tagSci-Fi & FantasyCulture Shock

Culture Shock


"We'll reach the second moon of the gas giant in. . . two hours," said the other half of the ship's crew, Kiera Nall, my colleague from the Foundation for Galactic Integration, or the FGI. We were in the ship lounge, she at a computer console, I in a recliner with a holo-book in my lap.

"Great," I said. "This rift space is making me queasy." I preferred a good old-fashioned hyperdrive to this new rift tech, even if it was twice as fast.

"That's to be expected, especially for trips of this duration. Rift space isn't meant to house matter."

"Matter as in us."

"Exactly. The rift is unnatural. A glitch in the universe we exploit for space travel."

I nodded, not really listening, very into my story about space pirates. "How fast are we going again?"

"Technically, we're not going at all. We're motionless, but relative to normal space close to a thousand times the speed of light."

"Wait. . . wait I. . ." A strange yellow glow filled the cabin. A warmth passed through me, invasive and uncomfortable like I was being microwaved. It was gone in seconds.

"Did you feel that?"

She smiled. "We passed through a star. Must have been a big one for it to be noticeable like that."

I nodded. "Had enough of rift space alright. You need me, I'll be in my pod." I got up and headed for the door, but before I reached it heard, "John?"

I turned reluctantly. "What?"

She had a mischievous look I didn't like. "Don't be shocked."

I scoffed. Me, shocked? My stomach was cast iron. I had seen the strangest humanoids and the strangest customs without raising an eyebrow. I had sat through eight-girls-five-cups with a face like a marble bust, so I was pretty sure I could handle these Ephrane.

I gave an enigmatic smile, a good tactic I found for unsure situations, and left for my pod. She had gotten me wondering though, and try to sleep as I might curiosity kept me up. My funny co-worker had hidden the files on the Ephrane for a reason. What was so different about them? Some of the humanoids the FGI had dealt with were strange to be sure. For instance the Mohadd, first encountered 2482, had women who were human enough, roughly our size with reddish skin, pronounced brows and wide mouths, but their men were a different story.

Twice the size of human males, they displayed extreme muscularity and reduced intelligence, results of the Mohadd being entirely eusocial. "Queens" lived in "colonies" of hundreds of males, all of whom served her and the best of whom she chose as mates. She gave birth every three weeks, the short gestation period a result of a ridiculous metabolism, average queens consuming forty-thousand calories a day. Don't ask me where they keep it.

And the Mohadd were one of the boring examples. The Trusocliptitrates, or the Truskies as we called them, had no eyes, but an elaborate nose filling the forehead, a sonar organ not unlike a bat's used to see on their sunless homeworld. Their clicking took getting used to. And the Shrvlkntyuthrs, or the Shervs as we called them, were completely without assholes. It's true; they simply weren't there, and we still have no clue where their food goes. The air on their world smelt funny though.

I had seen strange humanoids alright—convergent evolution sometimes didn't converge enough—but how different could the Ephrane be? I was about to find out, after my nap. I hit the temporary-low-pressure button to knock out my lights.


Hard rapping on glass woke me. Kiera, full in blue FGI uniform, looked down into my pod.

"Wakey, wakey."

"Yeah, yeah."

The pod hissed open, and I jumped into my uniform. I met her on the bridge. Below through viewing glass sprawled Ephrena, blue-green homeworld of the Ephrane. It was the second moon of a brown, shit looking gas giant that hovered off behind, dwarfing it. The sun was somewhere to our left.

"She's a pretty one," I said.

"Very like Earth. The atmosphere's a little different, high on nitrogen and sulphur, but she's breathable. Gravity below average."


"My God, John, did you read the brief?" She had been kind enough to leave me the file on the planet.

"As much as I read about the Ephrane."

"It's exotic, to say the least. Dinosaurs. Island-sized whales. Flesh-eating locust swarms that reduce cattle to skeletons in minutes."

"And the Ephrane to theirs?"

"Not them. They've had a simple rubbing solution since prehistoric times that wards them off."

"Major safety concerns for the planet?"

"None, really. Other than remember your locust rub."

"Good. Now about these Ephrane—"

"You'll see them when you see them."

"They can't be that bad. I've seen it all. Horns?"


"The head's a giant eye isn't it?"



"Shh! We're starting the descent. Sarah?"

"Yes, Kiera?" answered a reverberating synthetic voice, the ship's artificial intelligence.

