Imagine earth entirely controlled by women and that you are the first full man to return to earth. That is what Captain Adam Truman learns on his return from exploring Gleise 667Cc, 24 light years from earth. Will he become the universal stud or resource? Will he be allowed to restore the traditional balance?
2212 – 2223
When you are as driven as I was as a Space Academy midshipman, you use every experience to motivate you. I redoubled my efforts after Tom’s death. I had classmates who were more intelligent, athletic, and accomplished, but none worked harder. I took inspiration from the American Nation’s greatest general, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who began next to last in his 1846 West Point Class and, by dint of tireless hard work, finished second. His classmates were convinced that “Old Jack” would have finished first if time had not run out on him.
In 2211, before the Titan Mission accident that killed Tom and the Ranger crew, Space Academy added an elective course on the planned Alpha Centauri Mission. Although an elective, all highly ranked 4th class midshipmen were expected to take the course and that, of course, included Karen and me for our final year at the Academy.
We had other courses on various aspects of interstellar travel, but the Alpha Centauri Mission class was where it all came together.
Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star, 4.243 light years from our sun is the closest star to our planetary system and ‘close’, for Proxima Centauri is 40.141 trillion kilometers from the sun or an estimated 80.3 trillion kilometer round trip. If the Alpha Centauri Mission left today, the round trip would take over 85 years. Pay out the money needed to mount the campaign and then wait 85 years for the craft to return? No one wanted that.
But, 10% light speed was the best sustainable velocity we could maintain for the voyage.
First day of class, our instructor, Commander Victor Gabriel, told us that the decision regarding whether the Alpha Centari Mission would be manned had not been made. Nevertheless, all course materials covered a manned flight.
Without a significant boost in propulsion systems, 10% light speed was the best we could do in the foreseeable future. That meant a manned flight to Alpha Centauri would require a reliable hibernation/ life support system to maintain the human past a normal life span. That is what we studied – life systems necessary to the first interstellar mission.
At the time, mission planners thought in terms of a two person crew consisting of a pilot and scientist with each in support of the other.
My rededication put a strain on my relation with Karen, my most serious rival to finish first in our class. We saw little of each other during the week except in a few classes we took together and, even there, simply smiled and waved to each other as we had assigned class seating. Except on game days, we dedicated Saturday afternoons and evenings to each other and relaxation.
Karen had excellent grades and fitness reports and would have been top of our class except for me, Adam Truman, her steady boyfriend. As rivals for the top spot, we had an odd and often strained relation. Hard to love someone who would deprive you of what you most wanted, but we worked at it with increasingly frequent discreet couplings where Karen became the dominant partner in terms of initiating our sexual encounters. She mocked me and I accepted her teasing, anything to get to the one activity I could lose myself in hedonistic pleasure. Karen was fun in bed, always coming up with new and exotic ways to couple. Our sex had the added spice of being illicit. Rather than graduating at the top our class, we would be drummed out of Space Academy if we were caught fornicating.
No one would believe that the level headed, dedicated superintendent’s daughter could be a tiger in bed, least of all her conventional parents. That is likely why she shared her favors with me, the one midshipman who would not reveal her sexual appetite.
When we started dating, Karen and I got together Sunday afternoon for study and occasional flirting. That ended our fourth year.
Before summer assignments, each division elected leaders from the upcoming fourth year class. Sort of like militia companies of the American Nation’s armies except the ‘soldiers’ in our companies were all future officers. In keeping with our class standings, I was elected 26th Division commander and Karen was elected to head of 2nd Division in our final year at the Academy.
My summer assignment was, again, to flight school in Houston. This time, all my training was interstellar travel simulation. Karen was assigned to diplomacy school in Tokyo which put her thousands of miles away. We got communication time and made sure no copies were made of our frequently steamy conversations.
Normally, Karen and I would sit together in Chapel as many midshipman couples did on Sunday mornings. The first time I asked Karen to join me at the Academy Chapel Sunday Service, her answer startled me.
Karen smiled sweetly and informed me, “I am an atheist.”
I had many atheist and agnostic friends and classmates. I did not argue with them or try to convert them. But, Karen surprised me. Her father, mother, younger brother and sister always attended Chapel services as a family and, as best any of us could tell, the Hesses were a devout family.
Ultimately, desperation leads everyone to God. When you have done all you can, the situation is still desperate, and you have no other alternatives is when most pray to God. I think it was during one of the 19th century world wars that the expression, “no atheists in foxholes” was first used. I thought and still believe atheists are people who have not been tested, will be, and will ultimately come to God through the Holy Spirit and not by the testimony and witness of their fellows.
My discussions of religion with Karen always led to arguments and no sex so I quit bringing up the subject. I thought, then, that should Karen and I marry, we could work around our religious differences. Basically, I would attend church services while Karen stayed at home. We would have lunch together and then continue with an ordinary day in our married life or so I thought.
I improved rapidly. Sat up and ate packaged meals the physician smuggled in. She was on my side and I thought a good partner candidate if things could be worked out. Two generations had passed since most women had fucked to have children, but my doctor, Cynthia Legg, had what seemed a latent sensuality, someone a man could seduce. She asked me why I was confined and on a hunger strike. I told her and found her sympathetic. She had read about me and the old days and thought, like me, a male/ female combination best for child production and rearing.
Pru came by and, despite detectors that might be planted in my room, we had an open, frank discussion. She was animated as she was not earlier. “Congratulations, Pops, you won.”
“Could not have done it without you. Where did ‘Pops’ come from? This old man has good years left in him.”
“So I hear. What is this about partners?” Pru mentioned it in jest, but I decided to bring her into my thinking.
“It sounds lustful and self-indulgent, but I have a deeper reason for my demand. The Catastrophe took away sexuality as well as whole men. What I see now – drones providing sperm for universal insemination will lead to a population of robots, automatons. A few more generations and everything worth living or dying for will be gone.”
“You make it sound so dire,” Pru commented.
“Just the future of New Earth.”
“Tell me about these partners you need.”
“There is a learned experience factor in genetics that is elusive in coding. I am betting that sexuality has been passed down to at least a few current young women. They do not know about intercourse, may have read about it, but are drawn to it by genetic compulsion. These are the women who will wear the shield and fuck with me. In an earlier, better time, these would be women me or some other man would marry and have a family with. We will have to screen to find them.”
“You have brain scans. We had them before I left. Put pictures of young men, shirtless and doing something associated with manliness. Better yet, images of me. Prospective partners’ brains will be stimulated.” I went on to explain that I perceived no sexuality interest in the delegates at my reception, but saw what I thought might be latent desire in Lt Sharing and Dr Legg.
“Sounds reasonable. I think you have Director Godwin and the Council with you. They know nothing of human sexuality and hope that you do and will guide the sperm production program wisely. Their concern was finding willing partners. You may have suggested the answer.”
“Pru, do us both a service. Take the brain stimulation test to Director Godwin as your idea. I think it will work and you will get the credit which should elevate your status as my liaison.”