My code name is Iron Feather, and I am writing this to honor an old request from my father, the former Earth Ambassador to the Confederation, the recently departed and much-admired Langford Joh. I refer to a conversation we had once in which he chided me on my poor ability to select a proper mate. Naturally, he brought up my mother and his own superlative traits as an example for me to emulate. Of course, he was thinking pure Earth at the time. Neither of us were contemplating an interspecies romance, certainly not an intergalactic one. I’ll let the reader decide if I was hasty or foolish.
Everyone knows about Pollis and the brilliant life forms associated with that planet, the third in the Eqquid system. Representative Cathor from Pollis has been an exemplary and important contribution to the Confederation. He has achieved much for his system and solidified the reputation of his species as geologists and other kinds of scientists. When I helped Pollis solve a difficulty involving the Chnid dynasty from Argol, I was later extended an invitation to visit their planet, so that they could express their gratitude. Cathor made the arrangements when I accepted the honorific.
I remind the reader that male Pollisians are rock-like creatures, birthed we thought from seams of near-liquid feldspar within milky-white andusil formations. When I reached Pollis, they educated me further. Andusil is actually their name for female and those unique creatures… entities, are not confined to specific shapes or sizes. My confusion can be forgiven, because the males are so incredibly unlike the females. Males are rust-colored and hard, whereas their counterparts are demonstrably ermine-white and deliciously soft. I was to learn further that, according to ancient legend, the first Pollisians were created when a curious Andusilian visited or was deposited there from nearby Carashan, the fourth planet.
Be that as it may, there are no andusil conglomerations present on Carashan today, in spite of the vast efforts of Pollis to find them. Fortunately, there is no shortage of females on Pollis, though they have not inherited the capabilities of the past. That is, they cannot transport themselves through the void. On the other hand, they retain other species-specific characteristics, none of which have been publicized in the Confederation. When Cathor invited me to attend the schpaatze of his daughter, their term for merger, what we call a wedding, I agreed to come.
In their natural state, a male Pollisian, until mated, is essentially immobile. The Andusil, after being attracted by something that entirely eludes me, infuses the male with certain unanalyzed chemicals that transform him into the creatures we know, gifting them with speech, vision, and other sensory attributes. In fact, they are not even named until schpaatze is achieved. It is said that Pollisian males experience neither pain nor pleasure prior to being schpaatzed. You are probably aware that males appear slow in their movements by the standards of most other species. Not so the newly schpaatzed males, who race about Pollis, exhibiting their freshly acquired traits with enthusiasm, even glee. I have had to get out of the way of some immature specimens or risk getting myself crushed.
Anyway, the schpaatze ceremony. Of course, I instructed my simulator to dress me in something appropriate for the rite, so the other guests would feel comfortable about having an alien present. My computer analyzed everything I could feed into its database and promptly designed me a feldspar tuxedo; that is, form-fitting geologically enhanced clothing of russet hues containing most of the elements common to Pollisian males. It would be wrong of me to chastise the computer for its zeal. After all, it simply responded to my instruction. How could anyone or any thing predict what occurred?
There I was, standing next to Cathor as he gazed malevolently at a prospective “son” leaning helplessly against a wall of basalt. The crowd was noisy and demonstrative. Many were making jokes. I almost felt sorry for the bridegroom, knowing he could never measure up to the expectations of the illustrious father.
“Something to stub one’s pillars against,” he said to me.
“What’s wrong with him?” I asked innocently.
“Not for my daughter. Not Malorchia. She deserves better.”
“I don’t see anything inferior…”
“He’s a projection,” interrupted Cathor scathingly. “If I thought Malorchia desired a new appendage that badly, I would have purchased her a crystal pickard.”
I should probably explain that a pickard is a non-sentient creature used for sport. It also looks amazingly like the Pollisian male reproductive organ.
“Maybe you should give him a chance. It isn’t exactly his fault. After all, your daughter selected…”
“Silence, Earthling. Don’t you think I am aware of that? Whatever she sees in that puny slab of…”
Suddenly, Malorchia entered the chamber and all sounds ceased. She was dressed in a white, translucent cloud, but one that refused to reveal her shape. I saw a billowy snowball, and it sang as it approached the bridegroom. She must have been transfixed by whatever it is that attracts an Andusil because she did not veer from her course or look to the side.
I figured it was a done deal. It isn’t exactly a religious ceremony on Pollis, no priest, organ playing, or teams of support females to trail after the bride. Cathor had no intention of giving his daughter away. If anything, he would have fissured the fellow and cracked him into a thousand shards with a blow from his hanging pillars. But this was what his daughter wanted and he had to go along with it. The cave was filled with dignitaries and the elite of Pollis’ society.
