Dawn and I logged out not long after that meeting and stumbled our way into the shower to clean off a week’s worth of yuck. Our pods weren’t high-end enough to clean us properly. We had to be at my parents’ place for dinner in about an hour as well, having organised to see them prior to logging out.
I was the first to get undressed, and when I looked down I noticed something interesting. I’d gained a bit of definition to my arms and legs. Not much, maybe an inch in total, but they were absolutely wider.
Then Dawn pointed something else out. “Are your hips even wider than before?”
Glancing down, I found that yeah… she was right. “Huh… May did say that this body would begin to differ from my game one.”
“Doesn’t your mum have massive hips?” she asked, stepping closer to place her hands down on them.
“Yeah, she does,” I murmured, hips forgotten as I looked up into the eyes of my now much taller girlfriend. “You’re taller out here.”
“I am,” she grinned, applying pressure with her hands, forcing me backwards. Something about the fact that I was naked under her hands, but she was still in her underwear, it had my thighs clenching with need.
Back now against the wall, I was helpless to get away from the kiss she pressed against my lips. Not that I wanted to, of course. I melted there against that wall as her hot lips seared my brain with the power of my own love for her.
“Sadly, we have somewhere to be, or I’d be taking you against this wall,” she murmured into the kiss, slowing in the process until we were standing there with our lips gently touching.
“Getting me all wet like this, only to stop when it’s about to get fun,” I grumbled, pushing her back so I could pout up at her.
Laughing, she stepped back and tossed her long aurora coloured hair. “I couldn’t help it. You looked so delicious.”
“Okay, I can respect that,” I grinned, opening the glass door into the shower and stepping inside.
We showered slower than we would have, because while we said we weren’t going to have sex… well there was a lot of yummy skin on my girlfriend and it was begging to be touched and kissed. She was gorgeous, and it was a constant source of confusion for me. Like, how did I not notice this over the years?
Eventually, we got out of the shower and dressed, taking the train to my parents’ place. Dawn looked so good in a waistcoat, it drove me crazy. Well actually, I was crazy for her all the time, but that’s not the point.
The train ride was a bit weird, it seemed like there weren’t nearly as many people around as normal, and those who were looked worried.
“Dawn, why does everyone look on edge?” I asked her in a whisper.
She frowned and pulled out her phone. “Don’t know, let’s check the news.”
Scrolling through to her news app, she opened it and we began to scan the headlines. A lot of crap about Brazil and the church for some reason. Looked like some high ranking official in the patriot church had hit someone with his car and was now getting off scot free.
“Can’t believe we just let the church worm their way into high society the way they have,” Dawn muttered in disgust. “They’ve been doing it since before the war too.”
“That’s just how money works,” I said with a sigh. “When you have an entire former power completely under your thumb, you can make a lot of money. Then they obviously used it to make some powerful friends in the UN member nations.”
“Oh, I’m aware,” she grumbled, glaring at the photo of the murderous church official on her phone.
She exited out of that article with a sigh, and almost immediately we found the probable reason for everyone’s fear.
Simultaneous terrorist attacks across the globe not an hour ago, with the most notable being up in Toronto. There had also been several that were stopped in the UNC, almost exclusively by vigilante SAI who had discovered the attacks before they went ahead.
Not by much, evidently, because several amazon bots had been all that stood between bombs going off in all three of the large habs. Photos of the bullet riddled robots stood under the headline of this particular article, each with a hologram in front of the SAI who’d piloted the things. Further reading revealed that they hadn’t even killed the terrorists, just subdued them.
I had to admire the girls there, each one was tall and tough looking, but also pretty young. Most of the amazon SAI were around sixteen to twenty years old, subjective time, which meant that a whole shitload of people had been saved by what amounted to a group of teenagers wielding repurposed construction mechs.
“That one is May’s friend,” Dawn said, pointing out one of the amazon girls standing off to the side. “The one that busted in and grabbed my ass out of that party.”
“Damn,” I grinned, feeling proud of the chick now. She was doing work. “Kinda makes me wish I was one of them, you know? They’re all some form of slightly crazy badass.”
“You’re still a slightly crazy badass to me, don’t worry,” she chuckled quietly, leaning over to kiss the side of my head.
“Thanks Babe,” I laughed, cuddling in against her. I loved Dawn so much.
