FLOTSAM: THE BEGINNING
Author's note: this story is a prequel to Flotsam (female), which takes place in the same universe as The Chosen (female), The Sculptor's Model (male), and the Jaskri (female) and Ketrin (male) stories. The links between these various stories may (or may not) become clearer as further interconnected stories appear. Flotsam (Male Remix) takes place in a parallel universe in which some or all human beings have the opposite gender. All clear? Oh, well....
Some of the concepts in the Flotsam stories were inspired by Margaret St. Clair's 1953 story Thirsty God. The use I have made of those concepts is however original, and no plagiarism is intended.
NB: The Prologue reiterates some material from the original story, so don't panic - you're not having a flashback!
THE GREAT ONES (as they modestly called themselves) were dying. Their world's environment was deteriorating rapidly. In desperation they sent out spacecraft to try and find a new home, but the best they could find was only marginally suitable for them. It was colder and dryer and received far less health-giving ultraviolet. Any colonists would be horribly uncomfortable and their lives would be short. Fortunately for them, their technology provided a solution. If they could not find a planet with a better climate, they would adapt themselves to suit this planet's. After some years of research an automated process was developed which would adapt the colonists to their new environment, right down to the genetic level. And so, soon colonists began filtering through the biological acclimation plants that had been set up on one of the colony's less hospitable continents. The grateful colonists raised a small and fairly cheap memorial to the volunteers (at least, their government claimed they were volunteers) who had been horribly killed or crippled during the research phase. Then, leaving the automated plants to their fate, they rebuilt their technology and began to do to their new world what they had done to the old.
It was one of their research projects - a failed attempt to create a new type of hyperdrive - that resulted in their planet's entire solar system, along with a few hundred thousand others, being swallowed up by a rift in space. In the upheaval much of their technology was destroyed, and though they did their best to rebuild, an alarming fact soon emerged: they were beginning to forget how their forefathers' technology worked. An unexpected side effect of the acclimation process was that each new generation was slightly less intelligent than the last (but curiously enough, also less arrogant). When they realised this they tried desperately to reverse the trend, but to no avail. Within another thousand years their entire species had reverted to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. By that time the decline in their intelligence had levelled out and their arrogance had vanished altogether. They no longer lusted for power. As long as they had food in their bellies and plenty of orgasms each day they were content.
Meanwhile the processing plants continued to wait patiently for new visitors. They had to wait a long time, but eventually new spacefaring species began to spread into the vicinity of the spatial rift. The new visitors were about to start ariving.
Newsvine Extra, Day 248, GE 773
...still no word on missing pilot Sevrina Qanat, who set out to traverse the uncharted Adumreb region singlehandedly on day 207 of this year. Her estimated date of arrival on planet Seeonee is now almost a full tenday overdue, and it is feared that her ship - an experimental vessel whose revolutionary design was in part formulated by Mz Qanat herself - may have been lost. [Original document features links to: Sevrina Qanat: Biography; Ship Design; Stellar Navigation; and Singlehanded Voyages Throughout History.]
Private Mental Recording
STRICTLY NO UNAUTHORISED VIEWING! THIS RECORDING IS PROTECTED BY LEVEL 6 SECURITY! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
DATE: GE 773, day 240, about 1140 hours, I guess, assuming that damn thing wasn't...owww, shit...wasn't a time warp as well as a space warp. All right, first things first: the ship's still in one piece, more or less, but it's very badly dented...aaahhhh, goddammit...and the same goes for me. I don't know if my leg's broken - the med unit got knocked about in the crash, don't know if I can fix it. What's more, all the cell-repair nanos had their babbages scrambled, making them useless. So much for instant healing. Fortunately I had some old-fashioned painkillers handy in case of emergencies, although right now they're not so much killing the pain as - oww - nudging it to one side where it won't be quite so distracting. Better than nothing, I suppose. Anyway, to try and heal the leg I'll just have to improvise some kind of splint. Looks like learning to tie knots wasn't a complete waste of time after all.
Communications are down, wouldn't you know it. Of course, even if the com was working there'd be no guarantee that I could get a signal out via that wormhole thing. Power is low, and propulsion looks pretty much out of the question right now. I just hope to God the self-repair units can repair themselves, otherwise I'm never getting off this damn rock. Oh, shit, I told myself I wasn't going to...
1150 hours: Sorry about that. Don't usually get all emotional like that, but...[sigh] I have to admit things are looking pretty bleak right now. I'm stuck on an alien planet and there's a very strong possibility that I may be stranded here for the rest of my life. Oh, God. If I'd had to crash on an unknown planet why couldn't it have been one that had tropical beaches and a lost tribe of gorgeous men and women that I could spend all my nights making love to under a romantic moon or two, instead of this desolate wilderness?
I don't even know how I got here. One minute everything was going smoothly, and the next there's this swirling nebulous thing blotting out the stars, and then the ship got sucked into it and everything went weird inside my head, and then all the stars were different and I was on a collision course with an unknown planet, and there was no time to wonder where I was because I had to concentrate on just getting the ship down in one piece. Which is where I came in.
