Aldea, Urim 16, 01314
Maykir/Cot leaned back in her comfortably padded office chair, her eyes closed. She had finally finished grading the last of two dozen papers, most of them well-written, and had entered the grades into the computer on her desk. Outside her window one of the great windstorms that came every autumn blew fiercely. She caught herself thinking that if she had to walk home those winds would tear out her feathers and make flutes of her bones.
She scowled. “I’m not that old yet,” she said to the empty office space. In truth at fifty-two years she was not that old. Somehow, though, she could not shake the sensation of aging.
“Maybe it’s the papers,” she said, glancing down at the pile of documents on her desk, some colorfully bound. The great bulk of them read just the same as last year, and those had read much as the year before. She knew many of the students were earnest in their quest for knowledge, but many had also learned that a Respected Degree required one to be able to spew a great deal of guano at a moment’s notice. That guano had to sound official to those who lived in the upper leaves of university life and yet seem incomprehensible to the average citizen. Many of these papers demonstrated mastery of that skill.
Seven years ago she had been selected to be one of a handful of university scientists to go on the Maepetus 5 mission, the largest mission thus far of its kind. After a little more than a year in transit she, her fellow academics, and a sampling of students had set out to explore the gas giant close-up and in real time. It had been a fascinating time for all of them, even those students who had complained of boredom, and yet events on the expedition had turned completely enthralling when two of her students had located a highly polished object on the fourth moon of Maepetus. Although she had not felt truly qualified (she held two RD’s and had been selected for her specialty in using remote sensing techniques in archeology, but in truth both archeology and her other degree, sayropology, were considered arts rather than sciences, after all) she and a fellow professor had gone down to the surface with four students and there they had found Albedo One. The Hard One.
Maybe that was it, she thought. Almost all of the papers here mentioned Albedo One in one way or another despite the fact that her nominal class topic was Sayrin archeology. She felt saddened to see that at least two students had fallen into the trap of analyzing images from cultures long dead, even cave scribblings, looking for evidence of Albedo One’s species. A few of the analyses had given her pause and made plausible reaches in that direction. But the papers fell into abject speculation without evidence and without doing much to convince her.
She turned off the desklamp and rose, walking out into the hallway, locking the door behind her. She hadn’t placed any marks on the papers and the grades were in the computers, but still some enterprising young student might want to make copies of them all to sell to next year’s guanodroppers.
She glanced at her watch and suddenly realized that the sun had set hours ago. Normally, she would be deep in sleep by now this late at night but she had no classes to teach tomorrow, indeed nothing to do but research for the next two months. She sometimes joked that she had turned the ancient, deep-rooted instinct for migration by which the still-winged species survived into a desire to migrate back in time and see things as they had been. With the fall of snow the students would return, the distraction ended and the desire to learn all the stronger for it.
But now the university campus was completely desolate and at this late hour she would be lucky to find another living soul anywhere. Except maybe the security guards. Even of that she was in great doubt.
An impulse took her and she decided to follow it. She made her way downstairs to the underground walkway complex that linked the ring of buildings in this corner of the university campus. After reaching the main building in the complex she ascended to the ground floor, then walked over to the archeology department’s modest museum. She swiped her identity card, examined the readout on its surface, and typed in a seven-digit ID code. The door unlocked.
“Hello, old friend,” she said. She felt immense personal satisfaction that the statue had ended up here at the University, but she also felt a sadness that the initial reaction to the statue had been so negative, that no major museum had wanted to make it part of their permanent collection.
Still, only two hours away from the world capitol they had plenty of guests visiting for a look. Several television crews had come by this year and some had even managed to show full pictures of Albedo One without pixellating out the source of his popular nickname.
The lights were off. She flicked a switch and turned on an overhead spotlight to illuminate the center of the room. He still lay there, arms crossed behind his head, still smiling. A ‘rock’ of painted foam had been fashioned to replace the stone that had been his pillow on Maepetus V’s largest moon. His legs were still crossed at the ankles and his penis was still a magnificent erection pointing towards the ceiling. He looked immensely pleased with himself, as if the knowledge that he had created so much confusion with his erection was a source of satisfaction all its own.
She walked up to the red rope barrier that surrounded the low platform on which he was displayed, lifting a hook off one of the posts and stepping into the display area. She reached out and touched him. He felt cool to the touch, as metal would. As far as anyone was able to tell, he was just that, just a stainless steel statue.
A magnificent work of art in its own right, too. Art critics had raved at the attention to detail, the marvelous proportions in which the statue fit, even the technical skill of the sculptor. A seam found between the two legs where they crossed, and between the head and the hands, revealed that each was an individual item, not actually joined as some sculptor would create from a block of marble. Arguments had raged over how the artist had accomplished that particular detail.
