I Stranger

02Jul13

spanked“Alright, we’ve wasted enough time,” Amanda barked out to her team, “I want the field squad ready to go in two minutes.”

Jack Riley the field technician eyed the tall cool blonde apprehensively from his place at the configuration terminal. He adjusted his glasses nervously and pulled down the available options. This was going all too fast. Another day and he could have configured a field team parameter that would have better suited their personalities and roles.

“Amanda… eh… can I have a little more time I…” Jack said hesitantly.

“You have personality downloads?” Amanda snapped.

“Yes but…” Jack replied.

“Choose the best one and let’s get going. Time is of the essence on this project,” she growled.

“But that’s just it, none of them are right and I have no assessment feedback to…” he explained.

“It is never going to be perfect and I need the team on the ground asap,” Amanda shot back.

The woman was known throughout the IPEE as a hard-nosed bitch, but she got results when it came to cultural planetary exploration.

“Maybe we should just review the data,” Carol put in, “This is a pretty unusual planet we have here. The inhabitants are descendent from an eclectic group of shipwrecked sex tourists and back-to-basics farmer types.”

Carol was the team’s resident anthropologist. A small wide-eyed redhead straight from training, she was the newest member of the team and not used to Amanda’s shoot-from-the-hip way of doing things.

“We have three days to download, assess the situation and report back to the mother ship before its window of return,” Amanda said sharply with a clap of her hands, “Unless you want to all stay here for a year then let’s move people.”

Amanda’s deputy, Bill Terry, shrugged. He was a large man with sandy brown hair. He was well used to Amanda’s impatience. He served as the team’s orbiter pilot and on the ground he was the medic and back-up leader.

“Do you want to see the options for yourself first? I have three options so far; it wouldn’t take a min…” Jack started.

“Hit the download now,” Amanda yelled.

Jack didn’t look. He just extended his hand and hit the nearest pre-set.

*

Jack blinked hard as he tried to adjust himself to the scene in front of him. His body felt wrong as well, a natural reaction to full body download. The idea was that fully functioning bio-droid avatars could be set-down in a target area to gather basic cultural data while the original bodies stayed on the orbiter in stasis. Then individually tailored personality sets could be configured to merge with living team members who would then have the skills and knowledge to mingle with the inhabitants in order to make an assessment of their technological and social-psychological make-up.

The merged personalities were supposed to be led by the original team members’, but unless the field technician configured appropriate compliments, then complications could arise. That being his job, this is what Jack had been afraid of. Now he felt wrong.

He blinked again and saw the small town nestled in the valley under purple snow-capped mountains. It was an awesome sight that made his heart soar. And that was just another reason to think that something was wrong; normally he hated the outdoors.

“We’re down, good job people,” Amanda said enthusiastically.

Jack felt his hackles rise. Good job Jack, she should have said. The others wouldn’t know an avatar programme from a cup of coffee.

“I think you mean thanks ‘Jack,’” he said.

Where did that come from? He would never usually answer Amanda back.

“Eh… yes, that’s what I meant,” Amanda said hesitantly. That too was unlike her.

Jack looked at the avatars. They were all recognisable as his colleagues, but different somehow. For one thing he was now a head taller than Amanda and physically much stronger. There was nothing unusual about this. The avatars were based on orbital observations. However, usually he would feel awkward in such a body. Today he felt more alive than he ever had in his life.

“Look at these clothes,” Carol exclaimed.

She was pulling at a short leather tunic that barely served as a skirt and left her short but shapely legs bare. Her hair too, normally a crinkled rust colour, shone like copper. The anthropologist shot a glance at Amanda.

The boss’s legs went on forever and a hint of bottom cheek peeked from under the fringe of her leather skirts.

“Everyone follow your instincts and load up on the available gear,” Amanda said opening a box that had accompanied the droids a few days before.

The rather better clothed men both unthinkingly reached for a sword and bow each. Jack noticed at once how natural the blade felt in his hand. He also saw that the box contained two short quirts. He had no idea what possible use they could be, but his palm itched when he tried to leave them and so he grabbed one and tucked it into his belt.

He noticed that Carol picked nothing but a small pouch, a skinning knife and short leather strap that she put around her neck.

“What’s that?” Jack asked.

“It’s a… oh…” an odd expression crossed her face and she didn’t know if he knowledge was learned or implanted. “It shows I am…”

The word ‘owned’ popped into her head, but that seemed…

“Spoken for,” she finished.

