Authors: Meg Ripley
Tags: #Alien, #SciFi, #Romance, #Alien Invasion, #Alien Contact, #Fantasy, #Short Story, #Paranormal, #Supernatural, #Action, #Adventure, #Space Travel, #Adult, #Erotic, #Genetic Engineering, #Fiction
Finding Alien Love
Copyright © 2015 by Meg Ripley
All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be used or reproduced in any form without written permission from the authors, with the exception of brief quoted passages left in an online review. This book is a fictional story. All characters, names, and situations are of the authors’ creation. Any resemblances to actual situations or to persons who are alive or dead are purely coincidental.
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; this copy is not available for resale or to give to another reader aside from any transaction through Amazon’s e-book lending program.
This book is intended for readers age 18 and over. It contains mature situations and language that may be objectionable to some readers.
MY GIFT TO YOU
As a thank you for downloading this book, I’ve included another one of my favorite books at the end of this story!
GET MORE FREE BOOKS
to sign up to be notified about more of my
book offers and news!
Stay In Touch -- Join My Community!
to follow Meg Ripley on Facebook
to follow Red Lily Publishing on Facebook
to follow Red Lily Publishing on Twitter
to follow Red Lily Publishing on Pinterest
“And then we had to run all the way back because I’d forgotten my goggles, can you believe that? Anyway, I saw one of the humans in my corridor and I asked them if they have to wear goggles when they get that close to the sun, and do you know what they said?”
They never get that close to the sun,
Ada thought, amused, but she knew Pili wouldn’t let her get a word in before she started to talk again. Instead of answering, she smiled at her younger sibling, waiting for her fill her lungs with air so she could continue speaking.
“They said they never
that close to the sun! I can’t
I never knew that. I always forget that humans are so soft, we never see them, and we probably
for, I don’t know, twenty or thirty years?” Pili turned and looked up at Adofo, who had been holding her hand and listening as silently as Ada had been. “What do you think?”
“I guess thirty,” Pili cut in, undoubtedly never realizing Adofo had begun an answer in the first place. She tugged at the neck of her violet jumpsuit as she spoke.“I’m only 25, but I feel so much older sometimes. Maybe it’s all the couplings I’ve seen. Hey, did you hear about Ulu and Ari, they’re officially coupling soon!” Coupling was similar to marriage, but since cyborgs couldn’t reproduce, it was always for what humans called love, although cyborgs couldn’t feel love in exactly the same way as their fleshier cousins did.
Adofo smiled at Ada over Pili’s head as she plowed through her news, amusement plain on his broad face thanks to the shining white light emanating from the corridor’s walls. With his sonorous voice, heavy frame, and layers of protective, foam-like muscles, Adofo wasn’t used to being walked or talked over; luckily, he seemed as fond of Pili as Ada had ever seen a cyborg become of another being, and her exuberance only endeared her to him. Most cypeople in the maintenance department were so busy they didn’t bother to pursue anyone romantically until their 40th or 50
year, after they started to form stronger attachments outside their family units, but times were changing---at least according to the culture evident in their dorm station. She couldn’t be sure about the other stations, but it was hard to imagine life on other stations clearly at all when she could hardly keep track of hers.
“You okay, Ada? You always seem nervous before missions! But I mean, we don’t get nervous, so, what’s up?” Pili took two whole breaths, signaling she was waiting for an answer. Ada shook her head,sending a loose curl flying from her ponytail. She frowned as she pinned it back into place, trying not to picture her elevator pod being hurled into the sun instead of locked into her ship. She decided to lie instead.
“You know, I always forget to eat before these things. I’m just hungry; I’ll grab some gel or something before I dismount.” Ada took a slow, deep breath and hoped Pili would buy it. They were nearing the boarding bridge---she could see the dark red double doors just at the end of the curved hall. Their dorm, like most other standard cypeople dormitories, was built like an enormous cylinder, with 25 levels for work and 25 levels for living and entertainment.
Pili nodded in response to her older sibling’s words, pale green eyes thoughtful. “Whenever I’m gardening, I can get pretty wrapped up in things and forget to eat, too. I can’t
for my first mission.” A grin lit up her features, and a pale pink flush warmed the tint of her tawny skin, lighter than Ada’s own shade of mocha. “I wonder if I’ll get to fix complicated things, like you! Or just stuff I already do, like prune space bushes, or something.” Pili seemed so distressed by the latter possibility that Ada laughed and patted her cheek with one hand.
