic Federation. Her heart beating very fast, she touched the button to go to the message.
Dear Britana Geran,
Britana frowned, some of her anxiety dissipating as the momentary impression that the urgent message comprised only birthday wishes. Then she remembered the look on her mother’s face.
Your Planetary Authority wishes you all the best on your special day, and welcomes you to adulthood. We know you will do your best in these trying times to help your fellow citizens, now that you have reached your full status as one of us.
Britana’s frown deepened. Everything the news seemed to have been saying over the past two years or so had carried such a tone of hopefulness. Sure, the planet had taken the losing side in a war, but hadn’t the Magisterians treated the conquered worlds—with the exception of Vionia itself—with great leniency?
We ask that you read the attached message from the Magisterian Colonial Authority, and prepare yourself to comply with its instructions. You must present yourself at the receiving entrance of the Girls’ Training Center, 67 Great Allen Street, no more than seventy-two hours from the time you opened this message. We advise that you do your best to follow all the specifications found in the attached message, in order that your time of service to the Magisterian Navy begin as happily as possible and continue in the same way.
Your grateful planet salutes you.
Britana looked at the button that would open the attachment as if it might bite her finger should she touch it. What did it mean? The Magisterian Navy? Trying with very little success to get her breathing under control, she considered running out of her room and finding her mother—demanding to know how and why her parents had kept from her this vital information.
Her plans for Eastern Ecological had clearly been castles in the air. The peace treaty had dire provisions that the Planetary Authority had seen fit to hide from the very young people on whom it seemed the Magisterians had decided to place this terrible burden.
Well. Britana’s heartrate descended a bit. I did want to see the galaxy, and I had to settle for Eastern Ecological, she thought. Her finger still trembled, but she pressed the button.
The following message is intended to be delivered to each designated female of the planet Normeria on her eighteenth birthday.
Greetings from your Colonial Authority.
My Colonial Authority? A chill traveled down Britana’s spine.
You have been designated, under the secret terms of the Treaty of Allentown, as a part of your planet’s war reparations to the Galactic Federation. You will attend the Girls’ Training Center and after your erotic training you will serve as a ship girl in the Royal Navy of Magisteria for a term of not more than five years.
Britana’s jaw dropped. Her cheeks blazed with fiery heat.
The Magisterian Colonial Authority’s decision to locate our training facility for ship girls on Normeria followed directly from the Normerian government’s boasts concerning the planet’s citizens’ fierce pride and complete independence. By placing the facility, where daughters of the Normerian elite like you become sexual servants for the Royal Navy, in the center of the capital of Normeria, the Colonial Authority sends a very clear message. You, as a designated fuck toy, represent an important part of that message.
Britana felt her face crumple, her nose prickling with tears. It couldn’t be true, and yet… again she remembered her mother’s face. How long had they known? How many girls got ‘designated’? To her horror, the next paragraph told her.
The parent(s) or guardian(s) of a certain number of the qualifying female population—families with an income in the top ten percent—receive notification the day prior to their daughters’ eighteenth birthdays. As one of those designated girls, you will present yourself at the receiving entrance of the center within seventy-two hours.
To prepare yourself for the beginning of your training, you are to say farewell to your family and your friends and ensure that your affairs are in order. Pack a bag no larger than 60cm by 50cm by 10cm. Bring only personal effects including at most one photograph and one other keepsake. Any clothing will be confiscated; all necessary garments will be supplied to you at the training center, should you earn the privilege of wearing clothing.
We look forward to training you as a valuable addition to the comforts available to the Royal Navy’s proud and valiant officers and men. We know you will find your service shameful, especially at first, but we encourage you to remember that your world brought this consequence upon itself, and upon you.
When you and your fellow ship girls serve the lusts of the people you wronged, the manhoods that enjoy your young body will help you experience the reversal of your planet’s fortunes. Moreover, the Sisters of Service who govern the center where you will soon go will ensure that you understand how thoroughly your vagina, your anus, and your mouth, the parts of you in which we are interested, belong not to you and your world, but to us, and to ours.
