Aphelion Issue 238, Volume 23
April 2019
 
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Jenny Ogiwara and the AntiFems

by Gary W. Feather


The shuttle shook hard as it touched down on Binder, a moon orbiting a gas giant in the Miranda star system. Captain Jenny Ogiwara bit her lip. She cursed silently and nodded to Sergeant Selma Danforth. Jenny put her helmet on and waited for the hiss-thump as it automatically sealed itself to her battle armor spacesuit. She removed her belt straps and stood.

"All right," Danforth shouted at her women as Jenny walked to the cockpit. "Get your shit together and helmets on! Double check your suits! This is neither a drill nor a vacation!"

Later, Danforth joined Jenny in the cockpit with Lieutenant Tara Williams, the pilot.

"We're ready, ma'am," Danforth said.

"Thank you, sergeant," Jenny said. "Lieutenant, open the rear doors."

Danforth led the first squad outside and checked the area. She then gave Jenny the 'all clear' hand signal to follow. Jenny moved out with the rest of the platoon. Jenny breathed in her own nervous scent inside the closed suit. The moon had barely enough air to qualify as an atmosphere, and what there was, was toxic. Gripped in her armored hands was the PZ-61, the standard plasma rifle used by Gomez's Gals.

Anna was one of the six domed mining towns on the moon. In Anna, as with the other towns, two-thirds of the pressurized space was underground. A week earlier Anna had been taken over by a terrorist group called the AntiFems -- an ultra-conservative anti-women's rights group originally based in the Star Kingdom of Victoria.

The Trenton Mining Company wanted the terrorists taken care of quickly and quietly, without the press and the Yin Confederation government finding out about it. Thus they had hired Gomez's Gals, a Yin mercenary company owned and commanded by CEO and General Josephine Gomez, and Gomez had sent Jenny's platoon to save the day.

Quick and quiet. Kill and get out, Jenny thought. Probably won't be that easy.

And it wasn't.

Explosive shells started hitting the ground around Jenny and her platoon. The shuttle's guns started firing at somebody. Jenny started giving orders before she was knocked out by an explosion.

Jenny woke up in a room. She was naked and chained to the wall, with barely enough slack in the chains to let her bring her hands together.

The door opened. A man in a white Victorian business suit walked into the room. A robot followed him with a desk in its arms. The robot put the desk down and left. It returned later with a chair and stopped in the doorway. The man took the chair and put it behind the desk. He sat down. He put his hands on the desk. He smiled at Jenny. His lower teeth were perfectly straight, but his uppers were crooked.

"Hello, Jenny," the man said.

Jenny was surprised that he spoke English with a Yin accent and not a Victorian one. Probably trying to mess with my head, Jenny thought. Jenny noticed the man's eyes looking over her naked body. She tried to cover her breasts and groin as best she could by hunching her shoulders and pressing her legs together.

"Where are my clothes?" Jenny said.

"A demand already," the man said. "How interesting."

They sat and stared at each other for a long time. Jenny stubbornly kept her mouth shut.

"My name is Jacob," the man said. "I'm a member of the Anti-Fems. I'm here to discover why you've attacked us."

"You are terrorists who have illegally taken over property belonging to a Yin mining company and you have kidnapped citizens of the Yin Confederation," Jenny said. It was the response that she had already planned before the mission in case they were captured.

"The people of Anna have been cruelly treated by the Trenton Corporation and they asked for our help," Jacob said.

"Really?" Jenny said.

"Yes," Jacob said.

"Bullshit," Jenny said.

"They have seen the light of the god of light and the evil lies of the god of darkness," Jacob said. "They have freely chosen to change their heathen Yin ways for the blessing of their children's souls."

"What the fuck does that mean?" Jenny said.

"They have chosen to be mentally and physically changed," Jacob said. "Soon the men will look like real men and not some demonic half-man and half-woman freak like you."

"I'm not a demonic freak," Jenny said.

"Look at yourself," Jacob pointed at her groin. "You have male genitals!"

"So what," Jenny said. "Some Yin women have male genitals and some Yin women have female genitals. If you ever came out of your AntiFem cave, you would know that. We were genetically engineered to narrow the gap between sexes -- all Yin can breastfeed, all can fight, so all can both nurture and defend, even if only half of us can carry a child. It is our way and it has been that way for almost two thousand years."

"You are a genetically engineered abomination in the eyes of the god of light," Jacob said.

"I'm not a demon," Jenny said. "But you are a crazy religious fucker!"

"I wish that you would stop cursing," Jacob said. "It is very rude."

"Go fuck your mamma's horny goat," Jenny said.

Jacob glared at her and pulled a small object out of his jacket's left pocket. He pressed a button on it.

"Aarrg!" Jenny felt a horrible pain in her groin.

The pain stopped. It had come from her testicles and it had been worse than any groin kick that she had ever felt.

"You have an implant in your scrotum," Jacob said. "It will cause you unbelievable pain if you continue to resist me."

"Oh shit," Jenny said.

"Aarrg!" Jenny felt another bolt of pain. It started at her groin and jerked through every inch of her body. It felt worse than before.

"Now you were hired by the Trenton Corporation," Jacob said. "Correct?"

