Alien Captain’s Love Affair by Alyx X.

 

1

Sadie

Planet Dormax.Or, as the locals called it, Doormaehxs. Inhabitants? Large, tough, laborers and warriors. Atmosphere? Breathable, with weaker gravity and thinner air. Animal life? Mostly harmless, with a few reigning predators. Civilization? Still supporting a hereditary feudal system of monarchs, for whatever reason. Similar to the human dark ages, but mixed in with a strange assortment of alien and human tech.

The inhabitants, the Dormaȉ, had been progressing at a normal pace for their species when TerraLink representatives had approached them and provided them with technology they likely wouldn’t have invented for many more revolutions of their planet.

I went over the planet’s specs again and again in my head. I was here for one thing and one thing only: to complete my assignment for TerraLink. Well, to complete my assignment for whoever had commissioned TerraLink for my services.

Pretty shitty for me, the one doing all the work, but knowing what I did about how TerraLink treated most of its human product, I was one of the lucky ones. If you could call dedicating my entire twenty-five years to training to kill people ‘lucky’. Give or take a few years depending on how space had fucked with my aging.

Regardless, I was here to do a job. Gazing down at the medium-sized yellow rock, I steeled myself for yet another murder completed under the TerraLink name. From what I knew, this planet was currently at war with itself, the people fighting over some type of resource. My job was to meet with the daughter of the captain of one army, and I thought I knew what she was going to ask me to do.

Killing the captain of the opposing army seemed like the most probable request, and I was perfect for the job. As TerraLink’s most prized and sought after assassin, I was never short on work. As such, I had already grown bored of the petty fights and disputes that made aliens across the galaxy pay to have me do their dirty work. Ever since I was old enough to fight, around the age of twelve, I’d been killing humans and aliens alike. I’d seen more planets, met more aliens, and had more experiences than anyone I’d ever met.

I fucking loved it.

The thing about being an assassin for the galaxy’s most notorious bad guy? You tended to get a little more freedom—a little more money—than the rest of the cattle. If that meant ending some guy’s wife for cheating on him, or cutting the head off of an old ruler so his son could take his place, then that was fine by me.

I leaned forward in my worn chair, pushing the necessary buttons and landing patterns that would take me down to their planet and get this show on the road. My ship whirred to life, humming around me and quickly descending on the yellow ball.

Within an hour I was entering the atmosphere, and the typical shaking and general ship-breaking noises that always accompanied this part sounded all around me. I smiled, closing my eyes and relaxing into my captain’s chair. Not that I had a crew, or even another soul aboard my personalized ship, but I liked to think of myself as the captain regardless. I was so accustomed to re-entry that I sometimes even slept through this part.

“Cleared for landing, Captain.”

“Thanks, Captain.”

“You’re welcome, Captain.”

I chuckled at my own joke. I’d long ago gotten used to being alone, and it didn’t bother me anymore. I had my ship, my work, and myself to keep me company. Plus the occasional alien fling…

As the ship finally broke through Dormax’s thin layer of silvery clouds, I poked the button to enter stealth mode. I might’ve known the specs for the planet, but there was no substitute for checking things out yourself.

My ship cloaked itself, making a noise like a frowxaria, from planet Trik. I smiled at the memory of meeting one of those fuckers. I was a trained assassin, yet that beast had made me look like a child. I’d have to go back there someday.

The planet below opened up for me. This was always my favorite part. A new planet. A new job. Gathering intel. No matter how many times you went to a new planet, it never lost its appeal. They were all so different, and I loved learning about them.

Dormax wasn’t exactly a beautiful place. The sky here, now that I was below it, was a pale yellow, the clouds silver and glittering. The ground was a strange mixture of soft blue dirt, crystalline mountains and trees, and dark lava rock disrupting the smooth surface. I’d seen enough planets to know that Dormax would not be on my list of favorites.

“Hydronia. Now, that was a beautiful place.” I whispered to myself, even though no one could hear me. Hydronia had been so stunning that I hadn’t wanted to leave. But I always had to leave. Off to do TerraLink’s bidding.