The tablet fell from Britana’s hands to her bed. She could hardly believe any of it—the secret terms of the treaty, the very existence of this vile center, the notification her parents had obviously received the previous day and not wanted to tell her about in order that her birthday be happy until this terrible moment.
Her mind, however, dwelt despite her best efforts on the frank, lewd ending of the letter. It seemed inconceivable to Britana that some Magisterian bureaucrat had dared write those shameful things. She knew, however, from social studies at school, that Magisterian society—the civilization that controlled so much of the galaxy and its wealth through its monopoly on the mineral gravitium, essential to starships’ hyperdrives—prided itself on what it called its ethical non-egalitarianism.
Her social studies teacher had gone a little red in her cheeks while discussing it, and Britana hadn’t thought she truly understood what the teacher, Ms. Fressen, meant. She had gotten the vague impression that Magisterian men took charge of their institutions, and that women who didn’t wish to be subordinated could migrate to more egalitarian worlds.
Something in the way Ms. Fressen spoke of the lives of the women who chose to remain on Magisteria, though, had made Britana raise her hand.
“They serve as caregivers and teachers, if they wish,” the teacher had said, “but because of Magisteria’s extraordinary wealth their primary role is as companions.”
Britana had felt certain Ms. Fressen had seen her raised hand, but instead of calling on her, the teacher had moved quickly on to discuss the Vionian Empire.
She had wanted to know what companion meant. To her dismay, she felt certain now that it must mean something like ship girl.
Fuck toy. They had put that right in the letter.
Britana’s tummy flipped over. For a moment she wondered whether the Magisterians chose the fifty percent of wealthy eighteen-year-olds for any special reason—did naval officers or colonial bureaucrats look at photographs? Had one of them seen an image of her—her school portrait, perhaps—and decided Britana Geran must be one of the young women sent to the training center?
Her forehead puckered and she found that she had taken her lower lip between her teeth.
Ship girl. Fuck toy. She hardly even knew what the awful monosyllable, the one no young lady must ever say, meant. Britana glanced down at the tablet on the bed, still displaying the terrible message from the Colonial Authority. She felt so strange, thinking about it; tears formed at the corners of her eyes, but her mind and heart and body had come into such turmoil that she didn’t even know why, exactly.
Because my life just changed for the worse. For the terrible… the horrible, she told herself. No Eastern Ecological. Five years.
Why did she feel, then, that the watering of her eyes came from somewhere else? From an awful notion that had more to do with her sudden certainty that the Magisterians had indeed chosen her for their horrid center, and not solely because of her prettiness.
Britana turned to see her mother at the door, with tears in her own eyes and her arms open. Daughter flew to mother and let that embrace envelop her and do away with the other reason to cry. Britana wept in her mother’s arms for the pure desolation of having to leave home this way.
Her mother hugged her again two days later, right before Britana got out of the family car onto the curb of the Girls’ Training Center drop-off zone. Until they drove up in front of it, Britana hadn’t fully understood what the Magisterians had done to humble her world’s pride. As soon as she stood on the sidewalk looking up at what had been Allen Mansion, the grand neo-classical home of the presidents of Normeria, she grasped it, though: the conquerors had turned the first family’s home into a training center that turned proper young ladies into subservient pleasure girls.
She gripped the handle of her little suitcase, thinking of the picture of her family inside it, taken the morning of her birthday only two days before. It seemed like a million years ago, when Britana had felt herself to be one kind of girl—now she felt like quite a different kind. She thought of the little book she had grabbed off her desk as her keepsake: a real book, hundreds of years old, passed down in her family from youngest daughter to youngest daughter, and given to Britana as her own for that same fateful birthday, by her older sister, who had received it on her own eighteenth.
An outrageous title that had made her blush, but a reinforcement, in its way, of Normeria’s egalitarian culture, that the family had kept this book, just for fun. Sex and the Single Girl.
