Close Encounters of the 7th Kind [© Thea Nishimori, 2010]


Author's Note: The word "sex" is used as a verb in the future, and "Earthan" is preferred to "human" since there are other "humanoid" species.


When I finally clocked out of work, three hours after my shift should have ended, I was ravenously hungry and exhausted. I had to grab a nutrition bar before I even hit the showers just so I wouldn't keel over. Everyone else from my shift had already left, so if I collapsed in one of the stalls, nobody would know until the next shift's lunch break — which, come to think of it, wasn't that long away. But I had no desire to have my naked ass ogled by a bunch of miners who could be as horny as they were hungry. After working for hours in the dark tunnels, there was no telling what they might be capable of!

Damn that attenuator! It just had to break one hour before my shift was over, and since I'm the only Junior Manager of Maintenance with enough mech-smarts to fabricate a replacement from the materials we have on hand (rather than wait two weeks for an authentic part to arrive from Earth), I was stuck fixing it until this late hour. My counterpart in the next shift couldn't piss straight down a mine shaft if his life depended on it, and I wasn't about to let him botch the job that I'd started. So, technically, it was my own choice to do it, but that didn't mean I was happy about it. Damn my responsible, perfectionistic, Japanese genes!

As I washed off the grease and grime that invariably got on my skin even through the thick, company-issue jumpsuit, I debated whether to go to The Ferrule (a café/bar where I usually ate when off-duty) to pick up a woman to sex tonight. The problem was, with it being so late — especially on a Friday night, damn it! — all the good ones would be taken by now. Plus, I was so tired that I just wanted to sleep in tomorrow, which (thank god!) I had off. By the time I'd stepped out of the shower, I'd resigned myself to going home, eating a hermetically-sealed meal pack, and masturbating to some 3D porn projections.

Normally I have no problem getting a pretty girl to sex, since word had spread in our little colony — Earthan population approximately four thousand — that I was the highest-paid Junior Manager of Alessa Corporation as well as the youngest. Okay, so I was a bit short (Japanese genes again) and not exactly handsome, although not completely horrid-looking, either; but the fact that the Corporation had promoted me to this position at the tender age of twenty-six, transferring me all the way to this mining colony on Planet Ixion (a.k.a. 51 Pegasi d), made me practically irresistible to women. Well, all the human women, anyway.

Ixion had long been a sort of trading post for the Merenians and Vanzatoans, our two closest sentient neighbors in the galaxy. They'd given us Earthans permission to mine the metals on this planet since they had no use for them. We were more than two millennia behind in our scientific development compared to the Merenians, almost three millennia compared to the Vanzatoans; however, the Vanzatoans had been kind enough to share their Spacefolding technology with us, without which a trip to Ixion would have taken centuries. I'd only encountered these two extraterrestrial species since arriving on the planet, and they both took some getting used to, each in their own way.

The Merenians are truly alien, tripeds with three corresponding arms or tentacles that have three fingers on each end as well as their sensory organs — eyes, ears, and nose/tongue. Their squat, cylindrical bodies are a uniform yellowish-brown, and with their tentacles sucked in they look like large lumps of clay. They have no emotions whatsoever; practical, scientific development is all that interests them. Since we Earthans have very little new information to offer them, they have very little to do with us, which suits me just fine.

The Vanzatoans, however, are humanoid, and very similar to us. They are taller since their home planet, Vanzato, has less gravity than Earth, but they also have males and females — whereas the Merenians are asexual, and rarely cross-pollinate (for lack of a better word) to reproduce. The Vanzatoans have emotions, too, with all of the byproducts to be expected from an emotional species: art, music, literature, and wars (in the distant past, of course). Their general build and features are quite similar to Earthans, only more slender, with somewhat larger ears and smaller noses. But the most striking difference is their coloring.

The Vanzatoans are extremely colorful — even though they all have bisque-white skin (they were amazed at the diversity in Earthan skin tone), their hair and eye colors are incredibly bright: neon green, lemon yellow, candied-apple red, and sky blue just to name a few. In fact, if you ever see a group of them, they look like a jumbled rainbow or a bunch of tropical fish. Each individual's hair and eye colors always match, so it seems strange to them, in turn, that an Earthan can have different colors on one head. Apparently I'm not as intriguing to them since I have brown/black hair and similarly dark eyes.

