Also now...

Back on the Dwarf

Lounging on one of the plush sofas in the old officer’s observation cupola, Cass cracked another beer and took a swig while she gazed out at the majesty of the gas giant, they were orbiting around. It made her feel infinitesimally small.

Blue and white eddies of hydrogen and methane, the size of continents, crawled past, filling the view from floor to ceiling and bathing the room in an eerie azure light. Over to the right, the gantries and walkways of the fuelling station could just be seen, clamped onto the Dwarf and pumping fuel harvested from the giant via scoops, trailing hundreds of kilometres below.

Save for the constant background hum of the Dwarf, the room was silent.

Cass swallowed another mouthful of beer as she idly contemplated a small vortex being consumed by the edge of a larger storm. It seemed wrong to be drinking alone and so early in the day, but she found that it helped with the weird sense of dislocation she had been feeling since she had emerged from AR. And besides, the view here was spectacular.

The sound of door opening made her glance over to see Jade entering the room.

“Hey” caught with the beer halfway to her mouth, Cass guiltily raised the bottle “Cheers. You want one?”

“No, I’m, just here to check on my patient. The vending machines on 24 said they had seen you heading down this way”

“Snitches” Cass took another swig in defiance of medical advice.

“So, what are you doing?” Jade made her way over to sit next to her on the sofa.

“Just looking at that. It’s usually just stars out there, so this makes a change.”

Jade nodded in appreciation of the natural spectacle outside.

“How have you been?” she asked after a moment.

Cass scowled. Jade knew her better than that, but for a moment, she was tempted to confess how she was really feeling after so long in AR: the dislocated sense of nothing being real that she was experiencing; the loneliness that drove her to it, and the nagging suspicion that she might have edited her memory before she entered the game and reengineered herself. Instead, she shrugged “So-so”

“We missed you while you were away.” Jade murmured

“It’s nice to be popular”

“I missed you”

That was a surprise. Unsure of where this was going, Cass could only stare as Jade rather deliberately shuffled closer to her on the sofa.

“It’s... nice to be popular?” she tried again.

“Oh, you are” Jade breathed, coiling her arms around Cass and pulled her towards her “Kiss me…”

I’m betting that isn’t the real Jade
What’s everyone else doing?
Has anyone even heard any of the distress calls?
What do the lookalikes actually want with us?
I assume they’re to do with the Sacred Dominion, or are they something else entirely?

< Prev : Now Next > : Suspicion