Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Contributing Editor


Monkeys and Empire State Buildings
by James K. Isaac

Debbie Does Delta Draconis III
by Sarina Dorie

Becoming Einstein
by George S. Walker

No Good Conscience
by Edward J. Knight

Last Log of the Vancouver
by David Falkinburg

Saving the Galaxy and Taking Names
by Justin Short

Diplomacy in Springtime
by Jennifer Linnaea

Onkeymay Usinessbay
by Doug Donnan

Inside Magic Circles
by Brent Knowles


Cosmic Life Rays
by John McCormick and Beth Goldie

A Lost World On the Polar Ice
by Fitzhugh Green




Shorter Stories

Comic Strips




Debbie Does Delta Draconis III

By Sarina Dorie

I WOKE, SWEATY AND disheveled, aware I’d had that voyeuristic dream again: Worb, Dianna Tori, holodeck, no clothes ... tangled in positions no man has done before. Why couldn’t I have normal dreams about George Clooney like other middle-aged women? I dreamed about men from a science fiction television show with oversized craniums, wearing unfashionable ’90s bodysuits.

When I walked into work, my long blonde hair clipped in place, my power suit speaking of professionalism, a flash of Dianna Tori draped in a Roman toga flashed before my eyes. I smiled, gazing off into the distance before catching myself.

Rita, our receptionist at Anderson & Sons, Attorneys at Law, stared at me, an eyebrow raised. “Good morning, Deborah,” she said, a smirk twisting her lips upward. I trudged to my office, all the while feeling like a scarlet letter was etched into my forehead.

It had been like this for weeks, vivid Star Journey dreams a geek would have given his vintage Commander Spot action figure for. I was a respectable lawyer; I had no room in my life to entertain such fantasies. But at our morning meeting, as my boss droned on about profit like a greedy Alpha Centurian, the image of Worb popped into my head again. Tall, dark and masculine, both noble and honorable, loyal to his crew and the primary directive. Worb would have made a good lawyer.

I sighed. Maybe if I actually liked my job I wouldn’t dream about aliens. This wasn’t exactly the career of seeking out justice and fighting for the rights of humanity I’d envisioned for myself as a lawyer.

“Ahem, Earth to Deborah,” Mr. Anderson, my boss, said. His bald head with his fake, carrot-tinted tan made him look all the more Alpha Centurian. “Do you have the settlement information from yesterday’s meeting with the Yamadas or are you too busy daydreaming ... about Captain Kurt?”

I snapped to attention, simultaneously confused and insulted. I would never like that womanizing, sexist Kurt. Why would he even suggest it? Sure, I had a “Kurt and Spot for president” business card in my wallet which I’d purchased online last election ... Had that weasely Alpha Centurian been in my desk?

Everyone at the meeting laughed. My face burned with humiliation. I hated my job. I hated my life. No one understood me.


That night it was the same; Worb and Dianna Tori on the holodeck. Only this time, Worb looked at me. I was in the dream, too.

“I am not a merry man ... yet.” He held out his hand to me. “You want to join us. Come,” he commanded in that deep, rumbling—and, um, slightly sexy voice.

I became aware that Dianna Tori and Worb were standing in my room at the foot of my bed. The only thing that separated me from them was the fancy mosquito netting my ex-boyfriend had gotten me at World Market to make my room look exotic.

“I will recite poetry and you will throw furnishings at me,” Worb said.

My heart gave a little flutter of joy. Considering this was foreplay for Denebians, that sounded appropriately Worb-like. I could do alien poetry. I drew the line when he waved his curved, semi-circular sword around in the air, slashing a bit of mosquito netting. I scooted back, my stomach flip-flopping with panic. He chanted in a guttural, alien dialect. The sharp blade flashed in the light, tearing a larger hole in the fabric. I ducked, too busy screaming in terror to pay much attention to the poetry.

Worb looked at Dianna. “Is screaming a customary reaction in the courtship between aliens and humans?”

She took something like a Kindle out from a pocket. “Are we going by Worb of Star Journey the Next Generator or Deep Nebula Three? Because there was that scene in DN3 when Dex and Worb—”

“I didn’t watch Deep Nebula Three. I don’t want a sword in my condo!” I screamed, almost hyperventilating. “I was a Next Generator girl.”

