Reality Bytes Part TwoFree Falling

Published February 23, 2024 tag category
Reality Bytes Part TwoFree Falling

"Sorry Im late," Tiffany said with a grimace as she tugged her chair away from the table.

"Oh, dont worry about it," Alicia answered, taking a sip of her tea. Tiffany was one of those kind of people who always seemed to be in a hurry. But no matter what, she was always running about 30 minutes late. Her tardiness was so dependable that Alicia had begun scheduling their lunches together half an hour after the time they agreed upon. That way, Tiffany would be nearly on time. She shrugged. "Ive got time. How are things going with work?"

Tiffany rolled her eyes and waved her hands as if to ward off the question. "You dont want to know. Suffice it to say that I think the server is developing a mind of its own, and a real mean temper to boot. Ive had to pull a lot of overtime this week to try to straighten this mess out. And of course thats got Brad up in arms."

"Youre not spending enough time with him?" Alicia guessed, remembering that her friends husband once joked that hed have better luck getting her attention if he were made of silicon.

"What else? That and hes talking about having kids again." Tiffany tried to make the remark sound flippant, but Alicia knew her too well. Shed been putting off starting a family for a long time, ever since shed gotten the job with Paradigm Software. She acted the part of the committed career woman rather well, but Alicia knew that having children was very important to her. She was afraid that time would slip by and then it would be too late for natural pregnancy.

"Hey, youre both still young," she said, reaching across the table to touch Tiffanys hand. "Why dont you and Brad talk about it, maybe set some goals for yourselves and stick to them. Im sure you could arrange a leave of absence if you plan it out in advance."

"Yeah, youre right," she admitted. "I hadnt really thought about it that way. I guess I never really expected that my job would demand so much of my life."

"Are you ready to order?" a pretty young blonde waitress asked, seeing an apparent break in the conversation. "I can take it now, or you can log it on your table console at your convenience."

Tiffany peered at her. "Are you new here?"

The blonde smiled, "Why yes, I just started this week. Is there anything I can get you?"

Tiffany looked around at the other waiters and waitresses, all good-looking and exceedingly polite. She shook her head. "Doesnt anybody use real people anymore?"

The android looked at her blankly. "Im sorry, what was that you wanted?"

"Human labors too expensive," Alicia pointed out. "Its just a sign of the times." She addressed the waitress, giving her order. Tiffany, reluctantly, did the same, and the android cheerfully went on about her duties.

Tiffany sighed. "So whats new with you?"

Alicia had to suppress a grin. "I met someone."

Tiffanys interest was piqued at once, "By that, you mean a male someone?"

Alicia smirked. "Of course. I met him on the net last night. He was amazing, a really /sweet/">sweet guy." She proceeded to tell Tiffany about their VR session in thevalley in Switzerland, balking only toward the end.

"Then what happened?" Tiffany was leaning forward, rapt.

"We..." Alicia lowered her voice, "We had sim-sex."

"You what? Didnt I tell you not to bother? I hope you didnt feel too let down. Were his feelings hurt?"

"Well thats just it," Alicia whispered, conspiratorially, "it wasnt so great, at first, but something happened later on. I dont know, but it was incredible. If I didnt know better, I could swear I had /real/real-sex/">real sex last night."

Contrary to her excitment of a few moments before, Tiffany leaned back, deep in thought. "I have heard rumors that theres a group thats been developing some pretty extraordinary refinements to tactile simulation, maybe even of the scale to replicate what youre describing. We should still be a ways off from seeing it actually running." She shrugged, then brightened. "Hey, maybe you and this guy Adam just had a real connection, I mean spiritual or something. Are you going to be meeting in RL soon?"

Alicia frowned. "Not likely. He was pretty secretive. I think hes from a foreign nation, maybe third world, a place with limits on net access. He acted like he wasnt supposed to be there. Im just going to let things play out, see where it all goes."

"You meeting him again tonight?"

