[NULL] Login: Mnemosyne [M1]

Most people in the city live their lives in the real world. Neurochips and implants are a tool they use. They think of the veil as something external to themselves. Something they might occasionally interface with, or use to supplement their physical life. Transhumanism, such as it is, is still rooted deeply in the physical world for most... But not for you. You are a denizen of two worlds — the physical, and the digital. You are not limited to thinking so conventionally. You can slip between them, or exist simultaneously in them, as you choose. Right now, you're in the physical world, and you've just shut and locked your front door as you enter your home.

Walk me through your abode, Mnemosyne. Trading in secrets can be quite lucrative — do you make enough to live a lavish lifestyle? Or do you lead a more spartan lifestyle, relying instead on virtual/augmented reality to give you comfort? Who is lying in your bed, jacked in, and dazed by your creations?

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  • edited June 2
    I'm very comfortable. The apartment is small but classy, high up and with floor-to-ceiling windows on one wall through two rooms. Low enough, still, that the glow of the Neon Pagoda diffuses up from the bottom of the view like a multicolored incipient sunrise, or the pits of a psychotropic hell. So yes, impressive.

    It's cold though, impersonal. I do live more than half my subjective life in the digital, due to the side effect of time dilation. It's one of those things that gets to people who've never really been in the deep, that they just spend an hour in a construct and only had a few minutes pass for their bodies... or vice versa if you're so inclined and know what to mess with. But where was I? Right. Cold. So, elegant but impersonal finishings, clean lines and coordinated understated colors, but not a hint of real personality. Something that I'll admit to finding peaceful as the digiscape can be nothing but personality depending on where you are.

    I stutter step at the bedroom door seeing Nimitz sprawled in all his delicious glory across my bed.

    image

    I sigh to myself thinking it might be time to revoke his codes again.
    Not that we don't have fun together. His sheer bodily presence does something amazing to me. No matter how long it's been, he always makes me feel the delicacy and smallness of this sleeve. Makes me feel the lack of height like the ghost of an amputated arm. He envelops me somehow. It's why I took him to bed the first time. It's why I relapse.

    I have no idea how long he's been here. I lean against the doorframe a moment,
    allowing myself the pleasure of a long, lingering look over his body. I feel a smile curl my lips. I walk over to the bed and start tracing a line with my nail from the inside of his ankle, up a well-formed calf and on to a solid thigh with a particular objective in mind. Let's see if he's set his physio stimulus triggers to bring him out of it.
  • The corner of Nimitz' lip curls into a smirk at your touch; and while he's not able to jump out of a dive as quickly as you can, you can see his chip has started the process of waking him. His eyes are focused on some distant point, and his body remains unmoving, but you hear his voice ring through the veil. "Hi Blue-eyes," he sings, as his avatar appears before you,
    "just getting caught up on your newest creations. You've been a busy girl, haven't you?"
    It sounds like you spend quite a bit of cred on your lifestyle — I'd say you probably net 1-cred for a standard probe; but subject to the size and scope of the job, netting more is a possibility. Think digging up a portfolio on someone who's changed an identity as standard fare, and obtaining a closely guarded secret of the Daimyo as a big payday. Does that work for you?
  • Sounds good.

    I shrug, noncommittal, as my hand finds the goal... The goal post perhaps, and begins to trace the form of it with a feather touch not moving my eyes from his avatar.

    "Something gets in my head and I have to make it so it will leave me alone and let me focus." It's true enough. My creations almost demand to be born. I've found the quickest way to clear my head is to let them. "What are you doing here, Nimitz? We talked about this. Repeatedly. Unannounced drop-ins? I'm not a fan."

    I glance down at my hand as it conjures life into his member. "And I would think about how you answer that as this probably isn't the best time to piss me off. Hm?"
  • Nimitz' avatar is painted in equal parts of amusement, bemusement, and trepidation. "Sorry Nem," he responds, with a surprising amount of sincerity, "I missed you." That much is evident — he can be a handful, can't he?

    His eyelids flutter and he returns to consciousness – his avatar fading from view. "Do you really want me to stop with the surprises? How long have we been at this? I gave you the codes to my place..."

    Is there something special between you two? Or is he reading too much into this?
  • edited June 1
    We have great chemistry is all.

