No one else could make love like her, nor could anyone
else pilot the first manned satellite
by Glenn Llewellyn
Vol. 3, No. 2, 1959
LARRY FORBES had wandered
into the film palace that drizzling, miserable March afternoon merely to
get his mind off the seemingly insurmountable frustrations of the vital,
top-top-top secret project on which he had been working himself almost
bald for the past two years. With success mere minutes and millimeters
away, the launching of Earth's first manned artificial satellite had suddenly
bogged down in the face of an utterly unforeseen obstacle. After six days
of fruitless final tests and conferences, a weary and discouraged Larry
Forbes had slipped away from a stalemated session in the hope of retaining
some shred of sanity.
He settled himself in a seat just too narrow for
his broad-boned frame, getting his damp raincoat folded across his lap
and endeavoring vainly to fit his long legs into the circumscribed space
allotted to them. It was while he was engaged in this struggle, even before
his eyesight had fully adjusted itself to the darkness of the house, that
his right foot met the obstruction.
Believing it to be an empty popcorn container, or
perhaps a candy wrapper, discarded by a previous ticket-buyer, Larry pressed
down on it and gave it a quick lateral nudge to push it under the seat
"Crxstfillpxt!" said the occupant of the
seat in a definitely feminine voice, rising perhaps four inches and returning
to the imitation leather with a row-shaking thump. The object beneath,
with which his foot had made contact, was removed with an almost convulsive
"Huh ?" said Larry, his already fatigued
wits operating at oxcart speed.
"You stepped on my tail !" accused the dimly seen
woman on his right.
"Sorry," said Larry politely, as three persons in
the row ahead turned featureless faces toward them and made loud shushing
Larry prepared once more to watch the drama unfolding
on the extra-wide screen and then jumped convulsively himself as the import
of his neighbor's accusations sank home. "Did you say I stepped on your
he asked, peering at what appeared to be a perfectly normal young woman.
"Exactly!" she retorted indignantly.
"And it hurt!"
"You're joking!" he exclaimed softly, but not softly
enough, for again faces turned toward him and a renewed shushing chorus
rose with greater vehemence.
"I am not!" the girl replied, lifting for his inspection
what appeared to be a length of flexible tubing.
"Impossible!" said Larry, just as an usher tapped
him on the shoulder.
"I'm sorry," whispered the flashlighted attendant.
"You'll either have to keep quiet or leave the theater."
The girl had already risen, and a suddenly curious
Larry Forbes gathered his raincoat and rose with her. She swept past him
and marched up the aisle, forcing him to extend his stride to keep up with
He caught her elbow in the outer lobby and said,
"Please, Miss--I'm dreadfully sorry. Won't you let me make it up to you
Anger and indignation had fled from the exotic flower
of a face she turned toward him--to be replaced by a look of resignation
that matched his own mood. She said quietly, in a voice whose accent he
could not place, "It's really my own fault. I should never have released
it in a public place. But it does get so cramped, coiled up all
"I still don't believe it," he told her. Again,
indignation flashed in slanting, pale-brown eyes flecked with gold. She
was standing at one side of the lobby, her back to the wall, with Larry's
tall, ranginess shielding her from casual viewers. Suddenly, full pink-camellia
lips twitched with humor, and there was a stirring beneath her garments
as a six-inch tail-tip wriggled its way from beneath the skirt of her chalk-white
trench-coat. It wagged, thumping gently against the parquet floor, and
was neatly encased in material that matched the girl's dress.
"I still don't believe it!" he said, his horde of
cares, troubles and frustrations forgotten in view of this new wonder.
"Could I--may I--buy you a drink somewhere, Miss ?"
He gave her his name and told her he was a Government
scientist, repeated the invitation for a drink. She listened, regarding
his speculatively with her gold-fleckd, light-brown eyes. Then she smiled
slowly, delightfully, and said, "You look very nice," in her unplaceable
accents. "I'd like to very much. My name is Nina--Nina Tarrant."
They sat in one of those leather-up holstered semicircular
banquettes with which Los Angeles bar-restaurants abound, and she leaned
a little toward him and said, while the waiter was getting their drinks,
"Tell me something about yourself, about your work, Larry Forbes."
He made a dismissive gesture. "It's Sputnik stuff--very
dull just now. What I want to hear about is you--who you are, how you got
the way you are?"
