A furry, drooling, parthenogenetic species seemed no threat to their human colonisers. But the Zy Ren had some evolutionary skills that the humans had not bargained for.

Captain Idries Bates sprayed a little top-up of libido suppressant under his tongue before going in to meet the Quing. All of the Earthmen he had brought here were obliged to dose themselves morning and night but he thought he wouldn’t be facing this meeting if they had obeyed.

“The majesty will see you now,” said an attendant offering to escort him to the door. The creature was unremarkable, about seven foot tall with four breasts and a tail.

A parthenogenetic species had no need for distinctive appearance. But the Quing was different from the uniform masses. It was about four times the size of other Zy Ren. Apart from that, the breasts were shaped much like humanoid breasts all over the universe. Captain Bates had entered a career in space travel expecting to find diversity and now realised that conscious life everywhere expressed itself in predictable manifestations. The vertical biped was one of the most common.

The Quing hummed alluringly. All Zy Ren hummed alluringly; that was a big part of the problem.

“You have a problem?” The Quing stroked its inner thigh as if heightened sensual self pleasuring was as instinctive as was basic grooming to an Earthling.

“We both have a problem,” said Bates, “as I see it.”

“Explain,” it said, edging closer to him.

“My people are mating with your people. My mission is to establish a human colony and that won’t happen if my people don’t breed.”

“I’m not denying them the right to breed”, said the Quing, a little huskily the Captain thought.

“But your people have no need of my people.”

“It’s little you know about the Zy Ren,” said the Quing.

“I know that you are parthenogenetic, sexually self sufficient. You don’t even mate with each other. Where’s the attraction in mating with humans?”


Bates had suspected as much but had not thought the Zy Ren would admit this so readily.

“Zy Ren sexual biology is unconscious. We conceive in our sleep.”

Bates had already had this explained to him by his medical officer, Irene Iqbal.

“It’s the coccyx,” she had said. “Or that’s what we would call it. It grows in the night and curls underneath between the legs and pokes around for an orifice, and doesn’t take long to find one.”

But a Zy Ren that had been penetrated by a human male would not hunger for that extension in the night, and where the extension had discharged inside a human it would not have any seed left to deliver into its owner’s quim.

“We have a population problem, so this encounter with your people is useful, though even if it wasn’t, I don’t think I could talk my people out of this new game they have learnt.” The Quing was adamant.

“You don’t need us for contraception. There are other ways.”

“We have cultural aversions to those other ways. Now is there anything else you would like to discuss? You are happy with your accommodation? Your food?”

Bates had no complaints about either.


Back at his station he called in Medical Officer Iqbal for a report on the procreation project. Irene was a slightly built blonde woman with fine bones and a fierce intelligence. She had moles on her little breasts and wispy red pubic hair though she was, of course, in uniform when she entered the room.

“Little to report, I’m afraid, Captain.”

“Have we had any conceptions?”

“One,” she said, smiling.

“Oh good.” And although it was considered unprofessional to ask, he didn’t think she’d mind. “Am I the father?”

“No one else reported in this month though there were seventeen on the roster. It’s the same with the other girls.”

“Our men would rather be human condoms for wanking Zy Ren than do their bit to save the species.”

“It’s not just the men.”

Bates was genuinely puzzled.

“Some of the women are sleeping with Zy Ren too.”

Homosexuals had been screened out of the colonisation programme so there should have been no lesbians among them, he reasoned. That reasoning assumed too much about the coherence and predictability of sexual desire. He feared now that the Zy Ren understood human nature better than he did himself.

“What do they do?” he asked and then winced to think what a tired question that was.

“They do whatever they take a notion to do. As far as the Zy Ren is concerned the coccyx has to find an orifice but where is of no concern or consequence.”

“Are they really as functional as that? Have they no interest in us as people?”

“Do our people have any interest in them beyond the sexual pleasure they give?”

“You were going to report to me on that too.”

