Robin had lots of ideas for what she wanted out of the rest of her life, none of which involved becoming kidnapped by some slimy, creepy alien. At the moment, though, the odds were rapidly turning out of her favor. The intruder was having none of her protesting, not responding to her pleas as it held her entire torso in one hand like a soda can, using the other to fiddle with the controls in the cabin. The creature’s size was slightly disorienting; it struggled to fit the two of them in the cramped cockpit, leaving Robin much closer to its body than she ever would have liked.
It adjusted its grip, pulling her in and holding her tight to its chest like a teddy bear, effortlessly pinning her kicking legs to its hip with its heavy upper arm. Robin strained every muscle in her body against the alien’s vice grip, her efforts earning her only a gentle, decidedly condescending pat on the head.
“You fight admirably, but it is simply a waste of your energy,” Her captor reminded her, sounding almost irritated. Though she couldn’t see what the alien was doing to her ship’s controls behind her, Robin figured that it was having trouble.
That gave her a few precious moments to try to find a weakness in this massive, slightly slimy, sticky alien’s physiology. Something, anything to give her an advantage. From her position, with her head pressed snugly against where its sternum should have been, she couldn’t see much. She was lucky that it seemed distracted, because it allowed her to wrench her head out from under the massive, clawed digit that restrained it, and she scanned the creature’s body for something to bite.
To her surprise, she could almost see completely through it, its skin giving the appearance of a glassy, thin membrane over cloudy, purple-green jelly interspaced with tiny flecks of bioluminescence. It was mesmerizing, enrapturing, reminding Robin of softly twinkling stars in a hazy nebula. She looked deeper, barely noticing the smug chuckle from her captor, and the light pressure on the back of her head which eased her face against its pillowy skin. She felt such immense, overwhelming comfort as her eyes drooped and gazed into the sparkling lights, drawn in without so much as a dream of resistance.
Then she spotted the handle of her gun, partially obscured through the body of the alien. Robin pulled her head back, the alien’s skin sticking slightly to her face, and she craned her head down as much as she could. Sure enough, near where her right hand was pressed against its hip, her plasma pistol floated inside the creature, just under the surface.
Robin shuddered. It… it ate her gun?
Her hand moved before she had time to think. The alien hissed sharply as Robin plunged her hand into its side up to her elbow, blindly reaching around for her weapon. Through the constricting, slightly warm slime, her fingertips grazed the handle, and she wrapped her hand around the gun, relying on muscle memory to remove the safety and find the trigger. She stared up at the alien’s face with a scowl, and tried to muster the most threatening tone she could manage.
“Let me go, or your stupid asteroid isn’t all that’s getting atomized,” Robin hissed, pressing the gun deeper into the alien’s semi-transparent body to send the point home. She was honestly shocked that this had worked. It was a gross, and pretty barbaric plan, but it had somehow worked. She held down the priming trigger, starting a small arc of plasma at the tip of the gun. She hoped that it hurt.
The alien’s face showed surprise, which quickly morphed to a smug grin. Robin gulped, her grip shaking slightly as she squeezed the slimy grip of her weapon, her finger tracing the trigger.
It leaned its large head down, closer to her own, and gripped her tighter in its hand.
“Such a noble creature. However misguided, I must commend your bravery,” it cooed, with a tone of adoration that made Robin shiver.
“If you pull the trigger, I would forgive you for it. I believe that we would both prefer it if you didn’t, as the consequences would be sev…”
“Shut up!” Robin seethed, and to her surprise, the creature listened. It seemed to freeze in place, even as she struggled to jerk her hand free of the creature’s transparent, gelatinous thigh. Her threat might be working.
“So you were bluffing, and this ‘primitive’ little gun can actually hurt you” Robin inferred, hoping that she was right. “You want to keep your leg? Let me go,” she demanded, sneering up at the alien.
