Hello, there! It seems I'm making a habit of apologizing for the time between chapters. Just know I'm hoping to have lots more coming soon. At least one more chapter on this story. Hope everyone had a great holiday season! As always, constructive criticism in the comments is encouraged but abuse will not be tolerated and summarily deleted. Enjoy!
"Ten more, ladies!" the fitness instructor shouted at the spandex-clad class of women with their knees pointed to the ceiling. The gathering was being put through their daily paces of calisthenics by Miss Armstead, the blonde cropped-haired trainer lovingly dubbed Matilda the Hun by the attendees. The group had finished their daily squats and was now on to sit-ups. The daily regimen concluded with no less than twenty-five of the core-crunching maneuvers but most of the women stopped at ten. Annette Simmons smiled as she reached number twenty. Twenty-five was a walk in the park for her when it came to sit-ups, normally hitting fifty during her personal workouts. When the instructor blew the whistle, Annette threw five more quick reps in for her own satisfaction, but Armstead showed her displeasure.
"Simmons!" the gruff trainer shouted. "The whistle means stop! I don't need you pulling a muscle and screwing up your session!"
"Sorry, Matilda..." Annette said under her breath with a smile.
"I didn't quite catch that, Simmons!" Armstead hollered as her eyes stared daggers into Annette's shapely frame.
"I said 'Sorry, ma'am'," Annette replied as she laid back on the cushioned gym mats covering the floor that used to be one of the conference rooms at the now-shuttered casino. Hawks Casino and Resort was once the largest gaming establishment outside of Las Vegas, but the virus and the subsequent economic downturn had seen to it that the monolithic structure would never host another bet, concert, or hotel guest. Not until the OEA had renovated and designated it a welcoming station would the enormous parlor see people once again roaming her halls.
Miss Armstead turned her attention from her subordinate trainee and addressed the class. "Ladies, most of you have been doing very well these past three weeks but there are a few of you that must pick up the pace if you want to fulfil the terms of the agreement. Let's push ourselves to do better! Be here tomorrow at 7am SHARP! Dismissed!" At that the ladies picked their sweaty selves from the floor and wandered toward the exits.
"Christens! Norman! Simmons! Velasquez! Front and center!" Armstead shouted before the women could reach the doors. The four ladies did as they were told and stayed behind as the throng filed quickly out of the large meeting room.
"Ladies," the trainer began, "I have your appointment dates here." She held up a clipboard with attached paperwork to emphasize her point. "Instead of coming here for your workouts, you will refrain from overly strenuous activity until after your date has passed. Understand?"
"Yes, ma'am." All four women stated in unison.
"Good." Armstead replied then pulled the pages off the clipboard and began reading the sheets aloud as she passed them to the corresponding woman. "Christens, June 19th. Norman, June 21st, Simmons, June 12th. That's this Wednesday if you weren't aware. Velasquez, June 26. That's all, ladies. Dismissed!"
The four ladies left the meeting room then huddled outside of the large double doors. Bubbling with excitement, the quartet of young women couldn't contain their giddiness as they conversed.
"Annette!" Velasquez exclaimed as she put a hand on her roommate's shoulder. "You get to go first! Wednesday! That's tomorrow!"
"I know, Carrie," Annette replied to the young Hispanic woman. "I wonder why they want me to go so soon?"
"Are you kidding?" Christens, a tall brunette who was no fan of the daily calisthenics, retorted. "Look at you. You're in better shape than any of us here, even Matilda. They know you're ready. Those Nebulans probably can't wait to get their tentacles on you!"
"Do you think they really have tentacles?" Norman, a short young blonde with curves in all the right places, questioned. "I mean, like an octopus?"
"You guys worry too much," Annette said. "This is going to be a cake walk. You'll see. I'll go first and set all your minds at ease. I'll..."
"Simmons!" a shout from behind them startled the group and they all turned to the doors to see Miss Armstead staring at them. "A word, please."
Velasquez mouthed good luck to her roomie as the group disbanded and Annette slowly made her way over to where her fitness trainer stood.
"Yes, Miss Armstead?" Annette said as she stood in front of the tall blonde muscle-bound woman.