"ETA to landing?"

"Four minutes, Kiera."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome, Kiera."

"Can you just. . . not end every sentence with my name?"

"Of course."

The planet was so close now we couldn't see it all through the window. Oceans and continents rolled under clouds. We whizzed through white puffs and in minutes were above a jungle country dotted with golden towers. Sarah took us over a city hub. A golden tarmac set in a leafy park got bigger and bigger and bigger.

We touched down on planet Ephrena, here on FGI assignment to bolster relations with the recently discovered Ephrane and further galactic piece. All I knew about them was they were humanoids of comparable technology to ourselves. Ambassadors before me, several missions of men, had made the official contact, signed the peace treaties and other dramatic gestures. This was more a mundane, personal mission—a "Hello," from Earth to Ephrena. Two people were all the FGI could afford for these kinds of missions given the volume of humanoid races we had been surprised to discover, whom we were struggling to all build relations with.

The ramp hissed to the tarmac. Kiera and I descended arm in arm. Eight men were waiting for us near ahead. We put on pleasant but not over-sweet smiles. Exotic jungle and golden towers surrounded the tarmac. One structure in the distance I blinked at. Round with a flat top, it was the size of mountains.

Alright. . . So what's the deal. . . I studied the men as we approached. Skin was fair. Facial structure human enough. Hair normal. Clothing of plain black was different, but nothing too weird. Hands clasped at the waists were normal. Everything was normal!

I extended my hand to the leader. "Greetings! I am John Clemens, Ambassador for Earth."

We shook hands, and he said in clipped English with an Asian-y accent, "Greetings, John. I am Kont, King of Ephrena."

They've got a king?

"Your majesty," I said, bowing.

He shook his head with a smile, placing a hand on my shoulder. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. We have no such customs here. I am equal to all, as all are equal to one." He turned to Kiera. "And who is this." He seemed very intrigued with my partner.

Kiera shook his hand. "I am Kiera Nall, Ambassador for Earth. It's a pleasure to meet you, Kont."

"Ah!" the king said. "What a lovely voice you have. Really a delight to hear. And believe me, the pleasure is all yours."

One of his aides coughed.

"Oh! I am sorry. The pleasure is all mine."

"You're too kind."

The king lead us to a tiny structure abutting the tarmac, and after a subterranean tram ride he told us we had arrived inside the imperial palace, the round, humongous building we had seen. We parted with the king, and servants settled us into the rooms we would be staying in, lofty, golden, and stuffed with every luxury imaginable. We'd seen worse lodging. The view of the jungle and golden Ephrani towers was splendid. We must have been near the roof because everything was minuscule and clouds often blocked our windows.

Soon Kiera and I were laying in adjacent massage beds while robotic, padded arms from beneath worked our backs.

"Alright. Spill."

"You'll see it when you see it."

"They're exactly like us. Maybe the ears are a little funny but who cares. I'm not shocked, which means you lose."

Her smile wouldn't fade.

My voice took on a dangerous edge. "What have they got in their pants?"

"No, no, no. Nothing like that."

"Well what, then?" I saw no possible way they could shock me now, but all she would say was, "You'll see at supper."

She left for the washroom to catch a quick shower while I relaxed under the furious robots. "They'd better not shit out their elbows!"

Supper time. A steward summoned us on behalf of the king. He lead us down a corridor to a giant door, arched and full of light. The dining hall was on the other side, where the king, queen, family, extended family and royal hangers-on were already eating. I approached with little trepidation; I loved alien meet-and-greets. All kinds of delicious smells were wafting our way. Conversation was loud and merry.

A woman walked by the other side of the door. My reaction was involuntary. I half tripped, made a kind of yelp, and stared like an idiot after her retreating shape. I stood transfixed until Kiera, smirking, jerked me through the door.

The king spotted us from the head of the royal table. "Ah! John and Kiera! Please, come here." He waved us to our designated seats beside him and the queen at the farthest of three long tables.

"Of course!" Kiera called, dragging me in a daze. We rounded the tables and dozens of chatting Ephrane whom I barely registered. I took my seat sweating profusely, unsure of my surroundings suddenly; I peeked over my shoulder as if threats were in the air, as if a jester would pop out from behind a pillar and scream, "Gotcha, John! It was all a joke! A joke! You didn't actually believe it, did you?"