"I hope so. stunning brunette hussy diana xxxxpv He had to leave in a real hurry. I think I can find him pretty easily though. Hes been hanging out on one of my regular chats."

"Just be careful, will you? Theres no substitute for real flesh-and-blood contact. Just dont jump into something too fast that you might regret later."

The waitress had arrived silently and waited for Tiffanys cue that she had been noticed to put their plates on the table. The conversation turned away after that, and before she was halfway finished, Tiffany had to excuse herself, called away by what seemed to amount to a complete disaster at the office. Alicia watched bemusedly as her friend ran down a cab and dove inside, racing to catch up with her day again.

* * * * *
Alicia white attractive slutty whore xxxxvie hurried home after work, flushed with exitement at the prospect of another meeting with her mystery lover. For once, she completely eschewed her standard keypad and wallscreen interface and picked up the VR rig. She checked it once to ensure that there was an adequate charge of nanomachines before donning the light but awkward headpiece. To make herself more comfortable, she laid out on the bed. Then, succumbing to a whim, she sat up and removed her clothing, one piece at a time, until she was nude except for the rig. Why not adjust /reality/">reality to better fit the simulation?

Alicia touched the contact on the side of the rig, saying, "Begin." She shivered at the imagined cold of microscopic, superconducting conduits snaking their way into various parts of her brain. The eyepieces flashed into activity, fading out the background gradually to coincide with the progress of the nanoprobes. There was a brief moment of discontinuity, and then she was fully immersed, her consciousness shifted to her virtual self now inhabiting her personal node on the net. Around her was a large, sparsely appointed office, the view looking out over a city from near the top of a high-rise building. She gestured, and a cluster of glowing text and icons appeared in front of her. She pointed at one, then opened her hand. Her mailbox had a few messages, but they were all from people she knew in RL. Nothing from Adam.

Sighing, she closed her hand and selected another icon. There was a faint sense of motion as the office blurred out of existence, then she was standing outside of a cafe, not unlike the one at which she had met Tiffany earlier in the day. This was the VR aspect of the chat site she regularly visited. A few of those seated at tables fronting the shop turned to look, but Adam was not among them. She stepped inside, to a space that was much bigger than the diminutive storefront made it seem. Conversation could be heard as a low babble of voices all around her which, like real noise, became louder and more discernible as she approached. She was in the main chat room, but a few dozen doors opened out of this room into others. She wandered for a time, hoping to find him in a fashion that would mimmick an RL meeting, but he was nowhere to be found. She spoke a command and a search icon, in the form of a glowing blue orb, floated down from the ceiling. "Criteria, please?" it asked in a mechanical voice.

"Search for users whoe names contain the substrings Adam or Guest 532. Display icons."

"Thank you." The icon stretched into a flat screen showing seven people, none of whom she recognized.

"Damn, must not be on right now. The one Im looking for was on last night, about eight pm."

The images changed, showing a new set of sim icons, but again he was not there. "What the hell?" she said aloud. How could the search engine fail at something so simple? "End search," she said reluctantly, causing the screen to collapse and sail back up.

Well, there were lots of ways to go about what she wanted. She called up her node map and selected a new site, making another instantaneous jump. She appeared to be in a vast library, complete with dusty, moldy tomes. This was a major indexing and information storage node. A nondescript young man wearing antique glasses, the search interface, sat behind a desk in front of her. "Can I help you?" he asked.

"I need a node listing, or at least an e-ddress."

He blinked. "Certainly. Ill need a name, icon designation, physical address, or any other identifying characteristics you can provide."

She frowned. She didnt have much. "First name is Adam. I believe he has used the net alias Guest 532 before."

The young man waited a moment more before typing rapidly on keyboard. "I have over four thousand entries matching your request. Do you have anything more you might add?" She gave him what information she could, the list of names slowly paring itself down to less than 100, but nearly a third of those had privacy restrictions, and none were particularly more promising than the others. Alicia thanked the search interface and walked away, lost in thought. Well, it looked like she was going to have to wait for him to contact her. She felt suddenly irritated with herself for considering the possibility that Adam had simply wanted some risk-free sex. No, she had initiated it, all of it. If only he hadnt been so damnably secretive.

