[short story, by Sha’Tara]
Ever since his people had left him behind to observe human life on Earth he had wandered the city, learning the peoples’ ways, their mores, their languages, absorbing and analyzing. Gradually, over a period of a month he had adapted his earth-human-clone body into a fully functional Earthian body complete with all the feelings and emotions attendant to a born Earthian. He even gave himself a name, Andrew. Andrew Logan. Architect. He liked the concept. After all he was a scientist engineer and Earthian technology was at a very low level of development. There was nothing in it he couldn’t understand and improve after a few minutes of study.
What truly fascinated him however was the human body, its functions and those strangest of things: feelings and emotions. He could make the tongue move and speak any language, making sounds was easy, mimicking any human or animal call, simple. He had quickly learned which foods to ingest to keep the body at peak performance and he could keep it awake indefinitely without any negative consequences. But his feelings, that he did not understand. Well, it was because he could not prevent them from manifesting; he could not think them gone or reason them away: they just happened and he was never ready for them. The worst part however was that which followed the feelings; what the Earthians themselves called emotions.
“I have never known hate,” he thought to himself, “it is a totally alien concept to me, but if I could hate, I’d say I hate these feelings, and more, these ridiculous emotions. These things are completely unreasonable. Surely they do not expect to ever develop a properly functioning civilization encumbered with such negative emanations from their brains and bodies?”
“Excuse me, sorry, I was texting. Did you say something to me?” The woman had stood beside him at the bus stop. He was aware of her presence but he failed to realize he was speaking some thoughts aloud and could be overheard. On his world people only listened when you were actually addressing them. But here, they has an insatiable curiosity, from every sense. They reached out to hear, to see, to taste, to smell. They exuded sexual desire or conversely, revulsion. Black and white they were. No peaceful rest of mechanical neutrality. No wonder they lived such short lives: they literally fried themselves in attempts to answer circular questions, and deal with circular emotions.
She kept looking at him. “I haven’t seen you around here” she continued, “Passing through? Or moving to the neighbourhood?” How to respond… oh yes, there is a standard appropriate response for everything: “I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt your activities. Yes, I’m moving in actually.” He added to appear totally normal: “I’m looking for an apartment. Nothing fancy, just a bachelor suite.”
“That’s wonderful, Mr. huh?”
“I’m sorry, I meant to introduce myself properly. My name is Andrew Logan. I am an architect.”
“Callie Brown. Real estate agent. I just finished going through the vacancy list in that apartment building across the street. There are two bachelor suites, one available now, one at the end of the month. Would you like to see them?”
To see them? How strange that she would ask that. If she showed him the apartments’ numbers, he could see them. Surely there was no need to actually take an elevator and walk to the suite to verify that it was there; that what he saw was what existed at that number! He put it down as another of their strange sayings that do not mean what they say: “Have a chair.” “Take a seat.” “Rain check.” “Do lunch.” “Night cap.” “Would you like fries with that?” as if he’d somehow forget to state exactly what he meant to order and needed a reminder.
“Sir?” She had a pleasant voice, and by Earth standards was quite young (he estimated she’d be twenty-eight years, three months and four days old, born at four-thirty-eight of the morning, give or take a couple of minutes, he was quite certain he was “in the ball park” to use another of their nonsensical expressions.) She was also very pretty, so his body kept insisting, and he felt embarrassingly attracted to her, wanting to get closer, to touch, to feel her. Frighteningly powerful urges tugged at his brain.
“Yes. Do I address you as Miss, Ms., or Mrs.?” She had a very attractive smile, again as his body eagerly told him.
“You can just call me Callie; no need for any formalities.”
“Thank you Callie. Yes, I certainly would like to see the apartments, thank you very much.”
As they rode up the elevator he felt her trying to expose herself to him. He wondered again, as he had since the very first day he’d felt those attractions, if these people felt that way about each other, why did they hide themselves behind clothes? Why did they offer so many things that were highly desired, or prized, yet never gave them away to those who wanted them? He had concluded that there was something very wrong with this sentient life. When he communicated his findings to the orbiting ship he’d been granted an extended tour of duty. Of course: he was, after all, Doctor Los, senior analyst.
Before the decision to actually land an observer on the planet he’d participated on several abductions. His people had been trying to understand Earthians for many earth years in order to present information to the High Galactic Council as to whether these sentients, now on the verge of developing functional star drives, could safely be allowed to roam outside their solar system. The problem with abducting the creatures and performing experiments on them is that it did not answer the critical questions. Because of their primitive brain functions they went “off the charts” when discovering they were on a space ship. Some got violent. Some went into cardiac arrest or catatonic and most of the young females, those who didn’t “lose it” as they termed it, just wanted sex with “the gods” as they thought of them and experience “great” sexual orgasms. All of them had to be time-wiped before being returned to their world.
We need someone to interact with them as one of them, on their own world, in their own natural environment; on their own terms. So as senior scientist of the Tholian crew he’d volunteered.
