That's a fascinating world you have created there. It did struck me as rather impractical to have certain functions only assigned to one person, like that herder position when it was first mentioned. Maybe they should have stayed with the gelpacks.
The torture thing kinda bugs me, especially that everyone seems to be so casual about it. Doesn't sound like Starfleet or the future I'd want to see to me.
It was a nice touch to see that Wicka also cares about Dan. I wonder how Dan will fare as the lover of the Crimson Queen.
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to reading more of this story.