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Noemi

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Jollyrei

Angelus Mortis
Joined
Apr 27, 2015
Likes
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Location
Great White North
#41
What is it when a tiny creature stumbles into the ant-lion's pit, is it a pit of despair or is it just the crunch of mandibles and an indifferent end?
Now that I have reread the entire account so far, I begin to see this as a crucial metaphor, but I think Noemi is not just in the den of the ant-lions at the volcano, but she was always a pawn, an ant dreaming it is a lion perhaps, because the lions raised her. Her devotion and humility, however - how much is her nature, how much is indoctrination, how much is simple resignation.

This has such beautiful depth. Poetry of ideas, Malins.
:):):)
 

phlebas

PRIMUS POENUS
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Likes
68,120
Location
Oz
#42
I'm not really ... explaining, -- searching/ exploring might be more of it.

It was inspired by Phlebas' AI Crux thread, but (as is my nature) goes off on a tangent right away. I'm not so much interested in the 'technical' aspect of AI
I count it an honour that my own ramblings have inspired one of your wonderful and thoughtful tales, Malins.

I'm exploring questions of what it might mean to be human, how people become dehumanized when they accustom themselves to denying other people's humanity, or suffering.

Also yes the essentiality of pain and suffering to human existence, but still the wrongness of falsely elevating it.
Mmm yes, big questions, worth exploring. Maybe part of what makes us human is the ability to step back and analyse things like pain, and suffering. To empathise, to understand, to choose to inflict or mitigate pain in other people. The artificial becoming human, but in the context perhaps of the desensitised human becoming more machine like, or treating others as things.

Obviously this is in truth, neither really a science-fiction story, even though it's got a galactic empire; and it's not really any kind of BDSM story, even though it's got a girl who's sacrificed, ... to be honest I don't know what it is or exactly where it's going.
This question of categories is a hobby horse of mine. It can be SF, and BDSM, and still explore questions of humanity and suffering. I would say this is a science-fiction story, or if you prefer a speculative-fiction story - one where the parameters are a little different to our own world and context to allow a fresh examination of the themes. Maybe not BDSM, but SF with restraint, and suffering, and submission?

Now that I have reread the entire account so far, I begin to see this as a crucial metaphor, but I think Noemi is not just in the den of the ant-lions at the volcano, but she was always a pawn, an ant dreaming it is a lion perhaps, because the lions raised her. Her devotion and humility, however - how much is her nature, how much is indoctrination, how much is simple resignation.

This has such beautiful depth. Poetry of ideas, Malins.
:):):)
Quite true, beautiful and poetic, it draws us in.
Are we all ants dreaming that we are lions? At least, until the crunch of the mandibles!
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Likes
12,064
Location
Germany / on border to France
#43
(6)

Upon returning to the Integration section, the gray-clad figure of Instructor Lys retreated to her allotted cabin.
The corridor lighting was dimmed as the station’s timecycle now proscribed the resting state.

Though private, the cabin was not too much of a comfort zone – the entire station had been designed in the age of the Procrustics, who considered comfort unvirtuous. The essence of humanity was adaptability, they posited, and should constantly be challenged and exercised by the surroundings.

Still, everyone did something to make their space a little their own. Over there in Inculcation, it had felt like she had a war to fight with nobody on her side at all, and she felt tired and weary. The familiar enclosement offered some respite.

This cabin, too, had something you might call inspirational slogans. Lys herself had put up ‘Assorted Aphorisms and Wisdoms of the First Empire and the Age of Ancients, collected and edited by Professor Sternu Tarantoga’ which with each waking shift would cycle through some new uplifting quote.

Sometimes they were platitudes, sometimes they were deep insights, and sometimes they were like those ambiguous images that flipped before your eyes, optical illusions, a vase or two faces … one moment you thought you could peer down to the bottom of the universal soul and the next you thought you’d been tricked into tears by something shallow and trite.

But they never used such words of falsehood as she’d heard in Inculcation.

She felt sometimes these sayings were an antidote, a reprieve from the onslaught of lies.

As the lighting turned on with the opening of the door, her eyes fell upon the display.

‘We look at the world once in childhood. The rest is memory.’
– Fragment from ‘Happiness’ (undated, presumed Prestellar)

Lys froze on the threshold. For herself, she thought it was true, though not something she’d expect from a work entitled ‘Happiness’. This one could have been launched from planet Melancholia. It was more of a painful stab, when you thought …

...what would it mean if you had never had that.

Childhood.

How did you look at the world when you were instead initialized and inculcated, and implanted with memories.

Memories that were false.

Memories made for a purpose the precise nature of which wasn’t even known by those tasked to instill them.

What world was it you looked at when you were ‘13-06’, had no mother, no father, not even someone you, the tiny bundle, were handed to when they took you away because mother was unfit to keep you, undeserving to hold you …

... if what you got was Instructors whose job it was to tell you how to make sense of the world you were thrown into.

If … instead of a mother … you got me.

A forgotten soul on a forgotten world long before a ship had first set out to the stars had put down these words, somehow they had endured and passed through a hectocycle of history to cut her heart.

A frown or a throwaway gesture at the display would have erased the letters and brought up a new quote, instead she directed the questioning look at it that would bring up the reference screen.

Nothing much though, an undateable and unsourceable fragment of a work a historian himself dead for ages had deduced was entitled simply ‘Happiness’.

She pondered what they would have put in a book of happiness in a time when every child ever born had lived under the same sun, why they put this in and how it was the only shred to survive, -- and if under the ten thousand suns that shone on settled worlds today, had there ever been discovered a new way of being happy, or rather had something been left behind and lost forever, unrecoverable, when humanity had ventured into the voids.

Lys knew, this night called for a stronger antidote.
 
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Jollyrei

Angelus Mortis
Joined
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Likes
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Location
Great White North
#44
What world was it you looked at when you were ‘13-06’, had no mother, no father, not even someone you, the tiny bundle, were handed to when they took you away because mother was unfit to keep you, undeserving to hold you
Just sadness. Unadulterated sadness. :(
Lys knew, this night called for a stronger antidote.
No doubt.
You paint in deep colours, and yet there is a starkness to the picture. Who do I sorrow for; is it the inculcated or Lys?
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Likes
12,064
Location
Germany / on border to France
#45
Who do I sorrow for; is it the inculcated or Lys?
Both, though the inculcated are innocent, while Lys isn't, she's a cog in the machine.

BTW the quote she has on her display is taken from a poem by someone named Louise Glück; whichever linguistic analysis went over the fragments left that randomly escaped oblivion didn't care too much about shifting between two ancient, dead languages and someone decided 'Glück' i.e. happiness was the name of the poem, or the book, - not the author.