The king had noticed my state. "Are you well, John?"

I smiled uneasily. "Very well." I tried to change the subject. "This is a beautiful hall." I purposefully kept my eyes locked on his face, afraid of catching a glimpse of his wife on his left.
"I'm glad you like it. It is made of gold. By the way, how is my English sounding?"

"Good. Very good."

"Good! I am glad to hear. The other ambassadors taught me many months."

I turned to Kiera, almost laughing at me, snickering into her handkerchief—the bitch. I glared, and though I hated to admit it, she had won her game.

"You look sick, John."


I peeked at the queen to see if she was the same. A microsecond's glance was all it took to confirm. I returned to my plate, not understanding, and whispered, "It's okay to. . . look them in the face?"

"Of course. Make eye contact as you would with anyone."

"How do they talk?"
She shrugged. "Look for yourself."

I looked, and sure enough the king and queen were having a silent conversation, their hands dancing in their laps. Sign language. Made sense I guess. On the other side of the table feet away was another woman. I looked at her the longest I had yet at an Ephrani female, trying to understand, failing.


Kiera finished swallowing a bluish vegetable from her plate. "It was the same for me when I saw the pictures in the file. The other ambassadors were able to discover after some research that ancient Ephrani women looked the same as ours today, only they were. . . ah. . . very fond of oral sex. So fond in fact that males out of infancy spent several hours a day, every day, being serviced for their entire lives. This went on for thousands of years."

"But the changes are aesthetic only?"

"Not at all. It's how they reproduce."


"Yes, John."

"But. . . how! The gastric system doesn't lead to the ovaries! How could that evolve?" Despite the intensity of my whispers I smiled for the benefit of onlookers.

"The Ephrane's research has revealed that at first the changes were only aesthetic, a secondary sexual characteristic. Actual reproduction still took place the old fashioned way. But over time. . . by some miracle. . . the old way was replaced entirely. Only insemination, though; birth is still the same. If the birth had changed. . . " She snickered.

This was too much. "But. . . eat. . . food. . . How they eat?" Even my sentences were failing.

"With an all liquid diet. Soups, puddings, drinks. Their teeth are gone at this point, as are their tongues. The mouth and esophagus form the vaginal canal."

I looked at the queen, who was indeed drinking from a funneled bowl. I saw her share a hand-joke with a woman on her left, and the two laughed in a purring kind of titter.

"So in a nutshell," I said, "their mouths are pussies."

"That about sums it up."

"And the nose. . . It's grown into the nose. . ."

"The clitoris forms the tip of the nose while the nostrils have thinned and wrap around somewhat. The labia used to be the lips. Well they still are lips, only vertical instead of horizontal."

"And bigger." I surveyed the table. Every woman there, some twenty in all, were of course the same; where the mouths should have been were vaginas, hairless and strikingly human. Only. . . better. Even more luscious and beautiful, thick lips of crimson-purple parted to pink wetness within, just beckoning a good, stiff thrust of the hips.

"The enhanced appearance most likely a result of evolving in so prominent a place."

"You're almost sounding professional again, John."

"I know. I'm good."

But my composure took another dive when I saw something else. Several of the women were "servicing" the men right now from under the table, which itself was designed to accommodate them with a recessed, cushioned space beneath partially hidden by curtains. Heads bobbed in laps all around. Just a few seats down a face was fucking a man's cock in naked plainness, wet organs interacting with silky slurping sounds. He ate his dinner seemingly unaware. My cock stiffened at the act so openly practiced, as well as at its implications on Ephrani sexual culture.

"At least their dicks are the same," I said.

"Almost identical to ours. Or yours, I should say. Smaller in fact. And there end the differences between our physiologies, except for a few internal details."

"Only there?"

I watched the head bob, the luscious pink lips gorge on the cock. She would rise, then take him to the hilt with surprising speed, slamming her face into his lap. Again and again she dove while he merely talked and laughed with those around him. I was surprised when she froze at the base, stayed for a moment, then slowly withdrew until the cock slipped free, a creampie oozing from the inflamed pussy.

"It's bad manners for men to react," Kiera said. "It takes practice, but they're able to hide all signs of orgasm."

I nodded. He had done a good job.

The woman tilted her head back, sucking the come down that was trying to escape. Her delicate fingers pushed it into her glistening hole, inner labia closing and swallowing.