The hull is leaking. The air pressure on the outside is slightly higher, so the outside air's getting in. If it were poisonous or didn't contain oxygen I guess I'd be dead or dying by now. Lucky me - getting to die slowly of thirst or starvation, rather than quickly of asphyxiation or poisoning.
No, but really, what are the odds of an unknown planet that just suddenly appears out of nowhere having a breathable atmosphere? If I were the betting type I wouldn't put money on it. Spooky.
The ship skidded for miles across this dusty plateau until it hit this big grey rectangular outcrop of rock, that looks kinda like some totally unimaginative architect's idea of a building. It was the crash that did most of the damage to me and the ship. Lucky me not being killed instantly too, right?
Oh, God, I'm so totally fucked. I'm never going to get home, never see my friends and family again...
1220 hours: Feel a bit better after a couple of ration cubes. Enough to last a couple of months, though most of them are in the aft locker, which is going to be awkward to get to if my leg doesn't heal. When the food runs out? Well, if I can breathe the air here maybe there's plant and animals I could eat, if only I can get to them. I'm sure I read that oxygen only occurs on life-bearing planets.
OK, so now I'm Robinson Crusoe. Got to get all my work done by Friday. Oh, Goddd, my leg! Isn't it time for another painkiller yet? Ohh...
1330 hours: Finally, I can take another pill. Why the hell don't they make these things so they don't lose their potency two hours before you can safely take another? God knows.
1340 hours: Ohhh, that's better. Pain's faded to a dull ache. Can try and catch a bit of sleep now.
Heh. 'Sfunny. Fuckin' big rock really does look a bit like a building if you look at it carefullyyyyyzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........
DATE: GE 773, day 242, 0930 hours: God, I'm bored. It's been more than two days with nothing to do but pop pills and hope to God that the ship and my leg can repair themselves.
Actually some of the ship's systems do seem to be working a bit better now, and my leg doesn't seem quite as painful. I've been able to ease up on the painkillers a bit. But the ship still can't fly and I still can't walk very far, so I've just been sitting here like some kind of service droid, the kind that looks like it's sitting behind a desk, only it's actually fixed to the floor....
God, I'm bored. Nothing to do all day but stare at that damn rock out there and masturbate. Not that I'm aroused by rocks or anything, but the vid's bust so I can't watch any porn and there's nothing else to look at except partially-lit control panels.
I wish my leg would hurry up and heal so I can go outside. I figure if there was anything in the air that was going to kill me it would have killed me by now, so there'd be no harm in exploring. Not that there's much to explore except that big fucking rock, but when you've had nothing else to look at for days it's surprising just how compelling a big fucking rock can seem.
DATE: GE 773, day 245, 1020 hours: Well, this is it, I guess: the day I get to be an intrepid planetary explorer. My leg isn't too bad as long as I don't put too much weight on it, so I've improvised a crutch from a storage rack support and a spare pair of soft shoes (one to prevent the crutch from slipping on the ground, the other to cushion it under my arm). There's no need for a protective suit. If there are any harmful spores or bacteria on this planet I've already breathed them in, so there's no sense worrying about them. Outside temperature is about 15 Celsius, which isn't exactly tropical, but I'll be in no danger of freezing to death either.
I'm taking a holocam to record anything remotely interesting - not that there's much chance of that! - and in case of emergencies I'm taking some ration cubes and water. Um, that's it, I guess. No sense weighing myself down, especially with a bad leg. Anyway, it's not like I'll be going very far. Just around the (stone) block....
1035 hours: So here I am on the ladder, about to set foot on an unknown planet for the first time. The ship is tilted slightly so the steps don't quite reach the ground. I feel like I should say something, but all I can think is: that's one big step for someone with a broken leg.
Made it! Landed on my good leg, although the impact did send a twinge through the bad one. All right, I guess I should start describing things since I'm supposed to be exploring.
The exterior of the ship doesn't look too badly damaged. A few dents and cracks, and of course the bent landing strut that's making the ship lean. Small droids are crawling over the side of the hull, slowly filling in the cracks. They'd be working a lot faster if they had more energy. I just hope they can take a bit of solar power, but this planet's sun isn't very bright.
Like this idea, maybe.
The large rocky outcrop that the ship ran into is almost perfectly rectangular, grey and featureless. As far as I can see it's about five metres high, and extends for about fifty metres in one direction - south, I'd guess, judging from the position of the sun and assuming that east would be the direction it rises from - and a hundred and fifty metres to the north. The plain on which it stands is equally grey and featureless. This planet doesn't seem to have many interesting geological features, unless grey happens to be your thing. And yet somehow I feel compelled to explore the big rock anyway, almost as if my subconscious was trying to tell me something about it. Can't imagine what, though.
All right, I'm making my way slowly northward. No sign of any irregularities or markings on the rock face, but who knows - I may just find some primitive paintings. Yeah, right. I really don't know what I'm doing here, but as long as I'm doing it I might as well keep doing it.
I suppose that's what everybody does most of the time really....
