"What the fuck do you mean he bought me?" I howled at Tikk as we stood in the living corridor. "I mean, I understand the whole process but why? What does he need me for? I don't know how to do anything. I'm just as useless as the rest of them."
"I believe you know exactly why Les has purchased you and I do not understand why you feel the need to have me explain the situation to you." This was the first time Tikk had sounded anything but pleased with me. "You are an attractive female despite our species obvious differences, and Les is well within his rights." He stopped short and I bumped into him. He grabbed my shoulders and said, "It is difficult to find companionship when one is drawn to a life of space flight. It is common for a Par male to purchase a companion because that is the only way to sway a female into this kind of life style. I envy Les in his luck. He has found a female that seems to enjoy a life in space, and I believe you will see you are lucky in finding him as well." He smiled and all I could fixate on were his oversized canines. He pushed me into the room. "You should use the facilities before you join Les in his chamber."
"Do you purchase women of your own species, or just aliens?" I asked.
"There are many uneducated Par on our home planet that have more offspring than income. Their children have the option of sacrificing themselves into slavery in order to supply the rest of the family." He smiled as if he was telling me something sweet.
"That’s despicable!" I recoiled in shock and continued, "How could you make them sell their own children in order to feed the rest?"
I was met with a confused cocking of Tikk's head. "It is a voluntary action. They sacrifice themselves in order to feed their family. The Par that purchases a sacrificial slave is doing the slave a great justice." He spoke with such admiration that I could not respond for a couple of moments.
"Will we all be slaves?" I finally whispered.
"You will work for clothes, lodging, food, and a small wage. It is more than many on our planet could hope for." He smiled and patted my shoulder.
Again, I was silent for a moment while my mind raced. "Well, I mean… why didn't you buy me?"
Tikk was already pulling off my clothes as the orange light of the sanitizer started to glow on my naked body. I grabbed Tikks hands as they attempted to push me toward the fiery haze. "We get along, or at least we converse. He's all grunts and glares, and most importantly… I don't want to do this. You can’t…” I was bargaining for what had at one time been my basic human right, but I didn’t have rights anymore. I was the alien and even worse… an alien female. I was thankful for what the Par had done for us, but I felt that my body was not proper payment for my life.
"You are an alien female, Elinor. Les has all the power in this relationship." Tikk pushed me toward the light and backed away so the machine could do its thing. "You must not think of this as negative." He smiled shyly and looked at the ground. "I am flattered by your offer but I am not interested in females sexually. I prefer the intimate company of other males.” My head jerked back for a second as my mind wrapped around the idea of a gay Par, and Tikk raised his head to meet my eyes again. “Do you not find Les an attractive specimen?"
I hadn't really been thinking about sexuality when I offered up the idea of Tikk buying me. I was just looking for some control in the situation. All hopes of equality between our species was slipping from my grasp. The light that surrounded me died off, but I was unable to move. Where could I run? Tikk had no power here. My only option was to speak to Les directly.
I stepped forward and reached for my clothes.. "Where is his chamber?" Tikk pulled the clothes out of reach. "You have no need for these. Follow me."
He turned, and I did as I was told while absent-mindedly running my hands through my hair. When we reached Les’ room Tikk said, ”Go inside. I'm sure he'll be in shortly."
Tikk looked suddenly very uncomfortable as he clutched my clothes. "Don't make things difficult for yourself, Elinor. I know this is all happening very quickly, and that we are from such different cultures. This is obviously very strange to you and I apologize for your discomfort, but you are a part of our society now and you must obey our customs." He stroked my right arm and pushed me into the room.
I took a step backwards and continued to face Tikk. "You have stolen my power, and I do not know how to get it back." My world was crumbling down around me; I had become a commodity, and the only thing I could think of was how much I would miss my alone time.
"I am glad you understand your situation. I will see you when we land on Qualittia.” I entered the room, and took in the space. It was at least twice the size of the sleeping chamber where I spent the previous night. As usual the wall opposite the entrance was a massive portal and the rest of the walls were white. The majority of the room was to the right of the entrance. As I entered, a bed, also much larger than the one from the night before, but with the same pink blanket, rose from the floor.
I sat on the edge of the bed and looked out the window. We were still orbiting Kepler and the ship was coming up on one of the planet's moons. I reclined on the bed in order to better enjoy the opulence that confronted me. As I turned my head I saw Les standing at the entrance with his hands behind his back. His gaze roamed across my body and I was prompted into modesty as I grabbed for the blanket.
"I apologize for startling you." He said as he backed up a bit and lowered his head. I could see him attempting to make himself smaller. "I assume Tikk explained our situation. I hope you are pleased that you will not be subjected to the process of an auction."
He took a step forward and brought his right hand up to rub the back of his head. "Are you prepared to retire for the evening?" He closed the gap between us, grabbed my elbow, and lifted me off the bed to face him. When I lifted my face I was only a few breaths from his lips. I placed my hands on his chest and pushed back which caused me to bump into the bed. I held my hands to my sides and pushed the air from my lungs.
"I just want to make it blatantly clear that I have zero interest in having sex with you. We don't know each other, and I believe that getting to know each other would only cause me to dislike you more."
I searched his eyes for some sign of empathy but found only confusion. His arms encompassed my body and his right hand cupped the back of my head. I kept my hands pinned to my sides as I was forced to stare into his black eyes that held nothing but the reflection of my own.
"No." I bit my lip and lost our staring contest as my eyes shifted towards the vastness of space outside the room. Les pushed his double slotted nostrils into my neck and breathed deep. His hand tangled in my hair and the room was silent as Kepler's moon passed us by. His entire body pulsed around my own and our chests pushed against each other as we battled for oxygen.
He spoke softly into my ear, "You belong to me now, and I do not want you to speak again tonight."
I did as I was told.