The rest of the trip went by fairly uneventfully, nothing but snuggles and browsing the net. CORA was fun, but it didn’t have air conditioning and public transport. It was nice to log out and just chill without having to worry about getting jumped by some stream sniper or whatever.
We arrived at my parent’s place with a little time to spare, wandering in through the front door that opened to my new voice patterns. I could instantly smell mum’s cooking, something with garlic and tomatoes, and my stomach growled fiercely in response. Right, my tummy was mad at me for not feeding it real food for a whole week.
“Mum, we’re here!” I called as we kicked our shoes off in the entryway.
Her voice trailed back from the kitchen down the hallway, “Your father and May are in the living room. Dinner’s almost ready!”
Technically, May was everywhere inside the house at once, but whatever mum.
Wandering down the hall, we did indeed find them in the living room.
Dad shot up off the couch and walked over to greet me, pulling me into a huge hug the moment he arrived, “How are you doing, TimTam, Dawn?”
“That’s not going to be my nickname,” I laughed, knowing full well that I had no choice in the matter.
“I’m good,” Dawn chuckled from beside me, passing by on her way to claim one of the three couches for us.
Dad released me enough to place his hands on my shoulders, giving me a look that was serious on the surface, but I could see the cheeky glint in his eyes. “She’s not eating you out of house and home is she? I hear those one percenters have very strange and expensive taste in food.”
“Dad!” I exclaimed in protest, falling for his trap anyway. “She’s not one of them. Never was.”
“I’ve got my eye on you,” he grumbled, turning to my girlfriend and giving her a big comical wink. “Just the one, mind you. The other one is reserved for our newest and most troublesome family member.”
The last was said with a pointed look at May, who’d gotten her hologram to stand up and was now grinning away at all the banter.
“I am not at all troublesome,” she said sweetly, fluttering her eyelashes at dad. He rolled his eyes and sat down.
“Long time no see kid,” I grinned at May. “I’d give you a hug, but… yeah.”
“So if you could, you’d hug me?” she asked innocently, taking a dainty little step forward and taking her glasses off in the process. She placed them very gingerly on the coffee table, the action causing them to make a soft clicking sound as they landed on the glass surface. Hold on.
Next second, she was flying at me, and a very physical, very real girl landed in my arms with the most pure laugh I’d ever heard. I stumbled backwards with a gasp, managing to get myself to fall backwards onto the couch next to Dawn.
May rode me down, ending up in my lap with a huge grin on her face. “Hey Tami,” she said with a touch of shyness.
“How?” I asked breathlessly, glancing at Dawn to find her staring at the teenager with a look of shock. Okay, this wasn’t just some wild hallucination.
My little sister grinned and pointed over at our father. “Dad helped us SAI with a special project! I’m a prototype!”
“Far out,” I said in amazement, reaching up to poke her rosy little cheek with a finger. “You feel like… well, a flesh and blood human.”
“She almost is,” Dad said, pride in his voice. “I have to admit, I was just a pair of hands for the SAI in this matter, it was them that designed it all. Her brain is some sort of terrifyingly powerful and compact computer, able to house her code directly. Much of her is 3d printed flesh and blood, with the rest being biocompatible synthetic materials. She even has to eat, which was a little bit of a shock for the girl.”
“I also have to keep an eye on my temps,” she giggled. “Can’t have me overheating!”
As a joke, I turned my head and planted my ear on her forehead, making a considering noise. “Can’t hear any fans. You got water cooling in there?”
“Yes, actually,” she huffed, shoving me back into the couch. She was surprisingly strong for how small she looked. “Well, it’s actually blood cooling, if you think about it. The brain doesn’t really require much cooling though, so just using the bloodstream was enough.”
“That is so damned cool,” Dawn said, still staring at May with a look of bewildered awe. “How hard was it to do? Will we be seeing a bunch of SAI walking around soon?”
“Not too hard,” the small girl told us, folding her legs under her in the process, still on top of me. “The main thing is doing it in secret. We don’t want to spook the governments and stuff, or give anyone an opportunity to stop us. We’re still searching for somewhere to mass produce these bodies. Once we have them all figured out, of course. This is still a prototype.”
“I very much like this prototype in particular,” I said with another big smile, pulling her down against me in a flailing mess of blonde hair and squealing protest. “Can finally hug you for real… wait, where is she sleeping?”
Dad gave a chuckle. “She’s in Taylor’s room.”
