Ascension to Emunah
Deep Space Discovery Vessel-Paralus delivers New Earth explorers to a Goldilocks home
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say, and looking at their science officer, Captain Colm Kelly, 1st Lieutenant Heather Lynn Castonguay wondered if he had any idea of what a gorgeous specimen of a man he was. Even now, on a spacewalk completing maintenance on the solar arrays, she swooned at each twitch of Captain Kelly’s shoulder muscles and the delicious twist of his lower back beneath his spacesuit.
For the past nine months, Lt. Castonguay and Captain Kelly had trained and studied together as the eighth of the thirteen Goldilocks trident teams selected for focused, deep space exploration. Then, assigned to Commander Garland and her vessel, their team and assignment were set to begin what they hoped would be a historic mission.
Seventeen days ago, they boarded their ship, the Deep Space Discovery vessel Paralus, and began their journey towards their designated planet — Helo V157.44L332.15. The three-person crew had made four successful and torturous wormhole drops. As per SOP (standard operating procedure), Lt. Castonguay waited on science officer Kelly’s dreamy blue-eyed stare and unwaveringly professional conduct to verify her latest calculations.
Redundancy was due diligence, and after having completed, then confirmed the navigation computers calculations twice, Lt. Castonguay relayed the solution to Captain Kelly, who would also complete calculations to verify those of Castonguay and the Paralus navigation computer.
“I concur, 1st Lt.,” Captain Kelly announced crisply through the cockpit’s slightly metallic-tasting recycled air. “Navigator’s course confirmed.”
Lt. Castonguay swiveled her chair back towards her console. Although she was much too professional to display conduct unbecoming an officer, Heather still felt that each word Captain Kelly relayed to her were honey-dipped kisses across her neck. She drank in the deliciousness of his enthusiastic voice, swallowed the smile threatening to betray her, and tapped the comms button for Commander Garland.
“Commander Garland, course heading confirmed. T-minus eight minutes to boulevard wormhole,” the Lt. reported.
“Understood, Lt. I’m headed to the Conn,” the Commander’s voice echoed through the chamber.
“Commander to the Conn, aye-aye,” Lt. Castonguay acknowledged.
“Looks like this is it, Colm. I hope we remember our training. We’re going to come out of this one fast and hard,” Heather said to Captain Kelly. Once the protocol was taken care of, the two crew members spoke in a more casual address.
Besides holding a flawless and exemplary record, Colm Kelly was also a bit of a genetic anomaly. Seemingly through pure coincidence, his lineage had remained purely Irish on both sides of the family. From the long-ago days of Earth’s climate collapse to the pilgrimage of peoples from all nations and cultures-first to the moon, then Mars and beyond, ethnic blending was unavoidable as planetary orbit. And yet, the Kelly clan married and birthed one Irish generation after another.
A wide grin broke across Kelly’s chiseled face; with a wink thrown in at the excitement of what they were about to attempt, Colm answered.
“Experience is the comb that life gives a bald man.”
Heather did all she could to remain stoically polite in her response but failed.
“Do you ever run out of your Grandfather’s Irish sayings?” Heather asked while trying not to turn into a puddle beneath her seat from Colm’s devastating stare.
Colm answered with a short, joyful giggle revealing the boy at play that remained present beneath his professional exterior. It was just another charming piece about him that made Heather’s stomach flip with butterflies.
“As the big hound is, so the pup will be!” Colm said with a shine. “That was one of Granddad’s favorites when Pa gave me hell.”
There was no point in trying to resist her feelings for Colm. Heather had promised herself that if the mission resulted in the successful discovery of a life-sustaining planet, she would confront Captain Colm Kelly and confess her feelings.
It was in the way he spoke to her, not just what he said. When he told of his family, his grandparents, his mother, or sisters, Colm did so in a way that assumed Heather was already familiar with each of them. That she already belonged. Colm was everything she’d ever read about in love stories passed from home. Heather wanted to wear him like a blanket, be wrapped in him, and over him.
The bay doors swooshed open, and Commander Alyssa Garland stepped into the cockpit. Captain Kelly instantly rose, relieving himself of command.
“I have the Conn,” Commander Garland stated as she took her seat.
“Commander has the Conn. Aye,” replied Captain Kelly.
“Time to boulevard drop, Lt?” Commander Garland asked.
