Pre HL: Morning After


Void. Blackness. Nothing. I rise through this. My eyelids slowly stretch open. Pupils encased in purple halos dilate, constrict & dilate again. Fear. White light bombarding my psyche. Where am i? This phrase echo’s & rebounds inside my skull. I convulsive as shivers run through my shoulders & spine. Whiteness. The room is pure white, but familiar Corporate white. I’m home? I wiggle my toes, soft sheets. I’m on my side facing a wall lined with what looks like real wallpaper.  I’m sweating.  My head wakes up and begins to thump. My stomach wakes up and begins to quake. I put my hand to my mouth. I’m going to puke.

I struggle to stand up, its seems everything is surrounded by a faint haze. I swing out of the bed too quickly. I fall to the floor. Laugher. WTF? The emesis starts its way up my esophagus. I’m going to hurl. I’m diaphoretic. Seeing the garbage can. I quickly crawl over to it and in the lotus position with my legs & arms wrapped around the can, I empty my guts.  With each heave, liquid spews from my mouth, into the can and is evaporated. I try to turn my head to avoid the vapor bi-product of this.   But cannot….the steam is inhaled causing me to heave and heave and heave until nothing is left in my stomach. I can only smell the reek of foul acidic vapors; the stench sticks to me.  I collapse against the wall. Where the fuck am i? The furniture in the room looks Corporate issued, but seems more rich and organic….better constructed. I start to dry heave again. Fuck. I am hung over. Should I be? I lean over the trashcan, my head resting in my elbow nook trying to piece together a fractured night. I watch the red light at the bottom of the can blink off on off on. What do i fucking remember? Respirations increase and my stomach convulses. Dry heave. Rest. Dry heave. Rest. Where am I? The saliva drips from my mouth in strings then is slowly evaporated at the bottom of the trashcan.

I hear a slow familiar laugh. Eyes snap open. Memories come back. Graduation. Party. A lean smiling face. “Remember Me?” My blurry eyes focus on the bed. There is a very handsome sinister looking man there.  I close my eyes a slowly shake my head. No. “You were wild last night.” I start to dry heave. Why am I so sick? “Like I said Thriller. You were a loose cannon. Out front & behind closed doors.” What? I feel a burning on my right forearm.  I look a the offending feeling. The are circular fresh cuts on my inner forearm. What the fuck happened here? Still sitting on the floor I hold up my arm to show the blurry figure in the bed the fresh cuts. He pats the bed beside him “Come here sweet thing.” Dry heave. I shake my head. No. “Awww.”  I fade out.  Minutes or hours pass. Timeless.

My eyes open, I’m lying on the floor. Nothing is blurry. I smell cigarette smoke. I look up at the bed. Why is there a man lying on in this bed with the white sheets pulled up to the nipples of his chiselled chest. My right arm feels like a sunburn. I look at it again, like seeing it for the first time.  There are three circular rings cut out of my right forearm, running up the inside, approximately three cm in diameter. All PERFECT circles. I squint examining the well defined clean wounds. “You like them.” What? “Do you like your circles? You worked so hard on them.” I did this? “Yes.” Waves of sutters convulse through my body, everything hurts. My legs, groin, and neck all throb in pain. I’m right handed. “Come here.” He beacons.  Unsteady I rise, walk to the bed and sit on the edge.

The most beautiful AI I’ve ever seen enters and brings water, antiemetics, & a mild analgesic. I greedily swallow the antiemetic and subcutaneously inject the analgesic. Sighing as the pain is washed away like an afterthought, I examine the AI.  Wow! She’s a perfect AI. “Actually she’s not essentially perfect at all. She’s a volunteer. A human. Over 86% of her is synthetic or organic modifications.  The best part is that half her mind is hive and half is her own. Shhhh….she’s still a secret….not a totally legit practice yet but she is content.  Aren’t you Honey?”  The modified individual nods and passes out of the room.  Holy fuck…that analgesic stoned me. I examine the raw exposed flesh on my arm; I watch as little white circles of light rise out of the wounds and hover for a moment before popping like bubbles. I’m hallucinating; tears whelm up, but do not spill out of my eyes. What is going on?

Still sitting on the edge of the bed I feel firm hands run across my shoulders gently pulling me back down to the bed. Timeless. “Come here Baby.” Too sick, stoned, and fatigued to fight. I am guided to a supine position. Arms are wrapped around me. Embraced. I’m right handed. Tears slip out of my eyes and slide into my ears. My forehead is kissed. In my ear he whispers, “You did it to yourself”. I shake my head. He whispers, “Those are your scars to bear.” Exhausted I slip back into darkness.


