Come As You Aren’t
They had made their ultimatum. They wanted a human that represented the three worst qualities of humanity. If the government did not comply, or if it tried to cheat them, or if their satisfaction was not met, the solar system would be destroyed.
We knew they had power. As a demonstration they had already blown Pluto into cosmic dust. They had a group of ships completely surrounding the solar system. Our ships could fly to Earth Mars, the moon, Io, or any number of asteroids, but it was impossible to exit. For three-hundred-sixty degrees, our system was surrounded. When they first made their ultimatum, the galactic government sent our biggest battleship against the fleet. The first ship it had met was a small shuttle craft, and two seconds later, only the shuttle craft remained.
Our government complied. It was too risky to believe they were bluffing. They sent a message over the universal communication system, getting a vote on what we believed to be the three worst qualities in humanity. The answers came back: stupidity, violence, and poverty. Based on this, the government set their finest computers to search through the files for the best candidate that fit these qualifications.
They found Henry Farrell. Farrell was a stupid man with a sixty-five I.Q. who had dropped out of school in kindergarten. To make up for the lack of intelligence, Farrell was very defensive and quick to temper. In the last five years he had been arrested seven times on two different planets for brawls, one of which ended up causing a small tavern on Mars to implode. Because there was no one in the universe dumb enough to hire a man with such a record, he was stuck in his apartment in the ghetto of Asteroid 647, apparently destined to remain in social exile, spending his days getting his food from the replication units and watching 3DTV.
He agreed to go to the alien ship after the government promised him enough credits to buy a mansion on Io, should he (and Earth) survive. The starship Infinity-C delivered him to the alien ship that stated itself the leader. A transport tube connected the Infinity to this flying saucer’s entrance, through which Henry Farrell slowly walked through and stepped aboard the alien ship.
A four-armed, yellow-skinned Cyclopean biped with a purple mohawk and a tie-dye-like uniform greeted him. It spoke in short, clipped sentences, which seemed not to fit with its harmonious musical voice. “Welcome, human. I am known as Resme Boptiz!krge. I am the ship’s translator and your guide throughout your stay. May I inquire as to your name?
“Henry Farrell. Uh...jus’ call me Henry.”
“Very well, Henry. Allow me to show you to your quarters.” They began walking through a corridor whose walls kept wavering and changing color, giving Farrell a feeling of vertigo. Occasionally, other beings like the creature he walked with strolled by, not in as much hurry as people moved on earth ships, almost as if they really had nowhere to go. Finally, they stopped in front of one part of the corridor. Farrell watched puzzled as the alien placed his three-fingered hand upon the wall, and the hallway’s side spread apart to reveal an entranceway. Farrell walked in and the door closed automatically, separating him from his guide and leaving him to his quarters. They were perfectly square, ten feet by ten feet by ten feet, but the edges of the walls, ceiling, and floor curved off. It was completely white, lit through some unknown source, and completely empty. Except for one thing.
Huddled in one corner was a woman. She was tall, toned, tanned, with flowing black hair and deep blue eyes. She was also as bare as her surroundings. She was crying. Farrell walked over to her, and she shrunk from him, embarrassed about her taboo appearance and afraid of the strong lad that had come from God knows where for God knows what reason, and turned herself into a ball, hiding as much of her rather appealing body as possible. Realizing she was uncomfortable, he moved back. “What’s wrong?” he asked her.
“Are you crazy?!” She yelled hoarsely. “We’ve been given by our government to appease a bunch of perverted aliens! They brought me on this ship, tore off my clothes, shot a probe or something up my nostril, and tossed me in here! And you ask ‘What’s wrong’?! Everything, that’s what!”
“Why’d they do those things to you?”
“Because we wish to study you, Mr. Farrell,” said a voice with a sort of British-accent over an unseen speaker. “And we have found that one of the simplest ways to study a species is by observing it’s reproductive process.”
Farrell looked blankly. “They want us to have sex,” the young woman clarified. “It’s one of their tests,” she spat.
“We have inserted your companion, Mrs. Julia Barker, with an electrical control in her pre-frontal cortex. She will do as we tell her, without hesitation or debate,” the voice continued. “And right now, we order her to love you.”
Julia’s body suddenly stiffened, and then instantly relaxed. Farrel was amazed at her sudden transformation. His first impressions of her were that she was just like any other woman he’d ever met, except naked. Now suddenly she was a whole new person. Her eyes looked glazed, her entire demeanor looked much more relaxed, she seemed softer and much more attractive, her lips were wet, her face was flushed.