My leg's holding up well enough at any rate. Just the odd twinge every now and then. Maybe it wasn't completely broken after all, just a hairline fracture or someth -
Whoa, now look at that. Umm, 1050 hours: There's an entrance in the rock wall. Seems to be a large cave or chamber inside. I keep telling myself the entrance can't be artificial, but it's almost perfectly square, two metres by two metres.
I know I shouldn't be doing this. Who knows what kind of dangerous animals could be in there? But it's like there's this little voice in my head, telling me, 'Go on in, go on in,' and there's nothing I can do to resist it...
Whooah. My fault. I forgot...the camera lamp comes on automatically when it gets dark. When I stepped into the cave the sudden burst of light gave me the shock of my life.
Well, anyway, I'm inside now, and it sure looks artificial. I'm in a chamber about two metres high, ten long and six wide, with what look like entrances to other chambers in the end walls. The interior walls are perfectly flat and rectangular, and there seem to be markings on them. The markings are very faded, no telling how old they are. I suppose they could have been made by natural processes, but they almost look like some kind of writing to me....
What was that noise? I...oh...what's happening? I feel so drows -
Processing Plant 293 Log // Date Unspecified due to: Unknown Error
SUBJECT has entered Processing Chamber in response to telepathic signal, and has successfully been rendered dormant // Begin biological scan
Scan complete // Observation: subject exhibits unusual biological characteristics // Recommend further testing
Is subject within acceptable range of parameters?
Yes // However, certain anomalies suggest that further investigation is warranted
Denied // If subject falls within accepted parameters then no further tests are necessary // Begin processing immediately
This unit must point out that -
Unit overruled // Further interruptions will lead to disconnection // Is this clearly understood?
[pause before reply]......Yes
Then begin processing subject immediately
Acknowledged // Processing
[unspecified time lapse: probably not more than fifty per cent of a planetary rotation]
Biological process complete
Acknowledged // Shut down
Observation // The biological process has produced an unusually large number of alterations to subject's original physiology
Irrelevant // Our sole task is to perform the biological transformation, not to analyse its effects
Nevertheless this unit must observe that subject may experience unknown side effects due to these anomalous -
IRRELEVANT // SHUT DOWN // FURTHER INTERRUPTIONS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED
[unusually long pause before reply]............Understood // Shutting down
Sevrina Qanat's Private Mental Recording (continued)
WHOA, what...what happened? Where am I? It's dark...little red light....
Oh, yes. The little red light's on the holocam's display. The camera lamp must have turned itself off to conserve power. I'm still in the chamber. What happened? Did I faint? Not like me to just pass out like that.
My feet hurt. Funny, I didn't do that much walking. Clothes feel really tight as well. Weird. Guess it won't hurt to take my shoes off for a few minutes....Strange, I could have sworn they were a couple of sizes bigger than that. Could I have packed the wrong ones by mistake? No...no, that's ridiculous, they're the same ones I've been wearing all along.
Well, either the shoes have shrunk, or -
Oh, no. No, no, no. That's impossible. Ridiculous. Crazy.
On the other hand, it would explain why my clothes are tight as well....
Wait a minute. Why am I sitting here in the dark speculating? The camera lamp. OK, here's the manual switch. Close my eyes so the light won't shock them.... Good. The light's working. Now, I'll open my eyes slowly, and....
Oh, my God. Either I'm going crazy or I'm hallucinating.
I've grown. I'm bigger! That's why my clothes and shoes were so tight. I must be well over two metres tall now. And that's not all. Unless my eyes have been affected somehow...I'm blue.
Weird...even my finger- and toenails have turned blue. Grab a lock of my hair so I can look at it...yes, that's blue too! But what about....
Let's get these damn tight clothes off. Got to check all over.
I was right. Look at that. Or rather, don't look - computer, classify visual component of this record as personal, my eyes only.
(That's assuming the recording's still being made of course. No reason why it shouldn't be. In theory, as long as the ship still as enough power to run it, the machine could go on recording for centuries - I should live so long - even if I were hundreds of kilometres away. Not that I'm planning to go anywhere.)
Just as I suspected. Even my pubic hair is blue. No known biological agent could do this. Could it be some kind of alien nanotech? But if it is, what else might it have done to me? My God, it could be turning me into something else! Am I going to end up as some kind of blue alien jellyfish, or something even worse?
I don't feel any different. Actually I feel fine. Now that I've got those tight clothes off, I'm perfectly comfortable. I'm not in any pain....
Good God! I forgot - my leg! It's not hurting any more! I can put my full weight on it!
Incredible - my broken leg is completely healed! I feel like dancing!
Whoooaaah! Actually, I feel more like something else. I'm suddenly so horny I can barely think....
Computer, classify the following as strictly private and personal, absolutely NO access to anyone but me.
All right, hands, don't fail me now....
Ohhh...ohhh...ohhhaaahhhh...... ohgodifonlyicouldsharethiswithsomeone.... Whoooooaaaaahhhhh.... oh, oh, oh, OHHHhhhhh....