“T-minus six minutes, forty-two seconds, Commander,” Lt. Castonguay answered.
“Very well. We’ll begin boulevard drop procedures at T-minus three minutes. As you were.”
Both Captain Kelly and Lt. Castonguay snapped back a crisp, “Aye-aye, Commander.”
When the burn shields retracted from the forward viewing windows, the three officers of the Paralus sat motionlessly. Encased in their spacesuits, the helmeted heads stared straight ahead. Beyond the transparent barrier lay the landscape of a utopian world.
“Paralus, sound off.” Commander Garland’s voice announced with perfect clarity through their comms.
“Aye, Commander. Kelly here.”
“Aye, Commander. Castonguay here.”
“Captain, let’s have a diagnostics check, please. Integrity. Propulsion. Power. Life support,” the Commander ordered.
“Aye, Captain. Diagnostics initiated,” Captain Kelly answered.
“Lt. Castonguay. Let’s get a check on the atmospherics. Seismic probes deployed.”
“Aye, Commander. Atmospherics and Seismic measures forthcoming” acknowledged Lt. Castonguay.
As her officers carried out the commands, Commander Alyssa Garland raised the visor on her helmet to look out into the new world through a clear lens. Before her lay a coastal landscape, with tidal waves gently rolling into rocky outcroppings that crawled into greenery-covered jagged black rock, low-lying mountains.
On the summit, Commander Garland looked upon seven massive stone obelisks with pyramidal apexes towering hundreds of meters into an azure sky holding thin cotton patches of cloud. Countless waterfalls dropped from overflowing pools sunken into the moss-covered plateaus. The new world upon which they landed looked pristine, beautiful, mystical, and serene.
“Commander, Atmospherics are back and coming in five by five. It’s slightly oxygen-rich at 22.4%. Nitrogen reading 77.2%. Argon 0.3% Trace amounts methane, carbon dioxide. Seismic readings stable. Surface composite geology gives black basalt, sandstone, mudstone, and granite,” Lt. Castonguay reported.
“Commander, we can breathe and walk out there!” she added with elation.
“So it would seem, Lt.”
Commander Garland removed her helmet then unbuckled herself from her safety harness. Standing and turning to Captain Kelly, she awaited his report.
“Commander, the Paralus is sound as a pound. All systems green. Magnetic reactor online, propulsion ready at 100% capacity on command. All power and life support systems functioning across the board at 100%.”
Commander Alyssa Garland turned back towards the view outside their ship. Stepping forward, her face bathed in the sunlight of a new world shone as warm as her smile.
“I think we found it. I think we found our new home.” The discovery team leader rejoiced at their achievement, filled with pride she felt for both of her crew.
“Colm, how about you work up some water bladders and lunches. I think it’s time we go for a hike,” Alyssa ordered. “Heather, let’s get our trace together for my transmission to base. Colm, let’s get our beacons out,” the Commander directed. Then, before retreating to her quarters to change, she teasingly confirmed with Heather, “Make sure we set the green beacons, not the red. We’ll transmit once we’ve reconned the area. Let’s call the bus, not the rescue.”
Heather smiled with as much celebration as her Commander, confirming her orders, “Aye-Aye, Commander.”
Rising from the steaming mineral pool, her skin, the shade of purple orchid, glistened with the pearls of water beading across her full and heavy breasts. Two of her six tentacle-covered arms curled up; at their ends, delicate lips parted with a salacious stroke of a tongue. Closing over her mulberry-hued areola, the lips suckled, and the tongue swirled around her erect buds. Valiseamaana’s long, shapely legs carried her across the limestone floor. A third tentacle slithered around her taut belly, tucked itself between her thighs, and nestled atop the short, platinum strands of feather-like hair above her protruding labia.
Stepping beneath the falling mist from the Ternatea flowers hanging from the cave’s ceiling, Valiseamaana arched her back, exposing her long, elegant neck allowing a thousand minuscule kisses to adorn her with their sweet, musky scent.
Her arms, graceful and slim, rose to her scalp, her hands spread four slender fingers that ran through her hair. A luminescent pearl, never growing longer than the base of her skull glittered with the Seas reflection shimmering against the smooth stone walls, rose, then fanned before laying itself in layers. Bangs smoothed themselves across her forehead like the leaves beneath the berries of a bush sweeping to fine points above her jade-colored eyes and lavender brows.