She smiled invitingly up at Farrell’s wonder-struck face. She uncurled her body and went into an alluring position from which she gracefully slid into upright stance and walked seductively towards him, bountiful bosoms bouncing gaily as her hips swam back and forth, more hypnotic than a swami in a snake pit. All previous signs of shyness completely absent, she reached her arms out towards him and pulled him near her. She kissed his forehead, and then pressed his face into her clevage. As he inhaled her tantalizing fragrance, her full red lips parted, and she kissed him long and hard, passionately examining his mouth with her tongue. She pulled him closer to her, soft, full breasts pushing flat and wide as they were squashed against his chest. Tickling his ear with her finger, she began moving her hands down, continuing her kiss, she grabbed his buttocks tightly with her left hand and unzipped his pants with her right. The lower half of his body exposed, she pulled him toward her, into her. She cried in excitement. “Yes, Yes, YES!”
“NO!” Farrell yelled, pulling away from her mindlessly forceful grasp. Using all his will not to give into the involuntary temptress, he pulled up his pants, grabbed her arms, and held her, trying to restrain her from her sudden lust. As she rubbed her nude body against his, turning her head to kiss his ear, he fought her off and yelled at the ceiling. “Love is...special. Even someone like me knows that! It’s not a thing you just turn on like a 3DTV, or something! And she doesn’t really love me.”
“But she does, Mr. Farrell,” the disembodied voice argued. “Just look at her.” As if there were some kind of level of settings controlling Julia, then she had just been on level one, and was now pushed up ten times higher. She quickly spun around, locking her shapely legs around his waist with surprising strength, and tore the buttons off his shirt with her teeth, rubbing her hands over him fervently, trying to get him to participate in the only activity she could think of: hot, passionate, blazing, endless, wild, carnal intercourse.
“You know you want me, you stud, you. I want you, too. Touch me! Feel me! Hold me! Love me! Take me!” she yelled in a libidinous and tempting voice.
“To the best of her knowledge at the moment, you are the only man in the universe. You are more attractive by thousands than anyone else she has ever seen. You are the only reason she breathes. You are the love of her life. And this isn’t even close to how much she can love you.”
As if in response to the British voice, Julia Barker became mad with passion. She ripped off all his clothing as easily as if they were paper, kissing him so hard that he could barely breath, her body pulsing with blood and hormones, her hands racing all over him, awakening within him desire before considered impossible by most. Every muscle in her body burst with the strength that comes from such yearning of the libido and she pinned him down. “Oh, my man! Take me!” She pleaded. The voice continued speaking.
“She loves you, plain and simple. There is no duplicity on her part, or ours. All we have done is to awaken the possible lust she could possess, and directed it towards you.” Julia got turned up another notch and her body slithered sensually over his to the rhythmic beat of both their racing hearts.
“Take me! I want it! I need it! I need YOU!” she begged him as she grasped desperately for him.
“But she wouldn’t love me if you didn’t make her!” She began licking his chest, touching him in places he didn’t even know he had, doing everything in her power to please him. “She only loves me because you put that thing in her head and made her.”
“Please, God, take me before I explode!” she screamed in heavenly agony, her lips kissing his torso and moving downward.
“As soon as you stop her from doing this, she’ll stop loving me.” Julia got turned up three more notches, grabbing Henry’s body, trying to get him to respond, contorting her body in almost impossible positions from the sheer torture of such limitless erotic necessity, about to burst from desire. But Farrell’s mind was now set upon his goal, and he was more determined than ever to make sure he accomplished it. “Besides, you said she was a ‘Mrs.’ On Earth that means you’re married, which you don’t do if you’re not in love with that person.”
“Stop fighting! I don’t love him. I’ve never loved him! I love you! I’ve always loved you! Forever and ever! Only you! Please make love to me! DO IT!”
“But Mr. Farrell, be reasonable. She will never know what she has done, nor will anyone else. You need to do this for your planet to survive.” As the voice said this, Julia apparently fell in love to the very utmost possible setting, and began raping him, yelling in complete and total ecstasy and agony because no words could now come close to expressing the utter craving her body betrayingly hungered for, hurting both herself and him by her indescribable greed for his body and their unanimous pleasure, ignoring his struggling in the mad desperation of desire.
“I won’t do it, and that’s that!”
The intercom voice sighed. “Very well, Mr. Farrell.” Julia’s body spasmed. She got up and blankly walked away from Henry as though unaware of what had just happened. Her previously pleasing and inviting appearance was offset by her zombie-like countenance and movement. She headed towards the door, seemingly uncaring or unacknowledging the nudity which she had been so self-conscious about before all this, touched the aperture, and walked through as it opened. The door closed, and Henry Farrell was left alone.
