tagSci-Fi & FantasyIntergalactic Courtesan Ch. 03

Intergalactic Courtesan Ch. 03


"Are you ready?" Veronica smiled over her desk at Desirée.

"I guess so," the teen answered slowly, rotating her wrist to relieve her writer's cramp. The two women were sitting together in Veronica's office, looking out over the darkened street. The clock radio on the side table blinked 10:45.

"It's all right if you are nervous." Veronica turned off her computer and put away her stylus. "This is an important night for you, the start of the biggest adventure of your life."

The computer looked like a recent-issue Apple laptop, but could do things that would make Steve Jobs whimper if he ever touched it. Desirée had spent the last hour and a half filling out various forms that confirmed her acceptance into the Guild Academy and applied for her work visa in the Confederation. Whatever fears Desirée had about this all being some colossal practical joke were dispelled when she saw the mountain of forms she had to fill out. Nobody could set up a practical joke this elaborate.

"And I see you took my advice about dressing casually," the older woman said. Desirée was wearing a beige cotton top that accentuated her sandy blonde hair, now tied into a ponytail. She wore a pair of tight-fitting blue jeans and hiking shoes. Her suitcase, filled with everything she wanted to take with her in her new life, sat by her feet.

"You said to bring only the bare necessities," the teen replied.

"That is correct," Veronica said. Her voice had grown sharper now, the voice of a headmistress speaking to a pupil. "You won't be needing your clothes once we arrive on Galos IV. Once you are in the Academy, you will wear the uniform at all times, except on days off. And you won't be getting many of those, I will tell you right now."

"Yes, Headmistress." Desirée mentally caught the change in their status.

"Ma'am is fine," Veronica replied, brushing back her curly brown hair. "Signora will do as well. I also believe you will find the clothes you'll receive on Galos IV will be far more comfortable than what you are wearing now. But you will often be wearing the Guild uniform, even on your days off. You belong to the Guild now, and you represent a significant investment, both on your part and on ours."

"Yes, Ma'am," Desirée replied absently, thinking of what she had let herself in for. Her room and board were paid for during her schooling, and she would receive a small salary during her time in the Academy, but the tuition fees were absolutely insane. She had no idea how she was going to be able to pay it all back.

"Worried about your tuition fees?" Veronica asked, breaking into her thoughts. "It wasn't hard to guess," the older woman added, smiling at the teen's startled look. "That was my biggest worry when I entered the Academy as well. Yes, it's a fearsome debt, but most courtesans pay it off within 5 years; 3 years if they're exceptional."

"But, if I'm in the Academy for 3 years, that will mean I'm 25 when I'm out of debt," Desirée protested. "Won't those be my peak earning years?"

"Not necessarily," the older woman replied. "Besides, your peak years may be longer than you -- oh, there's Ssurhuk-T'at with the car. We should be going." And with that statement, Veronica was out the door. Desirée grabbed her suitcase and purse and scrambled to follow her.

The low, black limousine was parked by the curb, the right rear door open; Desirée was just in time to see Veronica's perky rear end as she entered the Cadillac. Despite the sober cut of her business suit, it bunched up enough to show that Veronica was only wearing a thong underneath her gray pants.

"I am not attracted to other women, I am not attracted to other women," Desirée mumbled to herself, following her new headmistress into the car. All the windows were one-way glass; not surprising since Ssurhuk-T'at was driving the car.

Once the limo was in motion, Veronica pulled a bottle of white wine from the mini-bar. "Shall we?" she said, passing Desirée the bottle and opener. The teen busied herself by opening the bottle while the older woman pulled out some glasses.

"To your new career," Veronica said, clinking their glasses together once they'd been filled. Desirée took a tentative sip; the wine was very good.

"Um . . . mind if I ask you something, Ma'am?" the teen asked tentatively.

"Of course," Veronica smiled. "You are expected to ask questions; that is how you learn."

"Um . . ." The teen eyed the lowered partition between the two women and the froglike alien who soberly drove the limousine.

"Ah," Veronica said. She turned towards the front of the car. "We're going to have a private conversation if you don't mind, Ssurhuk-T'at, if that's all right with you."

"Be my guest," the three-eyed alien replied as, with an electronic whine, the partition smoothly slid up its tracks.

"You can speak freely now, Child," Veronica said. "What's on your mind?"