Jack noticed that Amanda too had picked up a similar neck strap and was eyeing with some confusion.

“Spoken for? By whom?” Jack asked.

Carol looked rather sheepishly at Bill and blushed.

“I think I am your… wife?” Amanda said uncertainly, as she looked at Jack. “What roles did you choose for us anyway?”

“I had no time to analyse the details,” Jack replied, “There were two hunting party scenarios and one merchant; as you know we usually just ‘know’ after a few minutes.”

“What I ‘know’ doesn’t make much sense,” Amanda admitted. “It is all… I don’t know.”

“Do you feel strange?” Jack was still feeling very disconcerted.

“No… I feel… good,” Amanda said easily.

She smiled for the first time that Jack could remember.

“You okay boss?” Bill asked her.

Amanda nodded and then after another slight hesitation, she put the band she was holding around her neck

“Okay let’s go,” Bill said taking charge.

He was pointing at the settlement below; the most logical direction as well as the one that felt ‘right.’

*

They had been walking for about three hours when they saw the party of travellers coming towards them. By then they knew that their own team were a hunting party led by Bill and assisted by Jack; and that Carol and Amanda were their respective bond-mates.

The term bond-mates was akin to marriage, but also suggested a subordinate role. Amanda bristled at the notion, but she couldn’t get her hackles to rise. It was only for a few days, she reasoned and in any case it wasn’t much different from some of the stories she liked to read.

The town ahead of them in the valley was called Samos and by prior arrangement would be their home for the next two days before they went on to the hunting grounds. That would be plenty of time to mingle with the natives and assess their technological culture.

The party up ahead had presumably just done what they were supposed to be doing. In any case, nothing in their conditioning suggested that they had anything to fear.

“Hail friend,” the leader of the approaching group called as they drew near.

Amanda felt she should reply but before she could decide Bill called over, “Hail and be well met.”

The man in front of the group was huge, with thick fire red hair and beard. There were two other men in his group and four women. All of whom wore a band at their neck signifying that they were bond-mates.

“You have had no luck yet then?” the fire-haired leader observed.

“No, we were hoping to do better in a day or so,” Bill replied in an easy tone.

The language they spoke was strange but peppered with half-familiar words. But the conditioning made it seem like their own tongue.

“What is the town ahead like?” Amanda asked.

She knew at once that she shouldn’t have spoken and she blushed.

It was a polite enough question but Bill was furious and he didn’t know why.

“Do you insult us friend?” the leader growled.

“It’s rude for a… a woman like us to speak to another man without…” Carol whispered to Amanda.

“I know… I…” Amanda replied.

The leader’s hand went to the hilt of his sword.

“Will you let that stand or will we cross swords?” he said angrily.

Jack felt an undeniable impulse to act, but how?

Bill knew it was for Jack to act and glared at the man.

“You have to… punish her,” Carol whispered to Jack.

Amanda swallowed and fought down the urge to take control of the situation.

Not knowing what do, Jack let his instincts take over. With two strides he was on Amanda and seized her easily with his newfound strength. Then sitting at a rock by the track he pulled down over his knee and pulled up her short hem behind.

“Jack,” Amanda gasped as her bottom was bared.

Taking no notice, jack began to belabour Amanda’s behind with the flat if his hand while the small group of men and women began to laugh.

Suddenly it felt and almost natural to give Amanda a good sound spanking and he abandoned all hesitancy. For a moment he remembered past slights and her impatient manner, and then he called to mind that she had nearly got them killed.

Amanda’s bottom was already quite red, but he did not pause as he his hand blasted down in great satisfying splats that echoed around the valley.

“That’s the way lad,” the red-haired giant laughed, “And show her the quirt later when you can punish her at your leisure.”

“You have my word on it friend,” Jack promised.

Finally the spanking was over and a red-faced, moist-eyed and thoroughly meek Amanda hopped about with her hands clamped to her bottom.

“We’ll be on our way then,” the leader said as his little group started onward.

*

“How dare you…?” Amanda said angrily once they had moved off. “I… I… ooh.”

She struggled to get her words out as the effects of Jack’s hand continued to burn in her bottom.

“You nearly started a fight,” Bill said in exasperation, “What kind of rookie mistake was that?”

“But… still… oh,” Amanda stood panting as she rubbed her behind. “Did you have to choose this particular download set?”

