May 29, 2010
I’ve written a short story of interplanetary/interspecies love among the stars. I hope you enjoy.
“Are there many on your planet like you?”
“Pardon?” Joe asked, blinking rapidly and adjusting his glasses. He found the atmosphere on Mars irritating. During his pre-flight physical he’d been warned that was likely to happen. It was just one of the bugs in the first Rapid Artificial Atmosphere Development system.
The Macaloran sitting directly across the table from him blinked more slowly. His large black eyes appeared to take a picture of him, one using a slow shutter speed. “Are there many—”
“You must forgive Benor,” Madam Alba said, raising her long, slender hand to silence her companion. Benor’s face went from its normal coppery-brown to a vivid red as he lowered his eyes briefly. “This is his first meeting with off-worlders.”
“I understand,” Ambassador Colby said. “It’s the same for my assistant as well.” He glanced sideways at Joe and smiled falsely. Joe got the message. Don’t fuck this up. He tried his best to settle, but Benor was watching him again, and he felt like he was falling forward into pools of liquid onyx.
Then he noticed Alba’s appraising gaze on him. “Assistant? This….” She paused, glancing back at Colby.
“Uh, Joseph. His name is Joseph.”
“This Josoph is not of your clan?”
“No.” He glanced at Joe with disdain. “He simply works for me.” Colby looked sharply back at Alba. “If I may ask, why would you think we were related?”
“We of Macal work as a clan, a family.” She indicated Benor at her left. “He is a social scholar and wishes to learn of your people, and he is my… I believe what you would call ‘grandson’.”
“Really?” Joe asked, his blue eyes widening in surprise. “You’re so… so different.” He suddenly had two pairs of large, round, black eyes on him—as well as Colby’s angry brown ones. “Sorry.” He looked down at his hands and silently vowed to never speak again.
But he was right.
By Earth standards, the two didn’t look like they could be related beyond belonging to the same race. Just as humans had the same basic anatomy, Alba and Benor were clearly Macaloran in appearance, at least judging from the photos Joe had seen during his briefings: those amazing eyes, elegant, fine-featured faces, and all of them had white hair. The females: tall, slender, lithe. And the males: a bit shorter, with athletic builds, most commonly shirtless, Joe noticed. But Alba and Benor were different colors, and not just different shades of Benor’s copper, but practically opposites.
Alba was a pale, pleasing, soft green and wore a black matte gown, her straight white hair hung loose to her shoulders. So, on some level, Joe could understand why they might assume Colby, who was African American, and Joe, who was a blond, cornfed boy from Iowa, could be blood relations.
“Please forgive him,” Colby fumbled. “He doesn’t mean to offend you.”
Alba’s hypnotic eyes landed back on Colby. “No offense taken, Mr. Ambassador. I assure you.” Alba and Benor looked at each other silently for a few moments, long enough for Colby to glance nervously at Joe, who shrugged. Alba then raised her arm, indicating the breadth of the room. “This is an impressive first effort at an off-world colony for your people, is it not? Perhaps you might show me its wonders. It would give us a chance to speak privately.” She looked at Benor and then at Joe. “Without the children.”
Joe bristled at the ‘children’ comment just as Colby got to his feet quickly.
“I’d like that very much, Madam Alba,” the ambassador said. He turned to Joe. “You can show him around the station. But,” Colby said, almost pulling Joe to his feet, “find something inoffensive to do.”
“Uh, yes… yes, sir.” Joe shoved his glasses back into place and straightened his collar before turning to face Benor. Taller than Joe by three or four inches, Benor looked down at him with those eyes. His long, ghostly white hair was pulled back in a tight braid, leaving his handsome face free of obstruction. His skin was no color he’d seen on Earth. Well, maybe in a dollop of amber, but to see that alive and breathing as skin—pulled over Benor’s rippling bare torso, his muscles moving beneath the surface—made it a whole other experience.
The alieness of him overwhelmed Joe, but he found himself smiling and pleasantly surprised to see Benor mimicking the expression.
“Shall we?” the Macaloran asked, extending his arm for Joe to lead the way.
The Mars habitat was only partially complete, with work still being done at various points along the structure and film of said, construction being sent to Earth every twenty-four hours for examination. This was part of the reason it had been chosen for first contact. It wasn’t far out enough in the galaxy to make the other inhabitants of the universe nervous. After all, if things went poorly, the “Earthers”, as they were called, could essentially and fairly simply be confined within their own galaxy. If things went well, the Macal would be given first information exchange rights and the responsibility of ushering the Earthers out into the universe, thereby minimizing any embarrassing—or fatal—encounters with other species.