I thought about throwing a pillow through the gaping wound in the mosquito netting, but decided a Denebian would probably like that.

Dianna hit him with the Kindle-like device. “Moron, you didn’t do your homework. She didn’t watch that scene.”

“Oh, qu’vatlh guy’cha b’aka!” He sighed, looking downtrodden.

Dianna Tori nudged Worb out of the way. She gazed into my eyes. “This is all a dream. All just a dream ...”

My eyesight blurred and I slipped off into another dream, my boss’ head being eaten by a giant squid.

In the morning, I noted the tear in my mosquito netting. My stomach quivered like a Tribolite after eating poisoned grain.


Like any sane person grounded in reality, I decided Worb could not be real. In addition to having erotic Star Journey dreams, I must have also been a sleepwalker and had slashed the mesh. To be safe, I put child safety locks on the kitchen drawers where I kept the knives.

I also took down the mosquito netting so I didn’t have to be reminded of that dream.

But it wasn’t long before my next Worb dream. He was onboard some dark, dingy vessel in a sword fight with another Denebian. From the beginning, it was obvious Worb was going to win; the other guy was smaller, slower, and snarled like an Alpha Centurian. The opponent did have thick, lustrous hair, though that would hardly help him in a battle. A bunch of rowdy, armor-clad Denebian warriors shouted encouragement to them. I noticed the way sweat hung like jewels in Worb’s mane of hair, the way he grunted in an oddly enticing way. He twirled in slow motion, tearing down his opponent and letting the other Denebian drop to the ground.

He turned to me, lifting his chin. “Do I please you now? Do you wish me to ravish you?”

The scene behind him faded and we were in my bedroom once again. Something wasn’t right about this. For one thing, the guy on the floor was trying hard not to giggle.

I crossed my arms. “No, not really.”

“See, I told you not to use the word ravish,” the blood-covered Denebian on the floor said.

His voice sounded a bit like Dianna Tori’s. Come to think of it, that gorgeous hair was like Dianna’s too.

Worb slumped, looking uncharacteristically dejected. “I have traveled across the universe to seek you out and discover your passion for alien life, yet you spurn my advances?”

“You’re saying you came to Earth for me?” It sounded like a line some college-aged guy would tell a girl. But I wasn’t a naive freshman. I was a thirty-five-year-old lawyer. I didn’t believe in true love. Nor did I believe fantasies could come true.

“What reason would I come to this barbaric planet other than for you and to fulfill your primitive desires?” Worb asked.

Hmm. Classic avoidance of answering the question. I turned to Dianna Tori/Denebian. “So why did you two really come here?”

He/she sat up, the sword falling aside. “To have encounters with lots of exotic alien females.” Yes, that was definitely Dianna Tori’s voice.

“No, that’s not it! I only want you.” Worb whispered through clenched teeth to his companion. “You aren’t helping.”

Typical immature male—some things were constants in the universe. “So you came to my planet to have sex with as many alien women as possible.”

“And to film his sexual encounters,” Dianna Denebian Tori added.

Worb looked like he was going to blow a warp core converter.

“You use unwitting women for your pornos? Then you sell them back on your alien planet?” I asked. This sounded like an interplanetary lawsuit waiting to happen.

“It’s for interplanetary studies. It gets our tuition paid through the Intergalactic Yesselhynveeerka Academy,” Worb said. “And we’re not into the alien probe thing. That’s just dirty.”

College students, just as I thought. “And what do these women get out of it?”

“Ahem, their sexual fantasies fulfilled. I don’t understand why you aren’t behaving like the females portrayed in television broadcasts.”

My face flushed with anger. “There’s a difference between fantasy and reality. It’s one thing for a woman to daydream about having sex with a stranger. It’s another for a stranger to force himself on her, claiming that’s what she wanted. This is about consent. You’re violating the people of my planet.”

Dianna Denebian’s face crumpled up in concern. “I can see this has upset you greatly. I had no idea this would cause humans to feel so ill-used. I apologize. How can we atone for this?”