And... since there's been some time since the last installment...
the gray-clad figure of Instructor Lys
... so the figure of 'Gray', and the voice of Instructor Lys, which Noemi aka 13-06 'most often hears inside her head', are the same.
 

messaline

Crucified Amazon
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Likes
54,361
Location
France
#46
She pondered what they would have put in a book of happiness in a time when every child ever born had lived under the same sun, why they put this in and how it was the only shred to survive,
Perhaps that we do know some moments of misfortune to make the difference and to feel our happiness'moments ?
It's joining what I said before : I need of the pain to reach what we could sometimes call "ecstasy" ...

‘We look at the world once in childhood. The rest is memory.’

But I agree that : we get a great "formatting" in our yougness'times, even if we're not able to notice the fact ; it's what we can see, feel, which is driving us to a way that, in fact, we cant choose ; ... and when the memory is acquired, are we able to change this way ?
I doubt and that which could explain our pain'attraction, even our crux'attraction ...
If it could be possible( :rolleyes:), it would withdraw this eternal discomfort that I could feel in practising what few people do, I want to speak about BDSM and my crux'fascination ...
But this explanation is certainly false ...!:(

 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
Joined
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12,064
Location
Germany / on border to France
#48
(7)

For a while Lys had been carefully breaking through the limits of the ‘professional compartmentalization’ in the research program.
Incubation, Inculcation, Integration, Assessment, and then either on to Deployment or, Analysis and Disposal.
That was the flowchart.
Each was a separate work environment, a separate community.
Nobody was supposed to know too much of what went on in the other sectors.
So nobody could accumulate too much dangerous knowledge.

But of course the borders could be made porous.
Integration for instance, where Lys worked, had very little to do with Analysis normally – that was where the sectioning of specimens was done that had either failed Integration or not gotten the pass to Deployment (you have to learn to let go and just think of it like that… specimens… )
Of course all the tissue samples were preserved.
And so, Analysis used a lot of pure laboratory alcohol.

Lys had certainly not been the first ever to trade for it, in order to find some escape from station life, and the toll it took on her soul.
She wasn't as good at living up to the motto of 'No Emotional Involvement'.
But then that was probably why she was here.

“At least since we came up with the mouth-spreaders they aren’t chewing off their fingers anymore!” he’d said.
Director Draal Vit Gornik.
That was one who seemed to thrive here.
Monster!

Considering how she traded for it, the alcohol that was her antidote on nights like this, she wasn’t proud of it.
No one could remain proud here, she thought.
Except a monster.

Being the only woman in the research team was a scarcity that – if you learned to bear the shame – could be made tradeable.
She had no illusions of how the men would compare her to what they could, planetside, rent for a millicycle’s worth of saved credit on a visit to Joy, but for most of them, those excursions were scheduled too far apart ...

.

“What’s that you’ve got there, Lys?”

Traan Dol, Maintenance Engineer.
One of the few men she thought she could trust.
His work sometimes took him across the borders between the compartments, and … he’d seen things.
Suspicious things.
They had begun to confide in each other and had begun to piece together a picture of what was really happening on the station.

She raised the steel canteen to her lips, took another swig, and handed it to him.

“Spirit of the Former preserve me!” he exclaimed as the vapors hit him.
“You can’t possibly be drinking this!”

“It helps me sleep sometimes,” she answered sheepishly.
“And yes… preserving spirit… that’s what half of it is ...”

She had only just sat down to drink, in the Garden at the distal end of the Integration section, so she still felt a bit self-conscious.

“Seriously this stuff would kill off predatory fungus from Hregdul-Sek” he proclaimed. And sat down beside her.
They both looked up at the artificial sky.

Right now the night-time dome of the Garden was projected with triple moons and dense constellations of stars.
Stars that the 'specimen' called Noemi would look up to, on the planet she’d be deployed to.
She was being acclimatized to her destination in her own private Garden at the Beginning of Time from which she would be expelled to fall to the world where her duty awaited. Professional compartmentalization of course meant neither of them had any idea where she would go and they would never see her again.

The climate-regulated air in the dome was dry and at night-time pleasantly warm.
The artificial environment of the Garden was a rather simple approximation.
Of course all manners of technological tricks could have been used, artificial sensory stimulations, to create a much more immersive environment. But the research station’s work was already skirting close to violating the commandment ‘Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man's mind’,… they were growing things with only half a mind and implanting them with things that were not like any mind … but under no circumstance could they go about and also violate the commandment to not make their own universe that mocks the one shaped by the Former. With that they would already be reviving two of the three Eternal Vices that had nearly destroyed Humanity several times over. In an isolated research station at the periphery of the galaxy, you might experiment with one of the Vices, but never two simultaneously.

“I’ve found something … new.” he began.

“I’ve been offering my help fixing all sort of quirks and gremlins that no one ever bothered about before. Station ain’t been refurbished in a hemicycle. So that’s been getting me to places. Like, a place that looked like some sort of production line. Looked like part of an entire sector I never knew about. Closer to axis than Incubation. Messed up temperature regulation, that was the problem. Got it fixed right there, had a quick look around before I left.”

“So what did you find?”

“Big machine labelled, ‘Cerebral decorticator’. Conveyor belt goes in on one side and comes out the other.”

“You’ll have an opinon of what that is, won’t you?”

“It means what I think it does?”

“Yes” whispered Lys almost inaudibly.

“Oh Spirit of the Former preserve me.” Traan mumbled.
This time it was a genuine plea.
“Hand me that bottle Lys.”

Gulp.
Cough.
Curse.
Terrifying silence.
After a long pause Lys dared to speak again.

“I’ve found something too. In the shipment records. Shipments coming in that need liquid helium cooling. They come in some time before a new Incubation starts. Item numbers are never less than the number of ‘blanks’ in each batch. It’s usually a few more. Package size is about half a vol, including cooling.“
”And now, Traan, you tell me about an unknown sector closer to the axis.“
”Of course that’s where ships dock and they would bring those … items ... in. ”

“What are they?”

“Traan, what we are looking at is a sector before Incubation. Let’s call that Arrival and Preparation. They are bringing something in from the outside that goes into Incubation. We both know what they have to be.”

“They… they aren’t growing ‘blanks’ and then implanting the noötechnics modules.“

“They’re importing them. They’re taking them from somewhere. Stealing them. They… they…” – she couldn’t go on.

“They are… or… they used to be ... people.” – Traan finished.

They had both been suspecting it but now couldn’t escape the conclusion.

“And then they put them through the cerebral decorticator so they can … we ... we ... we’ve... got to ... stop it.”

“Yes. But Oversight won’t help. We need to get this to the Guardians.”

“We’ve been part of it though Lys. If the Guardians of Virtue come in and anathematize the place, it’ll be Realignment for the lot of us. Those guys are the real deal.”

