Cadets Must Always Train Hard if They Want to Earn the Best Positions

It’s been a hot minute since a new story appeared, but now it’s finally time! Here are some Temporal Bureau cadets doing their best!

Ao3 Link

“The Department of Discipline is the most important department in the Bureau,” says Lieutenant Tab NooN baT, a winged Omaxian with a beak longer than Augustus’s arm. “It’s not as glamorous as Temporal Law Enforcement or as explosive as Research, but someone has to actually contain and rehabilitate all the people who, you know, do all the time crimes.”

Augustus makes a face. “Rehabilitate?” he asks.

“Yes, Cadet, rehabilitate,” Tab NooN baT repeats, as if Augustus hadn’t heard xer the first time. “We can’t keep temporal prisoners here in perpetuity, it would extend the borders of our prison into infinity.”

“That isn’t how infinity works.”

“It’s a figure of speech known as hyperbole in which an exaggeration is used to form a rhetorical point,” Nathan tells him. “The number of hypothetical temporal criminals in the timeline is theoretically equal to the total population of the universe from beginning to end, though one can safely limit that number to only sentient, sapient life forms, and further limit that number to the point six percent who are statistically likely to encounter temporal travel. At that point narrowing the probability with any reliability becomes impossible, and it’s also irrelevant because the total population of the universe is an unknowable factor. Constructing a linear space that can safely contain even a fraction of an indefinite number of individuals isn’t possible, so ensuring that they are able to be released in a structured manner to allow for new intake is of paramount importance.”

“Hey, shut the motherfuck up,” Augustus says, giving the hologram a look.

Nathan, pretending to be a spotted Yusnak, closes both his round mouths, his spots turning orange. Augustus glared at him, regretting ever giving him a name.

Tab NooN baT keeps moving forward. “In any case. We rehabilitate temporal criminals, which is what makes us the most important of the Bureau’s departments. Most criminals are low-level offenders who, once educated about the dangers of temporal crime, are safe to be re-introduced into whatever law-abiding society they hail from.”

They leave the featureless hall they’re walking through and enter what Augustus almost doesn’t recognize as a cell block. It’s two rows of long rooms with transparent walls, behind which groups of people are mingling and hanging out. “Doesn’t look much like a prison,” he sneers. “Where’s the chains and electric chairs?”

“Disregarding whatever barbarity they practice on criminals where you come from,” Tab NooN baT says, gliding past the not-prison cells. “We treat lawbreakers with respect here. They must be shown the error of their ways, but there is no reason to harm or humiliate them, especially those whose only crime was to attempt to become wealthy or engage in procreative activity with a historical figure.”

“They should just invest in advanced hologram tech,” Nathan suggests. “Then they can have sex with as many historical figures as they wish without consequence.”

“Indeed.” Augustus can’t tell if that’s scorn in xer voice, but it probably is. Xie seems like a bitch. Nathan is supposed to be programmed with mood-reading algorithms or something, why can’t he see that sucking up to xer isn’t going to help? “In any case, the higher-level offenders are kept under more scrutiny.”

Xie leads them into another area, and this time the prisoners are being kept in individual rooms. They still look nice, and the prisoners are sitting and reading, or watching screens or sleeping. None of them appear in any distress, though one, a species Augustus doesn’t recognize with two heads and spines all down their chest, locks eyes with Augustus as he passes by and won’t look away. It’s disconcerting.

“These are worse offenders?” Augustus asks, because he hates this.

“Yes. Violent and repeat offenders. We give them lengthier rehabilitation periods and supervise them after release to ensure they don’t re-offend.”

“Again,” Augustus adds, now looking at a cell full of tentacle mould that he guesses is a person.

“Again,” Tab NooN baT agrees, curtly. “We don’t allow them to mingle except under supervised conditions. Part of your duties during your rotation here will be to supervise said conditions.”

Great, babysitting. Augustus was a great babysitter. He’d done it for an entire species once. “I thought you said this department was interesting.”

“Xie actually said it was important,” Nathan corrected.

“Okay, listen, Lightball,” Augustus says. “You don’t need to talk. Just stand there and process information or something. People with brains are talking.” He taps on his unireader to bring up Nathan’s controls, and removes his ability to speak.

“Your fellow cadet is correct,” says the lieutenant, not seeming bothered. “This work is important, and most of us eventually learn that not everything in life is exciting. But if you must satisfy yourself with excitement, come.”

