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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2296021
Across the seven worlds of the Pirate state, family is all important
Vladimir Soldatov stood before the massed ranks of his soldiers in the giant amphitheater on planet Moscow the capital of the Pirate state of New Russia. A giant of a man dressed in black leather and silk with a colorful belt carrying a laser pistol and a sheathed sword. His barrel chest bedecked with medals he awarded himself. The stage was large and about ten feet above the massed ranks of the soldiers gathered before him. It was night and the amphitheater opened to the night sky. Battleships and star cruisers from his fleet sat among the stars like brooding spectators to the speech below. His voice boomed loud and rasped through the speakers to those assembled.

"Men of Russia, heroes of the seven worlds, the times are hard. But we are strong and rise to the challenge of our age." Spontaneous cheers erupted from the men gathered before him as he continued striding across the stage as he spoke.

"Since the homelands were annexed by the Earth Republic, since the great Russian diaspora to the stars we have built a new Russia, a new home for our families and our people. We are stronger now than even our fathers were, Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible are names we remember with pride but we have surpassed them. Look around soldiers of Russia at what we have built. The seven worlds are ruled with an iron fist, the peoples of the worlds we conquered are learning our language and our history and becoming better for that. We the strong dominate the weak and so they serve us."

"Look out into the darkness, out in the immensity of space, new barbarian hoards are rising in the vastness of the deep black. They come with new ships, a new passion to exterminate and oppress us all. Will we let this happen?"

"No, no," the crowd roared, one with their great leader.

"We have not forgotten the oppression of the Earth Republic denying us access to space for centuries while they built their empire in the stars."

"We have not forgiven the ways in which the jackboots of the republicans trampled on our hopes and dreams. So should we surrender to their threats now?"

"No, no way," the crowd was one with their leader a giant family of supporters and fighters for his cause.

"I hear your voice, I hear your heartbeat," Vladimir thumped his heart as he spoke and then reached out his arm as if to embrace all of those gathered. "Your hearts are my heart, my heartbeat is your heartbeat, we are brothers you and I, we will fight, we will win and we shall defeat the threat to the Empire that we have built."

The crowd started chanting, "We will fight, we will win." Again and again, they repeated this while Soldatov beamed his appreciation and received their adulation.

After he left the stage with two key advisors Soldatov was driven away back to the palace and its vast underground command center. During the drive, he spoke with his advisors. These were the only men he allowed to speak frankly and honestly with him. They had grown up with him. One his younger brother Stalin and the other, his best friend Ivan. They had always accepted him as their leader and they would die to keep him that. This was about as wide as his circle of trust extended, everybody else he treated with a degree of suspicion.

"So what did you think?" asked Vladimir.

"About the speech, it could not have been better you had them eating out of your hand. That went across the empire and will put fire in the hearts of our men, but we need more than fire against the new threats against us," said Stalin.

"Agreed, the Earth fleets are technologically superior and their worlds have greater numbers and wealth than us. Despite the effectiveness of our control, there are billions of people under our rule who want us gone and so the threat is from within and without. There are about 30 million of us Russians controlling 21 billion people across the seven worlds. We do not have the manpower to fight this war and as you well know we are playing a game of bluff here." said Ivan.

"Do you think our people know this? I have tried to make them feel like a family united by glory, history and a sense of destiny," said Vladimir.

"Yes that is working but maybe more realistically they need to be aware that should we lose, the people of the seven worlds will exterminate every last one of us, all our wives and children also and all of our hopes for rebuilding Russia," said Ivan.

"So what can we do?" asked Vladimir with some earnestness.

"We need more men, so we need babies, we have started using IVF. Russian women can have seven babies at a time in this way from each birth. We have invested as you know in hospitals but the cost here is to our women who are dying in large numbers under the strain. I want to propose a different way." said Stalin

"Go on," said Vladimir.

"We need more babies but we do not want our women to die because these are the people who teach the children our language and our culture. So I propose we use women from our captured population to bear Russian babies in their wombs," Stalin continued.

"Surrogate mothers, but with Russian sperm and eggs?" Vladimir nodded as he spoke. "Also if their women bear our babies they will not be having their own, we can bind them to the babies they bear as servants, as if they were their own. Ultimately they will die out and we will replace them. It is a good plan."

"Exactly, so all the risks of childbirth are born by those we rule and our people can expand at a faster rate as a result."

"Excellent in the long run we will then have enough people on our worlds to ensure Russian survival no matter what. But what can we do right now against the threat of the Earth Republic?" Vladimir asked.

"Well, our existing strategy is all about buying time. We are already using our captured ships under Russian pirate captains to distract and disperse their fleets so they can never concentrate on our own homeworlds. We keep them on the defensive. We raid their worlds so that the locals demand better space defenses and they waste their resources building forts rather than attempting to attack us here. We steal their best ships and turn them into even more privateers. We take their money to fund our own building programs and we steal their secrets to make us strong," said Stalin.

"Yes but is this working? We need twenty years before our children come online as warriors for New Russia," said Ivan.

"Yes and no. Our best captains are causing damage, but the enemy has developed some clever tactics against us. Their fleets now travel in convoys and we have lost many of our best captains against them. But the privateers are our only hope of victory. They keep the Republic on its back foot, weakening, wounding it and undermining its legitimacy. We are also waging a very effective propaganda war. We magnify our victories and minimize our defeats, dismissing the Republic News accounts as fake news and breeding disinformation in their young people especially. People are buying into our narrative in large numbers. But the reality is that we are losing more ships than we can build or capture," said Stalin.

"So who is the best of our pirate captains?" Vladimir implored.

"That would be Black Beard himself. He commands a stolen Earth Republic battleship, the pride of their fleet in fact, and he has a fleet of captured cruisers also. The Republic has a bounty the size of a planet on his head," said Stalin.

"Is he loyal to us, to Russia?"

"Yes, he is Russian and his heart belongs to the dream of a greater Russia and also to his own enrichment and pleasure. He works his way through a lot of whores."

"So how do we handle this man and turn him into the great admiral that we need right now?" Vladimir asked.

"We bring his family into our court, we make him one of us, we give him riches and pleasures beyond all measure, we give him an unlimited harem of sex slaves taken from the seven worlds, but should he be disloyal his children are close and he will lose everything," said Ivan.

"Yes, he becomes family that is not quite family and should he betray us his own flesh blood will pay the price. That sounds like a plan. Bring Black Beard to me we need to talk," said the Pirate Emperor.

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