By Ed Errington

sfgenreEverybody in the multiverse has their perfect mate, perfect partner, or so they say — somewhere. A lucky few may even meet them within the multiverse’s trillion or so habitats.

Thanks to the 23rd century’s Fakebook dating, (based on truth alternatives and much else) many life forms do manage to get together — bridging great distances. Until Fakebook, the multiverse was awash with a great many unhappy beings. According to a survey carried out by the now defunct Probability Inter-Spacial Inter-Corporation, inhabitants of the many worlds felt their lives were unfulfilled, incomplete. Something was missing — and that something was usually the perfect companion.

One of many who found their 100% perfect Fakebook match was Lumos Aspirion — citizen of the ninth planet located in the eastern realm of the Magellan Constellation. It was not without effort: he spent twenty years seeking the elusive perfect partner. Thanks to Fakebook, he was linked with Milishna from the planet Robos located in the Zladlos Belt.

Lumos and Milishna communicated with each other for five Earth months via 5-D technology. Both looked forward to actually meeting and sharing the same time and physical space. About to meet Lumos in person, Milishna stands in front of a public mirror-tron, and feels confident about her appearance. She activates the finger slide, reconfigures her home location to the Spaceport, and minutes later steps into the cabin of the X-cel cruiser.

Truth be known, Lumos is not her first Fakebook date. A terrible misunderstanding, based on food preferences, put paid to her last date with Mirkos, an Agrippan Warrior from the planet Neetl. She found Mirkos was self-immersed, narcissistic, and, above all downright uncooperative regarding food choices. Suffice to say their physical relationship did not extend beyond the first night and, given nights on Neetl only last ten of Earth’s minutes, the relationship was short lived indeed.

Hoping for better luck, Milishna turned once again to Fakebook dating. This time, it aligned her with Lumos Aspirion. She liked his holograms. He looked tall, muscular, and heavy-set with an engaging smile. It is his body rather than his mind that attracts her. She believes he is good enough to compete in the Interplanetary Mr Multiverse contest with such beefy arms.

Milishna posted a set of discrete photographs on the Fakebook dating site — in each one she wears an ornate full-face mask — similar to those worn at Italian masked balls centuries ago on Earth. According to her few friends, the mask lends an air of mystery to her persona though Milishna claims she wears it because she is shy. When she confides her vulnerability to Lumos he says he understands completely — which makes sense coming from someone supposedly a 100% perfect match.

Lumos and Melishna decide to rendezvous at the Omega Hotel on the planet Krani. According to the v-brochure, the hotel is situated halfway between their respective home planets. Better still, according to the Goldblatt Gourmet Compendium, it has some of the most sensuous, refreshing, and vital foods on offer in the whole multiverse. The food critic of the Black Matter Weekly simply says, ‘what the hell, just enjoy it.’

The Omega Hotel has nine hundred separate discrete dining compartments — each with a certain romantic ambience, alongside discretion and complete privacy. Lumos and Milishna booked ‘The Woodland’ food experience “with just a hint of rustic charm.”

Lumos arrives at Krani’s Multi-versal Spaceport about thirty minutes before Milishna. Following a quick, three-dimensional spaceport security scan, Lumos crosses the main pedway to the Omega restaurant. When he sees the symmetrical, shining black, tall glass Omega, he is profoundly impressed. Particularly the way it diffuses light to brighten surrounding streets.

Lumos enters the building through the main door and within minutes, he is inside the gargantuan reception area. The glass walls are high, transparent and allow for 365-degree views of the hotel grounds. No one can see the diners inside. An efficient automaton takes Lumos to his booked dining compartment. Once there, it demonstrates the purposes of the many real-time buttons embedded in a panel on the wall. If guests press the three purple buttons simultaneously — selected meals will materialise on the bare wooden table. Lumos appreciates the old-fashioned technology (where real, not virtual, buttons fill one wall). He appreciates also the ancient carpets and rustic-looking chairs.

Not too far away, Milishna arrives outside their dining compartment in The Woodland: she taps the door which then vibrates to let anyone inside know she is here.

The door opens and there, facing her, is Lumos. They greet each other warmly. Lumos suggests she divests herself of the ornate mask.

‘Not yet,’ she replies. ‘I’ll let you know when I feel I can.’

They talk for some time until both are feeling very hungry.

‘Shall we eat now?’ asks Lumos.

‘First we drink to us,’ Milishna replies, and passes Lumos a drink of green liquid in a tall glass.

‘Okay, and then we eat,’ says Lumos. With those words, he gulps down the green liquid.

Milishna smiles. ‘How are you feeling? ‘ She asks.

‘Er well...’ Lumos replies. ‘I feel sticky all over, and very drowsy. I think I’m glowing.’

‘You feel warm?’

‘No — much more than that, I really am glowing — light green, I think. What was in the drink?’

‘You are glowing. And you’ll soon be ready lover boy. Five, four, three, two, one...and ready now?’

With those words, Milishna removes her mask. Instead of the anticipated beautiful face, Lumos sees her large head and distorted mouth.

He screams in surprise, but no one but Milishna hears him in the soundproofed room.

From deep within her throat, Lumos hears Milishna speak: ‘I’m so hungry. I have travelled across vast tracts of space to be here. To be with you — my 100% match: the perfect meal. You should be flattered I appreciate all of you. I may save your ears until last — they look divine. How I enjoy eating out. Do you enjoy eating out? This is so romantic don’t you think — sharing a meal like this?’

Lumos faints.

Milishna beams down at Lumos’ inert body: ‘You’re very quiet Lumos — but then I prefer my food this way.’

Milishna is one of the few remaining Bulkwirts of Kandos, the most savage carnivores this side of the Barmby Star. She raises herself to full height: a perfect eating machine — eight metres tall. Her ten (now) exposed limbs carry a range of cutting, honing, scraping, and gouging tools. Evolution has served the Bulkwirts of Kandos well. How she despises those weaklings on the planet Robos where she hides.

Very efficiently, she dismembers her food, piece-by-piece — raising each morsel in turn to feed her waiting elongated dark red mouth. No need to rush, the separate dining compartments are ideal for slow, lingering meals.

An hour later Milishna’s appetite is satiated. She deflates back into human form and soon Lumos is a memory — albeit a pleasant one.

Lumos was the perfect date, the perfect meal: no arguments about food choices. Life gets no better than this. Time to plan the next romantic meal. And in this multiverse, there is always another perfect match somewhere out there — always one more — just waiting for Milishna’s romantic overture. She has banked her next meal on it.

Milishna sings an ancient song to herself that begins: ‘Coming, coming wherever you are, finding you, eating you, no matter how far ...’

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About The Author

Ed Errington

ed-erringtonDr Ed Errington is a consummate writer, narrator, and coffee drinker. He resides in sunny Queensland — where incidentally, or otherwise, much of the wildlife is out to eat you, or at the very least, help victims experience pain in all its manifestations.

He won’t mind me telling you he is intelligent, modest of course, house-trained, and because of his penchant for Sudoku, can count from one to nine with deadly accuracy.


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A Last Supper
by Phillip Berrie

A Reluctant Zombie
by Natalie J.E. Potts

Pandora's Smile
by Joanna Galbraith

Retirement Is Not The Last Word
by Laurie Bell

Square Musing
by Soar

The Game Of Lifes
by George Nikolopoulos

To Serve The Master
by Zeb Carter

The Master
by Robert David

The Passengers
by Botond Teklesz

When I Was God
by Kevin J. Phyland

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SF Quote

...today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups...So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms...it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

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