Another planet that seemed too perfect to be real was Haltrean. I’d been assigned to kill some woman’s errant ex on another planet, and in the process had heard about Haltrean and made my way straight there. I’d managed to spend more time there than I was supposed to by lying to my boss at TerraLink that I was struggling to complete the original job.

In reality I’d finished that job my first day, and had spent the following two weeks lounging and getting to know a couple who had started a colony on the planet that people called the safe haven. I sighed, imagining a life spent with a partner, living in peace, out of the reach of TerraLink.

It sounded fucking boring.

After another hour or so spent spying on the planet and its inhabitants, I punched in the coordinates for my meeting place. I was early, but I was always early. This was when I made sure the meeting spot wasn’t a trap, and ensured my ship was well-hidden.

My ship made an abrupt turn to follow my instructions, sending me sliding in my chair, but then straightened out and headed in the right direction. I was soon flying over rows and rows of what looked like war tents, speckled with men and women doing chores, training, and generally going about their lives. It looked like they’d been there for months.

On the other side of a great chasm in the ground that split the two camps sat a second army, which was my destination. This one looked identical to the other, and I again had to laugh at the petty reasons aliens got into wars for. These people didn’t look so different from each other from way up here, and what could possibly be worth this much death and destruction?

I usually skipped over that part of the briefing. It wasn’t relevant to my job, and I was not interested in getting involved in wars.

My ship came lower and lower until I could see the faces of the people in the camps. Luckily my ship was dead-silent when it was in stealth mode, and no one noticed the ship-shaped blur that moved across their sky.

They looked like humans, as many aliens did. There was something about the elements in our particular galaxy that tended to evolve human-sized, two legged creatures with above average intelligence. The Dormaȉ had dark, nearly blue skin, long, textured black hair, and large builds.

I scoffed as I looked at them. What was the deal with all aliens being giants? I myself was nearly six feet tall, but almost every alien I’d encountered was over seven feet tall. Humans truly got the short end of that stick.

Finally I reached the back of the army, where I knew the warlords and captains camped. Where it was safest. I turned off the autopilot and steered my ship into a gathering of what looked like trees but could have been rock for all I knew, keeping it in stealth mode and setting her down whisper-soft.

Wasting no time, I readied myself to depart. TerraLink might’ve been rich, controlling, soulless monsters, but they sure gave their prized possessions the best gear. I had multiple battle suits, all fitted to my measurements and absolutely covered with visible and invisible compartments for storing weapons and various poisons.

The one I put on now was a skintight hunting suit, made for tracking and hiding in extreme weather conditions. I shoved a few knives into secret sheaths, then slapped a less scary one onto my belt, where it could obviously be seen. No sense in showing the client exactly how deadly I was, and no sense in revealing all of my secrets just yet.

Then, suited and ready to go, I left my ship cloaked and headed to the tent I knew to be hers. Sorcha’s. She was the third daughter of the captain of this army, and it sounded like she had a plan to prove her worth to him by having the opponent killed. Her tent was smaller than the largest, likely belonging to her father, and it seemed less trafficked than the big one.

I snuck through the brush, trying not to get distracted by the diverse plant and animal life here. Maybe if I finished this job quickly I could spend a little time here checking everything out. But for now I was focused on my job, and from the looks of the tent, I was cleared to enter.

So I did just that.

Making sure the translator behind my ear was working, I swept into the tent via the hidden flap on the back panel, making the three women and five men inside jump and scream in unison.

“What in the uurdcursh is this!” shouted the man nearest me, stumbling back into a fighting stance. He looked to a female alien in the middle of the tent, waiting for her instruction. I wasn’t sure what the word was that he’d used, because my translator hadn’t bothered to tell me. Apparently this planet’s language was still new enough to be missing some words, which was going to be annoying.

“Stop! Do not harm her.” The woman barked, assessing my smiling face. Then, “I believe this is Sadie, the one TerraLink sent to kill Xasin.” Ah, there she is. I laughed at the man in the defensive position, confidently walking through the other aliens grouped inside the tent until I was in front of Sorcha. They eyed me warily but let me pass.

