Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 24

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Chapter 24

“I don’t see it.”

“He’s right, these numbers are certainly above average for the average Council citizen but they’re a far cry from those of a combat-grade Council soldier. I fail to see how this is a potential threat.”

“That is because you are looking at his current physical attributes. By his own admission the human Gus is below average in terms of physical fitness among his race. An above average human could easily have strength rivalling a Council soldier but that’s still not what’s alarming about him.”

A holodisplay lit up, showing Gus running on the treadmill. “As you can see, when pushed his body was able to adapt to the increase in activity quite easily.” The holovid sped up to the part where he received the first shock. “Look,” Trando said, pointing to the display. “He suffers the aftereffects of the shock for some time then gets back on the machine. As you can see, increasing the physical and mental stress on him had diverse effects.”

Another display lit up, this one showing graphs and deep tissue scans taken during the stress test. Various annotations were already added, courtesy of Trando. “This is his heart rate. Notice that before the testing, it was steady at an average of seventy three beats per minute. As he exerts himself, his heart rate is steadily climbing. It was nearly at three hundred beats per minute at peak speeds.”

The on-screen Gus was heaving and trying to suck in air, almost collapsed on the treadmill. The holo sped up and after a moment Gus straightened, his shaky breathing still not under control but much less ragged than before. The panel showing his vitals showed a gradual decrease in his heart rate. “His body is adapting to the change in activity. He’s going back to pre-exertion levels. And within minutes too. After an hour he wasn’t breathing hard anymore.”

Lieutenant Lashqran had lost the sneer he usually sported when discussing other species. “Was that recovery speed due to the administered medical serum?”

“No, he presented that kind of recovery even before admission of the serum. Apparently, if properly trained, a human can exhibit a higher recovery rate and higher tolerance for the lactic acid build up in muscles.”

“Only if properly trained. He’s not a threat yet. We can still manage him.”

“Yes, you’re right. But even all that is not why I scheduled this meeting.” Trando switched to another holo recording. This one was showing Gus in front of a flat surface. He was staring at it intently, hands at his sides, slightly away from his body. A chime echoed and lights suddenly started flashing on the surface. Gus’ hands started slamming down on the surface whenever a green light would flash. His eyes were darting all over the place, hands eerily accurate. He would miss some lights or slap the wrong colour but after the exercise, he boasted something like eighty five per cent accuracy.

Lieutenant Lashqran was frowning and trying to stare a hole into the holovid. Captain Echina was similarly silent and contemplating. “That’s among the fastest reaction speeds in Council species. Pair that with the ability to improve his physique over time and the rest of his characteristics and you have one very scary race.”

“He said he’s not one of their warriors, right? Do we have footage of their warrior caste from the probe?”

“Yes we do. I’ve reviewed it at length and their fighting prowess is truly… alarming.” Trando brought up another file on the viewscreen. AI showed them a grainy rendering of a unit of US Special Forces in action. The men were moving systematically towards an unseen objective, eliminating hostiles along the way. “They move with surprising coordination given their lack of thought transfer network. As you can see they use primitive combustion-propelled projectiles as weapons. No shields or plasma weaponry. However their physical feats are truly remarkable.”

The video switched to another group of soldiers training. They were lifting weights, running with heavy backpacks on, shooting targets or crawling through mud. “According to the human Gus, not all their soldiers are capable of such feats. Only the best of them become Special Forces capable of braving any and all terrains to accomplish a mission. However the vast majority of common soldiers display surprising physicality.”

Captain Echina was leaning back in her seat, a hand stroking her beautiful chin. “This changes things somewhat. I don’t think it’s a good idea to allow this human to train to the point at which he can do what these soldiers can.”

“I disagree. The human is clearly non-hostile and has agreed to a variety of invasive testing procedures. He hasn’t integrated with the crew very well but I suspect that won’t last long given that he has already started interacting with several of the crew members. He has expressed a desire to train as well as a certain eagerness to be experimented on. The medical serum and synthetisers in particular are of great interest to him. He himself has said that he wants to know what ‘our alien tech can do to him’. If I breach the subject to him I don’t think he would object to more testing under a controlled environment.”

The captain did not say anything. She was almost always frowning or making a disapproving face when it came to the human so Trando had no idea where he stood with her. “It will also greatly help if we can find out more about the species before the debriefing.”

Captain Echina sighed at that. “You’re right. Contact Major Nimson of clan Rinvi. See if she’ll allow a foreign element in her weekly training with her platoon. Also inform Lieutenants Xar’usk and Vatta Ren that the human will be made available for in depth testing if they require it. No dissections though.”

“At once Captain.”

* * *

“So here’s the thing…”

“What is it?”

“Err… I’m not sure how to say it. I mean, you know how we… we’re something of a couple now. And I think you’re great and all that but…”

Sil’s ear twitched in annoyance and she looked up to Gus. They had taken to meeting in his cabin after her shifts to cuddle and learn more about each other. After all was said and done, they had met only a few weeks ago. Sil was full of such exuberance and enthusiasm that Gus couldn’t help but have a better outlook on life after he spoke to her. She was also very trusting and caring, a fact that greatly impaired his ability to proceed with the harem route.

“What are you trying to say?”

“Well, you heard the doc right? Vatta Ren I mean. She said something about how it’s not good for your body to forcibly go into your mating period. My body fluids seem to all push you towards that so I don’t really want to force you but… I don’t know how to say this…”

She frowned. “Just say it then. I won’t get upset.”

I know what Ackbar would say in this situation.

“Well, humans regularly get urges to mate. It’s instinct you know, nothing I can do about it. And since it’s not wise to push you, I was thinking…”

Sil’s face was dangerously close to his. There was an intensity in her eyes that he had previously only seen while she was ripping his back apart. “You still haven’t gotten to the point.”

Gus gulped. He was suddenly reminded that his favourite catperson had claws and fangs and was definitely not shy about using them if she deemed fit.

“I feel like I’m going to go crazy from not getting laid. I walk everywhere and see all those hot aliens and my mind instantly goes to the gutter and we cuddle regularly and you’re so cute and I want to do so much to you I can’t even.” Gus paused to catch his breath. “Is basically what I’m saying. You could say human have mating urges that never really go away. Well, the symptoms are alleviated if we mate but they always come back.”

“Ohooo… So you’re saying that…” Her dainty hand trailed his left ear to his belly button where it gently pressed his skin. “… that you want to…” He suddenly felt the cool sensation of claws pressed against his belly and froze. “… mate with other women?”

Well shit. This is bad. She looks pretty pissed.

“No, no, no. It wouldn’t be like you and me. I mean, me and you, we’re something special you know. It wouldn’t be like, you know, mating to reproduce. Cause I’d only ever do that with you. Cause you’re the very best. But I gotta, you know, let it go once in a while. It’s bad for my health to hold it in and I wouldn’t want you to get hurt either because of me. So what I’m saying is… Hey do you know Art’ah?”

“So you’re saying that skank thinks she can steal my man?” She was purring now, claws pressing dangerously against his liver.

“She would never. I’m asking for your permission before going to her. She doesn’t know anything about this. Full disclosure, I actually had her help me out with this once. But that was waaaaay before you and I had our thing. That’s why, I think she might be willi-”

Sil’s head pressed against his lips, her soft hair and twitching ears rubbing affectionately against him. She started purring and leaned in, whispering in his ear. “If you want to do this, I’m willing to meet Ensign Art’ah to discuss this.” She started nibbling on his earlobe. “I’m not a very violent person buuuut…” Her eyes suddenly filled his vision, green irises flashing in irritation as she drew some blood with her claws. “If you ever think of mating with a woman who’s not me, I’ll pull your insides through your navel.”

Having said her piece, she returned to the happy-go-lucky Sil Nubo that he knew and loved. It was quite disturbing to see her lick his blood off her claws, a stark reminder that his harem plans were definitely not going to progress as planned.

Well, that went better than expected actually… She said she’ll talk to Art’ah. That’s progress at least. I better contact her and Nyph Rohor. I really need her advice right about now…

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 23

Hello to everyone. First I’d like to properly apologise for the long absence. I should have told you guys that I’d going on a hiatus or something when I realised I’d be staying away for more than a couple of days. It was a combination of work, writer’s block and laziness that held me back. I’m now back on track and I hope to release more chapters before the end of the year. Thanks for sticking with me even though that was kind of a dick move from me.

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Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 23

“How am I still alive?”

Gus woke up to the brightly lit ceiling of the white room he had passed out in. The entire room gave off the same sterile feeling he’d felt in the engineering department. White light glared at him from above as he cracked an eyelid open.

“You are greatly exaggerating. What you went through was certainly strenuous but by no means life-threatening.”

“It was a figure of speech, you douchebag. Why don’t you go kiss a fusion core while you’re at it?”

“I sense hostility in your voice.”

How can he sound so calm?

“Gee, I wonder why? Could it be because you fucking zapped me with twelve million volts every time I slowed down?!” Gus could feel a spark of anger churning in the pit of his stomach.

“I explained all that. It was necessary for your physical examination. Again, what I did was far tamer than what the Coalition scientists tend to do. To them, you are not a sapiant unless you are acknowledged by the Coalition. Having a vetted officer put you through your paces is enough to qualify as an in-depth analysis of your physical abilities.”

Gus pondered that while he rubbed what should have been sore muscles. It does kind of make sense. I mean, assuming I believe him. Still he did sound like a nice guy. But do mountains have feelings? Is he a mountain? Why do I not hurt?

“Hey Trando, how come nothing hurts?”

“When you passed out I took the liberty of using some medical serum on you. The results exceeded my expectations, to be honest.”

“Exceeded? Wait… Did you use me as a fucking lab rat?” Silence greeted Gus’ question. “I swear to God Trando, I’m going to pound your face into a new shape.” So far everyone on board had been very helpful, but it was situations like these that reminded Gus that he was after all just a glorified stowaway. I’m not even considered a citizen in their eyes, I bet…

“Everything worked out in the end. Better learn now what can be used on you than wait until something goes horribly wrong. The data we got was very insightful. It seems your body responds exceedingly well to treatment using the medical serum. The lactic acid build up that was frankly quite alarming was eliminated and your muscles were restored within the span of two hours. The serum does not usually take so little time to work.”

“Two hours? How long was I out?”

“Two hours,” Trando deadpanned.

Gus sat up at that. He experimentally flexed his arms and made a fist. No pain. He got up gingerly, trying to find signs of strain but he felt weirdly refreshed. Like all his joints were oiled up and his muscles were already warmed up and not like he just got done with a two hour nap. He stretched a bit and tested it out. Still no pain. Huh, what do you know, I guess Trando isn’t a super sadist after all. I’ll hold off on the ass-kicking. It’s definitely not because he looks like he could squash me with a sneeze.

“So, no pain. Thanks for that I suppose. Can we dispense with the shocks now that I know I’m gonna heal up after every test?”

“I’m afraid I need the shocks to push you beyond your perceived limits. But I can attenuate them to a degree that you’ll find merely uncomfortable.”

“That’s something.” Gus looked up sharply. “Hey, you said I healed up right? My muscles and everything? Can you give me more details?”

“Certainly. Your muscles had several microfractures that could potentially have caused injuries. The medical serum includes nanites that target damaged sections and repair them using the materials available in the serum.”

“Whoa… You have no idea what that means do you?”

“I… do not think I do, no. Can you explain?”

“Holy shit, where do I begin?” Gus started pacing. “Ok, so when a human exercises past his limit, his muscles start to break down. They get microfractures all over their muscle fibres due to the strain. That sounds really bad, but humans can actually heal that damage. So it takes about, uh… forty-eight Earth hours for that damage to be healed, assuming it’s not too serious. When the muscle fibres heal, they get stronger. At first you don’t notice it, but if you do that often enough, you can get a visible increase in muscle mass that leads to an increase in power generated from those muscles. Basically, the more you train, the stronger you get.”

“Fascinating. Does that happen for every muscle you have? Is that why you have such strange muscles? Fibres bundled together in increasing numbers?”

“Yeah. So, each and every muscle is made up of several muscle tissue bundles. It goes from a huge muscle group to a tiny myofibril.” Talking about his vocation was getting him fired up. Gus started talking faster, the words tumbling out from his mouth almost uncontrollably. “The first to be damaged are those myofibrils but you don’t get stronger from just that. You need to reach a certain threshold for the damage to be significant enough that your body rebuilds the destroyed muscle fibres stronger than before.” He paused at that before resuming his pacing. “As I said, it happens in small increments. If I train diligently for about three months, I might increase my muscle mass by, say, ten to twenty percent, depending on how hard I train. This is just a number I pulled out of my ass, it might not be realistic.”

“Is there an upper limit to that strengthening? Do you perpetually rebuild muscles stronger than before and in ever increasing amounts?” Gus liked to think that Trando sounded surprised at this sudden revelation but in truth all he sounded like was… nonchalant.

“No. There are diminishing returns once you hit a certain point. The tipping point is going beyond what your body can normally sustain in terms of energy expenditure. A guy standing at about one hundred and eighty centimetres can sustain about ninety kilos of mass at about nine percent body fat relatively easily. That means he’s mostly muscle. If you want to, you can go beyond that limit but the energy requirements to sustain that kind of mass is increasingly difficult to maintain. So no, I can’t continually get stronger. At one point, I’ll reach my peak.”

