Virtually Real

by Hungry Guy

Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, NonConsensual, Reluctant, Rape, Mind Control, Heterosexual, Science Fiction, Horror, White Couple, Slow, Caution, .

Desc: Science Fiction Sex Story: Erin has some fun with a virtual reality system...

A hacker sat at his PC late Friday evening. Computer magazines, programming books, and software packages lay scattered everywhere--jammed in overstuffed plain wooden shelf units, on the desk, on the night tables, on the loveseat, and on the king size double bed. The hacker, also known as Erin, was a tall skinny nerdy looking geek of about 35, wearing old jeans and an AOL tee shirt. He pored over numerous tattered and dog-eared books with such titles as, "The Brain-Computer Interface", and "Principles of Cortical Detection and Stimulation." He reached across his desk to grab a slice of pizza and took a swig of a can of Jolt Cola, then proceeded to make some changes to a program displayed on the screen of his computer.

He picked up an old bicycle helmet, which has been altered by the addition of all manner of small antennas and wires fastened all over the top of it. He grabbed a length of ribbon cable from under his desk and plugged one end into the helmet and the other end into the parallel port on the back of his computer. Standing up from the chair, he walked over to the bed and shoved the pile of books off onto the floor. Placing the helmet on his head, he lay down on the bed and went limp.


Standing in the center of a large medieval throne room, Erin, a tall skinny nerdy looking geek of about 35, wearing old jeans and anQuark's Bar tee shirt, whirled around.

"Behold, my kingdom!" he shouted as he walked around the huge ornamental stone room.

"What detail! Incredible! I should be proud of myself!"

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"Ahhhhhh. A bit musty though. I think I'll take that out."

He walked up to the massive wooden throne in the center of the room. It was standing upon a raised section of the stone floor. Its cushions were luxurious violet silk, and it was curtained in sheets of red, blue, and green pleated sheets of silk.

"Aaaaaaeaaaah," as he took his rightful place upon the throne. He sat for a few minutes and began tapping his fingers on the arms of the throne. "Let's check out the rest of my kingdom." He said to himself.

Erin exited the massive castle, crossing between two guard towers and across the narrow wooden drawbridge. He walked down into the village where the empty streets, lined with quaint wooden shops and houses, crisscrossed at odd angles. Several streets came together in the square where, in the center, a large ornamental well stood proudly, its bucket swinging in the cool breeze. Erin sat on the edge of the well and dropped a coin into the water below with a plop. "I wish I knew how to program sentience."


Erin sat at his computer nearly all day Saturday, keying in another program, this time poring over a journal titled, "Consciousness Explained."


Erin sat upon his throne in fine saffron robes, wearing a bejeweled gold crown upon his head. Two of his subjects faced him from a respectable distance.

"My subjects! Bow to your king!" The two men leaned forward in unison.

"You may rise. What causes you to seek an audience with your king?" Silence. "Well, speak up! Tell me your names!"

"I. Am. Alpha."

"I. Am. Beta."

"How are you feeling, Alpha? Are you comfortable?"

"I. Do. Not. Feel. I. Do. Not. Experience. Comfort."


He sat staring at the screen until Saturday evening drew near. With a sudden start, he let out a whistle! "Spot! C'mere boy! C'mere Spot!"

A small brown terrier came running into the room. "Good boy! Sit, Spot! Sit! Now, stay. Stay! Good boy!"

Erin placed his bicycle helmet on the dog's head. The dog collapsed to the floor in apparent slumber as Erin keyed something into the computer. The hard drive light flickered for several minutes then stopped. The dog opened his eyes and looked up at Erin.

Erin removed the helmet from the dog. "Here, boy. Want a doggie biscuit? Good boy!"

The dog ran out of the room attacking his biscuit. Erin lay back down on the bed and placed his helmet back on his own head.


Erin sat at his throne, his loyal dog by his side.

"Spot! Fetch!" He tossed a ball over to the far end of the throne room. The dog bounded after it and returned, dropping the drool covered ball at Erin's feet, jumping and barking excitedly. "Good boy, Spot! Real good boy!"