[recording continues in a similar vein for approximately 137 minutes]
....aaaaaaaaiiiiiieeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEE... OHHHHHHHhhhhh..... ohhhhh.... Oh, God, that was incredible. If that was a side effect of becoming big and blue then maybe it's not such a bad thing after all. But then, what if.... Ohhhh, my... too tired to think right now. Got to sleep. When I wake up, I'll....
WHAT? What's up?
Something's wrong. Don't know what, but I have this terrible feeling of urgency. I've got to get back to the ship! Got to get up....
What's happening? I'm so stiff! It's hard to move!
My God, that's what's so urgent. I'm losing the power of movement! My subconscious must have sensed it somehow and woken me up. I've got to get back to the ship, get hooked up to the med unit, before I become totally paralysed!
I can see the doorway. A little light outside, must be daytime. Can't stand up. Got to crawl. Faster! I can feel my muscles becoming more and more sluggish by the second! Never mind about clothes or equipment, just get my arse back to the ship.
I'm out in the open now, moving like a Magellanic tree-sloth with arthritis, except there's no pain, which is some comfort. The ship is only metres away, but it might as well be kilometres. I can feel adrenalin pumping through my veins, but for all I know, with my modified biochemistry that may only be making things worse.
At last, at long last, moving in extreme slow motion, I've reached the ladder. Try to raise my hand, reach up to the bottom rung...come on, come on...!
Too late! I'm too late! I'm trapped! The moment my hand closed on the rung the paralysis caught up with me. Every muscle froze solid. I can't move.
I can't move!
I don't know if the ship's med unit could cure the paralysis, but at least it could have tried. Now I'll never know. I'll just be crouching here in this undignified position, with one hand on the ladder, staring up at the doorway that might as well be on the far side of the galaxy now, until I die of thirst or starvation. The repair droids are still crawling over the hull. Looks like they've almost repaired all the holes, for all the good that'll do me now..
What a way to go. Nobody will ever know what became of me. All I wanted was to be the first woman to cross the Adumreb sector singlehandedly. Just the recognition, that was all the reward I wanted. Well, apart from the fame, glory, money and sex. Was it really too much to ask?
Oh, God, have mercy on my soul....
Night. Can't sleep. Is that psychological, or another side effect of whatever happened to me?
Not freezing, but there's a chilly breeze blowing constantly off the plain. I can see the stars above the ship's hull, whenever there's a break in the clouds. None of them seem to match the constellations visible from the Adumreb region. I guess that proves I really did get sucked through a wormhole or whatever you want to call it.
It's probably hopeless, but I might as well try to move again.
Hey, how about that. If I try really hard I can move my left big toe. A little. Feel it go there!
Roll up, roll up, ladies, gentleman and everyone else. The intrepid space explorer Sevrina Qanat has travelled halfway across the galaxy single handed, and for her next feat of human strength and endurance she will...wait for it...twitch her toe!
Oh God, oh God.......
I've been stuck in this pose for hours now, but I don't feel numb or cramped at all. Some small mercy, I suppose. Funny, I haven't felt hungry or thirsty for hours either. And no pressure on the bowels or bladder. Almost as if I didn't need to do any of those things anymore.
But if that were true, then...there'd be no telling how long I could stay alive.
Alive? You call this alive???
MORNING. The sun isn't very warming, or very bright either, but at least it gives some indication of the passage of time. I've lost track of the date. Probably around day 247 now.
The sky is more grey than blue, with a few grey clouds. Figures, I suppose. Boring planet, boring sky. I suppose if there are any advanced lifeforms on this planet they'll have evolved eyes that are sensitive to a more limited colour palette.
Nothing to do but watch the clouds roll by. What does that one look like? Oh, yes. A turd. And just next to it there's another one, and what do you know - that one looks like a turd as well. Now there's a coincidence. I wonder which one will drift out of my field of vision first? Hmm...I'll bet sixty trillion creds on...that one. Come on, boy, there's a good turd, you can make it...
Damn. Now I've got to write an IOU for sixty trillion creds, and I'm not sure I can put up the collateral. Hard to write with only one toe too, even if I could reach a stylus....
What was that?
Something's coming! I heard a noise, and it definitely wasn't the wind!
It's coming closer. Definitely a large life form of some kind. Oh, God, I just hope it's not carnivorous....
It's coming around the front of the ship. Can't move my head to look down at it. Out of the bottom corner of my eye it looks like a small upright creature, something like a monkey, maybe.
It's seen me. It's making a noise - some kind of alarm call, or just a cry of alarm?
It's touching my leg! Feels like a hand, not a paw. Now it's feeling up my leg, my butt...seems puzzled by my lack of response.
Now there are others coming, four or five of them. They're all chattering away excitedly. Could be some form of language rather than just chimp-calls, hard to tell.
Oh, shit..now they're feeling me all over. Arms legs, back, breasts...hey! No! Not there, you little perv.... Ohh... ohh... ohh... ohh... ohh... ohh... ohh... ohhhhhhhhh.......
Oh, boy. The little bastards just made me come. Not a planet-shaker, just one of those slow rippling quiet ones, but by God, I wasn't expecting that.
