Author : Liz Lafferty

I squatted to examine the crime scene. The woman was obviously dead. The alien? Well, there was a wet spot, a round sort of blobbish something lying next to the girl’s body.

“What happened here?”

“Doc says the girl was suffocated.”

“Not drowned?”

“No.”

“What about family?”

“The parents are waiting.”

“His or hers?”

“I guess his. They aren’t human.”

“Do we need a translator?”

My partner shrugged. The parents, such as they were, hovered a few inches off the floor. Thankfully, the department had sent over an United Galazies Interacter. Not exactly a translator, but someone familiar with customs and protocol.

The Interacter started the conversation with introductions and turned to me to start the questioning.

I shot him a blank stare.

“You touch them. Don’t you know anything?”

“No, I don’t.” U.G. spuds were all alike. Superior in their knowledge, condescending to their own race while basking in the knowledge they could communicate with hundreds of species in the galaxy.

The larger one was two foot from me. I liked the other one better. Not so fierce looking and with a shimmery silver color. This one was all black and murky. You know what they say, still waters and all that.

“What do I say?”

The Interacter rolled his eyes. “It’s all by touch. If you let your mind wander, it will know what you had for lunch yesterday. Think about the questions as you want them asked and the Aqua et Vita will answer in your mind.”

I reached for the water. It shaped and morphed as my hand touched the cool surface.

I felt the panic immediately. “Is it my son?”

My mind focused perfectly. “We don’t know. Do you know the girl?”

“Yes. We told him this was a bad idea. He wouldn’t listen. We’re only his parents after all. He said he loved her.”

“The girl died by suffocation. How would your son do that?”

“He did not kill her. He loved her.”

“But if he did, how would he kill her? Could he do it with his mind?”

“Yes, of course.”

“What about your son? What could kill him?” Call me ignorant, but how did one kill water?

“We are NOT water and you’re showing your ignorance by thinking it.”

“Sorry. Getting back to my question, what can kill your species?”

“Hungry, cold. Lack of will.”

“Thank you,” I said as I pulled my hand away.

Three days later, my partner burst into my office.

“We hacked her video logs. Want to watch some alien porn?”

“What do you have?”

“Our love birds in the act. Apparently, the first time for both to do the alien tango.”

The alien, Chrislos was his name, had taken a nearly human shape for the festivities.

The tragedy unfolded before our eyes. The alien lost his shape as the encounter progressed. Its water-like form had engulfed her, covering her face. Soon she stopped moving.

When the alien realized what it had done, it went insane. The normally spherical shape contracted and expanded in wild, grotesque agony. I wasn’t there, but I could feel the torture of realization. He’d killed the being he loved.

More research revealed that during the mating ritual, the life form loses its ability to mind connect. He didn’t know he was killing her.

An accidental death and a suicide. Not murder after all. I closed my file. I’d let the U.G. spud contact the family. I didn’t want the aliens to read my heartless thoughts on intergalactic race relationships.

A senseless waste. Worse, we’d have another case before you could say evaporation.

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