Can an alien with no knowledge of humans or concept of sex find lasting love with a human man?
Zak, an alien from the planet Trimmeron, is a member of a race of beings who transform into other species during their years of puberty. It’s customary for the youngsters to be fostered to the worlds native to their new forms, to study and learn about the races who will play an important part in their lives.
When Zak turns into a human, it comes as a surprise to everyone, for only one other before him has ever done so. Nevertheless he is sent to Earth, a world he views as primitive and barbaric. He arrives with a chip on his shoulder and attitude to spare. He does not believe that anyone on Earth could have anything to teach him.
When Zak meets college student Sam he soon discovers he has a lot to learn, not only about humans, but also about himself.
Trapped on an unfamiliar world and in a strange body that seems to have a mind of its own, Zak has no idea what is happening to him—only that Sam seems to be the key to the strange afflictions he is suffering from.
But can an alien find love with a human being?
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Zakrynious tapped his foot impatiently as he waited for his turn to appear before the elders of his people. The queue to the transformation chamber—the only one on the entire planet of Trimmeron—stretched as far as the eye could see. He’d been standing there for hours and he still couldn’t see the doorway at the front of the queue. At least this would probably be the last time he’d have to go through the ritual of transformation. Then again, he’d thought that before.
“What are you hoping for, Zak?” Strathryn, the young Camyl’on directly ahead of him, asked. Zak hadn’t met him before today, but they’d been waiting so long Zak felt as though they were old friends. “I want to see what life’s like on Marinatia.”
Zak laughed loudly, prompting a few glares and admonishments from the others in the queue. “Rather you than me.”
“What’s wrong with Marinatia?”READ MORE
Zak shook his head. “Everyone who goes there comes back smelling of fish. Once you’ve turned mer, there’s no way to ever get rid of the stink.”
Strathryn snorted back his laughter as the line moved on a few more inches.
Zak had not expected this latest transformation. Already close to maturity when he’d last been brought before the elders, it had been something of a shock to find himself back here once again. He had frequently wondered during the last few days what he would end up as this time. He could discount his own race and those he had already changed into during his puberty, but there were still incalculable possibilities.
As one of a race of chameleon-like beings, each of their kind took on several new appearances during their years of puberty up until adulthood. They remained in their new guises until whatever powers causing the transformations determined them ready to change again.
Zak had spent his last transformation on the icy mountains of Gr’chn and although he had enjoyed his time amongst the hospitable mountain people, he had been eager to rid himself of the coarse, furry hide they had developed so as to more easily endure the harsh climate. He much preferred his own softer furred body.
When Zak had reverted back to his natural state on the previous world, he had expected to have full control over his body and the ability to change appearance at will. When he’d realised he didn’t, he had rushed to catch the next spacecraft back to Trimmeron so he could take the potion the elders provided to trigger and ease the next transformation. Luckily Gr’chn was an Alliance world and the locals didn’t think anything of the fact that he was suddenly a different species.
He had once asked his father why they had to go through with the transformations. His father had told him the story of one of their youths who had refused to drink the potion to trigger the change to a new form. The transition had come anyway, and had been extremely painful for the youth, so much so that he’d had to be cared for by their healers for several days afterwards. The healers were still working on a way for their healing waters to help anyone else who dug their heels in about taking the potion. Unfortunately, the transformation ritual was shrouded in secrecy and the elders refused to reveal the contents of the potion to anyone. Without the knowledge of the ingredients, the healers were working blindly as they searched for answers.
Finally, after another two hours of waiting, Zak reached the doorway. At least now he could watch those transforming before him, which would help to pass the time.
Zak could see his parents, Aristania and Cor’shi, sitting in the chamber along with family members of some of the other youngsters. He gave them a small wave and they looked back at him proudly. He had barely seen them for more than a few days together since his first transformation. Such was the way things had always been for those of his kind. To enable the youngsters to learn about each form they took, it was customary for each young man and woman to be fostered out to a family on the world native to their new body.
The line crept forward and Zak’s turn to stand before the elders finally arrived. He didn’t have a great deal to say. The elders had already received their report from his foster parents on Gr’chn, which told them all they needed to know. They had also extracted from him copies of his own memories of his time on Gr’chn, adding his experiences and knowledge to their collective database.
All Zak had to do now was drink the vile concoction that would trigger his next transformation. He prayed it would be the last time he’d have to drink the revolting substance. When he reached maturity, around the age of forty, he would revert back to his natural form without being in control of the transformation for the last time. If he ever needed or wished to take on one of his other forms, that being any of those he had taken during the years of his puberty, he would be able to do so at will, and without the need of potions.
“Drink up, Zakrynious,” the elder said as he passed him the heavy goblet. “Many others await their turn after you.”
Zak gulped the lukewarm liquid down as fast as he could and waited for the potion to take effect.
The transformation never hurt, it simply happened. His first clue that the change had occurred was the realisation that he stood shorter than he had been a few moments before. Not a great deal shorter, just enough for him to notice he no longer stood eye to eye with the elder before him.
He looked down at his hands and frowned as he observed their new and strange colour. Pale ecru and smaller than he had been used to, they also had two more fingers on each hand than his natural form had. He wriggled the extra digits, already anticipating them being a nuisance until he became used to them.
“Well, this is quite unusual,” the elder commented. He coughed nervously and looked behind him to the other elders. “I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.”
Zak glanced towards his parents in the audience. They stared at him with expressions of surprise and perhaps a little curiosity. He turned back to the elder and waited for him to tell him where he would be living for the duration of his transformation. Until he knew which galaxy he would be residing in, he had no idea which spacecraft to go to.
One of the other elders stepped forward and peered at him closely. “Most irregular,” he mumbled.
“What is it?” Zak asked. “What’s the matter?”
“Why, we don’t know what you are,” the first elder replied. “I don’t recall seeing one of those before.”
“I thought we always took the forms of races who would play a large part in our lives.” Zak looked from one elder to the other, waiting for one of them to explain what had happened.
The elder patted him on the arm kindly. “That‘s true. Now we just need to figure out what you are, so we can make arrangements for you to be fostered.”
Zak nervously shifted on his feet.COLLAPSE