I was in the embassy room of the Mare Inebrium waiting for Henderson. Everyone from embassy row came here to drown their sorrows. However, if my meeting with Henderson went badly I was going to be an ex officer of the foreign service. How I hated the s.o.b. How can I say that I hated Henderson? I could say that he was blind ambition incarnate but that really doesn't do him justice. He was a rising star of our embassy and everyone said that one day he would become Minister of the Foreign Service. Of that I had no doubt. Few people knew him as I did. Henderson was a human shark. He bribed, blackmailed, double-crossed, and cut the throat of anyone who got in his way. Of course I was no angel myself. I am a lowly chargé d'affaires. Lowly and corrupt and probably always will be. But I did know some people in high places that owed me favors. I had planned on using them for myself- but Henderson changed all that. He had the goods on me and I had to come through for him, or else.
Sure, I'm a small time crook but I could never do the terrible things that came from the hands of Henderson. I hated him most for the terrible things he did to women. Henderson was a compulsive womanizing bastard. He seduced them, used them to get information- and discarded them when their usefulness was at an end. Mary was the secretary for the ambassador. So young, so beautiful, so fragile. She was so in love with him. Yes, Henderson received plenty useful intelligence from her. He romanced her, entranced her, and he beat her black and blue when the mood took him- which was often. And after a time he discarded her like he did so many. I was the one who found her hanging, swinging gently in the breeze.
Henderson smirked as he sat down in front of me. I knew he was going to have his fun in humiliating me and there was nothing I could do about it. He set a truthtell scanner in front of me and smirked again. "Just a little something to keep you honest, clown."
"The audio tapes aren't enough?" I asked.
"I am a big believer in C. Y. A. So- do have what I want, creep?"
"I have an assignment that is guaranteed to jump you three grades in rank," I said. "And if you complete it you will have the choice of any posting you desire- Even to the Imperial court. There a catch. It is a two year hardship assignment. Once you're there you have to stay for the complete tour of duty."
"This better not be a waste of my time," he growled at me.
"It is a two year posting to a place called the New Ganymede colony."
"I never heard of it," Henderson snapped.
"No, reason why you should. It very far away out on the rim. A small world but very rich in strategic mineral wealth. The Imperium is very anxious to secure trade agreements with them."
"What do these things look like, creep?"
"I brought a picture of some of the natives," I replied as I passed over a photo.
"My god, these are the most beautiful females I have ever seen. They look human."
"They are human. The colony was founded centuries ago by a parthenogenic sect from old earth."
"Parthenogenic! You bastard!" Henderson was almost yelling. "You're trying to send me to world settled by some radical feminist sect."
"It's nothing like what you think," I said- trying to calm the bastard down before he drew attention to us. "The truth is the citizens of New Ganymede like men. They welcome men with open arms." Henderson looked at the truthtell scanner and it remained quiet. "This is the thing. If you go there you have to live by their rules. And one of their rules is that you have to have sex with them whenever they request it. And from what I have heard they want sex all the time and they don't take no for an answer. To refuse any invitation from a citizen of New Ganymede would be a great insult to them. And that would result in irreparable damage to our trade negotiations with them. I have to stress that this is one of those assignments where failure is not an option."
"This is a hardship assignment?" Henderson laughed. "I get to spend two years with a planet full of beautiful, sex starved women, jump three grades in rank, and have my choice of future assignments. You have really come through for me, clown."
"One final thing," I said. "If you want this assignment you have to leave tonight."
"I'll take it. Here are your audio tapes, fool. I'll think about you rotting on this dead-end planet when I am at the Imperial court!" He tossed the tapes on table and sauntered out of the Mare Inebrium to catch the next flight out.
He was right. I was going to rot in this hole. But I was going to have the last laugh. I never lied to Henderson. The people of New Ganymede were indeed a parthenogenic sect from old earth. They emigrated from the ancient city of San Francisco to find a new home among the stars. And I didn't lie about the fact that they loved men.
The one thing that I didn't tell Henderson was that the planet full of beautiful women, were all male.
© 1997 by Dennis Tallent
You can e-mail Dennis at: tallent@earthli nk.net
Dennis Tallent is a native son of the state of Texas; the direct desendent of an officer of the Texas Revolutionary Army. He is anactive member of MENSA, The Libertarian Party and Tebala Shrine Temple. At the moment he is a nursing student at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois.
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