Joe had been selected to accompany the ambassador because of his high scores in diplomacy testing. Unfortunately, those tests were developed and implemented on Earth, with no allowances or instruction on meeting and relating to non-terrestrial life forms or societies. In addition to that, there were many, including his current boss, who believed Joe only received this appointment because of his powerful grandfather, Silas Benjamin Tucker, incumbent senator of the great state of Iowa.
As he and Benor walked toward the promenade, Joe kept glancing up at the… man? Yes, he’s a man… a Macaloran man. Joe smiled, satisfied with himself.
“Is something amusing,” Benor asked without looking at Joe.
“Huh? Oh, no… no.” Joe tried unsuccessfully to loosen his tie. “I guess not.”
Benor paused as they reached the middle of an observation walkway. Joe stood by him at the rail, and they looked out on the red, rocky Mars landscape.
“This planet is so barren. No forests, waters, animal life.” He looked down at Joe. “Why would you wish to build here?”
Joe thought about it for a few moments and shrugged. “It’s one we could reach,” he laughed. “Just getting here and building what we have is significant for us. It’s an excellent first step.” Benor nodded, and Joe asked, “What is your planet like?”
“It is lush, green… beautiful.” He smiled down at Joe. “It is much like your planet, only the forests and wildlife are more plentiful. We Macal live in unison with our surroundings—” Benor stopped suddenly, blinking rapidly at Joe. “I apologize, Josoph,” he said quickly, his face brightening again. “I do not wish to offend.”
“You haven’t, Benor,” Joe said quickly. “It’s true. We’ve nearly squandered the beautiful world we were given. Hopefully we’ve caught it in time.”
Joe watched as Benor’s skin returned to its coppery brown. “My… grandmother spoke the truth. You are the first off-worlders I have met. I have never seen your like before.”
Joe remained silent for a few moments and then said, “You asked me… if there were many like me on my planet.” He glanced sideways at Benor and felt those large black eyes watching him. “What did you mean by that exactly?”
“I meant those who look like you, those who are like you.”
“Look like me?”
“I find you pleasing to see.” Benor reached out for Joe’s curly blond hair, but slowly withdrew his hand.
“Are like me?”
“A male who is attracted to other males.”
Joe stiffened next to Benor. “How… how can you know that?”
“Is it not true?”
“Well… uh….” Joe looked up and down the walkway. “Yes… yes it’s true, but how did you know?”
“I can smell you.”
“Your… pheromones? I could smell the chemical changes in your blood as you watched me. You did not respond so to Alba.”
Joe felt his face grow warm. “I’m s-sorry. I don’t know what to say.”
“There is no need to apologize. This is not something you can control. It is… honest.”
They looked at each other and smiled, those eyes blinking slowly at him again.
Sitting down to a meal in the cafeteria, Benor looked over the offerings Joe had selected for them to try.
“This is safe for you to eat?”
Benor nodded as he looked eagerly over the tray in front of him. “Yes. Our scientists have examined all the food offered here,” he said as he picked up a piece of melon, smiling and dropping it quickly upon feeling the cool moistness of it, “and approved it for our consumption. He glanced nervously at Joe, who picked up a fork and speared a piece of melon from his own tray. Benor watched him place the succulent square in his mouth, chew, and swallow.
Benor unwrapped his utensils and repeated Joe’s actions. He smiled after chewing the fruit for a few moments and swallowing. For the next twenty minutes they tried apple, chocolate, potato chips, yogurt, tomato, banana, and several types of cheese. Benor shunned any animal products, wasn’t particularly enamored of coconut, and his shuddering reaction to peanut butter sent Joe into a fit of giggles.
“Your reaction, Josoph, when you learned I knew of your… desires?”
Joe choked a bit on his diet soda. “Uh, yes?”
“You seemed… upset… frightened?”
Joe wasn’t sure how much to share with Benor, but he knew he didn’t want to lie. “On my planet, in my country, there are many who feel my… desires are inappropriate, wrong, even evil in the extreme.” Benor seemed surprised by this. “It’s not like that on your world?”
“No. It is the norm for us.”
“The male and female join for a time to procreate, but we are bonded, joined for life with those of the same gender.”
As much information as there was in those statements, Joe seized on only one aspect. “For life?”