“Hey there.” I chirped. I was nothing if not comfortable in every situation. I popped out a hip and continued, “Let’s talk about our target.” I gave her a winning smile, enjoying the fear I could feel coming off of her companions. Sorcha waved her hand and barked a command in her language that I also didn’t understand. The remaining aliens all left the tent immediately, leaving me and the young female alone.

She was lounging on a fur-covered couch, and nodded her head toward another, indicating I should sit. “Thanks,” I said, then turned and plopped onto the couch. It was surprisingly comfortable, and I leaned forward to pluck a fruit from a vine in a nearby bowl.

Sorcha’s eyes widened at my ease in her presence, but didn’t comment on it. Instead, she said, “You have been told what your job is here? You understand why I have commissioned you?” The female’s eyes were an interesting shade of cream, which was a huge contrast to her dark skin, and I was briefly distracted by staring at them. Not one to appear unprofessional though, I shook it off, and gave her another charming smile. “Not quite. My boss usually allows the client to fill me in.”

Sorcha nodded, and I could tell she was gearing up for some grand speech. I didn’t know why, but the people who paid me to kill their enemies always wanted to justify their actions. As if hiring an assassin was ever anything but murder. As she opened her mouth to do so, I lifted my hand and said, “Please, spare me the details of why you want him dead. Tell me where he is, and I’ll get it done.”

Sorcha looked affronted, sitting up in her chair and fixing me with a hard stare. “You do not care why we plan to kill Xasin? You do not care that he is my husband, and a shax?”

“Babe, I’m not sure what you called him, but husband or no, my job is to kill him and get the fuck out of here.” Though the fact that she was married to my target was intriguing, I still had no interest in taking sides. I was an assassin, not a romantic.

Sorcha was trying to peer into my soul with those white eyes of hers, but besides being creepy, it was simply unnecessary. I chewed my alien fruit, enjoying the sweet flavor. After a moment of thought, she nodded again. “Very well. You will find Xasin in the opposing camp, in the castle on the hill. We shared the room made for the rulers of this land long ago, and there is a secret entrance on the north side that leads straight there.”

The female seemed thrown off by my attitude, but honestly that was all part of the fun. I nodded, taking another fruit and waving for her to continue.

“He is the captain of their army, and is selfish and ruthless. He is a powerful warrior, and because of this needs no guard. You will do well to hunt him in the night, as he will be alone and unprotected. My husband has no problem fighting women, as he obviously cares not for the fate of our great race. He cannot see that by refusing to bow to my father he is prolonging this war and creating needless deaths. The vushni would be in poor hands if he were to control it.” She added on that last part, her face twisting in her anger.

Ah, so these two had gotten married in order to unite their forces, but it hadn’t worked. Sorcha hadn’t said as much, but I knew how these things played out. They were obviously fighting for control of the vushni, whatever that was, and their marriage hadn’t changed his mind about taking it for himself.

Well, maybe the guy did deserve to die. No, Sade. Just because they’re at war doesn’t mean either side is right. Don’t get involved.

“What is the vushni?” I could allow myself this one concession. Whatever they were fighting over had to be pretty great if it was making married people hire assassins to kill each other.

Sorcha stood and crossed the room, picking up what looked like a goblet from a side table. I eyed her warily, but she came back and sat down with the goblet held in both hands. I peered inside, and was surprised to see that it looked like… water. That is, if water was purple.

“This is it?” I asked her, disbelief coloring my tone.

Sorcha nodded, looking grave. “It is life for us. There is only one location on our entire planet that produces vushni, and Xasin wants it all to himself.”

“Yes, yes. I understand that. But why is it so important to you?” I was growing impatient.

“The vushni means ‘blessed’. We use it to nourish our plants and animals, and they grow stronger, healthier, and more abundantly. Whoever controls the well of the vushni is able to feed their people through the harsh cold season. The keeper of the vushni always prospers, heals the sick, and gains more power than other communities. It is sacred and it is also life-giving.”