“It’s not that exciting, really,” she said earnestly. “Once you actually finish learning about all the things that can go wrong, that’s pretty much the last you hear of it. And then you get out there in your ship, spend one minute on the problem, and ten minutes on the return trip. I’d rather be pruning space bushes; at least then I’m
I’m doing something useful.”
Pili giggled and touched her palm to Ada’s, and Adofo averted his brown eyes---it was an affectionate gesture between cyborgs fashioned from the same genetic source, or “siblings”, like them. Ada felt a tingling surge of warmth move up her palm and spread through her body to envelope her heart---
she thought--- and she tried to control her reaction as the alarming, exhilarating sensation took over… and faded away just as quickly as it came. Like always, it left her partially mechanical heart beating furiously hard and fast, but she focused until she was able to reign it in. Pili took no notice.
“Good luck,” she said, smiling. “Bring me something cool! See you at lunch?”
“Yes,” Ada said, and she was comforted to find that her voice sounded normal. She closed her hand and touched her fist to Adofo’s much larger, ivory colored one---a less intimate but still affectionate gesture to the man who was becoming like a brother to her---and when she only felt the cool press of rubberized flesh, she sighed with relief.
“Good luck,” Adofo said, smiling gently.
“Thank you,” Ada replied. She wasn’t bothered when he simply turned and started to walk away, slipping his hand into Pili’s as they moved back down the hall; since Pili started dating him two years ago, he’d rarely spoken unless he was first spoken to. This was something that still tended to be true of older cyborgs or cyborgs with traditional caretakers; Ada and Pili’s parental units had both been warm, radical-leaning females who were as close to Pathoborgs one could get before actually turning.
“I just don’t have it,” Jada would often say. “Pathos have to be born, not made---in a manner of sorts.” Nat would laugh at her joke no matter how many times she told it, and she still did, even though they were both now eighty years old and had surely shared the joke hundreds of times.
The joke was that
cyborg was born; not traditionally like a human, at least. They were grown in dishes and then transferred to artificial wombs to grow in a vat of nutrients for three to six months, depending on what you needed them for. Jada and Nat were grown to work with numbers, and chose to work in the dorm’s core, fixing problems in the giant computer system as they arose; Pili was grown to care for living things, small animals and plants in the greenery rooms in the dorms, and later down on Earth, when she was finished with her service here; and Ada was rare, a Jack-of-all-trades that was often dispatched to deal with more dangerous issues on all fronts, due to the abnormal strength of her skin and organs. Her dorm’s technician told her that it was abnormal, but not unheard of, and it simply meant she’d mutated a little more than most of the other cypeople. That simply meant she was different, he assured her. She’d been ten, and had been sent to be examined after dunking her hand in a pot of boiling acid, coming out unscathed.
“Shouldn’t this mean I’m a Pathos?” Ada remembered asking, feeling something inside her for a moment she knew wasn’t supposed to be there.
The tech had chuckled as he arranged his tools in his apothecary bag. “No, if you were a Pathos, you’re be experiencing bursts of emotion that you couldn’t control, having meltdowns...it wouldn’t be pretty.”
“I’ve seen cypeople on the video screens that are Pathos,” little Ada pressed. “The ones trained for call centers and therapy. They seem okay.”
The tech removed his glasses and smiled patiently. “Yes, because after years of humans teaching them how to experience and deal with pure emotion,
cypeople can handle the extreme ups and downs that being Pathos comes with. Without human aid, those cypeople would be lost.”
“Is that why some of us are burned instead? They couldn’t learn to deal with it?”
The tech looked nervous. “Uh, no…those are cyborgs who experience what we call phantom emotion. That means something is wrong with their circuitry and the illusion of emotion is present. This drives us past the point of functioning, unfortunately. We can handle basic fear and things like disgust and fondness---the vestiges of what our human ancestors evolved for survival, essentially--- but nothing stronger. Their circuitry changes, and it eventually it changes their genetic pattern, so they are no longer cypeople, and their ships won’t recognize them as such. That’s why the elevator pods will be shot into the sun---to minimize their future suffering. There isn’t a cure for that kind of thing.” He caught the look of apprehension on Ada’s face and seemed to realize his mistake.
