“We/They/Us”—An Erotic Speculative Fiction Story
Today and in the future, sometimes it takes another person to help us love ourselves.
“Too much to see—” Seir thought, stepping from the cramped confines of the puddlejumper's airlock and onto Akkadian station's vast demarcation terminal.
“—too much to do?” the words semitranspently danced in front of Seir's nose. Less telepathy, more a low level though highly perceptive algorithm's talent for reading the neuromuscular language of every fresh-off-the-boat tourist.
Followed by a brighter flash of holographic typography, likely generated by another skilled program. One with a flair for extremely persuasive advertising.
“Then get Schismed—because two is always better than one!”
Before laying down on the hover bed and prior to having several trillion monomolecular filaments slid into Seir's cranium, a surprisingly human Schism staffer had launched into an over-enthusiastic explanation of what the process was and how it worked.
Eager to get on with it, all Seir heard was, “Quantum this, quantum that, consciousness this, consciousness that, RapReplika this, RapReplika that.”
But enough came through for Seir to understand after those strands permeated skull and brain, a high level quantum intelligence would use them to read, record, and replicate Seir’s consciousness in a biologically identical RapReplika body.
Then, when the pair wanted to become a single, solitary Seir again, the two minds would be merged, leaving the original with both memories.
No sound, no light, no sensation, no nothing: one moment, the zero gravity lift field was a gently oscillating wave under Seir's back; the next, the same over-enthusiastic staffer was drawing back a nearby plastic curtain.
Which was when Seirs reflected on Seirs and, sharing a mutual exchange of awkward, disapproving glances, each simultaneously turned away from the other.
Seirsright, named for heading in that direction, and Seirsleft, for going this way, departed with a matching set of disconcerting, hesitant waves. Each agreeing to return to the clinic—and be reunited—in 18 hours.
Seirsright immediately visited Nixie Street. Relishing in the teasing, tickling, caressing, and stimulating delights of its hyperoxygenated, polywater fluidic environment.
Splashing and cavorting in its protean embrace, not to mention from the sweetly slick caresses of the equally immersed swimmers, Seirsright's orgasms were brightly shimmering bubbles playfully popping on the street's distant surface.
Seirsleft jumped at the chance to soar through Nuvola Avenue's synthetic sky. Unfettered from gravity, expectations, doubt, and hesitation, Seirsleft happily let the rented gossamer wings do the flying.
Bodaciously plumed serpents, lusciously winged harpies, leather-clad angels, fur enshrouded cockatrices—or is it cockatrici?—cavorted in and out of the Avenue's musk-scented clouds.
Without an up, nary a down, and nothing remotely like a sideways, Seirsleft joined endless carnal murmurations. Laughing fully throated and joyfully loud as the flock's feathers flew everywhere.
Seirsright initially perceived Le Veles as formal, elegant, stately. Tables next to chairs, candles in candlesticks, soup spoons in close proximity to fish knives, teacups in appropriate saucers, une entrée before le plat principal.
Initially, as in Seirsright's perception changed. Changed, as a finely tuned set of sensorial projectors turned silver into a playful slap, porcelain into an engorged body part, cloth into a spontaneous orgasm, and the air its patrons breathed into a lover's caress.
After dining on breasts, thighs, loins, bellies, and tongues. Seirsright, tasted lustful le vol-au-vents, and sipped voluptuous vintages—and, accompanying the last seductive morsel Seirsright boldly, brightly proclaimed, “Compliments au chef!”
Blissful hours, rapturous boulevards, merry shindigs, exhilarating kilometers, cheerful boads, gleeful jamborees, jubilant routes, euphoric festivities, and everything between and beyond, Seirsright caught sight of a new and wholly unfamiliar holographic display.
As Seirsleft saw a different sign advertising exactly the same service.
Fueled by recent experiences and a long-standing urge to be someone, anyone else, a transformative hour later, Seirsright left AlterSelf an entirely new person.
At the same time, for the same reasons, Seirsleft emerged from RestyleU looking completely different.
Bodies watercolored with sensual radiances, their eyes only briefly skated across each other's. But then, seeing they were both being deeply, truly seen, their gazes firmly locked together.
As they did, Harlequinade Park's resident neural network tweaked its sybaritic light show to highlight their shared arousal.
Which was firmly, inescapably magnetic, invisible lines of reciprocally attractive forces pulling them across the dance floor.
Illuminated by the intelligent system, ablaze with desire, they moved ever closer until there wasn't any distance between their hands, their bodies, and then their lips.
Echoing laughter, they gamboled away from the dazzling crowd and towards the shadowed privacy of the park's topiary garden.
Nestled between the leafy paws of a massively and splendidly flowering tiger, their kisses ardently wandered. From cheeks to necks, necks to shoulders, shoulders to chests, chests to bellies, on and on, up and down, back and forth until neither could tell where one began, and the other ended.
Their bodies were as comfortably familiar as a threadbare, yet eternally cherished, spacesuit's inner lining and as thrilling as an undiscovered asteroid.
Their minds spun, cartwheeled, and skyrocketed. Each was part of an ouroboros loop of emotional, physical—and the intersection of those and more—pleasures.
They never felt so liberated, so connected, so happy. But with the too-fast, too-soon rise of Akkadian's artificial dawn, they knew it had to end.
After another cascade of kisses, touches, caresses, and especially sweet tears, one went to the right, the other to the left.
As they did, they looked back; each bidding farewell with an exchange of brightly beaming, deeply grateful smiles.
With a ship-jarring knock, Sier decoupled the puddlejumper from the station.
Home was free fall loosened muscles, a perpetually recycled atmosphere, the gentle tang of long chain molecules, and the far-from subtle perfume of hydrofluorocarbon industrial lubricants.
Suspended outside the main viewport, Akkadian sedately rotated in the big, black emptiness of planetary space.
Palm flat on the hyper-dense plastic, with the station's glimmering superstructure peeking out between five fingers, Sier promised to return.
Hand removed, but before setting course for Telesto and the mining stake Sier had been working, another thought came.
One accompanied by the now unobstructed view of Sier's reflection superimposed over the station and the stars beyond.
A contentedly glowing and serenely twinkling face, because we all deserve to love ourselves.
Image source: M. Christian