“Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly, 

And the spiders from Mars. He played it left hand

But made it too far

Became the special man, then we were Ziggy’s band

Now Ziggy really sang, screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo

Like some cat from Japan, he could lick ’em by smiling

He could leave ’em to hang

‘Came on so loaded man, well hung and snow white tan…..”


“Ziggy Stardust”, by David Bowie


* * * * * *

“Comrade Citizen Stardust Wong, please step to one side and await a security escort. Comrade Citizen Stardust Wong, please step to one side and await a security escort.” The security robot at the pedestrian float-off spun towards me so fast I jumped six inches, which turned into two feet, because, well, Luna gravity. One sixth dirtside.

“What?” I said, floating down slowly, looking around, and at least I didn’t land on my face like a total new chum, because we’d been on Luna a while now and I could handle myself in low G. “Me?”

“Comrade Citizen Stardust Wong, please step to one side and await a security escort,” the security robot repeated, lights strobing, and yeah, it was real obvious it was me now, and I was having one of those “oh shit, what’ve they caught me out on” moments. Not a “what’d I do” moment, coz there were a few of those that I hadn’t been caught out on.


I figured one of them had caught up on me, and crap. Dad had the in with the Security Directorate here. He’d done a few favors for Security lately, so he had some guangxi there, and he’d get me off whatever it was they wanted me on, but he’d be upset with me, and I was gonna pay.

Grounded. I was gonna be so grounded, and how could I explain that to Ziggy? He was shipping out in a few weeks, and I wanted all the time with him that I could get before that happened, because when he left, that was just going to tear me up, because who knew if he’d come back? I wasn’t over-doing the drama on that one, either. Ziggy was a Space Marine, an elite Space Marine, a Spider-Killer, and I knew what he did, and the risks he took, and what his life expectancy was, and crap, if I was grounded now, that was just gonna kill me.

Already I was getting a wide berth. Other pedestrians who were leaving the high speed commuter belt down the center of the tunnel were skirting me like I was an undesirable element low on the social credit table, and, I mean, I was even in my school uniform, so it wasn’t like I looked like was running with the JoeBoys or anything. Which I used to, sometimes, for kicks, but not now, coz Ziggy was as straight as they came, and he didn’t approve of stuff like that. Although he didn’t mind a good bar-fight now and then, but then, he was a Space Marine.

Everyone knows there’s nothing a Space Marine likes more than a good fight.

Well, and a girl, which I guess was where I come in.

My uniform? School?

Harrow International Girls School of New Beijing, and I’m not going to tell you what it costs my parents to send me there. I’d be embarrassed. So would they, because you’re not supposed to be able to afford stuff like that on a Party Secretary’s salary, although my Dad is the New Beijing Party Secretary, and let’s just say, Dad used his position to “help” people that needed help, and they did him favors in return, and my Mom makes a bundle.

Guangxi. Favors.

It’s the oil that makes everything flow real fast in the Chinese Hegemony, and I knew a bit about guangxi myself, although in my case, it’d sort of backfired, although things had moved real fast, because I hadn’t understood those little nuances around a girl doing favors for a guy who was married, and his wife had been a bit jacked with me. But that was sort of drifting away from where I was, which was eye to eye with a security robot that wanted me stationary. Which I was.

I didn’t try and skip out, even though I was sure there was a mistake, although I wasn’t sure what the mistake was. I mean, if it’d been anything serious, the security robot would’ve zapped me on the spot, slung me in the cradle and carried me in, and I’d seen that happen. But I guess, if the robot knew I was Stardust Wong, they knew who my Dad was too, and my Dad’d be pretty jacked if Security zapped me.

But regardless, it’d zap me if I tried to run. They were programmed to do that, I knew. Everyone knew. So I wasn’t going to try and skip. I’d seen someone try that once. New Beijing security robots were programmed on the side of overkill. Quite literally, and if you ran, well, sometimes very literally depending on what it was you were being picked up for. Otherwise they just zapped you with what felt like about five hundred million volts or something like that, that totally fried your nervous system, for, like, quite a while.

How did I know that?

Well, that someone was me, so let’s just say, experience.