“It’s a risk… or a punishment we’ll have to take “ she whispered on the verge of tears.

He put his arm around her shoulder and she sank against him.

He didn’t know.
She’d never told him, although it couldn’t have been that hard to guess.
She’d already been through Realignment.
No one gets Realigned twice.
This time it would be instant termination.
But… we’ve got to stop it.

“How do we get a message to them? There must be an ansible here on the station but it’s not like we’d have any chance of getting near it. And anyway nobody must know!”

“I could figure that out but only from planetside” he said “and it would take a lot of credits.”

“Credits? If that’s all I think I have that covered.” – Another thing he couldn't know. But might have guessed. Each millicycle Lys got as many credits as anyone else of her technical rank but she hardly ever spent anything, had gone planetside only once, and so she had run up quite a sum.

“But we need to be quick about it.”

“I’d rather be done with it sooner than later too but we can't rush. If we fuck up this up there’s nobody else around who could stop it.”

“Noemi is going on Deployment soon.” – Whoever she might have been before… that’s who she is now, Lys thought.
“Then the next… ‘batch’ will go through Inculcation. Just think of it… if the station is shut down, what are the Guardians going to do to the … specimens?”

“Oh fuck no. You’re right. The Guardians have got to get here before that...”

“And we’ve got to stop the Honorable Director Gornik from … stealing people and … stealing their souls.”

We can’t possibly succeed, she thought.
We are basically dead the moment we try.
But at least there’s a purpose to what we're doing.
 

messaline

Crucified Amazon
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Likes
54,361
Location
France
#50
She raised the steel canteen to her lips, took another swig, and handed it to him.

“Spirit of the Former preserve me!” he exclaimed as the vapors hit him.
“You can’t possibly be drinking this!”

“It helps me sleep sometimes,” she answered sheepishly.
“And yes… preserving spirit… that’s what half of it is ...”
Is it the same "Elyxir" which was using by Jolly in another story ?

Stars that the 'specimen' called Noemi would look up to, on the planet she’d be deployed to.
She was being acclimatized to her destination in her own private Garden at the Beginning of Time from which she would be expelled to fall to the world where her duty awaited.
... Yes, of course ! It is ...
So, Messa was right in using of the hollograms : they permit to escape of this duty in pluging herself totally into a "Secret Garden" where she could find a bit of "raison de vivre" ... ( motif to live ?)

Messa crux4 (1).jpg ;)

We can’t possibly succeed, she thought.
We are basically dead the moment we try.
But at least there’s a purpose to what we're doing.
But are you not already dead ? Are you satisfied of how are the things going ?
Some decisions in our life are sometimes difficult to do , but , could our life be worth doing without them ?
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Likes
12,064
Location
Germany / on border to France
#51
But are you not already dead ? Are you satisfied of how are the things going ?
Yes, that's exactly it, Lys has been dead inside, but now she sees a point in life, let's see how their conspiracy goes...

Is it the same "Elyxir" which was using by Jolly in another story ?
Hmmm, a much simpler recipe, 50% pure laboratory alcohol, 50% of anything else she can get, maybe throw in some fruit from that garden... if she ran out of that she'd start sniffing glue... she was very desparate with her situation...

the hollograms : they permit to escape of this duty
Noemi is going to be sent to a 'primitive' planet for her mission, and right now she's being accustomed to that planet's day/night rhythm, star constellations, the temperature / humidity to be expected at her landing zone etc... so it's not an escape, more a preparation... everything she experiences later on the planet is real.
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
Joined
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Likes
12,064
Location
Germany / on border to France
#52
(8)

Traan had to admit he was gobsmacked when Lys gave him her credit-pad and he saw how much she had saved up.

She had been on the station for twelve centicycles though, much longer than him, long enough for station life to etch itself into her posture and expression. She’d spent almost nothing … only one trip planet-side and occasional remote-orders, so it made sense.

Credits bought nothing on the station, in fact they couldn’t be spent there at all, it was technically impossible to transfer them from one person’s account to another’s within the station, in order to prevent bribery and corruption.

Basic services such as accomodation, nutrition, opportunities for exercise and so on were all provided for free for those who served there. Of course the crew – or inmates, as those on the lower to medium levels usually referred to each other – had developed a flourishing inofficial economy. By way of exchanging sex for alcohol, Lys had actually been involved with two of the hardest currencies existing in that economy.

Her pay had actually been a point of disagreement when she’d been transferred to the station.

There were no regulations on how much credit she would earn, as there hadn’t ever been a woman in the research team before.

When she’d arrived with the interstellar transport, she’d found that she’d been one of the first passengers to recover from the side effects of folding through space. She had seen an actual space admiral straight off the legendary battleship Sorgaqtani-Beki, on some mission to the galactic periphery, drooling and teetering through the hallways propped up by his servants while she had been only slightly dizzy. Though she’d admittedly been a bit confused too, not knowing whether she was even a passenger – or still a prisoner. She certainly hadn’t chosen her destination.

Nevertheless that had made her confident, and during that first meeting she had actually stood up and said that if there were no specific regulations for her case, by basic logic that meant the more general level of regulations should apply, that is, she should be paid the same as her predecessor.

Director Gornik had smiled and said that the general regulation had been established on a long-running expectation of performance, and since he had most definitely not requested her to be assigned to his team, that was what he would do, assign her remuneration according to what could be expected of her performance, so long as until it could be measured in the first evaluation by actual objective results delivered.

What he expected of her performance was very clear by the fact that after the first millicycle she got half the pay.

As the results started coming in she’d been looking forward to the ‘objective evaluation’ because she was definitely doing better than her predecessor. The evaluation never happened though – Director Gornik never liked admitting to anyone, that he might have been wrong about anything, ever – but her next payment had been the full amount and so it had been ever since. At least in terms of her performance, there had been a tacit agreement since then with Gornik. He might be a monster but that didn’t mean he couldn’t do the math.

But the monster he was, was the kind that couldn’t accept anything but total victory over any opponent, and he had that preternatural talent of always knowing where everyone was. So she thought it had been no coincidence that he had allowed her to overhear that conversation, as she hesitated in the corridor,

That woman Lys has been delivering some decent numbers from Integration, hasn’t she?”

Mmmm the numbers look acceptable. But then when you think of it, Integration, basically, that is work for a woman. Especially one like this Lys.”

Why especially her?”

Just think of it. A woman who was ruled by court to be unsuitable to raise her own child. So now she's nurturing biomorphs to prove to herself that she can fulfill the purpose of a woman. Logical, isn’t it?”

Somehow Dornik managed to turn every accomplishment of hers into defeat.

Not this time, she vowed to herself.

And if I can use those credits to help thwart him then at least I know what I worked for.