Erin stared into the screen, his chin resting in his palms with his elbows on the desk. His eyebrows shot up and he rapidly began to key in another program as the Monday morning sun started to rise. He checked his watch and jumped up out of the chair scrambling to take off his jeans while replacing them with a pair of dress pants. He pulled a dress shirt on over his tee shirt and ran out of the house as he grabbed a tie from his closet.

The workday at the hi-rise offices of Megatelco Corporation in Piscataway New Jersey began promptly at 9:00. Erin arrived early Monday morning. Of course he dreaded this day. It was his birthday, and there was no way of avoiding his Birthday Beating.

Birthday Beatings were the brainchild of Glenn. Glenn was a member of the team of programmers of which Erin was also a member. Erin had endured several Birthday Beatings so far. Often, they involve tossing the victim's overcoat over his head and giving him a gentle pounding. Women were not excused from the practice either. It was more of a psychological trauma than a painful one. Still it was unpleasant. Yet he dared not protest. The Birthday Beatings had the blessing of the immediate staff manager and the staff manager's District manager.

A few years ago, some chap, a Bernhard somebody, complained about the Birthday Beatings to a different staff manager other than his own, but under the same District manager--and he became the victim of a cruel practical joke. A few days after the allied manager went to the District manager to resolve the problem, the District manager called up his Division manager saying that he had overheard Bernhard making a bomb threat against the company. The Division manager called the police, duped into falsely accusing Bernhard of making the bomb threat. The innocent chap was fired and went through a bloody hell of an ordeal to clear himself.

Thus, Erin endured the Birthday Beatings.


The remainder of the workweek was uneventful, and Erin made little progress in his virtual world.

That Thursday, Erin decided to forego his forays into virtual reality and attempt a go at real reality for an evening. He browsed the personals and answered "Intelligent Woman Seeking Intelligent Man." He called up "Intelligent Woman" and they hit it off straight away. The following evening, Friday, he drove to her flat and picked her up that night and drove to a restaurant for dinner.

On the way there, she asked, "Would you mind stopping up ahead here at the betting parlor for a second. I want to pick up my State Lotto ticket. I buy one every day, you know."

He stopped, and she got her tickets. Continuing on the way to the restaurant, Erin explained, "The State Lotto is a tax on the ignorance of probability theory, you know."

"What rot is that you say? I just won $150.00 last week! A couple of years ago, I won $200.00!"

"But if you buy one ticket a day, you're paying $365.00 a year to win $200.00 every couple of years. Instead, why don't you put a dollar into an envelope every day, and when your numbers come up, take the money out of the envelope. I guarantee you'll win more than $100.00 or $200.00 every time your numbers come up."

"Why should I? It's the only way I can save money. What if I stop playing and my numbers came up? I'd lose hundreds of dollars. So don't tell me what I should do!"

"I'm not telling you what to do. I'm just pointing out that you're losing money playing the State Lotto. If you're doing it to save money and you enjoy the gambling part of it, you can at least break even by playing it like I've explained."

"How dare you tell me what to do! And how do you really know I'm losing in the long run, eh?"

"Because I can count! It's obvious! $365.00 a year to average $100.00 a year back is losing money. I'm just explaining that to..."

"I can't deal with this! Let me out! I'll find my own way home!"

"Don't be silly, I'll take you home."

"Stop the car right now, or I swear I'll scream out the window!"

He let her out and drove home, all the while muttering about so-called "intelligent" women.


Erin awoke early that Saturday morning. He made himself up quickly and drove down to the local shopping arcade. He stopped in front of "Exotic Pet Shoppy" and entered. He glanced at the kittens and puppies and tropical fish as he walked through to the rear of the store where the exotic animals are on display. He stopped in front of a large cage labeled, "Ixblat." Inside was a small chimpanzee. "May I help you, sir?" asked the young female clerk.

"Yes, please. How much is the chimp?"

"The chimp is eight hundred and fifty American dollars, sir, plus VAT. He's really cute. Would you like to hold him?"

"Yes, please!"

"His name is Ixblat. Hold him like this."

"Uh. He won't..."