I learned in the orientation class on the way to Ixion that the taller ones are the males — between 210~212cm — and the relatively shorter ones are the females — around 183~185cm. They're mammalian, but the females' breasts aren't enlarged unless they actually have a baby to feed, so height is the only external way to tell the genders apart. An exobiologist explained that the Vanzatoans had genetically engineered their physical characteristics over thousands of years to be the most aesthetically pleasing, and I have to agree — they're all beautiful! Although some of their colors seem garish to me, their perfectly-balanced facial features are attractive, and their slender bodies are supple and graceful. They wear flowing robes of the same color as their hair and eyes, and both genders let their hair grow long, so when they walk by they leave an impression of shimmering color in their wake.

My primary interest, of course, was in their females. Since our physical traits seem so similar, I asked the exobiologist, is it possible to mate with them? He replied emphatically that we are, and I quote, "incompatible." Other scientists had asked that very question (no doubt out of purely scientific curiosity) in the early days of our inter-species acquaintance, and the Vanzatoans had responded with a polite but resounding "no." After all, why would they wish to interbreed with us, when they're so much more evolutionarily advanced? They didn't put it in those terms, of course, but whoever had been communicating with them at that point had gotten the message loud and clear: Sorry, we're just not interested in you that way.

Still, it hadn't discouraged me from having wet fantasies about the lovely Vanzatoan ladies. I even worked up the nerve to try talking to a few of them, but was demoralized when they looked down on me, quite literally — I'm only 166cm, and that's rounding up — and asked (very politely, of course) if I were precocious, some sort of genius... which even I could figure out to mean that they thought I was very young, because I was so short, even for an Earthan. I stuck to my own kind after that, but couldn't help masturbating every so often to the image (in my very imaginative mind) of one of those cool beauties panting in orgasmic ecstasy beneath me.

Imagine my reaction, then, when I got onto the hover-bus that night — tired, hungry, and horny to boot — and realized that the only other passenger was an exquisitely beautiful Vanzatoan, sitting just a few seats from the front. I glanced at her as I walked by to sit around the middle of the hover-bus, and almost had to remind myself to breathe. All of the Vanzatoans are beautiful, with dainty features and large, luminous eyes, but this one was especially lovely. What first caught my attention was her color — instead of the intense, loud colors that I'd come to expect of her species, this one was a muted grayish-purple. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her hair as the hover-bus started moving towards my residential block.

I'd also noticed — in that brief moment as I'd walked by her seat — that she had grocery bags on either side of her, with fresh vegetables sticking out of the tops. How long had it been since I'd bought vegetables, other than what came pre-cooked in hermetically-sealed packs? None of the women I'd sexed so far had cooked, either, since the meal packs were so handy. I thought of Mom's home cooking... her stir-fry with meat and hakusai (a kind of leafy vegetable) that melted in your mouth, poured over freshly-cooked, pure-white rice... and, not surprisingly, my mouth began to water. I would give anything, do anything — even sex the ugliest woman on the planet — for a genuine, authentic, home-cooked meal!

The Vanzatoan shifted in her seat, and her smoky-lavender hair rippled with the movement. It was long and straight — almost down to her waist — and shimmered in the soft interior light of the hover-bus. It reminded me of something, but in my tired mental state it took me a while to figure out what it was. When I remembered, the image was powerful: a hundred thousand wisteria flowers, each one a cluster of smaller individual blossoms, hanging from a horizontal trellis and waving in the breeze. They covered an area at least three meters square and the air was full of their sweet perfume, with impossibly fat bumblebees buzzing around to gather the nectar from their blooms.

It was a memory from when I'd first gone to Japan, back when I was only a kid, to celebrate my great-grandmother's one-hundredth birthday. There was a Buddhist temple near her house (a World Heritage site) with two wisteria trees that were well over twice her age. Their vines had grown along the trellis placed between them and every spring their flowers would hang, like clusters of pale-purple grapes, from the arbor. Yes, the color of this Vanzatoan's hair was exactly like those flowers! Even as a child, I had been enraptured by their beauty; now, the mere remembrance of them made me ache with longing.

It was with the same intensity that I gazed at the back of the Vanzatoan's head. Here was a specimen that I desperately wished to take home with me! And one that could even, apparently, cook from scratch! She was Wife Material, beating out all the Earthan women I'd sexed in my life by far. I started to imagine what it would be like to come home to her, as she cooked in the kitchen wearing a white, frilly apron. Of course, I'd have to rip it off as soon as I walked through the door so I could plant kisses all over her soft white skin. I'd yet to actually touch any of the Vanzatoans, but their skin had always looked tantalizingly smooth and silky, with tender flesh beneath. I'd kiss my way down her cheeks and lips to her throat, while my hands undressed her until I got to her breasts (they had to have nipples of some sort, right?) and even lower.

