All posts by POW

Captain Jack and the Race to Redula – Chapter 03: Deeper In

By POW

Unical date: 3752.563.22 (nineteen days until scheduled arrival at Kappa Redulans)

It was a bit strange to adjust to living in the simspace.  Sam was accustomed to moving from place to place to handle the various aspects of his day.  Wake up in the sleeping space, move to the bathroom space, then the eating space, then the working space, then the playing space or the relaxing space, and end up back at the sleeping space at the end of the day.  Here, instead, his body stayed still and the space around him changed to supply whatever he wanted.  Need the toilet?  Make one, use it, then dismiss it.  Conjure a restaurant into being long enough to enjoy breakfast, then send it packing.

There were only two things he needed to leave the simspace for.  One was to check the ship’s progress.  He headed for the command bridge, feeling a bit strange about padding around the ship in the buff but really there was no reason not to.  There he spent about twenty minutes in all doing his “job”.  All status lights were green, all reports from the navigation AI indicated systems were operating normally.  That part was done in two minutes but he stretched it out to almost ten, double- and triple-checking things that didn’t need to be double- and triple-checked.

Continue reading Captain Jack and the Race to Redula – Chapter 03: Deeper In

Captain Jack and the Race to Redula – Chapter 02: The Simspace

By POW

Unical date: 3752.563.21 (twenty days until scheduled arrival at Kappa Redulans)

Detaching from RS-98 went routinely, and the half-hour journey through normal space to put sufficient distance between his ship and the station before engaging the warp drive was equally uneventful.  The course was already laid in, so the moment the sensors reported that he was safely far enough away, all he had to do was say “Go”.  The mighty engines powered up with a muted hum and then, with barely a flicker, he was suddenly moving at a velocity that few others had ever experienced.  Well, “velocity” was an oversimplification of the situation.  His professors back at the university had tried to instill in him an appreciation for the underlying physics of subspace that made warp travel possible, the way that normal space was folded at a quantum level so that a ship using its warp drive wasn’t “really” moving (such pedantry!) but rather re-arranging space around itself, but Sam’s eyes had always glazed over at the discussions of manifold compression, multi-dimensional vector renormalization, and pseudo-velocity.  As a pilot, he just liked going really fast.

But the novelty of speed had already worn itself out on the first leg of the journey with Bareem.  The two of them had exulted over the pace at which they were traveling… for a few minutes.  Then the reality had set in that it was the AI doing virtually all of the flying, and from inside the ship there was no sensation of speed.  The engines ran so smoothly that the only indication they were on at all was a pervasive, low-frequency hum from the sheer power they were consuming.  It wasn’t like the two men could look out the windows and watch the stars passing by like trees alongside a highway.  No, they were little more than cargo in a grey box.

And so it was only minutes after engaging the engines, having assured himself that all systems were functioning normally and that he was on his way with all practical haste to his destination, that Sam found himself at the door to the simspace, heart thumping in his chest, feeling like a kid on Christmas morning eager to rip into the mountain of presents waiting to be opened.

“Pyrellia, show me a menu of porn simulations.  Male characters only.”

Continue reading Captain Jack and the Race to Redula – Chapter 02: The Simspace

Captain Jack and the Race to Redula – Chapter 01: Pyrellia’s Wing

By POW

Author’s note: I’m grateful to Metal for providing the inspiration for this story. It is set in a thinly disguised, probably recognizable fictional universe (hint: it rhymes with “car check”), so if you’d rather call the simspace a “holodeck”, you have my blessing. It’s a long story (11 chapters) and it starts slowly; please be patient!

 

Unical date: 3752.563.21

[Framing shot: a space station in orbit above a yellow-orange gas giant planet. Cut to interior of station.]

“I know this isn’t the best of circumstances,” Commander Shizaki said, “but there really is no other choice.  We must make do with what we have.”

Lieutenant Sam Green tried to keep his face impassive, allowing only concern to show, a slight creasing of the skin between his eyes.  “I understand.  Bareem needs to return home, of course.  But… are you certain there’s no one else who could make the trip with me?”  Don’t show even a trace of enthusiasm, not a hint.