“Yes, Captain. Men report that the receptive organ, or vagina of the Zy Ren is in many ways similar to that of the human. It differs in that the Zy Ren operates firmer muscle control over it, perhaps autonomously, providing a rippling from the outer lips to the inner depths. This may be a reflex that would extract seed from the Zy Ren’s own male organ, the extended coccyx. Human men find this rippling musculature more gratifying, more stimulating than the normal movements of the human penis and vagina interacting. Add to this that the coccyx of the Zy Ren then curls and enters the anus of the man and pulses.”

“And what percentage of our men are now having sex with Zy Ren?”

“All of them, Captain. With, I presume, the exception of yourself.”

At that moment a Zy Ren entered the room. Bates could not be sure that it was his usual attendant because physically they were all alike though they frequently changed their bearing and attire. When the mission had first landed, the Zy Ren had hair all over their bodies and they had mannerisms which were more bestial than human. They ate raw meat with their hands and drooled as they did so. They often sat in the shade for hours at a time scratching themselves, picking at their orifices and eating insects. Then they adapted. As they lost their body hair the four breasts appeared almost human. They walked erect now and seemed to acquire the movements and posture of the human women.

At first the rumour that some of the men had been coupling with them had appalled Bates and his close team but news spread that a Zy Ren could pleasure a man like no earthly woman could. And the Zy Ren were seen more often in the company of men, moving in a most inviting way.

The attendant who entered was wearing a sort of bikini. The top part enfolded two breasts diagonally, leaving the other two exposed. The bottom part clung close enough to accentuate the quim and give it the appearance of being open. Behind, the coccyx bulged and quivered between her buttocks, like a hooked finger. This was like a joke, an alien’s inept effort to be a beautiful earthling. But combine that image with the knowledge that this creature was eager to have sex with any man at any time, if asked politely, and would provide a superhuman orgasm, and few men let their sense of humour get in the way.

“Is there anything at all I can do for you? Either of you?” said the Zy Ren in a husky whisper. “You have only to ask.” It brushed hair from her face to show deep dark pearly eyes that shimmered eagerly.

Bates reached into his pocket for his Libido Suppressant and sprayed twice under his tongue. As he did so, he noticed how tired and drawn officer Iqbal was.

“Medical Officer dismissed,” he said and gave a prompt salute.

“I would like to have a conversation,” he said to the Zy Ren.

The Zy Ren pursed inflated red lips and kissed the air. “Whatever you say.”

“How has our arrival on your planet changed the way you live?”

“In one sense, not at all. You have helped us to contain our rapid population growth. Before you came a Zy Ren would lay one egg a month. Normally only three of these would hatch out but you cleaned our air and water and survival increased immediately. We were about to be overwhelmed by our own hatchlings, but you provided a solution to that too. I would say we now have balance in our relationship.”

“The only problem is that we humans have stopped breeding because our men only want to mate with Zy Ren.”

“You have cloning technology. I have heard many of your people talk about it. You use it for adapting your vegetation to our soil. So, clone some humans. We don’t want you to die off. We like you. So why don’t you stop worrying and come over here and sit beside me.”

“Nothing in your biological history has prepared you for mating. You just don’t do it. So how have you taken so eagerly to it? I don’t understand. It’s like a dog wanting to read a book. It’s not in your nature; it never was.”

“If something is good for us we will do it.”

“So you don’t actually enjoy mating with humans?”

“Enjoy would be too strong a word. We think of it like taking our medicine. We are addicted to you.”

“But there aren’t enough of us to serve you all. There are millions of you, only a few hundred of us.”

“All the more reason you should get on with the cloning. Every Zy Ren should have a human. That would be ideal. Then we could extend your water and air cleaning to the whole planet. We would create paradise between us.”

Captain Bates wondered if the Libido Suppressant was losing its effect.

“You have yet to enjoy your first night with a Zy Ren,” said the Zy Ren. “I can tell.”

The Zy Ren leaned forward and rested a hand on Captain Bates’s knee. When he had arrived here and met the Zy Ren first he described them in his log as reptilian, but cosmetic diligence had turned a claw into a hand that was almost human and whose touch sent a thrill through the nerves of his thigh.

At just that moment the door opened. Bates thought he had never before noticed how radiantly his medical officer exuded a sense of purpose as she strode in and confronted him.

“Sir,” she said, “If there is still one human male who has not betrayed this mission then I think it is important that he should hold his nerve.”

