by Rigby Taylor

Chapter 3

Peteru & Uretep Show How It's Done

As the Freemen left the chamber Peteru shook his head in confusion. 'Excuse me for asking, your worship, but isn't NumbaCruncha supposed to remain a secret until the unveiling?'


'Surely those people who just demonstrated for you will talk about it?'

'I said they'd be released and rewarded,' the Chief Mage said with a shallow smile. 'I didn't say what they'd be released from. They have been led to a chute marked 'exit' and halfway down the negrav-lift will fail. When they hit bottom they'll be going so fast they won't have time to register their release from the cares of this world.'

'You mean…?'

'They'll immediately be rewarded with eternal life by becoming part of the nutrient soup that feeds the algae that feeds everyone.' Her condescending smirk shocked Peteru and Uretep to open-mouthed silence. 'What?' the Mage laughed. 'Their fate disturbs you? They're only Freemen, not Aristocrats. Easily replaceable. Isn't that so, Ethel?'

'Of course.' Ethel was on the small side, at least compared to the Chief, and unlike her superior exceedingly neat and smart. 'The energy department had become over staffed, so this is a convenient redistribution of personnel.'

'But…' Peteru felt compelled to protest. It was the first time he had seen anyone naked apart from Uretep, and he'd been amazed at how beautiful they'd all been. Not so much their faces, although none were unpleasant to look at, but their fine, clean-limbed, lean and honed bodies exuding health and life.

'Enough!' the Chief's voice was dangerously strident. 'You will never again question the actions of a Mage. Is that clear?'

Peteru bowed his head in submission. 'Yes, your worship.'

'Good. It's question time.'

Hearts hammering, Peteru and Uretep faced their inquisitors.

'Why the sexual arousal? Does it happen to everyone? To you too?' demanded a powerfully built woman wearing an electric-blue gown.

'Yes, your Worship,' Uretep answered nervously, 'and it's very pleasurable and not in the least embarrassing. As for why, we're not sure, but tests suggest that being transported excites the part of the brain that deals with sexual responses. As you saw, it's not permanent. The urgent desire to copulate only lasts till the person is satisfied, and then he or she resumes normal behaviour. Far from having any ill effects, subsequent sexual pleasure and potency appear to be permanently increased.'

'That doesn't explain why they performed with such abandon and yet seemed completely unembarrassed.'

'Our theory is that during digital transportation some learned behaviours that are against the natural order of life, are deleted from the brain.'

'What do you mean by learned behaviours?'

'Behaviours such as embarrassment and nervousness about nudity and sexual activity, are probably only the most obvious of the unnatural inhibitions that are removed during transport. Reproduction is the essential activity of all life, so it is unnatural to feel any inhibition or embarrassment about related activities. I imagine there's a socio-political reason for the laws proscribing those behaviours in Oasis, which I assure you we are not criticising, however, after being transported by NumbaCruncha, consensual sexual activity seems as natural as eating, breathing, seeing or thinking, and not the slightest cause for shame or embarrassment. No doubt we will encounter more evidence of this effect in other spheres of activity as more people begin to use NumbaCruncha.'

'Is it like that for you and Peteru?'


'And is the effect permanent?'


'So you and he would feel no embarrassment if we asked you to have sex now, in front of us?'

'None whatever.'

'Do it then.'

'If you insist. However the desire for sex after transportation, although strong, is not a compulsion and doesn't last long. One can decide not to do it. You saw the men became reluctant, not from embarrassment, but because they'd had enough. Sex is more tiring for them than women. The decision about whether to indulge in sexual activity is based on things other than embarrassment, and at the moment neither of us feel the desire to copulate so it would probably be a disappointing performance.'

The Chief nodded thoughtfully, turned to the others and said with a smile, 'I needn't tell you what a bonus this unexpected side effect will be! It almost makes me believe in divine intervention.'

Everyone laughed as at a private joke.

'I'm not sure if the Emperor will be so sanguine,' laughed an athletic and almost handsome Mage. 'He's not very well endowed in that department.'

'And you're speaking from experience, Justinian?'

