tagSci-Fi & FantasyStarship Traveler Ch. 02

Starship Traveler Ch. 02

byXantu©

Starship Traveler: Chapter Two: First Contact

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Again her dreams were rich in detail and seemed to go on forever. People long dead drifted through her thoughts. Her mother looked at her and spoke, "Where are you going?"

"I am sorry, Momma, I am going far away. I don't know if I will ever come back."

Her first husband, a kind hearted man who could not resist being kind to a long list of 'other' women, loomed close, leering. "Looking good, Revekah, have you been exercising?" She shook her head wordlessly, and then looked down at her body and realized she was nude.

Revekah pushed through what seemed like throngs of strange people. Most of them took no notice of her unclothed state, but some looked offended and others reached out and tried to grab at her. She hurried through the crowd, dodging judgmental eyes and too familiar hands. She found herself searching, trying to find someone she knew. The harder she tried to look, the more difficult it became to see, the air filling up with the sparkling nimbus of the space ship.

Revekah became aware of a thought that if she did not hurry, the ship was going to take off and she would be trapped on board. She did not want to go. She wanted to go home. She began to feel panicky, calling out, "Wait! Let me off. I don't have a ticket."

Suddenly she crashed into Geoff, her beloved Geoff. She wrapped her arms around him, sobbing in relief and joy to see him one more time, "Geoff, we have to get off. The ship is going to take off."

He looked at her and shook his head, "Revekah, it is too late. We have already left the planet." Then he pulled her close and began to kiss her, his hands working their magic on her body like they always could. She felt herself almost instantly responding, oblivious to the people standing around them.

"Revekah, wake up." Xeno's voice cut her dream to ribbons.

A soft sob of protest broke her lips and she whispered his name, "Geoff." Her body tingled with need, a dull sweet ache murmured in her center.

Revekah was disoriented. Again it was dark. She tried to sit up, but only her arms were free. She began to feel around the edge of what she thought of as a table. It was not a table; the sides were solid and felt oddly resilient and moist. She realized that she was actually lying on the ship itself. Her skin crawled as she thought how Xeno had told her that the ship was a living thing. She told herself that he had said it was not sentient, but she wondered how smart it was. Was it like a dog or a cat? Or was it just a huge protoplasm without any self-awareness? She wondered if it could feel her touching it.

"Revekah, are you awake?"

"Yes."

"Would you like to have light?"

"Yes please, and can I sit back up again?"

Again she found herself surrounded by a nimbus of glittering particles. "How long will it take until I can see?"

"There is no way to know precisely. Your brain has the necessary plasticity to adjust, but it will take time."

"Will I have to be bonded to this surface until I can see?"

"No, Revekah, but you will need to be able to tolerate my touch, so that I may assist you as you move about."

She wanted to change the subject from being touched by those hands, "Is the ship very big?"

"The external measurements of this ship would be deemed quite large by your species, but the internal living quarters are not large, perhaps the size of the structure you inhabited when I collected you."

Revekah grimaced. She had been living in an eight by thirty trailer in an elderly community trailer court in southern California. "That's not very big."

"If you find we need more space to be comfortable, I can have the ship grow us more chambers. It is time consuming, though."

"No need for that now, maybe later when I can see."

"If you wish."

"You know what I wish for right now? I wish for this." Revekah focused and imagined a big cup of hot coffee, with a shot of rum in it and whipped cream on top. She wondered if she imagined alcohol carefully enough if she could get a little tipsy.

"You will find the intoxicating effects of ethanol to be very short lived. The nano bots will detect it as a poison and break it down into a more benign compound."

"Will they do the same for caffeine?"

"Any foreign substance that will impair the normal function of your body will be rendered neutral."

"Damn."

"Is the ingestion of intoxicants necessary for your happiness?"

"No, not necessary, now I bet you are going to tell me I can't have sex."

"Oh to the contrary, I am very much looking forward to having sex with you."

Revekah froze on the table, instantly aware of her naked state and tried to cover herself with her hands. A tiny whimper of terror rose up in her throat. "You... you... want to have sex?"