“What if you had a limitless source of energy? You would train constantly with increasing amounts of effort spent and have access to that limitless source of energy. Could it be possible to sustain a linear increase in muscle mass from just that?”

Gus stopped, leaned against a machine and thought about it for a while.

“No, I don’t think that’s feasible. I mean, it would have to fit on the human skeleton. There’s only so much muscle a human can safely sustain. Maybe if you could… I dunno, make the muscles denser, reinforce the bones to be stronger perhaps?” He scrunched his face up in concentration, thinking of the possibilities. “Instead of increasing the amount of muscles you have, increase the quality of the muscle itself? Like, for example, if there was an artificial muscle made of steel fibres, the amount of power it could safely generate in a contraction without tearing would be greater than that of a muscle made of human tissue. But well, that’s all theoretical.”

Wait a minute. Machine? Gus looked around. The room now looked like a gym from back home. How the fuck? “Trando, how come the room looks like something from Earth?”

“I asked AI to display a place dedicated to physical exertion from your homeworld and it showed me quite a lot of holos of places resembling this. It also cross-referenced it with a ‘gym’ that you mention a lot when talking about exercise. This is what I came up with to help get you in the mood for further testing.”

There were racks of free weights, rows of treadmills and bikes, different configurations of benches, racks for deadlifting and squats and even mats placed on the floor around him. “How did all that get here? I was only out for two hours you said,” Gus said with more than a little awe in his voice.

“I had AI synthesise them and transported them here with the help of bots and antigrav loaders.”

Gus was still staring at the equipment. “And what about the materials used? What happens when I’m done?”

“I can just recycle them when their use is over. It will barely put a dent in the supply I have available.”

“I see. I suppose it’s time to get back to those tests? Can you be gentle this time?”

“I can promise you I won’t unnecessarily activate the shock straps.”

“Yeah, I bet.” Gus shrugged. There was no use fretting about it. “So, what’s next?”

“I thought of something resembling combat training but after what you mentioned about muscles, how about some of what you call ‘power lifting’?”

“Sure, why not? I’m curious to see if that serum can really help boost muscle growth.”

* * *

“I’m never doing that again.”

“In all honesty I think you might have overdone it with the weights.”

Gus was laid out next to the bench press setup, wheezing and holding his left bicep. The medical serum was working but too slowly for Gus’ tastes. It was another good five minutes before he felt the sharp pain start to dwindle to a dull throbbing.

“I would say that the maximum amount of weight you can safely bench press is thirty kilos. Your attempt at lifting forty was… unsuccessful to say the least. Still, compared to many species of the Council, that is very impressive. If this isn’t the peak of your abilities, then you could turn out to be a very strong individual once you achieve your potential.”

“Gee thanks, you’ll make me blush.”


“It’s a human thing. I’ll explain later. So what now? Do you want to try that combat simulation you were talking about?”

“Hmmm… I think it’s too early for a combat sim. I need to collate the results I’ve obtained from this round of testing and come up with something appropriate for you. Just based on your reaction time alone, the usual sim would be too easy. Thank you for being such a good participant. I look forward to working with you again.”

“No problem. Hey, you think I’d be able to read through your report when you’re done? I’m curious about my own physical specs.”

“I can probably give you an unclassified version, pending approval from the captain, of course.”

“Coolbeans. Thanks a bunch Trando. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a date with a bed.”

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 22

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Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 22

“So I just need to squeeze this ball?”

“Yes. Start off lightly then slowly increase the pressure you’re putting on it.”

“Right. That sounds simple enough. I have another question though.”

“Go ahead.”

Gus glanced at the holoscreen and narrowed his eyes. “Why am I naked?”

Trando didn’t even have the decency to look embarrassed. “It’s an opportunity to get additional data for the medical and science departments. You’re a new species and you can never get enough data on new species. Why? Is there a problem? As I understand it humans tend to get naked quite often.”

“Yes, we do, but it all depends on the context. Being naked usually involves courtship rituals or reproductive activities. We don’t normally go around in a birthday suit.”

“Birthday suit? A human expression, I presume?”

“Yeah, it means to be naked.”

“Hmmm… Then do you feel embarrassed? I highly doubt you’d be interested in me sexually, what with your affinity for the good Lieutenant. If that is the case, I advise you to not mind it. I have seen many strange, naked beings in my time.”

Gus grumbled something under his breath before sighing heavily. “So, what with this ball anyway?” The object in question was perfectly spherical, had a metallic touch and gleamed silver. It was warm, the same temperature as his hand and felt oddly solid but turned soft whenever he pressed on it. “It doesn’t feel like anything I’ve ever seen on Earth.”

“One should hope not. It’s a synthetic material that was created through derivations. I doubt you’d seen it outside of Council space.”

“Derivations? What does that mean? You just calculated this into being?”

“Very close. Our main think tank got together and started working on theoretical materials, materials that were unfound in nature but were somehow discovered while rearranging the structural configuration of known elements and materials. From time to time, we get new, exciting discoveries and this material is one of them. It’s called phelante and its main use currently is in stress testing.”

“How does it work? It’s soft when I squeeze but it gets harder other times. Does it respond to stimulus?”

“Something like that. It’s a modular material which consists of groups of molecules which align in a particular pattern in response to an impulse. The impulse itself is generated by stress produced from a striking force on the surface of the material. This allows it to quickly harden when struck with a fast kinetic blow. However, the molecular modules will shift their alignment when subjected to a gradual force. It effectively means that with a sensor linked to a phelante surface, it is possible to read very fine gradual increases in pressure.”

“That sounds like a lot of trouble. Wouldn’t it be simpler to just use a pressure plate? I’d just press on it until I reached my limits. It would accomplish the same thing, right?”

“It would, and it this were some sort of backwater planet, that’s exactly what we’d do. Pressure plates are very nice and simple but are bulkier and on a ship like this, space is at a premium. So we try to trim whatever we can. In truth though, it’s just more impressive this way.”

“Fair enough. So back to squeezing then? A very light amount of force, then gradually increase to my maximum with one hand. Alternate to the other hand, get some rest, then switch to both hands. Is that right?”

“Exactly. You may begin whenever you wish.”

Gus started squeezing. “I’m warning you though, you’re gonna be disappointed. I grip like a girl.”

* * *

“I do believe the screaming was unnecessary.”

“It helps me focus my strength.”

“Does it really?”

“Nah, it’s more instinctual I’d say. Whenever a human is doing something strenuous, it will involve some sort of screaming or grunting.”

“Is that true for all humans or just you?”

“All humans, as far as I know.”

“I see. If you’ll direct your attention to your left, you’ll see an innerwear exosuit that fits you. Please wear it.”

Gus walked to the space-trolley and grabbed said exosuit. It was surprisingly light, with smooth material interspaced with rough blocks at regular intervals. He put it on, marvelling at how the measurements seemed to be just right and how comfortable the suit was. The blocks felt cool against his bare skin but he quickly got used to it. He stretched, testing his range of motion and noting that the blocks did not hinder him in any way.

“All good. What now?”

“Now we’ll be doing some more comprehensive tests. First off will be your endurance. Please get on the treadmill and start walking at a leisurely pace.”

The treadmill looked like something straight from a gym from back home. He got on and felt the machine beneath him thrum quietly as the belt started moving at a snail’s pace. “How do I adjust the speed?” He touched the handrails and the panel in front of him to no avail as the belt’s speed didn’t vary.

“No need to worry about adjusting it. The speed will slowly increase in small increments. I will be monitoring your body’s activity whenever you reach a new milestone. I’ll be looking at your reaction before and after changing speeds. To get consistent data I hope you’ll cooperate and keep your pace constant for every given speed point. Since this is a stress test, you might get a bit… uncomfortable.”

It was a while before Gus reached the first significant speed milestone and he decided to chat for a bit. “So Trando, tell me about yourself.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just introduce yourself, I guess. Tell me more about why you joined this crew. Why the military? How’s your homeworld? Tell me of your people. That kind of stuff…”

“Hmmm… I’m Lieutenant Trando Uvisulim. I am the head of the Engineering Department, as I’ve told you before. I’m a member of the Kmoz’iq species, from the Uruth star system. As you’ve no doubt guessed we are a species from a very high gravity world. The Uruth worlds are considered category six planets on the index of survivability. Nowhere near your homeworld but they present their own challenges, mostly when we’re off-planet.”

‘Too heavy to move around normally?”

“Exactly, which is why we are pioneers in the gravitronics department. Every member of the Kmoz’iq that goes off world must have a gravity harness equipped so that he or she doesn’t break any surface he or she is on. Every harness is calibrated for a specific Kmoz’iq and they are responsible for its maintenance. As such, many of my species end up in engineering or science departments. It makes it easier to continue our research of maintain our equipment.”

“That sounds inconvenient. That gravity harness, is it that the belt thing you’re wearing? And from what you’re saying you’re more worried about what’s around you than your own well-being.”

“Yes, it’s exactly that. Milestone reached. I am increasing the speed. Compared to the other environments, natural or manufactured, we are much sturdier. Our organs and dermis, our skeletal structure, everything has evolved to be able to withstand tremendous amounts of pressure. As such, when we can tolerate a great many conditions that others cannot. The gravity harnesses allow us to move unimpeded in lower gravity. Just imagine, hurting someone else or breaking the furniture around you simply because the gravity is too weak and you’re not used to the lack of resistance. Concerning myself… Well, there’s not much to say. I have a very strong interest in gravitronics and my research has actually been progressing very smoothly. I’d tell you more about it but your world doesn’t have sufficiently advanced science for you to understand it. Perhaps when you’ve had an opportunity to study it in more details, we can sit together and have a chat about it. How is this speed by the way? Any strain?”

“None. This is still pretty slow. Hey, this stress test business is pretty easy.”

“For a human perhaps. I remember reading from the reports that you mentioned humans being endurance hunters. This section of the test should be the easiest for you.”

“Endurance hunting hasn’t been in fashion for centuries. The humans you’ll encounter nowadays are mostly lazy fucks like me. I mean sure, we have pretty good stamina depending on the situation but there’s no way we can track an animal for three days and nights with no sleep anymore.”

“With civilisation, the need for such evolutionary traits was lost. Fascinating.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. You were telling me about yourself?” Gus prompted once more.

“Ah yes. I grew up wishing to see other worlds and wanting to expand my horizons. Joining the engineering branch of the military was ideal in that I could do both and I’d be getting paid as well. I got assigned to the Pride of Vanatu as a result of my research on gravity anomalies that might affect warp travelling during long hauls. Perhaps the higher-ups thought I might be of help if there ever was an incident involving gravity wells during warp travelling. Beyond that, there’s really not much to tell. Milestone reached. I am increasing the speed.”

Gus felt the belt move a bit faster. He now had to jog along to keep up. It felt surprisingly good to move his body again like that. He never thought he’d miss doing light exercise but being cooped up in his room – no matter how large it might have been – wasn’t a very good idea. He could feel the kinks and aches of his body fade into the all-encompassing weariness that accompanied exercise. He still had the leeway to talk so he asked another question.

“Hey Trando, as the Head of Engineering, you must have access to special manufacturing equipment right? I mean, you’d have military or factory grade synthesisers and no restrictions on materials whatsoever, right?”

“Assuming that is correct, what would you do?”

“I have some ideas for some really cool stuff that can’t possibly be made on Earth due to the lack of technology and I wanted to see if it was possible using your tech. I mean, throw me a bone here – I’ve been kidnapped by a coalition of super-advanced aliens and I don’t even get to play around with some new toys? That’d be really sad…”

There was silence for some time before Trando replied. “I’d have to check with the Captain. Giving non-military personnel access to those devices usually ends up badly. Your request will be put on hold pending approval. Milestone reached. I am increasing the speed.”

Gus was now at a brisk jog, arms pumping up and down. He was panting now, not quite struggling to breathe but feeling a familiar burn coming back to him like a long-lost friend, just dropping by to visit but overstaying his welcome and passing out on the couch. He tried to keep his head up but the white walls of the room were suddenly glaringly brilliant and he squinted through the pain of suddenly burning eyes.

“Milestone reached. I am increasing the speed.”

The treadmill sped up quite a bit. He had to genuinely run to keep up now. “Uh hey,” Gus said, huffing and puffing, “that’s kinda fast… Could you *huff* could you slow down *wheeze* slow down a bit?”

“What do you mean?”

“Slow down!” He nearly tripped over his own feet and decided he had enough. He grabbed the handrails and got off the belt. He was desperately trying to catch his breath when he felt a shock travel all over his body. He stiffened and yelped at the suddenness of the sensation of the muscles in his arms and legs clenching uncontrollably.

“What the actual fuck?! What was that?!”

“That is a countermeasure set up to prevent recalcitrant participants from completing the stress test. Please get back on the treadmill, for your own sake.”

“What the fuck Trando! I’m not some sort of- FFFFFUUUUCCCKKK!!!” Gus screamed as another shock, this time of higher amplitude, travelled though his body. “Dammit Trando stop that!” he roared as he tried to ineffectually rip the exosuit off him. It was much too tight now, trapping him in this electrical nightmare of a prison. His left arm was still twitching from the aftermath of the last shock.

