Disclaimer: The following story is a purely fictional account. Any relationship to any real person living or dead is coincidental. The narrative contains non-consensual male-on-male sexual torture and death. It is intended for mature readers who wish to view such material, and for whom it is legal to do so. The author in no way condones or promotes such acts in real life.
Copyright © 2014 by POW. For spam prevention, an animal name has been added to the author's e-mail address. Remove the animal name to get the actual address: POWauthor zebra at yahoo dot com. This story may be freely copied and distributed so long as it is copied in its entirety, unchanged, including the author credit information and disclaimer. Other POW stories are available at http://powauthor.blogspot.com. The author welcomes feedback.
Forty-One Ways To Use A Transporter (And One More)
Unical date 3752.598.54
Lieutenant Junior Grade David Harrolin finished making the log entry and closed the file. It would be saved along with all the others, four years' worth of them, deep in the station's core. Backup copies would be made, one to remain online in case anything happened to primary records, one to reside here on-station but on physically separate hardware, one to be transmitted via warp relay back to Starmada Central, one to be transferred physically to whatever Starmada vessel might pass this way next. Redundancy upon redundancy, all to provide the ability to restore the station's operating systems to nominal operating condition should there ever be some sort of disruption. In his four years here, there hadn't yet been, but that wasn't the point of a backup. Like insurance policies, you made backups in the hope you never needed them.
It wasn't the existence of the multiply redundant backups that Lt. Harrolin had a philosophical problem with; it was the contents. The logs contained comprehensive records of events that were almost staggering in their unimportance: what time he arose from bed, the duration and contents of his "morning" (station circadian rhythms were flexible, as incoming vessels might arrive at any time) meal, his routine inspection and maintenance activities, any requests for additional supplies, indeed, anything that had to do with the operation of Starmada Station Beta 459.21, no matter how trivial... it all went in the logs.
Only occasionally did the routine vary, when a ship came to visit, to restock supplies of those few elements, like tribronium, that could not be synthesized by transporter technology. But those were rare. Station Beta 459.21 was located far from any usual transit lanes, and only occasionally did a visitor stop by. They rarely stayed long - what sailor wanted to spend his shore leave hanging out at a station that had only one occupant? The ships invariably stocked up on what they needed, then got underway as quickly as they could. Their visits, and the visits of the enormous supply carriers that replenished his own store of material, were of course diligently recorded in the logs.
David had gone through a period, starting a little after the first year of his rotation had passed, where he rebelled just a little. It had started when he made the mistake of subtracting 1 from a digit in the central segment of the unical date when starting the day's log. Instead of the blank form he had been expecting, he had been presented with a fully-completed log entry from one hundred days earlier. It described the time he had arisen from his bed, which, as it happened, was only two minutes different from the time he had been about to record in today's entry. Then it went on to describe his breakfast, which was, eerily, an exact match for what he had just consumed.
Of course, David didn't recognize the log as filled with hundred-day-old entries at first. Instead, he saw it as if it were today's schedule laid out before him, starting off with an accurate representation of events that had already occurred but then continuing on into the future, describing events that had yet to transpire. Thoughts of space-time-continuum holes and causal paradox loops surged in his brain for long seconds before he figured out what he was really looking at, but by then, the damage was done. His days had become so monotonously predictable that he really could pick one up at random from the past and insert it into the present, seamlessly. He spent the rest of that day trying to recreate, to relive, the events that he had already recorded, so that he would indeed be able to simply copy the hundred-day-old register verbatim to today (fudging that two-minute discrepancy for the wake-up time, of course). It turned out to be not hard at all to do.
And so his mini-rebellion went. For several weeks, he would choose a day at random before going to bed. He would set his alarm to be roused at the designated time for that day, and would live that day over again, eating the same meals, performing the same chores, watching the same holo-entertainments. Some days this was impossible, of course - the visits of either his suppliers or his consumers never quite went according to the same predictable schedule as his own work. But that was OK.
Ultimately, though, he gave it up. It was just too depressing, and it actually scared him once when he was watching a particular holo-show for the third time, because as it happened, he had unknowingly chosen a day to relive that was one he had spent reliving an earlier day. He was making a copy of a copy. When, midway through the show, he realized what he was doing, the recursive possibilities sent him vertiginously into a contemplation of the infinite and no human mind can stand up to that. And so he turned off the show, did a set of jumping jacks (which he had never done before), wore a bagel on a string around his neck (likewise never-before-tried), ate something brand-new for dinner, and deliberately turned his attention away from the repetitive nature of his duties and tried to focus on doing something constructive with his mind instead.
He might have been better off with the recursion.
The trouble started innocently enough. It was those darn backups. The routine was this: once ten days' worth of backups had been recorded, Lt. Harrolin needed to transfer them to a different physical device, then store that device in a separate location on the station. Ten sets of ten-day backups were available via this method, so that if any file got corrupted, he would have a one-hundred day supply from which to restore it. It was a good system. The problem was, it was a hassle.
Physically moving the device meant trudging down to the engineering core where the systems that maintained life support and propulsion hummed along, functioning smoothly under his careful maintenance. But the storage location was, of course, about as far away as it was possible to get on the station, which meant climbing vertically the whole five decks, into the cargo areas, and into a storeroom the size of a small closet. And actually connecting the device to the station net, once he had it, involved stretching his arm in a contorted way to reach the inconveniently-located data port under a tabletop. None of this was insurmountably difficult, but it was enough of an inconvenience that it set his mind to wondering if there might not be a better way.
The inspiration with the transporter came when he was seeing off the first officer of the latest ship to visit, the SS Radiant. Commander Shao-Tse had brought a particular souvenir coffee mug with him when he had beamed aboard the station, then had set it down and forgotten it. He realized it as soon as he had returned to his own ship, and had asked Lt. Harrolin to beam it over to him. The mug was all the way over in the cargo area, where the commander had been inspecting the refined tribronium. David didn't feel like trudging all the way over there, so he simply instructed the transporter to beam the mug directly to the Radiant. He felt a vague twinge of guilt about doing this, because site-to-site transport was something that had been drilled into his head back at the university that he should not do: it was an inefficient use of transporter energy. Better to beam things to or from a transporter pad.
... but now that he thought about it, it really wasn't that much more energy. It was doubled, of course, because what the transporter was doing was beaming the object from the remote location to the pad, then sending it on to the destination. But the actual energy cost? Minimal. It was like worrying about the difference between a twenty-cent and a ten-cent line item on a $10,000 budget. Who cared? Maybe it made a big difference back in the early days of the technology, when beaming was a truly expensive thing to do. But nowadays? It made no sense. And yet they kept drilling it into the heads of cadets all the same, year after year after year, don't beam site to site...
So later that shift when he was about to hoof his way down to retrieve this ten-day's backup device, the transporter was on his mind. A flash of inspiration struck, and he changed course and headed for the core instead. A bit of fiddling with the transporter settings, and poof, there was the desired backup device sitting right there on the tabletop where he needed it, saving himself a hike through the bowels of the station.
His next attempt was to beam the device directly into its plugged-in position, trying to save himself the awkward arm contortions needed to get it there by hand. No luck - the normal action of pressing the device into the port by hand physically moved some metal holder bits a fractional distance. Trying to bypass that would have caused the transport to fail, because two objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time (and of course there were complex rules governing "thin" matter like air, water vapor, etc. etc...)
This stumped him for three more backup cycles, but then, David had a brainstorm: why use a backup device at all? Why not simply use the transporter to duplicate the core's main storage?
The technology was straightforward, after all: a beam cycle involved "reading" an object down to the quantum level, storing its specifications in digital memory, then "writing" the object back into existence somewhere else. But once you have a digital version in memory, there should be no reason why you couldn't write two copies back, one right where it came from, and a second one at the destination.
It turned out that the makers of the transporters frowned on this usage of their devices, probably for the same obsolete reasons that the bean-counters insisted on eschewing site-to-site transports. But David was not deterred. Hacking the transporter became a project, then a goal, and might even have become an obsession if David hadn't turned out to be moderately skilled at the task. It took him less than four days, start to finish, to alter the transporter's OS to support replication. He tested it first on a uniform shirt and failed a few times, but his failures were not disastrous. There were no violations of causality or holes in the space-time continuum, the replication simply didn't work. Then, one time, success.
Once he was confident it was working, he set up the real thing. He chose a time to shunt the core off to secondary hardware, then, when the primary storage system was dormant, he quietly duplicated it. There was no way to see what actually happened deep inside the core, but he could visualize it: a silvery shimmer slowly dissolved the memory crystal, then built it right back up again, and, shortly afterward, an exact copy appeared on the table in front of him.
He checked and re-checked it, of course, bringing the systems back onto the primary hardware, then slotting the duplicate memory crystal into the secondary systems, then rolling back to the secondaries. Perfect - the replicated memory crystal contained an exact duplicate of the data in the primary at the time the duplicate was made.
David was quite satisfied. After one more manual round, he set up a job that, every ten days, beamed a duplicate of the core's memory crystal into the storage cabinet. If he ever needed to restore, it would be easy enough to beam the duplicate into secondary hardware and grab whatever files were needed. Now he only needed to make a physical backups when it came time to offload one onto a passing ship.
As the days and weeks passed, David found more and more uses for his hacked transporter. He got to be quite adept at manipulating physical reality through careful transport programming. Physical system memory limitations became irrelevant: simply duplicate memory crystals! Perhaps, if he had had company on the station, things might not have gotten quite so out of hand. But he didn't, and so they did.
"Welcome aboard, Commander Stricklinger, Lieutenant Pribathra." David didn't stumble at all over the unusual name, having had hours to rehearse the line since receiving the docking request from the Qin Zhou.
"Lieutenant," came the slightly-distracted reply. Both Thomas Stricklinger and Srivanaran Pribathra had their pads out and were only half-paying attention to the station they had just boarded. Lt. Harrolin led them down the corridor toward the storage bay, where they opened a crate of tribronium plates and Lt. Pribathra ran her scanners over them, checking the quality. Transferring tribronium plates was not a particularly difficult task, but it was one that had to be done manually, as tribronium could not be shipped via transporter.
"These appear quite satisfactory," she proclaimed, and she and the commander stood and watched while David lifted a crate up on an anti-gravity pallet and trundled it off to cargo bay #3. Watchers, he thought as he worked. In his experience, there were only two types of crews: the workers and the watchers. Some crews would pitch in and help him move the load, not even asking if that was OK, just seeing that there was work to be done and doing it. Other crews were watchers. David found it interesting that there was no middle ground. No one ever asked "Is it OK if I help out?" or "Do you need a hand with that?" The work wasn't hard, thanks to the AG pallet, but still, David appreciated the gesture that the workers unconsciously offered.
He found he got along much better with the workers than the watchers.
Commander Stricklinger's attention remained focused on his hand pad. David could hear him subvocalizing as they walked, sounding like he was humming some atonal melody to himself. They met up with the Qin Zhou's shuttle craft in the cargo bay and transferred the plates aboard. Lt. Pribathra left with the shuttle while Commander Stricklinger settled the bureaucratic forms which, interestingly, was still referred to as "paperwork" in an era when such a technology was as obsolete as cuneiform on clay tablets.