“If that is what they wish.”
“Aren’t any of you drawn to the opposite gender?”
“Oh yes, it happens, but not as often. It is estimated that approximately five percent of our population is born that way.”
“How are they treated?”
“Treated? Do you mean cured, changed?”
“No, I mean among the rest of the population. How are they viewed in your society?” Benor appeared perplexed by his question, so Joe elaborated. “On my planet, people like me are not—” Joe sighed heavily. “We’ve made progress over the years, but there are still some who don’t think of us as equals or deserving of the same rights as everyone else.” It was difficult for him to say, largely because Joe still had trouble believing gay rights were still an issue in this century.
“I understand. There are some like this on Macal as well, but theirs is a small voice. They have no power. Most believe our creator made all things and is never wrong. Those of us born to desire the opposite gender are right in who and what they are.”
“God doesn’t make mistakes.” Joe smiled warmly at Benor and felt a quiver in his gut when it was returned.
“What in hell did you two talk about?” Colby demanded.
Joe flinched. “Uh, sir… I’m not sure what you mean.”
“When the four of us met up again, they went all silent with each other, and then Madam Alba seemed chillier toward me. You must have said something inappropriate.”
“Sir, I swear. We only talked about….”
Joe went over it all in his mind. “We talked about us building on Mars, about—we had lunch. Benor was eager to try some of our food.” Joe smiled. “He hates peanut butter and coconut.”
“I couldn’t care less.”
Joe flushed. “Um… we talked about his planet, how beautiful it is, and I learned a bit about his society and its structure.”
Colby didn’t seem satisfied. “I didn’t want you on this assignment,” he said, glancing sideways at Joe. “But you probably know that.”
“I do now, sir,” Joe said quietly.
“We’ll have another chance tomorrow.” Colby got up and went to mix himself a drink. “You were appointed to me because of your grandfather’s pull and nothing more.” He dropped two ice cubes in a short glass and poured a healthy amount of bourbon over them. “I swear… something this important—when I think about the things we could learn from these creatures….”
You’ve got that right!
“They could accelerate our space exploration by decades, maybe more.” Colby downed his drink in two gulps. “And they send you, some green—”
Joe stood abruptly. “Sir, do I really need to be here for this conversation?”
Colby sighed. “Actually, junior, I’d rather you weren’t.” He gestured toward the door, and Joe made a hasty retreat.
When he entered his assigned quarters, Joe threw his recording pad against the wall. “Son of a bitch!” he shouted as it landed with a metallic clang that reverberated around the room. “That arrogant, ignorant, fucking—!”
Stripping quickly, he stormed into his bathroom and had a vigorous, rapid shower, the warm vibrations ultrasonically cleansing him from head to toe and beating the tension out of his body and the anger from his mind, at least for the moment. As soon as he stepped from the shower, a light, pleasant tone sounded, indicating a call on his intercom. He crossed to his desk and activated it. “Yes?!”
“Uh—” Colby cleared his throat. “I think maybe you should keep a low profile during tomorrow’s talks.” His words sounded a bit slurred. “Probably best if you just stay away from our guests for the duration of our stay.”
“But, sir, I’d like—”
The line closed abruptly, and Joe dropped onto his bed, defeated. He wanted to see Benor again. He wanted to talk more about their worlds. Joe stared at his nondescript ceiling. He wanted to get to know him better. Maybe unbraid that hair and run my fingers through it, kiss him just under his jaw line, feel his pulse—assuming he has one there. “Are there many on your planet like you?” Joe smiled.
He’d grown up on a farm in Iowa—a fully automated farm. It wasn’t like the old days of the early 21st Century, but there was still a lot of work to do. He closed his eyes and remembered lying in a field of high grass and staring up at that amazing blue sky. He remembered Jimmy Linda suddenly appearing and blotting out the sun, dropping down next to him, and eventually putting his hands on him. Joe’s hand slid toward his crotch. God bless that tall grass.
Another pleasant tone sounded, and Joe groaned. “I don’t have anything else to say to you, you jackass!” The tone sounded again, and Joe sat up and looked at the intercom. The tone came again, and he realized it was his door. He hopped up, grabbed his glasses and slid on a robe before pressing the button that opened the door to his quarters. When it hissed away into the wall, it revealed Benor standing there, looking a bit uncertain. “Yes?”
“May I enter?”
