When the Zorahn came calling, looking for women that would travel to their planet for six months, my mother had sniffed disapprovingly. “I don’t understand,” she’d said. “Who would want to go to outer space?”
Not for the first time, her attitude had confused the crap out of me. Who wouldn’t want to go to outer space? We’d just found out that aliens existed. We weren’t alone in the universe. There was an entire galaxy of sentient beings out there, and the Zorahn were offering the adventure of a lifetime.
When else would an opportunity like this present itself? Never. Astronauts are highly skilled, trained scientists and soldiers. They’re not people like me.
Of course I’d signed up.
My parents weren’t thrilled with my decision, but then again, they never really approve of anything I do. I’m used to their muted disdain, and I don’t let it stop me.
In retrospect, they might have been right to be cautious.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself.
After a crash-course training program, we’d set foot on the Zorahn spaceship. They’d outfitted us with translators, and they’d told us—all ten human women—that we would be placed in stasis for the duration of the journey.
Translators! Stasis! Could things be more futuristic and science-fiction-ish? I’d been so excited I’d almost peed myself. The stasis pods looked like coffins, which diminished the excitement somewhat. Still, outer space! The adventure of a lifetime! I wasn’t allowed to record any of this for my subscribers—NASA had been quite clear about that—but I was doing my best to remember everything.
I remember waking up and jolting upright in my coffin, bumping my head into the low ceiling. “Are we there already?” I’d asked eagerly. “Have we reached the homeworld?”
Before-Liz had been bubbly and Pollyanna and so incredibly naïve.
Let’s fast-forward through the dark times. The dawning realization that things weren’t going as planned. The ‘Oh fuck, this is bad’ moment. The clandestine, cloak-and-dagger auction. Being separated from the others, all except Maia. The cages, the needles…
Anyway. Skipping past all that. Past the fear I’d felt when the scientists had forced me into stasis again. Past the feeling of dread I’d felt when I’d been yanked from my chemical slumber.
When my eyes flutter open for the second time…
I see him.
A man I don’t recognize.
He is beautiful. A rough-hewn slice of masculine perfection with dark brown hair, bronzed brown skin, and deep purple eyes. His muscular chest is covered with a tattoo of a dragon breathing fire, and his forearms are corded with dark tattooed bands.
And he is naked. And hung. Not that I looked. (Okay, fine, I looked a little.)
Then my eyes meet his, and my fear melts away like snow on a warm sunny day.
He has kind eyes.
He stares down at me, his expression shadowed. “Are you Liz Roben?”
He’s speaking English. Disappointment drenches me like a cold shower. This is a dream. A very pleasant one, don’t get me wrong, but a dream nonetheless.
“Hello, Toto,” I trill back at him, giggling a little. Hey, it’s my dream, and I can do or say whatever I like. “We sure aren’t in Kansas anymore.”
The naked English-speaking alien contemplates me for a long second. His look seems to suggest I’ve lost my mind. Joke’s on you, dude. Any moment, I’m going to wake up, and poof, you’ll be gone.
“My name is not Toto,” he says finally. “It’s Yafet.”
“Yafet.” I try that out for size. “That’s a nice name.”
“I’m glad you like it,” he says, giving me an inscrutable smile. “You’re the first one to hear it.”
That makes no sense, which is par for the course for most dreams, so I ignore the weirdness of his statement and don’t ask any follow-up questions. I scramble out of the stasis unit, and land on the floor on shaky legs. The stranger offers a hand to steady me, but I ignore it.
The stranger fiddles with Maia’s chamber. In a few minutes, she’s awake too, rubbing her eyes and looking as confused as I feel. “Liz,” she whispers. “Where are we, who is this guy, and why is he naked? Am I dreaming?”
Okay, this is weird. “I don’t know,” I whisper back. “I thought I was imagining this whole thing, but he looks really… umm… real. Solid.” I glance at Yafet’s cock again. He notices, and a smile tugs his lips. I hastily yank my gaze back to his face. “Are you a dream?”
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