“I don’t suggest you do that, the suit is designed to trigger the shock if it is tampered with. Getting on the treadmill and finishing the stress test is your best bet at this point.”

“I swear to fucking God, Trando, as soon as I get out I’m gonna kill you!”

“Yes, of course. The treadmill?” Trando prompted nonchalantly.

Gus hopped back on and immediately regretted his decision. The exhaustion that followed was almost as bad as the shock but he could somehow keep up until he heard the familiar words.

“Milestone reached. I am increasing the speed.”

He had to run for his life now, arms and legs pumping like mad, muscles positively burning in agony and mouth absolutely dry. He couldn’t fathom why Trando would be doing this to him.

Another case of the over-eager engineer? Fuck, I really fucked up! I knew stress testing wouldn’t be this simple!

“You must be wondering why I’m doing this. As I said earlier, this is a stress test and I must know your limits if I am to effectively design your suit. This also doubles as a medical examination. If I do this now, then you won’t be subjected to another more rigid examination when we reach our destination. Trust me on this, you do not want to show up with incomplete documentation. I know, I know, this is very painful and perhaps the electric shocks were a bit too much but I needed a way to ensure your cooperation. Given that you’re an unknown lifeform from a category thirteen planet, this much exertion shouldn’t be a problem for you anyway. You’ll thank me when you’re stranded on a hostile planet with nothing between you and certain death except the suit I’ll be making you.”

Gus was far too concerned with keeping up the pace than Trando’s words and honestly couldn’t spare a second to listen to him. His world had shrunk to the belt moving at break-neck speeds and his legs screaming in agony. He could see black spots and silvery flecks swimming in his vision and his lunch was coming up in a very distinct manner. He struggled to keep the nausea from overwhelming him until he heard Trando again.

“Milestone reached. I am increasing the speed.”

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 21

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Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 21

The Engineering Bay was a disappointment: every tool was in its place, every workspace clearly defined, every project self-contained and everything looked sterile. What happened to the brilliant chaos? What about the quirky Head that enjoys throwing shit everywhere? What is this? Give me some goddamned tropes please, not this sterile hospital shit! Gus looked around for a while, trying to find someone free enough to help him out before giving up.

“AI, where do I find the guy I need to speak to?”

“Query. Who do you need to speak to?”

“The head of the Engineering department. I don’t remember his name.”

“Calculating. There is a zero percent chance that Lieutenant Trando Uvisulim is in the Engineering bay.”

“Thanks, that’s really helpful.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I really need to show you how sarcasm works.”

Gus scanned the bay once again. In retrospect, maybe running an engineering bay full of dangerous experimental materials and prototypes this clinical way was actually a good thing. I mean, no chance of a catastrophic reactor breakdown if everything is by the books I suppose. Kinda boring though. Gus remembered his own workbench back at the lab had been far more cluttered. Granted, he could always find what he needed but he was the only one who could decipher where each individual component was.

He flagged someone down and questioned him about that Trando’s whereabouts.

“Oh, the Lieutenant’s probably calibrating the reactors. He loves calibrations, that man.”

“Uh, okay, sure. How do I get to the reactors?”

“You don’t. You need a level five clearance for that and you’re definitely not on the list. Just wait there, in that corner over there,” he said, pointing to an empty workstation.

“Can I log onto the ship subsystems from there? I don’t want to waste time just sitting there and since I’m here to improve my vacsuit, I thought I’d get started on that.”

“Sounds like a wise idea. I’ll unlock that station. You can speak to AI to link it to your datapad.”

“Thanks man.”

The Agaraxian lead him to the station, fiddled with the holoscreen then went back to his beautifully intricate work. He seemed like he was working on some sort of wire mesh – reactor hybrid thing. Who am I kidding? I have no idea what he’s doing, but it looks cool. Like jewellery. For a reactor core.

He turned to his holoscreen and asked Van to link his datapad database to that station. He awkwardly cracked his fingers through the suit and leaned forward.

“Let’s get this party started.”

* * *

The Pride of Vanatu was nominally a scout ship but boasted state of the art facilities and equipment according to Van. All of that meant that it was vastly more advanced than anything Gus had ever encountered. It had taken him hours of slogging through text just to be able to use his datapad with a modicum of success. This beast in front of him was different. Waaaay different.

Gus was losing his mind going over the necessary steps to properly access the Frame Management Simulation Program. He finally gave up and asked that good Samaritan from before to help him out. All it took was some fiddling with the console and a flick of his wrist to access the FMSP. Gus was mortified and resolved to become at the very least competent in the use of this program.

Thanking the guy profusely, he then set about to modifying his suit. The FMSP was surprisingly similar to the unit upgrade interface from those 4X games he played before. It was a tad more complicated than that, but hey, whatever works. Unfortunately, Gus had no idea what any of the materials or upgrades listed actually did and what their properties were. It was with a heavy heart that he sighed and slumped in his seat.

He didn’t know how long his head was on the desk but he certainly felt the huge weight on his shoulder shake him awake. He blinked sleepy eyes and turned around awkwardly in his vacsuit. At first he thought he was dreaming. Then reality set in and he looked up. And up. And up.

The newcomer was to a mountain what a toy plane was to a jumbo jet. He … she… it? He hada craggy exterior similar to the rocky face of a mountain. Irregular protrusions peppered his huge arms and chest. He was humanoid in shape with no neck whatsoever that Gus could see. One of his huge hands was currently on Gus’ shoulder. How did I not end up squished when he touched me? He looked about two to two and a half meters tall and Gus’ neck was starting to hurt just looking up. He got up, turned around once more and got a better look.

He looked like an anthropomorphic cliff suddenly sprouted limbs and started walking around. Size aside, the sheer density of him should have made it impossible to walk the ship’s decks, yet he was standing with nary a thought to care. Gus noticed a belt-like contraption tied around his waist. It had three slowly blinking lights set in a silvery circle of metal and what looked like a touchpad next to them. There were several wires leading from the buckle-like metal circle to other parts of the belt. The pattern of the lights would sometimes shift in response to stimuli that Gus couldn’t determine.

He tried to introduce himself but words failed him. It was with a dry mouth that he swallowed and finally managed to thrust a gloved hand in front of him.

The rock mountain looked at the proffered hand in puzzlement before doing the same. They just stood there for a minute, both hands outstretched in front of the other, parallel and ungrasped.

“You’re…” his voice broke and he swallowed once again, rallying his mental faculties. “You’re supposed to shake my hand. It’s a human greeting ritual. Here, I’ll show you,” Gus said as he reached for the looming hand in front of him. He gently guided it to his own and closed rugged fingers around his palm. His entire fist disappeared in the giant’s grip and he slowly pumped the hand up and down. “That’s it, you can let go now.”

“A most curious ritual. Why do humans do this?”

“I’m not sure, but I think it stemmed from the fact that a very long time ago, humans were quite war-like and tended to stab each other constantly. To show that you meant no harm, you’d approach and offer your hand to demonstrate your lack of weapons and ill intentions.”

“Fascinating. I’d love to hear more of your culture when you have some free time. But where are my manners? My name is Trando. Trando Uvisulim. I am a Lieutenant on board the Pride of Vanatu and the Head of the Engineering Department. You may call me Trando or just Lieutenant if you so wish.”

“Uh… Nice to meet you. I’m Gustavo Martinez. You can call me Gus or just Human. Everyone seems to believe that’s my name. I’m… I guess I’ve been abducted by aliens so I’d say I’m a kidnap victim,” Gus said as he chuckled nervously.

Trando’s rock-like face betrayed no emotion as he rumbled out an apology. “I do apologise for that incident. The ensign responsible for the transporter mishap was one of my subordinates. I will endeavour to train him more properly so that such a thing never happens again.”

“That’s cool, everyone makes mistakes. Besides, it’s not like I’ve been mistreated since coming here, so no harm done.”

“But you’ve had to abandon your entire life. All your friends and family and work and culture, all gone, left behind you in a trail of ions and warp signatures.”

Gus was silent for a moment before he replied. “My life wasn’t exactly the greatest back on Earth, contrary to what people might think. I think a change of pace was just what the doctor ordered. I’ve been feeling a bit more energised since I’ve been on board the Vanatu. Well, it took some getting used to at first, but I’m good.”

“I see. Did Lieutenant Vatta Ren prescribe you this change of pace? I find it hard to believe that she’d use such a process in lieu of medication.”

“It’s a human figure of speech. I’m still helping AI calibrate the vocabulary database for the human translation matrix, so there are still things we’re missing.”

“Remarkable. You’re actively helping the AI integrate your language into our matrix? You’d need more than a passing familiarity with the various languages and expressions used amongst the species that populate the Pride of Vanatu. Do you not find it difficult or worse, tedious?”

“It’s not that bad. Besides, I’m cheating. AI is constantly helping me out. I just tell it what each human expression means and it automatically finds the closest equivalent in whatever alien tongue it’s translating.”

“I need to observe the next time you do so. I think I might learn something useful for my own research.”

“Research? I’m curious now. I am – was.” Gus paused. “I was a scientist back home. I have an interest in research.”

“I’m working on gravitronics and quantum locking signatures.” Noticing Gus’ blank expression, Trando elaborated. “I study gravity fields and their use. My other research is more esoteric. I don’t know how far you’d understand it.”

“Not very far I’m afraid, I’m more of a biology kind of guy. Anyway, I didn’t ask to meet you to talk about research porn. I need help with my vacsuit.”

“Is it damaged? You have a replacement vacsuit in your cabin if I’m not mistaken.”

Gus quickly shook his head thought the suit didn’t lend itself to that kind of action. The result was that his head was moving while the exterior of the suit didn’t move at all. He gave up on trying to convey negation through head shakes. “No, it’s not damaged. I just thought it could use some improvements is all. It’s functional but not very comfortable. It’s also unwieldy and I’m losing a lot of my range of motion when I wear it.”

“It wasn’t designed for someone of your stature nor was it intended to be used as you do now. Hmmm… What improvements did you have in mind?”

Gus’ neck was starting to hurt so he sat back down in front of the console and turn his back to Trando, feeling him move closer to him. “AI, display Project Plugsuit.”

“Confirmation. Displaying Project Plugsuit from datapad floating data stream. Displayed.”

“This looks like innerwear used for piloting.”

“Surprisingly accurate. It’s based on a fictional piloting suit from Earth media. I’ve been playing around some of the materials you have available here but the list is so exhaustive that I literally cannot find anything to use. I figured I’d wait for you and get your input.”

“Certainly, that seems to be the wisest move. I am intimately familiar with all the materials that are available for synthesis on the Pride of Vanatu. With your ideas and my knowledge we might come up with something appropriate for your use.”

* * *

It wasn’t until Gus checked his chronometer that he realised five hours had passed. Trando was a beast. He would come up with the best possible materials whenever Gus had an idea. He would listen carefully then shoot his down if the idea wasn’t feasible or suggest improvements for the unshaped mess that were his more viable concepts. He should have done this much sooner. The new vacsuit was shaping up to be a great success. It had considerably slimed and the material was much thinner than before but more comfortable or so Trando claimed. Gus wasn’t convinced though.

“It’s obvious we can’t say it’s going to work just based on the statistics we’ve assembled. It looks functional on paper but we need a prototype and a field test. I don’t need to remind you how different human physiology is from xenoi physiology.”

“You’re right. Hmmm.” Trando pondered the issue with a thoughtful face.

Gus really couldn’t read him thought. All he saw was the ever-expressionless, craggy exterior that was Trando’s face. Does he ever smile? Can he smile? How does he turn his head? He can tell where something is without using his eyes though. Extra sensory organs? I need to study his species more. He straightened as Trando slowly turned back to him.

“It’s decided then. I’ve already launched the synthesis of the latest prototype. Now we only have to carry out a stress test.”

“I’m surprised you still have to do that. Doesn’t the simulation accurately calculate the specs including the stress values for each material or component?”

“Indeed it does. There is however a variable that doesn’t exist in our databases and I need to account for it in the final iteration of the suit.”

“What’s that then?” Gus asked. Trando only looked at him. Time passed and his gaze did not waver. Gus was starting to get a bad feeling. He got up and turned to leave. “You know it was lovely speaking with you but I really need to get going. I forgot I left something on the stove at home.”

He tried to hurry away when a vice closed around his waist and he stopped moving. He heard a deep growl mixed with the disturbing echo of boulders crushing against each other. He slowly turned back and realised the deeply reverberating grating noise was in fact Trando laughing.

“No need to leave so quickly. I’ve heard many stories about you and I’ve always enjoyed testing new materials. I promise it won’t hurt. Well, not in the beginning.”

Trando’s laughter echoed in the Engineering Bay with the finality of a rockslide.

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 20

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Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 20

Sil wasn’t quite glued to him but it was a close thing. The diminutive Dintph was sitting practically next to him and was currently glaring daggers at Nyph Rohor. The latter was trying – and failing – to explain the previous situation to Gus’ mate.

“Like I said, we were just talking. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“You were too close. Much too close! You can talk from over there, can’t you?” Sil said, pointing at the far end of the table.

