Stella 109 drove her elbow into Stella 132’s kidney, simulating a kidney stone attack, one of the worst pains known to people. Stella 132 gasped and fell onto the bed, but she quickly separated mind from body and didn’t cry out. “Good, good, good,” the other Stellas who also had the day off whispered and patted their hands together softly.
The male guards outside the room exchanged glances and small smiles. This gasping activity went on in the off-limits bedroom every night with a revolving group of recuperating women. The guards naturally assumed it was some sort of lesbianism, but it wasn’t; the whores were teaching each other to withstand pain.
Mars was being mined for its exotic minerals and elusive water. The current activity centered on a huge impact crater where the notorious red dust had been blasted away, exposing alien crust minerals and microscopic water. The minerals, often unidentified with utility unknown, were shipped to Earth as if they were gold. The water stayed on Mars to service the Mars Hotel.
A group of investors had put up the Mars Hotel, shielding it well from radiation, and establishing a supply trail between Mars and Earth. Since they didn’t know what ore they’d find, they fell back on the Old West. Potential miners could stake a claim based on the Prudent Man Rule, which had applied to prospectors and settlers as well as investors. Simply put, no man could be a pig and try to grab everything. A claim could only be as large as a prudent man could handle.
The men wanted sex. Kidnapped women who were free of disease started to arrive at the hotel, all renamed Stella, the Star Maids. Unlike the prospectors, who could leave at any time, the women were treated as a commodity and never saw home again. Babies were sent to Earth and sold. When women were eventually deemed unattractive, they were given a space suit, some water, and a few hours of head start into the tunnels. The man, always a man, making the kill could drink free in the bar for a month. Most of the guys considered it great sport.
The operation was the brainchild of a Mister Chan. Enamored with tales of the American West; he was especially drawn to the mining towns and the whores who serviced the men. Most were not high-class; the Chinese and natives being genuine slaves. Mister Chan had a sadistic streak to go with his other corruptions.
Should the little claims yield great wealth, the prospectors would be kicked out or killed, the investors hadn’t decided yet. In the meantime, the Mars operation mostly supported itself, and bestselling books were being written about the trials, tribulation, and romance of fictitious spouses.
Stella 132 rubbed her left kidney and looked out at the mining operation. She thought of her bewildered husband and small daughter back on Earth. She wondered if law enforcement had tried to solve her disappearance, or if they’d been bought. Great lies enabled the Mars Hotel. Powerful people demanded silence.
The truth always dug itself out, and Mars would be no exception. Her time to die would come, but she’d have an incredible pain tolerance and full knowledge of the tunnels. She was systematically and carefully picking the brain of every tipsy miner she serviced, and even knew where they left their tools. She knew of safe rooms with supplemental oxygen, water and food. She’d give those guys a run; she might even manage to kill a few, and she might last for several days. She hoped Mister Chan would be in residence and join the hunt; she’d focus on him for sure.
When the definitive history of the Mars Hotel was written, she wouldn’t be Stella 132, she’d be known by her real name. The residents of the solar system would talk about her forever.
Chuck wanted us to mash a couple of properties together. I got Star Wars and Handmaid’s Tale. Enjoy.