She confirmed Traan’s fingerprint on the credit-pad so he would have access to her earnings, limited for one millicycle and the Otrid planetary system.

“Ought to be enough for my plan to work”, he said.

“Well then. Tell me. What exactly is your great secret plan”, she asked.

“Just trust me. There’s eyes everywhere, flies on the wall. It’s risky, and ugly, and you won’t be coming planet-side anyway. The less you know…”

She actually liked that idea.
Trust me.“
She never thought much about her credits, they just accumulated.
That someone should ask her to... trust him.
And it was true. If he told her about his plan, she would find a thousand reasons why it couldn’t work, and demoralize them both, and lie awake nights turning over in her head how everything would go wrong.
Just take those damn credits and do it!
Trust me.”
She found she’d do anything.

“Take them all and see that you get planet-side as quickly as possible.”

“Not so fast Lys! I need the crystal with your data. I’ve put everything I’ve found in mine.”

She handed it to him. “I started my own private log about six millicycles after I got here. I have everything. Pretty much.”

“Excellent. Maybe it’s only the two of us … but … we can do this.”

The two of us, she thought.
He’ll be leaving soon, and he might not come back.

When she gave herself to the Analysis man in exchange for liquid oblivion, she had taken care that certain things never, ever happened.

Such as a hug, that turned into a firm embrace, and… a kiss.

That happened with Traan now.

She liked that, afterwards, Traan left quickly, so that the farewell would not be drawn-out and painful.

She liked the spring in his step.

Had that been there before?

She liked that she felt taller.

Almost as if her feet did not touch the ground, although no one had halted the station’s centrifugal rotation.
 

Wragg

Chronicler of Crux
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2011
Likes
67,331
Location
Blighty
#53
(8)

Traan had to admit he was gobsmacked when Lys gave him her credit-pad and he saw how much she had saved up.

She had been on the station for twelve centicycles though, much longer than him, long enough for station life to etch itself into her posture and expression. She’d spent almost nothing … only one trip planet-side and occasional remote-orders, so it made sense.

Credits bought nothing on the station, in fact they couldn’t be spent there at all, it was technically impossible to transfer them from one person’s account to another’s within the station, in order to prevent bribery and corruption.

Basic services such as accomodation, nutrition, opportunities for exercise and so on were all provided for free for those who served there. Of course the crew – or inmates, as those on the lower to medium levels usually referred to each other – had developed a flourishing inofficial economy. By way of exchanging sex for alcohol, Lys had actually been involved with two of the hardest currencies existing in that economy.

Her pay had actually been a point of disagreement when she’d been transferred to the station.

There were no regulations on how much credit she would earn, as there hadn’t ever been a woman in the research team before.

When she’d arrived with the interstellar transport, she’d found that she’d been one of the first passengers to recover from the side effects of folding through space. She had seen an actual space admiral straight off the legendary battleship Sorgaqtani-Beki, on some mission to the galactic periphery, drooling and teetering through the hallways propped up by his servants while she had been only slightly dizzy. Though she’d admittedly been a bit confused too, not knowing whether she was even a passenger – or still a prisoner. She certainly hadn’t chosen her destination.

Nevertheless that had made her confident, and during that first meeting she had actually stood up and said that if there were no specific regulations for her case, by basic logic that meant the more general level of regulations should apply, that is, she should be paid the same as her predecessor.

Director Gornik had smiled and said that the general regulation had been established on a long-running expectation of performance, and since he had most definitely not requested her to be assigned to his team, that was what he would do, assign her remuneration according to what could be expected of her performance, so long as until it could be measured in the first evaluation by actual objective results delivered.

What he expected of her performance was very clear by the fact that after the first millicycle she got half the pay.

As the results started coming in she’d been looking forward to the ‘objective evaluation’ because she was definitely doing better than her predecessor. The evaluation never happened though – Director Gornik never liked admitting to anyone, that he might have been wrong about anything, ever – but her next payment had been the full amount and so it had been ever since. At least in terms of her performance, there had been a tacit agreement since then with Gornik. He might be a monster but that didn’t mean he couldn’t do the math.

But the monster he was, was the kind that couldn’t accept anything but total victory over any opponent, and he had that preternatural talent of always knowing where everyone was. So she thought it had been no coincidence that he had allowed her to overhear that conversation, as she hesitated in the corridor,

That woman Lys has been delivering some decent numbers from Integration, hasn’t she?”

Mmmm the numbers look acceptable. But then when you think of it, Integration, basically, that is work for a woman. Especially one like this Lys.”

Why especially her?”

Just think of it. A woman who was ruled by court to be unsuitable to raise her own child. So now she's nurturing biomorphs to prove to herself that she can fulfill the purpose of a woman. Logical, isn’t it?”

Somehow Dornik managed to turn every accomplishment of hers into defeat.

Not this time, she vowed to herself.

And if I can use those credits to help thwart him then at least I know what I worked for.

She confirmed Traan’s fingerprint on the credit-pad so he would have access to her earnings, limited for one millicycle and the Otrid planetary system.

“Ought to be enough for my plan to work”, he said.

“Well then. Tell me. What exactly is your great secret plan”, she asked.

“Just trust me. There’s eyes everywhere, flies on the wall. It’s risky, and ugly, and you won’t be coming planet-side anyway. The less you know…”

She actually liked that idea.
Trust me.“
She never thought much about her credits, they just accumulated.
That someone should ask her to... trust him.
And it was true. If he told her about his plan, she would find a thousand reasons why it couldn’t work, and demoralize them both, and lie awake nights turning over in her head how everything would go wrong.
Just take those damn credits and do it!
Trust me.”
She found she’d do anything.

“Take them all and see that you get planet-side as quickly as possible.”

“Not so fast Lys! I need the crystal with your data. I’ve put everything I’ve found in mine.”

She handed it to him. “I started my own private log about six millicycles after I got here. I have everything. Pretty much.”

“Excellent. Maybe it’s only the two of us … but … we can do this.”

The two of us, she thought.
He’ll be leaving soon, and he might not come back.

When she gave herself to the Analysis man in exchange for liquid oblivion, she had taken care that certain things never, ever happened.

Such as a hug, that turned into a firm embrace, and… a kiss.

That happened with Traan now.

She liked that, afterwards, Traan left quickly, so that the farewell would not be drawn-out and painful.

She liked the spring in his step.

Had that been there before?

She liked that she felt taller.

Almost as if her feet did not touch the ground, although no one had halted the station’s centrifugal rotation.
Glad this has restarted, Malins! :)
 

messaline

Crucified Amazon
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Likes
54,361
Location
France
#55
When she gave herself to the Analysis man in exchange for liquid oblivion, she had taken care that certain things never, ever happened.
messa pensive 8.jpg What things ? Tell us, please ...