It was hard to pretend to be unintimidated as it stared back at her, its opaque magenta frills waving slightly, its slitted black pupils contracting predatorily in its glowing green eyes. It smirked and opened its mouth as if to speak, then closed it again, thinking for a moment, before replying.
“If you believe that you can shoot me, you may try, but you will be mine regardless,” it stated, and by its brazen confidence, Robin wondered if it was truly bluffing.
There was only one way to find out, she thought, and tried to pull the trigger. The muscles, to her horror, wouldn’t cooperate, as much as she tried. It felt like her hand was buried in solid concrete, and she looked down, watching the area around her arm become opaque as whatever material the creature was composed of condensed rapidly, freezing her hand stiffly in place.
“That’s it, precious thing. You don’t have to fight any more, see? You can just let me take care of you,” it said in a soothing cadence, which only made Robin struggle more. “Human, for me to help you, you must first help me. Do you understand?”
“I don’t want your help!” She shouted into the alien’s chest, writhing helplessly in its forceful grip. “I’m not helping you with shit!” She screamed, managing to free her left arm out from under the creature’s fingers, slapping it across the face. It didn’t react, and simply grabbed up her wrists with its free hand, securing her legs with the other, and pressed her down into the pilot’s seat, tying her to it with the safety restraints. It smiled at its handiwork, returning its focus to the control console.
Now she could see what it had been doing behind her back. It was lowering the landing gear, and had manually overridden the external cargo bay doors. “Oh, how delightfully fun you are,” it said, patting her head softly again. Robin wanted to bite that stupid hand, but had no choice but to content herself with glaring defiantly up at her captor.
“You are already helping me, human, and you simply don’t know it,” it replied calmly, continuing to sabotage her ship as she sat, defenseless, at the controls. Robin scoffed, glaring at the alien as it went about its work on the control panel in front of her.
“How do you figure that?” Robin grumbled, her brow twitching in frustration.
It paused for a moment, and turned quickly to face her, its head tilting slightly to the side as it spoke. “All that I need for you to do for me is to simply…”
The alien let the tension sit for a moment, drawing a confused glance into its eyes from Robin.
“Look at me,” it finished dramatically, and at that moment, she noticed the tiny flecks of light throughout the creature’s body pulsing in a dazzling, rhythmic display, effortlessly recapturing her attention. Her head began to spin, and though she consciously tried to look away, her muscles once again would not obey her.
Some part of her, deep down, knew that something was very wrong. She could barely string a thought together, and she couldn’t even imagine looking away from the enchanting light show before her. She had to get away, because, because…
Her brow scrunched as she clawed desperately at the thought, trying to drag it back into her mind, but it slipped away. She couldn’t remember why she was fighting this, and for some reason, that didn’t really worry her. For the moment, all she could focus on was the captivating, twinkling lights, and the soothing voice of the alien.
It seemed like the poor thing had finally tired itself out, leaning back in its small chair, panting lightly, no longer struggling to free itself. Talax found it difficult to pull her eyes away from its form, silently promising to herself that there would be all the time in the world to admire her catch later. For now, she thought, she had to seal the deal before this slippery, feisty little object of her desire got away.
“As endearing as you are awake, my Robin, this would be much easier for me if you slept. You want to help me, don’t you? Won’t you sleep for me, dear?” She suggested, and the human nodded sluggishly, dreamily gazing at her bioluminescence before falling suddenly limp against her, its breathing returning to a slow, relaxed cadence. Her catch gave a light, breathy “Ohh…”
as its eyes fluttered closed and it submitted to her control, falling fast asleep.
Talax waited until the human’s small starship was fully inside her own ship’s massive cargo bay before opening the small airlock door, letting the familiar, sweet smell of her own ship’s air replace the stale smell in the human’s cramped little craft. “You’re home now, Robin,” she assured the sleeping human as she untied her, lifted her up over her shoulder, and carried her out of her ship.