“But it’s exceedingly rare that a cyborg without an empathy board can experience spontaneous phantom emotion. Unless you’re planning to give yourself a bunch of powerful electric shocks, I wouldn’t worry, Ada.” And with a pat on her head, he’d dismissed her and her concerns from her office.
But it hadn’t completely dismissed her concerns. Twenty years later, she’d started to experience those seemingly random bursts of strong sensation beyond her scope of knowledge or control---and it seemed like it was only getting worse. Over the last three years, swarms of energy---the tingling, warm kind she got around Pili, Jada, Nat or her old partner, Tod; the confusing and dizzying kind that seemed like an amplified version of what she felt during her occasional, almost mechanical sex with Tod; and the icy, piercing kind, like the sort of feeling she got before missions when she imagined pressing her palm to the activation screen of her ship and seeing it flash red before the transport tube turned and launched her, terrified and screaming, toward the massive star in the sky. She couldn’t shake the feeling that the “for their own good’ rationale was wrong---even if she was decaying past the point of functionality, she would still feel the crushing grip of fear as she was hurtling to her death. It was the only reason she hadn’t brought her fears up to Jada and Nat; as understanding as they were, they were bound by law to report any suspicions of a lost Pathos---or a decaying cyperson.
Ada shook her head roughly, snapping herself back to the present as the unsettling feeling she thought to be fear faded away. She stretched her palm out and touched it to the cool red door. She didn’t flinch as the microneedles stabbed at her skin to sample her DNA and confirm her identity, pulling up her mission as it electronically called her pod to the bottom of the transport tube. She heard the sphere lock into place just before the doors opened and showed her the inside of her familiar elevator vehicle. Ada knew that her ship was being rotated through the vehicle carousel above the dorm, picturing the disc shaped ship locking right into the top of the long transport cylinder. She could picture it so clearly because of years of watching Tod take off on the same route, rising up the slim cylinder until his pod connected with the floor of his ship. Ada saw him take the trip hundreds of times, until the day he was moved to Earth to train as a safety officer. She’d felt her heart rend as they’d said their last goodbye, but a single glance in his eyes told her he was feeling a sadness far more distant than hers. She’d been 27 then, and that had been the first sign that something was wrong.
Ada climbed into the pod and started to buckle herself in as a voice spoke to her from the speakers in the ceiling. “Welcome, Ada from Level Twenty-Five. Your mission objective is to repair a force field that has been damaged by debris outside an alien-controlled planet. Conditions are described as optimal, but wildlife may be present. Be mindful of the shock you may receive while repairing the force fence, and remember to report any out-of-the-ordinary sensations. Do you have any questions or comments?”
“No,” Ada replied, fastening the last snap from her shoulder to her waist. The material automatically shrank, pressing into the firm curve of her breast.
“Excellent. Thank you and have a safe mission.” A low tone sounded, and the doors closed in front of the pod. Ada couldn’t feel the motion of the vehicle, but after a moment, she saw the enormous pearlescent sides of her dormitory building zipping past her. It only took a few seconds to move past all twenty five floors, and then the huge, spherical hub of their command center was visible, as well as the three other dorms connected to the sphere by horizontal transport tubes. Finally, Ada saw the curving face of Earth stretching below the floating hubs. It always filled her with an indescribable feeling, like someone was reaching into her chest and gently squeezing her heart as it beat. Fear chased the feeling, because she knew it wasn’t normal, but this sensation was too overwhelming to be extinguished by her panic. It eclipsed her fear of being rejected by her equipment, her fear of her lies being discovered by her parental units and siblings, and the fear of a fiery, airless death. She’d read about feelings once in a human magazine she’d found in a trash bin, and looked up some of them in one of the libraries during a trip to the main hub. Her favorite was a word she’d never seen before---
awesome; inducing an overwhelming feeling or reverence or fear.
That certainly came close to what she thought she was feeling, so she often repeated the word as she gazed at Earth on the way to her ship.