The commander shook his head with regret.  “No one, I’m afraid.  This station’s normal complement is eleven staff, and we’re down two as it is so we were already stretched thin even before this emergency.  The need to get Lieutenant Farquhar home for his father’s funeral pushes us to the absolute limit.  I’ll be sending Lieutenant Urkenzie out in our one available interstellar-capable ship to take him back to Kerangia and then return.  That’s a fourteen-day round trip, and during that time we’ll have to shut down parts of our operations.  That will result in angry communications from research teams all over this sector, each one of them in high dudgeon over the absence of data they were expecting us to provide.  I anticipate at least one court case to be filed over the fact that our staffing shortage meant missing out on the once-in-ten-thousand-years opportunity to, I don’t know, capture the spectral signature of a snout-nosed pulsar or something equally absurd.  The case will of course be dismissed as frivolous but it will still be a tedious bureaucratic hassle.”

He put his hands flat on his desk.  “But that is my problem to deal with.  Yours, of course, is to get those tribronium plates to Kappa Redulans.  Those people are in dire need, and compared with that, the conniption fits of inconvenienced researchers don’t even register.”

“Of course, of course,” Sam agreed.  “Main power system destroyed, backup teetering on the brink of collapse, which means no air recycling and no climate control after it fails.  And so far away!”

Continue reading Captain Jack and the Race to Redula – Chapter 01: Pyrellia’s Wing

VRealWorld – Part 03

By POW

12: Visiting Hours

Jeff opened the bag from Martin while riding the train back to Brooklyn. It contained a pair of condoms and a small bottle of lube. He snorted. Thanks for the thought, Martin, but you have massively misjudged me if you think I’m going to need these. He stuffed the bag back into his backpack.

It was after 1 AM by the time he got home. Bill’s score continued to slowly drain away, which meant that he wasn’t “entertaining any visitors”, which Jeff had figured out was a very sophisticated-sounding euphemism for “being tortured and fucked by strangers”. That was probably for the best because Jeff was completely beat and wouldn’t have been able to stay awake long enough to go start his rescue attempt. Besides, according to Nightmare, he needed to plan… but that could wait until morning.

He woke up a little after 8, definitely earlier than he would on a typical Sunday. He checked in on Bill, who was up and pacing around his tiny cell again. His score had fallen to 204.

Continue reading VRealWorld – Part 03

VRealWorld – Part 02

Note: This is a sequel to VRansomwear. To start at the very beginning, click here.

VRealWorld

By POW

5: Hunter And His Handler

The bar was much busier when Jeff returned, unsurprising for 8:30 on a Saturday night. Jeff found Martin sitting at the same table as before talking with another man sitting across from him. Martin saw him and waved in greeting.

“Would you excuse me for a moment?” he said to the other at his table, who murmured a polite farewell and stood to go. It was at this point that Jeff noticed the third man at the table, who he had not seen before because he was down on all fours at the feet of the man who was rising to depart. Jeff, the son of generations of Brooklynites, was no stranger to other people engaging in odd behavior and had two stock responses in store for whenever he came across it. One was a blistering stream of profanity and the other was a carefully-blank expression and averted eyes. The first was generally reserved for behavior that affected Jeff in some way and so he was preparing to bring up the second response when something caught him off guard: the man on the floor, who was now rising up just like a dog about to follow in the footsteps of its master, was wearing a thick black rubber suit that looked exactly like the one he had seen Bill in yesterday. Jeff’s poker face crumbled and he gaped like a midwestern farm boy on his first trip to Times Square, only realizing he was doing it when Martin chuckled.

Continue reading VRealWorld – Part 02

VRealWorld – Part 01

Note: This is a sequel to VRansomwear. To start at the very beginning, click here.

VRealWorld

By POW

1: The Prisoner And The Picnicker

The prison cell is not large, maybe ten feet by twelve. There is a long extension at one corner, almost a hallway, at the end of which is a toilet and a sink. The walls are rough-cut stone, dank and dripping with moisture, spotted with lichen and streaked with mineral trails left behind by centuries of trickling water. The air seems like it should be clammy and cold, but instead it is clammy and hot and Bill often finds himself pressing himself up against the stone to try to have it suck some of the excess heat out of his body.