Memories came back of the days after his discovery, of the analysis of the organic material found on the penis, of the pictures beamed around the world of the fingerprints of the first alien ever to be encountered, if only through her artwork. She recalled the countless interviews, the debate over taking it onto the ship, the debate over cleaning it after all the analysis, the awkwardness with which her students discussed polishing the impressive knob. She couldn’t remember who had actually performed the task.
“You gave me my career back,” she said, placing a hand on his thigh as she sat down onto the marble platform. “Well, not so much back as you gave me another flap after I had started to feel tired.” She sighed. “I’m starting to feel tired again. All anyone ever talks about anymore is you. Maybe that’s all they talk about around me. It’s as if we were lovers and you were somehow the celebrity and I the dutiful wife.”
She looked along the length of the body. Here, in his own little puddle of warm lights, the rest of the room darkened to black invisibility, he looked as impressive and yet as familiar as the day she had found him. “I guess I am not the most dutiful wife in the world,” she said with a laugh. She leaned over and with a delicate touch kissed his unmoving smile. “We have never consummated this mating after all.”
She sat up, wondering what was happening to her. “Maybe I am just exhausted. Flappy.” She looked the statue in the face. “What would you think?”
No answer came. She was tired. But also, she realized, there were no cameras in this room, no security guard watching. There were no other students or faculty to interrupt her private visit. And, despite everything else, until that moment she had never actually touched The Hard One in anything but the most cursory fashion.
With a trembling hand, she reached out to grasp his penis. She closed her hand around the shaft, amazed as it seemed to fit into the palm so perfectly the two had melded together. She let her fingertips play over the gleaming metallic surface, astounded at the depth of detail she was discovering here for the first time.
Her ex-mate had once told her that “You can’t really tell anything about someone’s sex until you’ve felt it on your tongue.” He was talking about a female’s, of course, but she imagined that the same must hold true for a male’s penis. She leaned over and extended her tongue to lick the metallic surface of his shaft, sliding up over the head until she was poised to take it into her mouth. She let her head be pulled down by gravity and the cock went into her mouth.
An odd thrill rose through her body; it seemed to emanate from her chest, her back between her shoulders, and radiate outwards to her sex, her throat, her mouth. She wanted much more than to taste The Hard One.
She stood up. For a brief moment she considered the insanity of what she was going to do, then banished the thought with an angry scowl. She had had a longer relationship with him than even his creator. If she had been the dutiful mate for so long, then by all the gods there were she deserved a little attention of her own. She reached up to her shoulder and unclipped the two clasps on her blue floor-length robe, working her way down the side until it fell to the floor. She threw aside her scanties and straddled him, much as she imagined his maker had many years ago. His erection hovered between her thighs and she pressed herself against it. It’s solid mass pressed against her feathered belly. It was large, certainly larger than her ex-mate. He had been her only lover in her life and she had nothing but him to which to compare this.
But she ran her hands over it, trying to use friction to warm it up. The sensation of coldness that permeated through her feathers to her thighs and buttocks where it pressed against the metal started to fade as it reached a common temperature with her skin. She waited until she felt it was warm enough, then slowly raised herself over it.
The touch of the knobby head was a surprise; it was certainly more solid than anything else she had ever experience before. She realized that she could hurt herself on it and resolved to be more careful. It penetrated her sex and she felt her insides move to take it, parting to give it better entry. She groaned quietly as she felt her buttocks again press against the metal. The blunt tip was so far inside her that if she pressed down even a tiny bit more pain shot up from inside her belly to her throat.
She eased herself off a little and began to give herself what she had come for, the attention of her old friend. He smiled at her and she smiled back, taken over by the wild, taboo sensations that shot through her. Even if he wasn’t real, she was taking her pleasure from an alien creature– the thought itself felt indescribably delicious. Her fingers sought out her sex, stimulating what the shaft itself wasn’t reaching. She drove herself into a height of pleasure she couldn’t remember ever reaching before, but she knew when she climaxed that it was worth it more than any other experience she had ever felt.
Gasping and drained, she stood up, feeling post-coital sadness at being empty again of her friend’s penis. She glanced down at him. He still smiled, and this time the smile had more in it. She realized that the emotions came from her, not this motionless statue, but still, she couldn’t shake the feeling.
She recovered her underclothes and her outfit, dressing slowly. With the hem of her robe she cleaned off the statue as well as she could. She walked forward to his face and kissed the extended, mammalian muzzle there. “Goodnight, old friend. And thank you.” And with that, she wiped off her kiss as well, leaving him spotless. She turned off the lights and headed home.