Back in the transport room, Stricklinger climbed up onto the pad. "Have a pleasant journey, commander," David said, receiving a non-committal grunt in reply. "One to beam in," Stricklinger said to the air, and his ship initiated the beam that left David standing alone in an empty room.
"Have a pleasant journey, motherfucking asswipe," he muttered under his breath.
David was able to hold himself back for fourteen days. At the time he committed his minuscule crime, he had told himself it was just to see if the technique was possible, if it would actually work. Then, when it became evident that it had, he kept telling himself that he would do the right thing, that he wouldn't exploit the potentialities that were now available to him, that he was only hanging onto the result for purely scientific, intellectual reasons.
By day ten, he knew he was only deluding himself, and that it was just a matter of time. Still he held out. For a little while longer.
On day twelve, he received word that the Victorious Mailed Fist Of Honorable Vengeance, a Warxon-registered vessel, would be stopping by the next day to pick up supplies. It turned out to be a surprisingly calm, peaceful visit.
On day fourteen, he couldn't hold back any more.
Stricklinger, Mark 1
"Welcome aboard, Commander Stricklinger," David said to the figure who had just materialized on the transport pad.
"Lieutenant," Stricklinger said, then stepped down and stood expectantly facing the dais he had just vacated. A few moments passed.
"Something wrong, commander?" David asked, his voice level and calm. Stricklinger turned to face him. "There must have been a transporter glitch. I'm sure it's nothing serious. My shipmate should be joining us in a moment."
"Ah. About that. Alas, Lieutenant Pribathra will, in fact, not be joining us in a moment."
This brought a puzzled look to Stricklinger's face, briefly. "I don't understand. She was right there with me on the platform." He thumbed his communicator and his eyes took on that vague, unfocused look that said he was mentally somewhere else. Despite the fact that David was standing right next to him, as far as Stricklinger was concerned, he might as well have been furniture. "Qin Zhou, this is Commander Stricklinger. Report." Pause. "Qin Zhou, do you read." Pause.
David waited patiently. Stricklinger eventually refocused his eyes on him. "What's going on? Why aren't they responding?" he demanded.
"Well, that would be because your ship isn't there, commander. Oh, don't worry - everything is fine. The Qin Zhou successfully rendezvoused with this station on unical date 3752.598.54 and picked up 120 kilos of refined tribronium, exactly as scheduled."
"No, that can't be. I'm assigned to supervise the transfer of the tribronium, and I just arrived here. I haven't done that yet. This is Station Beta 459.21, is it not?"
"Oh, yes, it is. But you are misinformed as to the timing. You believe today is unical five ninety-eight dot fifty-four, but it is actually dot sixty-eight. Fourteen days ago, you did indeed supervise the transfer of the tribronium plates... and while we're on that topic, I must say that 'supervise' is a somewhat strong word to describe the half-assed job you did of it, paying more attention to your hand pad than to your task."
Stricklinger's forehead creased. "I don't like your attitude, Lieutenant." He flicked his communicator again and again tried to contact his ship.
"Oh, give it up, Stricklinger," David barked. "You must be a bright man; you couldn't have risen to the rank of commander if you weren't. So use that brain and pay attention. Your ship. Isn't. Here." Oh, what a pleasure to not have to play the subservient lackey for these overpromoted blowhards! Particularly with the anticipation of what was to come...
For the first time, David had Commander Stricklinger's full attention. His face began to darken with rage. "I'll have you up on report, Lieutenant! Station! Start a log entry."
There was no answering chime from the station system.
"I don't think so, commander. The station has been instructed to pay no attention to anything you say." David subvocalized the pre-arranged command to the transporter and Stricklinger's form swirled into a haze and vanished. David stood a moment, savoring his success, enjoying the flow of adrenaline that came from standing up to a superior officer. Slowly, taking his time, David meandered out of the transporter bay, down the corridor, and into cargo bay 2, where he weaved his way through stacks of crates and pallets until he stopped by a particular one that appeared no different from any of the others around it. He banged on the heavy frame.
"How we doin' in there, commander?" David shouted. A small muffled noise emerged through the heavy container. "What's that? Can't hear you." He banged a few more times, then called out. "Well, gotta run. I'll be back for you later. If I remember."
He left the bay, headed up to the habitat levels, ate his dinner, read for a while, then slept. He very carefully avoided jerking off, knowing that an orgasm now would put him in a totally wrong frame of mind. He needed to keep himself on edge, or he would lose his nerve.
He tried not to think too much about his captive in the cargo crate, on the theory that the whole point was to make the commander feel helpless, alone, and forgotten... therefore he should do his best to forget him. But his thoughts kept returning to the horror that the captain would be experiencing. Stricklinger would have no idea where he was. All he would know is that he was in a dark space, without any light whatsoever. The walls were smooth, hard ferroplastic, impossible for him to mar with his fingernails or even the metal edge of his comm badge, should he think to try that. The lid of the crate was sealed with eight clamps; there was no way he would be breaking those open. There weren't even any air holes. That was David's favorite part of the prison he had built - no ventilation.
For the first fifteen minutes of his captivity, the commander would have explored the limits of his cell, probing and prying and searching for a way out. Eventually he would have noticed the air growing steadily staler, prompting him to try to conserve his oxygen, fighting against his body's urge to breathe faster, deeper, to expel the growing quantity of carbon dioxide in his blood and replace it with the oxygen he craved. But it wouldn't happen - breathing would offer no relief.
Then, perhaps before panic would set in, perhaps after, the transporter would lock onto a volume of air that Commander Stricklinger was not occupying, beam it out, and beam in an equal quantity of replacement air from the transporter bay. Every ten minutes thereafter it would repeat that process. It was unfortunate that the transporter would necessarily generate a flickering, silvery light in the otherwise pitch-black box for the few seconds while it was taking place, but that was a side effect that couldn't be helped.
Stricklinger would spend the night constantly on the edge of suffocation, trapped and helpless in a lightless prison.
David drifted off to sleep, wondering if his captive would still be sane in the morning.
The translucent glow of the transporter was barely visible in the harsh light of cargo bay 3, but the curled-up figure that appeared inside the glow was quite distinct.
"So, commander. We meet again." David had thought about several opening lines to use, and eventually opted for corny melodrama.
Commander Stricklinger slowly straightened his limbs, taking in deep breaths with his lungs as he struggled into a standing position. He looked around, squinting in what to him would have been dazzling brilliance. He found himself still imprisoned, only this cell wasn't a doorless black cube, it was a hand-built contraption of wire and scrounged parts. The one thing this station lacked was a brig; David had had to improvise. The result was not as secure as the crate, and if he was left alone, the commander would have been able to break out without much trouble. But he would never be left unattended, and so wouldn't have the chance.
Stricklinger's eyes took in his surroundings for a few moments, and then he spoke. His voice quavered just a bit, but was otherwise still as deep and firm as the night before. "I don't know who you are or what you want, but know this: I will never cooperate with terrorists," he said. Clearly he had spent some time working on his opening line as well.
"Yes, you will, commander. Thomas. Tommy. You say that, but you truly have no idea what I am capable of. Nor, if you think about it, do you have any idea what I want from you. Aren't you the least bit curious?"
Stricklinger stood mute, his eyes focused on an empty patch of wall off to David's left.
"Well, whether you're curious or not, I feel like bragging about my accomplishment here, and you're my only audience. Let's talk about you first. You think you're Commander Thomas Stricklinger of the Qin Zhou, but you're not. You are a copy of that individual, made by me, for my amusement."
"And yet true. The real Commander Stricklinger loaded up his shipment of tribronium plates exactly as planned. Or rather, he watched me do it over the edge of his datapad, half-heartedly paying attention some of the time. Then he and his ship left. You are an image of him made from the digitalized version that was used to transfer him over during his first transport to this station. That's why your last memory before arriving here is of leaving your ship."
"No. You're saying you've made a copy of me. Transporters are incapable of that."
"Normal transporters, yes. But it turns out I have a bit of a gift for hacking transporters. Who knew? Perhaps I should have specialized on engineering back at the university."
"You're wrong. I'm me. I feel exactly like I always have."
"Of course you would. You're an exact copy. Just, time-delayed by fourteen days."
"Even assuming your unlikely story is true. Why?"
"Mmm... that's the right question to ask. Torture, mostly. Sex and torture."
Stricklinger stood in unmoving silence.
"I mean, it's the perfect arrangement," David continued. "You're not a real person; no one will ever find out; and you - that is, your original - treated me like wallpaper when he - you - were here, so that provides a convenient rationalization, not that I need one, for why it's OK for me to reduce you to a quivering wreck. Speaking of which, let's begin."
He reached to his belt and withdrew a stunner. "So handy, these gadgets," David said. "So many settings. Let's see... here's the one I want: the basic stun." He pressed the stud and a nearly invisible beam suddenly flicked into existence between the stunner and Stricklinger's torso. The commander, remembering his university training, saw what was coming and allowed his knees to flex. This meant that, instead of toppling over like a statue to shatter his teeth or break his jaw on the floor, he sagged to the ground to end in a fleshy pile.
"Oh, nicely done, Tommy," David chuckled. But there was no time to banter with his victim about how many officers so far removed from their university days would have remembered the "limp rag roll" after so long - the effects of the stunner were temporary and were already starting to wear off. Stricklinger would be immobile for two minutes at most, given the dose David had given him, then he would start twitching as his voluntary muscle control started to return. Within five minutes, he'd be standing; within ten, the effects would have completely worn off.
David activated the transporter to beam his captive over to cargo bay 3. The bay was ready, but that hadn't been hard - most of the preparation was little more than emptying out the bay so that it was not filled with crates and boxes of tribronium and various other supplies. There were a few extra touches, though, that he had spent some long weeks preparing, coding them into the transporter's buffer so that it could synthesize objects it had never before replicated basically from scratch... telling himself all the while as he was doing so that he would never, ever, actually use the room or the devices in it. It was all strictly theoretical, a thought experiment.
Theoretical until now. This was the point where theory became reality, and he either had to boldly go forward or give the idea up completely; there was no middle ground. David didn't allow himself to spend much time thinking about it. Instead he concentrated on his strides as he hurriedly walked over - the distance was not far - and when he arrived, Stricklinger was still lying, fuming, in a heap on the floor. David quickly but methodically attached leather cuffs to the commander's wrists, fastened them to a pair of cables, then retracted the cables up into the ceiling. The effect was to draw Stricklinger's body upward by the arms until he was in a standing position, his arms stretched upward and outward into a Y-shape.
Seeing the man suspended, his legs just starting to respond to his will once again but not yet able to bear any of his weight, was just too much for David and any lingering hint of morality vanished, leaving not even a silvery glow behind. The meek, subordinate Lieutenant Harrolin was gone. "Here's what happens now. You agree to suck my dick."