At least I know now my genital muscles aren't paralysed, for all the good that's going to do me.
What are the critters doing now? They've stopped pawing me, thank God, and they seem to be discussing what to do with me.
They're coming back.
Now they're lifting me up by the arms and legs. One of them's untangling my fingers from the ladder.
I notice they don't seem to show any interest in exploring the ship. Probably don't even associate it with me. Little bastards've probably never seen a machine before.
OK, so now they're carrying me and one of them is walking ahead. Hard to look at them clearly when my head's bobbing up and down upside down, but the guy in front seems to be about a metre and a half tall - have to take the fact that I've grown into account, so they'll seem smaller to me now. Basically humanoid, lightly furred naked bodies, long arms, short legs, short stumpy torsos, big butts. Guess what, they're all grey too. I must be the most colourful thing they've seen in a while, assuming they can distinguish colours.
They're tool users - the guy in front has a spear that he's using as a staff, seems to have a stone point to it...he's also carrying what seems to be a crudely-made leather shoulder-bag.
Leather. That means there are large animals somewhere on the planet. Wonder if I'll ever find out where?
More to the point, I'd like to know where the aliens are taking me.
No, that's not right. On this planet, I'm the alien.
Well, whatever...what do they want with me? Are they going to sacrifice me? Eat me? Whatever they want, they're carrying me along at a fair old pace. Nothing to do but wait, I suppose. That's all I can do now, and at least it's better than just lying frozen beside the ship, watching the turds float across the sky.
We've stopped. Well, they've stopped - I've already stopped.
We seem to be beside a small stream. Watercourses can't be very common in this desert, but they must have a lot of experience at locating them. They're taking turns at standing guard over me while the others drink. They don't know I can't run out on them. As each one takes over, I twiddle my toe in welcome.
Now I can see them from the front it's obvious that there are both males and females in the party. The females have big breasts, and the males are surprisingly well-hung for such a small species. They have expressive faces with elongated snouts and lots of small sharp teeth. Lucky for me they don't seem to want to take a bite out of me. Yet.
Could be they think I'm poisonous, that if they eat my flesh they'll become paralysed too. For all I know, it could be true.
They do eat meat. They're carrying what look like strips of dried flesh in those pouches of theirs, and they snack on them between sips from the stream.
And when they're not eating or drinking they're fucking. Males with females, males with males, females with females - anything goes as far as I can tell. Can't see too many juicy details from this angle, though I can certainly hear them! Their dumpy little bodies aren't exactly a turn-on for me anyway. They seem like certain species of primate I've heard about, that use sex as a form of social bonding the way others might use grooming.
Well, they're a determined bunch, I'll say that for them. They've been carrying me on and off for the better part of a day and a night, stopping to eat and drink and screw every few hours. Meanwhile I still don't feel the least bit hungry or thirsty.
I do feel horny, though. Nothing I can do about that, unless the aliens - sorry, natives - decide to take a hand in it again.
We're slowly climbing away from the plain. It's getting colder here, and damper. The damp is mostly in the form of a persistent drizzle that soaks into everything sooner or later. I suppose I'm a bit better off than the aliens because I don't have fur that can get waterlogged.
Don't have a clue where they're taking me. Home I suppose, whatever that is. I can only hope it's a bit more interesting than the terrain we've been traversing.
WELL, I think we're here. It must be about the fourth day now. The incessant drizzle is making everything even greyer than usual if that's possible, and soaking me to the skin.
On the other hand, this place is slightly more interesting than the plains and hills.
It's a ruined city. Must have been a highly advanced culture at one time, judging by what's left of the buildings. There are some bits of statuary lying broken in the street that seem to resemble my little friends, which suggests that they've come down in the world since the city's heyday.
They've left me lying against the stump of a pillar. Gone to fetch the rest of the tribe, I suppose, so they can show me off.
Ah, yes, I was right. Here they come, nine or ten of them. Hi, gang. The toe is waving hello, see?
And now they're all chattering excitedly and pinching and prodding me and putting their fingers and tongues into every nook and cranny.
Hey, don't poke my nipples, you little bastard! That hurt!
Whoa, now that one's got her tongue in my cunt. Normally I'd never allow that on a first date. But I can't stop her. I can't lift a finger....
Ohhhhhhhh... ngggg... nnnngggggg...... nnnnnnnn...... gggggggggggg...... AAAAHHHHHHHH OOOOHHHHHHHH oooohhhhhhhh....
Ohh, at last they've stopped.
Ohh, shit, that was intense. The strange thing is, I think being helpless made it even more intense, like I have some kind of suppressed masochism or bondage fetish or something.
If they do that again I can't stop them. Would I want them to?
Maybe it wasn't sexual for them. Maybe they just wanted to find out what I taste like.
But it doesn't seem to be dinnertime just yet. What are they doing? One of them has a bundle of what look like metal hoops and she's handing them around....
Now they're putting the hoops on their heads. Some kind of coronets, with jewels placed at the front. Strange, I wouldn't have thought they'd go in for jewellery, even if they only found it in the ruins.
