I guess the developer assumed I’d stay where I was and wait for the alien to come to me from where she has inexplicably parked in the surf, because as soon as I step onto the bridge of rock leading the the mid-twentieth century idea of a spaceship, I sink straight into it. So far, the preview of this erotic fantasy sim isn’t impresing me. I’m not really here to be impressed though. I’m not really much into sex sims in general and alien fantasies even less. Call me a prude, but I like my partners to be from my species.
My silky robe slides off my shoulder, causing me to sigh and pull it back up again. Oddly enough, it’s pooling on the rock like the program thinks I’m sitting on the thing. I shake my head at the obvious cheapness of the coding; was it done by high schoolers or just people too incompetent to be paid decently?
The program didn’t offer any attire options beyond male or female. I chose female to reflect my real-world body, but here I’m a tall and slender blond with unusually large breasts and an apparent tendency to wander the outdoors in lingerie rather than a short and plump hispanic girl with the sense to dress herself properly.
While I wait for the alien to appear like Janet insisted I needed to do when she sent me the download link for this silly thing, I look at the ocean. It’s not flowing quite right and the waves in the soundtrack aren’t anywhere close to synced with the video. I can’t smell a thing and there’s not even a hint of a sea breeze on my skin. The developers couldn’t even find a decent stock beach setting?
Words appear in the air between me and the spaceship. “She Came from Space, Then Came on Earth.” Good lord. My eyes roll so hard it almost hurts.
Cheesy elevator music begins to play and a door appears on the closest side of the spacecraft. With luck, a ridiculous alien will appear soon and I’ll be able to tell Janet I stayed long enough to see the silly thing. The demo will undoubtedly cut off before she does anything terribly interesting anyway, so I may as well leave as soon as she shows up.
A walkway glides from the still closed door down to the rocky outcropping with all the rush of an exhausted snail. I walk toward it, hoping to somehow move things along faster by doing so. My body continues to be bisected by the ground, but at least the place is badly programmed enough for there not to be any sensation from that.
The door finally begins to open, sliding up from the bottom with glacial slowness. A pair of shiny silver boots appear. Their three inch stiletto heels are all the rage off planet, I’m sure.
I stop trying to approach the craft and just wait as the door goes up. The boots reach nearly to the alien’s knees, ending with a swath of light green skin. A moment later, I see the hem of a silver miniskirt. This could take a while.
As the door continues to creep up, I open a window to check my messages. There aren’t any new ones, so I move on to the weather. Looks like there’s snow in the near future. When a glance up shows that the door has made it up to the alien’s overly abundant boobs, which are clad a tight silver spandex, I pull up the news headlines. Apparently the President is still an idiot, Congress is still inept, and people are starting to think about the start of baseball season already.
My eyes flick back to the alien to see if she’s been fully revealed yet. Not only has the door opened, but the alien has taken several steps down the walkway toward me. Holy shit.
“Stop program!” I yell. “Exit!”
The artificial world falls away, leaving me on my bed. I yank my immersion helmet off as command my house management program to call Janet.
Sitting up, I wait for Janet to answer. When she appears on my monitor, she takes one look at me and skips saying hi in favor of blurting, “You saw it?”
“I saw it,” I growl back. “What the hell is my doppleganger doing in a low budget porno?”
Technically, the alien hadn’t been an exact copy of me. Her chest was at least twice the size of mine and her waist was smaller. And, of course, her skin was green rather than my light brown. But the face was identical.
“I’m not sure,” Janet says. “But my money’s on Craig. He’s still really pissed about your break up and Joe says this thing is all over their dorm.”
“Oh, god.” I lean forward, my stomach quaking with nausea. “I’m going to be sick.”
“The host said they would take down, but you had to be the one to complain.”
“Ok…” I nod to myself. I can do that. “Then what? They’ll arrest him?”
She gives me a pitying look. “That’s beyond the scope of Your Fantasies Online, babe. That’s more police or FBI territory. But I asked my brother, AKA Super Cop, and he doesn’t think you’d get an arrest because the level of proof you need that he was being malicious is so high.”
“You asked Thomas?” I squeak. “About me being in porn sim?”
“Well… Yeah.” Her breath catches. “Don’t tell me you’re still crushing on him. I thought you got over that already.”
I moan. “This just keeps getting worse.”
“It’s clearly against student guidelines, though,” Janet changes subject to state. “I bet we can get Craig expelled.”
“Assuming we can prove it’s him,” I grumble. “But first, I need to contact the hosting site. I’ll call you back.”
Hours later, Janet and I peer at my video screen as we try to figure out the data tags embedded in the sim program. All of it’s above my comprehension level and I quickly realize I’m going to have to call someone else in. Unfortunately, the only someone I can think of is Nina, the girl I dated my senior year of high school. But she virtually breathes computer code, already knows lots of embarrassing stuff about me, and has seen me naked before, so she’s a better choice than anyone else I know. And we parted on good terms, only breaking up three years ago because I chose to go to college close to home and she elected to attend Caltech.
Nina whistles when I call her up on video and tell her the story. “Wow. You’ve got great taste in women, but crappy taste in men.”