Such as a hug, that turned into a firm embrace, and… a kiss.
messa pensive 11.jpg A KISS ?! Only a kiss ? More ? ... curious ... Tell us ...
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Likes
12,064
Location
Germany / on border to France
#56
Thanks for the people who've returned to this story that was in suspended animation for so long!
It's probably one of my weirdest ;)
What things ? Tell us, please ...
The things Lys never wanted to happen? When she let some stranger penetrate her in return for alcohol? She didn't want to give any sign of affection. Such as a kiss. She was simply spreading her legs for some guy who would provide her with booze so that she could drown her conscience.
It was just wham bam, without the thank you ma'am, in exchange for 'liquid oblivion'...
ethanol_absolute_pa.jpg
A KISS ?! Only a kiss ? More ? ... curious ... Tell us ...
As the song goes, "It started with a kiss ... never thought it would come to this" :D at the moment it's still very innocent but let's see where it goes .. if it goes anywhere! At the moment it's just ... the promise of ... emotional involvement. Which is of course forbidden on the station! They actually have that as an unofficial motto...
some cynic went and taped it up, a helpful reminder for us all ...
NO EMOTIONAL INVOLVEMENT ”
So now, it's the opposite of the oblivion for which Lys could give herself away easily because she was just looking to numb herself.
Now she feels much more alive and involved and wants to feel more ... but that also brings vulnerability! So there's not going to be wild sex right after the first tender touch ;)

Before the story of Lys and Traan goes on though we'll have to find out what he does when he goes planetside...
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Likes
12,064
Location
Germany / on border to France
#57
(9)

Engineer Traan Dol strapped himself in as the re-entry pod was prepared for ejection. A pod was dropped to the planetary surface every nine days – Imperial days that is, artificial days timed to fit with the biological rhythm of the human body, that as far as humaneticists could tell hadn’t changed very much, ever since people had left the hypothetical planet they had originally emigrated from.

The planet Otrid-KS of course had its own day, unsuitable for human timekeeping though.

It was a fringe world, just barely habitable.

There was the usual talk as the men took their seats.

Most of them would be going to Joy.
One actually had a wife to visit planetside.
A man was allowed to marry locally, but you couldn’t ever bring up wife and kids to the station and could only settle down with them once you’d done your time, which was usually two decicycles. Otrid wasn’t really the place though where it was easy to find a girl, except of course the ones you rented from Joy.

“So you’re taking your time off early this time round, Traan? Got blue balls?”

“Nope. Got business. Gamble of mine paid off.”


Traan knew that someone would probably notice him acting unusually, spending more money than he ought to have, so there needed to be at least some hint of a cover story.

“Look at this guy. Once a smuggler always a smuggler. They should have sent him to Realignment.”

“Couldn’t be any worse than here. But at least I ain’t never been no space pirate!”

For all intents and purposes the research station was a penal colony. There wasn’t anybody on it who hadn’t been some sort of criminal, deviant or misfit. If you had a useful skill, your sentence could sometimes be commuted from Realignment, to service in a place like this.
Realignment usually took only half as long but most people preferred to stay themselves. A really hardened criminal might be banished here after getting Realigned.

Traan sometimes wondered what Instructor Lys might have done to get herself posted to the station. The technical and maintenance crew were basically a bunch of scoundrels – smugglers and space pirates weren’t even the worst of it – but the scientific experimenters usually had some white collar crime up their sleeve.

“Anyway it’s not like I’ve gotten filthy rich. But before we go up again, everyone just come to Escape Velocity, drinks are on me,” Traan promised.

“Worst dive on the planet.”

“Just right for scum like you!”


.

The men were jostled around as the capsule was ejected from the station and started its rapid descent.

The pod had only minimal thrust capability for course correction.

Its entry into atmosphere was much like the fall of a meteor; the outer hull grew white hot and started ablating, tracing a glowing path across the sky.

As it entered deeper layers of the dense atmosphere, hull geometry was reconfigured for air-braking; now the falling capsule left a cloud of thick, oily black smoke as the last layers of the outer shield cooked off.

Finally, the parachutes were deployed. The pod jarred violently as the chutes snapped open and grabbed hold of the air.

Those who sat close to one of the viewports of heat-resistant crystal could see the landing zone rushing up to them.

Impact zone would be a better word.

After they had recovered from the concussion, the men waited for a few minutes before levering open the exit hatch.
They knew that planetfall would kick up a huge cloud of irritant dust, and there was the matter of the parachute fabric which might be draped over the exit. It was a self-dissolving material that would turn to goop and then vanish within minutes of landing, but you wouldn’t want to walk into or through it while it was decaying.

Air pressure inside the cabin had been slowly increased during the trip to be equal to the planet’s surface.
So all they had to do was kick away the exit hatch.
Then, one after the other, drop down to the planet’s surface.

Real ground, real soil beneath their feet, ground from which things grew, ground in which things lived, even if they were black-lobed mega-lichens and rock-boring trilobites. Somehow it always felt different making planetfall on living ground, and however marginal it was, this place harbored life.

On a fringe world like this, there wasn’t such a thing as a spaceport.
If there was some pressing need, you could arrange – and pay – for a vehicle to pick you up after planetfall.

There was no infrastructure except for a shelter dome in case of solar flares or superstorm winds, neither of which were rare.

The average visitor just shouldered his pack, and hiked to town.

And that’s what they did, marching off in single file, under the great spotty disc of a red sun that hung behind the racing clouds, glaring from the same spot of the sky eternally, the scaly lobes of the sparse coal-black vegetation all fixed to face the same direction. As they went up a low ridge, the men braced themselves against the howling wind; since one side of the planet lay in eternal darkness and the other in never-ending daylight, there were enormous temperature differences that drove perpetually racing cyclones.

The area around the impact zone was covered with several dozen of what looked pretty much like enormous cow-pats, or maybe giant fossilized dinosaur turds.
That’s what they called them, ‘turds’, and that’s what the re-entry capsule would look like in a few days.

It would flatten and sink and collapse onto itself, its surface becoming wrinkly and discolored.

All this was designed into its synthetic life-cycle – a pod was dropped from the station every nine imperial days, after a centicycle thirty of them would have accumulated, and the dry, compressed ‘turds’ would all be stacked into a recovery ship that would bring them back into orbit.

There the collapesd pods would be re-energized, and would resynthesize the heat shield and the parachutes, and expand to regain their previous shape. This cycle had proven far more effective than building landers that included all the complexity and weight involved with having their own engine to lift off back into space.

Maintenance was also easy, as it was practically guaranteed that if a pod successfully resynthesized, it would later be flight-worthy. If anything went wrong during the recovery process, the pod would be broken down and recycled for its constituent elements.