“Uh, yeah, of course.” Joe stepped back and allowed the Macaloran to sweep into the room. He seemed agitated. “Is everything all right?”
Benor turned to face him, and Joe took a step back. “I had to see you. I can feel your….”
“Our scientists did not think this was possible with another species, and you’re not completely clear, but I can hear, feel what you are wanting… wanting with… me.”
“With you it is empathic, but with those of my own kind… yes, we can communicate our thoughts to one another.” Benor stepped closer to Joe, invading his personal space, and Joe felt his face flush and heat infuse his body. “But at this time, I only wish to address your desire for me.”
Joe looked up into Benor’s large, black eyes and felt himself leaning forward. Benor reached for him, but the movement snapped Joe out of his trance, and he stepped quickly back from the Macaloran.
“No. I… we can’t. I’m in enough trouble as it is.”
“I do not understand,” Benor said, stepping closer again.
Joe stepped away to maintain the same amount of distance. “My boss… Colby believes I shouldn’t be here, that I’m not qualified to participate in this mission, and he blames me for the change in Alba’s attitude after you and she met up again.” Joe paused and looked hard at Benor. “What did you two ‘say’ to each other, anyway?”
Benor blinked at him, and then he said, “I communicated some of our discussion, some of the aspects of your society that your transmitted data did not reveal to us.” Benor seemed to gasp in sudden understanding, his eyes closing tightly for a few moments. “I sensed she was dismayed by how some in your society view those like you—but, Josoph,” Benor said, stepping quickly toward him again, “I reminded her that we have a similar situation on Macal.”
“So she won’t end our contact because of it?”
“Oh no. I am certain of that.”
Joe visibly relaxed and smiled hesitantly at Benor. The Macaloran watched him closely, expectantly, waiting.
“May I… may I approach you, Josoph?”
Joe looked Benor over from head to toe. So strange, so beautiful. Except for the ample amount of white hair on his head, the rest of his perfect, dark amber body appeared hairless. He couldn’t stop his eyes from traveling down Benor’s bare torso to his pants, and he couldn’t stop himself from wondering what lay beyond the waistband.
When Joe glanced back up at the Macaloran, he saw Benor smiling broadly, more brightly than he had yet seen, and suddenly Benor swept him into his arms and kissed him. Joe didn’t know how he’d closed the space between them so quickly, but—he found he really didn’t care.
His thoughts spun away from him as the sensation of Benor’s lips on his, opening to his mouth, made Joe lightheaded. The powerful arms around him had him pressed so tightly against Benor’s chest, he could feel his strange, rapid 1-2-3 heartbeat against his own. The sudden embrace had knocked Joe’s glasses askew, so when Benor broke the kiss, he couldn’t immediately or clearly see the Macaloran’s expression. But he didn’t mistake the low growl that escaped Benor. Joe straightened his glasses and started at seeing the change in Benor’s beautiful black eyes. They seemed filled with starlight as they raked over Joe’s features.
Benor backed Joe up against the bulkhead of his quarters, knocking a book and vase off a small glass table as they went. A large picture window at the head of the bed revealed the red, dry, lifeless landscape beyond. There was no one to see them, no one outside to witness possibly the biggest mistake of his professional career.
“You, Josoph, are most fine,” Benor whispered in Joe’s ear as his hands rubbed between Joe’s legs and caressed the tight blond curls on his head. “I only hope you find me pleasing.”
“Guh!” was all Joe could manage, and Benor paused, pulling back to examine his expression.
“Should I stop, Josoph?”
“No!” He took Benor’s mouth hungrily, and they kissed and nipped at each other as they spun themselves in a strange waltz toward the bed, Joe nearly tripping over his discarded clothes in the floor, but Benor caught him. And they smiled at one another.
Both breathing heavily as they sat on the bed, they allowed their hands to slow.
Joe reached for Benor’s braid, but he stopped himself. “May I?”
Benor nodded, and Joe leaned close to his face, reaching around to begin taking the long white braid loose. He smiled at Benor as the hair spilled through his fingers like silk to lay about the Macaloran’s shoulders. Joe rested a palm gently against Benor’s face and gazed at him as Benor began to caress Joe’s hair again, smiling crookedly and cocking his head sideways in amazement.
“This is most strange to the touch,” he said before his eyes lowered to where Joe’s robe could open.
