I’m in the sun waiting for the train for about 15 minutes before the 5.0 show up. I see them from the top of the stairs. They aren’t wearing a uniform I recognize, but their body language says “cop” in every dialect. I make a quick calculus and decide that a night in the cells might make me conspicuous to the authorities, and decide to be somewhere else.
The area is a nice and egalitarian, there are stairs and platforms and walkways everywhere. Lots of places for the only human in a hundred miles to stay out of view.
Now I’m in trouble. All the street signs are in Enoctic. While my glasses can translate, they can’t help me pronounce. Not that it would help, they use some kind of alpha-numeric system and I don’t know my letters here.
I end up in a McDonald’s, stealing the Wi-Fi. (I’m not interested in the local perspective on the meaning of a hamburger. My exploritory spirit has its limits.) I get a cab app, and order something upscale. I wasn’t planning on arriving where they could see me, but if I have to I might as well do it in style.
A limo pulls up at the block in five minutes, and the chauffeur does a double take with his eyes, and pitches a tent immediately. It’s hard to pretend I don’t notice. He’s dressed like chauffeurs dress, hat and coat and slacks. But he’s not wearing a shirt, and has a broad tie that barely reaches his stomach. It has a fish on it. Like, an Earth fish. No idea why.
He wants to show off his English, so he keeps the divider down and yammers away about all the TV shows he watches. All of his favorite shows have been off the air for a long time. Nearly a century in one case. I smile and nod and fake it from what I heard Nanny’s friends say about those shows.
I can’t find the divider button and I’m really trying.
He asks if I want to hear their local English music. I’m more terrified than intrigued, but I figure putting up with his shit justifies a small tip. He got to talk to a human. He’ll be getting free drinks for weeks.
When he switches the music on, it’s an unholy hell. Mostly it’s metal, but there’s an EDM beat, and a saxophone. When the rap solo comes up, he starts singing along, but he doesn’t have any rhythm, and his vocabulary isn’t large enough.
When the drive finally ends, he asks for $150. Playing dumb, I pull out a dollar roll, and hand him a 50 dollar bill first. He nods and tucks it away. He doesn’t know his English numbers and this is the wrong situation for a lesson.
He gets out to open my door. Servos can open my door, but he wants to see my legs get out of this car. I can see the patio of the cafe where I’m making contact, and make the decision to give him a little show. Turn from the hips. Stretch my legs out. Reach out for his hand.
The group on the patio is a little spell bound, and I eat that up.
Then limo driver takes his time to go away, watching my ass swing into the coffee shop.
I wait, politely in line (while people stare) and order a latte by pointing. The amale behind the counter drops the cup a couple of times, flustered. I gesture outside, get a quizzical look and walk away. He expects me to wait at the counter, like the group of patrons that are waiting at the counter, but I’m claiming cultural ignorance/privilege. I’m a pretty human girl, serve me my coffee.
I sit at a tiny table on one of those wire chairs, and look gorgeous and aloof. The barista comes over in a few minutes with my coffee. He’s given me a cookie on a plate as well. I won’t eat it until I can ask someone what’s in it. You would not believe some of the stuff aliens sweeten their food with. Animal semen isn’t even the most disgusting thing.
The amale isn’t sure what human ettiquette is here and settles for a palms up bow. I give him a charming smile like he did that right. He flushes and scurries back to the counter, where other (non-human) patrons will not be getting the same level of service.
Oh! I forgot to pay, like a silly human tourist. My goodness, what must they think of me!
In the shade of the building the temperature is merely oppressive. The dense atmosphere doesn’t really dissipate any of the sun’s heat. I’m glad he understood that I wanted hot coffee. It makes your body cool itself faster. Fact.
On the other end of the patio is a group of delinquent teens. Each is waiting for one of the others to muster up the courage to come and flirt with me. They’re obnoxious. And adorable.
The interpreter can’t lock on any one of them while the others are talking, but I get snippets:
< … must be a super model… >
< … she’s probably here for a movie… >
< … look at that hair… >
< Talk to her. >
< No, you talk to her! >
Then the interpreter picks up an older married couple behind me, and their conversation gives me a dark little smile.
< Look at her, wearing clothes, it’s disgusting. >
< She’s probably some rich couple’s plaything. >
< You know they eat children, right? >
Intergalactic problem, folks. Human brains are programmed to recognize distinguishing human features. Throw an alien at them, and they drop the ball. Sure you can tell fat faces from thin ones, and big noses from small. But put two fat nosed guys next to each other and you’ll have a hell of a time trying to remember which one is Gary. With a lot of practice you can start telling the aliens you hang around with apart. Until then, you mostly go on hair style or eye color. Failing that, you hope someone around you says their name.
I’m the only human here, so Tinoct isn’t going to have that problem.
So I sit and watch everyone coming into the cafe from the sidewalk, and wonder and sip my coffee.
Then a bmale comes up and offers me a cigarette and I’ve made contact.
It’s a disgusting Marlbro red 100, and I consider just turning it down. That probably would be bad manners, so I take it and shudder as I put it in my mouth. Tinoct is tall, muscular, trim, and has a perky pair of B-cup breasts in some kind of bikini top. They do not turn me on at all. He’s wearing something that I might call a sarong, except I wouldn’t. On his head he has a New Tokyo Mecha’s baseball cap.