"Um . . . how do you . . . you know . . . with aliens?"

"Have sex with other races?" Veronica raised a well-manicured eyebrow. "Extremely well."

Desirée gaped at her.

"Pardon my little joke," the older woman said. "It certainly takes skill, and no little amount of imagination. Luckily for us, relations between species are rarely toxic to either party and, when they are, we've found ways and means to get around it. It's rarely painful and quite often a lot of fun." She gave that mysterious, satisfied smile again.

"That's all going to be covered when you get to the Academy, along with many other subjects. You'll find that sex represents slightly less than half of what we do; a lot more is about helping your guest relax and feel comfortable in your presence. You're there to be hospitable, friendly, offer a sympathetic ear and a quick wit. Once you have those skills down, the rest is easy."

"So how many humans do you bring to the Guild?" the teen asked.

"I was the first," Veronica replied. "After I graduated, it took many years for the Central Bureaucracy to allow us to recruit potential courtesans, and we're still under severe restrictions. The women we approach are generally like yourself: young women with few relatives who will miss them. But even if we have one girl who graduates, that still justifies the effort and expense of this entire trip.

"There are three of you coming with us," she continued. "Ssurhuk-T'at brought Kalyani to the ship before coming to get us. She's about your age: she was a child bride and her husband accused her of infidelity. Completely baseless of course, but the court ruled in his favour. We arranged a jailbreak before she was due to be executed, and we left enough clues that the authorities still believe she's on the run."

Veronica leaned forward. "Kalyani is still very fragile right now so any way you can help her acclimatize to her new life would be very much appreciated."

"Sure," Desirée said, nodding quickly, her violet eyes bright. She could only imagine what horrors the girl had gone through before the Guild found her. "And who's the third?"

"Bridget is a British girl who ran out of money while backpacking across Asia. She came to one of our offices looking for a job and we decided she was eligible to apply for the Academy. But just being accepted is no guarantee that you will graduate, you know."

"Of course," the teen replied. She sipped her wine, trying to calm the butterflies in her stomach.

* * *

The limousine stopped in a field well outside of town. Veronica stepped out, closely followed by Desirée. Veronica pulled out what looked like a Blackberry and pressed a combination of buttons. She studied the readout for several seconds, then rapped on the driver's side window.

Ssurhuk-T'at poked his head out. "Is it safe?"

"Yes," Veronica answered. "Other than the two of us, there are no other human life form readings in the area."

"Excellent." The froglike alien stepped out of the car, this time wearing a chauffeur's uniform and cap. He grinned at Desirée's stare. "Have to blend in somehow."

The teen couldn't help smiling at the idea that putting a black suit on a three-eyed bipedal frog would make him look human. He waggled his eyebrow ridges at her suggestively then went to the trunk of the car.

"Shall we go?" Veronica asked.

"Where?" Then the answer to Desirée's question appeared in front of her.

The dull gray space ship just about covered the entire field. It was essentially a pair of wings with a bulge in the middle, presumably where the pilot sat. Twin thrusters hung off each wing and, responding to another signal from Veronica's hand-held device, a door appeared on the side. A ladder noiselessly slid to the ground.

"We don't have much time. Let's move." Ssurhuk-T'at jogged towards the field, carrying several large suitcases under his arms. He loped towards the ladder and, without breaking stride, tossed the bags up into the ship.

"He's a lot stronger than he looks," Veronica told Desirée. She had no breath to answer; she was too busy carrying her suitcase and keeping up with the jogging woman.

"I'll take that." Ssurhuk-T'at took her suitcase from her, and motioned her to climb the ladder. Veronica was already halfway up.

"But what about the car?"

"I've arranged for someone will pick it up in the morning," he said impatiently. "Our launch window will close soon if we don't hurry."

Desirée was grateful she'd decided to wear jeans and hiking shoes as she clambered up the ladder. Just as she reached the top, she just about fell over when her suitcase, flying through the air with the greatest of ease, slammed into her. Ssurhuk-T'at followed soon after, not even winded by his exertions.

"If you'll excuse me." He brushed past her. "I have to prep the ship for take-off." The outer door slid shut, and Ssurhuk-T'at clambered up another ladder, presumably towards the flight deck.

"Come," Veronica said. "I'll take you to your quarters and strap you in the landing couch."