“Britana Geran?” asked a stern female voice from the doorway in front of her—the service entrance of the mansion, repurposed it seemed as the receiving door for the center. “Come in here right now. You’ll learn not to dally that way soon enough.”
Britana looked at the woman, her eyes going wide and her cheeks going hot. Middle-aged, she wore a strange, shapeless, long black dress, and her hair was covered in a sort of black scarf that made her face look very severe—an impression not at all alleviated by the disapproving look on her face.
Britana froze. The woman sighed with such evident disapproval that Britana turned around, to see that a police vehicle had just made her mother pull away from the curb, giving Britana a final, hopeful wave. She clearly didn’t see the look on the black-dressed woman’s face, Britana thought, panic rising in her chest, or she never would have left me.
She felt something press lightly against the small of her back, and then to her dismay she felt a strange tingling emanate from that spot and after it, even more frighteningly, an even stranger lassitude.
“Come along, you naughty girl,” said the woman’s voice. “You will call me Sister Portia. I am head sister of the center. Let’s get you inside and out of your clothes for inspection. Then we’ll teach you not to dally.”
Britana felt the woman’s hand on her elbow, gripping her tightly but not so tightly that Britana should have felt so utterly unable to resist. She tried desperately to run away, and she knew she should have had the strength to do so, but when Sister Portia used her slender fingers on the inside of Britana’s arm to turn the younger woman toward the door and propel her through it, Britana found she couldn’t make her body move properly.
She understood suddenly, with a heart-stopping thrill of panic, that something horrible had happened to her… something brought about by the thing that had touched her back. Whatever the older woman had used on her had somehow made it impossible for her to resist.
“Wait!” she said as Sister Portia walked her into the vestibule, where another identically dressed middle-aged woman sat behind a little desk. “Please… I won’t dally anymore.”
“No, you little slut,” Sister Portia said into her ear. “I know you won’t, after I whip your impudent backside for you.”
Captain Vincent Edwards of the Magisterian heavy cruiser Indus decided to spend some of the relatively abundant free time he possessed while station-keeping in the Normerian system to observe the training of the newest ship girls. With a crew of two and not a single ship girl aboard, Vincent felt a keen interest in the process.
The closure of the service academy on Yeg two years before had made the Royal Navy’s sexual servants much scarcer. For a long while only the flagships of Magisteria’s three star fleets had carried ship girls. The opening of the training center on Normeria had begun to address the shortage: the Indus, like the other cruisers of the Purple Fleet, rotating through the system, would receive three of the fuck toys now undergoing their training.
Sitting down at his desk in his spacious cabin, Vincent noticed to his pleasure that he had a fine view of the planet itself, the blue-green of a well-terraformed world, out his window. Opening his view screen, he got the marvelously vertiginous feeling of zooming in across the impossible distance, to the special facility housed in what had, Vincent knew, once been Normeria’s president’s mansion.
The drone’s-eye view from above the center showed a perfectly lovely white-pillared structure, with a distinctive balcony from which the world’s presidents must have addressed cheering crowds. Vincent tended to prefer a more Northern—as the geography of old Earth went, which still determined schools of art these millennia later—style, but Normeria had clearly done well for itself, until the unwise decision to join the Vionian coalition.
The view from above the center served as a guide to the wide selection of views into which Vincent could zoom at will. Red captions on the view screen told him that seventeen girls were in one of the center’s large classrooms and fifteen were in the other—the former group, the caption indicated, comprised most of the advanced class of ship girls-in-training, while the latter included young women who had arrived within the past three months. One girl had, it seemed, just arrived at the receiving entrance.
Vincent shifted his view to the advanced classroom, and found a camera angle he liked. The girls, in their modest gray dresses, sat in five rows before the sister teaching today’s lesson. Seen from behind the instructor, they looked up with pink-cheeked faces at the young lady of their number who had it seemed just been made to take off her clothing, either as part of the lesson or perhaps, Vincent thought, as a disciplinary measure.
