tagSci-Fi & FantasySex in Sci-Fi Ch. 05

Sex in Sci-Fi Ch. 05

byTonyDowse©

PART 5: FIRST CONTACT

Chapter 1

The Scouts

The first meeting between human and alien has stirred the imagination of mankind since we first became aware of the true structure of the universe. There would be few writers of Sci-Fi who have not penned at least one version, many have created whole anthologies on the subject.

I'm no writer and maybe not too imaginative but though I dreamed of it a thousand times, I never came close to imagining just how that first time would be.

There were several hundred scout vessels identical to mine. Single crew, three to four months cruising capacity, light, fast - expendable. The overall plan was simple, a mother-ship, containing twenty scout ships, ferried us out at above light-speed, slowing to discharge us one at a time at pre-selected planetary systems. The course formed a vast circle, usually taking a little over three months to complete. So, soon after discharging the last scout the mother-ship began receiving those that had completed their survey. Our tour was for two years and so each mother-ship could survey up to seventy or so planetary systems during each tour.

The cost was of course enormous but then so were the potential rewards. With a rapidly expanding civilisation spreading out across the galaxy, new sources of every conceivable element were in constant demand. As were new homesites, manufacturing worlds, leisure resorts - and everything on an enormous scale.

Every scout paid a percentage of his or her earnings into a pooled fund, it was invested well and at that time was worth approximately two hundred and fifteen years' earnings to the winner. All you had to do to retire in consummate luxury was be the one who made the first contact with a sentient extra-terrestrial.

The government, officially not knowing about the fund, was offering a medal and an honorarium of some kind - needless to say, few of us were too worried about just how much that might have been. But, from time to time I did wonder what it would be like to be turned over-night into the most famous person in the galaxy, be interviewed on every Teev channel and be flooded with offers of every kind, some hopefully from long-legged blondes!

The blondes I felt sure I could handle. In fact during a two year tour out there, on the very edges of nothing, I spent a great deal of time thinking about the details of just how I would handle them, and them me!

I usually ended up deciding that if I had a choice or the opportunity I'd pass-up on the fame, just take the fortune and run. And I knew exactly where I was going to run to, a relatively recently opened planet that was still in the terra-forming stage and was ultimately destined to become another resort world. I knew I could buy into the place for a reasonable amount, buy myself a big enough area, maybe an island, have it fixed up with every luxury I'd ever be likely to want, and still have enough left over to ensure a regular flow of visiting blondes.

Between exploring, tripping, fishing and satisfying my visitors, and myself, I couldn't think of a better way of life.

But of course first I had to meet, and prove I had met, that first alien. The argument still raged, as it had for centuries, as to whether or not Old and New-Earth were the only planets to produce life, sentient life that is. Many scouts had found planets on which life existed, life in a variety of forms, shapes and sizes, but so far, in spite of a flurry of claims and much publicity, that one word had shut-out a string of hopefuls, the extra terrestrial must be 'sentient' and none so far had been.

I admit that there were times when I felt that the argument in favour of us ever making contact seemed to be getting weaker the further we probed, but then on the other hand we hadn't yet made it any further than our own nearby sector. But then if I was to be the one to succeed I didn't want it to be when I was too old to fully enjoy the fruits of discovery. So I continued my tours, checked out each planet according to the procedures laid down and spent a lot of time fantasising about long-legged blondes in impossible positions.

*

Chapter 2

Sam

The star system was not particularly impressive, a standard group of planets and their satellite moons. Seventeen planets that ranged in size from around two-thirds the size of Jupiter down to something similar to the mass of Mars, a total of fourteen moons were also detectable. Assuming that was it, I had thirty-one surveys to make, of which four would probably be major and the rest standard.

A standard survey really meant I switched the ship over to auto and played some music, or with myself for a few hours. The ship and its sensors took all the data and flashed it to the marker beacon left at my pick-up point, where it was stored in case anything happened to me.