* * *

"This is a view you don't want to miss." Veronica pressed a button and one wall of the narrow galley suddenly shimmered, becoming clear. The four women were sitting on benches in a nook, drinking various beverages from coffee cups. The porcelain cups were an incongruous touch in the high-tech galley.

Both Desirée and Kalyani gasped at the view that opened up before them, and even Bridget lost her habitual sneer. They were looking into deep space: the stars no longer twinkled but shone brightly in the night sky. Without any atmosphere, the rings of Saturn glowed in the darkness seemingly close enough to touch.

"What's that up ahead?" Desirée pointed at the silvery object that appeared just below Saturn. She sipped her coffee.

"You have very good eyes," Veronica said, sitting down next to them. "That's the ship that will take us to Galos IV."

Sure enough, the view from the starboard side skewed around as Ssurhuk-T'at pointed their ship towards the rapidly growing object.

"There are larger ships even than this?" Kalyani asked in her halting English. It was no surprise that Veronica had picked her: the Indian girl had lustrously long hair, dusky skin, full lips and startling green eyes. Her threadbare sari was wrapped around her, hiding her shape but Desirée could tell that she needed some good nutrition before she could achieve her full potential. Kalyani huddled in her seat, intimidated at the sheer opulence in front of her, and the other passengers.

Desirée had also spotted Kalyani stowing extra food in her sari when she thought no one was looking; based on the quick glance she shared with Veronica, the Academy headmistress had noticed the same thing.

Bridget snorted. Desirée was already prone to disliking the upper-class British girl: the pale blonde had a very aristocratic look, and the attitude that life owed her something simply because she was beautiful. Within 5 minutes of their introduction, Bridget had frostily informed them that she was 20th in line for the British Throne.

If she was so important, how come she ran out of money while in Asia? Desirée had thought at the time. Naturally, Kalyani was terrified of Bridget: the girl was a Dalit or Untouchable, the lowest caste in Indian society.

"This ship is only a short-range runabout," Veronica gently answered Kalyani's question. "It lacks the capability for interstellar travel. Up ahead is a Guild transport: it's much faster and more comfortable than this ship. But even so, it will take us two weeks to get us to Galos IV. That will give us plenty of time to get acquainted." She smiled at all three of them.

Desirée couldn't find any words as the gigantic ship rushed towards them at shocking speed. It swiftly filled the sky, turrets and emplacements gleaming from the reflected light of the sun. She stared in awe of the gigantic structure, not sure what she was seeing.

"I never, ever get tired of seeing this view," Veronica whispered in Desirée's ear. Her breath smelled of coffee. "Isn't it incredible?"

Desirée nodded slowly.

Ssurhuk-T'at turned their ship so that the clear view was directly in front of them. The barely perceptible hum of the runabout's engines ceased, but the gigantic transport kept growing, blocking everything else out.

"The tractor beam's locked onto us now," Veronica said. "If you could return to your rooms and collect your things, we should be disembarking in less than fifteen minutes."

* * *

"Pardon me," said the twelve-legged spider as it scuttled past Desirée and the other girls. "Frightfully decent of you." A portal hissed open, and the black, hairy creature zipped through the irised opening.

Bridget clapped her hand to her mouth to stop herself from shrieking. Kalyani had no such reservations: the Indian girl looked like she was going into shock from all the strange sights around her.

Desirée couldn't help gawking like a tourist as they walked the wide halls of the transport. The passageway was easily 12 feet high and at least twice that in width. The walls were made of some strange substance: soft to the touch, yet incredibly resilient. By the exposed piping along the ceiling, she figured this area was for moving heavy machinery. However, her assessment changed when she saw the cockroach-sized creature scuttling along the piping and what looked like an ambulatory boulder rolling towards her. Everyone else backed against the bulkheads to allow the massive crewmember plenty of room. Pressing herself against the wall, Desirée could feel the deep thrum of the engines change.

Ssurhuk-T'at nodded in response to her look. "Yes, we're already getting underway."

"Listen up, girls," Veronica called out once the rocklike alien had rolled past. "I'll escort you to your quarters. You're free for the rest of the evening, but at 0700 I will escort you to sickbay where you'll get your physicals, inoculations and UDT's. Are there any questions?"

Desirée raised her hand. "What are UTD's, Ma'am?"

