It might take the arrival of an alien being to remind an isolated man what it means to be human.
With a stressful job, his boss breathing down his neck for profitable results, and an estranged wife and daughter, scientist Kurt Lomax doesn’t think life can get much harder. Until a nonbinary extraterrestrial with an otherworldly beauty inconveniently shows up at his apartment.
Vardam watched the destruction of their own world, and they don’t want to see the same thing happen on Earth. They are lonely, and feelings soon develop between them and the supposedly straight scientist—feelings Kurt reciprocates, much to his confusion.
The arrival of cheerful interpreter Tom Soames—whose Goth appearance belies a gentle heart—is like a ray of sunshine in the somber lab. He acts as matchmaker for man and tentacled extraterrestrial, unwittingly instigating a national crisis when the news breaks out.
But will a misunderstanding ruin Kurt and Vardam’s chances for happiness together—along with the hope for peace between humanity and the Var?
You might have heard the term “disco jizz and tentacles,” bandied around in relation to this book. This scene is why. Of course I had to have it as an excerpt!
When Tom next looked, Nic had wheeled in an ultrasound machine and was preparing it for use.
“Is he okay?”
“Does he look it? Kurt, I’m going to check what’s going on in your stomach,” she said, but the professor was too zoned out to notice. He did not protest when Nic peeled back the sheet to expose his abdomen.
Tom was shocked at how thin Kurt was, but his belly looked as if he had had a decent meal. Nic palpated it gently.
“There’s something weird going on here,” she muttered.
Kurt did not flinch as she applied the cold gel. She ran the transducer over his abdomen, watching the computer screen. To Tom’s untrained eye, the man’s stomach seemed to be filled with some kind of gelatinous liquid.
Nic wiped the gel away from his skin and covered him up. Kurt’s serious brown eyes were open but hazy.
“Can you remember what happened?” she asked him.
Kurt smiled beatifically at her. “I think I was a bit of a slut.”
Tom and Nic looked at each other.
“Did he just say that?” Tom thought his ears needed clearing out.
“I think he did. Kurt, can you tell me what you drank last night? Or what you ate?”
Kurt stared up at the ceiling and did not reply. That same half smile was on his face, as if he could see something wonderful they were not party to.
“I’m going to take a sample of what is in your stomach, okay? It might feel a little uncomfortable.”
“Can I stay?” Tom asked as she busied herself with a frighteningly large syringe.
“Sure, as long as you’re not going to pass out or anything dumb like that. Sharp scratch, Kurt. It’ll be over in less than five seconds.” She set to work. The man flinched, but the stoned expression on his face did not change. The body of the syringe filled with amber liquid. When she judged she had enough, she withdrew the syringe and pressed a dressing to the small hole she had created. “Hold that there, will you?” she said to Tom, who obliged, watching Kurt.
Still no response. How could a man have a fucking great needle shoved in his stomach and not scream the place down? It didn’t make sense.
Nic snapped off the sharp end of the syringe and disposed of it, then held the remaining vial to the light. The liquid was amber and sparkled as if shot through with diamonds.
“Hmm. This looks familiar.” She made Kurt comfortable before heading off to the lab.
Tom trotted behind her. For a small woman, she moved hellish fast. They entered the lab where Troy was analyzing Kurt’s bloods.
Watching them work, Tom was amazed at the complexity of the equipment they were using. At school, he had never paid a lot of attention to science. It had bored him rigid. Now he was desperate to look down the microscope.
“Holy shit,” Troy said. “Tell me you’re not seeing what I’m seeing.”
Nic stepped into his place and looked. And looked.
“Wriggly little buggers, aren’t they?” she said after a few moments. She stepped back to let Tom look. Each tiny cell had a bulbous end and a long, hyperactive tail. They all seemed to be coalescing toward one side of the agar plate, before joining to create one larger organism.
“Looks like cum,” he said to no one in particular. When he didn’t get a response, he looked up to see them staring at him. “I mean, semen. Looks like… I mean, it looks like the gayest jizz ever, with those sparkles in it. I’m not a scientist, okay? I’m just saying….”
“The results from Kurt’s skin confirm seminal residue from the patient, laced with Vardanium,” Troy said formally.
They fell silent, all trying to compute that new information.