In my mind's eye, I already had her laid out on top of the bed, naked and writhing in anticipation. I had a lot of unanswered questions about the Vanzatoans — What did their genitals look like? Was their pubic hair the same color, too? Did they even have pubic hair? — which the textbook descriptions on the Net left woefully blank. But for the benefit of my wet fantasies, I had reasoned that they must have an orifice for expelling waste material, since they ate food like we did. Even if their equivalent of a vagina was "incompatible" with an Earthan penis, I hoped that with enough lube and patience I could fit mine inside of their rectum.

So, would I keep my pale-purple beauty on her back so I could see her delicate facial expressions, or put her on her stomach, bent over the edge of the bed, so I could ram into her with abandon? For her first time, I decided, I would be gentle, and watch her face so if she seemed to be in too much pain, I could pull out and give her the chance to relax. But once she got used to accommodating me inside her body, I would make her crouch on all fours (knees spread out so I could fit easily) and pound into her soft bottom while my hands ran up and down her back. Just thinking about her lavender-gray hair swaying as I pleasured myself made my penis strain against the reinforced fabric of my slacks.

I was so absorbed in my dirty fantasy, almost to the point of ejaculating in my pants, that it startled me when the Vanzatoan shivered. That was odd, since they were supposed to be less sensitive to the cold (Vanzato is cooler than Earth), and it was also a comfortably warm temperature in the hover-bus. But I quickly returned to the image of her naked, panting and moaning as I ran my tongue all over her body. What would she taste like? Sweet, salty, or some other, more exotic flavor that I'd never experienced before? Would she like having her genitals licked and sucked? Would she arch her back and scream when she climaxed, just like an Earthan woman would?

My lovely lavender lady shivered again, her hair rippling down in waves. Now I wondered if she were sick. Did Vanzatoans even get sick? Should I ask her if she wanted me to escort her to the hospital? But then again, reality was a bitch — I hadn't forgotten the condescending looks that I'd gotten from the other females of her kind, and if I tried to start up a conversation with her at this late hour, when we were alone on a hover-bus, she would think I was a pervert coming on to her. Well, maybe I am a pervert, but I hadn't sexed anyone for a few days now, and I was tired and hungry, too. You couldn't blame a healthy male for salivating over a pretty specimen like that, any more than you'd blame a starving man for dreaming of food.

That set me to wondering what kind of food she was going to make with the vegetables in her bags. I'd seen other Vanzatoans eating in the café, and most of it looked similar to Earthan food. I thought I might've read something about them being vegetarians, or was that the Merenians? Damn, I wanted to talk to her so much! Just a normal conversation, if she would only treat me like an intelligent adult — even if I was, technologically, thousands of years behind her species. It didn't have to be about sex, although that would be ideal; but I would be happy just to find out more about her species, and in particular about her. What likes and dislikes did she have? What turned her on or off? Even if we were utterly incompatible as far as physical relations were concerned, it would be wonderful to see her smile, especially if she were smiling at me.

Of course, then I started to fantasize about her lovely, delicate face (even though I'd only caught a glimpse of it) and how wonderful it would be to kiss those pale lips. Did Vanzatoans ever kiss? I'd sure be glad to teach her how, if she didn't know. Very gently, tenderly, I'd press my lips over hers, prodding her to open that tiny mouth so I could touch her tongue with mine and explore the little treasure mine of that orifice. How deep would I be able to go? And as I plunged deeper into her delicate throat, my hands would be roaming all over her skin, making her pant into my mouth as her need for me grew...

Now I was seriously worried, since the Vanzatoan in the hover-bus — not the one in my imagination — shuddered, then pulled her bags closer to herself. Was she really that cold? Was she sick, or maybe suffering from some strange malady? Should I ask her? I tried to wrack my exhausted and foggy brain for anything useful that I may have heard about her kind in the orientation class. They'd genetically engineered most imperfections and diseases out of their species, of course... They were immune to bacteria and viruses, even those from Earth to which they'd never been exposed... They were long-lived, compared to us, with an average life-span of 142 years...