Walking out from the caress of her swooning plants, Valiseamaana climbed the smooth sandstone steps and out into the bath of warm sunlight. Looking across the expanse, her wide-set, large glossy eyes took in the sight of the ship sitting atop the base of the cliffs across from her home. Then, tilting her head, she watched with curiosity as the three alien creatures walked out from the belly of the machine and tentatively stepped into her world.
It was Colm who saw the creature first. While Commander Garland and Lt. Castonguay walked beneath and around the Paralus, Captain Kelly caught the movement across the plateau. He could make out only a figure standing at the base of one of the overflowing pools from where he stood. Raising his scope, Kelly dialed up the focus on the target. Beneath the viewing device, his jaw fell open. Fixed in his view stood a creature, and there was no mistaking it was female. She was stunningly beautiful. She was also completely naked.
“Commander?” called Cpt. Kelly, “We are not alone. I have an entity at 600 yards due south.”
Alyssa Garland felt that they have already surpassed their expectations of finding a new planet compatible with the requirements for sustaining human life. Now, to find a new alien species, this mission was sure to go down in the annals of modern history.
“On my way, Captain,” replied the leader of this historic mission. “Heather, hold our six and be ready for emergency evac.”
“Aye –aye, Commander,” Heather replied at once and moved back to the ship. Once inside, she plotted a course for orbit and then brought the forward scope to focus on the alien. The viewing screen filled with the alien figure standing beneath a waterfall. Heather felt goosebumps ripple across her skin and heat rising to her face.
Lt. Castonguay watched as the being moved towards them in a wide, slow gait that seemed like she was floating above the moss-covered ground. With each step, her hips swayed seductively, her bare breasts jostled, and her octopus-like appendages undulated behind her in rhythm with the sea below.
Commander Garland stood alongside her science officer. Raising her scope to match his trajectory, she too stood in awe of the female creature, nude and beautiful, moving effortlessly towards them.
“I was going to order you to ready your side-arm, Captain, but I don’t have the slightest sense of threat,” Commander Garland commented. “Any preliminary assessment of the alien?” she asked.
Captain was lost for words. He never looked upon anything so lovely in his life, and his body gave its involuntary encouragement.
“I-I don’t feel a….” Captain Kelly stumbled in his response, then straightened himself out. “I concur, Commander. Although I must confess, I feel instinctively drawn to her. I don’t feel any reservations whatsoever.”
From the Paralus, Heather initiated the physio scanners sending the invisible waves over her crew and the alien being, who was closing the distance between them. The readings of each appeared on display to her left.
The readings on the Commander weren’t surprising. Her body was running a cool blue stress signature, her heart rate was regular, and she showed no signs of stress or agitation.
When Heather prompted the readings for Captain Kelly, an amused smile curled from the corner of her mouth.
“Well, you are a naughty boy after all, aren’t you, Captain Kelly?” she said.
Colm Kelly’s reading glowed red. His heart rate was up, his nervous system was sparking, and there was a significant increase in the heat signature from his groin. It was clear that the man she harbored powerful feelings for seemed very interested in this new and undeniably attractive being moving towards them.
Heather acknowledged her annoyance at this discovery. In all their time together in close quarters, Heather, with her Spanish mother’s dark skin, silky black hair, hazel eyes, and fetching figure, had never once felt any sense of attraction returned to her from Colm. And she had attempted every subtle maneuver she could think of to get that kind of reaction.
She was annoyed with Colm’s indifference, and she had thought him to be homosexual. If it wasn’t for the mission directive that he and the Commander were strong genetic matches and therefore selected for their experience as officers and chosen to begin repopulation of their species on a new home, she would have been convinced.
But now, the proof was in the pudding. Even if the Captain’s reactions were involuntary, Colm Kelly was sexually attracted to the alien.
When Heather sent the scan over the alien being, all the indicators went into overload. This was a sensual being in every sense. Her readings drew a picture of an empathic and loving being. Her erogenous zones seemed to be everywhere. She appeared to either have no realization that she was naked or bore no shame for appearing so. Her multiple limbs had dozens of sensory receptors, throbbing with vibratory pulses. Her pheromone dispersal was like a cloud around her body. Her facial features looked both seductive and aroused. To say she was shapely would be a gross understatement.
