Exog. That's what students called it when you had sex outside your species. There was another word back home, a crueler one, a mob-howl of a word. Planetsiders weren't so tolerant.

Fin comes from an Earth where nearly everything is permitted—as long as it only happens between humans. Chrt’s people value reproduction above everything, and a non-fertile relationship breaks all the rules. What begins with curiosity will carry them to the limits of their conditioning. Is desire stronger than culture? Is love?

Be Warned: m/m sex, interspecies sex

Exog (MM)
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Cover Art by Jay Aheer

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Fin didn’t know why he bothered to ask linguistic questions like that; every word in the ht language sounded just the same to him, like spitting. He wondered if Chrt heard words in the noises Fin made when he brushed his teeth. “There’s no translation, really,” Chrt said.

“Yes, I gathered that, despite my puny human senses,” Fin said. He reached cautiously toward the sensor, and it came forward to meet his finger, enclosing it in dozens of soft filaments that moved independently. The more solid center pulsed against his fingertip.

It felt incredible.

“Doesn’t that hurt?” Fin asked hoarsely. “Most of my sense organs don’t like to be touched.”

Chrt’s unoccupied sensors made a negative chop. “They’re pretty tough.” His hand caught Fin’s to hold it still, and the tendrils crept up Fin’s finger until they covered it up to the second knuckle.

“What can you sense with it?” Fin lowered his voice so it wouldn’t grate so. No way was he getting turned on by this.

“I can measure your temperature and your blood pressure,” Chrt said. “I can analyze your body chemistry and diagnose nutritional deficiencies. I can detect subtle muscle movements, but I don’t really know enough about chu-mans to make much sense of them. If you were a ht, I could tell from across the room whether or not you were telling the truth, which is why ht-ht hardly ever bother to lie. And I can smell-taste everything you’ve touched for about two days.”

“Wow,” Fin said after a moment.

“Your heart rate is elevated,” Chrt said. His other sensors were turning to focus on Fin. “You are afraid?”

“No,” Fin said.

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