She shrugged--as he grew accustomed to the exotic
trim of her features, he was discovering Nina to be an extraordinarily
beautiful girl, ivory-skinned, golden-eyed, built like a Balinese temple
dancer, sensitive, sensuous as a sleek, large cat, altogether engaging.
She said softly, "'Who am I? I'm just a woman, of course. I come from a
long way off. How did I get this way? I suppose you mean my tail, Larry
Forbes. I grew it, that's all."
The waiter put their drinks in front of them and
turned back toward the bar.
Nina smiled, and Larry felt soft, warm little fingers
creep into his own on the leather seat. "It's such fun to have someone
to share it with," she said softly. "Otherwise, it's awfully lonesome.
I have to be so very, very careful."
"It's fantastic!" breathed Larry. "Biologically,
"There is no such word," she said stoutly, her gold-flecked
eyes regarding him over the rim of her raised glass, "and I am the living
proof of it."
"What about school?" he inquired. "Didn't you have
trouble there ?"
She shook her head, causing golden highlights to
shimmer in her heavy, dark-brown shoulder-length hair. "I had private tutors,"
she informed him.
"What on earth are you doing in Los Angeles?" he
asked her. "Surely, the movies. . ."
She shuddered. "Not the movies," she said firmly.
"Never the movies! They would make a sideshow freak of me. Actually, I
am merely waiting to be taken home." She suppressed a sigh, and her eyes
were sad. Then, brightening and again lifting her glass, "I'm glad you
stepped on my tail, Larry Forbes. It has be en very, very lonely in this
city. You are the first young man I have been out with."
"You shouldn't have trouble in that
he told her, and went on to detail some of her move obvious charms.
She interrupted him. "You are kind, Larry Forbes--but
the more attractive I may be, the greater my problem. If my--difference
were to be publicized, it would hurt my people deeply. If you hadn't told
me you were a scientist..." She let it hang.
"I see," he said, reaching for her hand and finding
it a willing captive. "I'm afraid, while I've been looking at you as an
extremely attractive girl, I've been considering your problem more in scientific
"They go together," she said simply. "Oh, what lovely
They had a drink, and then another, and then, somehow,
they were sitting so close together that a thread could not have been passed
between them. Looking deeply into the gold-flecked eyes so near to his
own, Larry said softly, "Darling, I can't bear the thought of letting you
go. Have dinner with me."
"I can do better than that," she said, her eyes
dancing. "Have dinner with me-- at my apartment."
"Sold!" he said, and, for the first time, their
lips met and clung together, and he felt the soft thrust of jutting, high
young breasts against the cage of his own ribs...
When they reached Nina's two-room, moderne-furnished
snuggery in a terraced, white-washed Beverly Hills apartment hotel, and
she removed the trenchcoat, Larry got his first real look at her costume.
It was a two-piece, golden-brown knit-dress that emphasized the golden
flecks in her eyes and the warm ivory tone of her skin. Against it, her
covered tail, which she kept coiled about her waist, looked like a matching
She uncoiled it, flexed it gracefully with a sigh
of relief, then dexterously used it to flick open a cigarette box on the
coffee table in front of the beige sofa. Laughing a little, Larry drew
her into his arms and kissed her. She responded, and her body, even through
two layers of clothing, felt live and delightful against him, as did the
magic, moist softness of her lips. Then, gently but firmly, she disengaged
his embrace and murmured, "In just a moment, darling--after I've changed.
You'll find whiskey on top of the bookcase."
Reluctantly, he let her go, and poured himself a
When Nina came back from the bed room, his eyes
widened, and he gasped involuntarily at the exotic perfection she was parading
in front of him. She wore only the wispiest of brown-velvet play suits,
embroidered in gold, and simple gold sandals. The lithe creaminess of her
torso was exposed, as were her shoulders and upper bosom, her slender,
well-rounded arms and beautifully long, straight legs.
A smile in the gold-flecked eyes answering the open
admiration in his, she lifted a hand to take the upheld glass from his
fingers and make a loving cup out of it by raising it to her own camellia
lips. Then she set it gently on the table and moved forward into his arms.
"It's been so very, very, very
whispered softly as her pink mouth again sought and found is as her tongue
darted delightfully from between her lips to meet his, as her hands clasped
the back of his neck and head and seemed to try to draw him, through her
soft, pliant, surprisingly strong young body.