"MmmNGGHHAA?!?" the commander retorted, still lacking enough control to shape words, but David knew exactly what he meant. "You heard me. You will agree to suck my cock. You will suck it, and suck it well, and your reward for doing a good job will be a load of my sperm filling up your arrogant throat, which you will then swallow every drop of."
"Nggoo... hahghinggh... eeey!"
"Yes, fucking way. You have no choice. This will happen. Because I will spend every second that you delay tormenting your body and your mind. At some point, I will break you to my will. The only question is this: when will that moment come? Because it will come. And the only choice you have in the matter is, how much will you suffer between now and then?"
David picked up one of the tools he had synthesized back when this scene was only an imaginary impossibility - a rawhide flogger. Wide, flat straps, good for warming up a man's back but not cutting into it. He let it dangle idly from his wrist while the commander recovered his strength. "So," he asked when Stricklinger's legs were fully able to support his weight, "What's it gonna be? Suck me off, or take the pain?"
"I'll see you thrown in the deepest brig you can imagine, you pansy-ass reject."
David nodded once, briskly, then stalked around to stand behind the commander. "Oh, right," he said, as if it were an afterthought, "that uniform's gotta go." He produced a blade from his pocket and began slicing through the fabric of the shirt and sleeves. Stricklinger squirmed, but not too much due to the proximity of the blade to his skin. Soon, his Starmada uniform was intact only from the waist down, and only tattered ribbons, scattered around on the floor, remained of what used to be the top half.
"Ah, one last thing before we begin." David subvocalized to the station system and the commander's form shimmered briefly, but did not vanish. "That's better," he said, then swung back the straps for the first blow.
KRAKKK!!! The sound of leather striking skin grabbed David by his balls and sent testosterone squirting through his veins. The commander had steeled himself for the blow and did not jump or cry out, but just the sound alone, the sound of flesh being pounded by an implement whose only purpose was to cause pain... it was practically orgasmic in itself. This he had never done before, but oh, it felt so right to be doing it!
Three more times the leather struck, spaced out by several seconds, and by the third one, the commander was beginning to react. He kept control of himself, there was nothing so humiliating as a shout or a plea to stop, but the air that whistled in and out through his nose and mouth betrayed his spasming diaphragm. His body was reacting to the punishment even though his mind still believed it could power through the ordeal.
David began varying the frequency of the blows, delivering several in rapid succession, then spreading them out over larger intervals. His captive turned in his bonds, seeking to escape from the rain of pain. David congratulated himself on leaving Stricklinger with a limited range of movement rather than immobilizing him completely. The reaction of a victim who could try to avoid the blows but never completely succeed was much more of a turn-on for him than one who could only twitch. Having never been in the position of trying either, he had never known this about himself before. He found himself growing erect, his stiff dick making a tent of the thin fabric of his uniform.
David paused and found that he had worked up a bit of a sweat swinging the strap. Stricklinger still hadn't uttered a sound. David set the flogger down and picked up another weapon. This one was a single-tail - one lone thin strip that, with repeated application, would have no trouble raising welts and even slicing right through human skin. He began to swing it.
Barely a whisper of sound, and yet Stricklinger jumped as if snakebitten. David waited a good ten seconds, then applied another stripe.
Another jump from the bound man. The site of the second strike was still invisible, but the first was beginning to rise up like a tiny red sand dune across Stricklinger's shoulder. David applied three more strokes, spaced widely apart. The fifth one landed partly atop the welt the first had raised, and that elicited Stricklinger's first muffled grunt.
The sound did it. He had to hear more of that sound. It was like ambrosia. He swung the whip and swung some more, usually landing it where he intended but sometimes missing and clipping an off-target spot like Stricklinger's ear or cheek. He never quite lost control of himself, but definitely allowed himself to indulge, rather than hang back. The tiny hissing thwippp sound came more and more frequently, and Stricklinger's back transformed from unbroken skin with a flushed rosy hue to a streaked, striped wasteland that resembled Jupiter's moon Io. And Stricklinger responded. His grunts turned into cries, and eventually words begging David to stop.
At last, he did stop, panting with heaving lungs. He set the whip down, stepped up close to Stricklinger and ran his fingers along the slashed, bleeding skin. Stricklinger's breath hissed through his gritted teeth. On a whim, David reached around him, arms on either side, and grabbed him close, as in a bear hug. Stricklinger screamed as David's body pressed into the dozens of cuts on his back and his legs gave way so that his weight was borne entirely by his own wrists and David's encircling arms.
"Oh, yeah, that's it, scream for me, Tommy... scream..." David rubbed his body back and forth, up and down, abrading the fresh wounds, smearing his uniform with his victim's blood, and it was so hot, so damned hot and he couldn't stand it any more and he was fumbling with his pants until his engorged dick jutted free. He yanked the commander's uniform pants down, exposing his unmarred ass, then slicked his fingers up with the bound man's seeping blood and smeared it on his cock. Unceremoniously, he thrust it into Stricklinger's hole, taking only a few seconds to find it and fight past the man's resistance. Stricklinger shrieked again as the friction on his back continued to send waves of pain blasting through his nerves; David sucked up every shout and shriek as he thrust his dick in and out.
It was over in seconds, much too soon. David felt the point of no return coming fast, and then it seized him in its grip and he was pushing, pushing, feeling the hot tight chute around his dick, squeezing his thighs to drive his cock deep while pulse after pulse of electric energy thrummed through his body...
Gasping, dripping with sweat and other fluids, he slipped out of Stricklinger's ass and stepped back. He had a moment or two of afterglow, and then a slow flush of shame spread across his face. The transformation was so sudden, he could almost feel the change from one persona to another. This was just... this was just wrong, no matter how he tried to justify it or rationalize his actions away. This might be an illegal bootleg copy of Stricklinger, but wasn't he still human? And David had just brutalized and raped him! He dreamed about this kind of thing, he fantasized about it, but he would never, ever act on such impulses! And yet, there before him, was the incontrovertible evidence that he had, in the form of a groaning lump of meat dangling from the ceiling...
"Transport, cleanup," he stammered, just wanting to make it all go away. Stricklinger, still moaning and squirming, disappeared in a silvery glow, leaving two manacles to swing from the ceiling, no longer supporting anything.
Lieutenant Harrolin fled from the room, rushing to his quarters to shower the gore off of himself and his uniform.
The next few days passed uneventfully. He swore to himself that he would never, ever repeat what he had done. He very carefully combed through the station log entries for anything that might yield a clue as to how he had spent several hours on unical dates 3752.598.68 and .69. Mercifully, there was no trace, no mess to clean up, and so no seams for some distant sharp-eyed auditor to notice and start picking away at. As far as the station was concerned, both .68 and .69 had each been yet another routine, uneventful day. Hardly surprising, since the details in them had been copied from earlier days, both of them.
The only trace evident was a slight increase in the energy usage of the transport system, such an insignificantly small amount that it barely registered. It was the equivalent of David synthesizing an extra cup of tea each day for 30 days. No one would ever notice. The secret of David's shame was safe.
Days passed, turned into weeks. Ships came; ships went. Cargo was loaded on and loaded off again. Logs were filled out, replicated, distributed. Normal routine ruled the station.
... buried in David Harrolin's subconscious was the knowledge that a certain file remained on a removable memory crystal, waiting, waiting... he had already done the unprecedented: he had duplicated a human being, with memories and personality intact. Really, to not try the next step of the experiment, just to satisfy his curiosity, to see if it could be done, would be a shame. Criminal, even. To venture so close to the edge of uncharted territory, only to turn back without exploring? Exploration was the point of Starmada, of course. Viewed in that light, it would be irresponsible if David didn't at least see if what he thought was possible really was possible. He wouldn't lose control again like last time, of course. No way...
Stricklinger, Mark 2
The figure of Commander Thomas Stricklinger shimmered into being exactly where it had last been. It had been difficult to make that work exactly right - beaming the commander into the precise spot he had been so that his wrists appeared inside the encircling cuffs. David had to hook them together with a bit of string to hold them together until the commander's arms materialized inside them and took over the tension. But it worked. Stricklinger's body took up the exact same position it had disappeared from.
Only this time, its skin was smooth. Unmarred. Unbloodied.
As soon as the transport had completed, Stricklinger gasped. His last memory, after all, had been of scalding pain simmering all over his back, and of the rape David had inflicted on his suspended form. But the body he was in showed no sign of that trauma.
David gave him a moment or two to get his bearings. "I want you to notice something," he then said. "Notice how your body feels. Any pain? Any stiffness in your arms from having them up over your head for so long? Any burning in your ass? No. You feel none of that. Do you?"
Stricklinger's relief was written all over his face. He didn't need to reply.
"And yet you remember all of it. Don't you? Here's why. Remember how, before beginning to go to work on you, I beamed you out, then right back in again? Did you wonder what that was about? I was making a copy of you."
He brought his hand up and let it brush against the commander's nipple. Stricklinger snarled and backed away, a token protest since David could have pursued if he had wished. But the pain-free state of his body was giving his mind renewed vigor. "You are a goddam terrorist and I will see you pay for this."
David waved a dismissive hand. "You're missing the point. The point is: I have succeeded in doing something no one has ever done. I have put your mind into an earlier version of your body. No one has ever done that before, as far as I can tell. Think about that, Tommy. Think what that means."
Stricklinger said nothing. David walked in idle circles around him. "Think about the difference between your perceptions and mine. From my perspective, I had a hell of a good time torturing you... almost three weeks ago. It's been nineteen days since you last drew breath. But to you, that time elapsed in an eyeblink. For you, it's been less than five minutes since I was fucking your ass using the blood off your back as lube. I know you feel good now, Tommy, but think back. Only a few minutes ago, you were in absolute agony.
"In short, I'm ready for round two. I'm rested up, fresh, and feeling very horny." His circling path brought him straight in front of Stricklinger's blue-green eyes. He stared into them from a handspan away. "Are you?"
He held the pose a long moment, then backed off. "Same offer, Tom. Suck my cock, or suffer. Choose. Now."
"Drop dead, asswipe," Stricklinger replied.
This time, David chose genital torment for his victim. He sliced the rest of the uniform away, leaving Stricklinger naked from head to toe. He stretched the commander's legs out to the sides, inserting his ankles into cuffs attached to the floor. The commander's X-shaped body was stretched taut: his spread legs lowered his torso, increasing the tension in his arms. Once he was satisfied with his victim's position, David took another transporter snapshot, including the manacles this time to make the reappearance easier to manage.
Then he set to work.
A rope around the commander's balls stretched them far down into their sac. They were thick, meaty, satisfying balls, heavy and hairy. David couldn't help thrusting his nose into the commander's crotch and inhaling deeply - such a delicious aroma! Then he began to tap them and slap them, lightly at first, but with increasing force behind the blows until the commander was grunting and twitching with each one.
"Remember, Tommy," slap "this can stop" slap "any time you want." slap "All you have to do" slap "is tell me" slap "you want my dick" slap "in your mouth." slap, slap slap.
"Fuuckk... AAAAIGH... you..." Stricklinger grunted in reply.