He could not tell how much time had passed when it opened again. Resme Boptiz!krge appeared. “Well, Mr. Farrell, you performed quite against our expectations. We have been provided with much data.” He walked out, but then turned around in the doorway. “Your next test shall occur in six hours. Try to get some sleep; you’ll need your mind relaxed.”
“Where’s Julia?” he asked. “What have you done with her?”
“Never you mind that, Henry. Just get some sleep to clear your head.” He walked away and the door melded back into a wall behind him.
Farrell slept the turgid sleep of the bewildered, and woke up groggy and afraid. He just now realized that the translator had hinted that his next test would be brain-based. They had already discovered how his society thought about sex, now they were going to see how his society thought. He felt overwhelmed. He knew he was not smart, people had been telling him such his whole life. Now it was this idiot that would represent all humanity at the price of their existence.
Resme emerged and told Farrell to follow him. They walked through more of the confusingly unstable corridor, and Farrell had to stop once to throw up from the vertigo. Eventually they stopped in at a spot in the hallway. Henry’s guide touched the wall, and it opened into a colosseum.
The seated yellow aliens stretched as far as the human could see. They sat in rows of bleachers, all looking down upon a ring empty save for some bizarrely-shaped chair. Henry felt suffocated by the complete silence. Resme Boptiz!krge gestured for Farrell to sit in the centerpiece. He hesitantly complied, rested upon it, and waited. Every alien leaned forward in their chair expectantly.
Finally Henry got annoyed. “Well? What?”
The ship’s translator yelled out an order. “Imagine.”
Resme gestured for the crowd to wait for a moment. He ran to the seated Terran. “The machine you have on your head will pluck images you mentally create and make them visible to the spectators. You will be judged upon your ability to imagine. Any sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, or emotion you can conceive of will be displayed to my race for assessment.”
“Oh.” Farrell was still as confused as ever, but tried not to show it. His guide ran back off stage and the audience once again began scanning with excitement.
As so often happens, the second Henry was asked to imaging something, his mind went completely blank. It took a little while, but he finally thought of something: a chile-dog.
Immediately, a gigantic replica replaced the emptiness above him. The image gave the appearance and smell of a chile-dog, and as he pictured himself eating it, the pleasure of the taste came to him. As it seemed to with the rest of the audience.
Intrigued, or at least as intrigued as one of his mentality could get, Henry tried conjuring up a display of Celestial Virgins, a band he’d seen on 3DMTV. The three scantily-clad women promptly appeared singing as loudly as in real life. He made them disappear.
Well, he thought, I bet I can impress these aliens just fine. And he pulled up from the dredges of his memory the advertisement 3DMTV played on channel 385.
A peaceful meadow of green grass and trees materialized, littered with a deer and a million songbirds. Crickets chirped, bees buzzed. The smell of freshly mowed grass pervaded the stadium. Suddenly the tranquil scene pulled back into space, where an eagle flew toward earth. It slowly metamorphosised into a bullet, which sped down. As it hit, the meadow was suddenly liquefied in a bizarre explosion, and only a tie-dye pattern wavered as the remains. The psychedelic goo melded itself into the shape of a woman, who bent in a display of pure agility in acrobatic assertion. She took on real-life hues, flipping, bending, twisting, jumping onto two unparallel bars as an announcer cried in praise. She spun, flew up, and became an eagle that flew high above everyone, and then splashed down into the ocean. The view shifted to the bird’s view, zooming through the sea. The scent of salt-water pervaded the air. The bird zipped past dolphins, whales, fish, Atlantis, sea coral, and finally out of the water, where flying fish jumped towards the red sunset and into a spiral in space. Passing through the spiral, it eventually evened out into an hourglass, which was picked up by the Grim Reaper with a chilling, bony hand. The time ran out, the scythe swung, and a man died, his soul escaping his body and contorting into the shape of an eagle, which flew to the very center. Instead of morphing it into the channel 385 logo, however, Farrell made it into a replica of himself, and made it bow to the martian audience. The image faded and disappeared.
His guide gestured for him to go. He walked off the arena, confused at the muffling silence that persisted in remaining. The duo walked back to the bland quarters, the rearranging walls now barely affecting Henry. He had other things to think about, and the mere process took his entire concentration.
As he entered his room, he groaned, for there again sat the completely exposed Mrs. Julia Barker, slumbering in fetal position in the corner, trying to hide her ungarbed body even in sleep. Farrell got annoyed and yelled to the ceiling, “I told you I won’t sleep with her! It’s not right! Don’t make her do stuff anymore!” There was no answer.