“Yeah, you may be right. I certainly can’t think of anyone to hold up as a contrary example.” To either half. The men I’ve dated have all turned out to be jerks. And the women… Nina’s the only one, but she’s the smartest person I’ve ever known and claiming she’s hot as hell would be underselling her. I never figured out how I managed to win her after crushing on her since middle school, so it wasn’t too bad a shock when I lost her, but she did spoil me. Now every woman I meet gets compared to her, and while she wasn’t perfect, she was close enough that no one ever does well in the comparison. Somehow it’s easier with men to ignore the obvious fact that they aren’t Nina. Of course, I’m not going to get into any of that out loud. “But you’ll help me?” I ask.
She smiles, renewing my belief that she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. “Always. Send me the file.”
The next morning, I wake to a notification of an incoming video call from Nina. A glance at the clock shows that it’s ten thirty, which is earlier than I usually wake up on a weekend but later than she ever sleeps. Quickly, I rake my fingers through my hair in a weak attempt at becoming presentable while I drag myself from bed and move to in front of the screen. With a deep breath, I press the screen to accept the call.
Nina’s smile widens to a grin when she sees me. “Sorry,” she says. “I forgot you like to sleep all day.”
I grunt. “And I forgot you were a morning person.”
“It’s nearly lunch.”
“Only if you’re a freak, Neens.”
She laughs, the sound sending a completely inappropriate tingle through me. I always did love her laugh. “I sent you an email with information you need to show your dean highlighted. So hopefully that will work.” She pauses. “And there’s something else, but I can call back later.”
Her face looks uncertain all of a sudden. “It can wait.”
I shake my head. “No. I’m up already. What is it?” My mind rushes to guess what it could be. “Does he have a channel full of pornographic versions of me?”
“No. Um…” Her tongue is visible for just an instant as it touches her lips, bringing up memories of what she tasted like. Dammit. This is why I stopped talking to her after we broke up; keeping my thoughts chaste is just too much of a struggle. “I’m graduating early. At the end of the semester.”
“Seriously?” I stare at her. “You went to a harder school than I did and you’re graduating before me?”
She shrugs. “I was in a hurry.”
Her eyes stay on me as she answers. “I never belonged in California. There’s not enough rain here.”
Our gazes remain locked together as I consider the words. They’re innocent enough, but either there’s a subtext to them or I’m just a hopeless optimist. “Maybe you should come back north then. Washington still has plenty.”
“I think I may.”
Two months later, I sit in a pub near the edge of campus and nurse a cider while I try to stay calm. Nina should be here soon. She’s in town for an interview, a fact I’m still having trouble believing. If she was trying to get a job in Seattle, I would have put that down to it being the obvious choice for a recent tech grad wanting a job in the Pacific Northwest. But my town’s a lot smaller than Seattle, small enough that you don’t find a job listing for here unless you were specifically looking for one.
The door opens and I look over to see her coming in from the drizzle outside. I stand as she enters, my hands moving to smooth down my deep burgundy tunic as I give her a cautious smile.
“Mariana,” she says, my name sounding like that of a goddess when she says it.
“Nina,” I respond.
We look at each other for a few heartbeats before we start to laugh. Tension broken, we embrace and Nina claims the stool next to mine. She orders an IPA from the bartender, then has to drag her ID out of her wallet before he’ll go get it.
While we wait for her drink, I look down at mine. My nerves are returning and I’d like to take a sip, but that seems like it would be rude. “So… How did the interview go?”
“Really well. They offered me the job right then and there.”
“Wow.” I watch as the bartender returns with Nina’s ale. She picks it up as soon as he’s left and takes a sip. “Are you going to take it?’
She lowers the drink slowly. “That depends.”
Turning her head, she studies my response as she says, “On you.”
“Me?” I move my hand away from my glass, afraid my suddenly trembling will make me spill the liquid in it. “What do you mean?”
She takes another drink before she answers, looking like she’s thinking. “I don’t exactly regret going to Caltech. But if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t leave you.”
Deep inside me, a wound I’d forgotten I had begins to bleed anew. “But you did leave.”
“Yeah…” She turns her head to look at me, her deep brown eyes full of emotion. “And now I want to come back. If there’s even the slightest chance of you letting me in your life again, then I want to be here.”
“I…” My breath leaves me and turn on the stool to just sort of gape at her. “You want to get back together?”
She nods. “Yeah, I do. I never stopped loving you. I don’t think I ever will.”
Part of me wants to tell her that’s her tough luck, that I left her in the past and don’t want her in my present. But I’d be lying. “I love you, too,” I admit.
“But..?” Her whole body moves to face mine.
I shake my head. “No but.”
“Really?” she asks, her eyes begging me not to dash her hopes.
“Yeah.” I take a second to grin at her, then lean in for a kiss. It’s sweet, but with the promise of things not remotely innocent. And it brings with it a sense of quiet rightness that I’ve never found with anyone else, like this is the one person in the world I’m supposed to be kissing.
When we pull apart, we’re both smiling. Then a thought strikes me and makes me laugh. At Nina’s curious expression, I ask, “Would you have called me up if I hadn’t contacted you first?”
“Eventually… Maybe. It might have taken a while to think up a good excuse.”
I laugh again. “Then we should send Craig a thank you note for hurrying things along.”
The most beautiful woman in the world shakes her head at me even as she beams with happiness. “As long as you’re not planning to invite him to our wedding.”
“Wedding?” I snort. “I agreed to date you woman, don’t go thinking it will be so easy to get me to marry you. You’ll have to work for that.”
But I think we both know that, eventually, I will.
The above image is a creative commons offering from Pixabay.
It was provided as a prompt to my Wording Wednesday group on MeWe.