Chapter 4: Where no tourists have gone before! Part one
TW: mention of blood, mention of dead animals
The next few weeks flew by, by the moment it was time for school break I had managed to finish the work for the next weeks, I know Syl’ did it too, it was not hard to tell we were both really excited to be the first humans to visit the entire solar system!
We also participated in Aarin’s studies, we gathered data about the wildlife for a few of his friend for their study back in his mainworld and we told him some of our best stories, supposedly for his studies, but he seemed to had have fun listening to them!
A few weeks earlier
We were in Aarin’s ship for the second time since that day, he was making some of his preferred meal from his home-world that was supposed to be compatible with human physiology
- “Hmmm, Aarin, that, is supposed to be edible?” I looked as the disgusting “food” that was infront of me.
- “Yes! Of course! In your language it can be translated as animal-mashup stew with a blood-gravy and its Union vegetables, the vegetables seems to be compatible with your digestive physiology!” Aarin was really excited and I was guilty about not trying it but to be honest, an animal-mashup stew with blood gravy? Ewww.
I was surprised when I saw Sylvia taking a big spoon of the strange food directly into their mouth like it was some regular stew from earth! They then looked at me and said
- “It’s really good Aria! You should definitely try it!”
With the encouragement of my best friend I tentatively took a spoon of this… thing into my mouth and swallowed.
The only thing I could think of is “we should give them an oscar, because that thing is disgusting” I just manage to swallow it turned to stare at Sylvia and just spat, Sylvia was just grinning at their trap, it was hard not to show anything but Ariana had to try it!
- “Next time we’re cooking.”
The “meal” finished we decided to chill out a little in the lounge, I was becoming really familiar with this lounge, it was really cosy. I don’t know how we came to it but I realized what was happening when Aarin was in the middle of his first story, Syl and I engrossed by his story-telling skills.
- “And then my crew and I were swallowed by the big scary plant! It was awful but while I was inside it I was able to take a lot of measurement and samples to analyze on the ship! It was brilliant!”
At that, Syl and I lost ourselves laughing to death and that completely dumb story, he managed to be swallowed by a plant on some ancient abandoned planet far away in the corner of the Union territory? His life was weirdly wholesome.
We then told our life stories, how we met, how we came out in a world still hard for lgbti-people and especially trans people such as Syl and I. He was particularly interested in the history of trans people and how society treated us in the past, I think he really is an exosociologist after all. We cooked a lot of earth dishes from our favourites, he already had programmed earth wildlife DNA into the main computer so we had the automatic food crafter crafting us some basic ingredients. This technology was fascinating, after transportation they manage to transform energy into matter while following a complex pre registered matrix and some DNA to replicate raw ingredient. It can also cook it but according to Aarin it’s even worse than his dishes…
One day he surprised us and take ourselves on a world tour on his invisible shuttle! I swear this thing looks bigger on the inside but also not? It’s a really weird feeling and when I brought this to him he brushed it off as nothing but a quirk of human psychology. We board the shuttle and in a few minutes we were high above the Atlantic ocean! We visited the American Union, some old important cities like New York, Boston, Toronto, Rio.
He even managed to sneak into the restricted UK territory and for the first time for more than a decade a European sat foot in London! The city was really different from the old photos in the time where the UK were in the EU. The streets are dark and empty. Only shaggy persons looks upon you to decide wether or not trying to muggle you was worth it, others were here to deal you some illegal drugs. The experience was really scary and we decided to climb up and rest at my dorm for the remaining of this day.
The world tour lasted two days and we visited all continent on the planet, I never thought I was gonna visit the whole world! And I can’t imagine that in about a week I’ll visit the whole solar system! Sylvia beside me was squealing too I’m sure it will be our lifetime experience!
Back to the present
I was with Sylvia in my dorm room, we were waiting for the ping from Aarin preceding the transportation, when it came we took our backpacks and readied ourselves for the biggest adventure of our lives!
We were installed into the co-pilot cabin, it was pretty huge, also bigger than it seemed when I peeked a look in it? I wonder if it’s only related to my psychology like Aarin said? Well I brushed this thought aside. Like I thought there is only one bed in this cabin. I was really nervous sharing a bed with Sylvia, a part of myself, surely a part of old-me and my dysphoria, said to me that I was “a man” and therefore I couldn’t share a bed with another person if this person wasn’t my partner.
