"Let machinery fake my place, who has time to chase. Digital is where it is. Love can always be replaced. Welcome to my consciousness. Welcome to our race. Everything is never quite enough."
Everything (is never quite enough) – Diop, Wasis
"Mr. Yuy has sent a message via realtime call."
"Realtime again? Well, I suppose that makes sense considering he's on Lavablue 6. Play it Fina."
I watched as Heero's strange silver eyes peered at me, and then he backed up and I could see he was once more wearing the VR bodysuit.
"I have some time, would you like to meet me in Oasis now?" And then the screen blanked out.
"That's it Fina?"
"Yes Mr. Maxwell."
"He certainly leaves short messages. Fina setup Oasis program, journey 1."
Upon entering the Oasis program, I took my time in walking towards the flash of light off water. I didn't need to be hit on the head again, though I knew he most likely wouldn't do that anymore. The breeze ruffled the palm trees that hung over the small circular watering hole, the sun scorching my shoulders. I didn't see Heero though, just an empty oasis. Looking around, I shrugged and sat on the sand beneath one of the trees, leaning back against the trunk.
I'd been wondering since taking the IntercourseM journey whether Heero knew of these things too. Had he been contemplating what we would do as far as sexual actions? Perhaps he had more experience in these matters, or maybe he knew even less then I. It was something I felt I should talk to him about, despite all of my questions, or perhaps because of them. Maybe Heero would be able to enlighten me, tell me what was expected of mated couples, if anything at all was expected.
A soft splash alerted me to his presence, the small ripples in the water pinpointing his location. I watched as his head broke the surface, the silver that coated him seeming to melt back, revealing the true darkness of his hair, the healthy color of his skin. For one of the first times in my life, I found myself enjoying looking at a naked body, thinking of things I hadn't before. To my complete surprise, the sight of him aroused me.
"Hiding in the water Heero?"
"Wondering what was beneath it. I thought I would take a look while waiting for you." He exited slowly from the water, hoisting his body over the edge of the oasis, pulling himself out with a powerful movement of shoulders and back.
I watched in fascination as the water ran down his body, drops immediately becoming soaked up by the hungry ground. He caught my glance and with a shy smile extended his wings fully, almost as if showing them off. Then the tips of them flicked, water spattering my face.
"You looked hot, maybe you should go for a swim too?" He asked, stepping closer to me, his still extended wings casting a shade over my body. He held out his hand, and I took it, feeling myself being effortlessly hauled upwards to stand on my feet.
"Heero, I've been thinking. I've done some research. I was wondering, that is, I was thinking about, well it's only right that perhaps we... " I trailed off, still holding his hand, staring down at it and noting the strange texture, like soft cloth over metal, I wondered if his bones had the Steelshift in them too.
"Swim now, talk later?" He suggested, and then he lifted me off my feet, cradling my body for a brief moment before flinging me out over the water.
Before I could draw a breath, I was under the dark waters of the oasis. I rolled my eyes downwards, unable to see beyond the blackness below, and then quickly swam to the surface, popping up and searching for Heero along the bank. He was leaning back against the same tree trunk I had been sitting beneath a few moments earlier, his wings half folded along his body, looking almost like he had a towel draped around him.
"I didn't really want to get my clothes wet you know." I said testily, climbing from the water and trying to shake the moisture off.
"Remove them, let them dry in the sun, I don't know why you bother to wear clothes in VR."
"Because, you never know who you'll meet." Stripping off the wet robes, I lay them in the sun beside the water.
"Come sit beside me." He said, and I felt an extraordinary surge through my body, my mind thinking of those things I knew nothing of.
"Alright, but Heero, may I ask you some questions now?" I settled beside him in the shade of the tree, crossing my legs and leaning my head on my palms.
"I have a feeling I know what you want to talk about."
"It's about my eyes isn't it?" He turned his head, those oddly sightless and yet seeing eyes watching me.
"What? No, no. Nothing like that at all. I don't mind your eyes, I don't care about them. I mean, that came out wrong didn't it? I like them, I think you're interesting Heero."
We sat in silence, Heero flicking the sand with the tip of his finger; I idly tracing patterns in it. The breeze floated over my skin, prickling the wet drops still sliding down my back and arms.
"So what did you want to talk about?" He asked finally, his hand vaguely going over my tracings in the sand.