"I have frightened you. I am sorry. It is my nature to answer questions directly. I did not realize you were joking. Please, Revekah, remember I will not hurt you, ever. I will not force you to do anything you do not want to do. I understand it may take years for you to feel comfortable enough just to touch me. But it took me several hundred years to come and get you. It will take at least another sixty to get to the next star system. We have time. I am confident after ten or so years you will become very comfortable around me. I will wait."

"Could we do it? Do you even have the parts?"

"Do you mean do I have an appendage that would function as a male penis?"

"Um, yeah, that."

"No, but I do have very nimble digits; and I also have a very long prehensile tongue. If you require an appendage that would be an analog for the human male penis, you could imagine it and I could make it for your use."

"Why?"

"I am sorry, Revekah. You have asked me another question without references. Why would I make you an analog penis? Or perhaps you were asking why you would require one?"

"No, why do you want to have sex with me? You can't find me anymore attractive than I do you."

"Revekah, my species does not look at the exterior as much as yours does. I find your mind exceedingly beautiful. I enjoy sharing experiences with you telepathically. I very much savored the ice cream when you imagined it and while you ingested it. The human species is unique in its capacity to feel extreme amounts of pleasure when performing its mating act, especially the human female. That is the primary reason why I chose a member of your species as a ship partner. I wish to share that pleasure with you."

"Don't you feel pleasure when performing the mating act?" Revekah felt a little squeamish to be discussing sexuality with an alien she had not even seen. She found herself retreating into his precise clinical vernacular. She also realized she was instantly beginning to identify Xeno as male, now that he had so openly stated his interest in having sex with her.

"My species feels compelled, even driven, to reproduce. But do we experience pleasure while mating? No, not at all, in fact it can be very painful. The human orgasm is perhaps one of the most powerful pleasurable sensations our species has found. Humans are in great demand on our planet. Only a few have made the journey and they have become immensely rich marketing the chance to share pleasure with them."

Revekah began to laugh, "Oh my god, intergalactic whores, that is too funny."

"I do not understand that joke. Perhaps you could explain."

"I don't know. Just the idea of becoming practically immortal, traveling for lifetimes across intergalactic space just to sell your body to a bunch of aliens just seems way beyond funny."

"I have traveled lifetimes to find you."

Instantly sobered by the poignant tone in Xeno's communication, Revekah stopped laughing. "Is it that important to you? Is sharing my sexual pleasure worth all this?"

"Isn't it for you?"

Revekah thought about it, "I guess I have been old for too long. I remember a time when I was young that it seemed important."

"Your body is young again, now."

"I think that being abducted by horny space aliens has kind of put a damper on things." Revekah wondered if she would ever be in the mood now. It was beyond imagining and every fiber of her being was trying not to dissolve into a mass of screaming hysteria. She forced her mind away from frightening images and back to the coffee. "I think this conversation started with coffee. Could we try again and please never talk to me about sex again?"

"Never is a very long time, Revekah. But I will comply with your requests."

This time, when 'he' handed her the coffee, it seemed to Revekah like she could see further up his arm and there was a definite impression of another larger limb or two moving in and out of the swirling clouds. As she took a swallow of the coffee, she blinked and strained to see more. "Revekah, straining to see will not significantly increase the rate of your visual cortex's adjustment."

After she drained the cup and let it slip forgotten from her fingers, Revekah asked, "Could you move closer?" Her voice tensed, "Just don't touch me. I just want to see more."

"I will move closer soon. First I will describe the portion of my anatomy you would refer to as a head and face. I do have a 'head'. It is the location of my 'eyes'. I do not have hair but my species does have decorative frills that start at the top of the head and then continue down their dorsal side. I have a 'mouth' but it is not located on the portion of my anatomy you would identify as a head. It is located ventrally in my torso. I look very different than any species you have seen before."

"That sounds like an understatement. What if I start screaming?"

"I will back away if my proximity creates too much emotional stress. Are you prepared for me to move closer so that you may observe your reactions?"

"Almost, but don't touch me."

"I will not touch you until you agree to that contact."