Pre HL: After After-Party


Behind the one way mirror, Thrill’s dorm mates dispersed back to their respective afterparty dalliances.  With a fading smile Thrill looks around to see newly commissioned female cadets draped over smiling Officers.  Upset at being left alone in a crowded room; shifting her weight from foot to foot; Thrill is feels out of place & detached. Still gripping the empty vodka bottle, she scans the room.  As her gaze flickers from face to face looking for anyone familiar, she notices glittering halos around individual’s heads; blinking dispersed these halos. Thrill was eyeing the dozen or so Corporate Officers enjoying the attentions of the giggling new graduates when she spied her Medical Instructor, Dr. Forbes.  Thrill perked up. He must of asked for me! “Dr.Forbes!”, she awkwardly calls & waves. Forbes turned and smiled fondly at Thrill.

“Ms.Gage”, he slurs as he gives her a touchy feely hug. “Or shall I be more formal…Corporal Gage” and squeezes her butt cheek.  Thrill smacks his hand off her ass, but he didn’t even notice…irritated she wanted attention…but from drunk ole Dr. Forbes.  SHIT! Thrill responds with forced enthusiasm, “Theres not too much formality about this place to say the least. But I’m so glad you requested that I be here.” A confused look past over his face, “Call me drunk, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.” There is an awkward pause & Thrill is confused.  Forbes stutters, “What are you doing now?” “The Corporation has hired me to work as a nurse in their portable field hospitals.”  “Excellent you will excel it that!.”  Receiving a compliment from Dr.Forbes, even if drunk, was such a rare treat for Thrill that she blushed, dropped her chin to her chest, and turned away briefly.  As she was turning back to Dr. Forbes a dark lean gaze locked into her eye.  The intensity coming from this individual as so vibrant that Thrill froze, when a white smile flashed, her heart began to stutter.

A little breathless, Thrill refocused back on the red-cheeked Dr.Forbes. Out of the corner of her eye she could see the dark lean figure studying her. Trying to decide if the feeling was creeping or flattering. Thrill swallowed hard, be cool, act cool he didn’t see you freeze.  Did he? Thrill asked Forbes, “Who is that Officer to my left?” Forbes looks over, frowns and replies curtly  “That…THAT… is the Corporation’s leading experimental surgeon, Dr.Hill. Highly decorated for his techniques in integrating synthetic materials into human body systems. Brilliant in his field.” Forbes gestures randomly with his empty glass, “That man thinks so far outside of the box, he has left his morals behind. Thinks he omicipant! Will use anyone for his own needs.” There was a pause, Thrill’s mind, although prone to short attentions, was processing this information when an unfamiliar silky deep voice responded, “That’s a little unfair”.

Thrill’s head whips to her left and there standing just behind her is Dr.Hill.  Sinewy, lank with broad shoulders and coal black hair, a day growth of stubble on his chin. Dr.Hill slips his arms around Thrill’s shoulders and hugs her close to his side.  “You’re gonna make this young dear think I’m some kind of monster.” Thrill has to consciously shut her mouth as is was hanging open, she feels dizzy in the presence of this man. Forbes struggles for words but only manages to spit out ‘Omicipant’ before turning and stumbling through the mirrored wall.

Hill’s eyes laugh as Forbes departs. He looks down at Thrill who is wrapped under his arm, he lets her go and extends his hand. “Time for proper introductions, I’m Dr. Mack Hill”.  Thrill hadn’t realized that she was clutching her the empty vodka bottle. Snapping out of her fluttering haze, she grins and shakes Hill’s hand, “I’m Corporal Gage.” “Wonderful to meet you Ms.Gage,” he smiles and gently takes the empty bottle out of Thrill’s hand, “Are you enjoying your after party”.  Embarrassed she is caught with and empty booze bottle she turns beet red.  Thrill nods thinking to herself that it just got a lot better.  He hails the organic waiter to refill the her glass. “More Vodka?”