Then I remembered something that I hadn't paid much attention to at the time: the exobiologist had mentioned, in passing, that the Vanzatoans still occasionally had genetic mutations that defied their scientists' best predictions of heredity. One of the mutations caused the ability to sense others' feelings and/or thoughts — what we would call empathy or telepathy, respectively. It was extremely rare, of course, but he used it to drill home the Corporation's policy of "Do, say, and think nothing rude to extraterrestrials," since we had no way of knowing if the ones we encountered had that kind of ability.

I wondered, if the beautiful Vanzatoan sitting just a couple of meters away from me did happen to be an empath or telepath, what would she think of me? After all the sexual situations and positions I'd put her in, in my mind's eye, not to mention all the things I'd just imagined doing to her... It was enough to make me shudder! So much for the "think nothing rude" policy — I'd just ripped it to shreds and ejaculated all over it! She would be terribly offended, of course... And with a sinking feeling I realized that, if she really had been reading my mind, it would very well explain why she had shuddered — three times, no less — while I had indulged in my hormonal fantasies.

I tried to quell the panic rising within me. It was extremely rare for a Vanzatoan to have that ability, and what were the chances of one being on this planet, let alone this hover-bus? Besides, she could have been shivering for some completely different reason — maybe she was sick, or had a nervous twitch, or my cologne was repulsive to her! Maybe she was allergic to one of the vegetables she'd just bought. There could be a million explanations for her movements, other than that she had sensed what all I would do to her if I only had the chance.

Taking deep breaths, I tried to think of something else. Being hungry, my mind naturally drifted back to food, but then that damn image of her standing in the kitchen wearing the frilly white apron popped into my head again. I tried to focus on some stew in a big, steaming pot; stir-fried noodles with plenty of bean sprouts and pork; a thick, juicy steak covered in mushrooms and onions; and so on, while my stomach growled with embarrassing intensity. But even that was better than virtually ravishing her in my head, in the unlikely event that she could see inside of it!

With inexpressible relief, I felt the hover-bus stop at a corner, several blocks away from my apartment. The Vanzatoan gathered her bags and rose to leave. As I watched her walk towards the front exit, I suddenly realized that she was tall — much taller than I'd expected from seeing her sitting down. In fact, she was too tall... Her head was only ten centimeters from the ceiling of the hover-bus. Which meant that she couldn't possibly be a female! All this time, I'd been lusting over a Vanzatoan male!

I was disappointed, but mostly in myself for not noticing how tall he was to start with. Even though he'd been sitting down until now, I should have realized it! With a heartfelt sigh, I watched him step off of the hover-bus and walk swiftly down the sidewalk. So much beauty seemed wasted on a male! Such a shame... Not that I had any chance of seducing him even if he'd been a female, of course, but still... I would've enjoyed trying, at least. The hover-bus started moving again, and I stared at the Vanzatoan's back with longing. His hips swished in a steady rhythm, balancing his bags with perfect grace as he stepped almost musically away from me and out of my life.

Damn. Just my luck! I find the most perfect, most beautiful creature in the galaxy, and it turns out to be not only a species that has no interest in me, but also a male of that species, who would have even less interest in becoming my sexual partner. Although with a face like that, I wouldn't mind sexing him even if he was male! If a Vanzatoan vagina wasn't compatible with my penis, anyway, wouldn't it all be the same? And I would so dearly love to see him panting and writhing under me, my penis shoved up inside whatever orifice he had, his lovely face begging for more...

Just as this thought flitted through my mind, the Vanzatoan twitched and turned towards the hover-bus with an unfathomable expression. Instinctively, I froze, and our gazes locked for a moment as everything seemed to slow down like a slow-motion replay. His luminous lavender-gray eyes seemed larger than ever, and I found myself drowning in their depths. Then the hover-bus turned a corner, blocking us from each other's view, and I broke out into a cold sweat.

He knew — he KNEW! He really had been reading my mind! He had looked at me in shock, disbelief, and incredulity when I decided that I wouldn't mind sexing him regardless of gender. He must have been reading me loud and clear... The whole time that I'd been undressing and sexing him in my mind, he must have been reading my thoughts like an open book!

I groaned, burying my face in my hands. I desperately hoped that he wouldn't lodge a complaint against the Earthan authorities for my lewd and lascivious thoughts. I hoped that our paths would never cross again. But in a small colony with only four thousand Earthans and even fewer Vanzatoans, I felt doomed.

By the time I got home, I only had enough energy left to eat and collapse on my bed.