    I mean that literally. Our bodies, pheromones and hormones mesh well. I'm sure he thinks there is something special. Lots of people do when it lines up like we do. But it's an illusion. It's how nature cons us to perpetuate. One of the reasons I like the deep is the muting of all that crap. It's not gone really, it can't be. Wherever the mind is, it's still originating in a physiological soup, or at least a simulated version, but it sure quiets things the fuck down when you're in a dive.

    Don't get me wrong, I like the chemistry. I like feeling good as much as the next human, but I'm not fooled by it. Like any drug it's easy to get dependent and tough to break away. And the easiest way to quit, to maintain control is to not be tempted. This? This is like having an injector full of bliss laying there when you've just managed to get clean, and I'm speaking from experience.

    Nimitz can be a handful metaphorically, and more than a handful literally, particularly, when you have small hands like I do now. I slide myself onto the bed to sit on his thighs so that my other hand can get involved in the proceedings. I squeeze him firmly. I know I'm mixing signals but lets try the diplomatic approach.

    "We went through all this, Mitz." I say, my voice silky but with a bit of an edge to it. "Fun. No strings. You said you understood. You agreed. Having my codes is not an open invite. Besides what happened that lovely little thing you were seeing? Thought for sure you were passing out of my orbit."

    I was kind of hoping so, anyway.
  • edited June 1
    Nimitz is disappointed. He sighs, and you can feel him going a little soft in your hands. "She's boring Nem — spends all her time watching anime reviews on the feed, and making references I don't get. Getting through her firewall is a hack-job on a good day. She was fun at first, but it's not the kind of art I dig." He bites his lip, trying to see through these conflicting concepts.

    Seems like you're not keen on attachments, Nem. What happened with your last partner that ended so poorly? Is that why you're not keen on letting Nimitz in?
  • edited June 2

    It did end badly with Sarah. And really it was nearly the same story as Mitz here. I'm a riddle that people have to solve, a thing they chase. That's what's exciting. Like playing a game where the win is just out of your reach, but you're pretty sure you can get there. Sooner or later they realize that I really won't let them catch me, but it takes a while. I mean, I tell them the deal up front. Or at least not long after the first time we're together. I remind them, too. And they always say they understand, that that's all they want too. But they never really believe me. Not in their hearts. They 'fall in love.' They think I will eventually give in and we'll live all happily ever after.

    And it can get bad. There's the sunk cost fallacy. No matter what people tell themselves, they think a relationship is always going to go somewhere. That the effort is going to pay off. Sarah hung on way longer than most. And when she finally accepted the truth, the fallout was pretty ugly. It really hurt to see her fall apart when she realized I meant what I'd told her all along.

    Fuck, It's not like I want to hurt them.

    But no, Sarah's not the reason I'm not keen on letting Mitz 'in' or whatever. I used to believe love was more than a neuroreceptive hangover too, once. But that was another time. And I was a different person.

    I make a sympathetic noise to his tale of woe. "Well." I say, scooting up so my groin presses against his cock and bending down to kiss his jaw, my hands sliding up his toned chest. He really is very pretty. "I won't complain about you staying around. Just no surprises, okay baby?"

    I'll just cancel his codes later.

    Maybe.
  • Nimitz is at full attention once you're on top of him, and kissing him. He nods in agreement, though you can tell his mind is almost fully occupied by you – you may have to reiterate all this a little later. "No surprises," he whispers, diving headlong into his passion. He reciprocates with raw ferocity, reaching for your clothes, and grinding on you in anticipation. He burns red hot with his desires, and you can feel his neurochip reaching out to you.

    I take it you're going to sleep with him? Do you mix anything digital into your intimacy? Fire off your intimacy special move.
  • I sure am. And honestly I feel a little guilty here. Guilty for telling him off, even more so for perpetuating this when I know it's going to blow up. Sometimes I wish I could be that wide-eyed innocent again, could believe, but that's broken in me.

    There is a digital component. Especially if my partner trusts me enough to let me mess with their chip, like 'mitz has. I weave our sensoria together, they sync then split then counterpoint. You can achieve some truly amazing effects when you can feel the other person's response on a visceral level.

  • This is the intimacy move so I add no state, but you know.
    (Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 9)
  • Nimitz obliges your request to sync chips, and the two of you become one. His sensory feed loops back into yours, and vice versa. You can feel the flood of hormones rushing through the both of you – yours of desire, his of bonding. Pleasure ripples through you both as you ride the wave to climax. His is intense, and immediately gratifying. Yours spreads slowly through your bodies, touching every nerve ending, leaving you craving more. The oxytocin surges through you.

