Chapter 15

Ætherglow #304


2254-11-11 10:44:11

One Moonlit night, you emerge from the narrow path to the pond at the world’s edge, hearing the chatter of birds. They descend upon you immediately and land, blocking your path and looking up expectantly--little Proxima, Alpha a, Alpha b, and Sagittarius A. Knowing you must pay the toll to proceed, you produce your bag of plant seeds and scatter the remainder of its contents.

[plant seeds fully depleted]

The Sun’s bright reflection on the water hits your eyes as the forest insects transition to their morning song. When you adjust your sight to the daylight, you see her--Akiko, waiting on the soft moss. Her eyes glow a pale lavender.

“I guess I’m all out now,” you sign with one hand, holding the empty seed pouch.

“I’ll get you some more. Come on.” She signs for you to sit with her.

In one long step you reach the soft ground. Her eyes’ LEDs shut off as she grasps your hands for a moment, then light up bright pink.

“I thought I would be late,” you sign. “We’re the only ones here?”

“It’s okay. The meeting is actually not until 1100, I must have...accidentally told you the wrong time,” she signs.

“And told yourself the wrong--”

She takes your hands back, interrupting your words, and pulls you off balance antispinward toward her. Intercepting your head, she meets your lips with hers. You grasp her hands and pull her toward you to kiss her again. With both your empathic ports open to each other, the warmth inside you cascades in a feedback loop between your minds.

Your face slides past the soft surface of her skin and falls to rest on her shoulder as you embrace each other. You feel the tingly static wash over all your senses at once as your neural induction fields cross and your interface collar picks up interference from her own brain waves. All that can break you away from this place is the will to communicate and further touch her mind. You sit up so you can sign.

“I missed you,” you sign.

“We’ve both been so busy preparing for final exam.”

“Thanks for inviting me early.”

“Also...” She reaches into one of her deep pockets. A flash of color emerges, a surface knitted from yarn. She hands the object to you--two objects.

“I made you something,” she signs. “I know you like these femboy arm things.”

Your fingers trace the complex patterns of the fibers, forming a lemniscate shape around the thumb hole and up the side of the sleeve. The color is a vibrant green and yellow with an iridescent sheen that flares up as the sunlight touches it. But as you pull one of them over your hand and forearm and its fabric stretches out, its color shifts to a pattern of deep blue and purple. You turn your arm over, watching the subtle hue shifting around the rounded edges of the thick fibers in different angles of the light.

You pull the other one on, poking your fingers out from its end. The texture is so soft you wish you weren’t wearing your interface sleeves.

“What is this even made of?” you sign.

“Professor Reina had this wool lying around from a genetic experiment she did years ago involving sheep and structural color. You can’t get anything like it from a printer, the structures causing the effect are nano-scale, organically grown.”

How will you respond?

1) “The material is impressive, but not more than the skill that knitted these patterns.”: 1 (6.25%)
2) “I love it. I’ll treasure this forever.”: 4 (25.0%)
3) Send an empathic surge of joy.: 5 (31.25%)
4) No signs are adequate, kiss her.: 6 (37.5%)
Expired 3 months ago (2024-04-03 08:53:24)