'One slightly disappointing experience,' Justinian's sigh was theatrical. 'I demanded the right to sample the new head of state's virility and discovered that the man may look like a stallion but that doesn't mean he's hung or acts like one.'

'You were hoping he'd be hung like Fabien? Talk to him nicely and you never know...'

'No way!' the lean and cadaverous young man called Fabien laughed, 'Xanthippe would never forgive me for filling another man's hole, would you dear?' He turned to an equally tall and scrawny woman who ignored him, merely remarking that the Empress always seemed satisfied.

'Fortunately,' a previously quiet woman giggled, 'their personal guards are hung like stallions.'


'Alice! How would you know?'

'Because,' she continued, 'like Justinian, I too thought it essential to inspect the incoming head of state, but I sampled the bodyguard as well.' More laughter.

'It was no surprise to me that the women's urges lasted twice as long as the men,' an ancient crone in purple announced with an audible sniff. 'You men are such pathetic creatures.'

'Are you trying to start a fight, Nell?' An overweight fellow asked lethargically.

'As if she'd pick a fight with a great tub of lard like you,' a tall scrawny woman snarled. 'If it was left to men, humans would have died out millions of years ago. A quick play with themselves and they lose interest. As always it was the women who had to initiate fucking. Your people in the breeding centre had better remember that, Elbert, if you're counting on reintroducing natural breeding.'

'Xanthippe's right! If a woman wants a child she has to be aggressive. Remember all those terrible fights, maiming and murders we used to have before putting chemicals in the food to remove their sex drive?'

'Of course I remember, Ethel! And I hope you remember that the program was only successful because of my breeding programmes! If we hadn't done that, the women would have worn all the men out. Apropos of that, Fabien, when we go back to natural breeding I hope your enforcers will be up to policing it. I don't want male-female disputes disturbing the peace we've enjoyed for so long!'

'Elbert's question is important, Fabien. Are you ready? With his breeding work and my early education programmes we've always produced exactly the number, sex and type of progeny we need, when we need them, with no fuss. I hope that isn't going to change!'

'Don't you get sick of blowing your own trumpet, woman?' Fabien snapped irritably. 'You stick to what you know and I'll do the same!'

'It's your trumpet that needs blowing up! I can't remember the last time you were hard enough to be useful!'

'You mean I've been jealous of your monster for nothing?' a potbellied, homely young man laughed. 'Come to my bed, Xanthippe if you're looking for a good reaming of your bore hole.'

'Ha! Your pathetic little dick wouldn't even touch the sides of her cavern, Melvyn.'

Cheers and encouragement from the other Mages were replaced by a sudden silence as all eyes turned to the puzzled frowns and observant eyes of the young inventors.

'Young men,' Elbert said with a forced smile, 'hadn't you realised Mages are human?'

'No, your worship, but I'm very relieved to see they are.'

'Relieved? Why?'

'We were worried the Mages might have difficulty accepting the side effects of nudity and liberated sexuality, but I realise now you are enlightened and forward-thinking rulers, as I should have expected knowing how well Oasis is governed by your worships.'

'Ah! The sweet music of flattery. However, gratifying as it is to be worshipped, I have to confess there's not much about us to worship.' He turned to the others for confirmation. 'Is there?'

'Certainly not much about you, although that young Vassal girl you've been bedding lately obviously worships your rod at every opportunity.'

The genial atmosphere was restored and everyone laughed until the Chief raised her hand and turned to Peteru. 'Don't worry that you'll be following the volunteers down the exit chute after we've picked your brains; we know you're trustworthy. In fact, we know more about you than you know yourselves.' She laughed dryly and turned to the others. 'If there are any more questions let's have them, and then I'd like the boys to demonstrate their apparatus with the charger full of jewels. After that we'll have another session to ask about anything we don't understand. But first, I want the seats rearranged so everyone has a good view and no one has to shout.'

Despite no obvious signal, hooded and cloaked Vassals appeared and moved the heavy thrones to form a tight half circle on the stone floor around the edge of the central carpet. Peteru placed one enseemat in front of Ishbel's throne while Uretep arranged the other mats to complete the circle created by the chairs. When the Mages were seated, the two young men stood quietly in the centre of the circle.

'Well, get on with it!' Ishbel was already impatient.

