Just a Guy in Space
The suit was clunky to be sure. It was designed for Agaraxians but while they might look like humans, their physiology was different. They did not sweat, for example, so did not require material that breathed or took into consideration heat distribution. The males of the species were all much taller than he was. As a result he was walking around in a slightly oversized suit that kept slipping at odd moments and was akin to a blast furnace.
The suit itself worked as intended. It kept the ship’s atmosphere out and prevented his pesky microbes from killing everyone and everything. It turned out that the vast majority of alien species on board did not have a self-regulating, self-sustaining immune system. They required regular injections of immunity-boosting materials, “updates” so to speak, to be able to combat new diseases. It was surprising how few of those actually emerged but when they did they tended to do massive damage. They’d probably shit their pants if he told them about the influenza virus.
The ship itself was pretty big. It had an engineering department, a science bay, medical bay, armory, shuttle bay, loading docks, a variety of accommodations for crew (“berths” according to AI’s translation) as well as several rooms geared towards relaxation. Sadly there was no holodeck on this particular ship, the scope of their mission not warranting such expenditure.
The Pride of Vanatu was nominally a scout ship but it was closer to an all-purpose exploration ship, kind of like the Enterprise but smaller. The crew itself numbered 437, which consisted of a majority of Agaraxians and several other Council species. He’d been told by the ever-helpful AI that this was not a sample representation of the species distribution of the Council. They had chosen some of the more combat-oriented species of the Council to crew the Vanatu for reasons that were still eluding him.
“AI, are you sure this is the right way to the commons?” The one really cool function of the vacsuit was to be able to communicate directly with the Pride of Vanatu’s AI.
“Calculating. This is indeed the most efficient way of reaching the commons.”
“Thanks. I need all the help I can get in this place.”
“AI does not need to be thanked. It is my duty to help.”
Gus frowned. “Well you know where I’m from it’s customary to just say ‘you’re welcome’ when someone says thanks. I know you’re an AI but that doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings, right?”
“Incorrect. AI has been programmed to have no emotions. Emotions cloud judgement and clear judgement is required to function optimally on each mission. It has been proven that AIs without the emotion component are four hundred and fifty seven per cent more efficient than those with the emotion component.”
“Well that explains quite a few things. So you’re the no fun kind of AI, huh? You know what, can you comply with a few of my requests if they don’t clash with your programming or my security clearance?”
“Affirmation. What is your request?”
“When I say thanks in any way, can you just say ‘you’re welcome’ instead of going ‘I am AI and it is my duty to have a stick in my ass’ please?”
“Incorrect. As an AI I do not have a physical body. As such, I cannot have anything in any orifice.”
Gus sighed. “Can you just comply please?”
“Affirmation. From now on AI will respond to ‘thank you’ with ‘you’re welcome’.”
“Great. By the way, are you a boy or a girl?” asked Professor Oak.
“Incorrect. AI does not have an assigned gender.”
“Here we go again.” He sighed once more. “Who was the one who made you by the way?”
“AI was programmed by the computations department of the New Intergalactic Coalition of Sonder’s fleet management entity.”
“Hey, it’s the New Intergalactic Coalition of Sonder right? Why does everyone I meet call it the Council then?”
“Explanation. The High Council of the New Intergalactic Coalition of Sonder is responsible for any and all legislation changes in the coalition. It holds both the highest level of responsibility and the highest level of recognition amongst the species of the Coalition. As such, the New Intergalactic Coalition of Sonder is colloquially referred to as the Council.”
* * *
The mess hall or commons was an integral part of social interaction on the Vanatu. All the species on board needed to eat and Gus was no different. AI had correlated all the data recovered from the scout probe and had integrated it into its database. As such, food palatable for humans was available in the commons.
Gus shambled into the commons and sucked in a breath. The room itself resembled some of the more ordinary rooms he’d seen in the various sci-fi media back on Earth. It was pretty big to be sure, capable of housing roughly a hundred people (“Ninety three people,” AI interjected) with the same colour scheme as the rest of the ship: a white ceiling with various lights, that curious grey plastic/steel material for flooring with numerous viewscreens on the walls. No, that was not what took his breathe away.