    He still isn't used to your orgasms. It always sends him into spasms for a few minutes as he comes down – though he's learned to keep up when it comes to round two, and three, etc. In the midst of it, you feel a familiar sensation build between the two of you – a brief blurring of the boundaries between you. If you weren't careful, you might forget where he ends, and you begin. You may never find that line again, either.

    Answer honestly:
    - What do you think is Nimitz most valuable quality?
    - What do you think Nimitz would do if he got you to himself?
  • edited June 6

    The physicality, the sensorium and emotions. It's all so magnificent, drugging and for a few precious moments I forget myself. Nimitz is like a fine guitar, a calligraphy brush, a perfectly made sword. We work together as one and create something beyond ourselves.

    Right after, when we're resting together, once again two distinct beings, him passing in and out of a doze, I actually tear up. I keep my face below his, my head tucked under his chin. My hand rests on his chest beside my face. The palm and my cheek feeling the steady beat of his heart. My nose filled with the smell of him and of us together. I make no sound, and do not let myself shudder. The tears will pass.

    Valuable is an interesting word to use. If you were to ask his best quality, I would say it's his sort of relentless gentle openness. It's almost Tai Chi as a mode of life. He doesn't hide things in his heart. But most valuable? His inability to comprehend what a selfish, hollow, creature I am. His ability to trust. I know, that's two. Sue me.

    As for what he would do if he got me to himself? He's a self described 'pilgrim of beauty' and for a while now I'm his shrine. Or his goddess. Maybe, he thinks, the end of his journey. Honestly I'm not sure. It was my work, you see, that he fell in love with. You heard the talk of art, right? He is a believer in art. Not in the conventionally beautiful, but deep art. The kind that has the stuff of revelation in it be it pretty on the surface, or hideous.

    I suppose I should have seen that he wouldn't really connect with that girl. I knew her whole life as soon as I saw them together. Nothing to stick to. Not under the surface. Not for him.

    Anyway, He probably doesn't think much beyond some form of happy bliss making beautiful things together. Or at least supporting me while I make my work. it might explain why he puts up with my coldness, my moods, and my demands. It's all part of the stereotype, you know. The Architect. The tortured genius. A vehicle for the voice of God. A conduit of pure creation. His Prima Donna. His Van Gogh. His Mozart. His desire is, I think, to support and serve something he sees as worthy.

    Good luck with that.

    Sure that he's dozing, I wipe away any remaining moisture and I reluctantly pull away from the cozy heat of his body to attend to the animal functions, and then stand, small and naked, in front of the window wall and the cityscape beyond.
  • edited June 7
    You stand there in full view of the sprawling city, the night sky washed out by the undying light below. Mitz sleeps soundly on the bed, snoring lightly. "He is as naive as he is oblivious," you hear a voice say behind you. You catch a vague silhouette glitch in and out of existence in the light coming from the bathroom. If you didn't know any better, you'd say it was nothing...

    You're never truly alone, are you Mnemosyne? What do you call the voice in your head? How does it appear to you? The voice returns, "kick him out, and come see what I made for you."

    What do you do?
  • edited June 9
    I don't jump at the voice, having expected this. I would have been surprised if it didn't show up, actually. I let out a little sigh and shrug slightly, glancing once again at the bed before turning to face my companion.

    "I don't care if you don't like him. He's asleep." I say into the veil. I don't speak out loud. No need to wake Mitz. with talking to myself.

    Originally, in a dark mood, I named it Kage, maybe from a case of kage no yamai since it's favorite manifestation is an sort of inverted version of me... or at least of this sleeve.

    image

    Is it some remnant of the previous occupant of this sleeve? A ghost pattern? Some side effect of my own consciousness interacting with the cyberbrain? I'm not sure. But it's always there. It talks to me. It manifests in the veil in this or another guise. Sometimes it overwrites my perceptions of peoples faces, causing the illusion of total strangers speaking to me in it's voice. My voice.

    "Besides, if I'm diving, I might as well keep the sleeve warm while it rests. He won't bother me."

    I move towards the bed again.

  • Kage rolls her eyes, and you can feel her judgment like daggers in your back. "It was cute when he was all naive and stuff, but this is just getting embarrassing for both of us." She follows you over to the bed, and eyes Mitz up and down. "At least he's got some redeeming qualities..."
    Describe for me what it's like when you dive into the veil. What does your landing space look like?
  • edited June 11
    "He has a few." I say, perhaps a hint of impatience coloring my tone at her needling. I'm wondering why I'm taking so much effort to defend him. I crawl back into bed and snuggle in against Mitz's warmth. A breath. A blink and I'm somewhere else.