Sorcha was reverent as she explained this, but honestly I was trying not to laugh. Basically she was saying that they’d been at war for who knew how many cycles so the winner could have some special purple water. And then what? Have a thriving society? Had no one thought to just… get better at building a community? Or, I don’t know, share?

“Ah. Well, soon this Xasin won’t be your problem anymore, and you’ll have all the vushni you can drink.” I grinned at the woman, trying to inspire confidence around my own indifference.

Sorcha nodded gravely, “Thank you. My father has fought this war for many reishca, and our people have suffered for far too long. My husband—” Sorcha ground out the word “—and his army have been growing stronger since I left, and it is up to me to stop him. Once he is dead, we can finally control the vushni as it was meant to be controlled, by someone like my father. For this you will be paid many credits.”

I refrained from explaining to her that I wouldn’t see even half of this commission. The TerraLink bastards owned me still, and they took most of the money from my work. No matter, Sorcha didn’t need to know that I was practically a slave. To her I’d present a confident, capable assassin. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Right, then. Thanks for all that. I guess I’ll get to it.” I stood up, stretching and taking one last mystery fruit to pop into my mouth. “Nice meeting you.”

Sorcha looked up at me, shocked. “You do not wish for more information? Do you require weapons? A map of the camp and how to infiltrate the castle?” She seemed bewildered that I wasn’t asking for more, but like I said, I didn’t need it. I was a badass, and this was what I was best at.

I shook my head, then strode away.

“What about your mount?”

I froze. “Mount?”

“Yes, to carry you to his camp. You cannot expect to walk the many flaks it will take to reach him?” She was skeptical, and I had to admit she was right. It’s not like I could get away with flying my spaceship around the planet in broad daylight forever.

Trying to play it cool, I turned and said, “Yes, please, show me.”

Sorcha gestured for me to follow her, and I found myself striding through the alien camp alongside their leader’s daughter. This relatively safe position allowed me to drink in my surroundings, and boy, did I drink.

The people on this planet were fucking hot. I’d seen plenty of aliens in my life, and not all of them fun to look at. These were probably the most attractive aliens I’d yet seen, save for the Hydronians.

As we walked, I observed. Sorcha and the other women I’d spotted were all tall, lean, and well-muscled. Their straight hair was often tied up into elaborate weaves, and they walked with confidence and grace. I was about the same height as the women, but the men. Wow.

They were all huge, cut as hell, and handsome in a rugged way. Their dark skin stretched over their warrior’s muscles, and their long hair hung in braids and twists. I noticed a few of them sizing up my build, my obvious human-ness, and my neutral brown skin.

I noticed that every person had a different eye color. There were blues, blacks, yellows, purples, even silver. There were some colors I’d never seen before, and I vaguely wondered if any of these people shared the same color of eyes. It seemed they were all unique, and they were all beautiful.

The camp was exactly like a war camp should be. There were both male and female warriors, and I watched them work on sharpening weapons, cooking over fires, and practicing shooting their Pryori guns or sparring with swords.

That was the funny thing about Dormax. When TerraLink had come here to add them to their inane program, they had also brought their weapons and their ships. I could see several high-tech ships parked behind the camp, and the Dormaȉ seemed comfortable using the alien guns, but others still practiced with weapons akin to the dark ages.

“Here are the crayshuun.” Sorcha said, and I snapped my attention to her. My eyes immediately skipped over her face to what she was gesturing to.

Beasts. At least seven feet tall, various shades of gold and brown and black, covered in scales, with faces that could only be described as canine. My heart immediately warmed to them, and I rushed forward to see if I could touch one. I’d always loved animals, and the different kinds of animals on each planet were so much more interesting and worthwhile than the people. Animals never asked me to kill anyone.

Sorcha stopped my forward motion with a hand on my arm. “Do not alarm them. The crayshuun can take off your head with a single swipe.”