"Sex." I blurted out, my hand following his in its wanderings, occasionally bumping his fingers as I filled in a little bit of what was swiftly becoming a small picture in the sand.
"What about it?" he shifted slightly, one of his wings brushing my arm as I leaned forward to concentrate on drawing.
"Well, do you think, I mean do you... should we have some?" My hand stilled, my ears pricking, waiting for an answer. It was odd how suddenly this idea had become important to me. I truly wanted to know what he thought, was he so much like me? Or was there just enough difference between our minds to make it interesting? Would intercourse add to this? Or take away from it? I shook my head in the silence, moving my fingers to dust out the drawing.
"It's an option." He said at last, hand capturing mine as I moved to brush the whole picture away. A smile curved my mouth, and I found myself ducking my head, leaving my hand in his for the moment.
"What other questions did you have?" I met his eyes, watching the silver of them shift slightly, realizing the Steelshift within them changed with movement.
"I didn't know what to think about intercourse with you. I haven't had any personal experience with it before, so I loaded a training program." I felt my ears turn red at the thought.
"No you don't, trust me." I blushed even further when I realized I'd just most likely insulted him. "I don't mean it like that... I... had the training program introduce you as its model."
"The 5 rooms? The 5 slaves?"
"You know about it?" I pulled my hand from his, and continued to trace over the small-upraised drawing on the ground.
"Yes, they run Fliogans through all intercourse training modules. It is believed preparation for such things will help us."
"Oh." I nodded vaguely, noting that his hand had once more twined around my own.
"What did you do in the program?" His fingers twitched, and he began tracing the lines on the palm of my hand, both of us seemingly concentrating intensely on this activity.
"After I added your Bio Records, I just stood there. And it reacted like a typical program. But I realized I didn't want the program, and that if I needed to learn of these things, the real you would be better for it." I took a deep breath, looking up and meeting those shifting silver eyes before glancing back at our hands lying together in the sand.
Another section of silence drifted around us, the air stirring and ruffling his hair, the sand gathered around our linked hands and scattering over them.
"May I ask you a question now?" He asked after a little while, turning my hand so that it lay with the palm flat against the warm sand.
"Why do you have such long hair?"
I laughed then, lifting my hand to brush back the long strands that had been gathering around my face. Smearing the sand through the still drenched locks that hung in front of my eyes. "To be different I suppose. I don't want to be like everyone else."
"I think you are different." He glanced shyly at me from beneath his eyelashes, the silver darkening ever so slightly in their shadows.
"You must be, why else would you have been matched with me?"
"I thought so."
"Heero?" I tried to share the tree trunk with him and then gave up, leaning forward instead, to collapse on my stomach on the sand.
"Yes?" He moved his legs out of my way, one of his hands resting beside my face.
"Will you give me something?" My eyes traced the contour of his hand, the tendons strong and rigid within the smooth lines of it. The curve of his wrist was elegant, no hair at all on it though. Noticing that, my eyes searched the rest of him within view, looking for any body hair, there was none to be found. Perhaps it was a side affect of mixing his DNA with the Steelshift.
"If I have it to give." The fingers on his hand twitched slightly as I watched.
"I think you should."
"Are you going to tell me what it is? Or shall I guess?"
Slowly I levered myself up onto my knees, bracing myself in front of him. "I've been wondering what it would feel like to kiss you. I want you to give me one."
An eyebrow rose, odd that he had hair on his head but none on the rest of him. My mind seemed to be focusing on these silly little facts. I watched as he leaned closer, his wings unfolding from around him as his face moved to within an inch or two of my own. It was one of the first times I was allowed to take my leisure in looking at him up close. Study his features thoroughly. And just when I began to wonder if he would grant my request, he did so, bending forward slightly, his mouth brushing against mine.
It felt strange at first, but of course, I'd never kissed someone before. His lips were warm and firm, like the feel of pressing my mouth to some ripening fruit. Sweetness beneath the skin, so close that it flavored it. I felt another of those surges run through my body, a tingling starting in the tips of my fingers and toes. Unconsciously, as the time lengthened, I slipped my hands up, twisting them through the hair that surrounded his head in a dark halo. Gradually my eyelids seemed to grow heavier, until at last my eyes closed with some mysterious lethargy, hiding his face from my view.