Return to the station would be from a separate launch zone, the rockets there slowly synthesizing their outer skin, crew capsule and fuel from air, minerals and sunlight.

They grew from ‘seeds’ that consisted of the engine pack only. Once in orbit, all fuel burnt off, the thin hull would be diverted into the growth cycle of the re-entry pods, the engine packs stored, and every now and then a pod would go back down with a set of the compact engine packs that would regrow the fueled rocket around themselves. Since this was a slow process, there were hundreds of such ‘seeds’ at the launch zone, in various stages of regrowth, so one would ‘ripen’ into a launch-ready rocket every nine days.

Much of the technology of the Pantocracy worked in this way, it had proven sustainable over the range of many human lifetimes.


In fact the subjects of the Pantocrator were not treated much differently, those who had been found irredeemably deviant and couldn’t fulfill their purpose, were broken down into their constituent elements and recycled.
Human beings, however, no matter what their failings or transgressions, were by birthright always entitled to a second chance, a Realignment – that wouldn’t happen with a defective piece of technology like a failed pod.


.

As the men on leave from the station arrived at the outskirts of town – people just called it town, as there wasn’t anything nearby it could be confused with – Traan Dol said goodbye to the group for the next three days, when they would meet up at the bar and then, in time for the next shift on the station, they’d march out and take a rocket up again.

The local ‘day’ of the planet – the time it took to turn around its axis of rotation – was the same as its year, since it was tidally locked to its sun. A local day and a year on Otrid KS were both 42 imperial days, and there was no such thing as a ‘month’, as planets that circled so tightly around red dwarf stars never had moons. The settled zone of the planet was about twenty degrees inside of the terminator, the line that separated endless dark from endless night. In these places it was eternally late afternoon, or early evening, depending on whether your glass was half full or half empty. It never felt like morning.

All in all it meant that there was no natural concept of time on the planet, and so people just used Galactic time for all affairs of life, just like the station did, and it made sense to organize society around overlapping shifts, just like the station did.

And so, even though it had only 30,000 people, ‘Town’ or ‘Capital’ or what you called it, was a city that never slept. At any moment in time ten thousand people were asleep, twenty thousand awake and about.


.

Traan headed straight for Joy.

Once inside he went for the reception, were individual requests were received.
Anyone who requested a price for a service there, but in the end didn’t book a girl, had to pay a hefty ‘consultation fee’. That kept the riff-raff away.

“How can I help you to be happy today?” asked the girl behind the counter.

Her voice was trained to be artificially flat, probably to make sure no one forgot she was the receptionist – and not a product.

“I want to have a good time” said Traan, being deliberately obtuse.

“That’s what Joy is there for, anywhere in the Galaxy, any time, any way. Please just inform me of your wants and desires.”, she chirped like an impersonation of the advertisements.

“Okay, let’s flip this around. Here’s my credit pad. What can I get for that?”

“Hmmm…. “ – she raised an eyebrow, with a slightly surprised expression that was no longer entirely puppet-like.

“How many of our staff do you want to book, how many clients will there be, and when will the event take place?” she asked, matter-of-factly.

So, people who came in with that amount of money usually threw an orgy.

Traan knew then that the money on the pad was enough to get what he wanted.

“One. One. Now. The best I can buy.”

“Oh” - now he had the receptionist’s attention. She fidgeted a bit and made a show of consulting some records.

“We only offer the first seven levels of Joy here. It’s a fringe world you know. You could afford eight but you’d have to go to the Craldual sector and well … that is a lot of credits you’ve got but it takes three Folds to get there and you know how much that costs, I guess.”

“Seventh heaven is good enough for me, madam. What can I get?”

“I can offer you three days, for sixty kilocredits.”

“I have a hundred and ten”

“You must understand that there isn’t much demand for seventh level here. There’s no continuous service. You can book later again if you so wish.”

Of course three days was all the time he had anyway but no need to let her know he was actually an inmate on the station, who'd have to head back to his drudgery, and not some nouveau-riche from town, with all the time in the world.

“Okay. I’m buying. Show me the menu.”

The receptionist, who now had lost most of her mask, laughed nervously and said,
“There isn’t any. If you want a girl from today on, as you said, and it’s seventh level, you want the best we’ve got, there’s only one option. Her name is Lixuari.”

“So I’m going to be the only person going to the seventh heaven on this entire fucking planet for the next three days. Sounds just right! Those credits are yours, and she’s mine.”

The receptionist harrumphed.
“You are not required to answer this question but may I ask… how you have acquired this wealth?”

“Hit a nest of rock trilobites.” – A tunnel-boring creature endemic to the planet, its blue blood could be sold off at high price, a few among the Alpha Primes considered it to be a rejuvenant.

“Another question you’re not ...officially … required to answer, but … do you have any problems with Exotics?”

“No, not at all. Why?”

“Well, Lixuari is an Exotic. We had some trouble once with an ancestralist fanatic. Ugly incident, believe me.”

“What is she?”

“Uptrivi-Lenki. Here, look at the 'gram, of course you can have a peek before booking.”

She handed him the disc that would project a small animated hologram of the girl; travelling men who could afford it often had them made of various conquests they didn’t want to forget, so they were generally known as femgrams.

Traan was trying – rather successfully he found – to sound nonchalant, but the truth was he had no experience at all with Exotics.

Of course he knew they existed, from Humanetics lessons in school. Everyone learned that. As humanity had spread through the galaxy, sometimes planets would be settled by a small number of people, and then get cut off for decacycles. If any of the founder population had a rare mutation, it might become characteristic for the planet. Other planets might go through a bottleneck, a population that collapsed and rebounded from a tiny group. And then there was natural selection. If people got stuck on a planet like this one for long enough, where all light was dim and red, they’d lose the ability to see different colors, but become more light-sensitive. And then there were planets circling around suns that sometimes exploded in ultraviolet flares, and on one of these, the natives had developed a new sense for very short wave light. They callet it ‘dred’ as they said it didn’t look like a harsher blue or violet, but rather like boiling blood, and instilled a sense of dread, as it triggered the instinct to immediately seek shelter – and clearly those who had gained that sensitivity and that behavior had survived the mistempers of their sun better than those who had not.

Most of these changes weren’t outwardly visible though.

When they were – that's when you had an Exotic.
Uptrivi-Lenki was the textbook example.
All of these changes had come about naturally though, through the adaptability and changeability of the human substance, and so they were all members of the human family. They had grown from the tree of humanity that had been planted by the Former.

