Scarlett floated in the nude about her cabin. She grinned to see her reflection in the mirror. Not to be too boastful, but she knew she was hot. She was tall with a firm build, a nice ass, and straight blonde hair, which now drifted around her head.
She knew that strictly speaking she was breaking regs, but who would know? After all, being part of the Deep Space Corps meant being alone—a lot! The ship was on auto, which meant she had time to play. According to the Navi-Com, she wouldn’t reach the new star system for eight hours.
More than enough time for fun.
So, spinning around in her room, she pulled up a nice old movie, Quest for the Lost Treasure, starring that supreme man of all men, Bill Grange. She’d seen it a dozen times, so she skipped over the first hour, and got right to the good part, Bill’s confrontation with the queen.
“You are no queen, you’re nothing but a spoiled child, and I’ve just the cure for what ails you,” he scolded.
The queen rose from her throne. “You dare lay hands upon me, and you shall die this very day!”
“It’d be a small price to pay,” he sneered.
Scarlett frowned and waved her hand over the viewer’s controls. This was where the movie sucked. Instead of the queen getting what she deserved, the idiot scientist rushed in to interrupt the scene. It was worse than that aborted spanking scene in that old movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This was where Scarlett’s imagination stepped in. She saw herself as the queen, eye to eye with Bill, and he acted!
Sitting upon the throne, he pulled her across his lap. He was, of course, quite tall, and her feet and hands couldn’t touch the floor. Her long regal gown of purple silk was pulled up to reveal her delicate black lace thong, and then she felt his hand—that most gorgeous of hands—smack her ass. Naturally, she played her part well, the fuming angry lady.
“Unhand me, you peasant. A commoner does not touch the royal flesh!”
“Oh yeah? Well I’m sure touching it now,” he shot back.
Over and over his hand smacked her behind. Scarlett shut her eyes as tight as possible, trying to seal out reality. Her right hand spanked her bare ass, desperate to do it the way she was sure Bill could. Meanwhile, her left hand slipped between her legs to add to her pleasures.
“Oh, Bill… ohhh, Bill… yesss… teach me to-to-to behave!” she wailed in pure bliss.
Scarlett groaned in frustration and opened her eyes. It hadn’t worked. She hadn’t climaxed. Considering how long it had been since she’d had sex, she was amazed that she hadn’t cum.
Shit! Oh well, guess I need to find another fantasy.
Drifting over to the cabinet, she got out some clothes and put them on. The wail of the klaxon caught her attention.
“Uh-oh, what’s up?” she said, and headed for the bridge.
* * *
Azul sat at his desk and faced his large round picture window. Sitting there, all four arms open toward the soft light of their two suns, he closed his eyes and fed. Outside was the garden, as all buildings on the planet had gardens, and beyond that was the forest. He could sense the Akia out there; their energy washed over him and he drank it in. While sentient beings, the Akia were small simple creatures without anything more than a simple tribal culture. Some children called them the fairies of the forest.
Azul groaned. There weren’t many Akia nearby, and most weren’t happy. He could tell, the flavor of their energy was… bland. Yet, what could he do? He was starving! He’d make a point of mentioning it at the next hospital staff meeting. They’d have to do something to please the Akia.
The comm-unit on his desk beeped. He opened his eyes and turned toward it, and a second later a hologram of Carlen appeared.
“My dear doctor,” she said, bowing her head to him, “apologies for this intrusion, but it’s an emergency.”
Azul returned the bow and smiled at her. “Apology unnecessary, I was merely feeding.”
“All the more reason to apologize; I’ve noted your weight loss of late. You need to feed more.”
“We are all on a diet, director, the Akia are unhappy. Rather than feed more, I shall spend more time in the garden and forest pleasing them. Now, what is the emergency?”
“An alien ship has been detected in the system. We attempted to hail it, but there was no response.”
“Ah, yes. I heard about that on the News Net. There was some concern as to its intentions, as it was remaining silent.”
“Yes, well, we know why now. Its course was quite erratic, and it crashed a few hours ago right outside the city.”
Azul rose to his feet. “Crashed? Hmm, that explains why the Akia are unhappy.”
“Yes, it was quite upsetting to many. The craft was a single occupant scout ship, some sort of deep space probe, and the pilot survived.”
“Survived? What sort of being is it?”
“Unknown. It’s unlike any race we’ve encountered.”
“Ah, and that’s why you’ve called me,” he said, smiling to show his tiny teeth.
