tagSci-Fi & FantasyStarship Traveler Ch. 05

Starship Traveler Ch. 05


Starship Traveler: Chapter Five:


"Do not discount love, Revekah. Love is the most powerful emotion of all."

Revekah lay back on her bed and thought about that statement. Somehow the thought of love was even more disturbing than the thought of sex. "I thought you said that sex was."

"Human sexual pleasure is very intense. But love, it has depth and strength. I have not found a race that does not experience love and value it above all other things."

"Do Traveler's believe in god?"

"Do we believe that there was a single all knowing creator intelligence that is responsible for all that happens in the universe, a creator that made us and you and all other living things? No, that theory never was a part of any Traveler mythos. In fact, we know that there was a creator race. We have found evidence that there was a race that planted the seeds of life throughout the universe."

"What?" Revekah's voice was shocked and incredulous.

"They came through this universe long ago and left behind the seeds. All life has some very basic things in common, some basic building blocks. Some theorists suggest it was in their excretions, other more idealistic thinkers believe it was a deliberate action. There is no way to know for sure. But we have found evidence of their visits and there is too much in common between the life on all worlds to question the fact they existed here for a while and then moved on. Perhaps they are still traveling from one universe to the next, planting the seeds or leaving their shit, it does not matter which."

"You keep saying things that make my head spin. I am asking about this one amazing thing and you casually say 'this universe' like everyone knows there are others. I am trying to get around the idea that there were some aliens that came to Earth and left some shit behind and all life on Earth has somehow evolved from that. And there you go saying 'this universe'. Okay, how many universes?"

"That is a question many would give a great deal to learn. We are just now beginning to realize that the concept of universe is not a singular. In theory there are infinite universes. No Traveler has gone to another universe. That kind of space flight is far beyond our technology."

"Is it too far for the ship to travel?"

"I fear I am going to just raise more questions with this answer, but the best way to express it is that it is too sideways."

"You are talking about parallel universes!"

"Excellent, Revekah, while they may not be parallel in the geometric sense, they do seem to exist side by side. But you need to understand that this is a very complex side by side. Each universe has infinite sides and then each universe that is just beside it has infinite sides with more universes next to it."

"How do they know that they really exist, if you can't go there?"

"Now, Revekah, you have gone beyond this simple Traveler's ability to understand or explain. It is a theoretical physics beyond my ability. I devoted most of my study to alien species and did not spend enough time with mathematics and physics. Suffice it to say that the experts have sent things, tiny things, there and gotten them back almost the same instant. They were able to track that very short trip. It was little more than touching the surface of the ocean with a finger tip, but the finger tip came back wet. It proves the existence of water, but how deep is it and how wide? That is something we may never know. It is a very exciting concept to a Traveler, an infinity of universes to explore."

Cautiously and deliberately, Revekah reached out and touched Xeno's hand, not one of the strong three fingered hands but one of the six fingered boneless hands on the end of his smaller arm that seemed to trigger more instinctive fear. Xeno sat very still and let her explore. It felt warm and just a little damp, but was not like the squid tentacles she imagined. Curiously she manipulated the 'fingers' and felt the rough surface of his palm. It was soft and seemed to very slightly adhere to her skin, like the gentlest Velcro. "You say you taste things with your fingers?"

"Yes, I have chemical receptors on my fingers and palms."

"Do I taste funny?"

"No, you taste salty."

Revekah began to giggle, "Only salty?"

"Salty and a little like chicken."

Revekah's giggle turned to shrieks of laughter. "Chicken? How did you know about that joke?"

"I was on your planet for a few decades. I studied many aspects of your culture. There was a while where I was interested by the phenomena of cannibalism within your species. I am sure there was a lot I did not 'get' but that was one joke that stood out in my memory. 'Tastes like chicken,' is a punch line for many jokes that have to do with the consumption of human flesh."

Revekah measured her palm against his, extending her fingers out against his; the thumb-like digits were almost twice as long as her thumb but the smaller middle digits were not a great deal longer than her fingers. She interlaced her fingers with his, noting that with six digits he had five spaces in between, one for each of her fingers.

