Author : Desmond Hussey
Ensign Morecock felt ashamed when he returned from shore leave, but only moderately so. He knew his actions could quite possibly get him discharged from Space Fleet, but it was well worth it.
Since first contact with the Sybaris, progress toward mutually beneficial intergalactic commerce and trade were exceeding even the most conservative estimates. Morecock’s ship, the USV Horizon had been selected for the first human delegation ever to visit an alien planet. A Sybaris delegation was likewise bound for Earth.
Six months later, Horizon’s arrival at Sibaria was greeted with much fanfare by their magnanimous hosts.
The Sybaris were a semi-aquatic, technologically advanced race of ancient space explorers. Those who had first-hand experience with them often commented on their flirtatious nature (by human standards), but so much was still misunderstood about their culture and physiology. It was clear, however, that they were a passionate species, being very casual about public displays of affection, even towards humans. Sybaris ambassadors claimed that they had abolished war over five thousand years earlier and had devoted their resources exclusively to two things; space exploration and pleasure seeking. Earth, with its massive oceans, was a tantalizing tropical paradise to them and they were most keen to make contact with the local inhabitants.
Morecock slunk into his quarters and breathed a guilty sigh of relief. He felt certain no one had spotted him slip into one of the many pleasure houses on Sibaria. Everyone was so preoccupied with the breathtaking, exotic architectures and landscapes of the planet that it was easy to steal away for an hour and claim he simply got lost in the labyrinthine canal system of the capital city.
As the USV Horizon sped back home to share the news and bounty of its historic cultural union, Morecock lay on his bunk and fantasized about his own illicit cultural exchange. He was ridiculously proud to have been the first human to copulate with an alien and fell asleep to erotic memories of hedonistic tentacles, prehensile orifices and copious amounts of saline fluid.
In the morning, it hurt when he peed.
In the afternoon, it hurt when he breathed.
By evening, it hurt to move and his tongue had swollen to the size of a large egg.
The ship’s doctor took blood samples, gave Morecock a shot for the pain and held him in strict quarantine. Extensive steps had been taken by both races to rule out any possible exchange of harmful pathogens, but the doctor wasn’t willing to take any chances.
For twelve weeks Morecock lay on top of his sheets, pale and wan, sweating copiously. On week thirteen he watched helplessly as his skin began a slow, agonizing boil, like thick porridge. Fat bubbles swelled all over his body, and then deflated with a release of crimson hued steam and an audible “fthh” sound. For another week, puce ooze seeped from the resulting holes. Morecock had long become delirious and was kept sedated with a powerful soporific.
Forty-two weeks later the doctor led Captain Krup into the observation room adjacent to Morecock’s cell. The two men stared in horror.
“How many have been affected?” the captain asked, obviously shaken.
“Sixty-nine, sir. Male and female.”
“We believe it was via some form of sexual contact.”
Behind the tinted glass, what was left of Morecock’s body had become a cradle for a squirming infant Sybaris. Wanton, sensuous tentacles probed Morecock’s gooey remains for sustenance as the tiny cephalopod cooed gleefully.
Back on Earth, the awaiting human population eagerly welcomed the Sybaris delegation with open arms.
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