“Exactly. Please come to the isolation ward at once.”
The unit switched off, and Azul set off, scurrying down the hall just as fast as his four legs could carry him. All manner of questions raced through his large head. A new race—what was their biology? How did they feed? Were they peaceful? That last question he was almost sure the answer was yes. Over the centuries, Daruka had seen its share of visitors, and they’d found that virtually all races capable of interstellar travel were benevolent. Of course, there was that word: virtually.
He zipped by one staff member after another—doctors, specialists, nurses, and so on. They exchanged brief pleasantries, and then he came to… it.
Director Carlen was waiting at the sealed door. She was as he remembered; tall, willowy, burning red hair on her large head and running down her snake-like neck. For a woman of nearly seventy, she was still quite the looker. She waved a hand before the security scanner and they were admitted. Inside was the hot box. Azul stood at the window and gazed in, and shuddered.
“Ack, what a horrid energy,” he said, almost gagging.
“Yes, she’s been giving that off since we found her.”
“She? It’s a female? You sure?”
Carlen nodded. “Yes. While she’s obviously quite different, there are some similarities. She has an endo-skeleton, two circulatory systems, some organs similar to ours, especially the respiratory system, and a highly developed brain.”
“How can you be sure of its gender?”
“Note the large upper glands on its torso. They’re capable of producing liquid nourishment, based on our cellular scan. Also, dual egg sacs are positioned near what can only be a fetal growth chamber. The access port between her legs can likewise only be for the introduction of fertilizing material.”
Azul slowly nodded. As always, the director was nothing if not thorough. He stood there at the window, watching as the mecha-meds tried to tend to the poor creature’s wounds. She looked so small lying on the medi-pad. It was a standard size, but the woman was quite tiny. Azul would estimate she was about the size of an early teen on his planet. The room made her look even smaller. It was a normal containment room: bed, mechanical arms to tend to the subject, cabinets and shelves full of equipment and gear, and med-comp (the best medical computer on the planet).
Azul rubbed his chest. He was feeling great discomfort from the woman’s pain. “Med-comp, status?”
“Loss of iron-based fluid has been arrested, damage to skeletal system is being repaired, and nutrient mixture is being injected into her digestive tract,” it replied in its calm even voice.
“Nutrients? The creature relies on solid materials for sustenance?” he said.
Carlen nodded. “Yes, that’s another thing we’ve determined about her. However, her neural activity remains minimal, and her energy, well… you can judge for yourself.”
“Yes! So, what do you need from me?”
“Azul, you’re one of our foremost exo-biologists. We’re giving you the task of studying her and her ship to determine the best means of healing her.”
“Right, sure, of course, and then after lunch I’ll invent perpetual motion.”
“My dear doctor, remember: confidence and focus of purpose. After all, who else can we turn to?”
He sighed and nodded. “Yes, point made. Very well. Where is her ship? Have you brought it to the space port?”
“Negative. The Net is already burning up with conspiracy theories as to what this alien is after. As such, the crash site has been cordoned off, and left alone. A security detail will escort you out there.”
Azul sighed louder and rolled his eyes. “By the gods, how can people be so empty-headed?”
“I personally think it’s all the crap on the videos the kids watch these days, and their music. You can’t tell me the lyrics aren’t… inappropriate!”
“Oh please. You’re not one of those do-gooders who think there are backward messages in the songs?”
Carlen laughed. “No, not that; I’m not that nutty. Now, get to work, my man.”
He nodded, and set off. The security detail was waiting at the hovercar, and they zipped off toward the forest. It only took a few minutes to reach the site. From the air, it was quite clear as to the impact and damage. The ship had torn through close to an acre of tall trees, gradually cutting more and more off of the trees as its altitude decreased, slammed into a low mound, and then skidded to a stop nearly half a mile away. The hovercar landed, the security people spread out to surround the area, and Azul was left to approach the ship alone.
He scanned the area. It was clear why the Akia were so upset. The ground was scorched, trees and vegetation reduced to ashes, and the stench of alien fluids and materials choked the air. The place would have to be fully decontaminated, once the alien was… dealt with. The ship, while alien, was easy to figure out. Main drive, control thrusters, and then the internal chambers. The engine room was damaged but repairable. It was the bridge that was truly a mess. Azul got out his portal computer to analyze the ship and all its records. He groaned and shook his head; there had been some loss due to the damage. There was information on her home and mission and some data on her biology, which would prove useful. In her cabin he found personal items and some eBooks. He downloaded them to his computer; he’d read them later—if necessary—to gain more insight into the alien’s mental state.