"What do I taste like, really?"

"I can taste the fluid your skin produces for temperature management, your sweat. It has salt in it and pheromones that humans use to communicate with each other. I can taste some of the flavorings that were in your past meals. Under that are the proteins and minerals that make up your skin and body fluids."

"Pheromones I sort of knew about, but I never thought about them much. I can remember how Geoff smelled." Revekah closed her eyes and thought about his pillow, about burying her face in that pillow and inhaling. Then she thought about how his skin smelled and tasted. Revekah felt an echo of that wonderful first shiver of lust that she had always gotten from that first deep inhalation of his smell. It was always strongest in his armpits or his groin. He had always complained when she would press her face there, greedily savoring that scent. He had always wanted to bathe, protesting he was dirty from work, that he stank. Revekah smiled; she had always told him that he 'stank good'. "I wish I could smell that one more time."

"Revekah, remember all you have to do is share the memory with me and I can replicate it. I could make a scent that would replicate the one in your memory. You have shared it very well. You could relive that smell anytime you choose."

"Really? I don't remember what it was like; all I remember is how it made me feel. And I wonder if it would make me feel the same, if he was not there with it. I always believed it was because it was him."

"You do remember what it was like. And in answer to whether it would make you feel the same without his physical presence? Most likely not, it may make you feel good, but the same? It is unlikely. Human memory is often triggered by scent. There are many very strong emotional memories associated with that smell in your mind."

"Yes, he always triggered some strong emotions in me. I don't think I loved anyone before I met him, and I did not think I would ever love anyone else ever again. Perhaps I wouldn't have, but now you say I will live forever. Will I forget him? Will he fade away?" Revekah's voice was small and sad. "Can my brain keep that memory forever? Can you forget love?"

"You are correct in your realization that your brain, even my brain, cannot keep the memories of an endless lifetime fresh and new. Old memories fade and disappear, new memories replace them. Some are recoverable. It is like the brain still has them, but has forgotten how to retrieve them but others seem to completely disappear. I do have images and recordings of your life in the data banks for you to access. But they are only the outside, they are not what you felt and thought while you were experiencing them. Only memories that are used, remembered, re-experienced, stay fresh and accessible. If you want to remember Geoff, you must keep remembering him. Share with me those memories, Revekah, and you will keep them."

A deep shuddering yawn shook through her and she realized she had not opened her eyes again since closing them thinking about Geoff's smell. Her body already had that boneless, weightless feeling that heralded sleep. "I can't stay awake any longer, maybe tomorrow." She reluctantly let go of the alien hand she had been holding for so long. An idle random thought coasted through her fading consciousness, 'tomorrow,' what does that mean in a timeless world?

This time the dream was on the ship, she was trying to hurry from one chamber to the next. But it seemed like the tubes and fibers were catching on her feet, entangling her, trying to hold her back. The hanging tendrils grabbed at her and she struggled to get through them, wiggling and squeezing her body through what seemed like an impenetrable mass. She was looking for someone and as soon as she thought it, she realized she was looking for Geoff. He had said that the ship had left the planet and he had been there on it. He had to be here somewhere. She called out to him, but there was no sound in response.

A horrible thought shot through her; Geoff was dead. The ship would recycle him. She wailed in panic and fell to her knees digging at the floor with her hands, forcing apart the layers of tubes and filaments. She screamed at the ship to give him back.

His hand on her shoulder and his voice in her ear brought her to her knees sobbing in relief. "Oh, sweetheart, I had thought I lost you." She stared into his face like a starving person.

His voice was light and amused, "You don't think I would let you leave without me?"

She wrapped her arms around him, clutching at him, fearful of losing her grip on him. "Don't ever leave me again."

Right before his lips touched hers he murmured, "I am here now."