His gaze flickered back up to Joe’s face for permission, and soon Benor’s slender, long fingers came to rest against Joe’s crotch, pulling back from the heat and hardness at first but then coming back and squeezing gently, the light cotton the only thing separating them. Joe moaned, and Benor silently but quickly opened Joe’s robe. He slid his hands over Joe’s pale, bare skin, up over his shoulders, skimming the robe completely off of him.
Joe shivered a bit as he lay across and near the foot of his bed to allow Benor to look him over. He shut his eyes, fearful that Benor might not like what he sees, and then change his mind. What if I am too strange to him? He was more slender than the Macaloran, fit but not particularly muscular. He had a healthy covering of blond hair on his chest and a treasure trail leading down to a thick nest of dark blond pubic hair, which his painfully hard cock sprang out of.
“There is no need for you to fear rejection, Josoph,” Benor said softly. “Look at me.”
Joe opened his eyes and saw Benor smiling down at him. The Macaloran reached down and undid the snaps at the waistband of his pants, shedding them is one fluid motion. When he rose back up, Joe was treated to a full view of Benor’s beauty, and the Macaloran smiled, obviously aware, on some level, of Joe’s feelings.
“I please you.”
“Oh yes,” Joe whispered, unconsciously licking his bottom lip. Benor was a bit larger than Joe, in length and girth, and his cock—not a totally unfamiliar shape—was surrounded in a patch of straight, white pubic hair, just as silky as that on his head. That will do nicely.
Benor slowly joined Joe on the bed, hovering over him, seemingly uncertain where to begin. “You must guide me in how to please you, Josoph.”
Joe had never been very good at giving directions in intimate situations. “What w-would you like t-to do?”
Benor looked him over. “I wish to taste you,” he said, his voice heavy with lust. Joe nodded, and Benor took him gently in hand, carefully licking the head of his cock and smiling at Joe’s reaction. Joe felt his head growing heavy and found it difficult to keep watching Benor. The last thing he saw before allowing his head to drop and remain on the bed was Benor’s shockingly long, bluish tongue wrapping around his cock and tugging Joe into his mouth.
Benor gripped Joe’s hips tightly, holding him firmly to the mattress as he buried his face in Joe’s coarse blond curls. Joe could feel Benor sucking him, while the Macaloran’s tongue worked him from within his mouth. It wasn’t long before Benor, who didn’t appear to have a gag reflex, brought Joe to a screaming orgasm.
Joe came so violently, bucking off the bed, despite Benor’s efforts to hold him down, that he must have blacked out for a moment. The next thing he knew, he felt the most amazing sensation of being penetrated, his prostate being stimulated by something feather-light and quick, which simply could not be Benor’s penis. With difficulty Joe lifted his head and saw Benor’s face pressed to his ass, and he came again, immediately.
As he lay there recovering and soaked with sweat, Joe thought about just how far he’d come…. He laughed. Traveled.
Joseph Evander Tucker—only son of Alma and George Tucker, of Badger, Iowa, population 578—was currently lying on his back in Earth’s first Mars colony trying to regain some composure after being spectacularly pleasured by a handsome alien from another galaxy.
He threw his arm over his eyes and shivered as a burst of air from the filtration system passed over his sweaty body.
“Are you all right, Josoph?” Benor asked quietly. “I did not hurt you?”
Joe shook his head and finally removed his arm from his eyes. He smiled at Benor. “You did not hurt me. That was wonderful, glorious, fantastic.” Benor grinned. Perhaps he didn’t know what each of those words meant, but Joe was certain he could sense from him their meaning.
“Then if you have caught your breath, I would like to enter you now.”
“Oh yes. By all means. Please do,” Joe laughed, holding out his arms to Benor, who carefully placed himself between Joe’s legs.
“Relax yourself, Josoph,” Benor suggested as he nearly bent Joe in half. He was still slick from Benor’s oral attentions, and the Macaloran slid in beautifully. Joe felt filled and stretched and happy as he gazed up into Benor face. His lovely black eyes were closed, and his lips were slightly parted, a small grin turning up one corner of his mouth. “You… feel like Cocaloi,” Benor whispered. But sensing Joe’s confusion, Benor’s eyes opened, and he smiled down at him, whispering, “Your… Haven?”
Joe smiled up at him, then allowed his eyes to fall shut as Benor began to rock into him, gently at first, then faster and harder. Benor began to grunt and growl with effort, then he quickly shifted, allowing Joe’s legs to wrap around his waist instead. He fell onto his forearms, resting them on either side of Joe, virtually embracing him in a most intimate connection. He drove into Joe again and again.