Only a few fanatics believed that “true-to-Earth” humans, who supposedly looked like the ancients before they migrated into space, were somehow superior, the problem was of course no one knew what these people had looked like, and “Earth”, if there ever had been such a thing, had probably fallen victim to the Synthropithecine Geocides half a hectocycle ago. What one had to fear, hate and destroy, that were the descendants of artificially created or altered other-men or former-humans, sons of the synthropithecines.


An Exotic would be just right for his plan.

“She’s perfect”, said Traan.

“Seal the deal.”

Her pattern was certainly provocative.

 

thehangingtree

Proconsul
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Likes
134,144
Location
Near the coffee shop, Pacific, Mo
#58
(9)

Engineer Traan Dol strapped himself in as the re-entry pod was prepared for ejection. A pod was dropped to the planetary surface every nine days – Imperial days that is, artificial days timed to fit with the biological rhythm of the human body, that as far as humaneticists could tell hadn’t changed very much, ever since people had left the hypothetical planet they had originally emigrated from.

The planet Otrid-KS of course had its own day, unsuitable for human timekeeping though.
It was a fringe world, just barely habitable.


There was the usual talk as the men took their seats.
Most of them would be going to Joy.
One actually had a wife to visit planetside.
A man was allowed to marry locally, but you couldn’t ever bring up wife and kids to the station and could only settle down with them once you’d done your time, which was usually two decicycles. Otrid wasn’t really the place though where it was easy to find a girl, except of course the ones you rented from Joy.


“So you’re taking your time off early this time round, Traan? Got blue balls?”

“Nope. Got business. Gamble of mine paid off.”

Traan knew that someone would probably notice him acting unusually, spending more money than he ought to have, so there needed to be at least some hint of a cover story.

“Look at this guy. Once a smuggler always a smuggler. They should have sent him to Realignment.”

“Couldn’t be any worse than here. But at least I ain’t never been no space pirate!”

For all intents and purposes the research station was a penal colony. There wasn’t anybody on it who hadn’t been some sort of criminal, deviant or misfit. If you had a useful skill, your sentence could sometimes be commuted from Realignment, to service in a place like this.
Realignment usually took only half as long but most people preferred to stay themselves. A really hardened criminal might be banished here after getting Realigned.


Traan sometimes wondered what Instructor Lys might have done to get herself posted to the station. The technical and maintenance crew were basically a bunch of scoundrels – smugglers and space pirates weren’t even the worst of it – but the scientific experimenters usually had some white collar crime up their sleeve.

“Anyway it’s not like I’ve gotten filthy rich. But before we go up again, everyone just come to Escape Velocity, drinks are on me,” Traan promised.

“Worst dive on the planet.”

“Just right for scum like you!”

.

The men were jostled around as the capsule was ejected from the station and started its rapid descent.

The pod had only minimal thrust capability for course correction.

Its entry into atmosphere was much like the fall of a meteor; the outer hull grew white hot and started ablating, tracing a glowing path across the sky.

As it entered deeper layers of the dense atmosphere, hull geometry was reconfigured for air-braking; now the falling capsule left a cloud of thick, oily black smoke as the last layers of the outer shield cooked off.

Finally, the parachutes were deployed. The pod jarred violently as the chutes snapped open and grabbed hold of the air.

Those who sat close to one of the viewports of heat-resistant crystal could see the landing zone rushing up to them.

Impact zone would be a better word.
After they had recovered from the concussion, the men waited for a few minutes before levering open the exit hatch.
They knew that planetfall would kick up a huge cloud of irritant dust, and there was the matter of the parachute fabric which might be draped over the exit. It was a self-dissolving material that would turn to goop and then vanish within minutes of landing, but you wouldn’t want to walk into or through it while it was decaying.


Air pressure inside the cabin had been slowly increased during the trip to be equal to the planet’s surface.
So all they had to do was kick away the exit hatch.
Then, one after the other, drop down to the planet’s surface.


Real ground, real soil beneath their feet, ground from which things grew, ground in which things lived, even if they were black-lobed mega-lichens and rock-boring trilobites. Somehow it always felt different making planetfall on living ground, and however marginal it was, this place harbored life.

On a fringe world like this, there wasn’t such a thing as a spaceport.
If there was some pressing need, you could arrange – and pay – for a vehicle to pick you up after planetfall.


There was no infrastructure except for a shelter dome in case of solar flares or superstorm winds, neither of which were rare.

The average visitor just shouldered his pack, and hiked to town.

And that’s what they did, marching off in single file, under the great spotty disc of a red sun that hung behind the racing clouds, glaring from the same spot of the sky eternally, the scaly lobes of the sparse coal-black vegetation all fixed to face the same direction. As they went up a low ridge, the men braced themselves against the howling wind; since one side of the planet lay in eternal darkness and the other in never-ending daylight, there were enormous temperature differences that drove perpetually racing cyclones.

The area around the impact zone was covered with several dozen of what looked pretty much like enormous cow-pats, or maybe giant fossilized dinosaur turds.
That’s what they called them, ‘turds’, and that’s what the re-entry capsule would look like in a few days.


It would flatten and sink and collapse onto itself, its surface becoming wrinkly and discolored.

All this was designed into its synthetic life-cycle – a pod was dropped from the station every nine imperial days, after a centicycle thirty of them would have accumulated, and the dry, compressed ‘turds’ would all be stacked into a recovery ship that would bring them back into orbit.

There the collapesd pods would be re-energized, and would resynthesize the heat shield and the parachutes, and expand to regain their previous shape. This cycle had proven far more effective than building landers that included all the complexity and weight involved with having their own engine to lift off back into space.

Maintenance was also easy, as it was practically guaranteed that if a pod successfully resynthesized, it would later be flight-worthy. If anything went wrong during the recovery process, the pod would be broken down and recycled for its constituent elements.

Return to the station would be from a separate launch zone, the rockets there slowly synthesizing their outer skin, crew capsule and fuel from air, minerals and sunlight.
They grew from ‘seeds’ that consisted of the engine pack only. Once in orbit, all fuel burnt off, the thin hull would be diverted into the growth cycle of the re-entry pods, the engine packs stored, and every now and then a pod would go back down with a set of the compact engine packs that would regrow the fueled rocket around themselves. Since this was a slow process, there were hundreds of such ‘seeds’ at the launch zone, in various stages of regrowth, so one would ‘ripen’ into a launch-ready rocket every nine days.


Much of the technology of the Pantocracy worked in this way, it had proven sustainable over the range of many human lifetimes.

In fact the subjects of the Pantocrator were not treated much differently, those who had been found irredeemably deviant and couldn’t fulfill their purpose, were broken down into their constituent elements and recycled.
Human beings, however, no matter what their failings or transgressions, were by birthright always entitled to a second chance, a Realignment – that wouldn’t happen with a defective piece of technology like a failed pod.


.