A door slides open and they’re led into a dimmer hallway. Most of the rooms in here are empty, only four lit up. “These are the highest security prisoners. Time mafia operatives and temporal terrorists. You normally won’t be permitted in this area without me or another high-ranking officer to supervise you.” They stop in front of a cell holding a light-coloured juvenile canid with mostly simian features. They’re sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, not looking at them.

Curious, Augustus taps the data node outside the cell. Prisoner 663. Iron River. To be kept away from any and all lunar surfaces as they may trigger a strength-enhancing transformational ability native to this species. Carnivore. Crimes: 15 counts of temporal terrorism. 32 counts of crosstemporal murder. 17 counts of temporal erasure of an individual or object. 1 count of temporal erasure of a species or world. Illegal tampering with a black hole. Smuggling of class X temporal objects.

“Balls,” Augustus said, as the list went on. “This kid killed thirty-two people?”

“Not to mention erasing an entire species from the timeline,” Tab NooN baT says.

“How do you rehabilitate someone who does that?”


Augustus jumps back at the voice, which came from inside the cell. He looks up, and Iron River the time murderer is standing right in front of the clear wall. He smiles. “Hi there, Cadet,” he says. “I’m not so dangerous as all that, it was really just a really funny misunderstanding. You want to come in here with me and talk about it? We could be friends.”

Augustus steps back, his neck frill rising. Tab NooN baT touches something and the wall goes dark. “Ignore him. Most prisoners won’t attempt to harm or intimidate you. Come.”

Xie leads them back out into the first hallway, gesturing up and down it with two scaled claws. “Your assignment for this shift will be to supervise Cell Four’s temporal ethics seminar. You need only stand by the door and ensure that the prisoners don’t get unruly.”

“And if they do?” Augustus asks, reaching for his sidearm. He finds it not there. Nathan’s is missing too. A written message appears on Augustus’s unireader.

A security field in the Department of Discipline’s offices prohibits the use of projectile weapons outside emergencies.

For Sume’s sake, he just has to open his mouth even when he’s not physically able to, doesn’t he?

“If they do, ask them politely but firmly to behave. If they do not, I will be in Cell Three and you may contact me. Go, the seminar is set to begin shortly.”

“Yes, sir,” Augustus says, pulling Nathan to follow him into the cell full of prisoners without even a weapon between them. The seminar starts thirty seconds early and is really boring and about why it’s wrong to try and live in a different time period without permission.

Not one of the prisoners even coughs out of line. It’s so fucking boring. Nathan seems engrossed by the whole thing. Augustus can’t stop thinking about Iron River and what the eight moons that had used to orbit Pex Gluti would do to his strength.

He’s already decided he didn’t want to be assigned to the Department of Discipline when his training ends.

“I don’t know,” says Augustus, as he looks at Nathan. “I think it looks a bit stupid.”

Nathan doesn’t believe it’s possible for Augustus to look stupid. “I think it’s cute.”

He’s mirroring Augustus’s appearance for him so Augustus can decide if he likes the body modification he’s trying out. He’s put a bone plate around his face with horns jutting in all directions. It’s an appealing shade of orange that doesn’t clash much with his skin tone or his uniform.

“I don’t want it to be cute,” Augustus says, scowling. “I want it to be badass.”

“You ass isn’t half bad either,” Nathan tells him.

“You can’t even see it.” Augustus tries to look over his shoulder, which he can’t.

“I literally can,” Nathan promises him, accessing the room’s camera feed so he can do just that. “It looks great.”

“I didn’t change my ass, dumbnuts.”

“I know.” Nathan keeps the mirror in place but illuminates another body behind Augustus, this one a red-brown Vall boy with smouldering eyes that he knows Augustus will find a little intimidating. “It’s just as fuckable as it was before,” he said, kneeling behind Augustus and giving his ass a lick.

Augustus shuddered, looking at his reflection. “You want to fuck it?” he asks, voice a quaver.

Nathan strokes one hand up Augustus’s thigh. “Yeah.”


Nathan can tell Augustus is a bit nervous, but it’ll be fine this time, they both know what they’re doing now. He withdraws his tongue and simulates Vall genitals, which emerge from the mouth with a dislocation of the jaw. The phallus rests in the cleft of Augustus’s ass, and Nathan turns his physicality projector to max before reaching around to slide another hand up Augustus’s chest, stroking just under one of his armoured plates. “Stay still.”

“Turn off the mirror.”