'Certainly, your Worship.'

'As Elbert said, forget the worship nonsense. My name's Ishbel.' She sighed at Uretep's expression. 'I suppose you imagined I'd be called Oggbog or something equally exotic? I guess it's time I came clean and confessed what you've already guessed; Mages are not gods, and at this time we need you more than you need us. Oasis is old, run down, falling apart at the seams, on the verge of collapse due to a variety of problems. We have plans well underway for the future, but until your NumbaCruncha people-moving invention we were stuck for solutions to a variety of immediate concerns, which we'll discuss after you've been inducted into the Mage-hood.'


'Relax. It's merely protocol. Legally, only Mages are permitted to attend our discussions and meetings and make decisions, therefore you'll have to become honorary Mages for the duration of our association. OK?'

Uretep and Peteru nodded thoughtfully.

'You see,' Ishbel continued with what the two young men thought was a little too much breezy insouciant honesty, 'there's nothing exotic or mysterious about running a business, making a profit, and ensuring stability by keeping the people of Oasis in line. If NumbaCruncha is all you say it is, then your genius deserves to be rewarded handsomely. And it will be. Today you move up to the top floors with us. Meanwhile, how does one enseemat know to send you to another one? And how does that one know to receive you?'

'And when everyone has their own implant and wants to go to one of a thousand destinations in Oasis, how will it work?' interrupted Xanthippe.

'The central computer will organise everything. This...' Peteru held up the tiny metallic sphere, 'is only a prototype able to handle about a thousand enseemats. When the system's up and running, it'll be replaced by a powerful computer able to handle millions of commands simultaneously. I apologise for not being clearer, so I'll explain again. Before going anywhere, the traveller stands on an enseemat, and then selects a destination by speaking a number into this little sphere. You saw each Freemen whisper. They were telling it which enseemat they wanted to go to, which is why they all ended up on the correct mats—females in front of women, males in front of men. Then when the wrist implant is pressed, a signal is sent to both the enseemat he is standing on, and the destination. The range at the moment is probably about twenty kilometres.' Peteru smiled expecting a snort of disbelief, but there was no reaction.

'What about the clothes they leave behind?'

'The next person can toss them aside. I'm sure that after their first transportation, no one will want to wear clothes any more, so that problem will disappear.'

'What happens if there's someone else on his way there or already arriving?'

'Once a destination has been selected, that enseemat broadcasts a blocking signal preventing the computer from sending further passengers until it is empty. So it is essential, and polite, for the traveller to step off immediately on arrival.'

'But suppose everyone wants to go to the same place, for example the Arena?'

'We will embed an enseemat into every seat, then either program the Arena to accept all arrivals and simply drop them in the next available seat—first in first served, or there can be pre-booking of specific seats so friends can arrange to sit together. With this system individuals could be banned or restricted to some areas. The permutations are unlimited. And as the process is virtually instantaneous it would eliminate queuing when entering or leaving.'

'I calculated,' Uretep added quietly, still somewhat in awe of his imminent promotion to Mage, 'that we could fill the entire Arena in less than five minutes, and clear it as fast.'

'And how would they get home?'

'That's as simple as leaving. Let's call this the 'home' mat,' Uretep said, pointing to the one in front of Ishbel. There will be one in every apartment. I'll leave 'home' and go to the gymnasium, for example.' He whispered into the computer that Peteru held for him, stood on the mat, pressed his wrist and almost before his clothes had hit the floor, arrived on another mat in the circle. 'Now, Peteru also wants to go to the gym, so he does the same, but I stay on the mat.

Peteru followed the procedure exactly, but nothing happened until Uretep stepped off. Instantly, Peteru, also naked, hairless and sporting a proud erection, was transported to stand beside Uretep.

'To return to the last visited mat, press the wrist sensor once. To return to your home enseemat from wherever you have gone,' Uretep explained, 'press the wrist sensor four times quickly.'

Peteru held up his hand so everyone could see, touched his wrist four times and reappeared in front of Ishbel.

'That's easy enough to remember,' Fabien grudgingly conceded, 'But if you want to go to a new mat, you have to tell the computer thing?'


'OK. Now demonstrate the charger.'