Stupid parental bullshit and manipulation, when will I ever be able to break you ?
I already did offered to Sylvia to sleep on the floor if they felt more comfortable without me on the bed but they called bullshit and hugged me tight. They really was the best friend I could ever image having.
We unpacked our stuff into the admittedly luxurious closet for a small military ship, even if that was a ship detached to the science navy, and just basked into the warm soft bed and hugged tight. Life was beautiful sometimes.
In the last few weeks super-alien-HRT (yes I gave it that name) worked like a charm, I lost about 5 centimeters and I am now a few millimeters short of Sylvia (which she used to tease me on how I am the shorty now, even if I’m still almost 170cm!). I lost about 10 kg, not that I was overweight but I was packing a bit more muscle and I lost 5cm to be honest. My waist pitched in and I gained a lot of hips and a lot of muscles in my thighs. I think my voice was a little bit higher and softer too, I never would have image I’ll get a science fiction super-advance transition.
I talked about that to Aarin during the last weeks and he said that this technology would normally give me what he defined “true form” I guess it’s close to “my female form if I were assigned female at birth” ? Maybe I could get pregnant one day! You imagine the first trans girl to ever give birth to a baby! The possibilities were endless, and it feels like magic, everything in this super fast transition feels like magic, getting that shorter? Magic. Voice? Magic. These thighs? Definitely magic! I can’t wait for the results of the end. It should take at least a year according to Aarin, but external changes are okay in a few month he said.
I guess Clarke was right with his famous quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.
Whatever, we boarded a few hours ago and I was really fatigued about this day and the emotion that followed, we were still in very high orbit of earth and decided to stay the night here, Aarin was finishing the calculation to make short-outburst of the FTL drives, we would also use the sublight engines to finish the orbits. So I decided to snuggle a little bit more in the comforter and tries to sleep.
- “Hey Aria are-you okay? You seems down and why were you trying to sleep on the ground? You don’t want to sleep beside me?” Syl’ said softly, almost whining, they may be pleading? I don’t know it sounds like they wanted me to sleep with them? They should be embarrassed no?
- “Yeah, don’t worry Syl I am okay, I’m not down I’m thoughtful this whole thing is bizarre you know? One moment we were in your room drawing a science fiction FTL ship and the next we were on a SF FTL ship so my brain haven’t really adapted I think? We do need to abandon all of our previously-conceived ideas about the nature of universe and alien life to accommodate the fact that we’re not only not alone but the closest one are a multi-stellar organize union with technology similar to magic. See my transition for god’s sake it seems like magic!” I yelled, I panicked, It was too much in so little time!
- “Hey, hey, hey don’t worry it’ll be okay, everything gonna be fine trust me” softly said Sylvia, enveloping me in their signature big hugs, accented by the fact that we were approximately the same size now, I wonder if I’ll become even smaller, being in their arm like that seems really comfy, nothing like sleeping enveloped by the arms of your best friend.
“And you know what you were already cute but now, you’re adorable” Sylvia smugly smiled, sawing my scarlet-red blush on my cheeks, I know they was saying this only as a between friend compliment but it was making me really blushy.
After a few minutes I relaxed into their arms, waiting for them to break the hug, but they never did, when sleeps was winning against my anxiety I was thinking that I would like to sleep like that, it must be so comfy being comforted like that, so I took my chance,
- “Syl’, can we… like… you know… sleep like that? Your arms are very comfy” I was furiously blushing
- “Of course Ariana, good night baby” they kissed me on the forehead, just before I fell asleep I smiled at how lucky I was to have them as my best friend.
A few hours later, correction, not enough hours later, I awoke to a low rumble through the ship, I recognize it well at the rumble of a on-ship fusion nuclear-reactor, we must be leaving orbit, I still was in the arms of Sylvia who was still asleep, accustomed to the rumble of a nuclear reactor, they lived in a ship for a few months when his dad was working on a mission.