“You…” Jack gaped in disbelief, “If you don’t be quiet woman, I’ll give you another spanking.”

“You wouldn’t dare…” Amanda said uneasily. But she quickly bit her lip and backed away.

“We should make the town in another hour,” Bill said, already concerning himself with the matter in hand, “Any orders for us?”

Amanda glowered. She would feel utterly ridiculous if she gave any instructions now.

“Good, then let’s see if we can make the town in time for a meal,” Bill said decisively.

The men led off leaving Amanda and Carol to bring up the rear.

“Is there any set we could have chosen that wouldn’t have left us so…? Oh I don’t know.” Amanda whispered in exasperation to Carol.

“It is hard to say, but I understand rich women sometimes lead merchant caravans,” Carol replied. “But always assuming you were assigned that role, I suspect I would have been no better off. I might have even been… a slave or something.”

Amanda swallowed hard. Given how hastily they had… no she had made them download, there was no certainty that she would have drawn a leadership role. She might have been placed in an even more lowly position as Carol suggested. Strangely the idea was not as horrifying as it should have been and she had a brief flash of memory of a book she once read.

“Anyway, at least we’ll get a good meal and a rest in town,” Amanda said ruefully, still rubbing her bottom.

For the rest of the way Amanda and Carol walked in silence; Amanda lost in strange thoughts and possibilities while Carol tried to view her conditioning with a professional anthropological eye. She had a feeling that town life for them might be rather trying.

As they approached they could see that the settlement was quite large. As they drew nearer they could see it was surrounded by a high wall of wood and stone that reached as high as the second story of the buildings inside. Only a few were taller than this and they were all of stone.

The society, as they had expected, was a sort of hybrid late medieval culture with a more primitive social fusion of the European early modern era. But philosophical data and notions of medical science that had been ascertained by mini drones suggested a highly developed culture. They even had laws against the use of firearms and explosives, which was a clear indication that their technological knowledge was more advanced than their day-to-day usage. But how far did that extend?

There were countless references to old Earth and spaceflight in their literature, but it was impossible to tell if these were half-understood stories or a continuous awareness of history. The only way to be certain was for an experienced and instinctive team to interact with the natives. That was after all why they had come.

“You want the hunter’s lodge?” the man at the gate asked as they reached it.

Amanda opened her mouth to speak, but just one glare from Bill silenced her.

“Yes friend,” Bill replied.

The man bowed slightly, a gesture both Bill and Jack emulated and then he pointed up the second widest street from the gate towards a three-storey building of yellow brick.

*

The men had been invited to sit as soon as they had arrived, but to the women’s surprise they were both drafted as servers.

“Best see to your men’s drinks first, we have no rule against public chastisement here,” the innkeeper’s bond-mate warned them as she handed Amanda and Carol two drinking bowls.

“But…” Amanda began.

But the woman nodded at two women facing the wall with their tunics tucked up. There were clear signs of red welts across their amply displayed bare bottoms and Amanda’s earlier humiliation came flooding back.

“This is so unfair,” Amanda whispered to Carol.

“Is it?” Carol asked, not feeling so put out. “This is so interesting.”

The pungent smell of the spice wine and ginger downer mixed in a smooth beverage that Carol felt she had known how to make for years. It was absolutely fascinating.

After months in space between worlds living off limited processed foods, the feast set out on the tables was impressive. Amanda also realised that she would have been bored just sitting making small-talk. Carol was right; the kitchen and server area was fascinating.

Meanwhile over where the men sat, some others came and joined them.

“Do you know any good tales friend?” a man sitting next to Bill asked.

“I don’t know any that compare with the tales of old Earth and the great ships that…” Jack put in.

“Oh, stuffy old classical history, who cares about the mother world?” the man replied.

Bill and Jack exchanged looks.

“If its old knowledge you want, then what about tricky? I saw a light show once,” another man said. “There is a house over at Bartoom that is lit entirely by tricky lights that are powered by a silver plate on the roof.”

“Bah, tricky light is for healing temples and academies,” the first man snorted.

“You must be Tourist clan folks,” the second man said, “My mother was too; it was she that told me about the old tricky. My old man’s people were Retro.”

Jack wished Carol were here to make sense of it. It was stupid that she had to make the drinks. He looked over to catch her eye. Luckily she took the hint and came over.