A major survey could theoretically be done the same way but a human pilot had produced additional and valuable results so often that it was still worth the enormous cost of using us. Combots, as our ships were known, were certainly good but there is still something about the human mind, I don't know if it's curiosity or just the ability to make creative mental leaps that they so far just haven't been able to duplicate in machinery. So, major surveys of the most promising planets were still done with a mix of combot and human.

We all had program modifications, as well as names, for our combots. At that time mine was called Sam, short for Samantha, not Samuel, and she was programmed to be warm, bright, not too chatty, and to adore me! I had planned to do a bit more work on her voice, it was terrific when we were relaxing, husky and with just a hint of a lisp, which I found really sexy, but sometimes, when we were working on technical stuff it was just a little bit off-putting.

The procedures made various recommendations about survey sequences, dependant on the number, size and spatial relationship of systems. Naturally these were designed to provide for the maximum number of flash communications to the beacon, just in case of accidents. It wouldn't do to have half the surveys done only to lose the lot because the scout-ship had vanished while still being unable to transmit because of the bodies shielding it from the beacon. But in reality they didn't police those too much, after all we were there, the administrators weren't.

So, as usual I decided to work my way out from the centre of the system, it cost a bit more in energy but usually saved me time, if Sam got her maths right, and that was something she always did.

'Sam!'

'Hi Jake! Lost in thought for a while there weren't you.'

'Planning strategy Sam.'

'That makes a change from blondes!'

'No cheek now, duty calls.'

'Yes Sir! On your orders, Sir!'

'That's better. See if we can go for a basic, outbound slingshot please.'

'Give me a couple of minutes Jake. Processing. By the way, number six looks interesting, even from here.'

If Sam said something looked interesting you could bet money on the fact that there would be some sort of gold-mine waiting for you. So I swung round to the data banks and their view screens.

'O.K. Sam, show me please.'

The central screen bank showed a series of magnified images of planet number six, seen via various techniques including infra-red, ultra-violet, x-ray, etc. and all with colour enhancement for vegetation, fluids, minerals, gases, etc. And Sam had several hundred different ways of analysing all that data, but even before she had done any of that what I saw in front of me was in itself sufficiently interesting.

The planet's mass was about twenty percent greater than Old-Earth's, which was still the informal reference used by nearly everyone, even though ninety nine point nine, nine percent of humanity had never been within light years of that system. The atmosphere was breathable, though there seemed to be a bit too much methane to be really comfortable for more than short periods. Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels were almost spot-on, and though the gravity would make things a bit tiring it wouldn't be impossible to manage.

All in all, once we landed I should be able to walk about a bit, albeit a little sluggishly, and finding a planet where you were able to do that was a bonus in itself.

'Great stuff Sam, walkies for Jake!'

'Yes, that will be good for you, but it's not what I meant.'

I looked more closely at the screens. Sam loved getting one-up on me, which wasn't really too hard for her of course, and it took me a few minutes to see what she meant. But then, using infra-red, I spotted it, high up in the northern hemisphere, at the edge of a secondary land mass, it was very small, but quite distinct, a hot spot!

All sorts of thoughts collided with each other inside my head, and on that occasion not one of them was about blondes. Excitement, danger, curiosity, possible causes, some dull and uninteresting, like volcanoes, and there, way up at the back of my mind, almost drowned out by all the other, the thought that this might, just might, be it - contact!

I tried very hard to keep that thought under strict control by concentrating on any thoughts based on danger and swept the area with a variety of scan-types, trying hard to find a more logical reason for the hot spot.

'There is a very good chance that it's an ion-drive unit Jake.'

Sam's matter-of-fact statement undid all the good I had been able to do to stifle that rogue thought and I tried, not very successfully to hold back the excitement that bubbled up inside me.

'Thanks Sam. That's an interesting analysis. What other options please?'

'It's not a volcano or other, known natural phenomenon. There is a very high, very localised ionisation occurring and though the distance is still too great, the indications are that there is a small concentration of highly refined, metallic compounds, the mass is about three times that of this combot. Based on the data I have at the moment there is an eighty five percent chance that it is a space craft, of unknown origin.'

