© Copyright 2011 - Jo - Used by permission
Storycodes: FM; FF; war; capture; doll; inflate; sentient; sextoy; cons; X
We hit their camp just before dawn, took most of them out in the first strike. The rest fought hard, as they always do, fought to the death, but it was soon over. Luckily we didn't lose anybody, though I took one in the leg.
While we waited for the chopper, one of their trucks pulled up. There was a white flag fluttering on the antenna. Four troops leapt from the back of the truck. They had white armbands, as did the driver. It was the one note of civility in the war. We allowed each other to retrieve our dead. We kept their weapons, of course, but let them keep their packs and personal gear.
The truck pulled away just as the helicopter landed. They set me on a bench, climbed in after me. Larry came last carrying a sack. Turned out to be one of their backpacks. That was odd because they always retrieved the packs. Somehow they missed one.
I was put on light duty, desk work. I limped from medical, went past admin, turned and went back. At the back of admin is the lab. I went in.
"Hey, Ash. How they hangin'"
Ashley smirked and said, "Bite me."
She's my bff, went through basic together. She's gay and I'm not. She hit on me once, kind of. We were drunk and started kissing, just goofing around - or so I thought. The guys in the bar hooted as we did a slow, grinding dance. Like I said, just goofing around. Not. We were sitting in a dark corner and she leaned over and slid her hand into my pants. That sobered me up, quick. I set her straight (pardon the pun). She took it well. As they say, "No harm, no foul." And the rest is history.
There was an assortment of gear on the table
"What'd we get?"
"The usual. Pretty much the same as ours."
She paused, had a shit eatin' grin on her face, reached into a side pocket, flipped open the plastic tarp.
Except it wasn't a tarp. It was a sex doll. An inflatable, rubber, sex doll.
"You have to be shittin' me!"
"Uh uh. I thought it was a ground cloth or something."
"It's something all right. And, uh, why aren't you wearing gloves. You do know where that's been."
She dropped it.
"Ew! Gross! Now how am I gonna eat dinner? Yuck!"
We kidded around a bit, then I limped my way back to my desk.
A thought struck. I picked up the phone.
"Artie? Dee ... Good, good. Listen, didn't you guys find one of their packs. I remember that going past my radar a while back. ... Uh huh. Yeah. Was there anything unusual about it? ... Yeah, non government issue? ... No, huh? ... You sure? ... Oh? What? ... Oh wow. ... We got one, same thing, rubber sex doll. ... You still have it? Can you send it up here? This is too much of a coincidence. ... Yeah, thanks."
The doll arrived two days later. It was identical to ours.
"Okay, this is creepy. I mean one of them having this thing, but two? And they're the same, exactly."
I nodded. "Hmm."
"On the other hand, they are 50 million miles from home. But you'd think they'd have at least one ship full of whores, maybe two, or at least a few embedded with each group."
"Mm. Listen, can you run some tests?"
"Looking for ...?"
"Don't know. Just be sure to keep one intact, okay?"
"What have you got?"
"Not sure, but it's some kind of circuitry. The whole thing is lined with it. I tried testing it, but it seems dead, like it needs a power source. What could it be for?"
"Well, whatever it is it's important enough for them to retrieve them. I always wondered why they seemed more interested in the packs than their dead."
"Lieutenant, while I have an open-door policy, I'm not about to waste my time with this," He poked the doll. "this garbage."
"Sir, with respect, this may be the key to the invasion and a possible chink in their armor."
The general frowned.
"All right lieutenant, you have five minutes. Explain."
"Yes, Sir. We've never had a clear idea for the purpose of their attack. We had always suspected they wanted Earth's resources. I mean the Mars colony has been there for over a hundred years and they've cannibalized every ship we sent. When they invaded, we stopped sending ships, so we figured they were running out of necessary resources. And, in a way they have."
I attached the pump to the doll, watched it slowly inflate.
"Sir, humor me ... please."
The doll took form on the table. I disconnected the tube.
"Can you hear that?"
"Voice? Sorry, Lieutenant, I lost most of my hearing in the '05 campaign."
I had anticipated that and held the microphone to the doll's head. The room was filled with a soft, whispering sound.
"What is that?"
"I call it dollspeak, Sir. It's a computer corruption of standard English."
"It's a computer?"
"More than that, Sir. It's sentient."
"And aware, Sir."
The general leaned closer to the speaker.
"It's giving you the equivalent of its name, rank, and serial number."
"You understand it?"
"Yes, Sir. It recognizes you as an enemy soldier. It sees me only as a woman. It has no concept of female combatants."
"The entire interior is lined with circuitry. It seemed inert, and I guess in a way it is - until it is inflated. The internal pressure creates stress, which in turn creates its power source. Er, using the, er, doll creates a dynamic of forces. Kind of like a hand crank generator. I'm trying to be diplomatic, Sir."
"I understand, Lieutenant. But you say it's alive?"
"Alive when inflated, otherwise it sleeps, for lack of a better word. It has a memory. It experiences things, albeit in a limited way. Because it's a computer, its language and other resources are limited. Think of it as a retarded 10 year old, barely able to communicate, but remembers things, recognized its father, and so on."
"And in this case, the soldiers are fathers and husbands in a way."
The general frowned.
"That's all well and good. So they have smart sex toys. So what?"
"Sir, these smart sex toys can't be cheap to produce, so there's the cost factor. Also, they all derive from one female, one Mother doll as you will, so there's an intense loyalty factor here. For all intents and purposes the dolls are companions, girlfriends, wives. And I think we can use that knowledge to our advantage."
"All right, I can see that. Maybe we let them collect their dead, but not their dolls. We keep the dolls as, what?, hostages?"
The general chuckled.
"I don't believe I just said that."
"Yes, Sir. But more than that, Sir. They have memory. Every time it's inflated it remembers things. Every place its been, everything it's 'experienced'."
The general nodded.
"Okay, now you have my attention. But why the dolls?"
"Sir, I've been doing some checking. There have been reports of rape in the sectors they occupy."
"There are always reports of rape, Lieutenant."
"Yes, Sir, but I checked and these numbers are off the chart. And then there the abductions. We have no way of verifying it, but we're getting a constant stream of reports of these alleged abductions. Never males, always females."
"And what about the lack of females in their ranks?"
The general made a dismissive gesture.
"They're just not as advanced in these areas as we are, Lieutenant."
"With respect, Sir, I don't think that's it. The rapes, the abductions, the government issue dolls? Sir there's only one conclusion."
The general raised an eyebrow.
"General, it's obvious ... Mars needs women!"