I’d been brought back to my parents’ tunnel by the security robots a couple of times in the last couple of years. Mom and Dad hadn’t been too happy with me, but really, that first time, it’d been not to long after we arrived in New Beijing, after things had quietened down from that mistake I’d made dirtside, and the heat was off me, and I’d only been making out in a dead-end service alley behind the restaurants up on Level Three, with this cute Second American Republic tourist guy who’d come up with his parents for a two week vacation, and wanted to get some closer experience with the yellow peril.

He’d taken me out to dinner, and then to a movie, and I’d sort of thought he deserved a kiss or two, because that dinner had been pretty expensive, and I’d never kissed a gweilo before, let alone a racist fascist oppressor of the working classes, one of the capitalist running dogs of the Second American Republic, which seemed pretty exciting at the time because it was my first date ever with a real love fascist, because you didn’t see them too often back dirtside in New Shanghai, and okay, he’d undone my bra and he was heading for second base, and I wasn’t trying to stop him, although he wasn’t getting to third base and he sure wasn’t getting close to a home run, and I wasn’t going back to his hotel room with him like he’d asked me to, coz Public Security was pretty nasty about, you know, a girl being alone in a hotel room with a guy, if she wasn’t married or at least engaged to him, and miscegenation with a white fascist capitalist running dog on top of that. That’d get a girl sent off for Moral Reeducation and let me just mention that would not be a good thing.

So nope. Not happening.

But like I said, it was pretty exciting.

Which was when the security robot floated around the corner and cornered us. That tourist guy, he got a warning, which was all tourists usually got. Me, I tried to run, because I’d heard about what Security did to girls who were compromised with fascists, and I’d had my own encounter with Public Security back dirtside, which we will get to, don’t worry. Well, running, that was a mistake, because instead of a warning, which was all I would have gotten if I’d just not panicked and run, because I was a bit terrified of Public Security back then, let me tell you, I got zapped, and then carried home by the security robot with a warning and an infraction notice sealed around my ankle that totally tanked my social credit score for six months, until Mom got annoyed and hacked the system and got me back to normal.

The second time?

Not too long ago, and let’s just say this guy I met talked me in to going to a bar for a drink with him and okay, it was a bit silly of me to say yes, because I was old enough for what he had in mind, except that the Hegemony wasn’t big on per-marital sex, like, maybe if you were engaged it was okay, and I was that old, but I wasn’t old enough to go into a bar, not legally, and I was wearing my High School girls militia uniform, the Rose Klang militia one, with the pink short skirt and knee high white boots and cute little white beret that we wore for parades, because we were training for a parade in honor of the new Chairman’s inauguration.

My Dad had taken a shuttle down to actual real Beijing for it, and yeah, my Dad was that important again now, and with the old Chairman already cremated, his pug-nosed dog of daughter didn’t have half as much power as she did when she got poor old Zowie sent off out-system, and actually, the news said she was being investigated for corruption, and if the news said that, you knew it was a done deal and she was taking a fall, so I wasn’t kind of stressed about her anymore, so I wasn’t being quite as low-key as I would’ve been, coz I figured Dad was on the up and up again, and Security wouldn’t dare arrest me for, like, something real minor. Not now.

Between being under the age limit for single girls in bars, which was, like, twenty or something ridiculous, and the facial recognition scans, security were at that bar before I drank more than half of that first drink, and that time they were real security, not robots, because that time they already knew who I was from the monitoring systems I guess, and you don’t send security robots to arrest the New Beijing Party Secretary’s daughter. Not when he’s on the up and up again, coz Dad and the new Chairman were old buddies in the Party, they’d done each other more than a few favors back in the day, apparently, and it’d be a bad idea to jack off my Dad now, unless you wanted a posting to the mines on the Dark Side of the Moon.

Or maybe Titan if Dad was in a really bad mood.

Which he would be, if I was arrested.

“Comrade Militia-Lieutenant Wong, we are here to escort you home.” The patrolman stood at attention, not quite looking at my boobs, but I could tell he wanted to, and he was looking real nervous, because I guess he knew who my Dad was, all while his partner scanned the identification of the cute guy that’d picked me up, issuing him with an infraction, and it must’ve been bad because I heard his breath hiss, and he looked a bit sick. Oh well. Silly me. Maybe we should have gone for a milkshake, but he hadn’t asked me how old I was, and it was too late now.

“Thank you, Patrolman Chang,” I said, reading his nametag and giving in to the inevitable while I buttoned up my shirt, because it was undone down to, like, my navel, because I might have been a Militia-Lieutenant, but it was in the Schoolgirl’s Militia, and we were a parade formation meant to look good, which I did of course, which is why I was a Lieutenant, because they wanted the best looking girls right up front on the parades, and our laser rifles were imitation ones, not even real.