I exhaled hard, realising that while Sam had been talking I had been holding my breath.

'Regulations on initial, possible contact with an alien life-form require....'

'Not just now Sam. Don't flash just yet. Give me a minute or two please.'

I thought quickly.

One of the reasons for flashing on the very first suspicion of a possible encounter was the age-old fear of an aggressive, alien life-form that would immediately set-out to obliterate all traces of humanity, and what was left of other life forms that had originated on Old and New-Earth. The beacon of course provided no reference to its originating point and carried a cute little self-destruct program that would activate under certain conditions.

Theoretically, a 'contact' flash to a beacon triggered it to flash all of its stored data to another beacon, it to a third and so on until everything was retrieved by the mother-ship. As each beacon self-destructed after its transmission there was little chance of the aliens tracking the recipient, and if they did, then it was the mother-ship that would be lost, not humanity itself.

Meanwhile of course, the original scout was left very much alone, with nothing but the aliens for company. And that was one reason why I had instructed Sam to wait, I didn't fancy being that much alone, not yet anyway, not until I'd had time to think.

'Slow our approach and find us a place to hide, a planet or moon to shield us, from both the beacon and the hot spot, and keep us as far out in the system as possible please Sam'

I sensed the combot changing course and increasing speed slightly then slowing again and, knowing Sam had us on course for a safe hiding place, left her to do that while I called-up the appropriate regulations. Not that I really needed them, I and every other scout knew them by heart. I had already broken the first, which required me to flash all available data at the first moment of identification, even if I thought it was caused by just an insignificant virus buried in rock. But then regulations were fine until the real thing came along.

To be honest, I was more scared than I had been for a long, long time, and there had been quite a few really scary times over the years. I suppose the analysts would have put it down to 'culture shock', was it really happening, was homo sapiens finally going to confront another, sentient life-form? And was I going to be homo sapiens' representative!

If I was, what would they be like? Aggressive monsters that would see me as nothing more than just a tasty snack between meals? Or would they be so advanced that they'd merely 'think' me out of existence?

I realised I was sitting there, shaking uncontrollably and took a mental grip of myself.

'Sorry Sam. What's new?'

'Ionisation activity has ceased, only residual traces left in the local atmosphere, dispersing rapidly. Object is stationary, at surface level. Sensor trace will cease in twelve point four secs. Comms link to beacon has not been available for two point six secs. Course allows for shielding from both beacon and hot-spot for two point five hours. All functions appear normal Jake, but maintenance checks of transmission capacity are giving me cause for concern, there is something there I do not yet understand...'

'Over two hours to think about what to do next. Should be enough.' I thought to myself.

'O.K., continue routine maintenance checks, we aren't planning on transmitting just for the moment Sam. Assuming it is contact, what are the chances they spotted us Sam.' I asked after a bit of silent thinking.

'Hard to say without more data Jake. We've no idea just how advanced they are, given how far out we were and that the ion drive would have created interference I would have had trouble and there's only about a five percent chance I'd have picked us up. But, we can't be sure.'

Which tallied with the thoughts I'd had.

'O.K. What I'd like is a survey route that ideally starts at planet six but which takes us in from here on a course that shields us from the beacon for as long as possible and, as we get closer in, from the hot spot too. See what you can do please Sam.'

That was the kind of problem Sam was really designed for, complex astro-gation using maths I didn't even understand and which gave me a headache just to think about, but Sam revelled in it. So while she number-crunched, I ate and as I did I gave myself the luxury of actually thinking about the fund, and just what it would really mean to be that rich.

Of course by total human standards even that amount of money wouldn't be enough to put me in the super-rich category, there were families and individuals with ten, a hundred times that much wealth, but it would certainly be more money than I could spend in my lifetime and would enable me to do virtually anything I wanted to. What did I want to do with it? After that initial period, when I would be setting-up a place to live and cavorting with a series of long-legged blondes.