The long walk from the cargo bay to the bridge gave Talax a while to consider where to store her bounty, and an idea struck her. This creature had no idea what a treasure it was to her. Yes, Talax thought to herself, she knew just where to put her.
Stopping in her personal quarters on the way to the bridge, Talax thanked the stars that her arrangements were compatible with those the human required. She deposited the sleeping creature gently on her own large, soft bed pad, and draped over it a heavy cover, to which it groggily sighed its appreciation and comfort. Her heart melted at the sight, and it took a large force of will to resist curling up around it. Talax fought the urge for long enough to dart down the hallway to the bridge, close the bay doors around the human ship, and re-engage the cloaking device.
Poking her chin with two claws in thought, she reasoned that this was all that she critically had to do to complete the capture without a hitch. She had almost convinced herself to drop everything and go wake up her catch to play with it, before her caution got the better of her, and she plotted a jump to one of her favorite, most romantic star systems, and engaged the auto-pilot. Just in case, she thought.
A moment later, the familiar view of the Bulk dimension filled the panoramic viewscreen, which was just as quickly replaced by a bright yellow star, behind which lay a beautiful top-down view of the distant galaxy below and the several surrounding clusters. She instructed the computer to land the ship on one of the dozens of lush garden moons orbiting the sole planet in the system, a magnificent white and cream colored gas giant with emerald green rings, and started back towards her cabin. Anticipating further resistance, Talax slid the human’s weapon from her hip, removed the almost drained battery clip, and stored it in one of the hidden weapons panels in the hallway.
She would not make the mistake of underestimating her prey again, she thought as she slid open the doors to her quarters, peering in to find her bed empty, the human gone.
Slowly waking, Robin felt a twinge of anxiety. She didn’t remember falling asleep, and these sheets were far more comfortable, and smelled distinctly differently than hers.
She certainly didn’t remember having gravity in her bed, she thought, opening her eyes. She was wrapped up in a thick maroon blanket, laying on an absurdly large bed which was tucked in the corner of a triangular room, roughly three times the size of her hab. Her heart rate picked up as she untangled herself from the covers and stood up on the oversized mattress, her eyes scanning her new environment.
The walls, floor, and ceiling were a pearlescent shade of gray which shifted to greens and purples as Robin moved her head, reminding her of an oil slick. There were no windows, or doors. Across the room from the bed, in the far left corner, there was a wide, shallow pit in the floor, lined with cushions. In the right corner sat an abnormally tall wrap-around desk with a stool about as tall as she was.
“Hello?” She called out nervously, hoping that there would be no response. “I know you can turn invisible somehow, so you can just show yourself already and tell me what the hell’s going on,” she continued defiantly, but received no response from the room, which she was now satisfied was empty.
After ensuring that she was alone, Robin began to search for something she could use as a weapon, lifting up the corners of the heavy mattress, before moving to the tall desk in the other corner. She traced her hand along the frame, searching for a drawer or hidden panel, but came up empty. Hauling herself onto the oversized chair, she peeked over the top of the desk and grinned at her good fortune.
Amid a collection of trinkets of varying size and shape which she couldn’t recognize, lay a small, fat, crescent shaped object, with a blade-like wedge lining the inner curve. Not unlike a scythe, she remarked, having to hop slightly to reach the item.
It was immediately clear that it was precisely as sharp as it looked, and Robin hissed in pain, adjusting her grip slightly to hold it from the back, and picked up the blade. Holding it before her, she could see that it didn’t have a handle, and that her palm was bleeding from where she had grabbed it.
She took her new weapon back to the bed, where she used it to cut two long strips out of the dark red blanket. She wrapped the first tightly around her wounded hand, which stopped the bleeding, and tied the other around one end of the crescent, forming a makeshift grip.
Her dominant hand hurt too much to use, so Robin held the curved weapon in the left. She took a few practice swings at the air, to make sure the blade wouldn’t slip out of the flimsy handle.
