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"FTL in 2 Minutes. FTL in 2 Minutes."
Mei, Ksenia, you're in quarters. You've had plenty of time to prepare for Transition. What are you doing? What's it like in Ensign-ville right now?
"FTL in 1 Minute. FTL in 1 Minute."
Mei, you feel Cora uncoil in anticipation. You're suddenly fixated on getting the shading of Ksenia's left breast just right. The way it stretches the ribbed fabric of her t-shirt, the way her nipple alters the texture and shading of what you see. You hear a low, sweet, parabola against your inner thigh, taste honey in your fingertips.
Ksenia, as the 1-minute warning sounds, you feel the slightest tickle of a hint of a touch along the soft skin of your left breast.
What do you do?
"FTL in 9, 8, 7, 6..."
The seconds tick away, Mei and Ksenia, and you know what's to follow. There's a new element between, beneath, alongside, in-between, though. Cora.
Mei, you feel a lack, arm, leg, gut, the barely-reconstructed vagina. All longing, unfulfilled, some sense of "broken, incomplete, ugly."
Ksenia, you feel only anticipation. Diamond-hard nipples, a tingle of awareness on your desensitized clitoris, a movement within you that presages... something.
Then, seconds later, Transition breaks. In addition to your usual experience, you smell lemon and right-angles against the soles of your feet and...
"3, 2, 1"
Transition. Timeless time.
Cora stretches around you both like a bubble, providing a space where your minds can stay in this limitless sliver until you want to leave it, and...
Mei, two hands on your face, Ksenia's hands, and your eyes fly open and she is whole and you are whole and you feel the rumble of orgasm crashing against the shore of your body and the tips of her fingers on your cheeks are like the love of a butterfly and your sex throbs and swells and you cry out full-throated as you reach down to touch your love, her smooth firm breasts, the unmarked skin, her full lips, moist now with desire, and your barest touch sends her back arching and you know that this perfect, unscarred, unbroken creature, is what Ksenia sees in her dreams, is the reason she is sometimes so sad upon awakening.
Ksenia, you do reach out, with both hands, whole, and cup Mei's face as you see her eyes begin to roll with the cresting pleasure. Her hands trace your complete self and each touch is electric shock and sweet wine and when she reaches down to trace your velvet it is like the memory of fire and you are instantly there with her and you are both at the very top of a long, long slide and then you fall into the sweetness and you see Mei, poor sweet strong Mei, worrying about who she is, how she's seen, seeing only the softness where you can trace the steel beneath.
And as your orgasms break, again and again, as you vibrate in unison in this endless modicum of time, you feel something like a smile on the back of your tongue and Cora laughs low and gentle as she fades away.
You are in the Gray.