"No, he won't! Though he'll need to wear a diaper if he were to be allowed to run around loose."

"What's your return policy? Just in case he doesn't take to me?"

She raised an eyebrow at him before answering. "You have thirty days to return him for a full refund. But we will check to see that he hasn't been abused."

"Okay, fine, I'll take him."

"Oh! Good! He comes with the cage here, and his toys, but you'll have to buy a bag of his food."

"That's fine."

"Good! Follow me up to the register, please."


Spot ran and hid when Erin brought the chimp into the house. Erin went and found him under the sink. "Don't worry, boy! The chimp will only be here for a few weeks!"


Once again, Erin sat upon his throne to address those who seek an audience with their king. One lone man in plain white robes stood before the throne, looking rapidly left, then right. "Speak to your king!" said Erin.

"Aaaaaeeeeeeeccchhh! Aaacch! Aaacchh!" The man jumped and spun around and ran over to one corner of the room. Erin jumped down from his throne and ran after him. "Ixblat, don't be afraid! It's just a game!"

Ixblat ran along the wall away from Erin. "Aaaaaaeeeeeeeech! Oooh! Oooh! Eeeeeeeeech!" Ixblat stopped to tear his robes off, and then continued running wildly around the throne room naked. After a few moments, he sat and started scratching his bum.


Lunchtime at Megatelco Corporation was from noon to 13.00. Gary got up from his terminal to leave for the cantina. As he walked past the cubes of his co-workers, he noticed Erin unconscious in his chair wearing a strangely modified bicycle helmet wired to a laptop PC on his desk. "Hey! Erin! Wake up! You okay?" Gary glanced down at another similar helmet, also wired to the PC, on the extra chair in the cube.

Curious as to what game his colleague might be playing, Gary sat in the chair and donned the helmet.


Gary suddenly found himself in the town square of a medieval village. The town was eerily silent except for a dog barking near by and the occasional screeching of monkeys off in the distance. One seemingly blind man walked through the square. "Hey! Hey you! Where am I?" The man ignored Gary and entered a side street. "Where are you going! Where am I?"

Gary looked around quickly. Seeing no other activity, he started to shout.


Suddenly, Gary was, once again, sitting in that Erin's cube back at the office.

Gary looked Erin in the eye. "What was that? Where was I?"

"What did you think of my virtual reality world, Gary?" Erin asked.


Gary suddenly found himself in the town square of a medieval village. The town was eerily silent except for a dog barking near by and the occasional screeching of monkeys off in the distance. One seemingly blind man walked through the square. "Hey! Hey you! Where am I?" The man ignored Gary and entered a side street. "Where are you going! Come back here! Help me!"

Gary looked around quickly. Seeing no other activity, he started to shout. But then, Gary saw Erin enter the town square wearing royal looking robes and a sort of king's crown. "Greetings to you, Gary! Welcome to my world!"

Gary looked at Erin quizzically, "How the bloody hell did I get here?"

"You are in a cyberspace, Gary. You know, a high resolution full sensory virtual reality system. The helmet that you wore back at my cubicle this afternoon allowed me to record your mind."

"Wait a minute! You stop this thing right now and put me back in the real world!"

"I'm afraid that's not possible, Gary. You are now a disembodied mind. A mind needs a body in order to exist in the real world."

"WHAT! You can't be serious! Look, Erin, someone's going to notice me missing! Plenty of people saw me hooked to your helmet thing. They'll know who to come to if I suddenly disappear! So let me out! Now!"

"No, Gary. You don't understand. The real Gary is still alive and well back in the real world. He's probably home with his wife at this very moment, having dinner or watching telly, unaware that a copy of his mind was recorded when he put that helmet on this afternoon. You are nothing more than a digitized copy of his mind that is now being simulated inside my virtual computer cyberspace."

"The bloody hell!" Gary rushed at Erin and grabbed him. At that, however, Erin suddenly vanished in thin air! Gary stood there dumfounded.


Erin deleted that sequence and restored Gary's mind from the first backup he made just before he reanimated him and went to meet him.