It seemed like her whole body strained to merge with his. She could not press tightly enough against him and as he entered her, she sobbed with joy. Her orgasm rolled through her, making her loins quiver and pulse, and woke her. As she lay in the darkness, she could feel her heart beating heavily in her chest. She reached down and pressed her hand against her throbbing sex and pressed hard, trying to somehow trap the feeling, to save it for as long as possible. Her face was wet with tears. She whispered to the darkness, "I won't forget you."


Her hair had grown out almost half an inch when she could see the walls of her room from the vantage point of her bed. There was still a soft, translucent quality to her vision, like there was a faint rainbow halo around anything seen at a distance, but if she did not concentrate on it she was hardly aware of it. She was able to walk around on the damp uneven surface of the floor without assistance, but still held Xeno's arm almost out of habit now. She was having a hell of a time finding the portals between rooms. As far as she could tell, the walls of her room were uniformly covered with dangling tubes and tendrils. It frustrated the hell out of her that Xeno could walk directly to the wall, casually push aside the tendrils like a beaded curtain and step through. She kept asking him how he did that and then demand. "Damn it, can't you make an exit sign?"

Xeno would solemnly inform her he would think about that issue.

Each day she would go to the immersion pool and take a quick plunge, staying in only long enough to feel the illusion of having rinsed off, getting out before the tingling became too much to ignore. She would spend hours sitting in the data room, looking at pictures of other planets, asking Xeno endless questions. She learned how to make the images change from one to another and Xeno was showing her how to 'encourage' the data storage system to show her specific types of information. It was complicated, Revekah thought it was somewhere between learning to groom a nervous cat and do a Rubik's cube, but she was making steady progress. It was easier to learn the data system when she was accessing Earth information and she found there was a lot of information she did not know about her planet stored in the vast memory banks of the ship. She had Xeno bring up a single picture of Geoff, but for some reason she was reluctant to view the images of her life.

She ate once or twice a waking cycle and was beginning to run out of food memories and was beginning to experiment a little with new and novel tastes and textures. Sometimes she had to give back the botched efforts to the ship and try again.

Each time she felt the need to sleep, she would lie on her bed, hold his hand in hers and talk about Geoff. She told about how they met, how they fell in love. She spoke honestly about her struggles surrendering to the feeling of love. It had not been easy to let down her guard and let him into her heart. She had fought it. She had desperately held onto her fear and doubts, focusing on his faults to keep him at a comfortable distance for too long. She talked about how it had been to finally realize the truth and to acknowledge how much she loved and needed him. She spoke candidly about how it felt to make love to him, reliving each tender passionate moment with all the detail she could dredge from her memory.

She found she would look at Xeno's hands when she spoke to him. His head did not really have a face and his eye's held no recognizable emotion. The only emotions she could sense from him were the tones of his voice filling her head. More often than not, she did not look at him at all; she would look at the screen of the data machine or just keep her eyes closed as she lay beside him. It seemed like she could be comfortable with some portion of his anatomy but to look at all of him was still disturbing. It was like she could not resolve that the voice in her head and the thing she was looking at were one and the same. She still could not abide the idea of looking at the frightening pink tongue she knew lurked somewhere inside of him.

Each time she slept she would dream and it seemed like Geoff would always be there waiting for her. Each time she woke she would be very conscious of a burning need for completion. The sex in her dreams did nothing more than remind her of her growing hunger. She tried to not think about it as much as possible. Every time she would feel tempted to caress herself, to ease the tension in her body, the thought of Xeno would fill her mind. She would see the image of him, whole and frighteningly alien and hear the disturbing phrase in her head, 'self stimulating'. It made the whole situation untenable. Xeno kept his promise of not speaking about any of this, but she knew he was waiting. This was why he wanted her and not some other kind of alien for a partner.

One night she woke from a particularly disturbing dream. She had been with Geoff again but when she turned her head, Xeno had been there watching them make love and as she looked at him, his mouth had opened and that tongue had come out, long and pink and disturbingly phallic.

Still shuddering in fear she had called to him, "Xeno, I need to talk with you." Almost as she spoke the lights came on.

Instantly his voice was in her head, "Yes, Revekah?"