“Another drink?” she asked.

Before Jack could reply she bent down as whispered, “There are five clans I think: the Knowers, the Artisans, the Retro, the Tourist and the Organics.”

Jack pretended not to react but gave a small nod.

“Amanda will brief you later, you’ll just have to wing it for now,” Carol continued, “Better say your Tourist.”

“So are you Retro too?” Jack asked the first man.

“That’s right, we’re travel companions. You up for the hunt or are you regulars?”

“No just for the hunt,” Bill said.

“Figures,” the second man said. “What do you do out of season?”

“Watchmen,” Carol whispered as she poured Bill another drink.

“We used to stand watch over at Baros, but…” Bill kept it vague.

“Ha…” the second man clapped the first on the shoulder.

The latter man muttered under his breath.

“I knew you were warriors,” the second man said, “I bet on it.”

“Will you trade me your name friend?” the first man said.

Bill nodded.

“I’m Jack,” Jack said, sensing that they should go first.

“Jaq, a good name, I’m Tome,” the second man said.

“Bill,” Bill said.

“Bil, I am Sim,” the first man said. “May we meet on the hunt.”

*

Later that night the men were shown to different rooms. Jack’s was Spartan in the extreme, but it had a wide bed and a water closet. The only other items were a stool and a rough sackcloth-like tapestry with a crude beast on it.

He hadn’t been there more than a minute when the door opened and Amanda slipped in.

“What a day?” Jack sighed.

He wondered if she was going to berate him about the spanking, but she was smiling again. It was most unnerving.

“Did Carol give you the head’s up?”

“We’re watchmen warriors from Baros between jobs and doing some seasonal hunting,” Jack informed her.

Amanda weighed this and then said, “That fits with what we said, good. We are Tourist. That means no one will be surprised if we are interested in the past and technology, but no one will expect us to be experts. The Tourist are traders and warriors in this society. I gather Artisans and Knowers do not hunt.”

“What about Retro and…”

“Organics,” Amanda supplied. “They are warriors, farmers, hunters and fishermen almost exclusively. Unfortunately we ended up deep in Organics country. They are even more basic than the Retro from what I can gather. Cultivate your Retro friends if you can, they are a bit more liberal and open to outsiders, but we really need to talk to some Knowers.”

“You found out all of this by working as a waitress?” Jack was impressed.

“Actually Carol did,” Amanda admitted. “I spent most of the time whining about getting stuck with the washing up. Sorry about before. I am still getting used to this.”

“You’re sorry?” he gaped.

Amanda had never apologised before and considering he had spanked her, it was him who should be apologising.

“Don’t make it any more difficult,” she said sheepishly.

He shook his head.

Amanda took a deep breath and said, “You made a promise on the road.”

Jack frowned.

“A man’s word is currency around here,” she prodded him.

“You think I should… but we’ll be gone the day after tomorrow. They won’t ever know,” he replied.

He felt all twisted up saying that. It offended his sense of honour. Then he caught himself on. What am I thinking?

“I know but… it won’t feel right if you don’t,” Amanda licked her lips and tugged nervously at her short tunic.

“I promised to use a quirt,” Jack said seriously.

“I know,” Amanda whispered.

Jack considered this and found he knew what to do. While he fetched the short thin whippy switch from his belongings he saw Amanda step forward and bend right over the foot of the bed so that her bottom was exposed.

“I don’t know what would be worse,” Jack said as he lined up the thin switch against Amanda’s bare bottom, “Having to kill someone or getting killed.”

“I know; a rookie mistake as Bill said,” Amanda sighed. “You won’t tell him about this will you?”

It was much more embarrassing bending over than she had imagined.

“I am not making any more promises if I can help it,” Jack replied.

He felt an odd sense of power and something stirred in his breeks.

Then he brought the first of many strokes slicing across Amanda’s bottom.

“Omigod,” Amanda shrieked, “That… ahh.”

The hard white line across her pink bottom rapidly darkened and stood out even as the next few slices landed.

Amanda twisted and clawed at the bedcover, her legs kicking out in a parody of escape under the onslaught. Jack was in the guise of a hard man and as the conditioning took over all semblance of the civilised scientist retreated.

“Oh God, Jack, Jack…” Amanda squealed, her breathing now ragged and she began to struggle to get out coherent words.

Jack’s conditioning told him that Amanda had committed a major offence and he dealt with her as a man of this culture would have. To make matters worse for Amanda, primeval and instinctual behaviour was often the hardest to mitigate by someone conditioned for expeditions.

This was true for Amanda as well, and her inclination to pull rank was overridden by her conditioned sense of justice and some primeval need that may not have been entirely part of the conditioning.

In consequence she was a sobbing mess with harsh rills and welts scoring her naked bottom long before Jack even considered bringing the punishment to an end.

Finally Jack stood back to inspect his work while Amanda bawled her heart out into the bed.

“Amanda?” he asked tentatively, “Are you… alright.”

She looked back over her shoulder to look at him through tear-pooled eyes, but instead of anger or scorn he saw something else.

“Amanda?”

“Now I have felt that rod I want the other,” she said in a husky voice, her eyes staring at the bulge in his breeks.

He frowned.

“We can’t break cover now, I’m your bond-mate remember, surely I can have the perks as well as the pain,” Amanda said slyly.

Jack cast aside the quirt and dragged off his breeks in indecent haste; his manhood now released, springing up more impressively than he could remember. Then falling upon her from behind, he found her ready.

*

The next day Amanda walked so gingerly that everyone knew she had been punished. And although carol could scarce hide her amusement, she was also impressed by her team leader’s professionalism. The only time she openly laughed was when Amanda went to sit down.

“That bastard really went for it,” Amanda muttered.

“I can see that,” Carol giggled, “Was it to with that promise he made. I am surprised he even remembered.”

“He didn’t,” Amanda said ruefully.

“Never,” Carol gaped, “Damn this conditioning is good. I can see that I’ll have to behave myself.”

“Tell me about it,” Amanda rolled her eyes. “What about you and Bill? I know you have always… you know? Did he? Did you…?”

“He remained very professional,” Carol said ruefully, “All night.”

Both women laughed.

“What are we like? I should be spitting teeth,” Amanda said as she turned to prepare some tea for the men.

“I rather like you this way,” Carol confided.

Amanda stopped and considered.

“You know what? Me too,” she said with a decisive little nod.

It was a conclusion that Amanda had already come to. This mission had exposed a side to her that she had long kept repressed and given that she had little choice, she was determined to have an adventure and treat it like a little holiday.

“So we have two days,” Carol said as she poured out some tea, “So what’s the plan?”

“Good question,” Amanda sighed, “Any idea?”

“Just one,” Carol replied thoughtfully, “There is a teacher here. I think he is a Knower. Maybe he can tell us enough for a provisional report.”

“A provisional report?” Amanda frowned.

“Well… you have to admit that we now know enough to suggest that this is a proto-technological world at least. Unless the Knower undermines that assessment that is,” Carol said.

Amanda gave a heavy sigh.

“You’re right. What we know is too suggestive to ignore this world for another 50 years and too little to recommend a full mission. Damn, I so wanted to make a conclusive report,” Amanda groaned. “What’s the best way to approach the Knower? As you say if he turns out to have no real knowledge of spaceflight and old Earth then just maybe…”

Carol was doubtful. All this teacher had to do was confirm what they already knew and the report would be inconclusive. If he said one jot more then another mission would have to be sent.

“I think I had better do it,” Carol said, “Can you cover for me?”

Amanda hated that another decision was being made for her, but not as much as she usually did. Besides Carol was right, they might only have one crack at this and Carol was the best choice.

*

Carol made her way through bustling streets, keeping to the side roads and the shadows as much as possible. It seemed to be some sort of market day and almost every house was displaying pots and jars of preserves and cooking implements of clay and metal. There was also a great profusion of meat in the form of hare-like creatures and what she could only decide were deer of an identical species to ones she had seen in game parks back home.

Consulting her pod she found that indigenous life had been sparse before the humans had come, so the castaways must have brought some animals with them. The original tourists must have included hunters, which would explain a lot about this culture.

The school looked like a small whitewashed church. From its size it was clear that the Organics of the region didn’t value education, which was in keeping with what they had already learned. Part of her conditioning told her that as it was market day, then school would be out.

The rather forbidding entrance smelt of pine admixed with creosote, but it was a pleasant inviting odour and at odds with the fortress like entrance. Carol pushed on the heavy door and it swung inwards to reveal a bright space with benches around the walls. An Athenian model perhaps, she mused.

Looking around she saw books on a shelf at the back, but there were not many.

“That’s a start anyway,” she mumbled as she drew near.

Of course it would not be decisive whatever she found. It was the locals understanding of the books which was important. Nevertheless she ran her eye down the shelf and spied two books on astronomy and… a post-diaspora tome on the history of old Earth. In her excitement she read the titles aloud.

“It is unusual to find a woman who can read in these parts,” a voice said from behind her.

Carol whirled around to be confronted by a clean shaven old man in white.

“You startled me,” she gasped.

“Clearly a foreigner, no local girl would dare come here,” he continued.

“I’m from Baros,” she lied, “I am a Tourist.”

“No… I don’t think so,” he said gently. “I can see a Knower from a mile away or should I say 1.609 kilometres away.”

Kilometre was not a measure in common usage on the planet, Carol knew.

“But now I see you clear and given your lie… you’re not a Knower either are you?” he said, “What do you want?”

“Knowledge,” Carol said bluntly.

“You are from that ship in orbit aren’t you?” the Knower said.

Then seeing her surprise he added, “I have a telescope. I track space junk from the crash as a hobby.”

Carol nodded and licked her lips.

“You’re secret is safe with me,” he said as if reading her mind, “I knew someone like you would come one day. Would you like some tea?”

“Yes please,” Carol said collapsing into relief. “I’m Carol.”

“It is rude to offer your name here like that, especially for a woman. You will give yourself away,” he told her sternly.

“Sorry,” Carol said, knowing he was right.

“They obviously don’t spank girls enough where you are from,” he scolded her.

She blushed.

“I hear your name friend Carol, I am John,” he intoned formally.

For some reason the social formality surprised her coming as it did from a learned man, but her thoughts must have been written on her face for he quoted, “Manners make the man.”

“Yes Sir,” she said chewing her lip, she felt as if she were the barbarian here.

“Forget it and space woman or not, I will spank you,” he growled.

*

Carol had spoken to John for over two hours before he pointed out she would be missed. She learned that he was something of radical among his own people, which accounted for his ‘exile’ to Organic country. But when he told her others would know of the visit and probably about the Mother Ship too, she knew that he was not unique in his learning.

When she finally arrived back at the lodge the innkeeper’s wife was furious. There was nothing she could say so she bowed her head and took a scolding.

“Just wait until I tell your man,” the woman berated her, “I’ll see you get the thrashing of your life.”

“Yes ma’am I deserve it,” Carol agreed.

But she was too excited to take it to heart and couldn’t wait to find Amanda.

“What did you find out? Amanda asked.

“They have a fusion reactor beneath one of their academies and weapons in a secret cache. John thinks that although he missed the Mother Ship… he thinks their observatory will have picked it up. Maybe even using a scanner, but he isn’t sure about that. Some technology is kept from even him. But he thinks that many among the Knowers have technology saved from the crash,” Carol gushed excitedly.

As she spoke Bill and Jack joined them.

“That’s it then, mission accomplished,” Bill grinned, “We can get off this rock.”

Amanda felt a pang of sorrow at these words, but he was right. She shot a glance at Jack who also looked unhappy.

“I would love to take part in the follow up mission,” Carol said eagerly.

“After today… well I’ll put a word in for you,” Amanda agreed. “Now make a distraction or something. I have to slip away to contact the Mother Ship.”

*

Only Bill seemed at all happy to be leaving, although for the life of her Carol could not understand Jack’s attitude. He lived for his machines and computers. On the other hand she had waited her whole life to immerse herself in an alien culture and now she was going to get on a ship for six months after just three days in the field. The only question now was when and where was the extraction point.

She was about to ask Amanda as she walked up to them and that question died on her lips.

“What’s wrong?” Bill asked her.

“I got promoted,” Amanda said woodenly.

“Eh?” Bill double blinked.

“So did you,” Amanda said sharply, “I am now the provisional ambassador and head of a revised mission and you are the team leader for this squad. Mother is sending four more orbiters with back-up teams.”

“But…” Jack couldn’t quite grasp something, “When do we go?”

“We’re not,” Bill said.

“The Mother Ship is leaving the system as soon as the orbiters are despatched. We have to stay and identify the planet’s leadership pending first contact protocols,” Amanda explained.

Carol was grinning now and looked at Jack for a fellow traveller. But the mission tech looked confused.

“When will we be relieved?” Bill asked, his mind recalculating his position like a true professional.