He has a woman with him. Naked. Collar and chain.
Tinoct is a real gentleman, and lights a ladies cigarette for her. Then he fastens the woman’s chain to her left nipple, sits across from me, and lights up.
I’ve seen pictures, but this is the first female alien penis I’ve seen up close. It’s close to human. Has a glans, and ridges like a trunk. I find it… let’s go with intriguing. My nipples choose the moment to tighten up, and I find myself touching my hair again.
Lets have a fun experiment. I’m in a thong, the daisy dukes are so high cut their parallel to me perenium. From any angle it’s hard to see I’m wearing underpants at all. I touch my hair again when I make eye contact with the woman, let her see me check her out, and then cross and uncross my legs.
One of the teenagers faints.
I watch her chub up, just a tad. She has the grace to look embarrassed, but we don’t break eye contact.
Tinoct coughs discreetly. Just like a man to get jealous when he’s not the center of attention. Surprisingly that thought doesn’t surprise me.
There’s a moment while neither of us wants to identify themselves first, then he says, “Tinoct.”
“I was not expecting a woman,” His accent is heavy, but his English is pretty good.
“I wasn’t either.”
I expect this to confuse him more than it does. That’s disappointing. Instead he gives a shrug. The woman looks to him, and he gives her a gesture that she is allowed to sit. On her knees. On the ground.
Having decided to identify as her gender for awhile, this pisses me off. Tinoct manages to pick up my alien expression, “She is at great risk going out without me. And without the proper decorum we might give ourselves away. But we wanted you to meet one of the leaders of the resistance on our first contact. This is Chinta.”
I smile and nod, “11, pleased to meet you.”
She smiles and nods and says, “Thank you.” And that’s it.
Tinoct leans forward, “You know we monitor the police scanner. Right now they’re looking for a human female who shot at a man on the K-line from the port.” Tinoct make pointed eye contact with the gun on my right tit, “You wouldn’t happen to have seen anything like while you were coming here, would you.”
“I’m afraid I didn’t see any other human females on the train. I know I would have remembered. Regardless, how long does it usually take the police to get distracted from felony menacing?”
“We actually have a distraction happening in… ” He checks his watch and sighs, “Some time around now. It’s not a particular schedule that I’m aware of—”
There’s a boom from downtown. Seconds later it’s followed by two more.
“I appears the constabulary is going to be occupied with other things for a little bit. Resouces will be spent elsewhere than on finding some harmless little assaulteress. Who is certainly not you. In the meantime lets find somewhere else to stay before we arrange the drop. We’ll have to wait for them to start taking bribes at the ports again.”
Right. One act of terrorism, and security workers remember they’re supposed to be doing their jobs.
We walk down the street, away from the explosions. Tinoct is carrying Chinta’s chain. He does it in a way that makes him look domineering, but he’s slowed his pace so that she has a lot of slack. I decide that Tinoct might be one of those good guys you hear about on the TV. I’ve never met one before.
I’m walking next to him at a stroll, and the balls of my feet are starting to hurt again. I try to stop the whole hip thing, and find that the boots are kind of making it happen. Stupid incredibly cool boots that I love.
“I’m used to more discreet operations. Ones that don’t have terrorist attacks during the first meeting. It kinda draws attention, in a way I’m not great with.”
“I’m afraid there was nothing I could do to prevent it. The cells don’t communicate much with each other. I knew that something was happening, and the general location and time, so my people could avoid it.”
“That seems stupid risky.”
“We’re no amatures to civil unrest here, 11. Our history has had war, occupation, and insurrection. We’ve learned from the past. We have three cells, Sabotage, Assassination, and you just met Terrorism. The government can crack down on terrorism, but then they lose resources to stop assassination and sabotage. The difference in structure means that any time they focus on one, they have to unlearn everything they know about the other. Chinta leads Sabotage, and has one contact in the second level of the other two cells. We all have our own propaganda and vandalism to keep things good. The women have done all the organizing or what would be the point?”
Chinta pipes up, voice low, “We have to do this on our own 11.”
Tinoct stops on a corner and lights up another cig. “Battery and rape are a deeply ingrained part of our culture. There’s very little you can’t do to a woman on the street, and almost nothing you can’t do to her in your home. Imagine how inventive the police are with torture.”
Chinta fingers her chain while we start off again, “Every time woman goes out without man she’s putting her life at risk. And every life at risk means whole cell is at risk. What one doesn’t know, one can’t reveal.”
We head up a flight of stairs, and I see a downscale, chain hotel, on the street ahead. This is the part of the city, that’s in the good part of the city, but is also the bad part of the city.
At the entrance to the hotel, Chinta holds the door open for us. The desk worker gives us a dirty leer, masked with a veneer of disinterested professionalism. He is going to tell every co-worker about the sexual deviants on the third floor now. So much for discretion.
< Tinoct, > he says, < Hello Chinta. Persevere. >
< Persevere, > she answers.
Ah. Much for discretion.
< We’re moving some people through the city, so you don’t get a room with three beds. >
Great. I don’t mind refugees on principle, but most of the time they are thoughts are occupied with the way they’ve lost their homes and everything they once thought was important. It’s kind of a downer.
< As long as your bribes are good, we can be safe for awhile. >
We get keys, and directions to the room. Once the door is closed, Chinta closes on me fast and sticks her tongue in my throat.
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