Peteru took the black ovoid from the pocket of his robe on the carpet in front of Ishbel and with a cheeky grin held it beside his erection. The charger was slightly larger. Still grinning, he sat, lifted his legs so everyone had a clear view, then effortlessly slid the object far enough into his rectum to enable the sphincter to close tight. Then, standing on the 'home' mat, he touched his wrist and reappeared beside Uretep. After walking relaxedly back to the carpet in front of Ishbel, he again sat with his legs apart and demonstrated how easily the charger could be ejected.

With a grin he offered it to Ishbel who called his bluff by calmly taking it, holding it gingerly to her nose, and declaring it perfectly clean. Peteru then snapped it open, placed the gold collar around his own neck, and handed the document to Ishbel, acknowledging the total lack of applause with a self-deprecating bow.

Uretep had meanwhile fetched a soft waterproof bag containing a gold ring and a heavy gold bracelet, which he put in his mouth. After transporting himself to the home mat he removed the bag from his mouth and presented the contents to Ishbel.

She laughed in delight and attempted to slip the bracelet onto his erection. It was a tight fit over the firm ridge of his glans, and despite her tugging and squeezing would slide no further along the shaft. Laughing wildly, she turned the young man so everyone could admire the perfectly proportioned, muscular, dark brown body—naked perfection enhanced by the subtle glitter of gold encircling his monument to manhood.

The Mages Do It

'Yes, Ishbel, your young man looks very fine,' the slim young man who had sampled the Emperor said spitefully. 'Can we get on with business please?

'Jealousy doesn't become you, Justinian,' Elbert, laughed. 'Both young men are excellent proof of the high standard of my breeding program.'

'Indeed,' said Alice, with a hint of lust. 'Which makes it a shame to have to go back to the old lottery of natural breeding.'

'It may not be as bad as you imagine,' Elbert replied. 'You saw the excellent proportions and health of the Freemen who demonstrated NumbaCruncha for us. Centuries of careful breeding and genetic manipulation have ensured all Vassals and Freemen now look like that, so there will be no monsters.'

'Too late to worry, anyway,' a female Mage stated irritably. 'We need NumbaCruncha to prevent transport catastrophe, so let's all get used to it because we'll be using it more than anyone when the new city is populated.'

Murmurs of nervous agreement.

'You're sure we can't just disappear and never be reconstituted—or whatever it does?' asked the potbellied young man.

'Getting nervous, Melvyn?' laughed the quiet woman.

'Aren't you, Angie?' asked a thin man who hadn't spoken before. 'I am.'

'I find it hard to believe there's no sensation whatsoever,' Fabien said. 'I'll try it.'

'You just want to make us jealous,' the thin man remarked dryly.

'We're all going to do it, so hold out your wrists!' Ishbel snapped, out of patience with her subordinates.

When everyone had been given a number and an implant, and had remarked that it didn't hurt even a bit, Fabien stepped onto the pad, whispered the number and pressed. A pile of glittering garments fell to the floor and a tall, scrawny fellow appeared on a pad at the edge of the circle, six metres distant. He was smiling, naked, hairless and sprouting an alarmingly thick, but average length erection with a large fist-like knob. 'Come on Xanthippe! Join me,' he called, stepping off the mat. 'I'm desperate for a fuck.'

Giggling like a schoolgirl, Xanthippe arrived on the mat beside her lover, so thin it would seem impossible for an instrument as vast as Fabien's to find space inside, yet within seconds they were locked in feral rutting, Fabien's grunts only outdone by Xanthippe's yowls of pleasure. When they came up for air both laughed easily. The eleven other Mages suddenly found the courage, stepped onto their mats and, discarding all inhibitions along with their clothes, joined the orgy of carnal lust. Peteru and Uretep didn't know whether to laugh, cry or be sick.

The men were shoving their appendages into any available orifice or fold of flesh. Augur and Justinian were noisily slurping, having buried their faces in each other's groins.