Her grip on him tightened spasmodically, and a soft
little moan escaped the lips that had become part of his own. Inexorably,
he found that Nina, her tail tight around his waist, was drawing him toward
In the bedroom, her suddenly busy hands were removing
his clothing, then her own scant garments, even while her lips continued
to rain kisses upon his. Her eyes were all gold now, and aglow with passion,
as she tripped him neatly to send him sprawling backward on the soft coverlet.
She leapt up on him like a jaguar, murmuring love-noises as her pink-jade-tipped
breasts again fused against him. Lips moist and parted, golden eyes glittering
with unslaked passion, she had her way with him...
When he awoke it was early dawn, and he was lying
beside Nina, ravenously hungry, for they had completely forgotten dinner
in the wild fulfillment of the night just past. Gently, he lifted her arm
from his chest and only when he had sat up and was looking down at Nina's
soft, gold-pink-and-ivory perfection did clear memory of the erotic, not
to say biological, miracle of Nina return to him. He bent to kiss the perfect,
camellia lips. The gold-flecked eyes opened, and she smiled at him sensually.
"I'm hungry," he said.
"So am I, darling," she replied, drawing him closer
still to her perfections. "So very, very, very hungry!"
It was another hour before they got to the modern
apartment's trim kitchenette. There, naked as Adam, with Nina as nude as
Eve, he looked on in amazement as she rustled up their long-deferred meal.
The up-to-date kitchen might not have been conceived with a five-appendaged
human in mind, but the girl with a tail as well as hands and feet manipulated
its various devices with a multiple-efficiency that had Larry goggling
Even as she grilled the steak, she was able to flip
bread into the toaster and set up the dishes, silverware, cups and saucers.
And when they sat down at table to eat the smoking food and coffee, there
was no rising, on her part, to make return trips to the kitchenette--everything
necessary had been done with an ease that defied description.
"How did you ever master it so beautifully?" he
She laughed soundlessly, and her eyes sparkled with
golden affection. "Oh," she replied, "if you have a tail, there's no sense
in not using it, is there, darling ?"
"I guess not," he told her, "though, frankly, I
never considered the problem.
Mopping her lips with a napkin, she said, "And you
a scientist! You don't have much imagination, do you, Larry dear?"
"Too much, usually," he said ruefully. "But I never
thought of this one."
When they had finished, she cleaned up with incredible
speed and rejoined him in the living room for a cigarette. He took the
perfections of that exotic body into his hands and pulled her lips against
his. She moaned again, happily, and he wondered briefly, which of them
was the more insatiable. He didn't get to his 10 o'clock conference until
ten minutes of 11.
"You look fit and rested, Forbes," the chairman
told him. "Oversleep?"
"Something like that," mumbled a drained and physically
"Can't really blame you," the chair man told him.
"Not after the hours you've been putting in." Then, after a throat-clearing
pause, "Well, Forbes, we seem no nearer a solution today. Has your oversleeping
caused you to wake up with any fresh ideas?"
Larry frowned. The problem remained the same as
that of the day before, and of the days and weeks before that. The complex
of scientists and manufacturers he served as project coordinator had solved,
at least on paper, in the laboratory and in actual tests, every factor
toward putting a manned artificial satellite into space except for one--the
They had plenty of tough young Air Force volunteers
for the job, men who had triumphantly flown Mach-9 rocket planes and survived
week-long tests under simulated space conditions. But they had yet to find
a pilot who could handle the manual part of the piloting under the emergency
conditions that were, inevitably, bound to arise.
There would be simply too much to do in a moment
of crisis, too many buttons to push and knobs to turn and ratchets to tighten
or relive simultaneously. At one, time, they had even considered letting
a pair of midgets occupy the limited space the satellite would afford,
but this had proved im practical--they couldn't put enough instruments
close enough to the floor.
So they had their satellite, ready to go on its
launching pad at White Sands--but they had no one to man it. Every conceivable
form of simplification had been essayed but the absolute minimum remained
too much. They were stymied.
As Larry sought to gather his thoughts for a coherent
answer to the chairman's question, his mind kept wandering to Nina--to
Nina in the brown-and-gold playsuit, to Nina nude as a winter tree but
far warmer, to Nina clasped in his arms, to Nina asleep, to Nina gloriously,
passionately awake, to Nina in her kitchenette. whipping together that
To Nina in her kitchenette. . .That was it. He looked
at the chairman, at the other members of the hush-hush-hush committee.