I basked in the beautiful innocent smile of my best friend still asleep, and managed to extract myself from their arm, get dressed quickly and came back with a replicated breakfast (cookies and a coffee) I preferred mine black but they was the type of coffee person drinking it with more cream and sugar than actually coffee.
I decided to pass by the bridge to see what Aarin was up to, one more times I felt a strange feeling passing the door of our cabin like a tug on my whole being that last less than a fraction of a second. I really should talk about this with Aarin.
Before I even arrived in the bridge I heard a rather heated argument between Aarin and another voice I can’t really state. They were likely talking in their home language but Aarin never mentioned another passenger?
The door opened and I was in front of Aarin yelling at an holographic representation of… a blob ? Talking?
- “What is going on here professor?”
- “Oh Ariana, hello! Sorry I was arguing pretty loudly with the ship, she is quite angry at me” He said, quickly dismissing the holographic blob in favor of an holographic representation of earth and our current trajectory. “We are currently leaving the orbit in low sublight speed, we will make a short FTL burst after passing the level of your Moon and stabilize ourselves in an orbit around Mars, I understand Mars is a destination your kind wanted to set foot on for a long time now?” Ariana nodded “Well you’ll be the first human to do so!”
A few minutes later Sylvia emerged from the door, fully clothed into their “standard work uniform” which is a fancy word for a pair of sweatpants and a large t shirt, smiled at me and sat in the engineering station of the bridge and were staring at the screen displaying our current parameters, sipping their creamy coffee.
- “Aria that’s incredible we have real time data about our orbit right now on this screen!” Sylvia was excited that’s for sure, she tilted her head and added “it’s human readable?” at this Aarin indicated he took the liberty of translating the ship operating system to simplify our usage.
About an hour later Aarin mentioned we were doing a little flyby of the moon, it took us only an hour to be here! The moon was beautiful this close, the little (or big) craters were really detailed and it took all my willpower not to take photos and just marvel at the show! Sylvia on another hand was far more impressed, they already did a flyby or two of the moon with their dad, he was working on the development of permanent settlement on it to be honest.
Just an hour later we were passing the Lagrange point L2 of the earth-sun system, the first place were a probe was placed by an union scientist according to Aarin. The probes were moved in the early 2000s when the Union picked encrypted signal from NASA and the ESA that the James Webb Spatial Telescope would be in an halo orbit in the L2 point, the chances were small but they couldn’t risk detection.
- “Please sit, Sylvia sit here in the engineering station, Ariana please take the co-pilot sit, we are gonna make our FTL outburst” calmly said our host, we complied and were really excited, we were on the verge of becoming the first humans to travel faster than the speed of light. That was something, sorry Einstein, you’re wrong!
I smiled softy as my two guest strapped themselves into their sit, they will gonna participate into that jump and they will never forget it!
- “Ok begin checklist, Ariana please check the coordinates in the navigation panels we should be around twenty thousand kilometers above the surface of Mars, in the standard direction, Sylvia please verify the integrity of the FTL drive”
- “Aye captain” giggled the two young humans beside me, they were dying to role play it was obvious, a few seconds later the two officers signaled the go
- “Ok, Sylvia please turn off the main sublight drive, Ariana when it will be done please disengage the sublight drive and turn on the FTL drive” the two nodded
About a minute later the rumble died down but another one resounded in all the ship, the signal that the FTL drive has been engaged, I signal to Ariana the go to power on the drive and a few seconds later the rumble intensifies and died down.
- “Ok final call, engineering ?”
- “Go” confidently said Sylvia
- “Go” said Ariana, with a bit less of an enthusiasm, I noted with a smile
- “Ok initiating final countdown”
The computer began counting, 5...4...3...2...1 “jump engaged”
And I thought the engaging of the FTL was something! This was another! When the computer signaled the engagement of the jump I felt like the entire space was twisting, collapsing onto itself and then like it never happened we were in orbit of mars.
- “Now, this jump seemed instantaneous because it was, I used the jump drive to arrive here, when we’ll finish with Mars we’ll use the standard FTL travel to go visit Jupiter, now, gear up little ones we’re going on a walk!”
End of Chapter 4: Where no tourists have gone before! Part one