“You know that’s not reasonable.” Nyph sighed then perked up. “Still, I have to say this development is quite interesting… For you to be so enamored of someone you’ve only just met…” her voice trailed off as her ears twitched forward.

Sil reddened for some reason and pressed herself closer to Gus. It was unfortunately a wasted opportunity for him given how thick the vacsuit was. If dramas had taught him anything it was that he should keep his silence and wait until spoken to. The silence stretched as Sil looked at her feet with a red face and Nyph leered at them. Gus realised the time for actions was here.

“You know when I first realised I was here for the long haul I was kind of lost. And then I got thrown into this crazy situation with Sil and things were pretty touch-and-go for a moment there. And see, I …uh… I like Sil, I really do. She’s fun and smart and she makes me feel like things are going to be ok when I’m around her. At first I was worried that I screwed things up between the two of us but since she’s agreed to be my mate, I’ve been relieved.” Sil’s face was positively fire-hydrant coloured and even hiding her face with both hands didn’t cover up the fact that her ears were now crimson. He wrapped a suited arm around her shoulders and grinned at Nyph, this time showing his teeth. “What can I say? When I’m with her I feel like I can do my best.”

“Ohooo? Coming to her rescue? How romantic. I can see why she likes you.”

Sil started hammering his arm with her cute fists. “Wha-wha-what are you saying?! It’s so embarrassing! Stop it!”

He grinned and suddenly hugged her. She squealed and even her fur was in danger of turning red but she ultimately settled down. Seeing how Nyph was leering at them, he let her go and cleared his throat before eating some more stew. It was lukewarm now. Better eat that more quickly. It’s time to share.

Gus took the opportunity to rub Sil’s shoulder affectionately and passed her his spoon. She quickly gobbled some stew before passing the spoon to her fellow Dintphs. Funnily enough, the first person she passed it to was Nyph. In Dintph culture, you bring a meal to share but only one set of utensils. You then pass the spoons and what not around in order of affection. While this might seem like a popularity contest, it allows outsiders to get some information on the relationships between Dintphs. Gus passed his spoon to Sil for obvious reasons but among them, Sil considered Nyph to be her closest friend.

I guess being litter-sisters trumps jealousy.

“So Nyph, you said you were litter-sisters with Sil right? Are there any embarrassing antiques I should be aware of?”

Nyph smiled and leaned forward once more. “Oh, there are so many of them. This is Sil we’re talking about; she might be smart enough to make Lieutenant in less than thirty years but she’s easily flustered. I remember that one time with the Andalax embassador, she –”

“Ah! He doesn’t need to know that!” Sil shrieked as she pounced on Nyph. Her hands tried in vain to cover Nyph’s mouth and they started play-fighting.

“What’s that about the ambassador?”

“This girl, she *get off* she tried to *I’m serious let me go* push the ambassador *got you there!* off a cliff!”

While it was admittedly quite fun to see his newly-minted girlfriend get in to a fight with her sister, news of cliffs and pushing off of was alarming to say the least. “What’s that about a cliff?” he asked to one of the other Dintphs.

One of them shook his head but the other had heard of that incident. “Yeah, the Andalax ambassador visited Dith while his troops were making a stop at the nearby orbital station. Apparently he was smitten by Sil Nubo and tried to woo her in the ways of his people. It didn’t end well.”

“Yeah, I’m surprised we weren’t all arrested. He is royalty after all,” Nyph injected, having successfully locked Sil’s arms behind her back. “But Sil was really pissed. Apparently he tried to grab her tail before she shoved him back.”

“Oh? Tail grabbing is bad?”

“No, it’s only done when you’re close to someone.”

“What if you’re not close?”

“That makes you kind of a pervert then.”

Useful information to have. No tail-fondling in public.

“Sil, how about you come back here and leave you sister be? I’m going to learn about these things sooner or later anyway.”

Sil shot him an aggravated glare before shaking Nyph off and slinking back next to him. Nyph’s ears twitched in surprise at that.

“You’re pretty close already. I thought it’d take some more time for you to get there. Is that the results of the mating? Sil seems more lively too, you must have done something right.”

“Thanks but she’s helped me out more than I did her. It’s all thanks to her support that I haven’t had a breakdown yet.”

Judging by the way they’re looking at me, that might not have been the best thing to say. “I mean, I’m in space, far away from everything I know, plunging head first into the great unknown. It takes a toll a guy…”

Sil’s hand hesitantly reached out and squeezed his. God, I really need to get a better suit. I can hardly feel her hand. “Ah sorry about that. Wasn’t trying to be a bummer.”

“It’s not a problem. One can hardly blame you for feeling that way.”

“So enough about me. I came here to learn more about you guys, so the floor’s yours now,” Gus said gesturing to them. They all looked down at the floor. I should have known. “It means that it’s your turn to speak now. It’s a term used in debates back on Earth.” After the collective “ooooh”, the conversation picked up again, with Sil throwing in good-natured jabs at Nyph.

Gus enjoyed his time with them and was startled out of his contemplation by Van’s beep.

“Sorry guys, I need to go. I have an appointment with a guy from Engineering to talk about my suit. I’ll see you guys around.”

He waved and quickly left. Social gatherings still made him slightly uncomfortable and Sil and her friends had some catching up to do anyway.

* * *

“Quite a nice being.”

Sil harrumphed and kept eating the stew Gus left behind. “Look, he didn’t even finish his food! It’s your fault for making him talk all the time!” Sil said in a huff.

The other Dintphs smiled in sympathy as Nyph once again bore the brunt of Sil’s displeasure. After a time, the shnolock stew was done and Rheh Git and Smil Wurum left for their own shifts. Sil was left facing a grinning Nyph.

“What is it?” she asked sullenly.

“Nothing. I’m just happy to see my cute sister got herself a mate. He doesn’t look all that reliable but to be fair that might be because of the vacsuit.”

“He’s reliable enough when I need him.”

“That sounds like a juicy secret.” Nyph sidled next to Sil and their tails twined together in a subtle ballet of emotions. “You know you can tell me anything. You used to be so cute back at the Academy, telling me all about which boys you’d choose for a contract.” She grinned as Sil reddened. “So what’s so special about this one? I’m sorry to say he doesn’t look like much. That might just be my own sense of aesthetics though.”

“He’s…” Sil stopped, struggling with her words. “How much do you know about my mating period?”

Nyph shrugged. “Lieutenant Vatta Ren wouldn’t tell me anything about it. She said I should ask you myself. I just assumed it was embarrassing.”

“It is embarrassing. Shameful, even. I… I went feral.”

Nyph was stunned. Only a small proportion of Dintphs ever go feral during matings and they are kept on a strict hormonal treatment to mitigate the after effects of such aggressive behaviour! Yet Sil looks just the same as she always did. That’s not possible!

“You certainly don’t look like you did. I mean, you’re still eating with spoons.” She teased, trying to cover up her shock. “Is he the reason you came back from being feral?”

Sil nodded absent-mindedly. “I think so. I only got flashes of what I did during my time with him but I remember this… overwhelming lust. I remember getting really physical with him. There was scratching, biting, clawing and much more.” She paused again, organising her thoughts. “He looks weak, but he’s surprisingly strong. He can hold me down during one of my frenzies and he can easily carry me around on his shoulder. He’s also very good in bed. Really good. I’ve never done this before but all the reports I’ve read and the studies I’ve done show that matings aren’t usually this intense and pleasurable. I think… I think that if I go full on feral that he can restrain me.”

Nyph was silent for a beat. “Is that the reason you’re in a contract with him? Because it feels good and you’re scared of being with another Dintph? I’m not being xenophobic here, but he might not be the best choice of a mate.”

“That’s not the reason, it’s just a good bonus. I genuinely like him. He’s very sweet and he wants to know more about me. Did you really think he just bumped into you in the Commons and happened to have some shnolock stew with him? With just one spoon?”

Nyph snorted. “Yeah, that was kind of weak I have to admit. Not very subtle, our boy, eh? Well, I don’t hate that about him.”

“I think I’m going to stay with him for now. We’ll leave the future for the future.”

Nyph retracted her tail and slowly got up, giving her litter-sister a hug. “You take care of yourself now. I can’t always be there to help out but you know where to find me if you need me.” As she was leaving she couldn’t resist a parting shot. “If you ever get bored of your human pet, let me know. I’m really interested in his … prowess,” she said suggestively.

It was a good thing she was out of reach of Sil’s hands.

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 19

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Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 19

Gus’ new vacsuit was more streamlined than the old iteration but still unwieldy. He found himself struggling to get his spoon into his open mouth through the mouth opening and gave up and ordered more tasteless nutrient paste. He slurped it up with (fake) relish and burped, leaning back and rubbing his stomach through the thick lining of the suit.

Things were going great with Sil. They would meet every day after her shift was done and cuddle in his ambassador-sized bed. He would relentlessly tease the catgirl and scratch her most sensitive spots. It got to a point where Sil had forbidden him from touching her inappropriately. Gus resisted all of an hour before succumbing to the temptation. Sil had forgiven him though. Eventually.

Thinking of her brought a huge smile to his face. Having a girlfriend was great but it wasn’t the proximity of a female in great shape that was pleasing; no, it was the intimacy. Gus hadn’t realised it but he had been under quite a lot of stress ever since he ended up on the Pride of Vanatu. His happy-go-lucky attitude had worked in fooling others and even himself to a certain extent but when he was alone with Sil in his cabin, he felt the words spill out of his mouth without prompting.

He would talk about his life on Earth, his adoptive parents, the few friends he’d had and the large number of women who’d rebuffed his advances. Sil was particularly curious about those, grilling him about their age, hair colour, attractiveness on a scale of 10 and the full history of their interaction. He found her thinly veiled jealously quite cute and didn’t hesitate in spilling the beans.

He would in turn learn so much about her that he would have guessed just by looking at her. Her parents were still alive back on Dint. She had three litter brothers and two litter sisters. They had been raised together as part of the same litter by the communal caretakers. Unfortunately they had all split up, going to research, military or staying on Dint. She missed them but she knew she would meet them again when she made her regular sabbatical trip back home.

He loved hearing her talk about her family. He had always maintained a certain aloofness from his adoptive parents, trauma from his short while in the system ensuring that he did not want to get too heavily invested in people who might leave him. While he had been getting better over the years, it still wasn’t to the point that he’d be able to have a genuinely warm relationship with them. Sil, on the other hand, was nothing like that.

She shared everything with him and he revelled in the intimacy. They would cuddle and talk for hours before lapsing into silence. It was always during those moments that Gus would practice his wandering hands skill. Sil would usually swat his hands away but with persistence he was able to wear her down and get her purring in his arms. The small of her back and the base of her ears were her most sensitive spots and he thoroughly enjoyed exploring them. He also introduced her to the concept of human ‘skinship’ and taught her how to kiss. Granted, he was a terrible kisser what with him having no experience but together they muddled through and finally achieved relative proficiency.

If there was a downside to this, it was the crew’s reception of the news; while many did not care beyond curiosity, some of her fellow Dintphs took some distance from her. Being a fairly social person, Sil took it quite hard and Gus was trying to cheer her up. Which was why he was sitting in the Commons waiting for her.

He was determined to get her back into her friend’s good books by demonstrating that he was a good mate. He’d already spent some time doing his research. Van was more than accommodating and showed him all available materials on Dintph social cues and behaviour. While he couldn’t keep everything in mind, he knew enough to avoid any major social faux-pas.

To be honest, he couldn’t care less about why you shouldn’t talk about a Dintph’s ears or how you should compliment their fur’s sheen (but only if there were less than three other Dintphs around) but he wanted Sil to be happy and he really had to reason to alienate the other crewmembers.

He quickly finished his nutrient paste and got up to order some shnolok stew from the dispenser. He would have trouble eating it with his vacsuit even improved as it was but it would serve as a social aid to approach his targets. After getting an appropriately large serving, he scanned the Commons and quickly located a small group of Dintphs seated in the middle of the room. He made his way to the group, noting how excited they appeared to be. One of them was gesturing wildly in a retelling of past exploits and they weren’t paying attention to him.

He skirted around them, careful not to get their attention then abruptly turned and put his platter down at their table. The one speaking paused mid-sentence, staring at him with his hands still describing whatever part of the story he’d reached. The previous jovial atmosphere was gone, as if a lie in April. Gus wondered if he’d be able to do this. He really didn’t want to get Sil in more trouble.

He raised hand and tried to speak in his most sociable voice. “Why, hello there. Mind if I join you?” He didn’t wait for permission and sat down without another word. He could feel the four pairs of eyes snap towards him with equal parts hostility and curiosity.

He carefully opened the mouth opening of his suit and slowly put his spoon into his mouth. He felt the briefest of resistance when the metal reached the forcefield in front of his mouth but the spoon continued unabated until the warm stew entered his mouth. The forcefield was new: the Chief Engineer had reviewed his plight and designed a somewhat better suit, which included a miniature forcefield generator which snapped into position at the mouth opening of his vacsuit. It ensured that he could put things into his mouth but the atmosphere (and germs) within his suit wouldn’t leak out.

Enough about the suit though. The Dintphs were still staring at him in complete silence and he could see a couple of tail slowly lashing around. He was dangerously close to being rude so he introduced himself.

