im a lesbian who is tired of seeing no gay women in books. especially sci fi. here is my retaliation
Olivia's head throbbed like a bass drum. She opened her eyes, trying to filter out the bright light that pummeled against her eyelids. Her first thought was, "did it work?." Her second was "Pain." Her third was -- as she noted the spinning eye the size of a well-fed basketball suspended in the air -- "It might've worked." What might have worked was still a fuzzy concept. Olivia closed her eyes, sat up, and steeled herself for whatever would come next.
"Are you in need of assistance?" the floating orb inquired. Upon further inspection, the floating eye was not just a floating eye, but a floating eye hovering a few inches above an almost insultingly well-dressed man, right where his head wasn't. His head was not there, as he did not have a head, nor a neck, but compensated with the large wings sprouting from his shoulder blades. The man extended a pristine gloved hand.
"Are you in need of assistance," he repeated, more clipped this time. Olivia felt that if the eye would roll if it could. She rose to her feet on her own. "I'm fine. Thank you." She brushed some strange red dust off her sweater.
"I was not inquiring upon your health." The man's wings flicked. Olivia backed up several inches but decided not to question the man's rudeness.
"What-" she started, but trailed off, not wanting to be rude. First impressions matter, after all. "Who are you?"
The man drew himself up to his full height, which Olivia estimated to be at least 6'9.
"I," the man said, or at least Olivia thought he said, how he could talk without a mouth was unclear, "am the King of this realm." His words were tinged with a strange accent.
"Oh." She wondered why she was not screaming and running in circles at this point. She put it down to shock.
"Yes." The man, or the King, as we may call him now, did not elaborate further. "You should meet my wife."
"Oh," Olivia said again. Things were moving rather fast. The King gripped her arm and began to stride toward what appeared to be a large hill silhouetted against the horizon. The King made no effort to talk as they walked. Olivia tried to take in her surroundings. The land stretched out in all directions, rusty soil broken only by waxy shrubbish plants. It might've been the American South-West, except there were no roads. The sky soared above, more polished than the sky on Earth, and navy blue. Olivia wondered how she knew it was not Earth, but it might have had something to do with the two suns hanging low in the East. Gradually, the land sloped upward, and the shrubs grew into slender trees with broad leaves.
The man did not change his pace or his tight grip on her bicep. Olivia marveled at his alien anatomy. Her wife-she felt a pang of anxiety deep in her ribs-would have been chattering away in her ear, this-and-that about evolution, pitting an alien ecosystem against Earth's, contemplating other species that could arise from the same conditions. Being a biologist did that to people. Being a biologist is what got her sick, Olivia thought with a bolt of anger and regret. She wasn't sure what her anger was directed at, but she had a horrible sinking sensation that it was herself. She hoped it wasn't towards her wife. Elina always did what she loved, and what she loved was saving others, even if it put herself at risk. Olivia couldn't stand that sometimes.
The man suddenly stopped, dragging Olivia back to the present. They had reached a tall structure at the top of the hill, constructed of the same reddish material that covered the landscape. It soared into the air, punctured by long windows at intervals. The windows were filled in with blue glass, and they glinted serenely in the half-light. The King's eye whirred upward. Olivia wondered how his eye could move, seeing as it was not attached to his body in any way. He let go of her arm and stepped forward, raising his arm. The man contorted his hand in a bizarre pattern, then stepped back. A solid block of the tower's material shifted aside, grating against the outer wall. Floating orbs of light illuminated a wide spiral staircase. The man gestured to the gap.
Olivia stepped inside. The place smelt of wet stone, though it was warm and dry. She wondered why she was trusting this strange being, though it wasn't like there was any other option. She began to climb the staircase. The man followed on foot but tilted his wings upward like he was accustomed to flying over it. Olivia ran her hand across the wall. It was made of curved bricks, and the closer she looked, she realised that the walls were not wholly red, but engraved with white symbols and pictographs. They looked vaguely ancient Egyptian. They looked extremely old.
"What are these?" She tapped the wall.
The man shrugged. Oliva snorted. "You've got to know. You live here, right?"
The eye bobbed. "With my wife."
"So, what are they?"
The King drew his wings closer to himself like he was cold. He said something that Olivia could not understand.
He repeated it. "That is what they are. They have been here as long as we have been. Probably longer. They'll be here after we have gone."
"And how long have you been here?"
If the eye could have squinted thoughtfully, it would have then. "I don't know. That is a question for my wife." He paused at the top of the stairs. "We are here now." He contorted his hand in front of the wall, though if it was the same movement as before, Olivia could not tell. The wall slid open like before, and Olivia could guess that they had reached the top of the tower. The ceiling swelled like the sky above them, a blue glass dome with the orbs of light hovering in it like suns. At the opposite end of the room, a woman stood, facing away from them, towards the window. She turned. Olivia gasped. She noted, feeling faint, that "woman" was not a useful term for what stood before her. The figure was clothed, neck to floor, in a dark dress. Olivia also noted that what she had classified as "dark" on Earth did not hold up to this place's standards. The cloth enveloping the creature was Dark, blacker than night, blacker than the back of your eyelids when you close them in an unlit closet, and then not know if your eyes are truly closed or not. The Darkness in front of her made Olivia dizzy. The garment contrasted spectacularly against the woman's bleached-white skin, which was perfectly smooth, apart from the eyes covering almost every visible inch of it.
"Agh. Not another one." The woman's, or, Olivia supposed, the Queen's, voice was silken and tinged with the same unrecognizable accent as the King's. Like his, where she could have spoken from was a mystery. The King, now standing beside the Queen, made a huffing sound. Olivia couldn't remember him crossing the few paces to her side.
"What else was I supposed to do? Just leave it?"
"It's going to die. The last one wasn't fit for this environment either. Look at it, it's wilting already!" The strange woman gestured with an elegant pale hand at Olivia, who vaguely considered collapsing.
"Oh? Would you rather it die out there? Alone?" the King's tone wavered.
"I'd rather have it suffocate, combust, drown, whatever it's going to do, out of my sight! And not make a mess in here, of course. We're low on servants, as you well know."
"Hey," Olivia protested weakly. The Queen, being unnaturally tall, peered down at her with several eyes.
"Oh. Fantastic. Reginald," the Queen's eyes turned on the King, "It can talk. Why did you bring it in here when it can talk? Now we are going to get attached to it." Olivia faintly considered another protest, perhaps along the lines of, "what the fuck," or more eloquently, "would you be so kind as to provide me with sustenance, lodging, and information as to where I am, and while we are at it, who are you?" but barely managed a uninspired grunt before sliding to the ground. The cobblestones were cool beneath her still throbbing head, and she promptly succumbed to the pulsating blackness tunneling her vision.