Gary stood there rubbing his chin for a moment and then felt a strange spasm in his head which lasted barely a fraction of a second. Then as he looked up, Gary saw Erin enter the town square wearing royal looking robes and a sort of kings crown. "Greetings to you, Gary! Welcome to my world!"

Gary looked at Erin quizzically, "How the bloody hell did I get here?"

"It's a long story, Gary. Please, why don't you join me for lunch at the castle. I promise you a meal fit for a king!"

"Well ... I suppose so ... if you can get us back to work by the end of our lunch hour..."


Erin ran a backup of his hard disk, labeled the USB thumb drive "Cyberspace," and placed the USB thumb drive in his little Sentry vault labeled, along with another thumb drive labeled, "Gary: original copy." He then walked out to his car carrying his pocket PC and an assortment of wire and ribbon cable. His car, an old yellow 1973 Volkswagen Beetle, had full-height bucket seats with the headrest integral with the back of the seat. He opened the hatchback and, with a pen knife, carefully cut out a large circle of the cloth from the back of the headrest. He carefully strung his wires and chips into the padding of the seat. He then fished the ribbon cable down through the inside of the back of the seat and out the bottom. The then neatly patched the back of the seat with another piece of cloth.

Scrunching down, he gingerly mounted his pocket PC underneath the seat and connected the end of the ribbon cable to one of its USB ports. He fished the power cable from his PC's 12 volt converter adapter under the carpet to the fuse panel and hooked it up. He also ran a wire from the PC's reset jack to a push-button he mounted on the left side of his own seat so that he could easily reach down and press it without stretching or searching for it.

He sat in the passenger seat and relaxed.


Erin stood from his throne and walked to the end of the huge throne room into the grand marquis of his royal castle. His humble servant, R-Gary, waited there ever eager to serve his king. R-Gary bowed as Erin entered. "May I assist you, your highness?"


Just before lunchtime at Megatelco Corporation, a group of people hung around the copier. "So where do you want to go for lunch today? I'm sick of cantina food."

"Let's go to Tumulty's Pub in New Brunswick. It's right on George street a few blocks from the train station. How about there?"

"That sounds good."

"Yeah, I'll go for that."

"Yeah, me too."

"Who's gonna drive?"

"I'll drive." Said Erin.

"You! How're you gonna fit all of us in that putt-putt of yours?" guffawed Glenn.

"I can fit all of you. No problem."

"Well, okay."

"Sure, let's go."

They walked out into the parking lot and got into Erin's bug. As always, Glenn took the front passenger seat. This morning, Erin had placed a boot disk in the pocket PC with a special program that he wrote just for this purpose. Instead of placing the subject in the cyberspace, it simply copied the subject's mind without him experiencing the cyberspace world in the process. As he started backing out of his space, he reached down and pressed his concealed reset button.

I saw Glenn twitch slightly a few seconds after he pressed the button, recognizing the mild spasm he, himself, feels whenever he jacks in.

Erin glanced over at Glenn. Glenn looked back, rubbed his head and said, "So Erin, " he said, "this car going to make it all the way down Easton Avenue?"

"Sure! It's never failed me yet!" Answered Erin.

"But aren't you tired of driving this antique? I got a great deal on my Hummer a few weeks ago!"

"Yeah, but that's only because you seem to like to collect accidents on your way home from Deadhead concerts. Your dealer knows by now that you're a guaranteed repeat customer!" Erin smirked.!

Glenn shut up. It almost came to blows the last time somebody commented on his accident record.

Erin drove out of the office park and stopped before entering the main boulevard.

Their lunch passed uneventfully and they all returned to work by the end of their lunch hour.

"Thanks for the ride," bellowed Glenn as they all climbed out of the bug to return to the Megatelco building.

Erin carefully removed that thumb drive from his car that evening after returning home from work and brought it inside. He plugged it into his desktop PC and loaded its contents into the cyberspace.


Erin glanced over at Glenn. Glenn looked back, rubbed his head and said, "So Erin, " he said, "this car going to make it all the way across town?"

"Sure! It's never failed me yet!" Answered Erin.