"I need you to be here. I need to look at you."

She stood on the foot of her bed and faced him, almost eye to eye. "I need you to tell me about your tongue. First tell me all about it and then I have to look at it. I want to look at it close."

Xeno's voice was surprised, "My tongue is primarily used to transport food into my mouth. My species is omnivorous, but our tongues were very adept at catching small animals to consume. It can be extended from my mouth almost five feet or it can retract to a length of twelve inches. It has a bifurcated tip that can grasp objects and can lift up to twenty pounds. In primitive times the tongue was also used to introduce the genetic material into the symbiots for gestation. It is very sensitive to taste, touch, and temperature."

Revekah nodded, "And it's pink. Why, oh why did it have to be pink?"

"Yours is pink."

"Yes and I think that is half of why it seemed so freaking weird before. Okay, open your mouth but do not stick out your tongue yet. I will just look in. It will help if you just keep it as still as possible in there."

As he opened his mouth, he asked, "Revekah, could you explain this sudden curiosity about my tongue?"

"I had a dream. You stuck your tongue out at me. It was creepy. I just need to understand this a little better. I think that I have been making my fears worse by trying to ignore it." She peered warily in past the rows of triangular teeth. "No molars. You don't chew?"

"No, I swallow my food whole. I have very efficient digestive enzymes."

Open, his mouth was almost big enough for her to put her whole head inside. She peered at the neatly coiled pink cylinder lying behind his teeth. She was close enough to smell the inside of his mouth and she was surprised to find it vaguely sweet smelling, like freshly mown hay. "You have nice smelling breath."

"That would be an accurate statement if I actually breathed."

"Okay, you have nice smelling spit." She giggled. "It's kind of weird to be looking into your mouth and still be talking. As much as I can realize the truth that all this is in my head, somehow in my gut I still seem to have to see some lips moving somewhere."

She stepped back several feet. "Now stick it out just a little bit, just the tip and hold it still for me to look at." As the rolls of pink tissue began to uncoil and move, she took an involuntary step back, almost stepping off the bed. "Um... could you do that with your mouth mostly closed?" Slowly his mouth closed so it was a slit only a few inches wide, the interior fell into shadows. "That's better." She stared curiously as two small almost fingerlike pink tips slowly eased out of his mouth. They were about eight inches long and seemed to quiver slightly. "Could you keep it still like that, please?"

"I will do my best."

"I know I am being pretty demanding but if we do this my way, at my pace, I think we can get through this." She stepped closer and peered at the surface of the pink things. They looked surprisingly smooth and while damp they were not dripping in long strings of spit or anything gross.

"You are doing very well, Revekah. I am pleased you are confronting your discomfort with my appearance."

"So when you stick out your tongue all the way, it is almost as long as I am tall."


"And when you stick it out you can point it anywhere and make it snake around things?"

"Revekah, I have become aware of your feelings about snakes. My tongue is not a snake."

"I know, but it can crawl around like one, right?"

"The muscular action is very different."

"Damn it; stop getting all precise and logical. This is illogical. It can crawl around things, can't it?"

"Yes, Revekah, I can make it do that."

"Okay, step back as far away as you can get from my bed and stick it out all the way."

Revekah was distinctly aware of her skin crawling as she watched the impossibly long pink thing extend from his mouth. It seemed to get thinner as it got longer and pointed out straight at her. "Point it some other direction, please."

She watched in amazement as the long pink appendage moved to the corner of his mouth and pointed to one side. "You can point it any direction, can't you?"

"Yes, Revekah, I can make it do that."

"Show me."

Slowly his tongue reached straight up and then down to the floor, finally it curved around his head and pointed behind him. He was very careful to never point it directly at her the whole time. "Okay, make it shorter." The length gradually shortened until it was only about as long as her forearm. She noticed that the tips shrank until they were only two small bumps on the tip. She forced herself to stare at it and then hopped down off the bed and slogged through the floor to look closer. It did not look at all like a penis. She gave it a hard look, almost daring it to look like it had in her dream.

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