The Zy Ren turned and hissed at her and exposed its own slithery nature. Bates asked it to leave. Immediately its coccyx burst from the absurd little bikini pants and extended erect  behind it, high over its head. They had never seen a Zy Ren express anger before and wondered how many of the men who had had that wondrous organ inside them would have assented as blithely to penetration if they had seen one in its present state. But the beast arched forward and left the room.

“We are the prisoners of those creatures and we haven’t even noticed that,” said Irene, “and you have to do something about that.”

“Just a year ago, when we landed, they seemed docile and compliant creatures of low intelligence and now they have taken possession of us.”

But what could he do? There were no other human colonies within contact range. There might indeed not be any other humans in the universe. Even to wonder what other humans might be doing elsewhere at this time, how other missions might be faring, was pointless.

“We need to define a territory that excludes the Zy Ren,” said Dr Iqbal. “Within that territory we can breed, even should there be only one man with seed to share.”

Captain Bates considered his options. On the one hand he could enjoy a more rapturous orgasm than he had ever known, with the juices ripped out from him in a blast of animal and sexual enthralment. On the other he would have all the fertile women on the mission to impregnate and preserve, fifty three of them, minus those who had gone over to the Zy Ren, a sampling of the healthiest and brightest women of Earth, selected for this mission. He knew where his duty lay; it was to save the human race from extinction, here on this strange planet a billion miles from home. With a heavy heart he accepted the burden that fate had placed upon him.

“Gather the women who are still with us,” he said. “I will speak to them.”


 The meeting was a calamity. What else did he expect when he planned to announce to the women that he wanted to gather them under his protection and to have sexual access to each of them individually?

“It is not a harem. How dare you say it is a harem? I am not doing this for my own pleasure.” Then he dropped his voice. “I am just saying that we need to breed and there is now only one man left who is content to mate with human females.” Then he lost his temper and barked at them again, “I am the only man you have. I am the only man any woman can have.”

It took the medical officer to explain to each of them in private consultation in her clinic. “Yes, you will be free to come and go. The only one who will not be free is Idries himself. He is the only male breeder left that we know of, and far from thinking we are to be his slaves we should be making damn sure that he is ours.”

Put that way, most came round in time.


 Wallace O’Connor had a guilty secret. He had learnt that he needed more from life than the exorbitant orgasm provided by the Zy Ren. He looked across the canteen at Eleanor Boyle and wondered if she had yet learnt the same thing. A certain distractedness in her manner seemed to suggest as much. Wallace wanted love. But how could he impress a woman who had been sleeping with a seven foot tall, long tongued reptile with a curling penis that could crack like a whip inside her?

Well, he’d been shagging and shagged by the same creature himself and if he was fed up with it maybe Eleanor was too.

“Can I join you?”

‘Please,” said Eleanor. “But there is no point in whispering, they can hear us from a mile away.”

They moved quickly to what they wanted to say to each other for they had little time. He was working on the new sewage system for the city and she was on the hatchery. They would like to meet, but when? Where?

They didn’t know how to make a date because they had no diaries, did not manage their own time, hardly knew any part of the expanding city that they hadn’t worked on themselves.

She said, “I want to be kissed. I forget what it feels like to just be kissed.”

He leaned across and kissed her on the lips. A Zy Ren whirled around the table, clearing it at speed but they ignored it as they would have ignored the petulance of a child.

She said, “I could be your lover but I could never give up what he gives me, and I wouldn’t expect you to either.”

“He?” said Wallace. He had never thought of the Zy Ren as a ‘he’ before. “They will know anyway”, he said.

“That’s only fair,” said Eleanor.

“Fair?” Wallace had never considered that any of this was or could be fair.

“They have feelings too,” she said. Wallace was never sure that the Zy Ren who came to him on any one night was the same one who had been with him the night before.

Their first date was in a store room in the hatchery with the burr of machinery almost the only thing they could hear unless they spoke.

“Talk to me,” she said. “He never talks to me.”

He spoke about his job on Earth 400 years earlier, flying an intercontinental shuttle, before the eco collapse and his selection for a re-colonisation mission, his fears on entering suspended animation that he would never wake up.

