Chapter 12

Ætherglow #232


“Akiko...”

You collapse the remaining illusion of distance between you and pull your avatars together. Your auras blend and flow together from a thousand points of contact. Superficially you grasp her hands tighter, a pressure stim between your fingers. You search your empathic circuit for the slightest cause for hesitation or misunderstanding, but find only an alternating current of overwhelming longing.

You kiss her. Your avatar lips touch with a spark like a static discharge, but not painful, quite the opposite. Through your interface, the feeling is indistinguishable from the surface, but here it carries many deeper layers, an infinitely deep fractal of sensation to lose yourself in, an ætherglow all your own in the zero-depth space between you.

You dismiss a system message of an elevated heart rate. For this one moment shared outside time and space, you ignore all else but the girl in front of you. Nothing could pull you away--you don’t need to breathe here.

Finally the empathic surge is too bright, as overwhelming as staring into the white Sun outside a colony wall. You fall back away from her a short distance, not letting go of her hands.

[Akiko liked that!]

“Aydan...” You feel your name, the concept of it that exists in her mind.

“So I did that,” you say.

“Yeah you did.” She pulls her hands free to wrap them around you instead and hold you close to her. “Even if this date is just an op, I, I was hoping...”

“I could feel that.” You embrace her too. “The timing might have been tactically opportunistic, but I meant it when I asked you out. Akiko, I’m really glad I met you too, and I think I’ve wanted this for a long time now.”

She hugs you tighter. “I did too...” She lets go of you to stim with her hands, casting a texture-wave across the æther. “And I always wanted to kiss someone, it seemed so stimmy. To have it be you, even better.”

“Never kissed a girl in the æther before, at least,” you say. “It’s way better.”

As your eyes refocus, you look up at the glow for a moment. The lingering stars look bigger and brighter than Sirius or Venus in the surface sky. Their light shines in pale shafts through the branches, making the shadows between seem darker.

“As far as first dates go, I’ve never really had one, but I can’t imagine they get much better than this,” you say. “Sucks that it’s predestined to be ruined by some ObTech shadow wrapped cult fuckers...” you say.

“It’s okay, it already exceeded all my expectations,” she says. “It’s not ruined if this was how we planned all along. Everything else on this ætherwalk is now just a continuation of our date. I declare this by my authority as a lesbian.”

“Great! I defer to your expertise,” you say.

“Then on that note, we still have a contractual obligation to fulfill here.”

“Right. Shall we transition to the no less intimate engagement of combat?”

“On your confirmation, Aydan of Luna.”


What will you say?

1) “Is everytime I kiss someone gonna somehow be connected to dueling them?”: 5 (45.45%)
2) “I doubt I stand a chance against you anyway, though.”: 1 (9.09%)
3) “I won’t lose! I’ve faced some pretty tough opponents you know.”: 0 (0.0%)
4) “Can we keep the empathic link on during?”: 5 (45.45%)
Expired 8 months ago (2023-08-20 08:35:57)