However, there was no data on her home world.
So, he returned to the hospital and his office, and began the long slow process of digesting all of the data he’d retrieved. He actually found it quite fascinating.
* * *
Two weeks later, once he’d reviewed everything, he met with the director and senior staff. Standing in the meeting hall before their semi-circular desk, he projected a series of holograms around him, among them an image of a smiling young woman with white blonde hair. “This is our visitor; her name is Scarlett Collins. Age twenty-seven, as measured on her world.”
“How do you know that?” Carlen said.
Azul gestured at another image, an open book. “By reading her personal journal. It wasn’t hard to decipher; their language is composed of twenty-six unique characters. Learning to speak and understand it, now that took a while.”
“How did you do that?”
“Among the data on her ship’s computer and her personal unit were a number of two-D videos. By observing them I deduced them to be news programs, entertainment, and important events involving her family. Scarlett seems to truly enjoy action stories where the heroine goes on a long adventure.”
Carlen nodded. “That would fit with the personality of an explorer. What else?”
“Her race calls themselves humans, and she appears to be of average size for them.”
“Really? She’s so small,” Carlen said.
“They are quite tiny. Based on their measurement system, she’s five and a half feet tall, and quite lovely—again, by their standards. They have two genders, and their reproductive cycle is comparable to ours. While some of their organs are different, their lifespan and cell structure are remarkably similar as well.”
“You mean they have DNA?” Carlen said.
He nodded. “Yes, although it is composed of different nucleic acids.”
“What about her home world?” Capri, the Head of Nursing said.
Azul gestured at the star chart next to him. “From her navigational computer I was able to re-create most of her course, but there are gaps. All I know is that she comes from somewhere in Sector Four-Two.”
“That’s a vast area, Azul,” Carlen said. “We can’t just go sending out random signals and hope to contact her people.”
“We shouldn’t send any message at all!” Capri snapped. “Until we know her intentions, we should consider her hostile.”
Azul opened his mouth to disagree, but then saw heads nodding in agreement. The entire board, save Carlen, was with her. This did not bode well for the small human.
Carlen rose to her feet. “Now, hold on, let’s not jump to any conclusions. After all, based on our analysis, her ship was unarmed.”
“That merely means it was a scout,” Capri shot back. “Madam Director, we have repaired her body, but her spirit remains weak, and we are growing concerned.”
“I’m sure that, given time, I can find the answer,” Azul said quickly.
“Azul, it’s not your abilities we doubt,” she replied. “Her negative energy is literally making two floors of the hospital sick! She’s growing weaker. Now, I hate to suggest this, but perhaps she should be… terminated.”
“Capri, that is uncalled for,” Carlen said, practically growling.
Azul moved closer to the desk. “I agree. Remember our oath, given to us by the gods. Heal not hurt. In addition, consider this point, if we terminate her we lose any hope of learning where she comes from. What if her people come looking for her? If they are at all hostile, how will they react to her death?”
“We can tell them she perished in the crash,” she replied. “How will they know otherwise?”
“Yes, point made,” he said.
Capri smiled. “However, you also make a good point concerning our oath. So, Dr. Azul, do you have a suggestion as to how to proceed?”
He turned away from them, unsure of what he wanted to say. Gazing at the holograms of Scarlett—the images from her personal effects, the latest hospital picture—he felt such warmth in his hearts. He made his decision, and turned to face them anew.
“I believe I have a solution. I want to use the Molecular Re-Arranger.”
Carlen looked from member to member of the board, and then spoke. “Azul, what exactly are you suggesting? Do you want to make her… one of us?”
“No, I shall re-form myself to resemble a human. Based on my readings of her journal and her books, and viewing her videos, I’ve come to understand that her race is very much like us in one other important area, their need for companionship. I believe that if I create a suitable comfortable environment for her, she will recover.”
“That is a huge commitment on your part, Azul,” Carlen said. “Why would you want to do such a thing?”
He smiled, casting his eyes upon the image of Scarlett. “In reading her personal journal, and viewing the images of her with her family, I have come to… feel for her. She seems quite the happy gentle soul, and it would please me greatly to help her—to heal her.”
Capri slowly nodded. “Very good. How do you wish to proceed?”
He outlined his idea, the board sitting in rapt attention, and then they voted.
It was unanimous.
They would implement his plan the next day.