I looked down at the stomping feet of the beasts in the pen. Indeed, they each sported five-inch claws that could retract into their scaly paws. “Right, tell me how to approach them then. This is the beast you want me to ride to Xasin’s camp?”

“Yes. You must enter the pen, cautiously at first, and allow a beast to approach you. If they find you to be a worthy mount, they will allow you to touch them. Then you may keep the crayshuun for as long as you desire. They are companions for life.”

My heart skipped a beat. A companion for life. I tried to imagine taking one of the huge monsters aboard my one-person ship and had to contain another laugh. Still, I would enjoy it while I was on this planet at least.

“You’re going to let me have one?” I was skeptical of her hospitality.

“Yes. These beasts are abundant on Doormaehxs, and these are juveniles still. We use them for many tasks, but these have completed their training for riders. You may enter the enclosure.”

I nodded at the purple-eyed female near the gate, and she let me in. As I strode into the pen I eyed the beasts warily. Wouldn’t help anyone to get mauled before I even began the job, but I realized that I just really wanted a pet.

Immediately many of the creatures backed up, snorting and chuffing and stomping their giant paws. I smiled, striding closer to them. One toward the back, a smaller golden thing with a tail that wagged like a dog, seemed curious, and took a step forward.

I fixed my gaze on her, then allowed the rest of the creatures to part like the sea around me as I walked toward her. When I was within a few feet, the crayshuun cocked her head at me, eyes wide with distrust. I could hear a few of the Dormaȉ approach the fence to watch this, likely expecting the creature to attack me.

She did not. Instead, she took a hesitant step forward, then stretched out her neck in order to sniff my hair. I didn’t move, didn’t breath. I allowed her to sniff me until she was ready.

After a few moments, the beast let out a great sigh and I raised my hand to her scaly neck. She fixed me with her black eyes as I did so, and we shared a weird connection in that moment.

“I’ll call you Barbie.” It was a name I’d heard in stories about how the old days used to be back on Earth, and I’d always liked the sound of it. Barbie chuffed again, then pushed her head into my shoulder, making me stumble. “Hey, girl. Don’t knock me down. We’re in this together now.” I whispered.

“Now you must climb atop her back!” I heard Sorcha shout from the side of the great pen. A few alien chuckles sounded from that same direction.

I looked back to her, disbelief in my face. “How the fuck—”

Barbie had pushed into me again, cutting off my complaints. I turned back to her, then thought about a plan for maybe two seconds before I gestured to the girl to follow me. When I reached the edge of the pen, I climbed up until I thought I was high enough to jump. Barbie eyed me skeptically, but didn’t move away. The rest of the crayshuun had all moved to the other side of the pen, far away from the crazy human.

Hope this doesn’t backfire,I thought. Then, without further ado, I jumped off the fence and landed clumsily on Barbie’s back. She reacted to my sudden weight, but rather than race away or toss me off, she simply adjusted and stood still.

“Well, that was anticlimactic.” I muttered, but leaned forward to stroke my new pet’s neck. Barbie made a purring noise deep in her chest, and she leaned into my hand. Maybe I’d gotten the most docile one, but I wasn’t complaining. I didn’t have time to train an animal, I had a job to do.

After a few moments of murmuring and stroking Barbie’s scales, I lifted my head to Sorcha. “I guess I’ll be on my way now!” I leaned forward on my new mount and tried to indicate that she should move. I wasn’t sure how, but Barbie immediately understood what I wanted, and moved through the pen with me still on her back.

When we were out of the pen and before Sorcha once again, the hopeful crowd of aliens now dispersed, she said, “Do you wish for a saddle?”

Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. Looking down at the scales between my legs I grimaced at the potential damage they could do to my skin and suit. I nodded and Sorcha led us away.

Twenty minutes later Barbie was fed, watered, and saddled, and all I had to do was say goodbye.

“Good luck to you, Sadie. I hope to see my husband’s head removed from his body when you return.” Sorcha said gravely.

Up high on Barbie’s back I said, “I got you, girl.”

Sorcha’s face twisted in confusion, but I smiled, kicked Barbie into motion, and raced off to do my job.