“No,” Nathan tells him, and he inserts the phallus inside Augustus, which earns a delightful gasp. A third hand reaches around to stroke Augustus’s own penii, which are still the elongated version he put on the other cycle. He avoids disorienting Augustus by having his voice come from the mirror again. “I want you to stand there and watch yourself get fucked, Gus.”

Augustus lets out a hiss, but doesn’t stop Nathan from penetrating him farther. He can only retain physicality after a certain point in an environment with no light, so he can’t penetrate Augustus as fully as a real Vall would, but he also knows Augustus better than he knows anyone in the space/time continuum and he knows that the idea of a huge cock inside him is what turns him on.

And Augustus is definitely turned on. His neck is frilling hard, his vents are spasming, and he’s letting out uncontrollable sounds as Nathan fucks him. His cocks, modified to produce lots of fluid, are leaking all over Nathan’s hand and each other. He reaches a third hand up and strokes Augustus’s frill, and uses his fourth to slide two fingers into Augustus’s mouth, which Augustus bites down on.

Nathan’s pain subroutine kicks in and he makes a needy sound against Augustus’s ass, because it still interfaces so powerfully with his sexual pleasure programming. That was a good piece of coding on Augustus’s part. He fucks Augustus harder, and Augustus chomps on his fingers, and he strokes Augustus’s cocks, and Augustus clenches around Nathan’s cock.

And Nathan looks into Augustus’s yellow eyes as Augustus looks back into his own reflection, and the face Augustus makes when he cums is so cute that Nathan immediately saves it in his expression bank so he can make it sometime. Seeing it also makes him cum, and though he doesn’t emit anything, that’s probably for the best since Vall reproductive fluids are toxic to most species.

“You’re licking that mess off the floor,” Augustus says, voice low with embarrassment as Nathan pulls his cock out of him. “And I’m going to fuck your ass the whole time you do it. But first you retract that cock and I’m going to fuck your face like…”

Nathan stands up, and he’s taller enough than Augustus that Augustus stops talking.

Nathan smiles at him, touching all around the bone plate, stroking each horn. “They’re cute,” he says, picking Augustus up and putting him on the curved bed.

“I’ll keep them for a few cycles,” he mutters.

“Good.” Nathan folds Augustus’s legs up to his shoulders, and he grabs them without complaint. Augustus’s modified dicks are big enough that they’re almost in his face. Nathan slides out his second cock, the thicker, ribbed one. “Be loud.”

Augustus is very loud until he passes out from pleasure, and Nathan doesn’t clean him up before deactivating the lights for the night. It’ll make Augustus happy to berate him in the morning, and all Nathan really cares about is making Augustus happy.

“Phox, siphon more power from the drainage pumps.”

“Yes, Master. Drainage pump power at five percent,” said Phox’s emotionless voice.

“Whatever,” Thyx muttered, reprogramming the engine’s ion converter as he ignored the computer. It shouldn’t be that hard to…there. “Okay, now all I should need to do is modify the energy shielding to absorb solar radiation fifteen percent slower.”

“Modifications of that nature are not recommended as they may endanger the safety of passengers in the outer dormitories.”

“Stop telling me that,” Thyx told Phox, for the fifth time.

“Yes, Master.” But Phox didn’t mean it, because what it meant was that it wouldn’t tell Thyx that if Thyx gave it that exact order again, which he wouldn’t need to.

He knew that modifying the shielding was dangerous for some of the people inside, and he knew that the drainage pumps losing power would be bad, and he knew the air circulation matrix couldn’t run on this low an output for long, and he knew the gravity production nodes couldn’t be replaced if he reprogrammed them to create a gravity well around the ship. He knew all of that.

He also balling knew that the Thaltax Marrow simply did not have the propulsive power or energy reserves to make it to an inhabitable world. Even before the accident, there just wasn’t one close enough for them to reach with their maximum propulsion speed. They’d run out of propulsive power, they’d drift through space for another two hundred years until they ran out of energy completely, and everyone in the sleep pods would suffocate to death. Thyx’s whole kin-nest. All his friends. Everyone he knew. Everyone he didn’t know.

His entire species. That fucking quasar would have killed Thyx’s entire species. Some of them would just take longer than others to die, and do it farther from home.

And he wasn’t going to let that happen, because the ship’s engine may not have been strong enough to take it to another planet, but it was strong enough to take it to another time. The modifications he’d made to his health monitor could be attached to the ship’s energy converters, and the time travelling power he’d invented could carry the whole ship two million, four hundred seventy six thousand, nine hundred and nine years into the past, when, if Thyx’s math was correct, which it was, there would be a habitable planet under a day from here that they could land on.