After twenty minutes, David took a break. The commander was dripping with sweat. "My hand's getting tired," David said. "It needs a rest..." He went and picked up a pair of clamps from a nearby table. "... but you don't." He affixed one of the clamps around Stricklinger's left nut, cranking it tight enough that he could let it dangle and it would keep its grip. Then he fastened the second clamp around the right ball.
Stricklinger sucked air in and out of his lungs as he hung in his bonds. Every few minutes, David tightened the clamps, eliciting fresh grunts from his captive. There came a time when some invisible line was crossed and the commander began to scream in earnest. "Aaahhh! Take it off, take it off! I can't stand it!" But David left the clamps in place.
"You know what you need to say to get a reprieve. But I think you're not going to say it. You're too strong-willed. Am I right? You'll never beg me to let you suck my cock."
He put his hands on the two clamps and loosened each one half a turn. The commander's relief was immediate and evident. David let him savor it for just a moment. "... or so you think," he snarled.
Then he tightened both clamps three turns.
The commander nearly yanked the chains out of their moorings, so desperate were his struggles to break free. He screamed a high, wordless shriek. David bent down to inspect the result - the commander's balls were flattened to less than the thickness of his index finger. The skin was bulging out to the sides of the clamp, red and angry-looking. David looked up into the commander's face, seeing his scrunched-shut eyes, his gritted teeth, his dripping sweat. Then he cranked each clamp another full turn.
That caused Stricklinger's eyes to shoot wide open. His shouting stopped - air couldn't escape out through his constricted throat. Seconds passed, agonizing seconds in which the commander felt nothing at all except the overwhelming agony of his flattened testicles.
David's erection was swelling in his uniform pants. He let go of the clamps and paused a few moments to stroke himself. But only a few - then he slipped his dick back into his pants. That had been the problem with the first time... it was over too quickly. This time he wanted to draw the process out longer.
Perhaps it was time to take the commander to the next level.
"Last chance, Tommy. You want to stop the pain, you know how to do it." No response.
David turned the clamp on the commander's left nut and kept turning. It got harder and harder to do - Stricklinger bucked and fought, shaking his pelvis back and forth in a useless effort to yank his nuts free of their tormenting devices. Then, suddenly, the resistance was gone, and the last few turns went easily. The jaws of the clamp were pressed nearly together, only a few millimeters separating them.
Commander Stricklinger's left testicle had been destroyed.
The expression on his face was captivating to David, who stepped back a moment to enjoy the view and give his dick a few - just a few - more strokes. Then he bent down and began cranking the other clamp shut. Tighter... tighter... then, pop, and no resistance the rest of the way.
The commander kept screaming the whole while, standing there spread-eagled with heavy metal presses hanging from both his destroyed balls. David let him dangle there, giving himself the occasional rub but staying far, far away from the point of no return.
At last, Stricklinger's sobbing cries tapered off. David reached in and unscrewed the clamps, loosening them just enough to be able to rip them ungently from the now-empty sac. The commander yelped a few times, but his spirit was clearly flagging. David wondered how much of that was from the psychological effects of being unmanned and how much was physical: how quickly would the level of testosterone in a man's bloodstream begin to drop once its source had dried up?
It was a moot point. David activated the transporter. The commander's form shimmered and vanished.
The next hour involved a bit of trial and error. It was easier this time than the first time had been, merging the files that contained the commander's mental state from the most recent scan with the physical form from the previous scan. The computer did a lot of the matching, but there were places where it required David's attention to get the merge right. Eventually, perhaps, he'd be able to automate this process completely, but until then...
Stricklinger, Mark 3
The commander flickered into being in the same X-shape had had vanished in. As soon as he appeared, he swung his head down. There he could clearly see his whole, intact testicles dangling below his pelvis just as they had for his whole adult life. The sweat that had beaded his forehead and chest was no more, the soreness in his hands and legs from long tension was gone. And yet... his memories of those sensations - the soreness, the overwhelming pressure on his balls - was clear as day.
"So," David said. "You see what you are up against. How many times do you think you can endure that, commander? Before your mind snaps, your will to resist me collapses like your balls just did? You think you could endure another five of those? Three? I know what you've been thinking. You've been thinking that hey, you're just an illegal copy. The real you is out there somewhere. This you shouldn't even exist. The right thing for you to do is just die and that would solve your problem. Only that's not an option, see? You can resist me right up until your death... but I'll just make you a fresh body and start over."
The commander's confident attitude was shaken. He was not yet near enough to the breaking point, but David could see in his eyes that he no longer believed he could simply endure his way through. Having the courage to endure torture until death was one thing... but what if death, even maiming, was no escape? David could simply reincarnate him over and over again, leaving his memories of the pain and torture intact but with a fresh, unmarked body to start all over on. It would never, ever end.
"I'm betting on two, myself. You think you can do better than two? Hold out through more than two more reincarnations? Let's just see."
This time it was fire. David set his stunner on the lowest setting and suspended it from a string tied around Stricklinger's balls, aiming upward. The effect was insidious: as long as Stricklinger kept moving, he could avoid having the beam linger too long in one spot. But the moment he stood still, the beam would pour its energy into a thumbnail-sized patch of flesh, rapidly heating it to uncomfortable, then damaging temperatures.
Stricklinger danced. He swung his hips around, back and forth, side to side, diagonally. He had to keep varying the pattern or else the pendulum beneath him would play its beam over the same areas. Only by varying its motion could he keep it from focusing too long on any one spot.
But even that wasn't good enough over the long haul. After an hour, the stunner began to beep that it was running out of energy. David swapped in a replacement and set the first one to charging. By the time that one began to run low, Stricklinger was exhausted. His ball sac was glowing an angry red and his dick and inner thighs looked like they had also taken some heat. David swapped in a third stunner and set his captive to dancing again.
Stricklinger just couldn't do it. He tried to force his limbs to move, but they wouldn't, or if they did, then it was in simple, repetitive motions that merely swung the stunner's beam back and forth across the same small space. The temperature in his balls began to rise. Twenty minutes into the third hour, David could smell Stricklinger's nuts cooking. The commander kept bucking faintly, futilely in his bonds, but he knew he was doomed. There never really came a point when he stopped moving altogether, but the intervals between his twitchings became longer and longer until there were long seconds where the stunner was pointed squarely at the same spot. David knew it was because the stunner's beam no longer produced the sensation of pain in his nuts: the nerves there had been cooked.
At last David unfastened the stunner from the string, nudged the intensity up a bit, and began aiming it in from the top and sides at the parts that hadn't been completely baked yet. His dick smoked and sizzled; his balls swelled and darkened. David kept going until the third stunner's charged was drained.
He looked Stricklinger in the eye then. The commander could barely focus his gaze, so intense had his suffering been. David waited until he was sure he had his captive's attention, then reached down with his hand, wrapped it around Stricklinger's dick and balls, and pulled. The roasted organs were like rubber in his grip. Like chicken breasts, they had been transformed by the cooking process from soft pliable flesh into firm, unyielding lumps. He squeezed harder and pounded a few times with his fist, and David could see from the look on Stricklinger's face that some of the nearby nerves must still be intact. But not many. Stricklinger's agony at this point was mostly psychological, not physical. He knew he should be feeling the squeeze and the blows, but all he felt was a vague tug.
"So. Ready to give in yet? 'cause I can keep this up all day. All week. Forever..."
Stricklinger looked near to the breaking point, and if David had waited a minute longer, he might have had his reward. But this version of Thomas Stricklinger was already destroyed and couldn't be damaged any further - genitally, at least. And so another reincarnation would be coming, whether or not he caved in. David didn't give him the chance. He activated the transporter.
Stricklinger, Mark 4
Same pose. Same moment of bewilderment as, from Stricklinger's point of view, his cock and balls were magically restored to health. This time, though, he was expecting the disorientation and so was less disoriented by it. "How long this time?" he asked only moments after appearing.
"Only half an hour or so. It takes me that long to plug your memories into your old body. I hope to speed the process up a bit. We'll see how easy it is to automate. So are you gonna suck me now or what?"
The sensations of the whole, intact body Stricklinger now inhabited were suffusing his drained, exhausted mind with fresh energy, but his mind retained the memories of his castration... both his castrations. Stricklinger didn't answer, but set his jaw and tried to steel himself for whatever horror David would dish out next, but David could see, maybe, possibly, his resolve wavering.
"I think something non-destructive this time. Something painful, but that won't require a fresh body for a while... what to do...?"
But testicle torture didn't break the commander. David spent several hours squeezing, piercing, heating, chilling, and electrocuting Stricklinger's cock and balls, and while the commander shrieked and screamed and bellowed, he did not break.
Finally, long after he would have ordinarily gone to bed for the night, David called it quits. He beamed the commander out, leaving his current pattern stored in memory. Exhausted, he nevertheless made sure that the logs for the day reflected the work he hadn't actually done rather than what he had actually spent the day doing. Not that it mattered... if a cargo container went with its contents un-re-inventoried, it's not like the tribronium plates wouldn't be there to count tomorrow. But it was important to maintain the illusion of routine...
He spent the next day actually doing the work he claimed to have done yesterday, and then the following day a ship arrived. The day after that was the once-every-ten-days set of extra rounds, so there wasn't enough time to get a good session going with the commander. On the fourth day he brought his captive back to life, this time in the same body he had last had, cuts, bruises, and all, and began working on him again.
Of course, from Stricklinger's perspective, it wasn't four days later: it was a continuation of something like 48 straight hours of torture. The only sleep he had had since leaving his ship was in the near-suffocating conditions of the airtight cargo crate, and that had been more than a day ago. He had had no food, no water. Physically, he didn't need it: each newly-restored body was in the same fed, watered condition that it had been in when the transporter scanned it. Mentally, though, it felt wrong, as if he should be hungry from not eating: psychosomatic starvation syndrome. His captor, on the other hand, was well-rested and could take a break whenever he wanted; Stricklinger got no respite, ever.
It took six more hours, but David was finally able to break the commander. By then, his left eye was gone, his tongue had been sliced in half straight down the middle, his legs couldn't hold his weight because of the multiple deep slashes David had carved into the muscles, welts and gashes from various whips covered his back and chest, and his nuts were swollen to twice their normal size, like chicken eggs bulging in their sac. The scrotum was mottled red and purple from the combination of flames and beatings it had been subjected to. Stricklinger had complained some time earlier that his hands had gone completely numb; David had ignored him. Now he could see they were ashen white and felt cold to the touch. But it didn't really matter. All he would have to do was beam Stricklinger's mind into a fresh copy of his body.
He freed his captive's ankles, then his wrists, and Stricklinger collapsed to the floor, a broken wreck. David nudged him with his foot, but the commander either wouldn't or couldn't move.
It was just as well. Six hours was more time than David had been planning to spend, but he had gotten swept up in the torture and time had slipped away. He really needed to take a break and catch up on station tasks anyway.
"Listen," he said, nudging Stricklinger's motionless form with his foot. "Hey, are you hearing me? Pay attention, unless you want to go through this again. Now, two minutes ago, you agreed to suck my dick. Finally. But you're in no shape to do a good job, and I want it done right. So I'm going to make you a fresh body. When that happens, you're going to feel a bit fresher, a bit stronger. You're going to maybe want to change your mind."