And here he was. In a residential apartment building, rising through several floors with Callie Brown to “look” at an apartment. He wondered then what she’d think, or say, if he told her he already knew exactly, in every detail, what the apartment looked like from extracting the location number in her cell phone? He let the thought pass, the elevator stopped and they exited to walk down a hallway to apartment 1823.
She pressed four keys on a keypad in the door, inserted a metal key and after two green lights began flashing, opened the door. “Old fashioned, I know, but residents like this system, harder to break in.” He stood inside the door, scanning the place. “Go ahead, it’s OK, it’s vacant. Wander through, have a good look. It’s compact and practical. Now for the terms, it’s $2100 a month plus utilities, or you can purchase a package that includes everything, furniture, utilities, maintenance, telephone, TV, Internet and comprehensive insurance for $2600 a month. With current market conditions in the city that’s actually a really good deal.”
She had moved very close to him as she talked, now touching just slightly. Their bodies pulled at each other like magnets. He enjoyed the sensation. He moved against her. She turned to face him, looked up into his eyes, and urgently began to undress him. He saw the bed in her mind, she lying on top, waiting for him. He brought himself back to the moment and as she undressed him, he did the same for her. Soon they were both naked and she walked to the bed, sitting on the side, then deftly lifting her legs and lying prone on it.
“You’re not from around here, are you Andrew?” She smiled more, slowly spreading her legs, inviting him. “Who are you really?”
“We are Tholian analysts from a distant galaxy. We analyze and grade sentient worlds for the Greater Galactic Council. I’m performing an in-depth planetary consciousness analysis.”
“That’s like, an alien? You’re an alien, Andrew?” She didn’t feel to him as much shocked as excited.
“Oh God, my lucky day or what!” She actually giggled like a young girl.
He stared at her nakedness, her vulnerability, and felt a powerful urge to go down on top of her and meld with her body. He understood that without the clothes he was naked; that his body was male, and that she desired him to join with her in hormonal polarity. He also realized that he felt a need in his body to join with her, a nascent but powerful “sexual” need. By the thoughts in her mind, his erection was all she could think of at the moment.
“It’s how we reproduce” she said as she guided him inside her, “and it’s also the greatest source of pleasure we can ever experience. But I want this one to blow all the others away! Are you up for it? Score: visitor 1, home team 1, we have a tied game?” She laughed at her own joke then it began in earnest.
Still breathing hard, he said, “I sense that you want a child to come from this union. Please assure me that I have the correct interpretation of your feelings?”
“Oh yes, how I wish I could have your child, Andrew. Unfortunately I can’t. Something haywire with my reproductive system.”
“That’s not a problem. These bodies are very simple. I’ve by-passed its objection to the impregnation. You will have a child.”
“Oh boy, now you’ve really scared me. What will he look like?” There was that shallow concern about visual effects again, as if how one “looks like” could possibly have any relevance to one’s life.
“Oh, he’ll have a perfectly normal body but with a slower physical growth rate and much higher IQ than you are used to on this world. You see, we look exactly like you, we are not some strange looking green blob monstrosity of your quaint imaginings. We are humans, just billions of years in your time future. Now please excuse me for a moment, I need to contact my people on the ship.” He watched her for a few moments as she settled down on the bed, fluffing her beautiful brown hair over the pillow and closing her eyes with a deep sigh of perfect contentment. She brought her right hand to cup her breast and ritually thumbed her nipple. Such simple creatures, he thought. If only they knew they were within a hair’s breath of qualifying as angels… if only they could see the truth of it for themselves and act accordingly.
“I’ve entered into a life-relationship with an earth woman and given her a child. I’ll require another tour of duty extension as I’ll have to remain somewhat longer to see her through her short life and guide the child in our ways. Please begin proceedings for clearance for her and the child when she is near her natural termination date, to locate both aboard ship. She will require full body transplant, of course. I will cover any energy costs.”
“Yes, Doctor Los, there will be no complications. We can get all the energy we need from the planet’s sun and satellite. Give us your coordinates when the time comes. Have a pleasant stay.”
The years of bliss passed quickly for Callie Brown, years that were but mere days for Andrew Logan, or Doctor Los. He continued his analysis of Earthian consciousness, and with so much more at stake now for himself. Though it was such a short time, he learned to love “his Callie” as he called her. Whatever she wanted, he would have given her, but she just wanted a small house in the country, with a garden. Here she raised Andrew Junior who grew very slowly by Earthian standards. She was happy with that. “It makes it seem like I have so much more time this way.” She also said to him one day, “It’s as if I never had any other life but this one. I feel so undeservedly blessed, Los.” (She began calling him Los so as not to create confusion between him and Andrew Junior. She didn’t want her son to get used to being called “Junior.”)
Throughout that time, the greatest gift he could give her he withheld from telling her of, that she would be given the choice to enter eternal life, eternal youth, if she wanted it; if she chose to join with the Tholian crew and make Tholia her new home world. Andrew Junior, their son (such an atavistic concept) would also have to make a similar choice.
“She loved simple things… One morning she wasn’t feeling well. The next day, she was gone.” (paraphrase from “Meet Joe Black”)