    It wasn't always that easy of course. It's not a natural thing to do and people seem to fight it on an instinctual level making the passage unpleasant, but now, for me, it's like slipping into a bath.

    I emerge into a large space that reaches to the heavens. A cross between a late gothic cathedral, like Reims or the Duomo de Milan, and the hall of mirrors at Versailles. Under the soaring groin vault festooned with small sculptures that do not retain one pose from glance to glace, is a roughly circular space with a sort of large dais in the middle. The space is surrounded by mirrors half again as tall as me, in densely ornate gilded frames that peak in a gothic arch at the top. They are spaced evenly in a large circle around the dias, alternating with empty spaces as wide as they are. The walls behind them feature large stained glass windows that also freely move.

    I'm standing in front of one of the mirrors that I emerged from. It's never the same one twice, and walk towards the center dias, my hard heels echoing on the stone, looking for Kage. Golden light streaming in from a clerestory high above glints off white and gilded glittering surfaces.

  • edited June 11
    A pair of hands grab you from behind, and Kage screams, "Boo!" She cackles to herself as she skips into your field of view, "It's in the new wing." She says, leading you over to one of the mirrors. One of the sculptures shifts as you approach into the shape of your mother...

    How do you remember her? What was she like?
  • edited June 12
    I jump and mutter a curse when Kage startles me. Then follow her to the mirror.

    My mother was a hard-eyed pragmatist to her very core. From the beginning she taught me that to know things, secret things, was to survive. That so much of the things between people were games and to know how to rig the game gave you power, or at least how to play with a cool head and a cooler heart. I didn't want to listen to her, really. The innocence of youth, I suppose.

    I pause to blink at the sculpture, at the spike of sadness, then pass through the mirror.
  • edited June 13
    Kage walks right up to the shifting sculpture, and submissively plants a kiss on its cheek. "Hello, Mommy," she sings, then passes by it into the new wing. You follow, and the world seems to slip out of focus for a second while your mind reconfigures, and renders the new room.

    When the world returns to normal, you find yourself in a cold, dark room. No Kage, no mother, no nothing. The silence lingers long enough that your brain starts to crave noise. Eventually, you hear a heartbeat. You hear the rushing of blood through what should be your veins and the gurgling of various juices in your stomach. Is your sleeve largely organic? Or is it a construct, emulating organic life with near-perfect similarity? Are there any biological functions you've expressly excluded from your sleeve?

    Kage speaks up, if only to keep you from freaking out. "Maddening, isn't it? Total deprivation from your senses... Trapped in your body with nobody but yourself... I came across these reports online of this guy who doesn't even have an implant. It kind of scared the shit out of me, you know? I'll never know that person... Not like I know you... Rostam," she whispers, the name dripping with sensuality, "I had to make this place. I want to fill this room with him. You need to help me."

    This is the first time Kage's ever even mentioned being scared of anything before... What are you afraid of?
  • The initial experience here begins to summarize my fears. Being helpless frightens me. My nightmares are of being trapped in a body, unable to escape into the veil. Unable to make the body move. Unable to hide or defend. Worse still to have that body controlled by another. Terrifying.

    I shudder at the initial experience of the construct.

    As for my sleeve, there are some who wouldn’t make much of a distinction between a genetically engineered organic sleeve and an actual synthetic. I do, however. This body does not emulate. It breathes, it sweats, it eats, it shits. This sleeve is in fact a human body, albeit one originally spliced together by a genetic designer and grown in a test tube. There were certain genetic modifications made to the spine, nerves and brain necessary to integrate with the cyberbrain.

    The designer clearly had an aesthetic, as well. Whether that was dictated to them by a client or their own creative expression, I don’t know, but there was a great deal of care put into the crafting. The voice is pure dark silk. The natural postures and movement are a smooth as glass. Studying it in a mirror I can’t help but think of it as some kind of homage. While idealized, it’s too specific aesthetically, to not be modeled on someone. A lost love? A family member? Who knows, but it was someone. Perhaps the records of the cyberbrain project would tell me more, but they have so far proved elusive.

    The sleeve works as human bodies work. It is a bit stronger and faster than most naturally occurring female sleeves of similar size and build. A few things are offline. Reproduction for example, which is just as well as I needn’t repeat my mother’s folly.