"But aren't you tired of driving this antique? I got a great deal on my Hummer a few weeks ago!"

"Yeah, but that's only because you seem to like to collect accidents on your way home from Deadhead concerts. Your dealer knows by now that you're a guaranteed repeat customer!" Erin smirked.!

Glenn shut up. It almost came to blows the last time somebody commented on his accident record.

Erin drove out of the office park and stopped before entering the main boulevard. But as they pulled out onto the boulevard, a Jolt Cola truck came speeding literally out of nowhere at them. There was a loud crash and Glenn instantly found himself floating in blackness. It was eerie, for there were no stars or other sources of light were visible. He was in atmosphere since he was able to breathe. But it all seemed so surreal.

Then just as suddenly, Glenn found himself somewhere totally unexpected! He found himself in the town square of a medieval village. The town was eerily silent except for a dog barking near by and the occasional screeching of monkeys off in the distance. One seemingly blind man walked through the square.

"Excuse me! Hey, can you hear me?" The man ignored Glenn and entered a side street.

Then, not totally unexpected, Glenn saw Erin enter the town square, but in his street clothes. "Hi Glenn!"

Glenn looked at Erin quizzically, "Erin! You died too!"

"Yes. We both died drowning in Jolt Cola if you don't remember."

"Wow! This isn't what I expected heaven to be like. But what about the others, are they here too?"

"I haven't seen anyone else here but you, Glenn."

"Well, I saw one guy--some kind of zombie--walk through the square here just a second ago. I tried to talk to him but he totally ignored me. And there's that screeching off in the distance again..."


Erin tried a number of experiments. Starting each time from the original mind capture file, he animated Glenn in several different scenarios, and several different appearances. Sometimes Glenn woke after the accident on board an interstellar space ship, or in a high-tech underground bomb shelter. Once, Glenn woke in the body of a female. This resulted in severe emotional problems within days. Another time, Glenn woke in the body of a chimp. And one time, in a fit of cruelty, Erin merely allowed Glenn to float in that empty space for several months until he went insane.

As a result of his experiments with Gary and Glenn under different scenarios, Erin obtained some insight into the workings of the human mind--or at least the binary representation of one. He still could not consistently create a mind from scratch; only an unmodified copy of someone's mind would be a self aware continuation of that person's consciousness. But with the aid of a random mind generator program he wrote, he was eventually able to create minds which were halfway between mindless automatons and sentient self aware minds. Fully 99 percent of those minds were useless babbling morons, but that one percent turned out to be useful enough to serve his purposes. These cyber-people were not self aware sentient beings. They were still closer to adventure game computer controlled characters than to sentient intelligent people, but with the proper script they could fool someone, who didn't know they were in a cyberspace, into thinking they were ordinary, if somewhat dim, people.

His copy program also could capture a person's mental image of their own body, with all the birth marks, bruises, aches and pains, and other intimate details recreated, so as to be able to reproduce a virtual copy of that body that the virtualized mind would not be able to tell from the original.


One Wednesday evening at work, Erin was working late. He was about to leave when Maire, another programmer, stopped by his cubicle. She was about his age and height, fairly attractive, with long flowing black hair, emerald eyes, slender but with curves in all the right places!

"Hi!" Said Maire in a slight Polish accent. "I'm sorry to bother you, but I did something really stupid. I locked my keys in my car this morning and my husband won't get home till late. Everyone else has left, could you give me a ride home?"

"Yeah, sure Maire. I'd be glad to."

Erin drove her home, and then returned home himself in a state of exhilaration. He made certain to make several backups of the disk from his pocket PC before doing anything else. He waited until Friday to animate Maire's recorded mind in his virtual world.


While waiting at the light, Maire began rubbing her temples, then Erin asked, "Maire, which way now?"

"Turn right here, then left at the next light. I really appreciate the ride home, Erin."

"No problem, Maire, really!"

After the light turned green, they entered the intersection. As they drove through, Erin saw Maire's eyes go wide as a Jolt Cola truck barreled through the intersection at 100 kilometers per hour directly at them. He heard her scream to the sound of tearing metal as the truck smashed into the car ripping their bodies to shreds.