He shifted his camera angle to a view from the wall and saw the tearstained expression on the girl’s face as she stepped out of her thick white schoolgirl briefs. A punishment, then, seemed most likely. Then Vincent saw that the Sister of Service had begun to part her habit at the neck, opening it along its invisible seam to reveal a black corset, and below that formidable lingerie, the privilege of her order: the full bush of cunt hair that Magisterian sisters of service trimmed only occasionally, though the girls they trained learned a very different regime. The young woman who had just removed her panties had no hair between her legs at all; the adorable cleft of her quim peeped out charmingly—and, for Vincent, mouth-wateringly—for all to see.
The naked girl, her red hair pulled back in a pretty headband and her green eyes wide, turned to see her teacher take from a drawer the punishment harness. For this device the Sisters of Service had become justly known on every world where the order had undertaken to train young women for the pleasure of dominant masters.
This class had seen it before, clearly. The naked girl’s face crumpled.
“Please, Sister?” she begged.
“Lay yourself over the whipping horse, Miss Taler,” the sister said, pointing to the distinctive bench at the back of the room. “Girls, you will work on your essays while I punish Miss Taler.”
An alert in the corner of Vincent’s screen told him that the new girl had just been fully registered as a student. He tapped there, out of curiosity. The scene in the advanced classroom would be exciting, but he knew it would take at least a few minutes for it to begin properly: the sister had to don the punishment harness, and then strap the girl to the whipping horse, before the lesson could truly commence.
When he saw the new girl, though, Vincent decided to forego that voyeuristic pleasure in favor of the one provided by Miss Britana Geran. Attracted by her dark eyes as she stood uncertainly before the desk in the vestibule, he double-tapped her image to learn that to be her name and to see that she had earned stellar marks at her secondary school.
The intelligence in her gaze showed clearly in the way Britana looked about her now, so obviously attempting to puzzle out what sort of place the mysterious Girls’ Training Center might be. At the same time, the red in her face made plain how very conscious the communication from the Magisterian Colonial Authority had made her of the destiny forced upon her—so very shameful, as she must think it.
In contemplating that sweet blush, Vincent found anew his appreciation of his world’s system for the erotic satisfaction of men like him—and girls like Britana. Every girl chosen for enrollment under the care of the sisters of service had come to the attention of the Colonial Authority’s proven algorithm for identifying suitable ship girls as a result of the sort of modesty that now made Britana blush.
The red-haired girl in the advanced classroom, whom the sister had now probably begun strapping down atop the whipping horse, shared that quality, as did every other young lady in both classrooms.
Even after thousands of years of the study of human psychology, little consensus existed in the Galactic Federation—let alone the galaxy as a whole—as to the nature of modesty. On the other hand, Magisterian researchers had gathered abundant evidence that one kind of modesty, the sort accompanied by the nano-sensor readings coming from between Miss Britana Geran’s thighs, indicated that a young woman needed what the Sisters of Service, and the Magisterian Royal Navy, could give her.
“You may put your suitcase over there,” said Head Sister Portia, whose name appeared helpfully in a graphic on Vincent’s screen. Her voice was brusque and faintly disapproving, as if Britana should have known better than to hold onto her luggage.
Britana looked up at the woman, and then over to the sister behind the reception desk. Vincent found himself oddly moved by the girl’s evident sensitivity; it seemed as if the abrupt injunction to leave her suitcase against the wall had increased her anxiety greatly. She had good reason for that anxiety, Vincent knew: the next few minutes would be very difficult for her. The captain felt his cock swell against his thigh at the thought of the humiliation Miss Britana Geran, daughter—the profile displayed on the right side of his screen said—of two Normerian senior magistrates, would now undergo.
Sister Tristia, behind the desk, looked up at Britana with an expression of annoyance. “Don’t dawdle, girl. Do as Sister Portia said.”