Not one of the Mages was physically attractive. Men and women alike were almost transparently pale and either flabby and obese, or scrawny with dry, sickly skin. When dressed, their faces had given no hint of the body's decrepitude, instead suggesting agelessness, something akin to youth. Stripped of its robes, Ishbel's blue-veined blubber bulged like a soft elastic bag of fat that bounced, sagged, flowed and quivered. Her tiny half-circle of chin dissolved in concentric rings of fat into her neck, and massive breasts capped by distended nipples hung diagonally to each side of the gigantic belly whose navel was as large as a saucer.

As with the Freemen, the men were soon exhausted while the women kept demanding more. Having thrown Melvyn off, Ishbel was sprawled lewdly on her back, legs apart, thrusting a red velvet slipper into her voracious vulva while bellowing for more cock. Ethel, still managing to look neat, was tugging at Elbert's flaccid manhood while attempting to insert the poor man's foot into her orifice. The other women were no more decorous in their attempts to achieve satisfaction.

'You were right, Peteru,' Ishbel said with incongruous hauteur, abandoning the effort at masturbation, rolling onto her belly and heaving herself onto all fours. 'I could easily have decided not to be screwed, but then I thought, why not? It's perfectly natural. And there's no embarrassment whatever.' With a hoot of laughter she crawled around grabbing at the wilting penises of the six depleted men as they staggered back across the soiled carpet to their thrones where they sat with idiot grins watching seven sweaty women writhing over each other; fingers, tongues, toes searching for sensitive places to stimulate.

Peteru and Uretep turned away to conceal their disgust. These people were pale unhealthy maggots that looked and smelled unwashed. Yet they clearly considered themselves the cream of humanity. The rightful rulers of the world.

'It's true what they say,' Peteru whispered. 'Scum floats to the top.'

'I feel sick,' Uretep whispered. 'It's the stench! They smell like rotting carcasses! I'm sure that scrawny one has dags! The stench is…' He raced to the edge of the chamber, concealed himself behind a curtain and vomited.

After what seemed an eternity the rutting, sucking and slurping ceased and the most powerful people on the planet—thirteen sweaty, smelly and exhausted representatives of the gods—sagged onto their thrones without bothering to replace their garments. After a short minute of respite Ishbel recovered and imperiously summoned the two young men.

'Your gadgets and demonstrations are persuasive. The Mages will now confer and decide on the next step.' She picked up the enseemat from the carpet in front of her throne. 'You called this your 'home' mat. I'll take it up to my apartment with me now. Tomorrow morning you will be summoned to complete our investigation and learn of our plans for the future. Access to the Mage accommodations is shielded, guarded, and blocked to outsiders. You have never been to my apartment and don't know where I live, so the final proof of NumbaCruncha will be when you both arrive there after travelling through more than forty fused granite floors and ceilings.' She nodded coolly, led her flagging, sagging entourage to a negrav chute and disappeared heavenward.

'Gadgets! She called NumbaCruncha a gadget! I could throttle the sow.'

'You'd never get your hands round her throat. She's a fuckwit. They all are. Whether they acknowledge it or not they're physically, and probably intellectually inferior to just about every other human in Oasis, so they bolster their egos by putting everyone else down. Remember the way the head scientist used to rubbish everything we did when we first started working in the main lab? Yet they're still using our techniques because they're better than anything they could think of. Their egos had to be salvaged by rubbishing ours.'

'You're right, as usual.' Peteru pecked his friend on the cheek. 'OK, let's get going.'

They repacked their clothes, jewellery, mats and control box in the trolley, then dropped to their apartment where they carefully checked and stored everything safely.

After scanning their rooms for bugs, a precaution they'd begun taking when another scientist seemed to know more than she should about their activities, they meditated for twenty minutes then discussed the events of the afternoon.

'Who'd have guessed?' Uretep shook his head in disbelief. 'Rutting like rats. Mad as hatters the lot of them and ugly to boot. I can't believe these are the crème de la crème—the rulers by divine edict of all humanity.'

'Not only ugly, but decadent as well. Did you feel their emptiness? The pathetic sense of ennui?'

'I know what you mean. They don't seem to care about anything except keeping their cushy lifestyle. Those poor Freemen who volunteered to demonstrate NumbaCruncha! I feel as if I've murdered them!'

'They want us to move up to their quarters,'

'So they can keep an eye on us.'

