At First Sight
By: Steve Carr

Winds saturated with blue ice crystals washed across the barren, flat landscape at hurricane strength. The only thing that rose above the surface of the planet was Phythxyls's transparent pod where he sat with the two digits on each of his three claw-like hands poised above the dials and different colored buttons on a console. He stared upward through the ceiling of the pod looking for the first glimpse of the underbelly of the supply vessel returning from the other side of the sun.

When the bottom of the ship poked through the clouds, Phythxyls tapped a magenta colored button. The ship lowered its magnetized feet and slowly descended onto the pad. It shut off its engines, expelling large clouds of gaseous vapors from its vents.

Phythxyls tapped a yellow button and said, "Bring back anything good?"

The gravely voice of Ytrweyux, the ship's captain, filled Phythxyls' pod. "The captured crew of a ship en route to another galaxy. They call themselves humans. A disgustingly ugly lot who are incredibly stupid."

*

Phythxyls crawled out of his sleep chamber and stood in the wide tunnel and watched as his fellow rpxtyuxts came and went from the great hall beyond the tunnel. He tilted his head back and inhaled through his large snout, drawing in an odor that was new to him.

He put his digits from his third hand on the shoulder of Lpxdretyjk who was passing by. "What's that smell?"

She brushed his digits from her shoulder. "That new alien species. They're being kept in the sorting pens and their smell has filled this entire level. They speak gibberish so it takes a few seconds to grasp their language. I tried to talk to one and it understood nothing I said and kept saying, "'What?'"

Phythxyls gazed toward the direction of the great hall. "I'll go have a look for myself."

"You do that," Lpxdretyjk said. "The next time you touch me I'm going to make it impossible for you to ever breed again."

She walked on, dragging her long orange tail behind her.

Phythxyls turned and followed a line of rpxtyuxts heading toward the great hall. The returned supply ship sat in the middle. Large containers of ores, collected space junk and spoils from battles on other planets was being unloaded.

Phythxyls wandered around the ship and on the other side stopped abruptly and stared at the nearly one hundred humans behind the energy fields that enclosed the sorting pens. He had seen a lot of different beings from several different galaxies, but few who looked as defenceless and pathetic as the humans, but they had a strange handsomeness that he found appealing. It took him several minutes before he realized there were two sexes. The females had longer hair and breasts.

"What's your name?" he said to a petite brunette who was sitting alone a few feet from him.

She looked at him quizzically. "What did you say?"

He cocked his large head, analyzed her speech and then pointed at himself. "Phythxyls," he said. Then he pointed at her. "You?"

"Laurie," she said after a moment. "What are you going to do with us?"

The softness of her voice, the way her eyelids went up and down, the pink color of her smooth skin, all excited him. "Do with you, Laurie?" he said.

"With all of us," she said, sweeping her hand around at the others in the pen.

Phythxyls glanced around at the others. None of them interested him the way Laurie did. "Laurie, others, tryx maka pla," he said.

She looked at him, confused. "I didn't understand what you said."

"You. Laurie. Others. Work in the mines," he said.

She covered her mouth with her hand and gasped. "Please, tell whoever is in charge to let us go," she said.

His two hearts ached for her. He had never felt such strong feelings for a rpxtyuxt female.

"You, Laurie, xt fryxl smor khuyt," he said.

"What?"

"In mines only little time," he said.

"Then what?"

"No then," he said. "Death comes fast in the mines."

*

In the pod, Phythxyls's groomed his bright red tail with two of his hands while watching a snow-twister skip across the broad expanse of gray earth. With no ships expected to arrive or depart, he had turned off the console and enabled the sound receptor in the pod so that he could hear the howling of the wind. Usually it soothed him, but he couldn't get Laurie out of his mind, and for the first time ever he felt sympathy and sadness for a slave.

Captain Ytrweyux stuck his head into the pod. "We're taking off again tomorrow," he said.

"So soon? What's the hurry?" Phythxyls said.

The captain scratched his bulbous snout. "We have to get back to the humans' ship and finish dismantling it before someone else finds it. We didn't have room for their entire ship the first time."

"Did the humans put up a good fight?"

"As I said, they're stupid. They had no weapons other than things some of them held in their hands. We boarded them fast and only had to kill a couple dozen of them before taking over their ship"

Phythxyls put his tail behind him. "When will the captives be taken to the mines?"

"Tomorrow morning, just before our ship departs."

The captain left and a few minutes later Phythxyls followed. He hurriedly walked to the pens. Standing at the energy field he searched for Laurie and found her sitting on the floor with a small group of other females. Only Laurie made his two hearts thump wildly against his scaly chest. He waved until he drew her attention, and then signaled for her to come to him.

On the other side of the energy field, Laurie said, "What do you want?"

"I can't save you," he said, gazing into her brown eyes.

She crossed her arms. "So?"

Phythxyls wanted to reach through the energy field, to take her in his three arms and protectively curl his tail around her. For such a defenseless creature, she seemed so fearless, ignorantly so.

"There is no rpxtyuxt female like you," he said. Her eyes opened wide. "What?"

He had never said to a rpxtyuxt female what he wanted to say to her, what he had wanted to say from the first time he saw her. There were no words for what he was feeling.

"Tomorrow, you, Laurie, go to the mines," he said.

*

Phythxyls climbed out of his sleep chamber before most of the other rpxtyuxts had awakened. As surreptitiously as possible he made his way to Laurie's pen. While the guards weren't watching he stepped through energy field. The shock from the pulsating energy knocked him to the floor and for a moment one of his hearts stopped beating and he passed out.

When he opened his eyes, Laurie and a group of other humans were standing around him.

"I hide among you," he said.

"Why?" Laurie said.

"We go to mines together," he said, gazing into her eyes.

The End

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