"Simmons," Armstead began, "the higher-ups wanted me to let you know that you are not to relate your experience to your peers while in gestation. All experiences are different and we don't want anyone going in with any pre-conceived notions."
"Of course, Miss Armstead," Annette said and gave a slight curtsey to her trainer. Annette was quite certain that Armstead was a lesbian and that she had the hots for her. Annette played that to her favor by showing more and more skin as the days went on and made sure to bend at the waist often enough to catch the instructor's eye. Annette didn't want anything from the blonde Amazon, she just wanted to try to see if she could make her squirm with her obvious sex appeal.
"Be sure to arrive at the designated spot at the designated time, Simmons." Armstead said as she looked up and down Annette's luscious frame. "Dismissed."
Annette started to salute the gestapo-like trainer then thought better of it. She turned to leave and swayed her hips and backside a little more seductively than usual. Annette didn't look back- she didn't have to. She knew that Matilda the Hun was watching her shapely ass bounce in her leotard. Annette could almost feel her eyes burning holes in her taut butt as she sashayed toward the staircase that led to her floor of the defunct casino. She could barely contain her excitement as she climbed the steps to the third floor then down the hall to her room.
It was all happening in less than twenty-four hours. She would accomplish everything she wanted. She would get the money owed to her so that she and Mac could finally buy their dream home and start a family, but more than that, she would be able to fulfill the fantasy that she had been dreaming of since she turned eighteen and was eligible to participate in the breeding process. Things were finally starting to look up. She just had to convince Mac that everything was going to be all right.
Mackenzie Simmons, for his part, was keeping up the appearance of a supportive spouse. He let on to almost no one that he had his doubts about the Nebulans seemingly benign plans. However, he had spoken with a couple other men that shared his views on the extraterrestrials' true motives on Earth. On the morning before his wife's appointment with her designated Nebulan partner, Mac and his two new friends were walking the courtyard and discussing their next move.
"We can't just try to take over the place, Mark" Danny Davison said after a heated exchange between Mac and their other companion, Mark O'Meara. The two were arguing about the best way to expose the outworlders as the frauds the trio were convinced they were. Mark preferred the direct approach- his theory was that the three of them could steal some guns then hold the higher-ups hostage until they admitted what the Nebulans were really up to with their women. Mac proposed a stealthier alternative. The three would take turns sneaking out of their rooms and reconnoitering the grounds after hours to find where the aliens were taking the women and then take some clandestine photos with Danny's smuggled-in cell phone.
"What if we get caught?" Mark asked the other two angrily. "We won't have any way to defend ourselves. I would feel much better with at least a sidearm if not one of those automatics those Marines out front are carrying."
"No. No guns, man." Mac answered matter-of-factly. "We don't know for sure anything crazy is going on. We don't want to go blasting away at the first thing that moves because three of us think the aliens have ulterior motives with our women. No, we have to be smart and be undercover on this."
"What about the pills?" Danny asked Mac. All of the men were required to take what the government called essential supplements. The official explanation was so that the men could be in tiptop form for their wives and girlfriends when they left. Some of the men though, including Mac, Danny, and Mark, thought there was more to these supplements than the government drug-pushers were letting on.
"There's gotta be something to these things," Danny continued. He held out his hand to show his daily ration that he had somehow gotten around taking that morning. "I swear these are not vitamins. This one here," he pointed to a long yellow pill, "I think that's a Valium or some sort of tranquilizer. And the pink one, I couldn't swear to it, but I think it's Ketoconazole. It's an erection suppressant. It inhibits the production of testosterone so you don't get a hard-on. It's been used on patients that have had reconstructive surgery on their penis and groin area. Postoperative erections can be painful so they give them this shit. Have either of you had a boner since you started taking these things?"
Both Mac and Mark shook their heads in the negative. "I tried to the other night but couldn't get it up," Mark said embarrassingly. "I just miss my Dana so much..."
Mac put a hand on the dejected man's shoulder for comfort. "I know, Mark. Don't worry. She'll be fine."