“I like you. Even before you walked through that mirror I knew I wanted to know you.” Thrill is enthralled, “Really?” “And then when I heard you talking with Forbes about working in the field hospitals I became really interested because you will be seeing some of my work.  I sometimes rotate in the field hospitals working on….elective enhancements.  I find people are more willing to…TRY…things when they hover in the in the Grey between the Light and the Dark.” He looks deep into Thrill to watch her reaction. Thrill’s mind at times is too shallow.  The thought that fired through her synapses was ‘OMG! I will be working with this guy!’.  Sensing that he was waiting for a response Thrill inquires mindlessly, “How could you hear us we were on the other side of the room?” Hill he taps his ear and responds, “Synthetically enhanced tympanic membranes and implanted sensory epithelium.” “Oh….”, Thrill is trying to concentrate, but she is drunk & stoned, she has a feeling she should go home. “Do you have any enhancements?” Thrill giggles and tries to do a slow sexy spin, “Nope.” She gestures at her body, “This is 100% O-Natural”.  The effect was almost like watching a toddler try to turn around; all teetery & wobbly. Dr. Hill is grinning; he is all teeth.

Mack passed Thrill a new glass of vodka as he did this, without her noticing, He slipped a semi-transparent capsule into her drink.  Immediately the capsule dissolves. “Cheers!” They tinked glasses.  As Thrill sipped her drink she briefly thought that it tasted metallic. Wow! She thinks to herself, this vodka must be vintage.  His eye caught her’s.  Looking up at him she could think about nothing else. A smile split his lean face in half once they finished their drinks.  He leaned down and kissed her full on the lips, then abruptly pulled away. He slammed his empty glass on the table and his jackal face lit up. “Let’s dance!”, he announced. Heading backwards to the dance floor he beckons Thrill to follow him. Thrill, beaming through his wake, trails after him.

Pre HL: Afterparty

**Thrill and her group tumble out the the vehicle** “Shit! This air is burning my lungs!” “What do you expect” “Bahahaha!” “Get done up with a synthetic pulmonary lining” “Screw that!” “I think they are still workin’ kinks out of that one!” “Come on! Be a Guinea Pig!” “Oink!, oink!, oink!” “Thats for the Pions” **Laughter erupts & whilst holding their breath they trotted quickly out of the thick polluted air into the cool filtered atmosphere of the Corporate Officer’s Exhibition Hall**

A blonde mid-statured gentleman dressed in a slick skin-tight black tuxedo, watched the small group as they entered the Exhibition Hall.  The ageless man noted that although the Chaperons were almost blacked out drunk, their lovely young ladies were blissfully happy, high, and still in control. With a chiseled smile and open arms, this man greeted them at the foyer. “Greetings new Graduates! Finally you arrive. I am the Corporate Maître’d”.  Maître’d is the Corporation’s social organizer who provides the needs to the Corporate Officer’s wants.   With manicured fingertips, the Maître’d ticked everyone off the list on his datapad. “Wonderful!”, he flourishes, “Please won’t you come inside?”

The group followed him in.  Maître’d indicates to various couch clusters situated throughout the hall. Each cluster was attended by an anthropomorphic android, who could mix any drink & would distribute any requested oral, inhalant, transdermal, intravenous or subcutaneous substance.  “Please help yourself to anything.  Our Corporation has provided you with all of the usual ethanol beverages and recreational drugs or as the kids say…’Recs’…” Pausing to roll his eyes before continuing, “of course only in the most responsible doses. We don’t want anyone truly ruining their night.”  He turns to Thrill with his eyebrows raised, “or do we?”  Confused, Thrill is left standing evaluating what the Maître’d really meant while her group when wooting down the foyer steps and out into the vast hall.

As he wouldn’t move aside, Thrill stepped around the Maître’d and slowly made her way down the steps from the foyer into the sunken hall. The structure was an expansive long rectangle; its elongated sides decorated with carved floor to ceiling mirrors. The mirrored walls reflected fractured images of the mingling people.  Situated in the middle of the hall was the dance floor; itself a catalysis fusing vibrations of sound into rhythmic expressions.  Three of the biggest chandeliers that Thrill had ever seen were spaced evenly across the ceiling of the hall.  Surrounding the dance floor, grouped in petaloid clusters, were couches shaped like white oval seed pods each tended to by an android.   Despite the myriad number of people in the hall, Thrill noticed that only cadets were present…there wasn’t an Officer in sight.

Thrill looked to the end of hall and gazed upon the Altar of Sound. There was nothing organic about this shrine of electroacoustic transducers, it is truly a behemoth of mechanical acoustics.  This monolith of sound was carved out of solid white polymer into the likeness of giant honeycomb cells. In each of the glowing white hexagonal cells, a giant speaker was encased; the polished black circles vibrating like the heads of pupae drones ready to emerge.  Situated in the middle of this wall of speakers was an empty space shaped like a cube which housed an audio engineer, the mighty DJ.  Perched in the middle of this cube conducting beats in trance the DJ synthesized waves of oscillation through the bodies of the hall.  An apiary.  The bass that pumped out of its massive woofers caused the three suspended chandeliers to quiver like new love.  Through her star-gazed eyes, Thrill thought the light filtering through the chandler crystals looked like a shimmering haze which was sprinkling the hall with small bouncing crystallized faces.