A pleasant but dry female voice spoke into her ear. "Incoming message, text format. Do you wish to read?" It was her virtual office.

"Sure, display." The message blinked into existence in front her her in glowing blue letters.

"I wanted to thank you for an incredible experience last night and ask if you wish to continue to meet. I cant give you my home node, but Ive listed another that I monitor frequently. Please send your reply to that address."

Alicia studied the message pensively. Well, he wasnt giving much away now, was he? But at least she knew he was thinking about her. Maybe he had just been in a hurry when he wrote it. She composed her own text message and sent it to the node he had given.

Yes, I do want to see you again. Ive been thinking about you all day in fact. Im still committed to meeting you in RL. Youre going to have to take that step eventually. Let me know when you can see me. I have the rest of the afternoon and evening free.

She sent the message and prepared to exit the node, but was startled by the abrupt appearance of another icon. /surprise/">surprise turned at once to joy. "Adam!" she cried, throwing her arms around him as though theyd been apart for weeks, rather than just a day. "That was fast! Im so glad to see you."

He hugged her back, then gave her a light kiss. She curled her fingers behind his neck and brought him right back, giving him a deep, lingering kiss that awakened a whole host of nice feelings all over again. She held onto him as they reluctantly pulled away. "Howd you get to be such a great kisser?" she asked playfully, twisting a lock of his long hair around one of her fingers.

He shrugged in her embrace. "I guess it comes naturally."

She stepped back to regard him. She could see the search agent behind him, patiently ignoring them in the way only agnostic machines can manage. "Lets go somewhere more interesting," she suggested. "Any preference?"

"Where ever you want to go."

"Alright." She wished he would give her something, anything at all that might help her guess where he came from by the things he liked. "Well go someplace Ive always wanted to go in real life." She called up the simulation and they both jumped to another node...

"Wow." That single word, spoken by Adam, was strangely appropriate to describe their new surroundings. The Earth filled up nearly all of their vision, the blindingly bright light of the suns rays just cresting over the curving horizon as they made their way from the dark side towards daylight. Where clouds did not obscure the, city lights shone below like a thousand tiny, fallen stars.

Their immediate surroundings, if less grand, were equally striking. They floated inside a clear dome, a hemisphere about twenty meters across. The "floor", if it could be called that, was opaque and covered with soft, spongy material, handholds, and odd-looking furniture. They were seeing the Earth in real time, the image reconstructed from satellite images. The strangest sensation was the almost total lack of any sound but for the faint whisper of air recylers, and that so quiet that she could hear the pulse of her own blood in her own ears over them.

Alicia turned her head and suffered a dizzying moment of vertigo as her concept of up and down was shattered. Feeling as though she were falling, she clutched at Adam, then gave a nervous, embarrassed laugh as he patted her back comfortingly. "Sorry," she said sheepishly, "I didnt know this sim would effect my sense of balance. I wasnt prepared for that."

Adam nodded, taking this new experience as nonchalantly as he had the freezing water in the lake in VR Switzerland. "Are you better now?"

"Yeah." And just to prove it, she reached back and pushed firmly, shoving herself away from the floor and towards the apex of the dome. She giggled unreservedly, childishly, at the wonder of floating, her body completely unfettered by the shackles of gravity. "This is exactly what it feels like," she said. Her clothing had changed when they arrived, becoming a low-cut evening dress that sparkled and shimmered in the light of the sun.

"What is that?"

She peered back to Adam, looking on after her. "Flying, in dreams. Well, mine at least. Its just like this." She was nearing the edge of the dome and put out her hands to stop herself, but there was nothing to grab onto, so she was bounced back, tumbling now. Her world spun slowly, bringing back the uncomfortable sense of vertigo. A thin, helpless sound escaped her lips as she struggled fruitlessly to stop herself.