Hours seemed to pass, my body growing bolder, until I found I'd moved until I was half cradled on his lap, arms wrapped around that warm neck, fingers tangled in his hair. Our mouths moved in tandem, breath mingling in small gasps between us. Warmth was engulfing me; heat building down low and spreading throughout, I wanted something I couldn't define. I only knew that whatever was happening to me, I wanted more of it.
The endless daylight of the oasis shimmered around us in a vague fog; concentration was something I didn't even try. Instead, I let my instincts take over, moving more firmly against his sun warmed skin, rubbing against the stiffened heat that I felt digging into my stomach. The words of the training program's slave came back to me. Need, he'd said. I now knew exactly what need was. This new urge to be touched, this was need.
Abruptly Heero pulled back, the breath gasping from his open lips. "Enough." Though I noticed, he didn't remove his arms from around me, his fingers still tensed against my bare back.
"I think I like kissing, does it always feel like that?" I asked, sliding off his lap and noting that we were both aroused.
"I would be lying if I said it did." He said under his breath.
"Can we do it again sometime?"
He made a choking noise in the back of his throat, Steelshift eyes glimmering at me from beneath half closed lids. "I think so, but for now, I have to leave."
"It has already been a few hours, I'm due back soon."
"Heero, what is your task?"
"Crèche technician, right now I'm watching a group of Growers closely, I need to keep an eye on them, make sure the incubators don't malfunction."
"That's why you keep having to leave so suddenly?"
"Yes," He turned towards me, smiling slightly. "Why else did you think I had to leave?"
"I wasn't sure, I thought it best to ask."
"Meet me again?"
"All right, same journey?"
"No, I'll tell you where, when I get some more time to myself."
"I'd like that."
We stood up, brushing the sand off and watching one another. I picked my robe up from waterside, slipping it over my head, noticing how dry it was, we must've been there for hours. For a brief moment, our eyes met, silver glints swirling inside of his. Then we both opened our mouths at the same time and I heard him echo my words. "Fina, end program."
Transpod: A dimensional traveling device. The transpod will transport human mass within any area that contains another transpod. The time taken for each journey will always be exactly 10 nanoseconds, as time is folded as well as matter to create no ripple within the dimensions.
Slosta: A drink created from organic matter grown on Jilad, the Slosta is filled with nutrients that heighten awareness and energize.
CR chips: Two microchips implanted behind the ears, the connectors that allow a direct linkage to the VR modules.
Shinalp: A form of cursing, Shinalp is somewhat akin to saying "shit" or "ah shit"
Kajacrap: The Kaja is a life form located on the planet Neskin, a large beast known to produce huge amounts of feces. The phrase kajacrap is akin to saying "Bullshit"
Fliogan Warriors: The Fliogan is a race that attaches metallic wings to their young while they are still being formed within the incubators. The wings are partially organic, fusing with the young so as to become part of their bodies. This warrior race is known to be extremely high tech, and very vicious, most normal humans will not go near them, as they are known to kill without reason. Very little is known of the Fliogan or their ways.
Feed Tubes: Connectors that feed information and nutrients to any life form connected to any long-term device.
Lavablue 6: The planet on which the society of Fliogan reside at this time.
Levels: Technological knowledge is rated by level; most societies only have an average of 30 levels. The common level of most humans is 5, techmaster levels tend to be higher and in the upper ranges.
Steelshift: 1 of over a million different charted elements, Steelshift is partially organic, allowing it to be integrated with human DNA, testing is still in experimental stages, most distinguished users of this element are the Fliogan.
Slipshot Diskwings: A style of wing known to be common among the Fliogan, Slipshot defines the integration of movable parts, Diskwing is the style of the small circular patterns of metal that form the wings of Fliogan.
Contract: A contract is a more binding way to say, "Promise or swear?"
Optilenses: Cyber optic lenses, which can be used during a VR program only.
Creos: The original form of the name Christ has changed with the passage of time, modern form of the word when used as a curse is Creos.
Orstras: A plant matter grown in dark caves on the planet of Trinition, considered a delicacy on most planets, the plant is dark purple with small white bells that can be plucked and cooked. The taste is said to be sweet and delicate.
Realtime Call: The difference between a realtime call and a regular call is in the distance, all realtime calls infer off planet residence of the caller, communications run at high speeds, face to face talking is still difficult between planets.
What is your task: This is the way most people will ask what your job is, what career you're in.
Crèche Technician: Most people are born to the incubators and raised in crèches, the technicians help care for the many children being raised in such places.