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Leaving Earth for Love

Irene Montaner was born in sunny Tenerife. After having studied and/or worked in several rainy countries she realized she didn't really like the rain and moved to sunny Switzerland.

A graduate in Mathematics, she has put her degree to good use by writing speculative fiction. Her stories have appeared at 365 tomorrows and Every Day Fiction, among other venues.
The Fermi Paradox stopped being a paradox the very moment that Tinder was hijacked. The proliferation of profiles with pictures of unearthly creatures with unspeakable names was considered a hoax at first. Until the first of them landed on our planet. A short but well-built humanoid with fully black eyes and a round mouth filled with several lines of sharp teeth. He might have passed for one of us but his cone head gave him away. He had come for a date with a lonely girl who lived in a Scottish suburb. He liked the whiskey but not the girl and having drunk too much of the good thing, he was zigzagging his flying saucer across the sky, unable to even reach the stratosphere. That's when the authorities spotted him.
Of all the useless stuff on the internet, the aliens had to focus on a dating app. It turns out that outer space is as cold and dark as it seems to us and most extraterrestrial folks are looking at us for some tender loving and a warmer home. They have been probably mislead by all our bragging about our abilities in and out of bed. And our soppy love songs as well. But apparently that's enough for some.
The failure of the first interracial hookup didn't deter others from looking for romance and adventure, and less than a year later, the landing of a spaceship was a common sight. Of course, new legislation and infrastructure was needed and all that and more was done. We learned much about them. Soon we could distinguish with ease the spiky ears of an Arthurian or the spiky tails of a Magallanian and we could tell a Proximo from an Alpho--round heads or cone heads, like the first fella to visit us. And we also learned from them. They shared bits and bobs of their technology and now we're finally able to build state-of-the-art rockets that can carry us away from Earth, as far as we want.
And that's how I ended up here, strapped to a vertical bed and waiting for a squid-like nurse to inject me with something that'll put me to sleep for the next two years. I will miss the countdown and the explosive launch and the journey altogether. But I'll wake up on Pluto, now a crossroads of sorts, and I'll finally meet her.
Her name is Tricia. Definitely not your conventional beauty, but she's a slender Scorpia with glossy green tentacles in her hair and bright red eyes. Her scaly skin always has an iridescent glow, as if reflecting the light of a dozen suns. And those thick green lips! "I can't wait to eat you," she wrote me on her last message. And quickly added that this was Scorpion slang for kissing.
Her name's not really Tricia but she introduced herself as Tricia McMillan. "Like a character in my favorite book," I said.
"I know. How do you think I tricked you?" she said. And we laughed, she louder than I, at the mischievous expression they use at the Scorpius constellation to say something as harmless as I fell in love with you.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, November 19th, 2018


I was once on holidays with some friends and one evening one of them sneaked out for a date with someone she had met on Tinder. She had previously bought four bottles of white wine for that evening out. Four bottles of wine for two. It really makes you wonder what kind of people you could meet on Tinder.

- Irene Montaner
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