Author : George R. Shirer

The alien wore a red flower in her hair. It was vibrant against her pale hair.

“What do you think of her?” asked Jon.

“I don’t know.”

Jon gave me an incredulous look. “What do you mean? You don’t know?”

“Honestly. I don’t know. I mean, I’ve heard the stories, but the reality is so . . .”



Jon laughed, patted my shoulder. “You just need to get closer.”


“You’ll see,” said Jon.

With a gentle shove, he propelled me toward the alien woman. She had been standing near the entry, scanning the room with crystal blue eyes. I noticed the crowd swirl around her, people glancing at her. Some seemed curious, while others appeared envious or agitated. The alien, for her part, seemed completely at ease.

As I drew near, I noticed something peculiar. A subtle scent, impossible to describe with any accuracy. It was pleasant, but like nothing I’d ever smelt before. My pulse quickened, my breath caught in my throat.

The alien turned to me and smiled. Her teeth were small and blunt, evenly spaced inside the chasm of her mouth. She had painted her lips an electric blue. As far as I could tell that was her one concession to cosmetics.

I was about to speak to her when our host, Jakk, appeared. He slid up to the alien and lay his arm, possessively, across her bare shoulders.

“Mica! So good to see you! I wasn’t sure you would make it!” Jakk’s voice was loud and high.

“How could I stay away, Jakk? Your parties are legendary.”

“You flatter me,” said Jakk, but did not bother denying it. He turned his smile to the alien woman. “Have you met Venus?”

“I was about to introduce myself.”

“Well, allow me to do it for you. Venus, this is my friend, Mica. Mica, this is Venus.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” I said, formally inclining my head.

“The pleasure is all mine,” said Venus. Her accent was a little strange, but she spoke our language very well.

This close, I realized that the beguiling scent I’d detected earlier was rising from the alien’s skin. I fancied I could almost see it, a faint cloud of luminous particles.

Jakk made some excuse and gently led Venus into the party’s whirl. I watched the crowd, noting the subtle jockeying of the men to move closer to the alien. As she passed by, I observed that many people were taking deep breaths, men and women.

“Well?” said Jon. He’d sidled up behind me with a pair of drinks.

I plucked one from his hand and took a tentative sip. “She’s very . . .”

“I know,” said Jon. “Her entire species is like that.”


“I heard the effect from the males is stronger.”

“How do they get anything done?” I wondered.

“It doesn’t affect them, just everyone else they meet,” said Jon.

I shook my head in wonder. “Humans.”

Jon just grinned and nodded his understanding.

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