The lighting is dim. Any color that might exist is washed into formless shades of grey. The light comes from nowhere in particular, which is odd because the cell has no windows and there are no light fixtures anywhere that Bill can find. Yet somehow, he can see, though in a limited, gloomy, dismal way. Depressing as it is, at least he’s not stuck in complete blackness.

He has been locked in this cell for what he believes to be more than a week. It is hard to measure time, of course. He is fed occasionally, though on no schedule he can predict, and there is never any change in the light level to draw a distinction between day and night. The only thing keeping him from going insane from boredom and isolation is the occasional arrival of… well, call them “visitors”. Like the food, the visitors arrive at unpredictable intervals and for as long as they are there in the cell with him, boredom and isolation are very low down on his list of troubles. After the visitors leave, after an initial period where he appreciates and enjoys the restored peace and quiet, that’s when the boredom and isolation start to nag at him once more.

He has tried to find a way to escape, of course, but every attempt so far has been unsuccessful. His last serious effort was some unmeasurable amount of time ago. Perhaps two days, maybe three. Since that failure, he has been unable to think of anything to try next. There is one main reason for that:

Continue reading VRealWorld – Part 01

VRansomwear – Chapter 5

VRansomwear

By POW

CHAPTER 5

It had been fairly easy for Evan to find the rubberlad. The VRealWorld app on his phone had said he was in Central Park, then suddenly it said he was in the area of Lincoln Square. He had the cab driver cruise the streets while he scanned the sidewalks for anyone dressed all in rubber. There were few enough people out, and the guy stuck out like a sore thumb. He told the cabbie to pull over, tipped generously, and hit “Enter VRealWorld” on the app, watching the rubberlad as he did. The effect was immediate. The rubberlad stopped his plodding walk and started looking around. Evan climbed out of the cab and stood, watching. Very quickly, the rubberlad spotted him, then started figuring out how to get to him. Evan decided to speed the process along and waited for him at the corner.

The cock-touch came, just as the app’s instructions had said it would. Then the guy knelt down and held up his wrists. Evan was ready – he tapped “Request Control” on the phone screen. In a few seconds, the phone chirped a happy tone and a green “Control Granted” message danced across the screen. He tapped the rubberlad’s wrists and murmured “cuffs”. Nothing seemed to happen.

But when he held up the phone and looked through the app, he could see the silver cuffs. And the rubberlad was certainly acting as if his wrists were now pinned together, trying and failing to separate them. Evan lowered the phone. The real-world view was almost comical, as if the guy was performing some kind of mime act.

[[WARNING: This story contains extreme elements that some readers might find objectionable. Continue reading at your own risk.]]

Continue reading VRansomwear – Chapter 5

VRansomwear – Chapter 4

VRansomwear

By POW

CHAPTER 4

Meanwhile… the next morning, in Queens… and Brooklyn… and across the river in Secaucus, New Jersey …

Ken’s phone chimed with a sound he was not accustomed to hearing. He pulled it out and looked at it.

It was a notification from an app he remembered installing a few weeks back. It was called “VRealWorld” – pronounced with two syllables, the first two letters slurred together like the VRs in “vroom vroom” – and it was supposed to be an online hookup tool like grindr or recon. Like grindr, it supposedly got you in touch with guys near you who shared your interests. But it had never shown Ken anything and after a few days he had forgotten it was even there, had even forgotten that the account had been created under the name “Rockit”. Seeing it now on the screen now his reaction was that it was almost too cutesy a nickname, a callout to the band he played lead guitar for as well as a thinly-disguised reference to dicks and orgasms.

Now the app was chiming for “Rockit’s” attention. The notification said “Rubberlad near you!” A… “rubberlad”? Skeptical, Ken swiped the message.

“A rubberlad has completed the VRealWorld training program and is currently active near you. If you wish to let the rubberlad find you, see you, and interact with you, read on!” There was a link to more instructions.

Continue reading VRansomwear – Chapter 4