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GoKARTers by Jessica Kylie Nichols-Vernon aka HawlSera

2501 AD Earth Calendar, (151 AL on Zharus Calendar) - The Red Baron Spaceship, Just outside Earth Space.

It had been a year, but to Simone and Shyver it felt like only a month had passed. Shyver hoped he could, Simone thought he couldn’t, but the two actually managed to rekindle their relationship somewhere between looking out at the stars, the wonderful food given out to first class passengers, and romantic comedies of which the two seemed most found of 2388 AD’s “A Dream Of Starlight With You”, a rom-com about two men named Willheim and Victor scheduled to two different colony ships and the hurdles they jumped to switch ships to be with the other, only to realize they both succeeded. The film’s ending where aliens abduct a group of colonists from one planet, Victor included, only for it to crash land on the planet that Willheim ended up on had gotten a lot of flack from critics who saw it as breaking the otherwise historically accurate nature of the film all for the sake of a happy ending as being a major weakness of the film. To make matters worse for the film, the trailers that billed it as being a Horror-Action movie about aliens using only clips from the ending didn’t help ticket sales when people realized it was a love story with clever and humorous writing about two of the early colonists, but 113 years later the movie remained in many people’s hearts as a great cult classic of the late 24th Century.

“God I love this movie… A shame it isn’t appreciated on Zharus.” Shyver said, still choking up on the ending. As cheesey at it was, the actors who played Wilhelm and Victor gave it their all as though it were really happening. You truly got the sense that they didn’t care about the goofy ship, the questionable looking aliens, or anything about the obviously flawed premise that a ten year old would have trouble believing. All that mattered to them was that they were together again. The fact that the actors were each other’s husband in real life only made it sweeter, their performance really showed how much the two cared about one another.

Simone shoveled popcorn into her mouth, smiling as the ending credits song played. The movie didn’t do well to sell tickets, it was remembered not only for its ending and trailer, a trailer so bad it even implied Wilhelm not only had to save his lover from aliens, but that he was a she; Neither actor was pleased with that and sued the makers of the trailer for discrimination. However the all original soundtrack was fondly remembered by music lovers for generations. “Darling, it’s ZHARUS unless it’s from the years 1900 to 2020 and riddled with bad gender puns. Zey don’t care. A shame really, zere’s just so much they miss out on. Twen-centh stuff doesn’t even start getting good until le 1980’s, but try finding another planet with you-know-whats we need to get used to not mentioning. You know how bad the Earth is about spying.”

“I always thought you-know-whats were more a gimmick than anything else, I mean there’s the medicine, but medicine has always been overrated…” Shyver said with an exhale.

“Shyver, you’re overly wealthy, of course you zink zat.” Simone teased giving her the kind of smile a woman only gives a man when he shows the right weaknesses, the weaknesses that no one who loves him would ever want corrected.

“I suppose… even on Prometheus I just practiced basic hygiene and was good. Though now that you mention it, I did like being weighty without it being bad for me.” Shyver looked towards his gut which had been reduced to only a slight chub. Without nanites being big was starting to feel awful, so he went on a diet, a sad thing as he liked being big only as much as Simone liked being French.

“Not to mention, zis ass of mine wouldn’t be so alluring without nano, hell, I wouldn’t be female to begin with. Imagine if it was back in the old days where you took some hormones and hoped for the best. I’d still be raising money to get one vagina, and forget about a second. Except no I wouldn’t because I had a male-shaped brain before Lucille and would have been incompatible!” Simone reminded her lover. “I mean, how could I get through the day with only one vagina? You really need two.”

“Why?” Shyver asked raising an eyebrow, his mind racing to all the possibilities of what two vaginas would allow, but hadn’t come up with one yet.

“Zink about it, zink of all the wonderful things I can do with two vaginas.” Simone said with glee evident in her voice.

“Considering you’ve only had one sexual partner for the past twelve months… nothing is coming to mind.” Shyver was straining, he was thinking very hard about it. “I guess if you were suicidal you could, bleed to death if you… still had a period.”

“Pah, zat is such a male answer..” Simone rolled her eyes.

“Are you messing with me? Or is Lucille?” Shyver said, remembering that sometimes Lucille, Simone’s RIDE half, took the wheel on occasion and was prone to saying things that quite frankly, didn’t make much sense. A problem a lot of Integrates had in the testing phases of the Enroygall Code that Aristo had made for the creation of Integrates, which really didn't seem that different from the habits of integrates in general.

“Hell if I know, our thoughts scramble together more often these days.” Simone took a bored tone as she flipped through the movies and cartoons on their suite’s televsion. “Mmm, we’re going to be landing soon. Wanna do it one last time before I take a male disguise for awhile?”

“Oui oui ma nanette.” Shyver replied anxiously, a smile jolted upon his face. The slightly chubby, but well muscled man had already taken off his shirt and his pants were soon to follow.

“Shyver… those exercises have been paying off, you appear more…. well equipped than usual or maybe it’s just le smaller stomach…” Simone said, her clothes were made of hardlight and far too easily removed. She was nude and in her true skunkette form faster than Shyver could make the w-sound in oui.

- A Few Hours Later -

“Welcome to Earth ladies and germs, the Human Homeworld. Here’s where it all began folks from Homo Erectus to the stars. Follow the instructions in your Earth Etiquette guide and there shouldn’t be a problem, we hope you have enjoyed your flight.” The PA System announced. “If any member of your party was in cryo-sleep, it takes awhile to fully wake up from that. You may have to escort them. We’re landing in Neo-Paris, France. If your ticket takes you somewhere else you’ll be getting on the AM-TRAK from here.”

“..Has it been six hours already?” Simone asked, highly annoyed as she nibbled on her boyfriend’s panda ear. “Hmm, five more minutes… please five more minutes...”

Shyver’s eyes lit up upon hearing the time. “Either your internal clock is off, or I’ve maintained an erection… for SIX hours…. How the hell am I able to do that!?! I mean I know I’ve been working out, but, damn.”

“I know right!?! Why it’s almost as if your girlfriend was a quantum powered super being capable of re-writing your genes at her leisure.” Simone confessed with an air of sarcasm obvious in her voice.

“...Does that make you the best or worst girlfriend I’ve ever had? I honestly can’t tell.” Shyver asked, he really couldn’t tell as he looked down at his manhood at full mast, pondering if Simone had changed anything else. Ordinarily most women would have been beyond satisfied with two hours, but, Lucille was pleasure support armor, Simone was a nymphomaniac, it was quite an interesting combination that left the two sexually ravenous. Perhaps she simply built to find sex satisfying from another Integrate, being human it was often difficult for Shyver to keep up with her. The panda eared man didn’t want to keep on this train of thought as it made him feel inadequate as a man.

-Neo-Paris Space And Airport-

Simone and Shyver exited the ship with their luggage in tow and Simone in a convincing disguise as her original male self. Though a few adjustments at Lucille’s request, who shared Simone’s body. These mostly included a cuter face, but one still recognizable as Simon to those who knew him, and the ears and tail of a skunk as many vacationers returning from Zharus had kept their tags. There was one other deviation from Simon’s original body, but it was kept secret by his clothing. It was the lack of proper manhood, though it was an interesting request as this left Simone male, but with no way to prove it. Much like the FTM Transmen of the Oil Age. Still it didn’t take much convincing for her to go along with it, everything was far more comfortable without her old male plumbing. “Alright Shyver, as we discussed on le flight. It’s a big taboo to change sexes down here unless vouz are gender dysphoric, and my family knows I’m not. We can break it to them gently back on Zharus.”

“So I’m pretending to be gay? This trip is turning out to have an amusing start.” