A scrolling message flashed at the top of Julian's pad interrupting his "Math for Boys" tutorial. The message said: "Congrats on your impending 18th b-day. This is a gentle reminder that you are hereby required to present yourself to the Ministry of Occupational Assessment and Assignment for evaluation by 3:00pm on March 14, 2052. Failure to comply will result in punitive action and may result in a less desirable placement."
The message concluded with a lovely cursive letter M in contrast to the mundane block letters of the message proper. The "M" was short for "Matriarch", which was appropriate as she was the mother of the nation that arose from the ashes, Matronia. Julian found himself thinking that the graceful "M" reminded him of a buxom set of breasts, but then he repelled the thought. As his teachers always told the boys, it was this kind of thinking that made it necessary to keep boys in check and to nullify the evil that lurked within them. He could see a scornful Ms. Ellington shaking her head at him, more of pity than of anger. Ellington always said that it wasn't boys' fault they were this way, but it was a sad fact of nature. Darkness had to meet the light to perpetuate the species. In some sense, there was a kind of nobility in having the seed of darkness inside one, but that didn't mean that society could relax its vigilance. Unchecked, the darkness led to bellicosity, perversion, brutishness, incivility, impoliteness, and, ultimately, the death of the species.
M had, of course, not personally sent the message; she was, after all, an exceedingly busy woman. She was the figurehead of the state, and the author of the core of their society's literary canon. All the books from the previous civilization had been fried by electro-magnetic pulses. Occasionally, someone turned up an ancient text in unmovable type, but those had to be submitted to the Ministry of Antiquities for evaluation and safe destruction because they often contained thought-viruses, ideas that might lead to the end of woman-kind.
Julian returned his attention to the Boy's math problem. It was quite simple, and he wondered if he might be able to succeed in Lady's math. He knew he couldn't, not really, but it was fun to fantasize about the possibilities of a more interesting life. In truth, Lady's math was vastly more difficult, he had been told, and required a level of concentration that could not be mustered by one with the darkness dwelling within him. Left to their own devices, boys' attention would inevitably turn to their penises, the desire to spread their seed, and a propensity toward pugilism. That's why the smartest of the young boys were selected for gender reassignment or to be eunuchs. Julian again recognized his mind wandering, and took it as a case in point of what he had been told.
"I'm going to market. Is there anything... special... I can get for you?" Julian looked up to see his mother's boy, Victor – but who preferred to go by Vicky, looking down at him.
There was something odd about the way Vicky talked that Julian could not precisely put his finger upon. In this case, it had something to do with the way he paused and said "special" like he was telling a secret. There was always the tone of some elusive coded hint in the boy's speech, but Julian never quite grasped it. There was something unusual about the way Vicky looked at him in an almost adoring fashion. The closest thing he had experienced was how his mother looked at him when he was younger, but, still, it was not quite that look. At any rate, Vicky was always nice to Julian, nicer than he needed to be to anyone but Julian's mother, or other ladies when commanded.
"No thank you, Vicky." Julian said with an added sigh.
"Well, if you think of something, shoot me a beep." Vicky said, and he was about to turn, when he heard the sigh and noted the dullness in Julian's voice. "Something the matter?"
"No. Nothing, really. I'm just a little preoccupied with my Assignment Day coming up." Julian said.
"Ooohh. Have you talked with your mother about it?" Vicky said, always concerned about being seen as usurping Julian's mother.
"No. She's a smart lady, but she doesn't know what it's like, not really. She never had to go through Assignment Day. She figured out what she wanted to do, went to school to learn how to do it, and now does it. Ladies have it easy that way... I know everything looks better from the other side. It's just worrisome that the die has been cast on my entire future, and all I can do now is show up, let them look me over, and have them tell me my fate." Julian explained.
"So you don't think you'll be classified the way you want?" Vicky asked as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
"I don't know."
"Well, how would you like to be classified?"
"I'm not sure, but I know I don't want to be a broomer. Sometimes I think I might want to be a bleeder, but other times it terrifies me." Julian replied.
While there were many specific jobs available to males, they were classifiable by a taxonomy often called the Four-B's. There were boys, bulls, bleeders, and broomers. The term "boy", when applied to an occupational class as opposed to its more general use to describe any human male, was someone who worked in the service of a lady doing anything and everything required of them. "Bulls" were those men who inseminated ladies to perpetuate the species. "Bleeders" were those occupations that were too dangerous to allow a lady to be put at risk, which didn't require the high level of intellect of a lady, but, yet, which could not be done by robots. The quintessential "bleeder" was an infantryman in the self-defense forces that kept society safe from barbarians abroad. While ladies filled the officer corps, the enlisted people who engaged in fighting and other low-intellect activities were boys. Finally, "broomers" engaged in mundane manual labor of all sorts from literally sweeping and mopping to cleaning stopped up toilets or trimming hedges.
"I don't think you have to worry about being either a broomer or a bleeder. You've got too nice a body for a broomer and too nice a disposition to be a bleeder." Vicky said.
Vicky was referring to the fact that Julian was athletically built, but thoughtful and gentle. They seldom wasted attractive individuals on manual labor. They sometimes used them in high-risk occupations, but only when they had highly aggressive tendencies that did not make them suitable for other work. Julian was not only athletic but also handsome. In contrast to Julian's "athletic and handsome," Vicky was more "lean and pretty." That is to say, where "chiseled" was a good adjective for Julian, "delicate" worked better for Vicky, but the point was that neither was a candidate for a crap job by virtue of their very different attractive qualities. However, Julian could end up with a very different position from Vicky as his type was often selected for life in the stables as a bull.
"What do you think they'll do with me?" Julian said, standing up and innocently pulling the white cotton gown off over his head so Vicky could evaluate his physique and state of health. He stood naked except for his chasti.
"I... uh... it's hard to say." Vicky's response was interrupted by his own chasti's alarm sounding.
Julian's face adopted a puzzled look.
"Sorry, I've got to go pee. This is weird all of a sudden. Got to go." Vicky continued as he ran off abruptly.
Julian was left with a quizzical expression showing on his brow. A chasti was a curved tube that looked a little like some types of water faucets, but instead of a faucet opening at the end it was rounded off with a little hole. They came in various sizes, and most were custom fitted. The device housed a man's penis and kept him from getting aroused. The little hole allowed a man to plug the chasti into a uri-port to urinate. There were rumors that in ancient times boys used to anger ladies when they'd pee on the toilet seats, or miss the toilet all together. This problem was rectified through the current technology.
There were sensitive pressure sensors lining the inside of the chasti, and when a man began to become aroused it set off an audible alarm and a flashing light. The purpose was to prevent men from giving in to their innate tendencies to, at best, become consumed with self-satisfaction, or, at worst, to become rapists. It did happen on occasion that there were false alarms when the penis began to get erect for non-sexual reasons such as with the consumption of certain medications or, most commonly, as part of the body's response to stifle the need to urinate. This lent credibility to Vicky's claim, but it was always a suspect excuse. Usually, such an erection occurred in one's sleep.
Still, Julian was sympathetic of the use of the excuse. There were cruel girls who sometimes amused themselves by trying to set off boys' chastis by flashing them or talking seductively. It was frowned upon, but, nonetheless, some did it. Despite his sympathy, Julian was a bit uneasy with the compounding evidence that Vicky felt some attraction toward him. He liked Vicky, but not in that sort of way. Besides, Vicky belonged to his mother, and all of his sexual energies and appetites were to be devoted to her.
"Welcome, Julian, to the Ministry of Occupational Assessment and Assignment." The message beamed into Julian's earpod, from no one and nowhere in particular, as he entered the massive white marble glass-encased atrium of the Ministry. It was an impressive and pristine environment. The twin-domed Ministry building was a graceful piece of architecture.
As Julian continued to walk toward the bank of elevators, instructions continued to play, interrupting the music to which he had been listening, "Proceed to the second floor. There you will leave your gown at the cloakroom to the left as you exit the elevator."
When he got to the second floor, he easily found the well marked "cloak room", which was a completely automated affair. One disrobed, put one's cloak onto a hanger, placed the hanger on a rod, and then pulled out the numbered tag. The cloak was then pulled into a slit in the wall. This tag could be worn on one's wrist as a bracelet since there was nowhere else to keep it. When one came back, one simply held the tag under a reader and, soon, out would pop one's cloak. This could be a slow system, which was one more reason that Julian was pleased he got up early to arrive as soon as possible. His primary impetus for doing so was that he just couldn't wait to find out. Still, he was surprised how abandoned the Ministry seemed to be at this early hour.
A voice again interrupted Julian's song in mid-chorus, "Next proceed through the double doors marked 'Assessment' to Station 1 for chasti removal."
Julian did as instructed. Chasti removal was not automated. There were five women sitting around conversing and having their morning tea when Julian entered Station 1. They all wore slick rubberized uniforms in blue, and it was rumored the uncomfortable garb was necessitated by the large number of accidents that occurred involving the many incoming subjects with huge pent up sexual tension. That is to say, the material cleaned up nicely and was said to be impervious to the darkness. Upon seeing Julian standing in the doorway, nude but for the Chasti and the bands that secured it, one of the group peeled off by wheeling over on her stool to attend to Julian. They apparently had some system for delegating who took care of which subject as would a hair salon. The other women continued to watch their laboring comrade. For some reason Julian could not comprehend, they continued to take more interest in him than their interrupted conversation.
"Welcome... Julian, is it?" The woman said looking down at a monitor encased at a slant into the desktop before her. She was a dark-skinned woman that had short but ornately styled coppery colored hair, and had prominent curves packed into her rubber attire.
"You haven't tampered with your Chasti have you, Julian?"
The inspector hooked a finger into the Chasti belt, and tugged Julian up close so that he was only about five inches from her nose. With her on the stool and Julian standing, the chasti was just below eye level. She looked at the chasti, gave it a tug, lifted it, and looked underneath. She then turned Julian around a full three hundred and sixty degrees slowly by putting her hands on his hips to direct him. She was looking at the bands mostly, but somewhat at his body as well. When Julian was back around to facing her, she made some sort of entry into his record.
"OK, just one more thing before we take your chasti off." The woman said, and she reached down into a bin beneath the desk and came up with what looked like two stiff cloth sacks bunched up at the base.
"These will keep you from being bad... Give me your hands." The woman said.
When Julian extended his hands, she put one of the coarse inflexible sacks over it and snatched the zip seal snug. She repeated this with the other hand. This was apparently to keep him from jerking off in the bathroom or something of that nature. After negating Julian's hands, the woman put latex gloves on her own hands. Copper-hair then put the electromagnetic key that had been programmed automatically upon Julian's arrival in the building into the slot and, holding the codpiece in place, pressed to let the bands pop off. She put the chasti in a cabinet. Now Julian was completely nude with the exception of the awkward bags on his hands. He raised his hand to scratch his chin and found that the bags were very abrasive on his skin, such that any contact below the equator was likely to cause extreme chaffing.
"Think pure thoughts young man." The inspector said as she took a cylindrical laser light device and pointed the laser dot at the base of Julian's dangle while holding the limp cock flat in the palm of her other hand. She removed the laser dot slowly down to the tip of Julian's cock and it recorded the length with high precision.
"Twelve and a half centimeters, flaccid." She said, apparently to the desk, and the words must have been automatically recorded somehow.
She added, "Very nice", apparently more fore Julian's sake than for official record-keeping.
The woman then put a cuff on Julian's arm and a thermometer in his... Well, let's just say she took his blood pressure, pulse, and temperature and annotated all these via the same verbal log. She next had him step on a pad against the wall, and his weight and height were recorded.
"OK, we're done here. You'll need to go over to Station 2, the Sampling Room. Follow the dotted yellow line." The woman said pointing at a holographically-projected dashed line that exited the room, turned left, and disappeared down the hall.
Julian followed the projected line until it ended at a door with a large number "2" on it. He pushed open one side of the double swinging doors and entered a little waiting area separated from the office space by a white counter. There was a solitary worker in sight. It was a brown-haired woman leaning over the counter from the other side who showed a warm and welcoming smile when Julian entered. The lady was in her late 30's or early 40's and had the most beautiful brown eyes. She, too, was wearing one of the latex suits.