After a couple of hours, Maître’d noticed that Thrill was coming down.  She had been requested for by one of the Officers. He observed that she didn’t indulge in any of the Rec’s.  He watched her start to take advantage of the all you can drink booze, as her amphetamine tweak was wearing off. She grinded on the dance floor with her Ginger Chaperon. Although it looked like she did enjoy his attentions she was actively fighting off his grabby hands, moving them ever so often off her bosom.  The night had gotten sloppy, the Graduates have danced, drunk, and drugged to excess.

After peeling herself off her Chaperon, Thrill wandered away from the dance floor.  She spotted the Twin lads from the lab who supplied her with her silicone tabs. They were the products of an embryo selection project. The Corporation wanted to establish the length of time a human embryo could remain in stasis.  They were genuine enantiomers of one another and a jewel in the Corporation’s genetic engineering crown.  These Twins were the only two to survive their embryo batch which was put into stasis about 75 years ago.  “Thriller!”, they bounded over to give her hugs & cheek kisses, “Do you need any more gear?”  She tilts her head, “Well if you have a tab on you I’ll take it.”  They smiled fondly at her, “Stick out your tounge”. Thrill stuck out her pink tongue and the little silicone tab was delivered.  Thrill rolled the tab around on her tongue waiting for the speed wave to hit her psyche. One Twin slings his arm around her, “If you ever need anything at all…you will definitely let us know”.  Feeling the wave start to crash over her, Thrill grins widely and absently chirps, “Of course!!!”. *BANG* Feeling exhilarated, she gave the lads kisses goodbye.  Feeling pumped she trotted back to her Chaperon.

Maître’d watched as Thrill’s Chaperon started to get nasty drunk.  He could tell it wasn’t fun for her anymore. As the Chaperon opened his drunken sloppy maw to try to kiss Thrill; she silently nailed the pressure point behind his ear hard with her index finger.  With polite smiles Thrill pardoned herself. The Maître’d followed Thrill as she escaped to behind a couch cluster and began pound booze. She spotted a vodka bottle with just a couple of sips left in it. Just as she was very unlady drinking out of the bottle & tipping it so high she had to tilt her head right back he came up behind her and tapped on her shoulder.  “Corporal Gage?”

Thrill choked on her drink and turned around.  There was the Maître’d.  Thrill flashed the most sober charming smile she could muster and slowly moved the bottle behind her back.  The Maître’d continues, “Corporal Gage, I was wondering if you would be so kind to follow me please?” Thrill eyes him suspiciously, “Why?”  Purring, Maître’d replied, “The Officers are looking for young ladies to charm and I thought that perhaps…you might be able to give them a bit of a challenge”.  Flattered but uncomfortable, she responds, “I don’t see any fuckin’ Officers and NO, I certainly won’t go alone, I want my girls with me”. Maître’d responds with slightly widened eyes, “but they are already there and are having a lovely time enjoying the attentions of the decorated Officers. But more to the point…someone in particular has requested your presence”.  Thrill nods and looks over at her own Ginger Chaperon who was drunkenly dry humping a plastered girl on one of the couches.  Frowning on the inside, Thrill turns and beams at the handsome Maître’d.   “Sure! What do I have to lose?”  The Maître’d offers her his arm and tentatively she takes it.

They walk straight towards a section of the carved mirrored walls. Thrill balks as the Maître’d moves right for it.  He pauses, “Trust me.” Then together they walk forward through the mirror.  Thrill looked behind her and saw that she could see the entire hall.  It was a one way mirror! Brilliant, thought Thrill.  Then she was rushed by a giggling mob made up of her Dorm mates and reluctantly the frowning Maître’d let Thrill go.

Pre HL: Getting Ready

GETTING READY FOR THE GRADUATION AFTER PARTYFour giggling and loud female voices echoed out of a Corporate dorm washroom. The newly graduated corporals are preparing to attend their graduation after party and are dressed to impress. “Do my boobs look good?” “Yes, you got the biggest boobs of us all” “Wait just stuff that in there a little, good!” “Here just snuff this up your nose” “GAWD” “No, not like that.  Block off one nostril with your finger” “Yeah, that’s it” “Fawk!” “ You bumped me now my eyeliner is all shit!” “Suck your tummy in or your Chaperon won’t take you back to his dorm. Suck in and tits out!” “I hear he keeps a flashlight in his pocket” “WHAT?!?” “I hear it’s more like a pencil!” “I’m SO full!” “You’re so Fat!” “Whatever, that juice better be worth the squeeze!” “MORE DRINKS!”.   The giggles continued to trickle out of the shared washroom.