“Sorry about that, I really wanted to eat some of that. It’s really good.” He could see one set of ears twitch in approval. The lessons are paying off. Thanks Van. “I’m sure you know who I am but let me introduce myself; I’m the human Gustavo Martinez. You can call me Gus. It’s really nice to meet you.” He smiled without showing his teeth. Showing teeth was an aggressive tendency that species descended from predators had. He didn’t want to spook them.

He felt the tension ease up a bit as the storyteller leaned in on his elbows and stared at him candidly. “Hello, I’m Ensign Dascha Drenten. I’m in Engineering.”

“I’m Nyph Rohor,” another said. Good, good, curiosity overcomes rudeness.

“I’m Smil Wurum. Nice to finally see you up close.”

Seeing everyone else accept his presence, the final Dintph reluctantly introduced himself. “Rheh Git.”

Gus didn’t mind the curtness and launched into his plan of action. “You know I’ve always wanted to come speak to one of you before but I never could find the courage. But then I wanted to try out this shnolok stew and I guess I underestimated the size of the portion.” He chuckled in what he hoped was an amicable way. “I heard Sil mention that she loves shnolock so I thought I’d share with you guys and use the opportunity to get to know you.”

“Sil? Ah, I see. You’re him aren’t you? There’s rumours flying around that Sil Nubo the prude has finally settled for a mate and he’s quite… interesting.” The Dintph was looking at him the way a cat stares at a canary. He could see an almost predatory glint in Nyph Rohor’s eyes ever since he mentioned Sil’s name.

“Yeah, I’m her new mate. How’d you hear about that? We’ve been keeping it pretty quiet.” Gotcha. Hook, line and sinker.

“I’m actually one of Sil’s litter-sisters. We haven’t had a chance to talk after her mating frenzy abated but I’ve heard things.”

“Really? Her sister? What a coincidence.”

Coincidence my ass. Her name had come up during one of his talks with Sil and she’d mentioned that one of her litter-sisters was on the ship with her. He learned about her through Sil and the ever-helpful Van had helped to map her schedule.

“Is it true what they say?”

Gus tilted his head, waiting for more information. “About?”

“That you’re from a…” Nyph’s voice dropped to a whisper. “… a category thirteen?”

The sudden silence was deafening. It was like the chatter from the nearby tables was muffled static and there was a pocket of vacuum around them sucking all the sounds. Gus looked at each Dintph carefully before answering. Nyph had an eager yet fearful look in her eyes. He’d already forgotten the other three’s names but they were each staring at him intently. Well, all except for that one guy who was sneering at him.

“What’s a category thirteen?” he asked innocently.

Sneering Dintph scoffed. “He’s from such a backwater planet that he doesn’t even know the category index.” He was about to continue when Nyph shot him a look. His mouth closed with a click and he turned away in sullen silence.

Nyph leaned in conspiratorially. “Well, it’s a scale of one to fifteen that is an indicator of how dangerous a planet is, one being the lowest and fifteen being the most dangerous. Rumour has it your planet is a category thirteen planet.”

“Sorry, I don’t really understand this whole category business. I mean to me, it’s just home.”

“It’s like this, every factor affecting survival bumps your planet up on the scale. So a category one planet which is the most ideal planet has only one factor that is a potential life-threatening risk. Category thirteen means there are thirteen. Get it now?”

Gus frowned. “Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Thirteen is too much, isn’t it? If it was, I don’t know, category four or five I think that’d be more acceptable.”

“AI, can you list the factors that classify Human’s world as a category thirteen planet?”

“Affirmation. Listing factors. Factor one; poisonous atmosphere.”

“Wait, that’s definitely not right. I’ve been breathing this air for more than twenty years and I ain’t never died yet.”

“Clarification. Earth atmosphere is nineteen point seven percent oxygen by volume. Most species of the New Intergalactic Coalition cannot breathe oxygen in such concentrations.”

“Ok, fine, poisonous for others then.”

“Factor two. Hostile flora. There are several species of plants that secrete toxins or are actively carnivorous. Factor three. Hostile fauna. There are several species of hunter animals that are highly dangerous, both to denizens of the Coalition or even to humans. Factor four. Extremes of environment. There are several environmental anomalies that result in conditions changing outside of safe reference ranges. These include but are not limited to storms, heat waves, heavy snows, torrential rains and droughts. Factor five. Unstable geology. Earth’s crust consists of unstable plates that can store elastic strain energy and propagate that energy along fault lines, resulting in seismic events. There are also several active volcanoes on the planet’s surface.”

“Ok, see, that’s just seeing the negative in all things, AI. Such, there are some plants and animals that can kill you but that’s largely if you’re stupid. Even I know enough not to eat unknown mushrooms or brightly coloured fruits and I sure as hell don’t antagonise wild animals. As for the environment and quakes, well that doesn’t happen all the time and everywhere. And the volcanoes are actually quite pretty. It’s always a pleasure to go watch them in action. Very scenic.”

The four Dintphs were ogling him like he was a circus exhibit. “Wait, that drivel about a category thirteen is actually real? AI, can you confirm that his world is a category thirteen?”

“Confirmation. Earth has been actively classified as a category thirteen planet with sapiant life. Data has been archived and addition to the Coalition database has been halted pending review by concerned parties.”

“Wait, so that’s just five factors. What are the other eight? Give us the short version,” Nyph eagerly asked. She seemed entirely too enthusiastic about this. Gus was starting to regret this but he’d never asked Van what the deal with Earth’s classification was. That’s a learning experience, I guess.

“Confirmation. Abbreviating listing. Factor six. High gravity. Factor seven. Evolving, highly contagious microbiota. Factor eight. Exposure to lethal amounts of solar radiation. Factor Nine. Hazardous environmental terrain such as swamps, acid pools or quick sands. Factor ten. Hazar-”

“We get it AI, no need to keep going,” Gus interrupted a bit tersely. He immediately regretted it. It wasn’t Van’s fault. He just didn’t realise that the galaxy at large considered his home to be a shithole and that kinda hurt. His hand tightened around his spoon and he used the silence that followed his outburst to shove a few spoonfuls of shnolok stew into his waiting gullet. It really was quite good, he could see why Sil liked it.

“How do you even live over there? Thirteen, that’s… that’s a deathworld!” one of the male Dintphs exclaimed.

“You keep throwing that word around. Deathworld. Like it’s supposed to mean something to me.”

“We call them deathworlds for a reason. There has never been any record of sapiant life evolving on a deathworld. Colonisation is impossible. The planet simply grinds all life to dust. How did you survive?” Nyph was whispering now, clearly having lost some of that spark after hearing the rest of the reasons why Earth was a dump. Whoop-ti-doo.

“To me it’s just home. Sure, there are some places on Earth that suck major balls, but by and alrge it’s a safe place to live for me. For humans. Even for some plants and animals. I really don’t get what the fuss is all about.”

They all stared at him like he just grew an extra head. One of them shook his head. “You don’t get it. If one of us was sent to that planet, we wouldn’t last a day. It’s incredible that a whole civilisation actually managed to thrive on a deathworld.”

“Thanks for the compliment I guess,” Gus shrugged. “Look, can we change the subject? I’m sure AI can answer your questions about deathworlds at a later date.”

Once they had his tacit permission they started grilling him about how he ended up on the Vanatu. They were quite a receptive audience -even grumpy Dintph- and Gus found himself liking them more than he anticipated. When they reached a lull in the conversation Nyph suddenly leaned in and grinned a feral smile.

“So, you;ve been avoiding one more subject.”

“What’s that?”

“What happened with you and Sil?”

“Err… Why do you want to know?”

Her grin widened, showing more teeth. “She’s my litter-sister, I need to take care of her.” Gus was sure being her sister was far from the real reason. More entertainment, you mean.

Gus only smiled that teethless smile and kept eating his stew. Nyph’s tail was coiling up behind her back and lashed against the bench she was on with a violent thwack. Gus kept the smile up until she quickly nodded once.

Passed that test, didn’t I?

Among the Dintph it was considered quite rude to discuss mating with people who were not very family, even litter-siblings. Gus certainly didn’t want to brag about how Sil had nearly killed him everytime they were fucking and they also didn’t need to know his sperm was the Dintph equivalent of catnip.

A hand suddenly clamped on Nyph shoulder quite painfully from the looks of it. Nyph’s ears twitched and her grin slipped.

“Care to tell me why you’re so close to him Nyph?” a cold voice asked.

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 18

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Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 18

“So Sil, where does that leave us?”

She still wouldn’t talk to Gus, curled up in a ball and half-covered in her blanket. Her tail however was curling along his arm. He kept stroking her head through the thick material.

‘You know, if you’re not going to speak I’ll have to do all the talking.” The bundle didn’t move. “I don’t really know much about Dintphs or even about you. I’m probably not your first choice for a mate and I’ll understand if you don’t want to associate with me anymore.”

Sil still didn’t seem interested in conversing so he decided to go solo.

“You know, I really have no clue what to do right now. I’m not a paragon of social grace and I’ve never had a girlfriend before. Ah, a girlfriend is a companion who’s in a relationship with you. She’s supposed to stick with you through thick and thin and while the arrangement may be temporary, it usually leads to marriage, which is a long-term relationship. I don’t know the Dintph equivalent.”

“As I said, I’m not very good with women.” He paused, organised his thoughts and continued. “I really like you Sil, you’re fun, energetic, interesting and your fur has the most amazing coloration I’ve ever seen. I love the way your eyes light up when you talk about science. I love the way your tail swishes around. I think you look really cute.”

“I know I called you my mate back there but that’s contingent on your approval. I wouldn’t want to force you to do that. I feel bad that this whole mess started because I couldn’t keep in in my pants. They said going into a mating period was an instinctual response to my pheromones so I don’t know that you’d have chosen me to be a mate if you had a choice.”

“I need you to tell me Sil,” he said, voice breaking a little bit. He really wasn’t used to these situations. His palms were increasingly sweatier. “I need to know you’re ok with being my girlfriend or mate or whatever it is you call this. It would really help if you spoke to me as well.”

He kept stroking what he thought was her head but she didn’t respond. After a while he sighed in disappointment and pulled his hand back. Just as he was about to get up and put Sil down, a hand shot out from underneath the blanket and grabbed his wrist. He tensed but she only put his hand back on top of the blanket.

Definitely her head then.

He silently kept caressing the blanket as he waited for Sil to speak up. After a while, the bundle in his arms moved around as Sil curled up against him. Her bottom was sticking out sorely from under the bright orange covering and he could see her tail lazily curling and uncurling as she began to purr.

That’s a good sign, isn’t it? Fuck, let that be a good sign.

On a whim, he decided to grab the tail and fiddle with it. The purring changed in tone but soon returned to its previous iteration. Emboldened, Gus slowly worked his way up the tail, soon reaching her bum. She’d been wearing a strange hospital gown type of thing when he’d come in. It was rather loose and he could easily reach underneath to touch her furred skin. He started scratching the small of her back where tail met coccyx and enjoyed the feel of her luxuriant fur.

The change in Sil’s behaviour was immediate. She squealed and struggled in his arms, trying to get away from his hand. He grinned and held her close with one hand while continuing with the scratching. His strength was more than enough to prevent her from escaping his hands and he kept it up until she spoke up.

“St-stop that!”

He ignored her and kept scratching.

She squealed louder and physically reached out to grab his wrist. “I’m serious, stop that,” she said in a muffled voice.

“Sorry, I can’t hear you that well with that blanket on your head. You’ll have to speak up,” Gus said as he ignored her.

Sil made a weird noise before pulling her hand back and tearing the blanket off her. It landed a few meters away from them. It was a good thing that they were alone in the room; the white gown she was wearing was doing a great job of not covering any of her important bits. There were two slits on the sides that were gapping wide open, giving Gus a very nice view of her sideboobs and taut stomach. He felt something grow in his pants but made no move other than to scratch Sil’s backside.

She somehow got on her knees while still in his lap and turned to him. Her face was flushed crimson. “It’s embarrassing so stop,” She said in a quivering voice.

“Oh? Why is it embarrassing?” He still didn’t let up.

“It’s…” She blushed even more furiously. “It’s something you do in private.”

“Is it? But there’s no one here. I’d say we’re private enough,” Gus said with a grin.

Sil averted her eyes and leaned into his chest. “I’m still not used to close physical contact with my mate, so it’s embarrassing.”

His heart skipped a beat. “What was that? I didn’t hear properly.”

Her head burrowed further into his chest. “I said I’ll be your girlfriend or mate or whatever it is we can call this.” He could tell from her voice she’d started blushing again.

He laughed with a loud booming voice and whooped as he stopped scratching her and hugged her tightly to him. For her part she didn’t say anything but her tail was lashing left and right like crazy. Probably an indicator of happiness in a Dintph.

They’d probably need to have a long talk about what this meant for the both of them but for now they cuddled in silence, content with the knowledge that they had each other.

* * *

Lieutenant Vatta Ren was observing the new couple through a viewscreen and listened to the sappy conversation with no shame. Sil had been right to be embarrassed. Vatta didn’t really have a notion of privacy when she was interested in something and the human was very interesting.