“Six months there, six months back… but then I suspect they will only send a back-up ship to supplement us,” Amanda said in a dull voice, still shell-shocked.

“Yes, it will take at least three or four months to formulate a policy on how to proceed. After 500 years this planet will take decades to even begin re-integration,” Carol said going into professional mode.

“More like a year,” Amanda said dejectedly. She dropped into a hard seat and came rapidly to her feet again. Rubbing her bottom she spoke ruefully to Jack, “It looks like you and me are going to get know one another quite well.”

“I guess so,” Jack replied, beginning to warm to the idea.

Why did he feel so ambiguous? The conditioning should have been wearing off by now and yet he didn’t feel half as horrified at being separated from his computers as he thought he should.

Only Carol seemed to think any of this was funny.

“I guess we are going to have to stay in character for at least two years,” she laughed, “Some of us longer I suspect.”

“I am glad you are amused,” Amanda growled, “Well speaking of staying in character… Bill, take this brat upstairs and give her that bare bottom thrashing she is due. And use the quirt, its most instructive.”

Bill folded his arms and gave her a hard stare.

“I have tactical command here now, so I’ll thank you not to give me orders about how to run my own team,” he snarled.

He was not entirely happy with the situation but he would adapt, but then he saw that Carol was laughing again and shot a look at Jack. How did the men of this world cope with this screwy social set-up?

“Well she is your bond-mate,” Jack shrugged, “You had better get used to it.”

It was Amanda’s turn to laugh now. Poor Bill, this is his headache now. All I have to do is look at the bigger picture and coordinate the new teams.

“Good point, well made,” Bill snorted. “Hey you brat, come here.”

“But I only ducked out of chores for the team,” Carol wailed.

Bill didn’t wait, but threw the small woman over his shoulder so that her bare bottom was suddenly exposed to everyone present.

“As of now the team is inactive pending further orders,” he said looking at Amanda who shrugged in agreement.

“Ooh this so unfair,” Carol wailed as Bill carried her away.

“Don’t worry, you’ll find it… fascinating,” Amanda teased.

When she looked back at Jack he was studying her in amusement.

“Oh I get it, or at least I will won’t I?” she said ruefully. “I am going to be the only spanked ambassador in the IPEE.”

“You don’t sound like you mind so much,” Jack replied.

“Neither do you,” Amanda pouted.

Just then form above the sound of a steady thwick-thwack of a quirt rang out several times followed by the shrill protests of an interplanetary anthropologist. It only took a few moments to know that this was not a token punishment and as they listened, Jack and Amanda exchanged smirks.

“I think Carol is getting an up close and personal experience of planetary culture,” Jack chuckled.

“And later she’ll have the opportunity to analyse standing for her supper, another quaint local custom,” Amanda said dryly.

But she managed to laugh all the same, and then her eye fell upon a wench standing in the corner and sighed. It was going to be a long and interesting few years.

Ends



10 Responses to “I Stranger”

  1. 1 paul1510

    Damian,
    I love this, S/F and spanking, it doesn’t get any better. 🙂
    Though the reintegration of lost settlements is not exactly a new idea. 😉
    Paul.

  2. This is really good, DJ. Way to throw off the old spanking story tropes and come up with something fresh and interesting. You are sort of sailing in Sharon Green waters here.

  3. Love it. Have been downloading a lot myself recently 😉 All of your ongoing stories have me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment. I am going to start writing some things for my blog too. Up until now it has been all re-blogging of pictures. You are in inspiration to me. Thank you and keep it coming!!

  4. 4 Timory

    Ohh, I loved this one! Can I ask DJ, is this a one-off, or something you might turn into a serial? Either way, creative and well done! Thanks!

  5. 5 DJ

    Not a new idea Paul – as Rollin says – it was once standard stock for Sharon Green – but a good vehicle nonetheless. 😉

    Glad to be of service and thanks Baby girl 🙂

    Timory – it could easily be I suppose – but I have so many loose ends of series to catch up on – if a standalone short with these characters suggests itself then I may return to this planet.

  6. 6 Kia

    Fascinating premise. I would certainly like to see these characters again if your muse allows.

  7. 8 Meg

    First time visiting. I loved this story and hope you will write more about these characters! Thank you!

    • 9 DJ

      Hi Meg and welcome – glad you liked it.

      Who knows what next for them.


  1. 1 chross.blogt.ch

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