Julia began to stir as his screams of rage intruded upon her somnambulance. She awoke, and when she saw her roommate, she backed against the rounded corner like a cornered rat. Henry saw her and asked if she was alright. She began crying again. As he tried to sooth her she explained the last few hours between sobs.
“I...I remember what I...what we...nearly did...and how I acted...and...oh, God...it was like...I wanted to stop...but I couldn’t...like my body wouldn’t obey my...brain...and...all the things I...did...to you...I remember even though...I was just watching...it was...it was like it after a while it sort of controlled my...my mind, too...because I wanted to just give in...and...and...”
“Shhh,” Farrell said, stroking her head like a mother to her child when it cries out in the night. “It’s okay, Mrs. Barker. It’s okay.”
“And then I was...I just gave up...and it felt so...so good...and so difficult and painful...and it was like I’d just pop if I...I couldn’t get you to give in...and I wanted...I wanted you so bad...wanted you to just take me...An...and then I was walking...Oh, my God, I was walking around naked!...And they...they led me here...and said...they said...”
She spasmed and stood straight up towards the door, eyes still blank, as it opened and four-handed aliens in armor with blasters aimed at her and fired and fired at the naked beauty. Farrell jumped in front of her. She didn’t deserve to die by these aliens! Every bullet went into his body and he fell back, unconscious.
He awoke to find Resme Boptiz!krge looking over him, forlornly. “Ah. You’re awake. I’m afraid I have some bad news for you, Henry.”
“I know,” he said. “You alien scum KILLED Mrs. Barker jus’ ‘cause I wouldn’t have sex with her.”
“Oh, Henry. You STILL haven’t caught on?” Farrell turned to look at the translator and found that, standing next to him, was Julia Barker, looking just as vacantly as an autistic. Her body remained bare, her large breasts hanging out for the world to see, but she again seemed to ignore the nudeness she’d once been so ashamed of. Her entire body was as relaxed as a person hypnotized, and her face shared the same blankness of the eyes. But she was not dead.
“She’s not dead?!”
“No! Of course not. She never existed.” He raised his head to the ceiling. “Computer: terminate Mrs. Julia Barker Program.” Immediately the unclad buxom beauty disappeared. “Niether did the people who shot at you, which is why you’re still alive. Walk with me,” he said. Farrell got up and walked with him down the twisting halls.
“You see, Henry, Julia was a hologram. She was responsible for two of the three necessary tests.”
“You mean observing people’s sex behavior.”
“No, Henry. You had no reason not to believe that the Julia Program was anything other than a real woman. By putting her in a position where you could easily take advantage of her with no consequences to yourself or others and at the insistence of us, we were able to measure how long it would take you to cave in and make love to her. Sex is one of the greatest allurements of any sentient species, and every sentient species we have met has turned sex into more than a process of reproducing the species. It is an act of love. But it is also very pleasurable, and so many are apt to give in and make love without love. By your strict refusal to take advantage of her, in effect raping her and making her betray her true married love, we were able to test your sense of honor, ethics, and empathy.
“The chamber of imagining was a test of just that: imagination. Intelligence is not as important as it is made out to be; it is simply the application of memorized facts to daily life. What is important is imagination. It is imagination that comes up with ideas, and intelligence which brings them into fruitation. We know your species possesses logic; we needed to gauge it’s emotion. You passed with flying colors. In fact, your species has more imagination than any we’ve ever seen. How did you come up with all that off the top of your head? Never mind. I’m digressing.
“The final test was one where we took someone you barely knew, i.e., Julia, and exposed her to danger. You passed this test, too. You were willing to die for someone. That in itself is the greatest and most honorable of all possible deaths.” They turned into an open entrance, what looked like the control room to the ship. On the moniter in front was a large picture of the solar system. “You have won every test we’ve hurled at you, and you are apparently the worst your species has to offer.”
“So humans are safe? We won’t be blowed up?”
“No, I’m afraid you will be, Henry. You see, if you are the worst of your species, then the three things your species must deplore above all else are empathy, imagination, and selflessness. We cannot have such monsters roaming the universe.” Resme Boptiz!krge pushed a large red button, and all the alien ships fired at the sun, sending so much radioactivity into the sun that it went nova. Everything around it died. He held up a blaster, fired it at the Earthman, and Henry Farrel and Homo Sapiens were in one shot completely obliterated. “Who knows what would happen if they were to have gotten out into the galaxy?” he said distatefully. “Sorry, Henry. Good-bye.”
The fleet of ships moved on the the Vega system, where they would judge a new species of sentient dolphins on Vega IV. Resme Boptiz!krge, commander of the fleet, raised his head to the ceiling and ordered the computer to prepare the Mrs. Julia Barker Program, making the necessary modifications.