I need to describe the chamber at this point. It was basically a cave. On Pollis, caves are often pockmarked with deep pits and grooves. I was standing close to the edge of the pit’s rim like everyone else, waiting to watch Malorchia descend and attach herself to the male who seemed to quiver below in anticipation. Did I say close? I meant, dangerously close. All I did was shift my weight a fraction. That was what decided my fate.
The edge gave way and I lost my balance. There was nothing available upon which I could cling. Simultaneously, Malorchia began her descent. It was a most awkward moment, at least for me. To reduce the impact of the fall, I rolled myself as best as possible into a ball and let the contour of the pit’s walls determine where I landed. That turned out to be against the inarticulate groom. I was nearly senseless with the concussion, but that was nothing compared to the reality of Malorchia who abruptly smashed into my stunned body.
My senses instantly increased. She was all about me. Although I was dressed in that absurd tuxedo, the reality of Malorchia made me feel naked. Every part of me, every pore, molecule and nerve of my being was absorbed into her at the same time. She seemed to know exactly where my reproductive organ was, though I could not tell you how. Something impossible to describe must have instructed her in its application because she quickly aroused me to a most excitable state. Clearly, she did not realize that I was human.
I should add that I had no idea that the rite was actually a consummation, played out before all those above whom I supposed were shocked by my interference. She just drove herself against me until I had no choice but to do what human males must do in such a situation. I cannot imagine what the audience saw in their confusion, only the immense consternation of my own mind. For that moment, however, I must admit that the impossibility of the event was sublimated by a different feeling. I’m not exactly proud of it. Not my best performance.
Malorchia, on the other hand, was enthralled.
The chemical exchange did something to both of us. For me, I can conjure that russet tuxedo, the one that contains the elements so fascinating to her, any time she wants, just by thinking about it. I no longer need the simulator. For her, the results are far more dramatic.
She can be a traditional Andusilian female whenever she wishes. But when we are alone, she now understands and believes in privacy. She can exhibit skin, pores, hair and virtually any of the human female Earth attributes from my mind. Indeed, she can approximate one with impunity, even with refinements that never occurred to our species. Don’t ask me for an explanation. Even she cannot figure out how it happened.
Malorchia, luckily for me, is devoted and content, almost a slave to my slightest wish. She is very intelligent and is learning English. We use the translator less and less. Our home has been established on Pollis, donated as a schpaatze gift by none other than Cathor who, it turns out, was delighted by the development. I thought he’d kill me on the spot.
She knows that I have other duties and cannot attend her at all times. Malorchia is well aware of my reputation as a galactic policeman and is resolved to accept me on those limited terms. Actually, I could not have found a better mate. She worships and adores me. I admit to my being enamored with her, for she is ideal.
Other Pollisians it seems, struck by the strange reality of our event, have become more insular than formerly, more protective of their Andusils. They don’t want their rocks whoring about the universe, considering the large number of roaming asteroids and comets, and have taken steps to prevent such an activity from ever occurring, my status notwithstanding. Since Malorchia is the daughter of their Ambassador, she is allowed special privileges. I am a tolerated aberration.
In conclusion, I must say that my father, whose memory we all treasure, can finally relax in his heavenly abode, sure in the knowledge that I have fulfilled a large portion of my destiny. There is one other item of interest to relate, and neither Malorchia nor myself know what to expect. The late lamented Langford Joh is about to become a grandfather. *
About the Author: William Alan Rieser, born in New York City, less than 3 miles from the World Trade Center, originally was a musician and spent many years composing, conducting, teaching, and performing music on the East Coast. His earliest writing influences were Tolkien, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Poul Anderson. He is now retired in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife, Sandra, who edits his writings and doesn’t give him the slightest break on syntax or style, even though he expresses nought but loving thoughts to her. For several years he experimented with short stories for SF/F e-zines but now prefers to concentrate on more developed themes. In this last year, he published “The Kaska Trilogy” and “The Chronicles of Zusalem” via Writers Club Press, an organization associated with iUniverse and Barnes and Noble. His latest novel, “Luna Parabella”, has received a rave review at Amazon.com. Many other novels have been completed and are awaiting publication, such as “Furnace”. His articles, humorous and serious, are popping up everywhere, especially in his column at scifantastic. Currently, he is working on a mainstream novel and promises a mystery. He enjoys talking to writers, novice or professional, and encourages contact.
(c) 2004 William Alan Rieser firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Artist: Romeo Esparrago comes from the capital city Rockon of the slab-planet Eeh-Stone-Ya and loves to read Sgt. Rock comic books & “unusual”-relationship Philip Jose Farmer stories, watching Rocky films, and eating Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast & Rocky Road ice cream for dessert.
(c) 2004 Romeo Esparrago http://www.romedome.com/