He bent down and gripped Stricklinger's balls firmly in his hand. The commander was too weak to do more than groan and bat weakly at David's hands with his own destroyed paws. "Remember this moment. When you've got your strong, healthy body back, remember how this moment feels and resist the urge to change your mind. Because I'm going to keep a copy of this body in storage, and if you give me the slightest trouble, I'll put your mind back into it. Then I'll see what else I can think of to make your life an even worse hell than it already is. We clear?"
Stricklinger nodded, though it was hard to be sure if the nod was deliberate or merely random twitchings. "Say it," David ordered.
"Clear," Commander Stricklinger murmured in the garbled sounds that were all his split tongue could form, then gasped as David released the constricting grip on his swollen balls.
"Good. See you in a bit."
He beamed the commander out, then breathed a sigh of relief at being alone again. Who would have thought being a torturer would be so much work! Although to be fair, the torture itself was great fun, not work at all. What was work was the planning, the organizing, and most of all, the hiding of the evidence from the damn logs. He started mopping up the blood. It was going to be another late night.
Stricklinger, Mark 5
It was several days before David could get back to the blowjob he had been so long in setting up. One of the port stabilizers chose the next day to fail, and the repair work was tedious and involved and required him to suit up for a walk outside. It took most of the day. Then the next two he spent attending to the routine maintenance tasks that he had been putting off while he played with his toy. And then to really screw things up, that night he fell asleep fantasizing about the beautiful orgasm he would have the next day when he raped his pet officer's throat... and woke up in the middle of the night to sticky sheets! He had ruined it by coming too soon! So he resolved to wait four more days to ensure that he had built up enough anticipation to make the event truly memorable.
At last, the day came. No ships were anywhere near, all chores were taken care of. The entire day loomed before him; he wondered if maybe he could squeeze five loads out over the course of it. That would be a new personal best.
The commander's form shimmered to life, standing in the bound X shape that the body had been beamed out from. The mind, though, was the most recent. David could see the haunted, exhausted look in his eyes. He gave Stricklinger a minute to get used to his restored body, then bent to unfasten his ankles.
"Now. Before I release you, I want to hear it from you again. What are you about to do?"
Stricklinger closed his eyes. "Blow you."
"That's right. Or else I start hurting you again. Because I get off either way, I'm just as happy to hurt you as I am to have you suck me off. It's your choice. Sort of."
He fastened a metal collar around the commander's neck, then ran a long chain from it to one of the hooks in the floor. Then - the most dangerous part if his captive was bluffing - he uncuffed his hands. Stricklinger held them in front of his face and flexed the fingers - from his perspective, five minutes ago those fingers had been lifeless, nerveless sausages, so being able to move them was like a miracle cure... not to mention getting his eye back and the two halves of his tongue sealed back together.
"On your knees," David commanded. Stricklinger obediently settled down onto the floor. David walked across the room to where he had placed a chair. He stripped out of his uniform and lowered himself into the chair, his stiff dick poking up like a fence post.
"Crawl over here."
Again Stricklinger obeyed, lowering his hands to the floor and moving forward, doggie-style. The chain stretched out under his body. He was just able to reach where David was sitting - one more of David's safety precautions. He stopped and David took a moment to admire his prize: a flawless, toned body, formerly occupied by an arrogant jackass but now housing a slave-in-the-making.
"Lick my feet," he ordered.
Stricklinger was taken aback for a moment, not expecting this. But he lowered his chained head to the floor where David's bare feet waited and began to wash them with his tongue.
"Aaaaaah, yeaaaah, that's right," David groaned. "Suck the toes. Take 'em in your mouth and suck on 'em... that's it... yeah..."
He let Stricklinger bathe his feet with his mouth for long minutes before saying "Enough. Now my dick." He punctuated the order with a tug to the chain to lift the commander's head up, taking a moment to look into his victim's eyes. He saw exactly what he had hoped to see: the revulsion of a man forced to do a disgusting, revolting act, horrified at himself that he was doing it and yet with no choice because of the fear of the pain that was sure to come if he refused. David's cocked throbbed all the harder in anticipation.
Stricklinger opened his mouth and lowered his head onto David's dick. As soon as the lips were over the tip, David pushed him down hard, ramming his cock deep so that it was jammed up hard against the back of the commander's throat. Stricklinger gagged immediately, fighting to get a little space to overcome the reflex. David eased up on the pressure on the back of Stricklinger's neck just a bit, letting him get enough free space to swallow, then shoving him back down again. The commander's gag reflex kicked in again immediately, and David realized he had an unexpected bonus on his hands: not only was the commander mentally disgusted by the act of sucking cock, his body's reflexes were opposed to it, too. This put his victim in the uncomfortable position of having to force his body to do something that neither his conscious brain nor his autonomic system was willing to do... delicious!
He eased up once more, not letting the commander get the dick out of his mouth completely but at least getting it off the back of his throat, then, a few seconds later, shoving him back down. He repeated the cycle five or six more times, heaping on verbal abuse to go along with the physical. "Oh, man, it is so fucking hot to hear you choking on my cock. That's it... gag on it, Tommy-boy. What, you want air? Tough. You get air when I decide you need air. Damn, that feels so... fuckin'... good..." A symphony of gargling, retching noises kept emanating from his lap, sometimes so loud that David had to shout to be sure Stricklinger could hear him.
Eventually David relented and released the commander's head. Stricklinger pulled free and spat onto the floor, his breath coming in heaving gasps. In between them, he looked up at David and wheezed "You... will pay... dearly... for this."
"Someday, maybe. For now, get to work."
He let Stricklinger work at his own pace this time, which made the sensations less satisfactory in one way - Stricklinger just wasn't capable of taking him deep enough to feel really good - but at least he could keep it up over a longer haul. With time, David began to get more and more deeply into the moment... his pet officer might not be a great cocksucker, but he was a pet officer, and that was erotic all on its own. He could be forgiven a lack of talent... the fact that he was doing it at all was an accomplishment David could be proud of.
Stricklinger toiled; David enjoyed the fruits of his labor, running his hands over his captive's shoulders and ribs, enjoying the feel of the muscles bunching and writhing under his fingertips while a tentative tongue caressed the tip of his dick with butterfly-like strokes. It wasn't the optimum stimulus, but with four days' worth of buildup, David figured orgasm number one wouldn't take long and he'd soon be jetting his sperm down into his new slave's belly. The sensations built and built, slowly but steadily, and in due time he could feel himself getting closer... closer... closer to the edge...
Then, with no warning, PAIN!
A jolt of lightning struck his crotch. No, more like a knife. Instinctively he shrank his pelvis backward, trying to pull his groin away from whatever was happening to it. He assumed Stricklinger would allow it - surely he would take any opportunity he was given to get the unwelcome intruder out of his mouth. But Stricklinger, amazingly, followed him, pressing his head as hard as he could into David's groin while the pain grew astronomically worse...
By the time his conscious mind caught up to what was happening, it was too late: Stricklinger had finished his work. He sat up and spat out something red and horrifying-looking, and before David could let himself think about what it must be, he called out "Transporter: emergency override alpha one. Go."
He had a moment, only a moment, to reflect that what he was doing was a form of suicide. To be sure, David Harrolin would continue, but this version, the version with these particular memories, was about to disappear forever. It was what he wanted to do, what he believed was the right thing for him, but still, as the silvery light flickered around him and his body began to lose coherence, he couldn't help but mourn the loss of this version of himself...
David Harrolin flickered into being, no longer seated in the chair but standing behind the commander. He sized up his surroundings quickly, taking in the sight of Stricklinger kneeling naked on the floor in front of an empty chair, of a wet, blood-soaked lump of something that looked like sausage lying on the floor a short distance away, of the commander turning slowly, oh so slowly, around to look at him and before he could swivel all the way around David had pressed the stud on the stunner in his hand and the commander froze, his limbs gently giving way under him until he lay sprawled on the floor.
David walked over to the sausage-thing and bent down to inspect it. He had a very good idea of what it was, but still, when close-up examination confirmed it, his hand strayed to his crotch and covered it, as if to protect this version of himself from the fate of his predecessor.
"So," he said to Stricklinger's collapsed shape. "You couldn't leave well enough alone, could you? You had to go and bite my dick off. Oh, my boy, you have just made yourself one terrible mistake."
Stricklinger couldn't move, but David imagined the questions he would be asking if he could, and so answered them. "I took out a little insurance policy, see? Just before bringing you to life this go-around, I copied myself. If all went well, I'd never need the copy. But if something went wrong... some kind of... problem... occurred, I'd be able to restore myself from that backup. I couldn't keep the memories, of course... still haven't automated that memory-merge process... so this version of me only remembers what happened right up to the point where I beamed you into being. I have no idea what happened after that. But I know what I intended to do, and, judging by the collar you're wearing and the position you were in when I appeared, I'd say the plan was proceeding exactly as it was supposed to. Until you had to go and fuck it up. You fucking half-wit. Was it that bad? Really? Taking one dick in your mouth was that unthinkably awful that you had to go and bite it off? Well, I hope your act of petty defiance was worth it to you. Because your punishment is going to be severe."
Stricklinger, Mark 6a
Stricklinger beamed into existence in a lightless box, presumably the same punishment box he had been inserted into once before. He didn't have much attention to spare for the details because as soon as he finished materializing, the sensations of his body began clamoring all at once for his attention. He hurt everywhere... his back and chest, his legs, his mouth, his eye, his balls - especially his balls! A wordless moan escaped his throat before he could stop it. He realized what must have happened: that pissant prick had reincarnated him into his old, tortured-to-the-point-of-death body, but had put his most recent mindscan into it, so he had all his memories.
No, there was something more... his belly was cramping, the muscles spasming... there was something wrong there that hadn't been wrong before...
He could barely move, certainly not enough to sit up, and even if he could, in the pitch blackness there was nothing he could do anyway. He lay there, suffering, unable to do anything but lie there and hurt.
Time passed. The various pains in his body took turns elbowing to the forefront of his attention, so that he was constantly aware of some unbelievable level of pain somewhere, though the exact location was never constant. Through it all, though, there was one pain whose level constantly ramped up: his belly. There was something horribly, terribly wrong with his gut, and as the minutes... (hours?) ticked by, the sensation only grew worse.
The air began to grow close again as he slowly used up the oxygen in the container. Eventually the flickering light came, as it had before, beaming out a volume of stale air and sending in an equal amount of fresh to take its place. Immediately he felt himself perking up, but knew that in only a few minutes, the CO2 would begin building up again.
His intestines were coiled loops of cramping hell, so painful that even the other agonies of his wracked body were dwarfed by the sensation. There was no position he could get in that would ease the agony. All he could do was lie in a fetal ball and hope for the end to come. Consciousness flickered in and out, granting moments of lucidity in an otherwise hazy sea of constant pain.
Then, unexpectedly, the lid of the shipping crate cracked open and light - and cool, clean air! - poured in...