"How do you know?!" Mark said, his anger returning and refocused on Mac. He shrugged Mac's hand off his shoulder then grabbed the supplements from Danny's hand. "It's these things! They're making us crazy!!" he began to shout then walked quickly to the steps of a raised reflecting pond at the center of the courtyard. "We've got to quit taking these things or they'll kill us all!" Mark's voice became louder and attracted the attention of both the other guests at the welcoming center that were outside and the guards that patrolled the enclosure.
"I'm not taking this crap anymore!" Mark shouted to the other men milling about the yard then threw the pills into the pond. "Come on, guys! Follow me! Don't take those pills anymore!" Three camouflage-clad guards hurried to the pond to subdue the dissenter. Mac and Danny quickly strode the other way, hoping the soldiers hadn't noticed that Mark had been walking with them a moment before his outburst.
"Looks like it's just you and me, Danny." Mac said to his strolling companion as the soldiers dragged Mark away into a side door of the hotel. "Mark and his wife are sure to be thrown out of here now."
"You know he's right though," Danny replied. "We can't take those pills anymore. The Valium is slow-acting but powerful. I can't stay awake past 8pm after taking them. I haven't taken them for three days now."
"I know what you mean," Mac responded as they walked away from Mark's fracas. "I fell asleep in my chair before nine last night. Back home, I..." Mac stopped mid-thought as he saw Annette come into focus. She was wearing a blue and white lace-trimmed dress and looked absolutely radiant, her auburn hair gleaming in the Michigan summer sun. He tugged at Danny's shirtsleeve then the two crossed to intercept Mac's wife and her companion, a dark-haired Hispanic woman a few years Annette's junior. It had been nearly three weeks since Mac had seen Annette and he was desperate for any contact with her.
When Annette saw Mac coming her way she picked up her pace to meet him. When she finally closed the distance between the two, Annette embraced and kissed her husband, causing many hard looks her way.
"Mac!" She cried as she held him. "I'm so glad to see you!"
Mac hesitantly pulled his wife off of him and put a little daylight between them. "You know you're not supposed to do that." Both Mac and Annette had signed paperwork stating that they would not have any physical contact with each other for the duration of their stay.
"Well, you are my husband, aren't you?" Annette replied. "I've missed you, baby. Haven't you missed me?"
"Of course I have," Mac answered. He, in fact, missed her desperately. He wanted nothing more than to take his beautiful bride into his arms and kiss her deeply. But he knew what that might mean. It would most definitely mean expulsion from the welcoming center and they would miss their chance at the money and their new life together.
"Are they treating you OK, baby?" Mac asked Annette, forgetting about their respective companions. At that moment, there were but two people and no extraterrestrials on the planet as far as Mac was concerned.
"Oh, I'm fine." Annette responded flippantly. "Guess what? My appointment is tomorrow! We'll be one step closer to our dream, babe. We'll be... Mac, are you OK?" Annette saw a dejected look on her husband's face.
"I'll be OK," Mac replied softly. "We had better keep moving. We don't want to draw too much attention. I think someone is starting to take notice." Mac tilted his head to the right to get the group's attention toward a guard staring their way.
"I love you, sweetie..." Annette said as her friend pulled her away and continued their walk around the grounds.
Mac said nothing in reply, only picked up his pace again with Danny by his side. "Tomorrow..." he said to his walking partner. "Danny, I don't know what to do. We have to get moving on seeing what's really going on here."
"We'll start tonight," Danny answered as the two walked toward the doors of the hotel. "And no more of those pills. Do what you have to do to get them out of your system but don't take any more. Go back to your room and sleep now if you can but be wide awake after dark tonight. We need clear heads for what we're going to do."
Mac woke with a start when he heard the knock on his door. He looked at the digital clock on the wall and the red display announced to him that it was 11:17pm. He had fallen asleep just before nine and missed his rendezvous with Danny to check out the inner workings of the hotel/breeding station. Terror ran through his body at what he imagined might be on the other side of the door awaiting him and he froze halfway out of bed. Another slight rap on the door shook him to his foundations until he heard his new friend and spy partner's voice.
"Mac..." Danny whispered through the wood and brass hotel door. "Mac, are you in there? It's Danny. Let me in!"
Mac found his feet again and hurried across the room to the door. When he opened it, Danny raced through the opening and shut the door quickly.