A bit like me being a Lieutenant in the Security Directorate. I’d really thought I was, but that hadn’t been real either, and after that all came out, we were sent to… I mean, we moved up from dirtside to New Beijing. And yeah, that still hurt, that I’d been taken advantage of like that, because I’d really trusted old Zowie, and it hadn’t been exactly fair that he’d fooled me like that, because I’d really tried my best to earn that exemption.

“Stardust!” My Mom said, when she opened the hatch to our home tunnel. “What have you done?” She didn’t say “this time”, but she could see the two patrolman behind me, and they’d been very polite, and I was kind of really relieved they hadn’t given me another infraction notice.

“Patrolman Chang and Patrolman Lee escorted me safely home after I was accosted by a pervert on my way home,” I said, before either of them could say a word, turning to smile my thanks. “Could you ask Dad to message their commanding officer and thank them for their diligence and attention to ensuring the safety of his daughter when she was placed in an alarmingly unsafe situation.”

Of course they already knew who my father was. If they hadn’t, I’d have been in a Public Security cell, waiting for my Mom to come sign me out, and my social credit rating would’ve already been down the tubes. I’d rather they’d just ignored the alert that must’ve been sent, because that guy was cute, and I had intended, to, you know, have a little fun when he walked me home. Oh well.

“I certainly will, Stardust,” my Mom said, smiling brightly. “Patrolman Chang, Patrolman Lee, please expect a note of commendation from Party Secretary Wong to be attached to your personnel records. Your diligence to duty and your attention to ensuring the safety of our daughter is to be greatly commended. You have only to ask if you need any assistance with such things as myself or New Beijing Party Secretary Wong can help with.” Guangxi. Favors. It’s the oil that makes things flow.

As soon as they were gone, and the hatch had closed behind me, the Dragon Lady turned and positively hissed at me. “Stardust Wong! What did you do!

“Me?” I said, totally innocently. “Nothing.”

Wrong answer, and I knew that right away, and I kind of kicked myself for not making something up, or just telling her, but sort of making it low key, because my Mom already had her pers-com out, and her fingers flickered, and I was, like, oh shit! Because my Dad might have been the New Beijing Party Secretary, with guangxi out the eyeballs, but my Mom, she hadn’t just majored in Computer Science. She’d gotten her PhD in about half the time it normally takes anyone else, and she, like, writes the textbooks on designing starship control systems and lectures at conferences and stuff, and she was lead solutions architect for China Spaceship Industry Corporation. She designed computer systems for the Chinese Hegemony Space Navy, and I was having one of those real oh shit moments, because firewalls and security just melted when she wanted in.

“Star! Dust! Wong!”

Oh crap, she had the security monitoring system footage. I knew. Because she showed me before she deleted it from the system, and she gave me that kind of cold look while she showed me.

Hacking Public Security? Nobody should be able to do that, but yeah, my Mom could do that. She’d done it a few times to delete stuff on me. Without any access rights or userids or anything. She designed and wrote the software that designed and wrote the software that… and I knew she used to browse through the Second American Republic systems, and they were as protected as ours, because they were as paranoid about us as we were about them, and she looked through the Euro-Space systems every now and then, but she said they were all a bit behind, although they had some original ideas. She laughed when I told her that was hacking. To my Mom, it was like opening a book you downloaded from the library. You get the idea. She was really scary.

That footage?

Well, I looked hot, I’m telling you, and I did actually, like, admire myself for a second. Sitting on a bar stool, and I’d sort of rolled the waistband of my skirt so my little pink militia skirt was a little pink militia micro-mini-skirt, and you could get a glimpse of those matching pink panties, and I’d unbuttoned my uniform shirt so you could see my bra. Well, you would have if I hadn’t taken my bra off first, anyhow, and my shirt was unbuttoned to my navel, where it kind of met my skirt.

So what you got was a lot of boob, because my boobs were, well, generous. Let’s just say they were generous, and in low gravity, because this was Luna, they didn’t need any support at all, and leave it at that, and I liked it that guys looked. I always had, ever since they first started growing enough that guys looked, which was when I was in Junior High, back in New Shanghai. That no bra, shirt open to the navel; that was the fashionable look right now.