Stricklinger, Mark 6b
The first thing this version of Stricklinger did upon appearing in the X-frame position was work his jaws. David couldn't blame him - it would be very unsettling to materialize and suddenly find you didn't have any teeth. That had been a fairly simple modification to make, certainly much easier than the brain transplant mod had been. Some blood trickled out from between the commander's lips, but only a little; David had done a good job, it seemed, of excising only the parts that needed to be excised. Otherwise, except for the altered dentition, the body was the whole, healthy one.
David set to work releasing the commander from the X-chains, cuffing his hands behind his back instead and chaining his ankles together so that he could only take short, hobbling steps. The collar went around his neck; David held the other end of the leash-chain in his own hand.
"I want to show you something." He led Stricklinger out of the torture bay and down the hall into cargo bay 2, threading his way slowly among the crates and pallets. They stopped by one that looked no different from any other and David began opening the seals. The lid came off and David shoved it off to the side, leaving a gap wide enough for a man's head. A low moaning sound emerged from the black depths, along with a pungent aroma.
"There. Look inside," David ordered. Stricklinger peered over the edge and looked down to see... himself. Naked, battered, abused. David let him take a long look, then sealed the crate up again.
"Here's what happened since you bit earlier-me's dick off. I cloned you and merged your memories into your beaten-down body, then beamed you into existence inside that crate. That was yesterday evening, thirteen hours ago. Since that time, he has - you have - been lying there in indescribable agony. Can you imagine what he's feeling right now? His body hurts all over, he can't get enough to breathe, and, oh yes, I forgot to mention, I also included a little extra torment for him while he was still in digital form. I altered his pattern to add half a dozen 500-gram lead balls interspersed throughout his guts. By now I'm sure his intestines have tied themselves in knots around those heavy metal blobs."
Stricklinger's eyes kept alternating between David's face and the crate with its cargo of torment sealed up inside. His thoughts were plainly visible on his face - Stricklinger would remember very well what being in that broken-down body had felt like, and what it was like to be trapped inside the airless crate. Both together? Even worse. And it didn't take a great leap of empathy for him to envision himself in the place of that suffering wretch, because it wasn't some faceless stranger in there now, or even a loved one - it was himself. David pressed the point home.
"Bear in mind, that's you in there, just as surely as the you standing here is you. You're both 'real', whatever that word means when applied to a bootleg copy of a man whose original is off gallivanting around the galaxy with no idea any of this is happening. The only reason this copy of you is out here and that one is in there is the luck of a quantum coin toss."
Stricklinger got it, it was clear.
"Now, while he's been enduring in there, I've been working on the current version of you, which, as you've noticed, has no teeth. So here's what's going to happen next. I'm going to get that blowjob that you failed to deliver last time. You're going to give it to me. And you've got a choice, whether to do it willingly or unwillingly. If you choose to do it unwillingly, then I will rape your fucking mouth just as it is right now and you will have no way to repeat that stunt you pulled earlier. If willingly, then I will grant you your teeth back, make you whole before you set to work. But be warned: you will not attempt to harm me. As you've seen, it won't get you anywhere. All you'd do is cause me a minor inconvenience and bring a whole lot of hell down on yourself.
"Also. If you blow me freely, of your own volition, then I will beam that sorry mass of flesh in that box out of existence. He will at last quietly, painlessly find the oblivion he craves. He, and you, will have no memory of the half-day he suffered in that box. On the other hand, if you make me take you by force - or if you give me any kind of grief whatsoever - then I will leave him right where he is. For a very, very long time."
Stricklinger swallowed, hard. He opened his mouth to speak, but David overrode him. "Because there's one other thing you should know before you make your choice. He has - you have - actually already died twice in that container. Each time, I took the latest brain and merged it back in with the original body, so from his perspective he's losing consciousness, then waking up again. But make no mistake: death is no escape. Practically speaking, he's trapped there for eternity."
David put his face right up into Stricklinger's. "So. Choose."
Stricklinger didn't hesitate. "I'll do it," he mumbled through his ruined mouth. "Get him out of there."
Stricklinger, Mark 7
Stricklinger's hands were shackled behind him as he knelt in front of David. David had beamed him out, done the mind-merge thing, and then beamed him back into a body that had intact teeth, which he was very carefully covering with his lips so that they wouldn't touch the tender skin of David's dick. His technique was, as before, amateur, but he went at his task with vigor, if not enthusiasm.
David tried to make it last, but it was very difficult. He kept thinking of the suffering wreck still in the crate - he had informed the healthy copy that there would have to be a climax before he would end the wretch's torment. It was a ham-handed way of providing incentive for the hale one to put his back into his job, which may or may not have been necessary, because that was what he was doing, sucking and pulling and licking diligently. David kept looking down at the close-cropped hair, the stubble-covered cheeks, the head bobbing up and down on his pole, slathering it with spit and attention, the muscles in his back and shoulders squirming and bunching. It was particularly arousing that the man was bound - having his hands trapped behind him took away a bit of the physical sensation, in that he couldn't use his arms to position and balance himself. But on a mental level, it was totally hot. It made him look like a tree trunk swaying in a hard wind, like his arms were fused to his torso and he was some kind of almost-human creature that was missing two critically-important limbs.
It occurred to David that he could easily create a version of Stricklinger that had no arms - just erase that part of the pattern and cover over the stumps with skin, and his imagination could once again become reality. That thought was enough to do it - he felt the sperm churning in his balls and seconds later sticky white fluid was erupting into Stricklinger's mouth. The built-up load was enormous - semen squirted and dribbled out between Stricklinger's lips, puddling on David's lap and seeping down into the cracks between his legs and his balls.. Stricklinger gagged and choked when the hot liquid splattered the back of his throat, but he kept applying himself while David jetted load after load out of his throbbing cock until at last the sensation morphed from pleasure to discomfort and he pushed the commander's head away, shuddering with the aftershocks of the magnificent orgasm.
"Oh... oh man... holy crap..." he gasped. "Ho man, that... that was... DAMN that was good!" He sagged back in the chair and let out a whoosh of air.
Stricklinger spat onto the floor. "Please," he said, "set him free."
David cocked his head and looked at him. "I like your tone," he replied. "That's the right attitude to be taking. Because you asked nicely, I will grant your request. Station, beam the Stricklinger in the crate into storage. There. Done."
"Now. I want you to clean me up."
"Clean me up."
"But..." Stricklinger shrugged his bound shoulders, gesturing at his cuffed hands.
"I know," David replied. "Use your mouth again. Or..."
Stricklinger did it. He shoved his face into David's crotch, first lapping up the obvious puddles on David's skin, then, when those were gone, seeking out all the sweaty crevices where semen might have puddled and licking them clean with his tongue. Naturally, there were places he couldn't get all at once, and so smears ended up on his cheeks and chin. The humiliation factor was incredible for David. This straight hunk had not only milked a load out of his dick, he was now suctioning up every drop that had emerged and slathering his face with whatever his tongue couldn't reach. The thought was enough to stiffen him right back up again, before he had even finished softening after his orgasm.
"That spot too. Down on the floor, where you spat it out earlier," he ordered when Stricklinger finally sat back, unable to find any other traces to mop up on David's skin.
The commander humped his body over to where the gooey splatter lay and awkwardly tried to bend himself down. He couldn't do it while staying on his knees - the only way for him to reach his tongue to the floor was to carefully lie down on his belly. David watched his tongue lap up the watery glop and stroked his renewed hard-on. The commander got back up onto his knees, waiting for whatever his next instructions may be. That broken attitude just stiffened David's cock even more.
"Over here," he beckoned. "I want a piece of that ass now."
He took the commander from behind, bending him down over a tabletop. It took a long, long time. The first orgasm, he had had to hold himself back lest he spoil things by shooting too soon. But now that the initial pressure had been released, he found he had the stamina for a good, long second round, and no reason to rush it. Stricklinger tried to endure at first, but after ten minutes he was squirming and grunting. After twenty he was actively shouting every time David rammed his cock home. After half an hour, with David showing no sign of nearing his end point, he broke down and begged for the rape to stop, that he couldn't take any more, that it was tearing his ass apart.
"So what?" David panted. "I can always put your ass..." Thrust, moan, grind. "...back the way it was..." Grunt, plunge, gasp. "... if I want to."
It took not quite an hour. By the end, the commander was bleeding heavily from his ass. Red streaks coated David's dick and ran down both of their legs. Stricklinger's wrists were chafed raw from him yanking against the chains of his restraints. Finally, the combined physical sensations in his groin and the torment of his victim were enough to propel David to a second climax, which felt like it went on for at least another sixty minutes...
He dropped back and pulled out, falling back into his chair and gasping for breath. Stricklinger lay there on the table, spent, unable to bring himself upright.
"Station," David said, "beam Stricklinger into offline storage."
There was going to be a lot of cleanup to do, and a lot of manipulating log entries, but damn, was it worth the effort!
Stricklinger, Mark 8
The body that shimmered into existence in the customary vertical spread-eagle was once again Stricklinger's original, modified to have the memories of the post-blowjob, post-anal-rape version. It had taken such an effort to break the commander's will down, there was no need to go through that tedious process again. Unless, of course, I want to... It might be fun some time, if he ever got bored with his broken wreck of a man, rewinding his captive's memory to a point where none of this had happened yet and doing it all again. Now that would be a repetitive cycle worth getting into!
It had been twenty-three days since the commander's last appearance. David had once again denied himself for the last ten of those days, building up a massive backlog that needed to be released.
Once again, down his captive came. For Stricklinger, of course, no time at all had elapsed since he had been dematerialized after having his ass ravaged; he had been beamed straight from the table to the chains. When he came into existence, David watched the familiar play of sensations across his victim's face: the sudden absence of the pain that had consumed his backside, the abrupt change of position from bent at the waist to standing stretched, the realization that there would be no rest for him, that just when he thought the horror was over, it was about to begin all over again with his tormentor rested and refreshed... a tiny sob escaped from Stricklinger's lips.
David didn't bother talking. He chained his captive's arms behind him as he had the last time, sat down in the same chair, forced Stricklinger down on his knees and had him set to work.
It wasn't quite as magnificent as it had been the first time. Stricklinger's motions seemed almost mechanical. The sense of disgust and loathing wasn't quite as intense as it had been before. Oh, it was still one of the best blowjobs he had ever received - not that there were a whole lot to compare with - but it just wasn't the same.
When it was over, Stricklinger cleaned him up again. This time, there was a lot less to clean up, because the commander had done a better job of swallowing the load as it came out, so there was much less to get later, and thus, much less to smear across his cheeks, less reason for him to bury his nose and mouth in the nooks of David's crotch...
Blowjobs were his favorite way of getting off, but maybe for the next go-around it would be time to try something else.
Stricklinger, Mark 9
With the next Stricklinger incarnation, David decided to focus more on the torture end. Sex, after all, he could get anywhere... or at least, anywhere but this middle-of-nowhere station. The ability to torture a man, though, and suffer no consequence for it? That was only available right here, with this perfect setup he had going.
"I've decided to kill you," he said conversationally to the suspended Stricklinger.
"Oh, not right away. I'll take my time with it. I'll be curious to see how long you'll last."