At first she’d dismissed the reports of sapiant life on the deathworld they’d departed from but she’d gone through the scout probe data they’d collected and had been fascinated with what she learned. The deep tissue scans she had been able to take during the human’s sleep were a treasure trove. The human’s physiology was remarkable. His body was uniquely adapted to the challenges of growing and thriving on a category thirteen planet. Dense bones and dense, layered muscles coupled with a nervous system capable of very fast responses marked him as a species used to fighting for survival. His immune system was adaptive, a trait rare enough that any research paper about a new species exhibiting something like that would be widely read and debated. His body chemistry was in perfect balance and judging from the way it was righting itself after the debacle with the Coxizu virility serum, didn’t depend on external stimuli to maintain stability.

“Remarkable. I am grateful to the Captain for picking him up. Studying him will advance our field by decades.”

Her assistant scoffed at that and loudly grumbled. “I don’t see what’s so special about it. It’s just a savage from a backwater planet. It has no business being here.”

“She rejected your proposal of a mating contract twice already, Ensign Orithi. Get over it. She didn’t choose you and if you let your animosity over this get in the way of my work, I will get you re-assigned to permanent reactor clean-up duty,” Vatta said testily, staring at the offending ensign until he looked away in sullen silence.

She went back to spying on the new couple but gleaned nothing new. They were chatting quite cutely she thought when suddenly the human slipped his hand inside the gown Lieutenant Sil Nubo was wearing. The ensuing shriek nearly made her ears bleed but didn’t cover the sound of the resounding smack the human received.

* * *

“What am I looking at?”

Lieutenant Vatta Ren jabbed her finger into the holographic brain in front of her. “Right here. See?” she asked as she turned to the Captain expectantly.

Echina squinted and tried to figure out why her Chief Medical Officer was in a tiff but still failed. “I’m not seeing it. Care to explain?”

“Look.” She brought up another rendering of the human’s brain. The projection was pale blue, with red, jagged lines showing neuronal connections. There was a separate section highlighting his complete nervous system. “This is from a scan we randomly did before his mating with the Lieutenant.” She pointed at a section of the brain. “This cluster here is inactive. Now look at the same cluster seven cycles after we pulled him off the stasis bed.”

Echina could now spot the difference. That tiny cluster was now more brightly lit on the second holo. “So what, there’s more activity there, is that it?”

“Yes, more activity. That’s the problem. I’ve compared the pre-mating brain to the data we’ve compiled using the scout probe and figured out that this is the standard brain activity mapping for average humans. Notice that this cluster isn’t activated in any of the scans we’ve had for this particular specimen. Now, only seven cycles after recovering from the side effects of the virility serum, there’s been a noticeable increase in activity in this cluster. A cluster that was hitherto inactive. Do you understand the implications Captain?”

Echina thought long and hard. Lieutenant Vatta Ren wasn’t prone to such displays of exuberance unless she was speaking about her wife. “Let’s see… Was the change induced by introducing that Coxizu monstrosity into his system? I don’t see the big deal. This happens all the time, right?”

Vatta Ren shook her head in frustration. “No, this is different. This scan was taken when no active molecules from the serum were in his system. So now we have a human that’s exhibiting permanent signs of new neuro-cortical stimulation even though the responsible agent is absent from his system. It’s a huge discovery Captain! It’s… it’s…” She seemed to be at a loss for words.

She started pacing in a circle, a habit she’d never gotten rid of since her days at the Academy. “It’s not just the brain activity that’s the issue. I’ve found traces of incomplete Coxizu active molecules in his blood. I’m guessing… I think his body is adapting to the serum. I’ve compared the scans we’ve taken over time during his mating with Sil Nubo.” She tapped a few commands into her datapad and brought up all the scans she was talking about. “As you can see, the brain mapping shows the increasing activity in the highlighted cluster. It also shows how the effectiveness of the serum is dropping each time he uses it. He’s developing more resistance to the serum’s effects the more he uses it. I think the side effects were exacerbated by that resistance.”

She resumed her pacing with her hands behind her back. “What’s more worrying are those incomplete molecules I found. If I’m not wrong I think his body is trying to manufacture more of the serum. It must have somehow recognised the active molecules as a necessary survival tool after the strenuous mating with Sil Nubo. I say strenuous but we both know that if it was another Dinpth in there with Sil, he would most likely have ended up severely injured or traumatised, or even both. I think this kicked his survival mechanism into gear and now he’s simultaneously developing a resistance to Coxizu virility serum and trying to make more in his own body. I think if we change his diet he might be able to have the necessary raw materials to successfully make more functioning molecules on his own. They might even be more effective in his case given that the artificial serum is having diminishing returns.”

Echina was silently contemplating what Lieutenant Vatta had just said. “So where does that leave us? What can we do about this? What should we do? It was his own decision to use the serum and to mate with Sil Nubo. Besides, I fail to see how this is a ship-wide concern.”

“You’re right Captain. It’s not a concern right now. But what happens if he uses Telani psychotropes? What if he starts producing his own?”

“I see… What’s your recommended course of action?”

“We should be very careful about what he puts into his body from now on.”

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 17

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Edit: I done fucked up. I got caught up in some other stuff and just forgot to write more stuff. I’ll try to churn out a new chapter pretty soon, but you know me, I’m a lazy fuck. I had a mild case of writer’s block too but I seem to have gotten over that, thank God for that.

Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 17

“I can understand why the Lieutenant is in the medical bay but why is Human in there too?”

“Well, beyond the fact that we have to keep him under examination for possible sequelae from his mating with the lieutenant, we have also detected several life-threatening complications due to his overdosing on the Coxizu virility serum.”

“Fair enough. Tell me what you’ve found so far.”

“I’ll start with Lieutenant Sil Nubo. As far as we can tell, there’s nothing wrong with her. Slight dehydration and lack of nutrients associated with malnutrition, some muscular and joint pains due to overworking and slight mental disorientation are all consistent with the aftermath of a Dintph mating period.”

“Nothing wrong? What about all those germs Human is lugging around in the incubator that is his body?”

“Quite a poetic description Captain. Did you perhaps miss your calling?” A glare did not deter her. “In any case, none of the microbiota on the human managed the jump from his body to hers. A most curious case. I shall investigate and find an answer, although I cannot say with certitude that I will even find one. If my wife were here though, she’d find a solution in a jiffy.”

Not again. “Yes, yes. I’m sure she could. So, the germs?”

“Ah, yes, my theory is that the germs either could not make the cross from Human to Dintph or that they did and the Dintph system is so different that there simply was no pathogenesis. As I said, I’ll have to investigate a bit more. I did recover some unknown organisms on the Lieutenant’s skin and inside her vagina. I plan on cross-referencing whatever I find on her with what I found on the Human. That’ll be a good start.”

“Keep me apprised. In the meantime I need to talk to our guest.”

“Of course. He’s this way.”

Lieutenant Vatta Ren turned and lead Echina to a stasis chamber holding the human. Echina leaned over his motionless form and observed him more closely; she’d rarely had the opportunity to see him so still. He was not too tall, measuring about 178cm, with brownish skin and a decently toned physique. Looking at his face, he was not what Echina would have described as handsome but he wasn’t altogether unpleasant to look at. His skin isn’t green enough. His shock of black hair was as usual thoroughly unkempt – a sure sign of a lazy mind, she thought.

“So why is he in a stasis chamber? I thought the only side effect he was suffering from was the vomiting.”

“Well, that’s only the first of many symptoms that appeared with time. He said something about pissing blood then collapsed. We put him in the stasis chamber to buy time and performed an in-depth, full body scan.” Vatta Ren tapped on her datapad before continuing. “The scan revealed multiple organ failure, including but not limited to the kidneys and the liver. Both are heavily involved in maintaining a balance within the human body.”

With another tap a complete map of the human anatomy appeared on a viewscreen. The same diagram was represented on a holoscreen. Vatta Ren pointed to several red-lighted features. “It’s amazing he was able to function to that level given how severe his organs were damaged by the virility serum.”

“He doesn’t seem that bad looking at him now.”

“I’m getting to that. So, here I am doing a full body scan and I notice a ping from AI indicating that the condition of the body has changed. When I turn to the human again, I can see that his organs are slowly but surely righting themselves. His liver released or inhibited several key enzymes that normalised the liver’s function. The renal failure took longer to correct but eventually, the water balance in his body righted itself. It’s not surprising that a species would be able to self-repair to such an extent, it’s the speed that was employed. Barely a few hundred units, Standard Galactic Time.”

Echina was still peering at the human. “Can you find out the source of his fast healing and replicate it? That would go a long way towards salvaging this mission.”

“Unfortunately that would take much more extensive research than I could do on this ship. Perhaps when we get back I’ll ask Rhil if I can access the Concourse labs to do a couple of tests. It’ll be easy. You know, since she’s been promoted.”

“She’s been promoted? I didn’t know,” Echina deadpanned.

Vatta’s face split into a wide smile. “Yes! She’s recently been promoted to head of her own department! She’s only the twentieth Chachiss to achieve this you know? I’m so proud of her! We’re all proud of her. If she were here, you’d have no problem in the medical bay whatsoever!”

“Are you admitting to running a sloppy medical bay?”

“Why, yes, of course! There’s no way I’m as good as my wife you know,” Vatta said with a booming laugh.

“Enough of this. Wake him up, we need to talk.”

“Right away captain.” Vatta tapped her datapad a couple of time before the field covering the human shimmered out of existence. A loud and protracted groan could be heard coming from the stasis bed.

The human feebly rolled onto his side and a thin stream of brownish sludge dribbled out of his open mouth. Is he still suffering from side effects, even after stasis treatment? Just how much serum did he use? He tried to sit up and barely made it with Vatta’s help. His eyes were unfocused as he tried to get his bearings in an unfamiliar room.

“Where… where am I?” his voice cracked as he tried to speak with a dry throat.

“You’re in the medical bay. What’s the last thing you remember?”

“I was with…” He swallowed with great difficulty and tried again. “With Sil. In my cabin. We were… you know…” he smirked. “Mating urges and everything. Then I think I started – did I puke everywhere and piss blood? Because that sounds like what happened…”

Echina’s face seemed to be locked in a permanent frown. “AI contacted security when both you and Lieutenant Sil Nubo failed to respond to any hails. They found you passed out in a puddle of blood and a brown… fluid. Your suit was in tatters and the lieutenant was comatose on your bed. You were then brought to the medical bay for treatment.”

“How long was I out?”

“A bit more than eight hundred units Standard Galactic Time. How are you feeling?”

“Like I just made out with a bear. What happened to Sil? Is her thing over?”

“Bear: native mammal from Earth. Ursidae family of caniforms. Can weigh up to 730 kilograms (Earth units). Often hibernate to conserve energy. Tend to be aggressive if encountered after mating period or if encroaching on their territory,” AI helpfully added.

“I see… Fascinating. So bears are an integral part of human courtship rituals then? They must be some sort of rite of passing challenge to obtain courting rights for a female right? It must be! Oh Captain, if Rhil were here, she’d be ecstatic! So much research to be done! So much to learn!” Lieutenant Vatta was practically foaming at the mouth. Not that anyone looking at her would be able to tell. She still maintained a stoic demeanour.

“To answer your question, yes, Lieutenant Sil Nubo mating period is over. It seems her circumstances were a bit different than the general Dintph population. A mating isn’t normally as … intense as hers was. We think it was due to the pheromones you released. She’s fine and is resting in a separate unit.”

“I see. Whew, she sure did a number on me!” Gus’ hand reached up to his shoulder, feeling for a bite scar. “No scars I see.” He got up and slowly spread his arms wide, inspecting himself for defects. “I guess technology does wonders, eh? Is there any chance I can speak to Sil? I think there’s quite a lot we need to discuss.”

“We still have a few tests to run. You can meet her after that.”

* * *

“AI, how much time in Earth minutes is eight hundred units Standard Galactic Time?”

“Calculating. Eight hundred units Standard Galactic Time are equivalent to four hundred Earth minutes.”

“Two units for one minute. I get it. From now on, can you give me any units in the converted and appropriate Earth value please? I think it would be much easier until I get the hang of this Standard Galactic unit system.”

“Confirmation. Values will be calculated accordingly.”


“You’re welcome.”

Gus was alone in the bay, the other xenoi keeping a careful distance away from him. The tales of his being a microorganism incubator had spread and they feared to see him without his vacsuit. He’d have to do something about that. Walking around in the suit was sending the wrong message, like he dangerous or something. Well, he was dangerous, but that was beside the point.

He wondered what Sil’s reaction would be when he met her. They were lovers now. Or were they? Sil hadn’t really touched on what happened after a successful or unsuccessful mating session. Did they stay friends? Take care of the kids? Get married? Could they get married? Did they still have sex? Because in spite of all the biting and hip-crushing, the sex was very fun.

He grinned. Oh yes, loads of fun. I still can’t feel my dick, but that’s nothing next to what Sil made me feel. He really hoped they could still have sex without the excessive violence. Speaking of sex, what happened to Art’ah? Haven’t seen her in a while. Haven’t seen anyone in a while. Wait her or him? Hir? Hem? What do I call her?