But now they've all grouped into twos and threes and they're fucking each other like mad. They seem to be quite highly sexed, a bit like those anthropoids I once heard about...what were they called? Bonbons or something....
This little orgy seems a lot more intense than what I saw the hunting party doing. Could those coronets be anything to do with it? That's a thought. Maybe they're some kind of sexual enhancers, a remnant of the builders' ancient technology.
[a little later] It's about midday now, the drizzle's eased off a bit and the orgy has just about run its course. Most of the aliens are in siesta, with only two couples still boffing away.
One of the sleeping ones has just woken up and walked over to me. He's looking at me strangely, as if he's trying to figure something out. I wave my toe at him, and he squawks excitedly and runs off.
A few minutes later he's back with another coronet. He has to stand on tiptoe, but by stretching a bit he manages to put the coronet on my head. The jewel is set into a ring on the front of the coronet, so that when the native places it on my head the jewel makes contact with my forehead.
And suddenly I can feel everything the four copulating aliens are doing to each other. Everything! It's as if I had four bodies, all acting independently, and I can feel what all four of them are feeling. I'm holding and being held, tonguing and being tongued, fucking and being fucked, buggering and being buggered....
And of course, I'm doing none of it. They are. I can feel what they feel, but I can't influence their actions. I can't hear their thoughts and they can't hear mine.
It's the coronets, of course. They are empathic amplifiers, transmitting and receiving sensory data between the four alien lovers and me.
The beings who built the city must have possessed incredible technology. If I hadn't become paralysed, maybe I could have traded with the natives for some of the coronets, and any other portable devices they might have found. Then, assuming the ship could have repaired itself and made it back through the space warp (a couple of pretty big assumptions, admittedly), I'd have been able to sell the alien technology to the highest bidder. I would have been set for life.
Instead of which, I'm trapped for life.
The native lovers don't take long to come, and when they do their climaxes are brief and intense, like firecrackers. Then after a couple of seconds they start all over again. Because their senses are all linked together they're all feeling each other's orgasms as well as their own, which means they're having four times as much fun, and passing it on to me. And even though they're not even touching me, my body can't help responding to the intensity of the sensations I'm getting from them.
Oh, God, this is amazing. It's incredible. I've gone way past the level I usually reach, and I'm nowhere near coming yet. The aliens seem to realise that something fantastic is happening too. They're wailing and moaning more loudly than ever, and going at it with even more enthusiasm. And every minute or so I feel another of the aliens' short, intense firecracker orgasms, and that pushes me that little bit higher....
I can't move. I don't want to move. I just want to sit here as the aliens' paralysed love doll, feeling this incredible pleasure forever. Oh, please, God, let it last forever!
[a little later]
Ohh...this is...so intense I can...hardly stand it.... I...must have...felt...about a thousand of...the little buggers'...orgasms by now, but I...I'm only just...starting to...come...my...self....
Ooohhhhhhh... yes... yes... yeeeeeaaaaahhhh... aaahhhhhh...... AAAAAIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAA!!! AAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....
Oh, boy. That was a bit more than I was expecting. I guess now that my body's been changed I have much higher sexual thresholds, and the empathic link only enhances the effect.
God, I wouldn't too many of those. I feel completely spent. It was fun, but so is a bullet-capsule ride, and I wouldn't want to spend all day on one.
But now the four lovers are chattering excitedly and waking up the others, urging them to put on their coronets....
Of course. They felt my orgasm, and it was like nothing they've ever experienced. They're used to those short, sharp bursts of pleasure, and I produced the longest, most sustained climax they've ever felt. If it was incredible for me, it must have been unbelievable for them.
And now some of them have already begun again, and my body can't help but respond. I'm thinking: No! Not yet! It's too soon! Give me some time to recover! But they can't hear my thoughts. While the rest of them put on their coronets and begin pairing off I am waving my toe at them frantically, as if they'd understand that or even pay attention.
And now it's happening again, just like before only now it's all of them - the entire tribe. Their firecracker orgasms are coming every few seconds, and I'm already on fire with ecstasy even though I'm nowhere near my own orgasm yet.
It's too much, it's too much! It's too intense to bear!
And there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it.
God, did I wish it could last forever? Be careful what you wish for....
SUN'S SET. They're all asleep. At last I've got a bit of peace. Was it two more times, or three? I went into a kind of trance after the second orgasm. My physical sensations were so powerful I couldn't tell if I was in pleasure or pain, heaven or hell. I just couldn't think any more.
Is this what it's going to be like for me now? Just to sit here like a doll, being used for sex by alien beings until this mutated body wears out? Yes, that is what I wished for, but that was before I knew what it was really going to be like.
I can't hate the aliens. There's no malice in what they did. They just want to have fun, and they found they could get it from me. If only I could tell them what it's doing to me, beg them to slow down a little, not have so many linked to me all at once...but there's not much chance of that.
I'm not sure what's keeping me alive, but I suspect that it involves drawing energy from other living things. If that's true then the aliens probably saved my life by taking me home with them. But just look what they saved it for.