'As if we'd want to be honorary Mages! Complicit in their degradation!'

'Only until they've drained our brains.'

'Exactly! Then it'll be dishonourable Mages. Goodbye Uretep and Peteru, you're past your use-by date. The algae beds need fertilising.'

'You're right. We already know far too much about them.'

'So what's the plan?'

'First a swim and a hard workout at the gym; I feel filthy by association.'

'Me too. And then?'

'A meal, bed and a cuddle with the sexiest man on the planet, to flush this afternoon out of my head. Then to sleep.'

'Yes indeed. Sleep. We have to remain alert, watch our backs and be smarter than them.'

'The last won't be too difficult.'

'Never underestimate the cunning of people with no moral sense. We're at a disadvantage because we're decent.'

As usual they had the Scientific Research Level gymnasium to themselves. Mirror-lined walls made the already generous space seem four times as large. Loose shorts and t-shirt were the regulation attire, but having exercised naked since their first visit aged four, Peteru and Uretep had continued to do so—another source of animosity from their peers.

The centrepiece was a hundred-metre-long, freeform swimming pool surrounded by artificial grass and warmed by sunlamps. A jogging track hugged the mirrored walls and every possible type of fitness equipment was attractively arranged in separate areas screened by hedge-like algal growth.

After a hard workout of all the major muscles, the young men swam ten lengths then relaxed on the side of the pool, the lamps relaxing tired muscles while replenishing vitamin D.

As they were about to leave, Chief Scientist Vero sidled up and demanded to know why Mage Augur had been in their apartment and where they'd been all afternoon. They deflected the questions with vague explanations that not only failed to convince but also fed suspicions.

Annoyed by the secrecy surrounding NumbaCruncha that was already making their lives difficult, Peteru and Uretep returned to their apartment, wondering who'd been spying and why the Mages were keeping the Aristocratic Heads of Industry in the dark. After all, Ishbel's engineers would have to organise the making and distribution of all the computers, enseemats and implant chips. And pot-bellied Melvyn's Aristocratic underlings would be dealing with propaganda and other social issues arising from public nudity. They'd ask the Mages in the morning.

Before sleeping they analysed the day's events and realised they had to keep inventing reasons for the Mages to need them until they had an escape plan.

'They're as thick as the granite blocks this place is made of so it shouldn't be too difficult to stymie them,' Peteru said sourly. 'What beats me is how those scum became the rulers of Oasis! Until today I was proud to be a citizen, now...'

'Yeah. Thank goodness you insisted we didn't use Freemen technicians and Vassals. I reckon you've a sixth sense.'

'I have. And a seventh yet to be discovered. But what if they ask to see all our detailed plans and specifications?'

'We'll say we're upgrading them in the light of new knowledge, and drip-feed them the information as and when needed. We can leave a few disconnected formulae and calculations, working drawings for apparatus and so on lying around. They'll mean nothing to anyone.'

'Good one, but for sanity's sake don't let on you've been deciphering old records! And you're not making any more virtual trips into the archives till this is over. I don't trust that fat tart Ishbel or scrawny Xanthippe. We have to keep our wits about us, stay ahead of the game and convince them we're not revolutionaries; we're model citizens still believing the crap we were taught as kids.'

'Right. So if either of us seems to be putting our foot in it, the other will interrupt and head things off.'

'Absolutely! And we'd better get an official pass to visit every place in the Oasis complex—apartments, social centres, work places, warehouses, shops… and meet as many Vassals, Freemen and Aristocrats as possible to ensure the NumbaCruncha network is complete and functional.'

'And we'll refuse to move up to live on the Mage's level, saying we can only work from here. I'm not having them breathing over my shoulder all the time.'

'And we'll put a lock on our apartment door and never let each other out of our sight!'

'Definitely! Where one goes the other goes too, so they can't use us against each other. I can't get the image out of my head of those brave Freemen being thrown down the chute into the algal beds.'

'I reckon their suffering would be nothing compared to the misery of being a Mage's Vassal. Imagine having to have sex with any one of them!'

They kissed to seal their bond, gazed into eyes that registered love and trust, then after a refreshing tumble on top of the bed, fell into dreamless slumber.

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