"Mac, oh my God! I'm glad I got here before anyone saw me!" Danny said as he caught his breath. "I thought I was going to get caught a couple times. I was so sure the guards had spotted me! Did you fall asleep again?"
"I'm sorry, man," Mac apologized to his friend. "I tried to stay awake. But those pills..."
"It's OK, bro," Danny said as he placed a hand on Mac's shoulder. "I got down to the area where it all happens." Danny rolled up his left pant leg and reached into his white tube sock, pulling out a black shiny cell phone. "And I got a few pics of the facilities, and even one of the aliens themselves. You're not gonna believe this!"
Danny fired up the device and thumbed the Gallery icon. He found the correct album in the app and began to show Mac the pictures he had taken. He got nearly to the end then looked at his counterpart. "Ready for this?" he asked Mac. Mac said nothing, merely nodding as Danny swiped the screen to the left.
An image of a creature appeared the likes of which Mac had never seen nor imagined before. The creature was translucent black with a few red undertones beneath what could be called its skin. It reminded Mac of a human brain but much larger, around the size of a medium-breed dog. There were small appendages at the base of the beast that most likely served as its means of motion. There were no facial features to distinguish what end was its front or back, but one end of the alien had a larger tentacle-like appendage protruding from it. Danny pointed to that part of it to make reference.
"I think that's what they use to impregnate the women." He said, pointing to it numerous times for emphasis. "Mac, I think that's what they stick in them to..."
"I get it, Danny!" Mac cut off his friend abruptly. "I don't want to think about that right now, OK?!"
"Sorry, Mac..." Danny apologized. "I forgot that Annette's session was tomorrow. Do you know what time?"
"No," Mac answered dejectedly. "We never got any farther than 'hello' this afternoon. What am I going to do, Danny?"
"Well," Danny replied, "we can try to get down there in the morning before they start the next rounds. It was easy getting in there but not so much getting out. Did you know they were doing sessions around the clock?"
"No, I didn't," Mac responded half-heartedly. He had begun to lose hope. "I don't think there's any way we can stop this."
"Set your alarm for five tomorrow morning," Danny told his down-and-out friend, "then meet me at my room. We'll sneak in to the area then hide out until we either see her or figure out a way to stop whatever is going on in there. Go back to sleep and try not to worry, OK?"
"I'll try, man..." Mac, on the verge of tears, replied. Danny said no more, only opened the door, looked both ways down the hall, then slinked back to his room. Mac laid down on the double hotel bed and hugged one of the oversized pillows as a child would a favorite stuffed animal. He knew he would not sleep again tonight but set his alarm as Danny had requested. The thought of the ugly monster in the cellphone picture violating his sweet Annie was too much for his fragile state of mind to allow slumber. He stayed in his original position wide awake until the alarm rang through the sterile room.
Annette awoke approximately twenty minutes after Mac's alarm went off in another wing of the hotel. She smiled as she roused from her slumber then excitement overtook her senses as she trembled slightly with glee. Today's the day! She thought as she swung her legs off the bed and her feet hit the carpeted hotel floor. She padded barefoot and nude (rarely did she sleep clothed) to the bathroom and started the shower. Still shaking a bit with giddiness, Annette stepped into the shower/tub and steadied herself by grasping the handle bolted to the slick tiled wall.
She showered quickly but took her time with her razor, carefully scraping the stubbly hair from her legs, underarms, and pubic area. The Nebulans had specified that all the women remove all unnecessary body hair. Annette, who diligently groomed herself daily, complied easily with the aliens' request. She finished and gave her toned body a once-over with her hands, making sure she was as smooth as silk. Annette hesitated at her pubic mound, nearly moving her hand to her tingling clitoris, but stopped short of touching the buzzing button. If what she had been told was true then she would be feeling in a couple hours would be unlike anything she had ever experienced before with Mac or by herself. She thought back to the conversation she had nearly ten years before when she spoke with mother about her intentions to volunteer for the next breeding opportunity.
Ten years earlier
"Mom, I'll be twenty-two in a few months!" Annette shouted in the small kitchen/dining area of her mother's home. Her face became flush with anger and exasperation. "I want to do this! Why are you having such a hard time with this?"