That familiar, warm voice coming from behind her startled her, and she twisted around to defend herself from the creature.
“Robin, you’re hurt! Come here, show me,” it insisted, moving towards her with unnerving speed. She swung the crude blade and only barely missed as the creature jumped back, and in the same fluid motion, slapped the weapon from her hand.
It was over now, Robin thought grimly, paralyzed with fear, watching as the alien descended on her. “What was that, human?” it asked, taking her by the wrist, holding some type of laser scanner above her injured palm.
“My sword,” she muttered under her breath, but she could tell that the alien heard. She didn’t fight it, for now. The thing’s scanner was making her hand hurt a lot less, so she sat still and let the creature work.
“Your ingenuity is fascinating, Robin,” it cooed gently, unwrapping the dressing covering the neat cut, waving the device closer. She watched with trepidation, too scared to move. It seemed to be rapidly repairing the tissue before her eyes, and the cut which should have taken weeks to heal was suddenly gone, without so much as a scar to show for it. Even the blood had miraculously disappeared.
“Whoah,” she muttered, pulling her hand back from the alien, inspecting it. Closing it into a fist and opening it again, she found it to be in perfect working order, without a hint of pain.
“Um… thanks,” she added, looking away.
“You are, and ever will be, welcome, my dear,” it said, “but I’m afraid I cannot allow these violent outbursts to continue.”
“I don’t need you to patronize me, you know. You really expect me to just give up and be your slave? I’m a free human being, goddamn it!” Robin snarled, backing up against the tall mattress. The alien followed, causing her to panic slightly.
“I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but you’re on my ship, so that means I am in charge,” it sneered, pressing its arms into the mattress on either side of Robin, making her crawl backwards across the bed out from under it. “You are not a slave. You are free, human, you must simply be free with me now,” the alien assured her, grinning lightly.
“Wha… why… I don’t even know you!” She protested, holding her head in disbelief.
The tall, strong being sat on the edge of the bed, somewhat disarmingly, and replied softly but sternly, “You will, Robin! You will know me, I promise. There is so much I can show you, if you will only look.”
She felt a pang of sympathy, which surprised her. It almost felt like it was searching for her approval, but Robin was determined not to give in.
“I don’t want to look at you,” she replied sourly, “you hypnotized me.”
“I apologize, it is an adaptation unique to my species. It is… difficult to control at times,” it said, a hint of regret in its voice. It retreated slightly, standing up off the bed. “If you find it disturbing, I will attempt to suppress it for the time being.”
It continued, and Robin looked over to it, as it appeared to wring its hands nervously. “I wish to bring you somewhere. May I show it to you?”
She nodded, incredulous, her body pressed into the corner at the far end of the bed. To her relief, it didn’t try to pick her up, and instead moved to its desk, tapping various points on its featureless surface quickly.
Suddenly, the entire wall to her left disappeared, replaced by the black void of space. Robin panicked momentarily and held a sharp breath, believing she had been spaced, but the unbelievable scene before her made her gasp in awe anyway.
Before her hung a vivid green, blue and white marble in space, with two perfectly symmetrical oceans at the poles, a thick band of lush vegetation-coated land spanning between them. Behind this alien planet, a truly spectacular gas giant sat silently, taking up a large portion of her view. Its cream and gray colored clouds swirled kaleidoscopic patterns across its surface, and a set of sparkling green rings sat like a halo across the magnificent vista.
Beyond this breathtaking scene, Robin spotted the unmistakable spiraling form of the galaxy far below, distantly shining with an awe-inspiring glamor. She shivered in both wonder and dread.
“How did we… where are…” She struggled to spit out her thoughts, eventually settling on a flustered “How??”
It watched her in silence for a long moment, drinking in her reaction. “Explaining the method of propulsion would be far too complicated. Perhaps I can show you another time,” it said.
“For now, my dear prize, the garden awaits us.”