Men are not permitted to hold any position of responsibility or authority. Kohtuhrees are for females only. There is no kohtuhree for males.”
“Then what do men do on Vulvar?”
“They perform manual labor,” my mother began. “They till the soil, plant, and harvest crops. They perform domestic duties and chores. They work in shops and markets.”
“Mother!” I said. “I just completed a doctorate in archaeology. I was meant to begin a professorship at a prestigious California university in mere weeks. You’re telling me my life’s work is now to be a ditch digger, a farmer, a shopkeeper, or god forbid, a housemaid?”
My mother breathed out a long sigh.
“Actually, you are not going to be assigned work in any of those areas. I’m confident you will become the property of someone who will provide you secondary employment in an area that will utilize your knowledge and advanced education.”
“Become the property of someone?” I said. “You mean to say owned by someone? A slave?”
“Yes, Tobias,” she said. “That is the custom here. On Vulvar, males exist for only one purpose, to serve females. All men are owned. You like every man will become the property of a free woman.”
The idea that I was to become the slave to some woman I didn’t even know was beyond distressing, not to mention mind-boggling. I got up and began to pace the room.
“Hold on,” I said. “You said someone might provide me with secondary employment in an area commiserate with my knowledge and education. Does that mean I have some other primary purpose beyond that?”
My mother nodded.
“Yes, because you are my son, half Vulvarian, you are uniquely qualified for a particular function. In part, it is why you were brought here to this world.”
“And what function might that be?”
“Breeding,” my mother said quietly, averting her gaze.
“Excuse me?” I said. “I thought you said breeding, but I am sure I misheard you.”
“No, you heard me correctly. You were tested on the ship while in transit. You have precisely the genetic traits most valued here and are quite capable of fathering healthy offspring.”
“Just when I thought being forced into slavery was as barbaric as it gets, now you’re telling me my primary function will be having sex with strange women to impregnate them?”
“No, Tobias, not exactly,” my mother said. “The procreation rituals used on Earth are considered barbaric here. It is never permitted for a male to copulate with a female. Your seminal fluid will be harvested regularly and then introduced into a female’s cervix or uterine cavity to achieve a pregnancy through artificial insemination.”
“My god, mother! I will not serve as a sperm donor on demand!”
“Refusal isn’t an option, Tobias. Any failure to cooperate will be severely punished. You will only succeed in making your own life miserable if you resist. And, in the end, they will harvest your semen, anyway.”
I couldn’t find words to say in response to that. I couldn’t believe my mother stood there and spoke to me like I was a dull child about the harvesting of my semen without my consent as if it was the most normal thing imaginable.
“I know it won’t be ideal for you on this world, Tobias. But, in your own self-interest, you must make the best of your present circumstances.”
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