As he spoke she unzipped the front of his trousers and reached in. “It’s OK. Keep talking.”

“Well you were there that day. We had the last messages on screen from our families and assured them that we would be ok, knowing that they would not be.”

“It is small,” she said. ‘I had forgotten how small. May I taste it?”

She squeezed the penis in her hand until it tensed against her and bloomed, then she took  the purple grape into her mouth and rolled it round her tongue before admitting it deeper into her throat.

“This is what I have missed,” he said.

“Yum. Would you like me to undress?”


He kneeled before her and sniffed her vagina. He parted the labia with his thumbs and studied it. “I had forgotten so much, what a complicated sandwich it is.”

They laughed. He stood and reached behind her to grip her buttocks and lift her so that he could nudge himself deep into her and bear her weight. “This is lovely,” she said.”


Captain Idries Bates wondered if he should have changed his title before he became the father of 97 children. The 47 women he had bred with did not all think of him as a husband and after fifteen years among them only five would now routinely expect to have sex with him. In that he was luckier than most men in the culture he had left behind on Earth, but the price of it was that forty other women treated him with disdain. They had seen into his depths and decided they didn’t much like what was there.

He had not harboured ambitions to be the leader of this colony but he had assumed that he probably would be and he wasn’t. That role had fallen to Sheila Hofnung, a physicist. One of the most embarrassing nights of Idries’s life was the one in which he had first copulated with Sheila. She had winced as he had pressed his way into her tight vagina and had locked her whole body into a rigid clench waiting for him to ejaculate and remove himself. It annoyed her that he couldn’t just plug himself into her and squirt.

Fortunately she conceived on the first occasion; a boy who would have blond curls and a smile. Two years later she summoned him on three consecutive months to inseminate her and leave. The result of that was two beautiful twin girls. She never took him into her bed again.

Most of the other women had at least allowed him to regard sex as something he was entitled to relish. Others, acknowledging the humour of the situation, made the most of the one man they had and even allowed themselves occasionally to be consumed with delight. Some allowed themselves to imagine, if only in bed, that the only sexual partner available to any of them was the best they could possibly have found, which in essence he was.

So in distributing the only male seed available to the dozens of women who wanted it, Idries had not only copulated functionally and busily, he had enjoyed every conceivable variant of the female body in every type of physical entanglement that a man or woman could wish for.

Approaching sixty years of age, discounting the four hundred he had spent in suspended animation, he felt that this was a creditable range of sexual experience. So when another woman turned up at the colony he wondered if she would want what only he among all the people there could offer or if she would be happier among the disgruntled.

She was taken straight to Sheila and out of deference to his near obsolete title, Idries was summoned to attend.

Eleanor was not assured of a good reception. She was one of those who had preferred for years to have sex with the Zy Ren rather than to contribute to restocking the colony. That she had chosen this course baffled the other women and the captain too.

But Sheila and her councillors sat in a crescent in front of her and listened attentively.

“I was a slave,” said Eleanor. “I didn’t even know it. We were put to work for them and our only reward was sex. Out there the others are housed in small cells and driven to work camps to build the city. I was managing the hatchery and my friend Wallace was helping to build the sewage system. For a time we managed to meet in secret but they found out. I don’t know what they have done with Wallace but I have lost all contact with him.”

“They will have eaten him,” said Sheila, and the councillors nodded in agreement.

“Is that true?” Eleanor turned to the Captain for authoritative clarification.

“We can’t rule it out,” said Idries, not wishing to contradict Sheila though never before having heard any suggestion that the Zy Ren ate humans when they started to prove undependable.

Sheila said, “We are going to have to draw up a set of laws and procedures. We may before long find ourselves at war with the Zy Ren. We have boys growing up here who will have to be prevented from ever making contact with them, though the Zy Ren will come for them some day. They are sure to.”


After Eleanor’s arrival the colony went on to a war footing.

Suddenly everyone started to recall that they had always known that the Zy Ren plan was to enslave them. This new alertness fostered an anxiety about Zy Ren music.

The councillors insisted that Earth music be played constantly in the colony, even at night, though a little more softly to allow people to sleep. There should never be a moment when humans were not enveloped in familiar tones and rhythms.