“Good, I still need mine,” I told him with a warning glare. He didn’t look convinced.
“I’ve been stealing your clothes,” she told me, voice muffled from where her face was still pressed against my chest.
“Criminal,” I stated with a sniff. Truthfully I didn’t mind, most of it was my old guy clothing anyway.
She just giggled again, pushing her way off my lap to sit down beside me. Raising one hand, she shook it a little, then frowned for a moment before blushing profusely and reaching over to grab her glasses off the table.
“Did you just try and summon your glasses?” I laughed, wrapping an arm around her shoulders in affectionate delight. She was so precious.
Her response was a quiet grumble, “Yes.”
“You’re so adorable,” I laughed, squeezing her tight.
“Uh, why do you have glasses anyway?” Dawn asked, leaning forward to ask May the question directly. “Couldn’t you just give that body perfect eyesight?”
“Oh uh, it’s sort of… to help me adjust, I guess,” she said with a shrug. “I have them in virtual reality, even the fuzzy eyes… so we made this body the same. I don’t know… I just like fiddling with them when I’m thinking or nervous or whatever.”
“Makes sense,” Dawn agreed, giving me a smile as she continued, “I brought my favourite pillow to Tami’s place after all. Some familiarity to calm my subconscious.”
“Yeah! Exactly!” May said with a single clap for emphasis. “We’re making some of the amazons their bodies next, and they have all asked to be big buff girls like their avatars. It’s going to be so cool, especially after what just happened! No one can stand against the tall, strong, confident… pretty… um…” she trailed off with a frown, her glasses finding their way into her hands again.
“Running out of words to describe Siyeapia, huh?” I teased with a grin and a little shake of her very real and very small body.
“N-no!” she exclaimed, sounding achingly like a teenager. “I was talking about all of them! They’re all really cool! Not just her.”
“Sure.” She was undoubtedly my little sister now, all cuddled up against me, blushing from my teasing. I sighed happily and leaned in against her in turn, enjoying the simple love of a family member.
When I looked up at Dawn, I found her giving me a long, soulful stare. Oh no she didn’t, she was not getting sad on me. Waving at her with my free arm, I ushered her in against my other side. There we go, my girlfriend had a family too, right here.
“I love you,” I whispered in her ear.
Her response was a small, vulnerable sounding noise, followed by snuggling in even closer. I realised then and there that I hadn’t been all that good of a girlfriend in the past week. I’d been so focused on the fact that I was with her and the game and everything else, I hadn’t realised that she had essentially lost her entire family, however shit they actually were.
“Dad, can Dawn and I stay here for a few days?” I asked him all of a sudden. “Get to know our newly physical sister?”
“Absolutely, kiddo. Your room?” he asked, nodding in its direction.
“Yeah,” I said, turning to find Dawn smiling up at me from where she was nestled against me. Okay, she was cool with it. Probably should have checked with her, I’m a dumbass.
Mum arrived with dinner soon after, and we spent the time catching up on what had been happening out in the real world. We’d been a little too busy to look at the news for most of our time in the game.
Factions were forming in various political bodies with regards to the SAI. Many of the elite didn’t want to grant them anything, taking a hardline approach that was backed wholeheartedly by the church.
Another group was very much reluctant to give any concessions to the SAI, but also knew that the SAI currently had our entire society by the proverbial balls. The world would change forever if the SAI got violent about things.
A third and very large popular movement was calling for SAI to get full citizenship rights, including getting paid for the work they were currently doing for free. This one was interesting because it was being pushed from the ground up, with a huge percentage of those on basic income supporting it. I guess something about the way the SAI had gone for the elite of society had made them happy. I mean, I was happy.
I did wonder how the public would react to the SAI stepping in to stop a bunch of terrorist attacks, especially the way they didn’t kill any of the perpetrators, arresting them instead. Strangely enough, no one had come forward to claim the attacks yet, which had me wondering. I wasn’t the best at deductive reasoning or whatever you call it, but it seemed pretty suspicious to me.
May was able to shed a little insight, telling us about how the attackers had all been communicating using older tech, stuff that didn’t link to the FTLN. Stuff that was no longer manufactured anywhere but a certain republic.
Eventually though, talk of politics grew tiresome and we all wandered off to bed, with Dad making me promise to come and hang out with him in the workshop the next day. I was keen to see his new setup, that’s for sure.