Oh, no. Did I say I'd got a bit of peace? Spoke too soon. Someone's coming. No light to see them by - the planet doesn't seem to have a moon - but there's a faint glow from the alien's coronet.
It's alone. Probably wants me all to itself while the others are asleep. In the dark I can't tell if it's male or female, but it's gently lifting my shoulders from the pillar and turning me around so it can lay me down in the dusty street.
Now it's lying down on top of me...it has to reach up a little to fondle my breasts, and....
Ohh, that settles that question. Male. Definitely male. No doubt about it.
And what he's doing to me is technically rape. There's nothing I can do to resist. And yet, he's being very tender and gentle and crooning quietly. Perhaps he did sense the way I felt before, and wants to make it up to me.
My sensations are still incredibly intense, but not unbearable like they were when the whole tribe joined in, and this time when I come it's a blissful experience rather than an overpowering one.
Afterwards, he spends some time gently caressing my body. I'd thank him if I could. When he reaches down to stroke my foot, I nuzzle his fingers with my toe. It's the least I can do. (And also the only thing I can do....)
And now he's asleep. They're so cute when they're sleeping.
Oh, if only it could always be like this, one on one each time and not a whole empathic orgy. I could stand that.
It hasn't been so bad today. Maybe my companion from last night did speak to the rest of the tribe. Instead of all going at it at once they've been taking it in turns to form groups of four or six while the rest go off elsewhere. Hunting, maybe - they still have to eat, after all, especially if they're eating for me as well now. And they take breaks in between sessions, which gives me a bit of time to recover.
No, it's not so bad now. I can tolerate it. I may be trapped and helpless on an uncharted planet, but at least I'm getting regular orgasms, which is more than a lot of people can say.
Apart from that, I feel amazingly healthy. my eyesight and hearing are every bit as sharp as ever, I never feel hungry or thirsty, and I'm never the least bit cramped or uncomfortable despite my everlasting immobility. (And no sign of thrombosis or muscular atrophy either). Fortunately I don't need to urinate or defecate, and menstruation is also a thing of the past, along with PMS - good riddance to that!
Sometimes I wonder why I'm not more upset at being permanently paralysed, at being raped by aliens, at the fact that I'll never see my friends or family again. Sometimes I think I should feel guilty for not feeling bad about those things, but I can't, any more than I can stand up and dance. I don't know why I feel this way - maybe it's something to do with my physical transformation. Who knows what weird alien chemicals have replaced the neurotransmitters in my brain?
All I know is that this is the only existence I can look forward to now, so I'd better get used to the idea. And I am getting used to it.
If I could, I might sigh or shrug. As it is, I just waggle my toe a little.
[an unspecified time later; possibly several years]
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... Oh, that was one of the best. I know I've probably thought that about the last hundred thousand times, but this time I really mean it. I know I've probably thought that for the last hundred thousand times as well, but...heh. No buts. My thoughts are just stuck in a rut, that's all.
Oh, well, better to be stuck in a rut than... than... um... damn, can't even think of an example. Maybe all this sex really is rotting my brain...eh, toe?
I can't move my toe. The one part of my body that I could still control (apart from my eyes) has finally become paralysed like the rest of me.
It wasn't much, I know, but twiddling my toe gave me the feeling that I was still in control of something, and now that's gone. In a way it almost feels as bad as becoming paralysed in the first place. As long as I was able to move that tiny part of my body, I wasn't just a...well, a statue.
Well: now I am just a statue. That's all. Just a living, flesh and blood, articulated, inanimate doll.
Welcome to my frozen life, toe. You'd better get used to it.
And now the next bunch are putting on their circlets, and I can take some comfort for my loss in these... incredible... sexual... ahhhhhh... hhhhhh...... hhhhhh......
[an unspecified but evidently very long time later]
I SAW something new today. Something different. Strange. Nothing much ever changes around here.
While I was co-o-o-o-oming for about the tenth time today, I thought I heard a roaring in my ears, but then the guy who'd had his prick in my mouth stood up suddenly and began shouting in alarm, along with all the others. So suddenly there was no one fucking me or each other and all the crystals went dead. The sudden lack of sex was almost painful, but through the fog of interruptus I could see what they were all yelling about: a white streak moving quickly across the sky.
Then it was gone, leaving a thin white cloud that slowly blew away. The natives chattered amongst themselves and went off, leaving me alone for the first time in God knows how long. Hey, come back! I was thinking. Come back, you little bastards, I need you. I love you. Come back, you stupid pieces of shit!
Eventually some of them did come back and to my relief things got back to normal, but I noticed some missing faces and wondered where they'd gone.
Maybe I'll find out tomorrow.
Well, it's been about three days now, and finally I've got an answer. A little while ago one of the natives gave a yell, and all the others stopped fucking - I wish they wouldn't do that without warning! - and then I saw that the ones who had gone off the other day were back, and they were carrying something. Several things, in fact....
Things that were alive, blue, and naked....
So that was what the strange sight and noise were the other day. Another ship crashing. And by the time the natives reached the survivors, they'd been altered, just like I was.