"Yes," Jenny said.

"Who is your boss," Jacob said. "Or are you freelance?"

"It's no secret," Jenny said. "I work for Gomez's Gals. A mercenary company owned and runned by General Josephine Gomez."

"Thank you," Jacob said. "Now do you want a drink of water?"

"Water." Jacob waved at the robot.

The robot carried a pitcher and two cups to Jacob. Jenny hadn't noticed where it had got them. The robot set them down on the desk and returned to the doorway. Jacob poured water into the cups and took a sip from one cup.

"Are you thirsty?" Jacob said.

Jenny knew it was a mind game. The interrogator provides water and food as well as pain. All done so that she begins to obey him and see him as all powerful. All a part of the brainwashing. She did not approve of torture, but she understood its techniques. The AntiFems were known to have no moral qualms against torture.

Jenny supposed that if she said no then she would get more pain. There was no reason to fight about the water.

"Yes," Jenny shook her chained hands. "But I can't hold the cup."

Jacob carried the cup over to Jenny. He helped her take a couple of sips. He took the cup back to his desk.

"Well now that wasn't so bad, was it?" Jacob said after he sat down.

Jenny shrugged her shoulders.

"Who is in command of this operation?" Jacob said.

"I am," Jenny said.

"You command one platoon," Jacob said. "Are there others here? Is there a starship nearby? How much firepower do your people have?"

"What happened to the women of my platoon?" Jenny said.

"Dead," Jacob said. "Now answer my questions."

"Ogiwara, Jenny Amy, marine captain, Gomez's Gals, Company ID # 249-60-942-21."

"Really, captain?" Jacob pushed the button. Vicious pain went through her body. When it was over Jenny was panting like a dog.

"Thirsty?" Jacob said.

Slow your breathing. Jenny thought. In through your nose and out through your mouth. She practiced the breathing exercises and relaxed her body.

"Thirsty?" Jacob said.

"Yes," Jenny said.

"Answer my questions," Jacob said.

"No."

More pain.

"Answer my questions," Jacob said.

"No."

More pain. It stopped. Jenny saw the man get up and walk out the door. The robot left and the door closed. Jenny sighed with relief.

Now maybe I can escape from here, Jenny thought. I hope that they didn't notice that my left hand is artificial.

Four years ago Jenny had lost her left hand at the battle of Amber station along with the front of her rifle. Now she pushed the release on the base of the index finger with the thumb. A small rod came out from under the finger nail. With a second push the laser cutter came on. She twisted her fake hand unnaturally to cut through the chain on her left wrist. Soon she was free of all the chains. Jenny stood up and walked over to the desk.

"Now what do I do?" Jenny whispered.

Jenny looked over the desk. She found nothing that could be used as a weapon.

The chair might be useful, she thought. It would be cumbersome to carry around. But could I break off one of the legs or one of the desk's legs? Better not -- the noise might alert a guard. A human guard? The robot looked civilian to me. It wasn't police, security, nor military, so it might not be a threat. But you never know what might have been retrofitted to its chassis.

Jenny set the chair down by the door and squatted to look at the door. There was an obvious panel where the locking mechanism must be. She opened it with her laser rod and grabbed the panel before it fell to the floor.

It's a civilian lock, Jenny thought. Easy for me to crack -- but no, they've done something to it. Bastards. Yes. There between those wires. Maybe I can remove it safely.

Jenny turned on her laser and slowly cut around the object. She pulled it out and set it on the floor. She cut through the wires and the door opened. Jacob was on the other side of the door. His jaw dropped and he hesitated.

Jenny slammed her elbow into his throat and side kicked the side of his knee. She heard his knee crack and he fell down.

He gasped and gurgled through what was left of his windpipe, shock and terror in his eyes.

Jenny silenced him with a heel stomp to the back of his head.

She looked up and saw the robot. It just stood there.

She took off Jacob's pants and shirt. The pants were a little baggy, but they fit. The shirt was a little tight at the chest where her breasts were, but not enough to matter.

The shoes were too big and she left them. She found a handgun on him. An old TL-49 pulser. It fired a bullet along a magnetic rail in its barrel.

"Where are the women of my platoon?" Jenny said to the robot.

"The other four survivors of your platoon are in individual cells like you were."

"Thank you," Jenny said. "Where are my clothes, battle armor and weapons?"

"They were put in one of the cells," the robot said.

"Take me to it," Jenny said.

The robot turned and led her down the corridor. After passing several doors they stopped at one on the right.

"Open it," Jenny said.

The robot opened it. Inside were all kinds of weapons. Jenny saw here platoon's stuff. She quickly changed into her uniform and put her battle armor on. She checked her pulser sidearm and plasma rifle. Her pulser was a modern TL-82. She walked outside. She got hit by a shot that knocked her on her back.

Jenny got back up and fired back. There were three of them and they didn't have the firepower to cut through her armor. She shot one of them down. Another turned and ran. She blasted a big hole in the third one's face. She saw the robot on the ground smoking from the hits that it had received.

"I...need...repair...," the robot said.

"Yep," Jenny said.