A movement in the swirling air made Revekah start and instinctively jerk to move back. Again she was very conscious of not being able to move. "Xeno, could you unbond my whole body? Somehow being unable to move seems to be freaking me out. Is there a way you could, um, put rails on this bed thing?"

"Rails?"

Revekah focused and pictured the rails that were on Geoff's bed at the hospital those last weeks before he died. The pain medication made him confused and he tended to try to get up, stating he wanted to go smoke. He had quit smoking years before. She realized she was distracted and focused more on the railings.

"I could do that. Pull your arms close to your side."

The narrow reclined surface slowly changed shape, low ridges along the sides growing until they were about eight inches tall.

Revekah pushed on the low barrier. If felt very strong, but with a padded resilient surface. "Good, now I can't fall out. Could you let my body free? I promise not to run away. Where would I go?"

"Sometimes panic can lead an individual to perform irrational acts."

"Then I guess you will need to catch me."

"If you attempt to evade me and move away, do I have your permission to retrieve you and put you back?"

Her voice was reluctant, "Yes, I just am getting very tired of being fastened down."

"Agreed." Revekah found herself able to move freely and she experimentally flexed her legs and then curled them up underneath her hips.

"Okay, move closer."

He had described himself pretty accurately, but it did little to soothe the shock and instant wave of fear. Revekah shrank into a ball, pulling her knees up to her chest and had to fight the impulse to scoot back. He had massive shoulders, at least twice as wide as a normal human male. Two massive arms, the size of a steroid freak muscle builder's, hung down at his sides and two more, smaller arms attached more toward the front. The hands on the end of the arms hung down, disappearing into the swirling sparkles There was a dome shaped 'head' without any kind of neck, that rose up from the top of his body. Revekah could see a lot of complex textured ridges and bumps on the head. He was very tall, Revekah was not sure how far off the floor the 'bed' was, but he loomed tall over her.

"Could you duck down a little? You are towering over me. It makes it a little scary."

Slowly he lowered so that his 'head' was almost level with hers. "Revekah, you are maintaining your calm very well. You are communicating very well about what you need to remain calm."

"Just don't touch me."

"I will not touch you."

She looked curiously at his head. She could see a row of large, surprisingly round eyes that seemed to be evenly spaced all the way around his 'head'. They were featureless black, without eyelids. Revekah had an idle thought, "Eyes in the back of his head. I guess you need that if you have no neck."

Xeno slowly turned around and she saw that the eyes did not completely reach the back of the dome she was starting to call his head. A series of parallel ridges ran from the top of his head and down the center of his back. As she watched, the ridges began to grow and then looking closer, she realized they were sort of unrolling into soft waving fins. The only thing she could think of, that looked anything like it, were the soft trailing fins of some exotic fish. Soon they were standing up across the top of his head in sort of crest that ran down his neck and back. They were not the gray color of the rest of his skin. They were all kinds of colors, some she knew, like pinks, greens and yellows, but many other 'new' colors were there. As Revekah watched the hues seemed to flow and change, rippling along the length of the softly waving crest.

"That is kind of pretty."

"Thank you. In my species, our frills are considered an important part of our physical attractiveness. I am pleased that you like mine."

Unconsciously Revekah's hand reached up and touched her own head; she was startled to find her head as smooth as a billiard ball. "Oh my god, where is my hair?"

"Ah yes, your frill, that was unfortunate. I neglected to inform the ship that your hair is an important part of your anatomy, like your outer layer of skin. While the cells may no longer be living, it is still part of your integral being. Ship should stop recycling your hair."

"Fucking son of a bitch, I mean it wasn't much, totally white and thin, but it was my hair."

"We have plenty of time. It will grow back and it will be the hair of your youth. Remember that you are leaving that old body behind. Would it make you feel less upset if I told you that I find the lack of hair to have little bearing on how attractive I find you?"

Absent mindedly she muttered, "It was red. I was a red head." Xeno had turned to face her again and she was looking curiously down his chest. "Where is your mouth?"

"On my torso, between my arms, before I open it I must warn you that I do have teeth. Not like yours, more like a sharks. I also have a rather long tongue."

"Do you bite?"

"Is this humor, Revekah?"