Her voluptuous figure displayed beautiful, large breasts with thick, smooth hips over a slim waist. Her body undulated as she moved. Even more attractive was her face. With a nose so small it seemed barely there at all, it rested squarely over a small but joyful smile. Heather considered if she was looking at an actual goddess.
Then, in line with her curious nature, she focused the scan on her biometric readings. Unlike the Commander, the readings displayed that Heather was responding to the presence of the alien with many of the identical signatures of sexual stimulation as Captain Kelly.
The alien goddess was enchanting.
“Do you see that?” Captain Kelly asked the Commander.
“Of course I see her — it,” the Commander replied. “Not like I can miss it. It’s coming straight towards us.”
Captain Kelly turned towards Commander Garland and pointed at the approaching alien. “It’s definitely a she, trust me on that. I’m talking about the moss. Look.”
The Commander watched the being walking towards them, and Alyssa saw what Colm was pointing out.
With each step the alien took in the mossy carpet, a burst of tiny bright blue flowers filled the imprints of her footfalls — where it was green before, a trail of small bouquets was born. Then, a few strides later, the beautiful alien being stood before them.
The gathering of two separate species stood a few feet apart, silently examining one another. The entity moved her head from Commander to Captain in a slow sweep. Her large luminous eyes blinked slowly beneath reptilian-like curtains of shimmering silver. A narrow mouth smiled with powder blue lips; then, the entity lowered her chin towards her chest in a slight bow.
As she raised to gaze upon the explorers once again, her limbs rose and fanned out like a peacock’s tail. Along each arm, just beneath what could be referred to as a wrist, was a triangle gathering of black dots. From those, tendrils of smoky threads emanated and surrounded Captain Kelly and Commander Garland in a cocoon.
Then, the astronauts heard her speak.
The words came from within. Garland and Kelly felt the words more than they heard — the communication was telepathic.
“Welcome to Emunah. I am called Valiseamaana. I am charged with caring for this planet. There are others, but we are dispersed across the land at great distances.”
Valiseamaana’s voice was melodic, soothing, and kind. “You have traveled a great distance,” her words continued to sound inside the ears of the space voyeurs, who, standing immobilized under the trance of Valiseamaana’s cloud, had yet to attempt their own introduction.
Two tentacles fluttered from Valiseamaana’s side and moved around each of the astronaut’s figures with the grace of a swan’s neck dipping below the surface of a calm lake; then, beginning at their feet, the mouths opened on each tentacle and suckled their way up and over the bodies of Kelly and Garland.
Gathered in her touch, the silent thoughts of Captain Kelly and Commander Garland fell into the outstretched tentacles of the alien’s remaining arms.
Valiseamaana heard every word both of the figures in front of her conjured in their minds without filter or pause. Once the cerebral connection had been made, communication between humans fell as rapidly as rain.
Valiseamaana retracted her arms, and the wispy cloud dissipated. Officers Kelly and Garland felt they had been caught in a deluge. Emotions, plans, secrets, and ploys all became exposed. When they had been in the communication shower with Valiseamaana, she had made everything clear.
The past, their future, and how everything they had planned for, trained for, and expected vanished.
From complete bafflement and professional resolve, Colm Kelly and Alyssa Garland turned, laced their fingers together, and strode back towards the Paralus with thorough understanding.
Lt. Castonguay had remained stationed at the controls during the nearly two hours that Commander Garland and Captain Kelly were held in the cloudy sphere with the alien. The ship’s sensors displayed readings during that time unlike anything the Lt. had ever seen.
Endorphin, dopamine, oxytocin, cortisol, and adrenaline readings were off the charts on both of her officers. Pheromone readings from all three life forms swarmed like a beehive around them. Threat indicators were flatlined, and defensive reactions were mute. Lt. Castonguay was witnessing pure joy manifesting into a tangible reality.
When the communication bubble receded, the lieutenant watched as the alien being lowered itself into a tantric posture. Her arms curled and cradled her body as the alien sank into the moss where flowers bloomed around her. When her Captain and Commander turned and moved back towards the ship, the lieutenant ran down to the landing deck to greet them.