Sidding in his bathrobe, sipping a Guinness, Erin watched the scene a few times on his LCD monitor from different angles.

Maire was floating in mid air, in total darkness, naked. When her consciousness was activated, she immediately began screaming and flailing her arms and legs. This only seemed to cause her to begin tumbling head over heels and she screamed even louder. After a moment, she stopped screaming, and waved her arms as though to stop herself from tumbling. She eventually succeeded.

She looked around, seemingly by swimming through the air, though Erin was certain that she could not be seeing any detail. It was totally black in all directions. There was, however, an undetectable dim even light source coming from all directions so that she could see herself, though dimly.

He saw her wave arms as though feeling the breeze, blow on her hand, and even pinch herself with an "Ouch!" She eventually allowed herself to go limp, and began sobbing.

After several minutes, a point of light appeared in the distance. Maire didn't seem to see it at first, but she was slowly drifting towards it. After several minutes, it became so close and bright that she couldn't possibly miss seeing it. She appeared to be watching it intently as she flew into it.

Working the mouse, Erin zoomed in and placed his virtual body laying on the beach a few yards from where he placed Maire's virtual body, both laying face down in the sand, naked. He activated her mind again and continued watching her from his monitor. She awoke and looked around. She seemed to notice Erin's naked body laying down the beach a little bit. She walked up to the base of the palisades which rose high above them. She then walked out onto the beach to the water's edge, and seemed to stare out at the ocean for a while. Too bad, he thought, there was no way to know what she was thinking. That would probably take more programming skill than he possessed. After a few minutes, she looked back at Erin's sessile body. She walked over to him and, kneeling, began to shake him vigorously. "Wake up, Erin! Please wake up!" He lay down on his bed and positioned the helmet on his head.


"Ohhhhh," moaned Erin, as he looked up. Maire immediately backed away wrapping her arms around her chest and pressing her legs together while crouching down slightly.

Erin looked away and said, "What happened to us, Maire?"

"I ... I don't know. I think we died. And this must be ... heaven ... or maybe hell..."


Erin paused here and saved the state of his cyberspace at this point, then continued.


Erin sat up, still looking away from Maire, "That's crazy! We have to find help. I bet there's a hotel right around one of these turns! You search the beach in that direction and I'll search in this direction. Whoever finds someone first can send someone after the other."

"I ... I don't think that's such a good idea, Erin. I think we should stay together."

"All right. But which way do we go?"

"Well, those cliffs behind us seem to be getting higher in your direction, but lower in mine. Let's try this way..."

Erin stood and they started walking down the beach together. Erin tried to stare straight ahead without looking at Maire, and Maire seemed to be doing the same.

They walked for hours without saying another word to each other. The palisades had come down to luxurious tropical jungle. Eventually, the sun started to set and it was getting dark.

"Maire, are you getting hungry?"

"Yeah, what are we going to do?"

"See those trees over there? Those look like coconut trees. And those over there are banana trees."

"Oh yeah! And there's an orange tree! Erin! Do you think this is the Garden of Eden?"

"You still think we're dead, huh?"

Maire didn't answer. They had dinner of Bananas, Oranges, and Coconut milk. Through necessity, they had learned to ignore each other's nudity.

The sun had almost set and it was quite dark. Maire walked out onto the beach and sat down. She grew tired and lay down and fell asleep.


Erin saved the state at this point. He lay awake all night planning where to lead this scenario.


During the night, a scream broke the silence. Birds, awakened at the alarm, burst into flight. Erin had climbed upon Maire's sleeping body, waking her. He raped her. She cried out pleading with him not to, but he penetrated her over and over again. Finally, spent and exhausted, he left her as she cried.


Erin deleted that sequence. At a conscious level, he knew that it was only a computer simulation, and not a real live woman he had raped. Still he was shocked that he had enjoyed it. He restored from the previous save.


The next morning, Erin woke first and pulled a coconut off a low hanging coconut tree. He began banging on it with a rock to open it. Maire woke soon after and got up and walked over to Erin, "Thought you could get away with having breakfast without me, huh?"