Jenny went down the corridor and searched the various cells. She opened the doors with her rifle. She first found Corporal Stone alone in a cell. She freed Stone and told her where to find the weapons. Next she found Private Ford being tortured by another terrorist. Jenny killed him and freed Ford. Jenny sent Ford back to get armed. Stone returned ready for battle, in full armor with helmet clipped to her belt and plasma rifle held muzzle high.

"The robot said that they had four of our people in these cells, besides me," Jenny said. "You and Ford are loose now, but that leaves two more. Let's find them."

"Yes, ma'am."

Later Stone blasted open her second door and found Sergeant Danforth.

"Sergeant, you're out of uniform," Jenny said.

"Sorry, ma'am," Danforth said with a sheepish shrug. She made no attempt to hide her nakedness; the Gals shared a communal shower room back at home base. In fact, Danforth only seemed to miss one item from her gear.

"Have you seen my rifle, captain?"

"Yes, sergeant," Jenny said. "Down that way." Privately, Jenny thought that Danforth wasn't the only one who felt naked without a weapon (or better yet, an arsenal) within reach.

After some more searching, Jenny and Danforth found Private Zheng. The three of them joined up with Stone and Ford. Once everyone was dressed, armored and armed they moved on down the corridor.

Just before they left Ford tossed a grenade into the weapons room to keep those weapons out of the terrorist's hands.

Jenny told the computer on her battle armor to bring up the map of Anna that they had been given. The map image appeared in the left side of her helmet visor.

"Should we continue on our mission to take out Anna's sensor platform?" Sergeant Danforth said.

She probably had called up a map image too, Jenny thought.

It was then that five men appeared from around the corner. All of them were better armed than the previous men, but none wore armor.

"Shit," Jenny said as both sides opened fire.

Jenny and her women were hit but their armor protected them. The AntiFems were torn to bits. Jenny found that she had taken a couple of hits, but with little damage. Her women were in good shape. They kept going and found an elevator at the end of the hall.

"Level one," Jenny said to the elevator's computer once they were inside.

The elevator hummed as they went up twelve levels. The doors opened and Jenny and her mercs stepped out with rifles ready. Jenny followed the map image to where the airlock door was.

"This must be it, captain," Danforth said and with a nod from Jenny the sergeant opened the door.

The five of them entered and Danforth sealed the door shut. Danforth pushed another button and the room slowly depressurized.

"Everyone check your armor and make sure that you don't have any leaks," Jenny said.

Once everyone said that they were fine Jenny pressed the button to open the outer airlock door. She felt a faint vibration through her boot soles as the door swung open, and they stepped out into the near-vacuum of Binder's surface.

Jenny turned slowly until her helmet's heads-up display highlighted a structure about a hundred meters away. "There it is," Jenny said. "Let's get those explosives set and get out of here."

Jenny led them to the sensor platform. They checked out the area carefully as they moved, scanning for any signs of an ambush or automated defenses. Danforth, Stone and Zheng set the explosives that they had brought in spots around the platform. Danforth set the timers and everyone raced back to the elevator. The explosion went off after the doors shut.

Jenny received a call a few minutes later from the starship. She listened and then told her women.

"They're on their way," Jenny said. "We're to head over to sector E of level one. There we'll join up with Lieutenant Kusnitz's platoon."

Soon they were off down the corridor. Once they were in sector D Jenny heard gunfire, both bullets and plasma bolts. She led them on to find the AntiFems firing upon Kusnitz's outnumbered platoon. A third of the AntiFems had armor and plasma rifles.

Jenny tossed a grenade among the AntiFems and ordered her women to open fire. They had caught the AntiFems unaware. The AntiFems without armor were quickly killed. Kusnitz's platoon moved forward to help take out the armored AntiFems. Over half of the AntiFems were blasted away before they surrendered.

Most of the survivors were wounded or dying. Corporal Stone ran forward and started beating them with her rifle butt. She hit the wounded, dying and the dead.

"Sergeant, stop her," Jenny said.

"Yes, ma'am," Danforth said. The sergeant pulled out a stun gun and shot Stone with it. The modulated pulse triggered an electrical discharge inside Stone's suit, and the woman collapsed, arms and legs twitching.

"They treated Stone pretty bad, Cap," Ford said. "I heard her screaming for a long time before they started in on me."

"Noted," Jenny said. "Help her up and let's get started on securing this place."

After that there was little resistance. The two platoons soon located the miners and their children in the main mess hall and dormitory areas. Not one of the miners wanted to be AntiFems -- at least none admitted it, now that Jacob and his men were dead or in chains. Medical teams came down from the starship to take care of them.

Later came the public relations people and lawyers from the corporation to smooth things over and hush things up, but by that time, Jenny Ogiwara and the other Gals had collected their pay and evaced back to the transport ship. Somewhere out there, there was another mess that needed a woman's touch...

THE END


© 2010 Gary W. Feather

Bio: Gary W. Feather lives on a farm in southern Illinois. He graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2006 with a BS in Journalism, a BA in English and a minor in East Asian Civilization. Several of his stories have appeared in Aphelion, most recently Don't Tax Black Magic! (June, 2010).

E-mail: Gary W. Feather

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