The boys were never allowed to leave the colony without having Libido Suppressant administered to them under the supervision of a councillor.

“Please miss,” said Curly with his hand raised. “Can you not play us some of the Zy Ren music?”

“Foolish child,” said Verity Tomkin, trying to model herself on her own distantly remembered teachers, “the whole point is that you should never hear it if you are to be safe from these evil creatures.”

Verity had been trying to deliver a course developed by Sheila Hofnung and her councillors to instruct the children, particularly the male children in the dangers of interacting with the Zy Ren. She showed them pictures of the first Zy Ren they had encountered on landing.

“They were hairy then. They would defecate in the open air in full sight of each other. They lumbered more like apes than like humanoids. But in time they learnt to imitate us. It was part of their strategy to ingratiate themselves with us and ultimately to control us. There is nothing more dangerous than a Zy Ren trying to be nice.”

Then she showed them images of the angry Zy Ren, the one who had turned on Captain Idries.

“Fortunately the Captain was alert to the danger and saved himself.” They saw the Zy Ren scowl and writhe as its coccyx extended right over its head and whirled.

“If you ever encounter a Zy Ren, be wary of that tail. It is the most lethal weapon they have.”

Then Verity took a box from under her table.

“I don’t expect you to be too pleased with what I have to give you now, but you must understand that this is for your own safety.”

She took out small headphone sets linked to little white boxes.

“Believe me, in some cultures in the past these were extensively used just for pleasure.”

She showed them how to plug the little speakers into their ears and select music through the scroll screen on the white box.

The children tensed apprehensively as they fitted the devices and some squirmed and wept as the first sounds of music came to them.

“Now, I know this is difficult,” said Verity, ‘but you must be ready to switch it on immediately when a Zy Ren approaches.”


“I’m out of this fucking place,” said Curly. “Who’s coming?”

“Let’s go hunt some snake fuckers,” said his wee mate Sharp.

“I’m in,” said Willie.

“Me too,” said Joanne.

They took a wheelie from the dock and let themselves out the gate into the city streets. They would hardly be able to talk over the sound of the music that came automatically when the engine was started, to protect the driver from Zy Ren humming, but they were of one mind.

“How can they think of shagging a big lanky reptile with four tits? They are such creeps,” said Curly.

“Yeah,” said Sharp. “I’d much rather wrap Joanne here round my middle than some fucking insect eating alien.”

“Hey, Joanne,” said Curly. “How are you and wee Vincie getting on?”

Joanne was torn between joining in banter that risked taking her to the point of having to be frank about her sex life or implying too much by being silent.”

“Do you know,” she said, “that’s what my Ma keeps asking. Have you done the bizz yet? Do you guys get the same pressure?”

Curly said, “All the old ones are the same. They just want us to to get down to riding each other and making babies. They are afraid that if you haven’t got yourself permanently hitched before the first time you hear a Zy Ren, you’re lost.”

“Yuk!” said Sharp, “They don’t know me if they think I’d ever want a snake’s bone up my hole.”

Curly braked sharply. “There’s one.”

A man was walking by the side of the road. Their hunting impulse was silenced by curiosity. The only man any of them knew was their father, Idries. Every other male in their lives was their own age or younger. And the sight of a different elder suggested observations about their father that had not occurred to them.

What had they expected, that all the snake fuckers, the men who took the bone up the back would look warped and sickly.

“Hey, boys,” said the man. “What you up to?”

Curly said, “Are you one of those snake fuckers?” He edged towards the man, crouching, guarded, alert.

“You’re looking for trouble? I can give you trouble; that costs nothing.”

Joanne was hanging back but she said, “Don’t let anybody hit anybody. He’s just an old man.”

“He’s one of them”, said Sharp.

“I’m one of you, just older,” said the man, showing no fear of the kids.

“Take him,” yelled Curly.

Sharp leapt at the man and the man caught him by the head and slammed him to the ground with a loud wallop. There he lay still and bleeding from a head wound.

“Oh fuck,” said Curly.

“We can stop it there,” said the man.