"This...", he paused and swallowed. "This... isn't going to be... the end. Is it?"
"See, you're catching on to how this works. I knew you were a bright man."
He got the quivering, shaking Stricklinger down from the chains and strapped him down to a table, carefully fastening him down not just by his limbs - which would not make reliable tie-down points as they would be coming off during the process - but with straps all over his body. Then he set to work.
Individual parts of Stricklinger got their treatment one at a time. His first act was to clamp a vise around Stricklinger's balls, tightening it just firmly enough that it held in place. He then wrapped a wire around the base of his victim's right thumb, twisting it tightly until it dug into the skin. And then he started slicing the the thumb with a small but wickedly sharp knife.
Blood seeped out but did not pour - the wire clamped off the flow, keeping it to a slow drip and ensuring that his victim would not expire prematurely from blood loss before David was through with him. Stricklinger took the pain well, gritting his teeth and flinching as far as his restraints would allow, but not crying out, even when after fifteen minutes of torment David finished shredding the tendons and sinews and flesh and dug the blade into the joint, prying the bones apart until they fell to the floor with a dull, wet thud.
David did not stop to rest, but merely cranked the ball vise half a turn tighter and set to work on the left thumb. Stricklinger's composure cracked halfway through its treatment, and he let out a groan. Once the sounds started to flow, there was no stopping them. The groans turned to shouts, which turned to shrieks. He howled like a raving lunatic when David started on his big toes, taking a massive set of pliers to them, grasping them firmly, then twisting and yanking until the bones were crushed, the joints were dislocated, and the nails had been fractured and yanked out by the roots. Before starting with each new appendage, David tightened the ball vise by a meticulous half turn, ensuring that whatever new pain he was about to inflict on Stricklinger would be accompanied by a steadily-building, never-easing pressure in his groin.
Fingers... toes... all were destroyed by David's relentless assault while Stricklinger screamed himself hoarse. "I've been wondering when to do your eyes," he said at one point. "I like that you can see what I'm about to do to you, but you've been spending so much time with them squeezed shut that I'm beginning to think you don't need them any more. It's either that or trim off your eyelids, but that would just fill the sockets up with blood, and you wouldn't see anything anyway. So it's time for them to go."
"You're... a fucking... monster," Stricklinger rasped.
"Yes. And you're a broken wreck who's about to go blind."
Destroying Stricklinger's eyes was kind of icky, but worth doing once. The other surgeries had resulted in a bit of blood, but not much because of the wires clamping off the wounds. But there was no way to prevent the eyes from positively gushing with blood and other fluids, and David was kind of grossed out by the smell and the way the goop got all over his hands. Still, the reaction from Stricklinger was worth it, because he absolutely exploded after David sliced off his eyelids and then drilled into the eye with his blade. His head would have been thrashing from side to side had it not been restrained, and he would have been screaming had he still had the voice to do it with. All of which contributed to a most satisfactory hard-on for David.
His tongue came out next. David stretched it out as far as it would go, clamped it off as best he could, then sliced the protruding part free. He had to turn his captive's head to the side for this job, because even though there wasn't much blood, there was still enough for him to choke on. And it was still way too soon for that to happen.
Larger and larger chunks started to come off, then. A hand. A foot. A whole lower leg, then an arm under the elbow. Stricklinger passed out from the pain three separate times. Each time David used the opportunity to get some cleanup done, having the transporter beam the larger bits away. The blood would have to wait until he could scrub it himself.
There came a point when Stricklinger was nothing but a torso with an eyeless head and a pair of nearly-flattened balls attached. David had expected the balls to rupture long ago, but they kept hanging on, refusing to be crushed. So David started turning the crank, steadily increasing the pressure until the organs had no choice but to pop like grapes. It was massively unsatisfying because Stricklinger had long since ceased reacting to the pain. So David bifurcated his penis, then quad-furcated it, then sliced each of the remaining slivers into ever-thinner ribbons, each still attached to the root, until it looked as if his cock had been replaced by a nest of Thorlingian worms, all curling and intertwining with one another in a blood-soaked tableau.
He was exhausted from his labors, but for completeness, David jerked off over the wreckage. As he drew near to his climax, he held his free hand over Stricklinger's nose and mouth, pinching them shut and cutting off the nearly-dead wretch's airflow. He felt a few involuntary convulsions under his fingers, and it sent erotic shivers of power down his spine to know that he was, with his own hands, taking away the last of the life of his victim. Semen jetted out all over the remnants of the corpse's face, pooling in the empty eye sockets.
It was a fine orgasm. But afterward, he spoke to the unseeing, unhearing remains. "You know, this absolutely did not do it for me the way I thought it would. I thought I would enjoy slashing and crushing and destroying your body, but I find it was really just kind of gross. I mean, it started out all right, and that bit at the end where I killed you with one hand, that was hot. But mostly, all you left me with is a mess to clean up. Ya jerk."
Completely unmotivated but knowing it had to be done - and that the endless reams of logs would have to be falsified yet again - he beamed the bulk of the mess into oblivion and then set about restoring the cargo bay to its usual pristine condition.
Stricklinger, various models
David decided to build the next few Stricklinger incarnations from the Mark 7 model, the one who had just lapped up David's sperm with his tongue. That was the right version to use from this point forward: one whose will was broken, but whose mind and body were still intact enough to be interesting. They had no memories of lying in agony in the box, no memories of being killed on the torture table, but enough experience to know that such things were possible.
One useful feature of the transporter system of prisoner maintenance was that he was spared the necessity of restraining, feeding, and cleaning up after his captive. It was logistically much easier to simply beam the body out of existence when he was through with it, then rematerialize it whenever the urge struck. The downside was that after three or four usages, a given model would be completely spent from lack of food and rest, but that was OK - by that time, he was usually growing bored with that iteration anyway and ready to start over with a fresh one.
Stricklinger Mark 10 had no arms, just as David had fantasized about a few models ago. The best thing about it was that he didn't need any restraints. He could let the Stricklinger copy wander around the cargo bay freely. He forced it into wrestling matches: two sweaty, naked men grappling with each other... or at least, one grappling with the other while the other fought as best he could with no arms. It always ended in rape, with David driving his cock into the Stricklinger's ass while the body lay helpless on the floor, unable to even shield its face from being ground into the ferroplastic. He got four good uses out of Mark 10, after which the wretched creature was unable to even hold itself upright in a sitting position. Screwing it was like raping a limp, half-inflated doll, which meant it was time to start anew.
Mark 11 was similar - it had arms, but no hands. David lynched this one, stringing it up to swing by its neck while he sucked its dick. It was a trip to watch the Stricklinger try to grab the rope with fingers its lizard brain thought were still there. But there were no fingers to squeeze with, just stumps that pawed helplessly at the rope while the body swung around. It lasted for almost four hours - David adjusted the gravity field so that that part of the bay was in half a G, making the noose painful but not immediately lethal. And he kept boosting the Stricklinger up, letting the air flow through its throat and the blood through its brain for a while before dropping it down to swing again. In the end, he told it he would only grant it release if it would shoot a load for him. Which, after a long effort, it did and, true to his word, David removed all support from the body, cranked up the G-force to 1.5 and let it swing until he was certain all the life had been drained out of it. No revival was possible after that, so he moved on.
Mark 12 featured a different sort of modification. He found he had enjoyed the sensation of giving his captive unwanted sexual pleasure and thought it was worth exploring some more. But why not... step things up a bit? Mark 12, therefore, had a set of genitals that had been scaled up to twice their usual dimensions. David found himself hard as a rock while he was morphing the digital file... a 42-centimeter cock! Balls 5 centimeters long! He pictured himself trying to wrap his lips around the enormous, swollen head, taking it into his throat until it was shoved up against his uvula and yet still nowhere near to engulfing the whole thing.
Alas, physics reared its ugly head. An object whose length, width, and height have all been doubled has eight times the volume of the original. There simply wasn't enough pumping capacity in the unmodified circulatory system to fill the thing up with blood! It looked great, the fat, meaty cock and balls hanging there limp between the spread-eagled Stricklinger's wide-spread legs, but it was simply impossible to stiffen the darn thing up. David tried every ploy he could, from vacuum pressure to a wire wrapped tightly around the base, but it was no use. He consoled himself by bashing the offending organs to a pulp.
Mark 13 was enhanced, but to a much lesser degree, and this turned out to be much more satisfying. A dick and a pair of balls 125% longer still looked visibly larger than the originals, but were still able to function. David had a marvelous time playing with the huge, thick, meaty members and shot several satisfying loads with Stricklinger's cock in his mouth. The Stricklinger never seemed to enjoy the sessions as much, probably because he was always being choked or burned or stretched in conjunction with the blow job.
Marks 14 through 20 involved more experimentation... if a man with one dick was hot, what about two? Three? More? David found he was able to graft surplus penises onto other surfaces of Stricklinger's body. At first they were limp, lifeless things, but then David got the idea of copying Stricklinger's cock while it was hard, then fortifying it by adding some structural steel inside. The resulting pseudo-cocks weren't very functional; David's expertise with editing transporter data files was superb, but even he couldn't wire up his creations to the body's natural blood flow or nervous system. As a result, they didn't transmit any sensations to their host, so it was impossible to torture them or to pleasure them, and they didn't really swell and pulse the way a real cock should, but for all their flaws, David was still thrilled with the outcome. How often did you come across a man with a stiff dick where his nose should be? Or with cocks growing out of the palms of his hands? Or jutting out of his chest from the spots usually occupied by nipples? These experiments never lasted more than a few hours - with no blood supply, the tissue began to die off quickly. But David enjoyed them all the same.
Marks 21 and 22 he pitted against each other. They were reluctant to fight each other at first, but David was able to get them going with a bit of encouragement. It made him feel like a Roman emperor, watching two gladiators fight to the death at his command. The winner got to take David's dick in his mouth as a reward.
After each session, David had to carefully cover his tracks, falsifying the omnipresent station logs to keep prying eyes out of what he increasingly regarded as his perk for manning this remote and lonely outpost. And so the time passed...
Stricklinger, Marks 24 and 37 Through 41
The cargo bay had been transformed into a buffet of tortured man-flesh.
Mark 24 was a base model, unmodified and hanging in the classic X pose. It had been there for two hours, objective time, but something less than three days subjective. Every time David had a session, he beamed 24 back into position, then when the session was over, 24 got taken back offline. At this point, it was still alive, but just barely. It had had no food, but David occasionally watered it to keep it from expiring too quickly. David never used 24 for anything directly, but simply to have as an audience for his other activities. From its point of view, one torture session flickered into the next with no break between. It just hung there, growing more and more tired and sore and hungry, watching the other copies around it undergoing more active torments.