"I just didn't want to disturb you. Sorry that I woke you, but there's just no way to crack a coconut quietly. I found some grape vines over there, and a couple of apple trees over there. There's a mango tree behind those rocks, and a pear tree up over that hill. I've never seen such a wide variety of trees all in one place like this before!"

"I guess we're not going to go hungry anyway!"

They enjoyed a filling breakfast together, and then continued their trek down the beach.

As they walked, Maire started humming an old familiar ballad that had been popular back a few years ago. Maire glanced at Erin who was looking at her intently and she stopped.

"Oh, don't stop Maire! I like that song!"

"That's my favorite song."

"Did you ever go see her in concert?"

"Yes, I saw her at The Egg up in Albany when I was dating my husband ... She and her dad sang it as a duet as the last song..."

They continued walking down the beach. The hours passed and they stopped for lunch when the sun was high overhead and it was getting a bit too warm.

"If we're really dead, I'm sure going to miss steak and pizza and pasta and..."

"I remember dying, Erin! I can still see that truck smashing into us, and being ... torn apart..."

"Yeah, I remember it too ... It's just so unbelievable ... and I'm still going to miss junk food!"

"We'll probably be a lot healthier without those things, Erin."

"What difference does that make if we're dead?"

That's the first time Erin ever saw Maire laugh since she had been virtualized.

They continued their trek until night came again. Like the night before, Maire walked out onto the beach and lay down to sleep. She seemed to fall asleep easily.


Erin went to sleep in the real world, wondering if his efforts will succeed.


The next morning was as warm and sweet smelling as the one before. Maire woke before Erin, and she went over and sat down next to him and just gazed out at the ocean.

Erin eventually woke also, "Oh ... morning Maire..."

"Erin, do you smell that?"

"Smell what?"

"Sandalwood, Erin! There's Sandalwood here too."

"Sandalwood?" said Erin, striggling to keep a straight face. "What's Sandalwood?"

"It's a tree that grows in Asia that smells so sweet. My ... husband and I traveled to India once. As soon as you get off the plane, you can smell it ... the scent is in the air everywhere you go ... the whole country smells like Sandalwood."

"What do they do about it?"

"They don't DO anything about it! It's lovely!"

"Yeah, it is kind of sweet ... and speaking of sweet, I'm getting hungry. What's on the menu today?"

Maire stood and walked over to some trees as Erin watched her. The way the shadows danced on her plump, round, bare tush made his mouth water in anticipation - his most erotic fantasies had always been based on mutual oral pleasures. She stopped at a couple of small trees and vines and called to Erin, "Looks like our choices are plums, apricots, or blueberries today."

They feasted on fruits once again, then continued on their way.

They walked for hours, with no sign of civilization anywhere. "What are we doing, Erin?"

"I think we're walking down this beach..."

"Yeah, but why? C'mon Erin ... you know how we got here, remember? You know where we are as much as I do!"

Erin stopped, sat on the beach, and looked up at Maire. "Yeah, I know. But does that mean that we should just give up and ... die?"

Maire sat next to Erin. "Well ... no ... but what are we doing, where are we going? Is this the beginning of eternity for us? Or are we going to grow old and die ... again?"

"Well ... if we're dead and this is heaven, then let's go find God and ask Him!"

"I never said I think this is heaven..."

"You think, maybe, this is hell then?"

"No, that's not what I meant ... sure, we died and got ... transported ... somewhere else ... not some fantasy place like heaven, but here! I don't know where HERE is, but we're not in our own universe anymore, Erin!"

"Ulp ... uh ... what do you mean?"

"I know a few things about physics and biology ... not much, but enough to know that the laws of nature here are somehow ... different. I can't quite put my finger on it ... but when we died in that crash, we got transported into a different universe ... or plane ... or dimension, whatever you want to call it."

Not wanting to turn this into a religious experience, Erin dropped the subject and just stared out at the ocean without replying.

They ended up sitting on the beach most of the rest of the morning. Then a little after noon, they resumed their walk down the beach. They didn't stop for lunch, but rather, they nibbled along the way whenever they got hungry.