He reached for a cigarette, lit it, exhaled blue smoke and said, "Gentlemen,
I don't wish to raise your hopes prematurely, but it is just possible I
have stumbled on the answer--or, at any rate, on an answer..."
He knew, of course, that, come what might, he was
sacrificing the most wonderful bedmate he had ever found--but, after all,
he was both a scientist and a loyal American, so quite naturally science
and America had to come first. Toning down the sex angle, of course, he
told them about Nina.
They didn't believe him, at first. He had to go
and get her after a temporary adjournment. She looked adorable, with her
heavy gold-brown tresses done up in a dust-cloth, wearing a checked red-and-white
playsuit, a feather duster held lightly in her tail, a cloth in one hand,
a brush in the other. She greeted him with a glad little cry of surprise,
saying, "I didn't expect you so early, Larry darling." Again her lips found
his, her arms embraced him.
With a firmness he had not thought he possessed,
Larry held her gently from him after one prolonged, fervent embrace. He
said, "Nina darling, I want you to listen very carefully. And I want you
to know that you are perfectly free to refuse the proposition I am going
to put before you."
"Yes, darling, of course," she said, sitting perched
on his lap. "But you should be happy if you really love me, not so grim
and serious." She leaned forward and kissed him again, revealing delightful
cleavage beneath the red-and-white playsuit halter.
"Unfortunately, it's damned serious," he said. "But
first, what papers do you have, Nina ?"
"Papers?" she looked bewildered. "I have the Gazette
the Register here somewhere. But I don't--"
"Not newspapers," he said, smiling a little. "Identification
papers--passport, family records, credit cards, stuff like that?"
"Are you a policeman, Larry?" she asked searchingly.
"You told me you were a scientist." Her eyes were the eyes of a wounded
He told her then, after seeing that her papers looked,
surprisingly, all right, though they made no mention of her caudal appendage.
According to her passport, she was of half-American parentage and had been
brought up in the South Seas. She was a citizen and, he noted with approval,
a licensed pilot of small planes.
"I learned at home," she said when he asked about
it. "I'm a--how you say?--natural-born flyer. You want me to fly?"
He explained, careful to reveal no classified data.
She listened quietly, without visible signs of disturbance. When he was
through, she said, "You mean you'll help me get home?"
"As soon as it's over--if that's what you want,"
"Yesterday, yes," she told him. "To day, no--but
I must get home. My people are expecting me."
"I should think you could have made it before this,"
he said, mildly puzzled. "Surely, there must be plane or boat passage to
your island. If there isn't, how in hell am I going to get there
"You're sweet!" she cried softly, hugging him close.
Then, "But it is difficult this time of year. Sometimes, the way things
are, it is easier to get out than to get in--other times, the reverse."
"Well, what do you say?' he asked her. "Are you
willing to talk to my people ?"
"But of course," she said quietly. "I cannot turn
down such a chance. When do they want to see me?"
"Right now," he told her.
She kissed him, and her eyes looked deep into his
for a moment before she turned away to get her coat.
It was afternoon when they reached the committee-room.
The members were coolly courteous until Nina finally exposed her tail.
The concerted deep breaths that followed sounded like a group sigh. Then
the meeting, as if given a shot in the arm, got down to business.
Nina insisted on having her weekends with Larry
during the weeks of rigorous training that followed, but while their times
together were wonderful, they were not the same as the magical first encounter.
The imminence of parting lay over both of them heavily, and they were rigidly
fenced in by wooden-faced security guards. As the time for takeoff drew
closer, Larry kicked himself with increasing frequency for having opened
his big mouth to destroy a love he could never hope to replace.
"Don't be so sad, darling," she said on their final
night in each other's arms. "We shall be together again--I'll see to that."
"You've got an eighty-twenty chance of survival,"
he told her. "If anything goes wrong, if anyone goofs, if any thing happens
to you up there, I'll kill myself."
"Nonsense," she told him, laughing softly. "I'll
come back for you--I promise, darling."
