Although we share an abandoned warehouse, there are two areas off limits to each other, Sylenia's ship and my converted shipping container.
Each day ends with us parting our ways and going to our private den with a perfunctory farewell. That process is then reversed each morning when Sylenia's singing wakes me up and I emerge from my shack to greet her with a dazed hello. Like much of our relationship, it began because Sylenia made a rule that I never enter her ship, so it was only fair that she never entered my domain.
I had become so used to the arrangement, that I was genuinely surprised when Sylenia invited me into the blue craft one evening. She wanted me look at her research on the dust, information that had been accumulated over many years before she met me.
The interior was bright and cool, with much of the walls and ceilings made of the glassy blue metal of the hull itself. The metal appeared to be engraved with intricate designs, although my surreptitious attempts at scratching the metal proved to be quite fruitless. Like any craft of its size, careful design to integrate seating, living areas, storage and sleeping quarters was evident. It seemed that this craft was designed to accommodate perhaps eight people, judging by the number of bunks that I saw. Only one of course was occupied, and I smiled inwardly when I saw how unkempt and dishevelled it looked.
It was in this area that I saw strips of wood decorating the walls and bulkheads, again marked with intricate designs. It was another example of the unnecessary beauty and finesse of the craft.
The next section housed a number of seats which looked like acceleration couches, but these had been moved to face consoles and panels on the sidewalls. It was here that Sylenia asked me sit, and under the delicate play of her hands, began to interact with forms and shapes that floated in space above the panels. Projections appeared in the centre of the small room, spiky geometric forms that resembled little space stations or complex three-dimensional puzzles. One after another, the shapes appeared and disappeared, with Sylenia giving it the slang name that I recognised as strains of Dust; Firewire, Surge, and Whitelight. It was like a replay of a tree-dee programme I saw as a kid, but at a breath taking level of detail. Sylenia became completely engrossed in the details she was giving me, but I was lost in the science and big words.
She tried so hard to help me understand, because she said it was more important than ever that I became the focal point of our mission. The closer we got to the suppliers of the Dust, the more dangerous it would be for her because she was a Lazloi.
"Because I'm expendable?" My taunt wasn't entirely playful. "Because a human will not draw their attention," she corrected, staring into my eyes. "We have been close before, but the merest hint of our presence has driven them away."
She began talking again about the Dust but I had to stop her, my hand gently touching her arm to grab her attention. She shivered under my hand but did not draw away. Again she was staring into my eyes, but much closer now. What happened next seemed to be the most natural thing to do. We kissed, a moment lasting longer than a friendly greeting, but going no further than tentative exploration. Her faint perfume filled my senses and I closed my eyes to concentrate on the moment.
In the blink of an eye it was over. Sylenia released me to sit slightly flustered in her seat, with the unseen barriers raised between us once more. We made our excuses and I returned to my little cabin with the areas of privacy restored, wondering if tomorrow would start like any other day.
-- Joshua Isuza
SP3 figure in Xurge Cybersuit with Wildcat Hair. Craft is an original model created in Hexagon.
Image elements rendered in Vue 8 Complete with final composition in Photoshop CS2