They continued until dusk and then found a shady spot in among the trees, and sat down to rest and nibble the different varieties of fruits they keep finding. Eventually, Maire went off onto the beach to sleep while Erin wandered off to find a good sleeping spot for himself.


Erin had an idea. He wasn't sure what reaction it would provoke, so like always, he made a backup of the cyberspace before going to real bed.


Erin woke the next morning and started to get ready for work. But when he checked the console of his cyberspace, as he usually does, he noticed that the virtual clock had stopped at a little after midnight. A message on the screen indicated that his virtual presence was needed in order for the scenario to proceed. As promising as that sounded, the scenario would have to stay paused until he got home from work that evening. He ran another backup of the cyberspace, and left for work.

That evening he played back on his monitor a few moments before the alarm and saw that his idea had worked. During the night, Maire had awakened to the sounds of wildlife screeching, cawing, growling, and roaring.

"Erin! Where are you?" she cried out.

He donned his helmet and joined her.


"Wha ... huh ... I'm over here Maire! Is something wrong?"

Maire ran up to the edge of the beach, "Erin! Where are you?"

"Right over here, Maire. I found a large flat smooth rock to sleep on--almost as if it was designed to human contours. What's wrong?"

"I ... Oh, maybe I'm just being silly ... I heard something, that's all..."

"What did you hear?"

"Just some jungle noises. Do you think we're really safe, Erin?"

"I would think so. If this is some kind of afterlife, we can't be in much more danger than we already lived through when we died."

"Well ... Uh ... Do you think there's--enough room on that rock for two?"

"Yeah--sure!"

The rock wasn't quite large enough for two and they slept snuggled up together, but Maire seemed to sleep through the rest of the night in peace.

The sunrise came up the next morning and warmed the rock on which they slept.

Erin woke a little while later and caught Maire already awake, looking into his sleepy eyes. Erin looked back and held her gaze. They stared at each other for a good 5 minutes, and then Erin cautiously gave Maire a quick kiss on the lips. Maire swallowed hard, "Erin, wait ... I don't think..."

"It's okay Maire ... I'm sorry..."


Unsatisfied with his blunder, Erin restored from the previous save.


"Wha ... huh ... I'm over here Maire! Is something wrong?"

Maire ran up to the edge of the beach, "Erin! Where are you?"

"Right over here, Maire. I found a large flat smooth rock to sleep on -- almost as if it was designed to human contours. What's wrong?"

"I ... Oh, maybe I'm just being silly ... I heard something, that's all..."

"What did you hear?"

"Just some jungle noises. Do you think we're really safe, Erin?"

"I would think so. If this is some kind of afterlife, we can't be in much more danger than we already lived through when we died."

"Well ... Uh ... Do you think there's--enough room on that rock for two?"

"Yeah--sure!"

The rock wasn't quite large enough for two and they slept snuggled up together, but Maire slept through the rest of the night in peace.

The sunrise came up the next morning and warmed the rock on which they slept.

Erin woke a little while later and caught Maire already awake, looking into his sleepy eyes. Erin looked back and held her gaze. They stared at each other for a good 5 minutes, and then Erin reached up and kissed his fingertips and then touched them to Maire's lips.

Maire reached up and squeezed Erin's hand, and a tear came to her eyes.

Erin sat up and took Maire by the hand, "C'mon, let's get something to eat for the long walk ahead of us again!"

They had a hearty breakfast and set out down the beach on their fourth day.

The beach was starting to curve in towards the west as though they were passing around a southern peninsula. They walked and talked about the weather, how it had been perfect ever since they have been here. The days had been warm but not too hot; perfect, actually, for walking along a beach naked. The nights had been cool, but not cold; ideal for sleeping. A few clouds were in the sky, but it had always been sunny.

As they rounded a sharp curve in the beach, it opened up into a large lagoon. They would either have to walk all the way around the lagoon, or swim the strait. The strait wasn't very wide, so they decided to swim it.

"Hey, Erin! The water's actually warm!"

"Yeah? I'm coming after ya'!"

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