"They're Universal Translation Devices," the small brunette replied. "They're implanted under your skin, and they will help you understand and communicate with all other races in the Confederation. They also have a miniature computer to assist you in your day-to-day tasks. Ssurhuk-T'at, if you would lead us, please?"

All three girls shared one sparsely furnished room. Veronica left, after quickly showing them where the cupboards were and how the bathroom worked. Bridget and Desirée immediately set about unpacking their things into the magnetically sealed cupboards while Kalyani stood helplessly in the middle of the room.

"Are you going to make yourself useful, or just stand there like a bump on a log?" Bridget asked scornfully.

Kalyani looked like she was about to cry. "I . . . am dirty and -- and I have no clean clothes," she said.

Bridget rolled her eyes, sneering. Desirée grabbed her longest wraparound skirt and a pink t-shirt and held them out to the dark-haired girl. "Here," she said. "You're about my size. You can wear these."

Kalyani recoiled in horror. "No! I cannot! They are too fine!"

"Don't worry about it," Desirée said, holding the clothes out. "It's okay. I have others."

Kalyani stared, terrified, at the proffered clothing. Then slowly, as if someone was going to snatch them away at the last minute, she grabbed them.

"Thank you," she said tearfully. "I bring back clean. I promise." She ducked into the bathroom, taking the clothes with her.

Desirée heard a snort of laughter behind her. "Bridget, lose the fucking attitude."

The blonde girl looked down her nose at her. "I didn't say anything."

"I know exactly what you were thinking."

"Then I don't have to say it, do I?"

* * *

"Thank you for the clothes," Kalyani said for the fiftieth time, smoothing her hands over the wraparound skirt. "They are so soft and beautiful."

"You're welcome," Desirée said absently, checking the map on the bulkhead, next to the 4-way intersection. "Are you sure you don't want any shoes?"

"No, no. My feet are fine." She looked down at her perfectly shaped, but callused, toes. "There are no rocks or glass to cut them here."

Desirée thought Kalyani looked better in her clothes than she did. Her freshly washed black hair hung straight down her back, framing her heart-shaped face, drawn from lack of food. The skirt hugged her tightly, showing off the distance between her narrow waist and ample hips. Desirée didn't even bother offering to loan Kalyani a bra; despite the fact that Kalyani hadn't been eating well, her breasts were much bigger than Desirée's 34C's. The cool air in the ship was making Kalyani's nipples stick out. They looked hard enough to cut glass.

Desirée scrolled through the electronic map. "Would you like to check out the Forward Lounge? That could be interesting."

Yes. Yes, I would like."

"Great." Desirée headed for the nearby elevators.

* * *

The elevator doors hissed open. Desirée walked out into the forward lounge, trying to see in the low light. Kalyani followed slowly behind, distracted by the feel of plush carpet against her bare feet. Desirée walked towards the clear observation bubble that encompassed the lounge. She stared out into the blackness of interstellar space, looking for the faint twinkle of stars in the blanket of night. The rumble of the ship's engines was so omnipresent that she no longer noticed it.

"Isn't this the most incredible thing you've ever seen?" she whispered, not wanting to break the mood by talking loudly.

"We are not alone," Kalyani said softly, right at her elbow.

"I know," the sandy blonde said, marveling at the vastness around her. "Out there are thousands of alien races, living --"

"No, no." Kalyani tugged at Desirée's beige top. "We are not alone here."

Desirée followed her friend's pointing finger just in time to see Veronica slowly take off Ssurhuk-T'at's spectacles and place them on a nearby table. They were sitting next to each other on an overstuffed couch, their heads bending towards each other. The three-eyed alien blinked solemnly at the woman as she ran her hands up and down his chest.

Desirée pulled Kalyani down behind a low wall. They waited for a few seconds, but they only heard the soft sound of lips against flesh.

Desirée slowly peeked around the corner. Ssurhuk-T'at was sliding a finger down Veronica's blouse, opening it to her waist. She was straddling him, her skirt pulled up to show the soft creaminess of her thighs. Her eyes were half-closed; she shrugged her shoulders to let the red blouse fall past her elbows. She wore no bra, the nipples dark against the cream of her skin. She took Ssurhuk-T'at's hands, slowly kissed each palm and then placed them on her breasts. The alien squeezed her tits, pinching the hard nipples between thumb and forefinger. It looked painful, but Veronica sighed with pleasure, arching her back to allow him better access.

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