The commons was bustling with activity. There were many people (“Correction. ‘Beings’ is the appropriate term”) walking around, getting meals, chatting and laughing with each other. The majority were green Agaraxians but he could see many more species. There was something that looked like a rockslide walking around with ponderous steps. He was surprised the deck wasn’t vibrating. He saw some more of those bugmen (“Correction. That species are the Kmigar”) engaged in a fierce storm of clicks, some catpeople interspersed here and there (“Correction. That species are the Dintph”) and – was that a child-sized jellyfish?
“AI, what’s that jellyfish-like thing?” he said, pointing at said species.
“Correction. That species are the Aellag. They are an integral part of the Pride of Vanatu’s crew and are responsible for many tasks requiring fine touch and high dexterity. Many of them are employed by the engineering and science departments.”
“Well better get some grub. Where do I go?” he enquired.
“The food dispensers are located on the starboard side of the room. You may find a variety of human dishes available as well as several xenoi plates.”
“Starboard, that’s the left, yes?”
“Correction. Starboard is the right-hand side facing the nose of the Pride of Vanatu. Location pinged on your HUD.”
He was doing some shambling of his own towards the food dispensers when he bumped into something and slipped to the deck. He cursed (“Query. Who is copulating with your mother?”) and floundered around like a landed fish until a hand firmly grabbed one of his arms and lifted him upright. Or tried to at any rate. Having grown in a high-gravity environment meant that his bones were denser than the average Council species. His physique might look scrawny next to some of the other species but his muscles were higher-performing and deceptively bulkier. His body weight combined with the weight of the vacsuit meant that it wasn’t easy for an unprepared xenos to lift him up.
The xenos in question gave a distinctly feminine yelp and fell on top of him. The next minute was a flurry of confused limbs slapping at each other in an attempt to find proper leverage to get up. He ended at a table gasping for breath with his mysterious “rescuer” in front of him. He looked up and saw a tall, blue and devastatingly beautiful guy looking at him.
He was about 2 meters tall, with long, thin limbs that ended in four-fingered hands. His features were delicate and refined, like the depictions of noble ladies in some of the anime he watched. He was wearing the standard crew uniform that fitted his form quite perfectly and his long, deep blue hair was currently dishevelled from their previous struggle. That’s the weirdest boner I’ve had so far. Gus cleared his throat and mumble a hello.
The alien smiled. “Hello. You are the human, are you not?”
Dammit, even his voice is boner-inducing. Is this Gus’ awakening?
“Yeah, that’s me. Who are you?”
The smile deepened. “I am Art’ah, the Pride of Vanatu’s helmsbeing. I am pleased to have finally met you, Human.”
“Thanks. What do you mean ‘finally’?”
“Captain Echina made an announcement two cycles past to inform the crew about our newest guest. We were naturally stunned at the news but shock quickly gave way to interest.” He leaned towards him and lowered his voice conspiratorially. “You see, at first our mission was new and exciting but we quickly grew bored. The same routine was mind-numbing. Then you showed up.”
“Why thanks, I aim to please. Wait – you said you’re the helmsman? Who’s piloting the ship if you’re here?”
A melodious laugh echoed. “There are several helmsbeings on the Vanatu. Several key postings have redundancies to enable the ship to function in the event of any unfortunate happening.”
“Oh, that makes sense. So how good are you among the other helms… beings?”
He smiled but didn’t answer.
“Heh, I get it,” Gus said. He leaned in as close as was possible with that suit and whispered. “Mind if I ask you a personal question?”
“Why is everyone avoiding you?”
Art’ah looked blank for a minute before glancing around. While there were pockets of laughter and banter all around them, there was none around them. Granted, this might have been because of Gus’ presence, but according to Art’ah, the aliens were pretty hard up for novelty around here. He should have been swarmed with requests for information at the very least. Yet ever since he’d sat down with Art’ah he noticed the other aliens giving them a wide berth. There were even some hostile glances thrown not at him but at his companion. He’d been the recipient of enough bad attitude back on Earth that he knew what it looked like when someone was being ostracised by a group.
