My life is boring. I need to get away, take a vacation, spend some time to myself, enjoy a little peace and quiet.
I decide to take my one-woman space cruiser for a spin around the local spiral arm, far from human contact. So that I won’t have any unwanted distractions I turn off all external communications except the emergency beacon. Then, leaving all my clothes in the hold, I make my way to the forward observation dome and sit lotus-fashion before the control panel.
After setting a random course, I enter the launch command and the ship lifts off silently on its repulsors and is soon far from the planet. The controls are conveniently positioned, so that while watching the stars I can monitor the ship’s status without needing to move my head.
As the ship enters hyperspace the quantum ghosts of the stars streak by the viewport. Soon the ship has accelerated to its cruising velocity of a few thousand c. There’s something hypnotic about the sight of the stars streaking by, and I soon enter a deep state of relaxation.
I must have been meditating for a couple of hours when suddenly the dome is suffused by a bright pink glow. My body begins to tingle in a curious but not unpleasant fashion. What’s going on? The glow soon fades away, but the tingling does not.
That is when I see the alien vessel. Not through the viewport, of course. It is far too distant to be seen with the naked eye, even to my highly enhanced vision. But for a few moments the unmistakable signature of another spacecraft appears on the tactical holoscreen. Then it is gone.
What in the nebulae was that about? I think. The ship does not seem to have been damaged by the glow, whatever it was. No alarms have sounded. Without moving my head, I glance at the readouts. As far as I can tell, all of the readings appear normal.
I try to ask the ship what has happened. Only then do I discover that something is wrong. I can’t open my mouth. My vocal chords remain mute.
Oh, dear gods. The aliens haven’t damaged the ship, but they have done something to me. Now I do try to move my head, but I can’t. It only takes a moment to confirm that the rest of my body is equally unresponsive. My legs remain folded beneath me. My hands will not leave my lap. I can only move my eyes.
My worst suspicions are confirmed. The aliens have somehow paralysed me without alerting the ship to their presence. Unable to move or speak, I have no way of controlling or communicating with the ship. Oh, if only I had chosen to instal a neural interface! But no. I’d decided that it was an expensive luxury, and that motion sensors and speech recognition would be sufficient...
Now, thanks to those cunning aliens, the ship is convinced that nothing is wrong, and I can’t tell it otherwise. The emergency beacon is supposed to activate if anything happens to me. It hasn’t. My last hope of rescue is gone. I am completely at the aliens’ mercy.
So why haven’t they come back to finish me off or enslave me?
While I have been thinking about this, the tingling in my body has been growing and growing. The more it grows the more pleasant and erotic it becomes, like the caresses of a thousand ghostly lovers. Finally it reaches its peak. I climax, slowly and thrillingly, for well over a minute. Dear gods, the pleasure! I’d never felt anything like it. The med sensors must have registered my sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure, but they wouldn’t see them as a problem. I’d often masturbated on board.
Is that what the aliens wanted to happen, or is it just some unexpected side-effect of their paralysis weapon? Maybe they are reading my mind and feeding off my ecstasy somehow. Yet if that is true, it doesn’t explain why they haven’t captured me rather than letting the ship just cruise on and on.
I look at the controls. There is still no sign of the aliens. I am beginning to suspect that their attack was just hit and run. Maybe they thought it would kill me. Who can figure out an alien being’s thought processes?
The ship is still on its original heading. With no commands from me, the ship will simply continue on the same bearing, avoiding inconvenient obstacles like planets, until it runs out of power, and that won’t be for a long time yet.
The ghostly hands continue to explore my body unceasingly. Soon I experience another orgasm, stronger than the first but mercifully not quite as long. If I weren’t mute I would be moaning loudly. That would certainly alert the med unit to the fact that something is up.
I watch the phantom star-trails streaking by, always changing, always the same. For a while I entertain the possibility that the paralysis might be temporary. Maybe in a few hours, or days at most, it will wear off and I will be free to return home. Then I’ll never complain about my boring life again.
But the tingling shows no sign of abating and my muscles remain inert. As orgasm follows orgasm the rushing stars seem to mock my helpless stillness. There is nothing I can do but give myself up to the pleasure.
I can’t eat or drink, but I am in no danger of dying from thirst or starvation. Ships of this type are designed to keep their occupants alive and healthy. The stupid machine is programmed to recognise dehydration and malnutrition. It just doesn’t seem to recognise paralysis. When I don’t feed myself it won’t ask why. It will simply manufacture nutrients in its molecular synthesizer, then teleport them into my bloodstream. It will remove wastes the same way, and efficiently reconfigure their molecules back into nutrients.
Hours turn into days, and then weeks. I sit like a statue, climaxing thousands of times. I want to moan with pleasure but I can’t make a sound. Apart from the quiet humming of the ship’s systems there’s nothing to disturb the silence. I wanted peace and quiet, it’s true, but this is far more than I bargained for.
I watch the controls. The ship’s course never deviates from the random bearing I originally programmed. In a few years this heading will take it out of the galaxy. A few decades later it will pass beyond the local cluster of galaxies.
Barring some major catastrophe like a nearby supernova, I will still be alive by that time, though I’m not sure whether I’ll be sane. Under the ship’s tender loving care, I will remain in perfect physical condition. Its systems will prevent me from developing sores, cramp or thrombosis from sitting still for so long. They’ll keep my eyesight and hearing in perfect condition, even though there’ll never be anything new to see or hear. They’ll maintain my internal organs at peak efficiency. The only thing they can’t do, it seems, is cure the paralysis or release me from this endless cycle of orgasms.
And in all those years I will never age. Not by one minute. As long as the ship’s zero-point generator continues to provide power, my physical well-being will be maintained. I am, to all intents and purposes, immortal - at least, until the ship finally wears out.
As I come with superhuman intensity for the thousandth time today, a sudden realisation comes to me. It makes me wish I was able to laugh... but only because that would be better than screaming.
I’ve just remembered that the ship has a five million year warranty.