The woman spoke with the great rapidity of one who bubbles over with energy. "Good morning, Julian. I'm Elaine, and welcome to station two. We are going to take some measurements and collect a nice sample of ejaculate for testing, and then you'll be off to the final stop. Ready?"
Elaine had known it was Julian that was coming by a note from the automated system that popped up on the screen of her digital notepad. She came around the counter and took ahold of Julian's wrist above the sack that encased his hand, and began to sweetly lead him down the hall. Julian lagged behind with his arm outstretched like a distracted boy being lead by his mother, but he looked down mesmerized by the gracefully rounded buns of the woman's backside and the smooth arc of cleft that separated them. Even rubber-encased, it caused a stirring that he tried to quell. He looked around at the sterile corridor he was being led down. At the end of the hall, Elaine opened a door and ushered Julian inside.
It was a small and shallow room, and contained only a little stool on wheels and a small rolling cabinet. The room was on the periphery of the building, and the outer wall was glass from floor to ceiling. This made Julian just the slightest bit ill-at-ease because it felt as though anyone outside on the street would be able to see precisely what was going on in the room. The logical part of him knew this must not be the case, but he couldn't shake the feeling of vulnerability nonetheless.
"Alright, Julian, let me just get ready here." Elaine said.
From the little cabinet, she pulled a pair of rubber gloves, a tube of lube, the same type of laser measuring device used on him in Station 1, and a little cup whose lid was snapped to its bottom like a saucer to a teacup. She precisely set the cup, lube, and measure on top of the cabinet, and then pulled on the gloves one at a time. She then squirted some lube into one hand and rolled the thumb and fingers around to coat he palm of the hand with the clear cold slippery liquid.
With her dry hand she picked up the laser measuring device.
"We've got to get a measurement of your size while erect. Do you think you can keep from squirting all over the place if I stimulate you a little?" Elaine asked nonchalantly.
The usual procedure was to get the measurement, and then collect the sample. However, some boys, having so much of the darkness built up inside them, would start squirting off their sample before they were even fully stimulated. However, if she took the sample first, which she often did with her more fidgeting and tense subjects, sometimes it was hard to get an accurate measure before they began to go limp.
Julian got hard with great rapidity, but was able to control himself. She was even able to keep stroking him until his head was a glossy purple. Elaine was not only able to get the measure, but to take a photo for the archives.
"25.5 centimeters, erect." Elaine said to some unseen recording device.
"Now I'm going to collect a sample of ejaculate. Do you think you have a sample for me?" Elaine asked.
It was almost a silly question, except that some boys had nocturnal emissions that were erectionless, and these rare specimens often had little or no semen left to collect. A few others were sterile. However, most of the boys shot loads that were a rarity in the days before chastis.
"Yes, ma'am." Julian replied.
"I know you are normally told to think pure thoughts, but this is one time when it's alright to let your mind wander wherever it wants to go. Just relax and accept the feelings that overcome you." Elaine said in a soothing tone.
About a third of the boys were terribly difficult to get a sample from because they were so terrified of thinking naughty thoughts, or of letting themselves release, that Elaine had to really work for the sample. Usually she hated such cases. With Julian, she wasn't sure she wouldn't enjoy the challenge, but she knew right away that he was not the terrified bunny type. They were the ones who had been abused for their nature. Often they didn't take to the training when young, and so severe measures had to be applied.
Elaine picked up the cup with her dry hand and stroked with the lubricated hand. She had become expert at noticing the signs of an impending cumshot, but was still cautious. Occasionally, one got away from her and ended up being shot across the little exam room, or, in three cases, across Elaine's face and hair. Such misses created problems because there could be no impurities in the sample (i.e. she couldn't squeegee it into the cup from off the wall, the floor, or her uniform, but, instead, had to take a second sample, and second samples often were of inadequate volume.) Elaine put aside the thoughts that some wrongly assigned broomers had resulted from the loss of a big hearty sample that would have qualified the subject for bullship.