He cast his gaze around the room and took stock. It was surprisingly similar to a lab back on Earth. Tables and workstations neatly arranged and divided by sections, with reagents and apparatuses of various colour, shapes and sizes. Their use remained a mystery. There were no computers and none were necessary when the ship AI would crunch all your numbers and store all your data. There were many viewscreens and a lot of those holographic displays he’d seen here and there. The walls were a brilliant white colour with colour-coded stripes indicating which section was where. Gus peered at the writing on the walls and tried to get closer, only to bump his nose on an invisible force field.

Hello my old friend. Fancy meeting you here.

From beyond the field, various space races would wander around, holding datapads and curious instruments. They would sometimes look up from their work and see him and stare with open mouths or whatever passed for shock and surprise in their species. He felt like a beast in a cage at the zoo.

A man goes to a zoo. There’s only a dog there. It’s a shit zoo.

Gus chuckled. At least he wasn’t losing his sense of humour. He tried to distract himself from the boredom by observing his ‘captors’. There were many Dintphs walking around staring openly, some with revulsion, others curiosity and a small fraction with open disgust (even hate he might say). More Agaraxians with their tall, stocky builds and green skin and long hair with varying colours. Purple seemed to be the most predominant one, though orange and blue were seen occasionally. He even spotted some blue and *gasp* even black hair.

Gasp, black hair. What a shock.

There were scant few Kmigars like Xar’usk but he attributed that to the fact that they seemed to like science more than medical stuff, at least based on what Xar’usk and Van had told him. The doctor who fixed him up was nowhere to be seen.

He’d been quite surprised at seeing her. Her four eyes (a pair above the ones placed in the same spot as a human) were already daunting enough but she had obsidian skin that seemed to drink light and weirdly shaped blocky joints. She was completely bald, not a speck of hair anywhere that he could see. To his great disappointment her chest was more akin to an airport runway than to the hills and valleys he dreamt of. If Van hadn’t told him that she was a female he wouldn’t have believed it. She was taller than him by about a couple of centimetres, couldn’t have been more than five. She struck him as a no-nonsense doctor type based on her appearance and the small speech she’d given him.

He saw her come back with another Dintph assistant taping onto a datapad. She went to the console next to his bed and checked something, frowned then clicked her tongue.

“It seems that your body is already healing the damage you sustained from your activities with the lieutenant. How remarkable.”

“Thanks doc. You got any news on Sil for me?” he asked, hope filling his voice.

“Yes, she’s recovered and is currently rehydrating and getting more nutrients. It doesn’t seem like your microbiota affected her at all, we have that to be thankful for. She seems to be suffering from some psychological trauma though. I suspect the ship’s counsellor will have to spend some time with her.”

“Trauma? What kind of trauma?” Gus felt his guts go cold at the mention of that. Did I do something wrong? Fuck, does she think I somehow mind-bended her into having sex with me? I mean those pheromones are pretty powerful. “Is she alright? Can I speak to her?”

“As I said, physically, she’s fine but her attitude shows signs of mental scarring. I’m not sure as to the origin of that but you can try talking to her in a minute. I just need to calibrate the fields in this room and hers.”

She taped a few more times then turned to Gus. “All done. You can head to the adjacent room as soon as we exit this one. I don’t want to breathe in your atmosphere if possible.”

Her assistant turned and left as soon as she uttered those words. He really didn’t seem to like Gus. The doctor walked out at a more leisurely pace, hands clasped behind her back. He got off the bed when the door to the room slid shut, waited five seconds for the field around his bed to wink out then proceeded to Sil’s room.

He saw her through a viewscreen on the wall, sitting on a similar bed, clutching what looked like a blanket in her hands. Her ears were down on her skull, tail curled dejectedly down. She really didn’t look that fine to him. Apprehension filled him as he walked into the room.

Sil looked up, saw him and froze. Her mouth slowly opened, stayed open then slowly closed. Her tail started twitching, ears now fully erect. He was about to say something when she jumped off the bed, crouched down, covered her head with the blanket and screamed.


Well excuse me bitch, nice to see you too. Gus was pretty pissed. I mean, he wasn’t that ugly. Was he?

The doctor strolled in with her assistant looking mighty smug in the face of Gus’ distress. What a cunt. She turned to him.

“As you can see, her vitals are normal. It’s just that she’s… like that,” she said, pointing to the Dintph now rolling on the floor, hiding her face with her hands and blanket.

He slowly approached her and crouched. “Sil,” he said gently. “Sil, it’s Gus.” She trembled at his touch but didn’t throw his hand off. “Sil, talk to me. What’s wrong?” he gently shook her. That assclown assistant scoffed loudly enough for the doc to give him a measured look. What the fuck is his problem? Gus tried to ignore him and turned back to Sil.

“What’s wrong Sil? Did I hurt you? Are you mad at me?”

She suddenly jumped up, her face practically five centimetres from his own. ‘No! I’m not hurt! You didn’t hurt me!” Her tails was lashing left and right, seemingly agitated. She sounded as anxious as he felt. “I’m not hurt,” she repeated, “I feel great actually but…” She averted her eyes once more, face turning a deep crimson.

“Are you blushing?”

She blushed even harder. “No I’m not! You’re blushing!”

“Yeah, I am. Cause I’m looking at you, you beautiful creature.”

She screeched and covered her head once again, squatting down on her haunches. She didn’t want to look at him but the way her tail was trashing around told him she was quite happy with his compliment. He smirked.

‘It’s ok Doc,” he said to Vatta Ren. “She’s not hurt, she’s just embarrassed.” A soft squeal escaped the blanket at these words. He grabbed her and ignored the additional squealing, gathering her to his chest like a child. His upper body had recovered enough that he could hold her up with no difficulty. He sat back down on the stasis bed and stroked what looked like Sil’s head. It was hard to tell, that blanket was pretty thick.

“I don’t suppose you could give us a couple of minutes? I need to talk to my mate,” He said, savouring the last word.

Yeah, that was totally the right thing to say.

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 16

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Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 16

“He wants what?”

“You read that report right Lieutenant.”

“How is he even… Does that…”

Lieutenant Xar’usk was rubbing his forearms together, a sure sign of perplexity in the Kmigar. His voice trailed off, mandibles clicking distractedly as he imagined why Human could require something like that.

“Captain, I need to check our stores. I think I have something that fits the description but not the species, if you know what I mean.”

“No, I don’t know what you mean Lieutenant.”

Xar’usk clicked his mandibles in reprimand. Never one to have a laugh, this captain. “I mean to say, the material is certainly tear-resistant but it was not adapted for use by Human. I need to contact Major Nimson. I will report back on the success of my endeavour.”

Xar’usk cut the comm off before he could hear the Captain’s customary gripe about her fellow Agaraxian. Why does Human even need this suit? It’s not like he’s going to go into combat… Unless… this has to do with the lieutenant’s condition. Tear-resistant would fit given her tendency to resort to clawing in moments of high stress.

Xar’usk camly brought up the specs of what he had in mind while also checking the ship stores for any spare suit. His thin, nimble hands manipulated two consoles at once, compound eyes focused on each at the same time. Multi-tasking was rarely a skill neglected by the curious Kmigar and made them highly efficient.

There it is; nanomesh exosuit innerwear. Displays all the characteristics that Human requires. A bit of overkill for his use but it’s the best I have on short notice. He glanced at the wall chronometer. Roughly four cycles had passed since the onset of Lieutenant Sil Nubo’s mating frenzy. I should be getting some good data. I can’t wait to cut Human up and see what’s inside him.

A comm chime brought him back from fantasies of dissections and strange xenos species. Major Nimson was hailing.

“Salutations Major Nimson. I see you got my message. You must have queries.”

“You’re right I do. Why in the name of The Nine do you need a discarded exo-in? I’m not complaining but it’s a damn strange request.”

“Oh no, it’s not for me. You remember Human? The guest we picked up a while ago? It’s for him.”

“Human? That scrawny thing isn’t going to fit in that, you know that. Besides, why does he need a combat-grade innerwear and why are we giving it to him? Why do you need a damaged one? Does he not have genitals in the normal places? I mean, that hole is pretty big and I’m sure making a new one is more viable than fixing a broken one.”

“Questions, so many questions! Major if the Captain hasn’t told you, then you may consider this matter need-to-know only. It is quite sensitive information that I cannot tell you right now. Perhaps when some time passes we can meet at the Commons and discuss this most… strange being we have picked up,” Xar’usk chittered. “In the meantime, would you be so kind as to send me the exo-in at the soonest so I may get on with my task?”

“Sure, sure. But I expect some answers from you Xar’usk. You’ll not ply me with sweet shollom and make me forget the matter. And tell your captain I don’t appreciate being kept out of the loop. If there’s a situation that needs combat-grade ordinance, then I should be made aware too,” Nimson grumbled.

“I’ll be waiting for your package then,” Xar’usk briskly said, cutting off the comm. Major Nimson did tend to get long-winded when it came to Captain Echina. Must be that Rinvi-Umdyn clan rivalry.

Xar’usk busied himself with the innerwear’s requested design, putting the measurements in the military-grade dispenser’s synthesis matrix. He was clicking his mandibles idly in what humans would equate to a sing-song manner when AI informed him that Ensign Vytrikx was approaching with his package.

“Ah, excellent. Let me see,” he said, holding the battered innerwear up. It was ripped and had holes in many places. There was a huge gash at the crotch level, courtesy of those pesky Almikue eater-plants. Xar’usk silently mourned the departed members of the security team. He then stuffed the nanomesh mess into the dispenser input rack. His eight fingers flew across the command console and the machine swiftly prepared Human’s required apparel.

Xar’usk was still hammering away on the console, analysing the data from the most recent coupling of Lieutenant Sil Nubo and Human. It was fascinating, so fascintating! The hormonal changes in the Lieutenant were nothing short of astounding. Her whole system was going into overdrive, which would explain her insistence with Human. His genetic material – stored in spermatozoa – consisted of twenty three chromosomes but they seemed… incomplete.

Xar’usk was puzzled. What manner of reproductive system was this? Was Human similar to the Aellag? Did he have to undergo binary fission to produce offspring? No, no that wasn’t possible, his entire physiology was ill-suited for such a thing.

So many questions, so little time. I could solve all this by cutting him up, but noooo. We can’t damage the Captain’s precious debriefing specimen. Xar’usk clicked his mandibles in frustration until AI signalled him that the modified nanomesh innerwear was ready. I should go deliver it in person. It’ll make for a nice change and maybe I can observe the mating in closer details. Scans probably missed minute details.

* * *

And so it was that Lieutenant Xar’usk found himself outside a diplomatic cabin listening to what appeared, to the casual listener, to be a life and death fight. He could hear the lieutenant’s shrill screeches and occasional hisses and yowls, followed almost immediately by Human’s screams. He sometimes sounded in pain, sometimes not. It was a mixed blessing that they didn’t have any other ambassadors on board. They’d surely have complained about the noise.

He was undecided. Should he just drop the package off and go? Leave without even attempting to investigate the curious mating ritual? As a being of science, he could not condone that! But the sounds were turning more bestial, more brutal even and he wasn’t sure he wanted to put himself in there with those two.

In the end curiosity won and he entered his security override on the wall panel, entered the cabin and witness chaos.

* * *

The entire cabin was trashed. The desk was laden with scratches and the sparse furniture was thrown haphazardly all around the room. There were patches of wet material of various sizes all over the walls and the soft synthmoss carpet. Xar’usk gingerly stepped in and waited for his hosts to acknowledge him.

It didn’t work.

Lieutenant Sil Nubo – usually so reserved (at least in his eyes), enthusiastic only at the prospect of dissections – was now like a primordial she-beasts from the annals of the Dintph history holos. Human was fighting her off valiantly, holding her arms behind her back and screaming as she savagely bit his shoulder. His hips wouldn’t stop moving though. A muscular spasm perhaps? Xar’usk could not understand it. Was this bizarre scene a pre-mating ritual?

He held up the suit and waited. He waited a long time. The human had thrown the diminutive Dintph on his bed and was once again assaulting her with his hips. This continued until they both screamed very loudly then lay still. The suit was still held up for display in his hands.

Lieutenant Sil Nubo rolled off and appeared to have almost immediately fallen asleep while Human got off and ran to the lavatory. The sound of dry heaving filled the air. Must be the side effects. How fascinating. Did they finish mating? I couldn’t see properly. Next time I’ll bring a holocorder.

Xar’usk idly noted the blood splashed all over the bed and most of the walls. It had ended on the ceiling too. He clicked his mandibles in appreciation. Few species truly understood the notion of bloodletting but it seems that Human was a true artist. He would have to meet him in a more private setting and discuss the various cuts he enjoyed. Maybe they were kindred spirits?

Human returned, looking quite haggard since the last time he’d seen him. There were deep bags under his eyes, scratches everywhere with rivulets of blood running down his arms, back and chest. He could also see myriad bite marks all over Human’s dirty, sticky-looking body. His mandibles clicked in appreciation. He didn’t know Lieutenant Sil Nubo would be so territorial, marking her mate like that. He must have just mated, Xar’usk realised. His data on humans suggested they would not release this amount of fluids under normal circumstances.

Human still did not acknowledge him. He staggered to the dispenser, grabbed a medical gel patch and carefully applied it to his crotch. He immediately sighed in contentment and set about to apply more patches on his sorry-looking body. He then grabbed a container, drained its contents into his mouth and sharply exhaled. When he turned around still holding the container and saw Xar’usk, his eyes widened and he froze.