And when he finally came, spilling his heat into Joe, his glorious white mane seemed to fan out around his head like one of those glowing halos from the paintings in Grandma Tucker’s old family Bible back home. Benor collapsed onto Joe’s chest, and Joe caressed him, stroking his head sleepily.
Movement to his right caught his eye, but having misplaced his glasses long ago, Joe had to squint to see five figures in bright blue spacesuits standing outside his window. The opaque, non-reflective gray shielding on their visors prevented him from seeing their faces, but they were definitely applauding and giving him the thumbs up in a strange silent display of enthusiastic praise. Some had tools—blow torches and patching gear—and at least one had a digital video camera, but Joe was beyond caring.
“Shades,” he commanded, and the windows began to automatically cover in a slow horizontal crawl from the far right. He imagined he heard a collective groan from their audience, and the video—woman, judging from her profile in the form-fitting suit—did her very best to keep ahead of the closing shades, eventually tripping and falling right before the group was obliterated from sight.
“Yes?” His face was still buried against Joe’s neck.
“Come to bed.”
Joe guided the Macaloran into a proper, lengthwise position on the bed, and then he covered them with the blanket before they fell asleep in each other’s arms.
Joe dragged himself into the cafeteria. Several heads turned toward him, and if he hadn’t been so exhausted and miserable, he might have noticed the hushed conversations springing up around him—that and the pointing.
“Have a seat, young Mr. Tucker,” Colby said, apparently full of vim, vigor, and himself.
“Uh, thank you, sir.” Joe looked around. “Isn’t Madam Alba meeting with you today?”
“We’re meeting them for their return trip to Macal in an hour.” Joe couldn’t hide the frown that crossed his face. “What’s the matter? The Macalorans have given us the green light on the information exchange and will help us make our way further out into space. Madam Alba said our two species are clearly compatible. The mission could not have been more of a success!”
I wouldn’t call waking up alone “a success”. Joe began to pick over his breakfast. When he’d found Benor gone this morning, he hadn’t known what to think, and before he could ring his quarters, Colby had chimed in and ordered him to breakfast. At least I’ll get to say goodbye at the launch. Joe shoved his tray away from him. He wasn’t hungry.
“What’s the matter with you? Didn’t you hear what I said?” Joe nodded weakly. “Well eat up. You’ll only get the rehydrated meals during your flight back to Earth, and it’s a long trip.”
“Yes, sir. I haven’t forgotten our trip here.”
Colby frowned and passed the rest of the meal in silence.
“May we speak?” Benor asked, taking hold of Joe’s arm and ushering him off to the side and away from the pre-launch festivities.
“What do we have to say to one another?”
“I wish to apologize for leaving so abruptly this morning, but I simply had to speak to my grandmother.”
“I get it, Benor,” Joe said angrily, jerking his arm free of Benor’s grasp. A couple of heads turned toward them. “I was something new to try! I did the same thing on Spring Break one year. It didn’t mean anything. I was just—”
Joe was brought up short by the intensity of Benor’s denial. He looked into the Macaloran’s eyes, and his mouth went dry. Joe was done talking and ready to listen.
“I had to tell her how I felt for you. Tell her of what you mean to me,” Benor said gently. “You are one I wish to take home.” He reached out, touched Joe’s face, then stroked his hair. This did not escape Madam Alba or Ambassador Colby’s attention.
The ambassador excused himself from the press and rushed over. “What is going on here, Tucker?”
Joe ignored him, his eyes riveted to Benor’s. “Say that again.”
“I wish to take you home… with me. Would this be your wish?”
Joe couldn’t believe it. He searched Benor’s eyes. “Is this for life?”
“This is for as long as you wish it. Our two worlds will be working closely together for some time to come.” Benor’s smile faltered. “But if there is someone already you—”
Benor’s smile gained strength again, the delight and relief evident in his face.
“Now see here, Tucker, you can’t—”
“Benor, will I be able to communicate with home?”
“Yes. As I said, our worlds will be working together for some time.”
Joe turned to Colby. “Ambassador, I’m going home with Benor. Please tell my mother I’ll contact her the first chance I get.” Joe turned back to Benor and kissed him. “Help me pack?”
The two men rushed off toward Joe’s quarters to the sound of a sputtering ambassador and applause from a variety of witnesses—including a tall, green, proud, and happy Macaloran grandmother.
Joseph Tucker was going farther than he’d ever dreamed.