    Kage mentions Rostam, and I flash back to exposing at Seigi’s request, the poorly constructed holos that stood as evidence against him. Kage was in a sulk that week and refused to manifest. I remember studying those holos closely, from every angle, with appreciation. There is something he brings to the honest wear of a sleeve. Scars and wear not smoothed out and disguised, but accepted as marks of character.

    “And how will you do that? What do you need me to do?” I ask, turning to her, actually curious.

  • edited June 16
    The memory of Rostam prompts Kage to project a holo of him between you – it's as imperfect a surrogate as the holos from the doctored feed, but it has some noticeable improvements that you can recognize as Kage's bias shining through. She bites her lip, and studies the specimen before her – like she finds something new every time she looks at him.
    "I need to see this hunk for myself, Nem," she says, passing her fingers over his muscular build. She slides behind him, wrapping her arms around him in an embrace. She looks at you, sensually massaging the holo's pecks. He follows Kage's gaze to you, almost as if he was her pet. "but I can't fucking well do that if he doesn't have a brain box, can I? I need you to find a way to get him into our world! So I can corrupt him to our ways, and trap him in here with me forever!" Is she being sarcastic, Nem?

    She sighs, pushes him aside, and makes her way over to you. She slides in behind you, resting her chin on your shoulder, and guiding your gaze to the holo of Rostam – hoping to help you see him through her eyes. "Look at that man! I bet he's hung like a horse..." She laughs, "I'd have his babies, if I could..."
    Speaking of which... You mentioned your reproductive cycle was offline — do you mean it's actively blocked and could be resumed at your command? Or is it completely absent, and would need to be integrated into your sleeve?
  • edited June 16
    Increment the counter for the Kage == Nem's Id theory. I tilt my head to the right as I look at the holo. He is a fine physical specimen. More than that I know that were we to be lovers I would have no insight directly into his brain, no control, however subtle. There is something to that. I'm not quite willing to examine it in this moment.

    As for reproduction... well I couldn't start it on demand. All the necessary parts are in the right place, so no surgery would be necessary, but they are held inactive by some of the neurochem in this sleeve. There would need to be a treatment of activating hormones for the whole system to come online.

    I don't quite know if she's serious or not. It's best to assume that she means what she says. I turn to her, folding my arms and looking at her sternly.

    "And just how am I supposed to do that, force him to get a chip? You joyride me anyway-- don't deny it. Why don't I just fuck him? Isn't that enough?"

    Not that it would be a burden, mind you.

  • Kage grins wildly at the suggestion, "don't be glib — we both know you'd fuck him senseless." She looks over your shoulder at him, and sighs, "I can neither confirm, nor deny, my joyriding you while you sleep at night — maybe you just sleepwalk — but don't change the subject: you always get to pick the people I meet. I'm telling you, I want to meet him, and I don't want to do that through the filter of," she pauses to shudder, "meatspace. Hook a sister up!"
  • edited June 21
    I turn to face her.

    "I didn't change the subject. And you didn't answer the question. The man has no implants at all. None. It's not as if he hasn't had the opportunity. So what is it you suggest that I do to accomplish this little meet cute you want? Implanting without consent is frowned upon. I'm assuming the primitive external interface he uses occasionally would be insufficient?

    I look again at the holo. "And how am I supposed to frame this. My psychosis/AI wants to be your friend?"
  • Kage sighs, and her eyes roll in annoyance. "I take issue with being called Artificial, miss bitch — like it or not, I'm more than just a part of you." You can tell she hasn't thought this through, though... She doesn't really operate on a level beyond fulfilling primal desires — whatever "primal" is for an epiphenomenon. "Fine... Fuck him. Show him your art. Hook him like all the other hapless saps that come in here looking to tame you... You don't take care of that beautiful meatsack of ours for nothing, right? Maybe he'll come around."
  • edited June 22
    "Apologies." I acknowledge the 'issue' because she's right. She's more than part of me, I think. But she's still part of me.

    "And perhaps he shall. I'm not suggesting you give up your goal, but I think that it's probably the best opening move in what may be a game of uncertain length. Perhaps we will find a way to circumvent his resistance to our world, but we can't do so without intelligence at the least." I walk around the holo again, slowly. "And it's worth considering that in bringing him over, you may lose what you find most compelling."
  • Kage calms down, and shrugs indifferently.
    "Maybe — but I love a good game of conquest. Don't you?" Her eyes are filled with hunger as she looks the holo over one last time.
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