“When the fuck did you get here?”

* * *

Xar’usk underestimated how vigorous the Lieutenant could be while mating; Human was entirely drained and lifeless when he was done. His body was covered in patches and he still winced from remnant pain. He had righted the ambassador-standard gel-chair and was sprawled on it, sipping an exotic-smelling brown drink. A vial of Coxizu virility serum was clutched in one hand.

Mandibles clicking in disapproval, Xar’usk explained how he had refitted a nanomesh exosuit innerwear for Human’s uses. The nanomesh fitted him perfectly, covering his body from ankles to wrists and collarbone. A dull mixture of grey and black reinforced threads with smooth patches at the joints to allow for easy movement, the exosuit innerwear was worn under the combat armor the Agaraxian Ground Forces routinely used. Xar’usk now understood why Human needed this kind of protection after witnessing the almost barbaric nature of their coupling.

“Does it match what you imagined?”

Human stood up, stretching and checking the range of motion. Quite a sensible fellow. He bent down, touching his toes, got back up and bent backwards, eliciting a curious crack. It seemed to come from his back.

“Yeah, it’s great. And you’re sure this will protect me from Sil’s nails?”

“Of course. This is military-grade material we’re talking about here. It should withstand anything short of a Chachiss scythe-hand and we’re not likely to find that here, are we?” His mandibles clicked in good humour.

“Great, great.” Human put a hand between his legs, adjusting his reproductive organ. The nanomesh sported a huge open hole where his crotch was. He now understood that this was meant to allow his reproductive organ to have contact with the Lieutenant. There was a curious sack dangling underneath his organ. When asked, Human only said it was his family’s heirloom. So many mysteries.

“So you didn’t get any trouble from the captain? I mean, you just said this is military-grade stuff. I wouldn’t normally give that to a civilian, let alone an alien who basically hitch-hiked his way onto your ship.”

“It was no problem. I was able to acquire a damaged nanomesh and fix it to your specifications. It was going to be recycled anyway, so giving it to you was not difficult.”

“Cool. So listen, I know you’ve got tons of questions but I’ve been timing how long she sleeps between bouts and I can tell you she’s gonna wake up soon. I don’t have much time so if you have anything important to ask, now is the time.”

Human wasn’t lying, he could see the lieutenant stir on top of the bed, tail randomly lashing left and right. At the moment though, he couldn’t think of any of the questions he had over the course of his analysis.

“Can I watch?” he blurted out.

Human arched an eyebrow (Such delicate muscle control!) and leaned back on his gel-chair. “Mate, that’s something you only ask when you’re good friends with the parties involved.”

“Apologies, I didn’t mean to overstep.”

“Nah, it’s cool. I get why you want to do that. I’d be curious too,” he said, widening his lips and displaying his front teeth. A curious action. He’d have to ask about that too. He glanced behind him, saw his partner stir awake and got up.

“Well, thanks a lot for this suit. If it works as advertised, this mating frenzy business will be a breeze!”

“Glad to help. You will keep me informed as usual?” Xar’usk asked with a hopeful click of his mandibles.

“Sure man. All for science, right?” He turned back, grabbing the vial of virility serum. “Off you go now, I have things to do. Dragons to slay.”

A curious turn of phrase to be sure but Xar’usk did not want to overstay his welcome. He was about to exit the cabin when he turned and had a final look.

Lieutenant Sil Nubo had eyes only for Human and was on her haunches, looking like a predator about to pounce. Human put the vial to his neck and pressed the release trigger. After a short hiss, he threw it away in a corner of the cabin.

“Let’s see how you like a fair fight, bitch!”

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Just a Guy in Space – Chapter 15

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Just a Guy in Space

Chapter 15

“Query. The human Gustavo Martinez has sent you another message. Would you like to hear it?”

“Go ahead.”

“He says ‘I don’t got this.’ Do you require clarification?”

“No. He’s probably done something really stupid and is regretting his decision.”

* * *

Gus’ solution to the scratching problem was doggy style. It sounded quite simple but was surprisingly effective. He could plough Sil with reckless abandon while controlling her hands and avoid the deadly nails she sported. As an added bonus she seemed to really like this position. It was quite pleasant and hearing Sil yowl and moan like a mixture of a woman and a cat was very enjoyable. However Man proposes and God disposes. Sil freed herself of his embrace and returned to her bite-happy, scratch-heavy, I’m-going-to-eat-you tendencies.

This time however, armed with adrenaline and the coxizu virility serum, Gus was able to keep up with the fierce Dintph. His balls and dick still hurt something fierce but by God he was able to keep up! This session lasted as long as the previous one but there was none of that disappointment bullshit.

As usual, Sil fell asleep as soon as she had her fill and Gus was left to treat his wounds and bruises in relative peace and silence. He got a quick meal of the same nutrient paste he’d previously been eating and settled himself next to Sil, enjoying the feel of the body against his. She felt so good against him like… like…

Gus frowned. She felt awful. Her fur was sticky with sweat and she smelled like a gymbro right after chest day. He hadn’t realised (or rather he’d rationalised everything he felt) that hours of sex with no shower wasn’t going to win them any cleanliness prizes. He rolled off and hopped into the sonic shower. That, however, did nothing to remove the smell so he settled for sprawling on the gel-chair and getting a quick nap away from the cesspool of odours, sweat and dried juices that was Sil.

He awoke to the insistent ministrations of Sil already trying to mount him. He didn’t want the comfortable chair to get dirty so he picked her up and went back to bed. Thus ensued a few odd hours of happy, violent, life-threatening sex. He ate, slept again, got another shot of that virility serum and got abused by Sil like clockwork. He decided Van had been pulling his leg about those side effects until he started puking uncontrollably mid-coitus.

The stream of vomit hit Sil’s back who only glanced back, frowned and continued backing dat ass up. He lost his grip on her hips as his stomach kept clenching and tried (in vain one might add) to roll off the bed and into the lavatory. Turns out Dintphs don’t give two fucks about a silly thing like vomit. Sil growled angrily, stalked him into the lavatory and mounted him right then and there.

Needless to say, additional hours of painful, dirty (so dirty and not in a kinky way) and generally uncomfortable sex exhausted our poor human’s reserves, who collapsed. Gus opened his eyes to the sight of a reeking Sil sleeping on top of him, his now soft cock still partially inside her pussy.

Oh God, the smell is killing me.

He dragged her to the sonic shower, cleaned them both up, grabbed the stained sheets on the bed and balled them up. Van informed him that a compartment could open up in the wall that acted as a debris chute for any garbage he might have. Gus gladly dropped his bundle of vomit down the hatch and watched in amazement as the bed spontaneously grew a second sheet.

“Huh… I guess I’ll never have to worry about fitted sheets versus normal sheets ever again.”

“Warning. Side effects from Coxizu virility serum are surfacing. Violent nausea detected. Should the medical bay be alerted?”

“Nah, thanks Van. I’ll take my chances here. I don’t want to leave Sil alone. Something’s telling me I’ll wake up missing something important if I do that.” He grimaced as he applied yet another medical gel patch to his bruised skin. “Say Van, how long does the mating frenzy of a Dintph generally last? It’s been what, almost a day? And we’ve done nothing but have sex, sleep and eat.”

“Confirmation. While the length of the mating period varies, it is ends consistently within eight Earth cycles. Several factors affect the duration of the frenzy; desirability of the partner, hormone levels, ovulation, ambient temperature, availability of nutrients to name just a few. Would you like the complete list of variables?”

‘No thanks, that’s not necessary. So basically what you’re saying is that it’s gonna end when it ends.”

“Confirmation. An accurate statement.”

“Is there any way to cheat? I wanted to get laid but this is getting to be detrimental to my health, mental and otherwise…”

“Denial. There is no known way to ‘cheat’ out of such a situation.”


Another bout of stomach-emptying puking interrupted his thoughts and he hastily went to worship the Porcelain Goddess. He idly noted between each puke that the toilet wasn’t actually made of porcelain and that for some reason it looked strangely similar to toilets found on Earth.

“Van, can you connect me to Xar’usk please? I need to ask him something.”

“Confirmation. Pinging Lieutenant Xar’usk. Stand by for communication.”

A chime echoed in the cabin, followed by some clicking and Xar’usk’s voice.

“Ah, Human, how good of you to contact me! I have so many questions I need answered. I imagine you do too.”

Gus frowned. How come the translation sounds like Xar’usk? If Van’s the one doing it, then shouldn’t it sound like a computer-generated voice or something? Gotta ask her about it. “Hi Xar, I’m in a bit of a bind. So you know the whole mating frenzy thing Sil’s got going, right? Do you know of a way to end it early?”

“I see, yes, based on these readings it seems you’re going through a bit of a *click* rough patch.” He didn’t seem to mind Gus shortening his name. He sounded quite excited actually. “I assume that the lieutenant has been most *click* insistent in her haste to procreate.”

“Yeah, insistent is hardly the word I’d use. Anyway, do you know of anything that can stop that frenzy or attenuate it?”

“AI has informed me that you’ve taken several doses of the Coxizu virility serum. Is that accurate?” He didn’t wait for Gus to answer. “That is not good, not good at all. You see, the virility serum works differently for different species and while you haven’t suffered some of the more debilitating side effects, there is an interesting interaction happening between the serum and your unique biology.”

“This doesn’t sound good at all. Care to explain?”

“Yes of course. You see, you release quite potent pheromones when you – what’s the word? Ejaculate? Yes, when you ejaculate. This is how it all started, driving Lieutenant Sil Nubo into her mating period. I have several theories as to why she is so *click* driven, one of which being that whenever you ejaculate, you release those very same hormones which are extending the lieutenant’s mating period. May I suggest that you … not ejaculate during coitus?”

“That’s really helpful Xar. Thanks a bunch. I might as well cut my dick and give it to Sil because that seems to be the only viable option left to me.” Gus heaved a long sigh. “I never imagined sex would be so harrowing.”

And it was a harrowing experience. He didn’t deny that he was enjoying himself immensely; Sil was responsive, aggressive, vocal and uninhibited. He doubted he could find a human woman who would act like her. The downside was that she was aggressive, vocal and uninhibited. She would sometimes scream into his ear, bite or scratch a bit too hard and would just not stop. He has massive bruises on his hips and cock and long scabbed scratch marks all over his back. His frequent use of that serum was coming back to bite him in the ass. The side effects now included long migraines that would only abate if he took the pain blocker the captain had authorised Van to synthesise.

I guess it wasn’t really a good idea to push Sil into estrus. I am slightly regretting this decision. On the other hand, she’s reeeeeally wild in bed. Gus pondered his options for a while before he had a Eureka moment.

“Hey, are you still there?”

“I am.”

“What if we sedate her? So we mate, she falls asleep, I sedate her and time passes until she’s no longer in the frenzy. How does that sound?”

“I wouldn’t recommend it. There are known complications to prematurely ending a mating frenzy, none of which are pleasant.”

“Dammit, there goes my best idea… Alright, thanks for the talk, man. I appreciate it. I’m out.”

“Yes, do contact me if you have additional data.”

The comm cut off and left Gus with a still snoring Sil in the background. He suddenly felt very alone.

* * *

It was in the middle of yet another violent romp that Gus found the perfect idea. Sil was busy gnawing on his left ear. Her lags were wrapped around his waist with her arms hugging him tight and to be honest he couldn’t really complain about how that made him feel. It was one of the slowest, most gentle copulations they’d had since her mating frenzy overwhelmed her. Well, gentle is a relative word. He too was hugging her tightly to his body in an effort to maintain a semblance of control over her.

The smell of their sweat was heavy in the air; her skin tasted of salt and a curious something else he couldn’t identify. He grabbed her hair and pulled her head back roughly, licking her throat and endeavouring to give her yet another hicky.

I got it. A suit. Like the exofilm clothes I wear with the exosuit. Ideally something with high tensile strength that won’t rip after being manhandle – or cathandled. Gus chuckled. All I need is for it to cover most of my body, with an opening for my dick. Some sort of shock-absorbing material would be the best. Let’s see if the captain will approve of that.

He leaned back, shifting to cowgirl started pounding Sil’s tight snatch with all he had. She enjoyed the rough treatment and was less likely to get aggressive when Gus took the initiative. His left hand shot up to grab her by the back of her neck and pulled her to him. She was leaning over him now with her ass up in the air. His right hand rested on the small of her back and pushed her hips down into his own as best he could.

“Van, can you ask the captain if it’s possible to get a custom-made exofilm clothing that’s resistant to tearing, can breathe and has an opening for my dick? I think it’s essential for my continued survival and if they can get more of their ‘valuable’ data with a little field testing. I hardly think I’m the first guy to try and bone above his weight class.”

“Confirmation. Sending the captain a request. Query. Weight class is a fighting sports terminology that refers to weight classification. Why are you using it in this context?”

Gus was actively slamming his hip into Sil. “I’m kinda busy here Van! I’ll be happy to answer your questions at a later date if you don’t mind!” More wet, sloppy hip slamming coupled with Sil’s ever-present moaning/mewling. “I gotta get this done first!”

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