I eyed her suspiciously, uncertain whether she was being sincere. There was something oddly rehearsed about her wording. “You can start by erasing all recordings you’ve made of your sexual encounters.”

Worb cast a dirty look at Dianna. “Well, that’s an easy one, considering some Gloop Worm brain accidentally hit the erase button on all my previous alien exploits a month ago.”

I raised my voice. “You also need to stop going into dreams and enacting fantasies without permission. And don’t tell me you asked permission while in a dream state. The conscious mind is what counts in a court of law.”

Dianna nodded emphatically.

Worb flashed the kind of smile that would have made any geek girl’s heart flutter. Except mine, of course. “So, uh, now that we got that all out of the way, may I fulfill your fantasy?”

I threw the water bottle on my nightstand at him. It hit his crinkly forehead with a satisfying thunk.

He smiled. “Was that a yes?”

“Get out of my dream.” If I was lucky, I would dream of a giant squid eating my boss’s head and my clients. Now there was a fantasy I could look forward to.


The next day as I scanned my papers in the courtroom, I turned to my crack-smoking, child neglecting, nightmare client to remind her to look like she felt remorse for dropping a TV on her ex-boyfriend’s leg. Ugh! I hated my job. I was also about to ask her to stop flicking her lighter when I noticed a Denebian sitting a few rows back.

There were only a dozen people in the courtroom, so he was pretty noticeable. Worb smiled smugly. Did he think this was fulfilling some kind of fantasy? This was just plain annoying.

I nudged my client. “Could you do a small favor for me? Could you look over your shoulder and tell me if there’s a man sitting about six rows back who looks a little, um, well ... like a ...” I couldn’t bring myself to say Denebian.

Her eyes went wide. “Ohmygod! It’s him!”

“You see him too, then?”

She started to hyperventilate, her voice rising. “Taylor, I love you!”

Judge Wentworth banged the gavel, looking irritated and grumpy. Nancy Yearborne, defending the drug-dealing, mini-mart robbing jerk who probably deserved to get a TV dropped on his leg, glanced over her shoulder, then turned her whole body to stare at Worb.

Nancy’s face flushed. “Is that Taylor Lautner?” She unclipped her French twist and tossed back her head.

Is that who they saw?

The jurors whispered amongst themselves. I heard a few excited cries of “Jacob!” and then, “No, it’s Edward!”

The whispers rose into shrieks. Judge Wentworth continued banging his gavel. Suddenly he ceased. Putting on his glasses, he said, “That looks like Rock Hudson.” From the gleam in his eyes, I guessed he had something of a crush on the late actor.

The courtroom was in sudden chaos, women jumping over the benches like hurdles, screaming the names of whoever they desired. Panic crossed Worb’s face as he vanished in a Star Journey-like transporter beam.

This had to be a dream.

I pinched myself. Damn, I was definitely awake.


When Worb arrived that night, I was ready for him with a restraining order and papers for the lawsuit: Earth vs. Yesselhynveeerka, or whatever his planet was called.

Worb stomped his foot, his voice turning annoyingly whiney. He actually seemed to shrink in size. “I’ve been patiently waiting for the day you’d do some kinky Denebian n’ga’chug with me, playing this stupid alien in your dreams for a month, and this is the thanks I get?”

“Worb is not stupid!” I said.

He snorted in a very un-Denebian like way. “Do you really think aliens have crinkly foreheads? Ha! You wouldn’t know what a hot, sexy alien looked like if ... if he was in your room, like I am right now.” He crossed his arms, looking especially sulky ... and slightly greener, the edges of his body blurring. “Stupid human females! I’m trying to do a favor for you and you go off about primitive ethics. We should go to back to California. Those girls were begging for me as Justin Bieber.”

Dianna looked up from the papers she was writing on. “I’m not playing Bella again. She lacks character development and is a poor female model with her needy dependence.”

I turned to her. “Exactly! She’s always relying on one of the male characters to rescue her. I really don’t think she’s a good example of the average human woman.”

Worb growled.