"If I don't make jokes, I might just crawl off the back of this thing you call a horizontal surface."

"I understand. No, Revekah, I do not bite," the voice in her head paused for a beat and then added, "I only nibble."

Revekah shrank back and then squawked in sudden laughter. Waves of uncontrollable giggles shook her and she had to hang onto the sides of the bed. It took a long time to calm down. She knew that the joke was not that funny, but she was so tense that it seemed that once she started laughing she could not stop until she was drained. She wiped her eyes. "Oh god, I needed that. Thank you."

"It was a pleasure to share that experience with you. I am going to open my mouth now. Fear of teeth is a primal fear of many species." A wide horizontal mouth spread open and Revekah could see rows of teeth, small and triangular along the edges. A surprisingly pink snake seemed to writhe behind the forbidding rows of fangs. Slowly the tongue began to crawl out of his mouth and Revekah squeaked and whimpered, "Don't stick it out. Close your mouth. Close it now. Please." She covered her face with her hands and tried to control her breathing.

"Revekah, my mouth is closed. I will not open it again in your presence until you feel you are ready to look again."

"I am sorry. It was not the teeth. It was the tongue. It scared the hell out of me."

"I had not anticipated that."

"Neither did I. Maybe it was because it was pink like a human's. And then it was like a snake. Snakes scare the shit out of me."

"Our tongues are used primarily for the transport of food into our mouths. I will not consume food around you."

Revekah peeked out from between her fingers. She could feel her heart racing. "Xeno, could you please make..." She focused her mind on the chamber pot again. "I need it." When he returned with the pot, she pointed at the foot of the bed. "Put it there and go out of the room."

"Revekah, you must not move about the room without me."

"I know. I will just use the pot up here on the surface. I will call you when I am done. I just can't do it, excrete, while you are here. I need to at least have the illusion of being alone."

It was awkward, positioning herself over the replica of the antique chamber pot, but Revekah had been putting off her need long enough that it was a huge relief. Realizing she had forgotten to ask for anything to wipe with, she squirmed in discomfort. "Xeno, please come back."

His voice filled her head, "I was not far, Revekah."

"Please take it away. Xeno, does your species bathe?"

"We do not immerse our bodies in fluid in order clean ourselves. But we do immerse our bodies in fluid to condition our skins."

"I feel dirty."

"That is not possible. Revekah, the ship has been so thorough in keeping you clean that it has recycled all the hair on your body."

"I don't care. I feel dirty!" Her voice was getting louder.

"Revekah, what is it you want me to do?"

"I want to take a bath." She could hear the stubborn, irrational tone in her voice. She could tell she was close to cracking. "Please." A tiny sob bubbled up, and then another. She pulled herself into a fetal ball and wept.

"Would you like to immerse your body in fluid?"

"Yes!"

"I can guide you to another chamber that is used for that purpose. The fluid is ninety-five percent water. The other five percent is a mixture of various chemicals that help promote the process of gas exchange through my skin. They are benign to human skin, though you might find them to be slightly stimulating to any sensitive membranes."

A wave of dread shook through her, chilling the sobs and making her shrink into a smaller ball. Again the prospect of being touched by those alien hands was too much to envision. "I can't."

"Talk about what you are afraid of, Revekah."

"I don't know. It just seems horrible somehow."

"Your fingers have brushed mine once and nothing bad happened."

"That was an accident and it freaked me out."

"But did anything bad happen?"

"No." Her voice was stubborn and unconvinced. "I just have this horrible feeling that somehow you will grab me, that I will end up all wrapped up somehow and squeezed like a boa constrictor had me." The words all came out in a rush.

"Revekah, are you using humor?"

Her answer was a wail of terror and frustration, "No!"

"Revekah, you know that if I had that intention, there would be nothing to stop me from following through on that. I have had endless opportunities to do just that. I have made a promise to you that you will never have to do anything you don't want to do. I have made a promise that I will never hurt you. My species is incapable of falsehoods. I cannot lie to you."

The unbidden thought came to her mind, "What if he is lying about that?"

"Revekah, you will just have to give it time. When you are ready to trust me then you will be able to bear the sensation of my hands touching yours."

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