It was six degrees below zero Fahrenheit on Koldon – tourist season, the warmest time of year. Travelers came from around the galaxy to experience “The Snow Planet” and its unique wildlife and other attributes. Visitor Scott Kanemoto and his guide Tierdo huddled near a heat cell at the end of a long and satisfying day spent capturing images of creatures he’d long dreamed of seeing.
They drank a heated alcoholic beverage called xinthe. It had a strong earthy taste and a powerful kick.
“What do you make this stuff out of?”
“Trust me. You do not want to know!” Tierdo laughed so hard he almost fell over.
Feeling no pain, Kanemoto decided to ask a question that many around the galaxy often wondered about this planet. “It is said that, on colder evenings, it is the custom of your planet to, uh, loan your female mate to visitors to help keep your guest warm at night. Is that true?”
Once again, Tierdo laughed uncontrollably, rocking back and forth so far his ears almost touched the frozen ground with each swing. “Can you keep a secret, my friend?”
“We used to do that long ago when the first visitors arrived. It didn’t work out very well for anybody. Guests didn’t know how to behave during such sacred rituals. It cost some visitors their lives. Have you noticed that our females remain out of sight when male visitors are present?”
The guest nodded again.
“Though we still honor our traditions and our guests by offering a female to help warm the bed of our guests, it is never our female mate. It is safer for our guests and mates. We don’t mention that to visitors because we do not wish to appear rude.
“We share our expectations of how guests should treat our females, and warn them of the consequences if our traditions aren’t honored.
“You weren’t offered a female for the simple reason that none are with us on our journey.
“Females who warm the bed of a guest have no mate and wish a warmer bed for themselves—and perhaps something more. They are held in high esteem and often very good at giving, and getting, something more.
“In that way, everyone wins.”