Art’ah smile turned sad. “They do not understand my species and what they do not understand, they despise. Not all of them act like that, but if enough beings do it, it tends to discourage the rest of them from speaking to me.”
“Why is that? Do you breathe acid or something?” Now Gus was really curious.
“No, it’s just that interaction with the Coxizu – that’s my species by the way – is frowned upon due to some of our practices.”
“What practices are those?”
Art’ah looked like he was bracing himself. “We are… very sexual beings. We are some of the few species that copulate not for reproduction but for pleasure.” He looked at Gus expectantly and waited.
Gus stared for a couple of seconds. “That’s it?” Art’ah blinked in surprise. “That’s all? That’s the big secret?” he asked again, clearly disappointed.
“You’re not… disgusted?”
Gus scoffed. “Man, you have no idea. Humans will fuck anything that moves. Why would I be disgusted?”
Art’ah looked floored. “I mean, ever since I stepped on this ship I’ve been thinking about boning non-stop. There are some seriously hot women on this ship, like the Captain.”
“I, ah, I am surprised at your broad-mindedness. I did not imagine I would encounter another species like mine.”
“No sweat. I imagine people are going to be fucking pissed at me pretty soon because I am a disgusting individual.” He grinned salaciously.
“Sweat? Are you feeling uncomfortable?” Art’ah asked curiously.
“No, it’s just a human expression. Hey by the way, I’m getting a bit confused by something. Are you a guy or a girl?” Professor Oak asked.
“The Coxizu are both. We are hermaphroditic to ensure that we are able to mate with any kind of species. We are very fertile and do not have a mating cycle. That means we can copulate at any time and in any place. We can also modify our own bodies to suit the tastes of our partners.”
“Wait, you’re both? And what’s that about changing your bodies?”
Art’ah gestured at himself (herself?). Gus looked more closely. Art’ah’s skin was a light blue and translucent, with some sort or fluid running beneath it. It kind of looked like a slime from some Japanese RPG. His body and face were disturbingly androgynous, probably due to the hermaphroditism. Gus was still looking when the fluid began to churn and Art’ah’s chest slowly began to swell. What was a flat plain slowly turned into a small hill, turned into a large hill, turned into a banging set of double dees. The uniform seemed to struggle to contain them, like the fabric could only stretch so far before it would tear and reveal those now delicious tits. His already feminine face softened further and turned into a definitely hot, womanly one. His hair turned into a deeper shade of blue and his eyes turned slightly green.
She gasped, trying to catch her breathe. This transformation was clearly physically demanding and Gus was grateful that she’d done so simply because he asked. “Are you ok? You look winded. Is it hard to change like that? Why did you choose that form?” Gus was burning with questions.
Art’ah sucked in a shuddering breath and settled down. “I’m fine, thank you for asking. It is hard but with skill it gets easier. I’m just getting readjusted to my new body. It will take me a few minutes. And I chose that form because you said you liked the Captain. To be honest, I too find her to be very attractive.”
“Heh, no complain from me there.” He paused, narrowing his eyes. “Earlier you said that your species can change form to please your partner right? And you changed because I asked right? Does that mean…?”
Art’ah suddenly looked bashful. “Yes, I do think you’re attractive. I’m sorry, I know it’s not appropriate but I can’t help myself. Besides the thought of meeting a new species has my blood running hot.” She fidgeted, her breasts jiggling deliciously.
Gus stared at her for a minute. Fuck it, let’s take a chance. He braced himself.
“Art’ah, I don’t mean to sound too forward, but do you want to have sex with me?”
He didn’t know if aliens could blush but he felt that she did. If anything, her fidgeting got worst. “I would definitely like that.”
‘Then let’s get out of here and go fuck,” Gus said, grabbing her hand and getting up.
The shock must have got to her because she let herself be pulled alongside him as he ambled his way out of the commons, leaving a trail of disturbingly judgemental aliens looking at them.
He was walking for a couple minutes before he turned to her.
“Uh… How do we get to your room?”