Thrill walks out of the washroom which she shares with her three dorm-mates, she goes to the kitchenette and starts to mix a mild synthetic alkaloid-alcoholic beverage which they fondly referred to as the ‘Stargazer’. Thrill’s Corporate dorm room is a cramped but comfortable and crisp environment.  It is accented by polished concrete floors and smooth bright white hard plastic surfaces, in which if you looked hard you could see your reflection.

The sweet taste of the amphetamine impregnated silicone tab on Thrill’s tongue finally dissipated and a warm buzz was spreading through her body, like water being sucked up by a sponge.  She rolls the tab out of her mouth and spits it in the garbage, it is vaporized immediately. Gawd, she sighs to herself, I love those lab boys down at the Chem. Department, they really know how to make a good product.  She giggles at nothing as she pours out the girl’s drinks.  The rest of the girls tumble out of the washroom and grab their beverages.  “A toast!” says Thrill, “To graduating from the Corporation’s Military Academy!!!”. Squeals erupt for the ladies, glasses are tinked, and booze mixed with giggles are spilled onto the hard concrete floor. They exclaim togather, “May our futures be bright and let’s get all get laid tonight!”. More giggles, then perfumed heads are thrown back and cool liquid flows past soft lips.

A synthetic stiff voice from the overhead speaker announces, “INCOMING HOLO-G”, all the girls heads whip around to stare at the Holo-Pad attached to the wall as a hologram materializes. Its a Red headed young man dressed in the  Corporation’s formal Cadet uniform.  “Shh, Shh, Shh…”, Thrill presses the talk button,  “Yes?”.  The Hologram shifts his weight from foot to foot, “Your Chaperons are here.”  Thrill grins and rolls her eyes at the onlooking girls. Giggles & snickers erupt.  Thrill replied smoothly,  “Excellent we’ll be down shortly”.  The hologram shifts his weight again and replies, “Ummmm…yeah you said that a half hour ago”.   He looks over his shoulder,  “And the lads are getting more..umm…restless to get out of here”. Thrills laughs aloud, “Excellent!  We’re walking out the door right now”.  She removes her finger from the button, the overhead speaker states the obvious, “HOLO-G ENDED”.

One of the girls remarks “It is so stupid that the Corporation insists female Cadets still need to be chaperoned! Stupid!  We just bang after anyways”.   Laughter erupts. The girls filter through the dorm door, as they make their way to the underground departure platform, their laughter and clicking heels echo off the cold smooth white walls.  Half way there one of the girls halts to a stop and groans, “Oh Gawd! Do we have to go outside? I didn’t bring my re-breather mask”. Thrill replies, “No we’re leaving via the underground, but I guess when the vehicle pulls up the to Corporate Officer’s Exhibition Hall we’ll have to be outside for a little bit”. “Shit!”  Thrill’s eyes widen, “Don’t worry about it, just hold your breath as you walk in”.  “I hate being outside”. Three sets of  eyes are rolled, “Suck it up princess”, is the communal response.

The four young men, all looking smashing in their crisp Cadet uniforms, are waiting for the girls on the departure platform.  They are in a very jolly state. They are drinking out of flasks and play fighting with one another. Thrill’s dorm mates all go pouncing and giggling over to their respected ‘Chaperon’. Thrill calmly walks up to the red haired young man that Holo-G’d earlier.  She gives him a big hug and a small quick kiss on each freckled cheek.  Thrill looks up at him pats his collar straight and sighs,”I’m SO glad your dorm was assigned to chaperon us tonight”. She hopes he didn’t detect the sarcasm in her voice.

The group turns and walks to the droid piloted vehicle which will take them to the after party in the Officer’s Exhibition Hall.  As they were walking, Thrill’s Chaperon wraps his arm around her waist and moves his hand over her butt-cheek and gives it a squeeze. Thrill clicks her tongue in annoyance, she smacks his hand and moves it up to cross her shoulder.  He grins down at her and she squints her eyes at him pretending to be angry.  The graduates pile into the vehicle, all very excited to party their night into the ground.