“She dawdled on the sidewalk,” said Sister Portia, her voice growing even more censorious. “She has a whipping coming already.”
The close-up to which Vincent switched now showed two bright tears in the corners of the dark-haired girl’s eyes.
“I don’t…” she started, her voice trailing off as she looked from one Sister of Service to the other. “Please. You… you can’t. I don’t understand.”
Her eyes pleaded with Sister Portia.
“Did you dawdle on the sidewalk, Britana, or did you come right in here where you knew you must go?”
“I only… I only looked at the… the…” Now the frightened girl clearly foundered on the dilemma of whether to call the building the president’s manor or the shameful new name her world’s conquerors had given it.
“The Girls’ Training Center, you little whore,” said Sister Tristia.
Britana started at the woman’s degrading words. “What? I… you…”
Sister Tristia didn’t address the girl now, but her fellow instructress. “She’s registered. You may take her to the examination room.” She turned again to Britana. “I hope Sister whips that whorish young bottom of yours very thoroughly, girl. You obviously need an old-fashioned lesson in the worst way. You Normerian girls are all such wanton sluts. I don’t wonder the Federation put this center here.”
Britana had turned to look at the woman behind the desk, whose cold eyes moved up and down her pretty young form, clad in a simple but very fashionable outfit of close-fitting pink pants and a white short-sleeved top. Fashions traveled vast interstellar distances these days; young women on every egalitarian planet in the Federation were donning similarly tight pants. A Magisterian at home would allow his concubines to wear such a thing in the bedroom, Vincent thought to himself, in order to have those pants lovingly removed after their seat had been thoroughly paddled—but nowhere else.
The sisters’ judgment upon the young women of Normeria therefore had to do not so much with the specific culture of Britana’s world than it probably seemed to her. The Magisterian Sisters of Service, founded a thousand years before as an instrument for educational and cultural outreach, had always taken this sort of pronouncement as part of its duty, wherever its academies and centers rose on human colonies. Sister Portia and Sister Tristia undertook to awaken submissive girls’ natural ambivalence about independence granted them on planets like Normeria, and to turn it to the purpose of dominant pleasure—as well as the girls’ own erotic fulfillment.
Sister Portia’s duty now involved taking a menacing step toward Britana and seizing the little blue suitcase, on which Britana’s right hand still rested. The girl instinctively clutched at it, but Sister Portia pulled the case away with a look of utter contempt.
“Wait…” Britana cried, as the sister in the black habit turned and marched the two steps to the corner at which she had pointed a few moments before.
“You will see your things again in the dormitory,” Sister Tristia said, looking up from the work to which she had returned her attention and speaking dismissively. “Go with Sister Portia now.”
Britana again turned her lovely face this way and that, dividing her gaze between the two sisters, as if she might find one of them sympathetic, but neither paid her any attention. Sister Portia moved to the door that led inward into the center and opened it. When she turned back to Britana her face looked as hard as stone.
“The first door on the left, girl,” the sister said.
Vincent chose the close-up of Britana’s face again, to see a jolt of emotion go through her that he could scarcely read. Her cheeks went very red, so shame—perhaps at how the promise of a whipping had made her feel between her thighs—definitely made a part of it. He saw fear, too, in her widened eyes—an immediate anxiety about the prospect of being seen to ‘dawdle’ again that made her feet move under her, though as Vincent shifted the camera to a longer view she seemed to walk very awkwardly, as if she had difficulty controlling her limbs.
Then, in her look back over her shoulder as she passed Sister Portia, he saw something else that made his heart swell a bit even as it also stiffened him in his uniform pants. Britana’s dark eyes seemed to plead for understanding of her dawdling, as if she hoped the sister would see that the Normerian girl wanted to behave herself, but didn’t yet know how.
Did Sister Portia see the same plea, Vincent wondered? If the woman did, her training didn’t allow her to acknowledge the perception in any way.
“Through the door, Britana,” said the Sister of Service. “Then take off those disgraceful clothes.”