Mark 37 was also background decoration. This one was limbless - no trace of arms protruded from its shoulders, nor legs from below its hips. 37 had been mounted on the wall, suspended by hooks through the skin and sinews of its upper back. David had tried this suspension on a prior model and found it very satisfying to look at. The only problem was unless David was taking an active role in tormenting it, the Stricklinger tended to settle into a "position of least discomfort" and would then stop showing signs of distress. David then would have to intervene and poke at it to get it reacting again. He had solved this difficulty by adjusting the gravity stabilizers underneath where 37 was hanging. They ranged in a slow cycle between 0.7g and 1.5g. This caused 37 to sometimes be pulled down less strongly than usual, and sometimes much more, which kept him groaning and shouting as the hooks in his flesh slid and shifted around.
38 and 39 were paired, both of them mega-dick variants. David had enlarged the genitals, then merged two files together in such a way that 38 had 39's dick in its mouth. Then he had blurred the boundary between their skins so that 38's lips blended seamlessly into the skin at the base of 39's cock. It was impossible for the two to separate - neither one could pull hard enough to break the bond. They were otherwise unmodified, but just to be safe, David kept the kneeling 38's ankle chained to the floor while standing 39's wrist was fixed to the ceiling so they couldn't get into any mischief. The cock in 38's mouth was so huge that it could only fit when totally flaccid. If it started to swell in the slightest, it would press up against the back of 38's throat and either trigger the gag reflex or block the air supply. 39 kept trying to remain limp, but 38's involuntary mouth movements would stimulate 39 into arousal, providing an entertaining show for David to watch.
Marks 40 and 41 were the two he was actively working on. 40 had no arms and was blowing David while David lacerated 41's back with a flail laced with glass shards and metal hooks. Every time 40 took a breath, or lost his balance, or paused in any way, 41 got another strip of flesh torn off its back, sending fresh screams pouring out of its throat.
David looked around at his collection of Stricklingers - 24 breathing its ragged breaths, 37 begging for mercy as the gravity cycled toward its maximum, 38 straining to get enough air through its nose since it couldn't pull any through its mouth while 39 just stood there hoping 38 could keep its teeth from clamping shut. 41's screams suggested that its throat was as raw and bloody a mess as its back, while 40's tonguework was steadily bringing David toward what promised to be yet another magnificent orgasm. Then...
"What... the hell... is going on here?"
David swiveled around and saw two unfamiliar figures, one male, one female, standing at the cargo bay door, horrified expressions distorting their faces. He reacted instantly. "Station, emergency action alpha gamma nine."
The two figures shimmered and vanished, along with all the Stricklingers in their various degrees of agony. The flail, the chains, the bodies, all of it sparkled into unexistence. David dove for his uniform and hastily started yanking it on. As he shoved his legs into the pants and his arms through the sleeves, he was thankful that most of the blood spatter from 41's flogging hadn't landed on him. Fully dressed, he did a quick scan of the room, mopping up red smears wherever he could find them, mostly around where 41 had been and the area beneath where the limbless 37 had been hung. He couldn't afford to be as thorough as he wanted to be - he would only have about ninety seconds before his visitors would return. But he got the bay reasonably clean, then beamed the reddened rag into oblivion.
A quick check in the silvered surface of a metal support post ensured that no blood was visible on his face. A glimpse down confirmed that his erection had subsided to the point of invisibility. His dick would probably be fully soft by the time his two unexpected visitors returned.
Sixty seconds after initiating the emergency plan, David was standing by the door. The air shimmered again and the room filled with an astonishing array of greenery. Racks and shelves materialized all over the room, each one covered with a plant of some sort. Vines spanned the gaps between racks while saprophytes clung to the stems and limbs of their hosts. The effect was of a riotous explosion of verdancy, from bright and vivid to subdued dark or washed-out pale, greens laced with red or burgundy or purple or yellow or electric blue. Over all of it, bright lights had appeared that brought the room's illumination level to an almost uncomfortable level.
David raced into the bay and settled himself in a spot where he would be seen easily from the door. His heart was racing, which was understandable given the circumstances. He would just have to play it up for effect. He busied himself poking at the foliage of some random plant on the rack in front of him.
The wait was not long. Footsteps sounded in the hall, and then...
"What on earth is this? Lieutenant Harrolin?" It was the woman who spoke, a detail David had missed the first time around.
David allowed a high-pitched "oh!" to escape from his mouth and jumped, turning to face the door. "You startled me!"
"I'm sorry about that, Lieutenant. Um... what..."
"Oh, dear," David said. He could feel his face flushing, an involuntary reaction but one which he could use to help him play his part convincingly. "I wasn't expecting... that is..." He let his hands fall to his sides in mock despair. "I guess this isn't a social call, is it?"
"No, Lieutenant. I'm Commander Kalima Derranett; this is Lieutenant Raul Hernandez. And you're right. This is not a social call. I've been sent to assess certain discrepancies in this station's logs, specifically as related to this cargo bay and the energy budget."
"Oh dear, oh my," David mewed, wringing his hands together. "I knew it, I just knew it. Please, I'm so sorry, I can explain everything. There was this ship that came by, oh, it must have been over a year ago now, and they had these cuttings and seeds that they were transporting to Earth to be cultivated at the garden in Antwerp, and some of them were just so amazing, unlike anything I'd ever seen, and they had plenty to spare and let me have a few, and..." His voice trailed off.
Commander Derranett and Lieutenant Hernandez had stepped gingerly into the room while he was talking, taking in the profusion of plants before them. The commander reached up to touch one of them, gingerly examining a lacy frond, which was so pale as to be almost transparent.
"That's a Rowendian himmelbane. Rouendiis philotaxium sortenii," David said, stepping over to stand next to him. "From the equatorial highlands. See how washed out its color is? Almost no chlorophyll. Rowendia orbits a Sirius-type star, lots of blue and ultraviolet in the spectrum, and at the equator, up high where the air is thin, the radiation influx is just huge. This plant evolved to be nearly invisible, transparent to the killing UV levels. It's got just enough chlorophyll to make sugars with, but unlike terrestrial plants, its goal is to avoid the light, not seek it out..."
"Plants," the commander said. "This is the source of the discrepancy in the logs, isn't it? These plants. I can see, you've modified the lighting over this rack, it's very bright and putting out a lot of blue."
"Yes! Yes, that's for the blue-star-world flora, and over here," - he grew more animated, gesturing sweepingly to the far wall, where minutes before a limbless Stricklinger had been groaning in torment - "you can see some specimens from a low-light world, but one with a huge moon. You've heard of the twin worlds, Lerriton and Karolia? Almost the same size. Karolia is barren, but the life on Lerriton has evolved to not just adapt to the fluctuations in gravity as the worlds orbit each other, it depends on it. Cellular transport doesn't function correctly in a static-G environment. The plants can't get water to their leaves without a temporal G-force differential."
"And so you've modified the gravity stabilizers, haven't you? Oh, Lieutenant Harrolin, I am truly speechless."
"What's this?" Lt. Hernandez's voice sounded from around the corner of yet another rack. David and Commander Derranett walked over to see him poring over a reddish-brown stain on the floor.
"Ah, that was the Silnesstic razoredge," he said, turning to the rack behind him and gesturing toward an innocuous-looking plant that resembled a terrestrial spider plant, only with a bluer tint to the leaves. "Silnesstiis darnechthum Occamis. Occam, razoredge, a little botany joke? Never mind. The leaves look harmless, but the edges are tipped with metal atoms, mostly copper and iron, only a few molecules thick. Deadly sharp. I cut myself on it earlier." He held up his left hand where he had caught one of the hooks from the flail on the pinky side of his hand, opening up a wound that had dribbled a bit of blood. Not enough to have produced the smear on the floor, which of course had actually come from one of the Stricklingers. But it was a plausible story, and unless his unwelcome guests did a scan, they'd never learn that the floor blood wasn't David's.
Hernandez and Derranett looked at each other for a long moment.
"I'm in an awful lot of trouble, aren't I?" asked David plaintively.
"Well, trouble, yes. Whether it's a little or a lot depends on my report. Let's, uh... is there someplace we can talk that's a little less... um, less wild?"
In the end, all David got was a slap on the wrist. Using the station's tribronium plates to generate the energy needed to power the lights and variable gravity of his arboretum violated all sorts of Starmada policies, and falsifying the logs to cover up for it was even worse. But it turned out that this solitary sentry duty at remote outposts was known to drive people insane. No one could endure the isolation without adapting in some way. A few people snapped completely, but most found one way or another to cope.
David's botanical eccentricity was considered to be a fairly minor infraction. They actually allowed him to keep his garden. Not the whole thing - just a few low-maintenance plants. No more blue arc lights or variable gravity zones. In exchange for this generosity, they made it absolutely clear that the falsifying of logs had to stop. He sucked it up with a lot of "yessir"s and "perfectly clear, sir"s.
It was a pity that the Stricklingers were gone forever, but that was a sacrifice he had had to make. The whole point of emergency action alpha gamma nine was a total wipe of everything. Everything. Gone. It wasn't enough to beam out the guests and then beam them back in 90 seconds later using their original scans. That wouldn't have been enough to protect him, so in addition, all the Stricklinger-related material had to un-exist, all the buffered copies of everything, all the transporter-related modifications he had made, all the physical backup copies... even program alpha gamma nine itself. It was the only way to be sure that, when the hammer fell, it wouldn't land on him.
Net effect: a time machine. A second chance. Instead of having his unwelcome visitors find him in the throes of blood-soaked, pain-wracked passion, they found a gardener. The biggest hole in the plan was the small risk that the ninety seconds of missing time would be discovered somehow, but that could be explained away readily enough. Only a deep dig would reveal that loose end to be the last visible remnant of something vastly more sinister, but David's cover story was plausible enough that no one cared enough to do that deep digging. Or so he hoped, and so far, at least, that hope had held true.
And so, twelve days after the departure of Commander Derranett and Lieutenant Hernandez, Lieutenant Junior Grade David Harrolin found himself once more settled into the routine of life on Starmada Station Beta 459.21. It was a shame to no longer have the Stricklingers around to play with, but all in all, it had been a good run. He had dodged a bullet, partly due to his careful planning, but thanks as well to a hefty helping of blind luck.
Still, with the event receding further into the past and the days on the station lapsing once more into stultifying sameness, it was hard not to look back on those sessions with Stricklinger and wish them back to life again. But alas, Stricklinger's copies were all banished to the void, and the original himself was far out of reach and unlikely to pass this way again. Not to mention that he would have to re-create all his transporter modifications from memory again, which was a daunting task…
… but not an impossible one, as he thought about it. All it would take, really, was time and effort. He had an abundance of time, and wouldn't mind putting in the effort. Hypothetically speaking, of course. The relief of the near miss was still too fresh in his mind to even contemplate tempting fate again, and he had no intention of attracting Starmada Central's attention any time soon.
In the back of his mind, though, he couldn't help but remember the warm brown skin and chiseled jaw of that Lieutenant Raul Hernandez. The man had looked like quite a hunk. David couldn't help but wonder what sort of physique that regulation uniform might have concealed.
Don't even start thinking that way. It's too soon.
He put the thought firmly out of his mind, studiously ignoring it, and equally studiously ignoring the knowledge that, since he had come to the station via transporter, Lt. Hernandez's pattern was now sitting dormant in inactive memory, stored like every other bit of data in the ubiquitous, ever-present station logs…