Nobody asked Thyx to save his species. He was only awake because of a random number generator in a computer that someone else had built. But he was the one who was here, and he’d done the math, and he knew what he was doing, and he was going to be the one to make sure his people don’t go extinct.

“Master, the modifications to the engine interface are complete,” Phox intoned.

Thyx’s frill stood all the way up and he inserted his health monitor into the reader. Everything started to boot up. “Okay,” he said, his plates itching. “Now we just need…”

“Don’t move, please.”

No alarms had gone off to tell Thyx the ship had a guest. He spun around, saw an alien standing there, shorter than him. He’d never seen an alien before so he didn’t know what they looked like, but this one was an insect the size of a birthing pod, mostly yellow and covered in fuzz, with two sets of multicoloured wings that look like glass. It was wearing a red and white outfit that was all in one piece and must have been hard to put on. “Who in Tiaz’s name are you?” he demanded.

“I’m affiliated with the Temporal Bureau,” said the insectoid, holding out a hand. A three-winged hologram appeared in front of him, spinning on a diagonal. “Please cease and desist. You’re about to commit a class four temporal felony.”

“What does that mean?” Thyx asked.

“A felony is a subset of crime that…”

“Shut up,” Thyx snapped at Phox. “I know what a balling felony is. I’m not committing a crime. I’m not hurting anyone. I’m just…”

“You’re about to temporally displace six hundred thousand individuals,” said the insect, antennae twitching. “And land your ship on a planet whose native civilization hasn’t developed electricity yet.”

The white planet was inhabited? Fuck. “We’re not going to hurt the people there,” Thyx promised. “I’ll land the ship on a part of the planet they’re not using. If they don’t even have electricity there can’t even be that many of them, so…”

“That isn’t the issue,” said the insectoid, its wings fluttering once. “You can’t move that many people through time, it creates a massive disruption in the timeline.”

“My people are going to go extinct!”

“I know.” The insect paused for a moment, compound eyes looking elsewhere before fixing back on Thyx. “I’m afraid that if you try to help them in this way, I will be obligated to arrest you.”

Rage bubbled through all of Thyx’s vessels and he opened the side compartment of the computer terminal, seized the laser cutter.

The insectoid didn’t appear concerned, though whether it had emotions, Thyx had no idea. “Master,” said Phox. “Compliance with law enforcement officials is highly recommended in all encounters. The survival rate for those who don’t is twenty percent lower.”

“I have no intention of harming Thyx,” said the alien, its voice carefully modulated. “Are you a sentient AI?”

“No,” said Phox, while Thyx reflected that the alien already knew his name. “I am a maintenance programme designed to aid in the functioning of this vessel and ensure the health and safety of its crew.”

“I see. Thank you. Your charge will not be harmed. Please disengage your security measures or I will disengage them for you.”

“Don’t act like you care about me,” Thyx interrupted, because why was this thing wasting time talking to his computer? “You’re here to kill my whole species.”

The alien looked at him again. “There is nothing I can say that will encourage you to think otherwise and therefore I will not. Instead I will say this. You will not be permitted to do as you wish here. You have a choice and it is your choice entirely.” It said that quietly. “You may attempt to use that maintenance tool on me and continue attempting to alter time. I will not be harmed, you will not be successful, and I will be forced to arrest you. If you do accomplish your planned alteration, I will undo it, and the Felth Helax will go extinct anyway. Or you may take the other option.”

“What’s the other option?” Thyx asked. He could tell that this alien was trying to relate to him, and he didn’t really care. But if it was about to say something helpful, maybe he could care a little.

The insect held out a data reader, rectangular, just big enough to fit in Thyx’s palm. It had the three-winged logo spinning on its screen. “You can look for another way. For as long as it takes. With people who know how to help you.”

Thyx stood there, looking at the Temporal Bureau officer. He looked at the data reader, and at the laser cutter. He put that down, picked up his health monitor. His time machine.

“If you make me wear an ugly uniform like that, I’m going back to crimes,” Thyx told it.

“I will never require you to wear anything you don’t wish to, Thyx.”

That sounded like a lie, but Thyx would fight about it later.

For now he took the data reader, which lit up with words in Sovakk. Thyx Marthel-Than. Rank: Cadet. Training Status: Commenced.


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