The passionate, heaving embrace that followed left
him without time or impulse to analyze this somewhat cryptic remark. All
he could think of was that Nina--his darling Nina with her unique, adorable
appendage-- was going to be the first human in space and might very well
never come back. He thought of the Vanguards and other satellite failures,
and his eyes filled with tears which she promptly kissed away.
"Why couldn't you have joined a Commie fellow-traveler
group or anything, so that they'd have turned you down, Nina?" he moaned
in his misery.
"Silly!" she laughed, talking between kisses. "I've
never been around people enough to join anything here."
He flew with her to White Sands the next day, and
watched them fuel up the huge solid-fuel, atomic-powered rocket that was
to take his beloved above the atmosphere.
"You won't think harshly of me, will you, darling
Larry?" she asked softly as they stood on the concrete hardstand, looking
up at the towering rocket, and its gantry of light structural metals painted
"How could I?' he countered. "I'm much too busy
hating myself for getting you into it."
"You mustn't be," she assured him. "You have been
"Too damned noble," he replied. He felt the reassuring
warmth of her hand slipped into his, and squeezed it affectionately. It
was very sweet--and very, very, very sad..
Even the weather conspired against the lovers by
being perfect the next day. Larry lingered forlornly in the subterranean
concrete observation chamber while a weirdly space-suited figure, made
tiny by altitude, crossed the cat walk from gantry top to satellite cabin.
Her voice sounded calm, despite its exotic accent, as she ran through the
checkoff list with Ground Control as the countdown went unhurriedly, inexorably,
on. As it went into the final thirty seconds, she murmured a gentle, "So
long, Larry," through the communications system, causing him to weep like
a baby. The chairman, who was also present, put a comforting arm around
Larry's shoulders, and his eyes, too, were full.
"A strange and wonderful creature," he said softly
to the distraught, heart broken younger man.
"... three...two...one...zero!" came the mechanical
voice of the counter, as thought he were listing items in a department
A lancet of flame appeared beneath the huge multiple-rocket,
a lancet that broadened blindingly and gave forth billowing clouds of dust
and pulverized concrete. Slowly, as if hesitating to ask permission, the
gigantic craft rose own flame, then with rapid, steady acceleration until
it was a darting streak in the cobalt sky, and then was nothing at all.
"One hundred percent!" exclaimed technical chief,
breaking into a happy grin. "She'll be in orbit right on the nose."
"What about Nina?" Larry asked anxiously. "Why doesn't
she say something?"
"That acceleration's brutal," was the reply. "Even
the way we've got it toned down, it's a gut-buster."
Larry felt sick but he couldn't bring himself to
leave the chamber even momentarily, not with Nina up there, going through
God only knew what torment.
"Xrsplltvtio . . . xrsplltvtio!"
voice, followed by another series of unintelligible, almost vowel-less
"What the hell?" said the committee chairman. "Are
we being scrambled?"
After a quick check, the technician in charge of
communications shook his head. "We're okay at this end," he insisted.
"Zfftpllgspitch, ghdmttlik fetzxschmdt..."
the unintelligible gibberish in Nina's voice went on.
"Maybe something up there has scrambled her powers
of speech, a four-star general suggested. Larry moaned, unable to bear
the thought of what might be happening upstairs. Nina insane, talking gibberish--it
"Ssshhh!" said the chairman testily.
A deep, masculine voice had cut in with what sounded
like, "Tlspticrst, far flcktipul?"
There was a moment of uneasy silence while the conversation
continued, then a sudden rush as the radar screen operator gave a taut
He had Nina's satellite perfectly tracked, a small
blip of light moving slowly across the screen. But another blip had appeared,
one that grew larger with incredible speed and became a round disc, then
a flat, almost line-like image as it turned. For several heart beats, it
paralleled the satellite, and then suddenly they merged and the alien object
was growing smaller, all alone.
"Hijacked, by God!" exclaimed the chairman. "And
by a bloody flying saucer."
All at once, Larry was recalling the strange sounds
Nina had uttered there in the movie theater, when he had stepped on her
tail. They had sounded remarkably like the gibberish that had just come
through the loudspeaker there in the control chamber. Her vagueness about
her home, her statement, "I've never been around people enough to join
anything here." All at once, such lightly noticed anachronisms and oddities
fell into a different and far more sinister focus.
And what had she meant when she said, "I'll come
back for you--I promise, darling." All at once, he was not at all sure
whether he wanted Nina to come back for him or not...