“That’s why I suggested a lawyer.” Dianna’s face brightened, a glimmer of green alien shining through the human skin. “I thought you would be a better representation of your culture. Someone intelligent and confident, someone who chooses a mate for more than superficial qualities. And there were other reasons I thought a lawyer who wants to make a difference in the world would be ideal ...”

My face flushed with warmth. I was flattered, but I kept my expressionless Commander Spot face on, not wanting these aliens to believe I could be manipulated.

Dianna circled something in the papers and handed them back to me. “There are a few misspellings. And Yesselhynveeerka is the academy, not the planet, but you’re going to get a greater response from notifying the school anyway. It’s just a lost cause to sue the government.”

“Don’t help her! I don’t need this on my school records,” Worb whined.

Dianna’s tone was icy. “I told you a month ago, recording humans while procreating without their consent would be violating their culture.”

Hmm ... Previously, Dianna had acted surprised when I’d been angered by the sexual dream invasion. And Worb had said she’d “accidentally” erased all his porno recordings ... one month earlier. My heart raced with the realization that Dianna had planned on her lowlife-form boyfriend and school getting sued for something she hadn’t agreed with. How sneaky, how cunning, how logically Commander Spot-like. This was just like that one episode when Spot had to pretend to be a Xylanthian in order to help the oppressed people of that world. My respect for Dianna quadrupled.

Worb looked from me to Dianna. “Great. My girlfriend—” presumably ex-girlfriend “—and the lawyer are getting it on while my school and I are getting sued. I’m done here.” Worb walked through the wall.

Dianna rolled her eyes and held up a glowing blue cube in her hand. “Not without the keys.” She turned to me. “I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.” She sat down beside me, her human appearance crumbling further. Pulsing streams of green and dazzling lights flickered under her skin. “We don’t copulate like your species does to procreate, so sexuality is novel for our people. My major is Earth studies and I came here on a scholarship to study your species. I’ve only recently begun to understand the complexities of your culture and how offensive and sexually demoralizing the idea of reality shaping and dream bending would be for humans. Once here, it was quite easy to find another Yesselhynveeerkan whose behavior toward humans I could document for my thesis on the violation of indigenous cultures.”

I stared at the Dianna alien shimmering in and out of reality before me. One moment she was a ball of light shifting into the shape of a human, each tendril of hair coiling and bobbing like seaweed in an ocean’s current. Another moment, she faded into a green Andromedan slave dancer, another Star Journey fetish I’d be embarrassed to admit. Then she flickered back into Dianna Tori. I forced myself to concentrate on her words, not all the alien fantasies she mirrored from my head.

“Will you stop shifting!” I said. “It’s distracting.”

“I’m not shifting. Your subconscious desires are changing. Reading these brain waves comes naturally to my people. We energetically take on the environment and subconscious thoughts of sentient life forms around us. We’re the equivalent of chameleons in the way we adapt to new surroundings.” She flickered into a collage of donuts and bonbons, the aroma of rocky road and butter pecan wafting toward me.

I closed my eyes. My mouth watered. “What your race can do is the equivalent of a hologram fantasy. Humans might actually like the experience. Has anyone ever suggested telling humans about what you’re doing instead of tricking them into it? If you plan to record them, you could offer them pay—though it’s very possible they would be lining up to pay you to fulfill their fantasies. You could even sign a contract with them to prove you’re doing something legitimate. You would need a lawyer for that, of course ...”

One of Dianna’s floating strands of hair brushed against my shoulder. A ripple of pleasure shuddered through me.

“The people of my planet would benefit from hearing this proposal, in addition to being held accountable for the lawsuit you’ve drawn up. Would you be interested in traveling to Delta Draconis III and meeting real aliens?” She leaned closer. “I promise we aren’t all like Glick.”

A little quiver rushed up my spine. Delta Draconis? Real aliens? Being abducted from my annoying clients to do something of intergalactic importance? Maybe fantasies did come true. infinity

Sarina Dorie is a First place winner of the Golden Rose RWA Award, the Golden Claddagh RWA Award, the Allasso Humor Award, and the Whidbey Student Choice Award. Her stories have been published in “Daily Science Fiction,” “Cosmos,” “Bards and Sages,” “Neo-Opsis,” “Flagship,” and many other online periodicals.



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