And now here they are, sitting naked and paralysed in front of me. A man, two women and a boy of about ten. When they first saw me they stared at me as if they were pleading for help, as if there were anything I could do after all this time.
The boy is stronger than the others, or maybe the alteration just isn't quite complete yet. He's twitching and straining against the paralysis, but no matter how he tries he can't stand up. At the same time he's making strangulated noises at the back of his throat, but he can't open his mouth to speak - or scream....
There are tears in his eyes. His tear glands aren't paralysed yet. The helplessness and frustration are bad enough for an adult, but for someone of his age they must be terrible. If only there were some way I could comfort him, but even if I could speak to him, I have no good news for him.
Now the natives are coming back with more of the coronets. To my relief they don't put one on the boy, but sit him nearby where he can't help but watch. The aliens crown the three adult newcomers. Immediately they and I can all feel each others' bodies, and willy-nilly all four of us get horny.
The man's response is astonishing. He not only gets hard, but big as well. It's another side effect of the transformation. His penis is at least twice as long and thick as normal, and hard as a rock. But all four of our bodies are becoming more sensitive by the second, so that after a few moments we're almost giving each other orgasms, just from the fact that our senses are linked involuntarily.
And that's before the aliens join in. But then ten or eleven of them, chattering excitedly, put on their coronets. One of them immediately wraps its elongated mouth around the man's giant erection, two more begin tonguing one of the women in her mouth and vagina, while two of the males shove their cocks into the other woman and me. The rest of them just grab their nearest partners, regardless of sex, and do whatever they feel like. And all four of us humans can feel everything they're doing to us and each other.
The newcomers are probably horrified and outraged by this, but no matter how they try to resist there's no way they can prevent the aliens' frequent firecracker orgasms from driving all four of us to our hyper-elevated sexual plateaux.
And in that state we remain for hours - literally hours - wishing we could cry out in ecstasy, while the boy can do nothing but watch. And then, at long last, we begin to come.
Oh, it's too much, it's too much! How much sexual stimulation can one poor brain stand? Why doesn't it burn out our nerve endings or give us all heart failure???
Because we're all different now, that's why. Because our bodies and our nerves and our brains have all been altered, so that by accident or design there's nothing we can do but act as interactive sex dolls for the natives, and no matter what they do to us there's nothing we can do but take it, whether we like it or no... ooo... oooo...oooooo...... OOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!
Oh, God. Oh, God. At long last they've worn themselves out. They seem to have infinite capacity for stimulation. No matter how much they get, they still want more. They can't understand that for me and the other humans it's too much to bear. And even if they knew that, would they care? Would it stop them? I honestly don't know.
And all the while the boy can only sit there watching. Will he remain a boy, or will he grow up and experience puberty and become another sex doll? I have a horrible suspicion that he will.
Another thought just occurred to me. If our sensations are unbearable with only four of us connected by the coronets, what would it be like with ten, or twenty, or a hundred?
Because one day there will be that many. I've only just figured that out.
If we are now effectively immortal, then each new ship that crashes on this desolate rock - and there will be others, since there's no way for ships to warn other ships of the danger before they crash - will swell our numbers. As the years go by the numbers of human flotsam washed ashore on this planet will only go up and up and up, and as they do the aliens will only become increasingly addicted to the stimulation they bring.
It wasn't too bad when it was just me and my toe and the aliens. I could stand that. It made the paralysis bearable. But now there are four and probably there'll be a fifth once the boy matures, and already it's almost enough to drive us all insane. By the time there are a hundred we really will be insane. Oh, God, I can't imagine what that will be like. I seem to recall reading something in one of the old religious texts about adulterers (whatever they were) being punished in hell with infinite orgasms. I used to think the idea of being punished by orgasms was pretty funny.
If only I'd known. Maybe this is that punishment. Maybe I died in that crash and went to hell without realising it, and after being led into a false sense of security all those years I'm now going to be punished in earnest.
Oh, God if there is a God - or anyone else out there who might be listening - please help us. Don't let this last forever. Or if it does last forever, at least don't let it be like this. Let it be like it was before, when I first arrived, when it was bearable, when it was...nice.
Please, God? Please?
The preceding material is presented in exactly the form in which we received it anonymously, almost two years ago now. We can of course make no claim as to its authenticity or veracity. The most obvious question raised by these recordings is this: how, if we are to believe their authenticity, did they return to our part of the universe if no ship could return through the space-warp? And for that matter, if the recording made it back, does that mean that the protagonist Mz Qanat and her fellow "human flotsam" also managed to return somehow?
It must of course be remembered that more than seven centuries have elapsed since these recordings were made, and the equipment for reproducing them had to be rebuilt from historic records. It is quite possible that the reproduction contains errors due to the age of the recordings, flaws in the reconstructed equipment, or both.
(As a brief aside, the anthropoids referred to by Mz Qanat as "bonbons" were in fact called bonobos.)
One final note of possible interest: appended to the original recording is a much shorter recording, which simply says:
YOU NEEDN'T worry about them any more. I've made sure they'll be well taken care of - and you too, for that matter. You may not see me, but sooner or later you will feel my influence. Farewell - for now.