Compatibility Issues
by S Shane Thomas

The colonists of DFT-384 can’t be sure because contact with our home world Earth has not been possible since our starship departed the Milky Way, but we pride ourselves nonetheless in being among the first humans to live among sentient beings from another world. I never thought I could get close to a Caprilian much less fall in love with one, until their equivalent to a zoologist joined my research group. Zidos isn’t the muscular and masculine type I’ve fallen for in the past, in fact Zidos and most Caprilians are rather androgynous. I figure that if the macho humans I dated before were so good for me I would have settled down by the age of thirty. I’m no runway model but I get enough exercise and eat well enough to maintain a slim figure. Plenty of guys have complimented my olive skin and chestnut brown locks.

I suppose partly romance and partly professional curiosity  led to physical expressions of our relationship. It started with Zidos asking questions about human duplication, as Caprilians refer to it. Then it led to casual contact like brushing hands and a pat on the back. By then, I became completely infatuated. When I kissed him, Zidos knew what to do. I am unsure whether he saw a human couple in public or if his people kiss each other. We began to publicly date, apparently the only pairing between our species. Zidos told me the nature of our relationship proved a new concept to the Caprilians, but many of his people found romantic entanglement with another being intriguing.  After a couple months I felt that Zidos and I should experience a very physical moment together. I must say that I felt a bit surprised to discover that my love had neither male nor female distinctions. He reassured me that it need not be an obstacle to our pairing. That night Zidos proved to me that I could be completely fulfilled in the embrace of a Caprilian.

Not until the anniversary of our first date did I realize I should be making efforts to better understand his cultural and anatomical needs. “Zidos, perhaps I’ve been selfish. While you know everything about my people and their love, I don’t know yours.”

“It is not a pleasurable moment, as it is when we are close, but it is intimate. Let’s take a long weekend to camp near our wild life observation station. I will show you something no Earth woman has seen before, my love.”

I thought it strange the amount of food Zidos packed for our two night trip, but figured perhaps he became anxious and over packed.  On our first night, he indulged me as we lay under the stars. The next morning my love began eating, and to my surprise, simply did not stop. Well over forty pounds of provisions disappeared, nearly a quarter of his body mass. I began to worry, but Zidos reassured me. As day turned to evening he took me into his arms and kissed me. I noticed he looked much more fleshy than usual. As I pressed into his embrace I felt like I might begin to sink in.

“Please don’t become frightened. What I’m about to do is perfectly natural, even a few organisms from your Earth multiply in this fashion.”

I felt nervous now. Multiply? Was I about to have a child with him? I didn’t have time to wonder if I was ready to be a mother, or if I could tell my parents. Zidos began to vibrate intensely and he uttered a low deep moan which made me cringe. I shrank into myself and stared. Zidos grasped his head with both hands and within the vibration I could see not two but four hands, pulling at two heads. I watched my love shake and tear into two beings with my mouth agape.

Before me stood two beings, perfect copies of Zidos, only about a foot shorter. As the two cleaned a clear fluid off one another they explained that mitosis created their entire race. Shared memory stretched back to the life before the very first split. Both beings would grow to the height Zidos was in a few short days. Since only moments of individuality separated the pair, Zidon and Zidar; as they took to calling themselves, both shared Zidos’s affection for me.

For now I’m happy with both boyfriends, I relish finding the differences between them as time passes. Jealousy is another concept foreign to the Caprilians, so we remain a happy trio, but these guys are crazy if they think I want to keep up with four or eight of them!

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