I'd spent so long scouting that it was hard to imagine anything else. I had friends of course, but they were nearly all 'in the business' in one way or another. Did I want a home, in the true sense of the word, with a permanent partner, children, assuming we got a licence, and everything that went with that kind of life? No more long trips away, no more months on my own, even no more Sam!

They were questions I just wasn't equipped to answer and at the back of my mind I found myself thinking that maybe contact and the fund itself were not such good ideas after all! I brought myself back to reality, that I could deal with I thought.

'How are things Sam?'

'Course plotted Jake, ten point six hours to atmosphere entry.'

Sam knew very well that I rarely had any interest in the detail of how she would get us from where we were to where we were going and therefore edited out all the technical stuff when talking to me, and on the odd occasions when it was necessary she was still able to bring the maths down to my level of understanding.

'Ten hours. Time for sleep and some breakfast, eh Sam.'

'Yes Jake, plenty of time. Exciting isn't it!'

'I suppose so, possibly dangerous too.'

'I understand that Jake. But it's still exciting!'

Combots couldn't, or so they kept assuring us, actually 'feel' emotions of course. But a range of responses corresponding to human emotions were programmed into them, as Sam was, at one level at least, a female, her responses were tinged with a number of what were classically described as being more feminine. A complex subject and one which had caused all sorts of argument down through time, but although many disagreed, most of us still found comfort in identifying certain emotions more feminine, others, more masculine. And the suppressed excitement I heard in Sam's voice was, to me at least, very definitely feminine.

'If you are right about all this, you'll be famous Sam.'

'You too Jake - and you'll be rich.'

'True. I'm not sure I'll handle that part too well, so we'll forget the fund.'

'O.K. But there'll be a string of blondes in it for you too.'

I chuckled. Sam of course knew more about my private sexual habits than even a permanent partner would. She 'shared' the times when I relieved myself while watching a vid-disc or simply lay in my bunk, masturbating to some fantasy or other. Sometimes she even augmented those, whispering sexily to me as I slowly pumped myself to a climax. So I couldn't hide anything from her, not for too long anyway!

'Probably true Sam. That's the part I think I can handle. Speaking of which - I think a little relaxation is probably a good idea, help me sleep better don't you think.'

'I agree Jake. Any particular vid-disc - or would you like me to choose one for you?'

'You choose Sam. I'll tidy up a bit and then have a refresher.'

The one thing neither of us had discussed was the Log, Sam had an automatic one of course, I was supposed to key-in my own every few hours. I hadn't done so since just before we entered the system, and until I was sure one way or the other about just what was on planet six, didn't really want to. So I did everything but that, then had a quick refresher and slipped into my bunk.

As I lay down Sam lowered the lights and started up a vid-disc, she'd picked one of my favourites of course, and it was one that she sometimes augmented for me, shutting off parts of the audio and replacing it with her own words during certain sequences. I sometimes wondered if she actually experienced some kind of 'pleasure' from seeing my reactions to her performance.

It was a simple enough story, a scout meets a girl towards the end of his period of leave, they have good times together, some memorable love-making, then he has to go back on duty. There are tearful farewells and he's gone. Then we see him alone in his combot, he's missing her, remembering the good times they'd had, especially the great fucking and we see him trying to forget her by watching vid-discs - which gives the suppliers a chance to preview other tapes of course. Then, while he's struggling towards a not very satisfactory climax, she appears, she's stowed away on the combot. That's just not possible of course but it's fiction after all and they explain it away reasonably well. Anyway, once back together again, and with nothing else much to do for some weeks, they have a ball, a series of balls actually!

That time Sam played the girl's part, removing the actresses voice completely, which of course made the scenes on board the combot even more life-like for me. So, even with the thought of what might be happening to me in a few hours roaming around inside my head, it wasn't too long before I'd pumped myself to a fantastic climax, and then simply fallen asleep.

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