As the men on leave from the station arrived at the outskirts of town – people just called it town, as there wasn’t anything nearby it could be confused with – Traan Dol said goodbye to the group for the next three days, when they would meet up at the bar and then, in time for the next shift on the station, they’d march out and take a rocket up again.

The local ‘day’ of the planet – the time it took to turn around its axis of rotation – was the same as its year, since it was tidally locked to its sun. A local day and a year on Otrid KS were both 42 imperial days, and there was no such thing as a ‘month’, as planets that circled so tightly around red dwarf stars never had moons. The settled zone of the planet was about twenty degrees inside of the terminator, the line that separated endless dark from endless night. In these places it was eternally late afternoon, or early evening, depending on whether your glass was half full or half empty. It never felt like morning.

All in all it meant that there was no natural concept of time on the planet, and so people just used Galactic time for all affairs of life, just like the station did, and it made sense to organize society around overlapping shifts, just like the station did.

And so, even though it had only 30,000 people, ‘Town’ or ‘Capital’ or what you called it, was a city that never slept. At any moment in time ten thousand people were asleep, twenty thousand awake and about.

.

Traan headed straight for Joy.

Once inside he went for the reception, were individual requests were received.
Anyone who requested a price for a service there, but in the end didn’t book a girl, had to pay a hefty ‘consultation fee’. That kept the riff-raff away.


“How can I help you to be happy today?” asked the girl behind the counter.

Her voice was trained to be artificially flat, probably to make sure no one forgot she was the receptionist – and not a product.

“I want to have a good time” said Traan, being deliberately obtuse.

“That’s what Joy is there for, anywhere in the Galaxy, any time, any way. Please just inform me of your wants and desires.”, she chirped like an impersonation of the advertisements.

“Okay, let’s flip this around. Here’s my credit pad. What can I get for that?”

“Hmmm…. “ – she raised an eyebrow, with a slightly surprised expression that was no longer entirely puppet-like.

“How many of our staff do you want to book, how many clients will there be, and when will the event take place?” she asked, matter-of-factly.

So, people who came in with that amount of money usually threw an orgy.
Traan knew then that the money on the pad was enough to get what he wanted.


“One. One. Now. The best I can buy.”

“Oh” - now he had the receptionist’s attention. She fidgeted a bit and made a show of consulting some records.

“We only offer the first seven levels of Joy here. It’s a fringe world you know. You could afford eight but you’d have to go to the Craldual sector and well … that is a lot of credits you’ve got but it takes three Folds to get there and you know how much that costs, I guess.”

“Seventh heaven is good enough for me, madam. What can I get?”

“I can offer you three days, for sixty kilocredits.”

“I have a hundred and ten”

“You must understand that there isn’t much demand for seventh level here. There’s no continuous service. You can book later again if you so wish.”

Of course three days was all the time he had anyway but no need to let her know he was actually an inmate on the station, who'd have to head back to his drudgery, and not some nouveau-riche from town, with all the time in the world.

“Okay. I’m buying. Show me the menu.”

The receptionist, who now had lost most of her mask, laughed nervously and said,
“There isn’t any. If you want a girl from today on, as you said, and it’s seventh level, you want the best we’ve got, there’s only one option. Her name is Lixuari.”


“So I’m going to be the only person going to the seventh heaven on this entire fucking planet for the next three days. Sounds just right! Those credits are yours, and she’s mine.”

The receptionist harrumphed.
“You are not required to answer this question but may I ask… how you have acquired this wealth?”


“Hit a nest of rock trilobites.” – A tunnel-boring creature endemic to the planet, its blue blood could be sold off at high price, a few among the Alpha Primes considered it to be a rejuvenant.

“Another question you’re not ...officially … required to answer, but … do you have any problems with Exotics?”

“No, not at all. Why?”

“Well, Lixuari is an Exotic. We had some trouble once with an ancestralist fanatic. Ugly incident, believe me.”

“What is she?”

“Uptrivi-Lenki. Here, look at the 'gram, of course you can have a peek before booking.”

She handed him the disc that would project a small animated hologram of the girl; travelling men who could afford it often had them made of various conquests they didn’t want to forget, so they were generally known as femgrams.

Traan was trying – rather successfully he found – to sound nonchalant, but the truth was he had no experience at all with Exotics.

Of course he knew they existed, from Humanetics lessons in school. Everyone learned that. As humanity had spread through the galaxy, sometimes planets would be settled by a small number of people, and then get cut off for decacycles. If any of the founder population had a rare mutation, it might become characteristic for the planet. Other planets might go through a bottleneck, a population that collapsed and rebounded from a tiny group. And then there was natural selection. If people got stuck on a planet like this one for long enough, where all light was dim and red, they’d lose the ability to see different colors, but become more light-sensitive. And then there were planets circling around suns that sometimes exploded in ultraviolet flares, and on one of these, the natives had developed a new sense for very short wave light. They callet it ‘dred’ as they said it didn’t look like a harsher blue or violet, but rather like boiling blood, and instilled a sense of dread, as it triggered the instinct to immediately seek shelter – and clearly those who had gained that sensitivity and that behavior had survived the mistempers of their sun better than those who had not.

Most of these changes weren’t outwardly visible though.
When they were – that's when you had an Exotic.
Uptrivi-Lenki was the textbook example.
All of these changes had come about naturally though, through the adaptability and changeability of the human substance, and so they were all members of the human family. They had grown from the tree of humanity that had been planted by the Former.


Only a few fanatics believed that “true-to-Earth” humans, who supposedly looked like the ancients before they migrated into space, were somehow superior, the problem was of course no one knew what these people had looked like, and “Earth”, if there ever had been such a thing, had probably fallen victim to the Synthropithecine Geocides half a hectocycle ago. What one had to fear, hate and destroy, that were the descendants of artificially created or altered other-men or former-humans, sons of the synthropithecines.

An Exotic would be just right for his plan.

“She’s perfect”, said Traan.

“Seal the deal.”

Her pattern was certainly provocative.
Certainly provocative, Malins!!!
 

messaline

Crucified Amazon
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Likes
54,361
Location
France
#60
Traan was trying – rather successfully he found – to sound nonchalant, but the truth was he had no experience at all with Exotics.
Hum, it depends of what he's searching ...
This one, withe her large wings , to quickly reach the "Septième ciel" ? :rolleyes:
9b5122077b141cb0900413762f511806.jpg

... or perhaps this one to better occupy his hand and his mouth ? :D
total-recall-nude-3-titts-01.jpg

... this one, really savage ?!:eek:
1519a9e82f26161fe6c08a6db6b07f4088cc4ac1.jpg

... or perhaps, something not really determinate ?:oops:
sample_e85a4a4b56557f1f5d46016c3a3c1d3fae830710.jpg ...
 
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