As Colm Kelly and Alyssa Garland walked onto the landing platform of the Paralus, gone were the masks of authority and rank. Hand in hand, they approached the younger Lt. Castonguay with deep smiles and eyes dancing with joy. They wore an expression of love and something even more profound. It was Captain Kelly that spoke first.
“Heather,” he called in a low, serene voice.
Not knowing why Lt. Heather Castonguay blushed. The way Colm said her name — felt so tender, so personal, that she couldn’t help but smile and go to him.
Colm reached up, his fingers falling into Heather’s silky chestnut hair. Heather knew that Colm was really seeing her for the first time, staring into her eyes. Looking at her the way she’d spent countless hours dreaming about. His touch was gentle and warm. Colm stepped in closer, taking her chin in both hands; he held her lovingly as he spoke.
“Did you know the meaning of your name?” Colm asked. “You’re ancestry, Spanish and Scottish, both hold meaning in Heather. From your Spanish mother, you are a flowering evergreen that thrives on barren land. You are named for a pool from a waterfall from your Scottish father.”
Despite her confusion, Heather was elated to be in Colm’s embrace. Her smile widened, and she said nothing.
“I had no idea,” Colm continued, “that I have been the barren land for you to flower on, but I now realize that I am meant to be the dam that holds your water. I see how beautiful you are now and how much you have to give to share.” Then, without allowing Heather to respond, Colm leaned and kissed her as Heather had never been kissed.
Her shock, thrill, and joy swept over Heather’s body and mind. Heather knew that all her fantasies of loving Colm would become a reality in that kiss. Heather knew that she would mother his children raise and love them with Colm by her side. Tears ran down her cheeks as she kissed Colm back with all the love she had been holding back.
Stepping into the closeness of Heather and Colm, still kissing, Alyssa smiled. Then, raising her hands above Heather, ash-like specks of glittering pollen floated from Alyssa’s fingertips, dusting Heather’s head and face. Alyssa brushed her lips against Heather’s ear and whispered, “Look at me, Heather.”
Heather turned to Alyssa, breaking from the kiss, her heart racing, tears still streaking over her high cheekbones.
Though it was but a mere moment, not more than a few blinks of an eye, Heather heard some of the words shared with Alyssa by Valiseamaana.
“This is really true?” Heather asked, her question barely more than a whisper itself. “You?” Heather asked, her eyes flaring in delighted shock. “All this time?”
“Before now, I would never have been able to say it,” Alyssa answered. “Of course, I knew how you felt about Colm,” Alyssa said, who had now taken hold of Alyssa’s hand once more. “And our mandate made it impossible; I was, of course, intended to procreate with Colm. So repopulation was to begin as soon as possible,” Alyssa explained, “You, of course, were to be with crew members to follow.”
More tears flowed for Heather. She looked from Colm to Alyssa. Heather’s heart swelled inside her threatening to burst. She had no words.
“Valiseamaana will show you the rest. She’s waiting for us to go home with her.” Alyssa said, “Our new home, Heather. Ours. Together.” Alyssa looked at Colm, smiled, and turned back to Heather, “But before we go, you need to tell me it’s okay, that you’re willing, and you want this as much as we do.” A tear fell from Alyssa’s eye, “You can leave. There is still time. The choice is yours.”
Heather moved with intention. Taking Colm’s free hand in hers, she kissed his lips once more, then turned to Alyssa, looked deep into her eyes, and placed her palm against Alyssa’s cheek, her fingers falling delicately along her neck, leaned in, and kissed her.
The same resounding sensations of love and affection slipped from Alyssa’s lips as Heather had received from Colm’s.
At the edge of the plateau, the three partners stored gear and supplies inside a cave entrance. Then, beneath the white glow from the evening’s double moon, they walked to a pool. Vapors of steam swirled into the crimson-violet sunset. Nearby a small fire burned blue with flames from dark porous stones. Atop of them smoldered the uniforms of the former astronauts, Lt. Heather Castonguay, Captain Colm Kelly, and Commander Alyssa Garland.
Linked hand to hand, Alyssa, Colm, and Heather stepped into the hot springs of the mountain mineral water. Nude, fearless, and awash with love, the trio submerged in the soothing bath, joining the resplendent and omniscient, Valiseamaana.
Far across the plateau, rock sank, and moss grew over the place the Paralus had landed. Then, an orchard of all colored flowers grew atop the damp green turf.