"It's like candy to them," Kiera explained. "They hate when any gets away. They like the act probably more than the men."

She gave his dick a parting kiss, and vanished beneath the curtains.

I shook my head, laughing quietly, giving Kiera an overwhelmed but intrigued expression. This mission was going to be interesting. I turned to the king, who was busy kissing his wife, by which I mean eating her pussy, running his tongue up and down her crevasse, nibbling on the clitoral nub, sucking it, making her purr. Soon she made elegant finger signals. He nodded, and she retreated beneath the curtains to reappear in his lap moments later.

"Try not to stare so much, John."

"You eat your food." I took her advice though and made an effort, but soon peeked back.

The queen's fingers unlatched a triangular piece of fabric hiding his dick which immediately sprang free, pointing directly at her face. She eased down devouring him wetly, sinking her chin to his balls before she, too, started to bob.

The king laughed at something someone across the table had said, then, "But I am neglecting my guests!" He turned to me. "How do you like our food, John?"

I looked down at my plate, full of succulent meats and alien vegetables in rich sauces, none of which I had touched. He was having some fun I realized. He must have some idea of the culture shock I was going through; the man wasn't an idiot.

"Oh, great, Kont. My compliments to your cooks." I grabbed a five-tined fork and tried the meat. Tasted like chicken.

After supper, the king took the queen, Kiera and me for a walk down a promenade which ran the side of the imperial palace hundreds of floors over the moonlit jungle. The view was spectacular. The gas giant filled the right half of the sky, a small moon floated in the left, and below in distant prairies giant figures roamed. Dinosaurs, they told me, herbivores.

The queen made hand signals which the king translated. "My beautiful wife wonders, how long will you be staying with us?"

"It's an open trip," I said. "Could be months, could be a year."

"Until you kick us out!" Kiera said.

The king laughed, and after translating so did his wife in her airy purr.

"Well if you will be here for some time, you will have to hunt with me! See that?" He pointed at the dinosaurs. "We kill that! Feed many people many days. You ate some of him tonight."

I grinned widely. "Sounds like fun."

"We hunt in a few days. Both of you come I hope."

A door to the promenade hissed open, and an Ephrani woman stepped out from the inner light. She wore skin-tight pants and no top.

"Many women go topless," Kiera whispered. More good news.

"Ah!" the king said. "Let me introduce you to my daughter, Lorse."

Lorse strode forward to meet us. Her pants were chequered black on purple and very tight, accentuating her hips and the gap between her thighs. Her breasts were heavy and round, very human, drooping with pink-purple areolae roughly the colour of the vulva on her face. And what a delicious vulva it was, the most exquisite I had seen yet on an Ephrani woman, thick lips yawning in a way that was almost obscene, just inviting a stiff dick. Boiling my blood. Her black hair was in a short boyish cut. Her feet were bare.

I must have been staring because Kiera whispered, "You're loving the planet I picked, aren't you? I thought you would."

The daughter noticed me with little reaction, but when her eyes found Kiera she stopped and stared. Rapid gestures to her parents followed. The king laughed. "My daughter has never seen a human woman before!"

Lorse came and shook each of our hands, Kiera first, boldly touching her nose and lips which made my partner smile. When it was my turn I tried not to stare at her pussy, wondering how the men on this planet contained themselves with the female sex paraded so openly.

Lorse looked me over some time, summing me up perhaps, then fired quick questions to her parents. They responded in a flurry of twirling knuckles. She eyed me again. I liked the way she did.

The king grinned. "My daughter wonders if you have selected a shorfice yet."

"Shorfice?" I said.

"The previous ambassadors did not tell you about the shorfici?"

I turned to Kiera, who gave me a "I don't know what he's talking about; do you?" look. I shook my head, but quickly saved the situation with, "Oh-oh-oh! Shorfice! No. Not yet."

"Good!" the king said. "The other ambassadors seemed to enjoy theirs very much. I wonder, John, would you do my daughter the honour of taking her as your shorfice?"

I looked at Lorse again, now standing behind her parents out of their view. She took an index finger and sensually plunged it into her pussy, soft, pink folds devouring it.

I nodded dumbly.

"Super!" The king clapped, and signaled his daughter the affirmative. She eyed me in her sultry way, walked over and opened her arms for a hug. I laughed as I embraced her. The Ephrane certainly were a warm people.

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