The three kids were frantic, wanting to run, wanting to help Sharp, wanting to attack the man but afraid.

The man stayed still and calm. He would not harm any who did not attack him. He would let them go if they wanted to.

Just then two Zy Ren arrived; tall and lean and dressed in work overalls. They were singing. Joanne, Curly and Willie dashed back to the wheelie and sped off towards the safety of the colony.


 The war between the colony and the city had only one conceivable outcome from the start, total surrender.

Sheila had argued for the destruction of the city. Idries had said they would have to destroy all the Zy Ren on the planet or history would just repeat itself with the new generation succumbing to seduction, and surely that wasn’t an option? The Zy Ren did not want to destroy the colony either. There were men growing there who would come to love them.


So the Colony tried to endure the assault at first. Thousands of Zy Ren surrounded them and sang for days. This was something the Colony had planned for and thought it could resist with little effort, but just maintaining a level of constant noise that would drown out the alluring hum was exhausting and enervating.

The Zy Ren would craftily stop humming at night for an hour to allow the colonists to imagine that they could risk silence and sleep.


On the third night, during the silence, the Zy Ren entered the colony, softly and gently, humming almost inaudibly at first, wafting as they moved, as if stirred like plants in a gentle breeze.

Idries woke to a feeling of relief and reassurance that all grief and fear was lifted from him. He had not been as happy since he was a child. At the foot of his bed stood the most beautiful and enticing creature he had ever seen. How had he not noticed before what was obvious now, that all love and comfort was on offer from these sumptuous and gorgeous beings.

All over the colony young men and women and teenage girls were finding to their relief and joy that there was no more need for war, that their wariness against the Zy Ren had been a mere foolish timidity, a rejection of an almost inconceivable wealth of love and pleasure.

The creature who took Curly in its arms, held his whole body without strain, hugged and caressed him then deftly undressed him.

Eleanor woke to realise that she was wholly forgiven her betrayal by the lovely Zy Ren creature who hummed to her and hovered over her, breathing blessings on her that made her skin tingle.

Sheila woke to an innocence similar to that which reality and hurt usually dispelled but this time the glow of contentment spread all around her and she was sustainably happy in a way she could never remember having been before. And all this was before she connected her contentment to the soft murmur of the Zy Ren and the attentive presence of a lithe and loving creature approaching her bed. She was thrilled by the confidence and speed with which the Zy Ren’s extended tail coiled round her leg, tickled behind her knee and encroached upon her inner thigh. She laughed out loud.


Verity woke to find that the warm serpentine flesh she had dreamed she was stroking was real and in her bed and, without even thinking, she kissed it.


Joanne woke up thinking, as she did every morning about Sharp and his horrible death and blaming herself, but where usually this feeling hardened into a self contempt that darkened her whole day, this time it just evaporated with the understanding that there was nothing she could have done to save him, that it really didn’t matter very much that an impetuous boy had met his end in that way and not another. The relief was a sigh, and the morning was beautiful and the soft and loving hum of the Zy Ren told her she had arrived at the perfectly comfortable place where she belonged.


 The Quing was ready to see him and Captain Bates was confident that this would be a good meeting. He squeezed medical officer Iqbal’s hand and she smiled. The years of war and fear were over. Today there was nothing to discuss but the practical measures for insuring the growth in the human population to numbers that would enable every Zy Ren on the planet to have one.

Both of them were awestruck by the size and beauty of the Quing. It’s skin almost glowed, as if light was generated from within the Quing body.

“We are happy to have peace between us,” said the Quing. The captain and the medical officer stepped forward in turn and kissed the extended fingers of the wondrous being who was now their refuge and their inspiration.

“We have prepared the specifications of our favoured human types for your cloning technicians. I am sure you will be happy with them. We favour diligent workers, strong humans, mostly male and we would like them to be contented types that are not over encumbered by ideas or questions.”

“Very sensible,” said the Captain.

“Millions of them,” said the Quing. “We will reshape this whole world.”

Medical Officer Iqbal felt privileged to hear such wisdom and bowed in gratitude for the honour of being there.

“Now you may go,” said the Quing, and with every step back from the wondrous being each felt a faint stab of grief and regret.




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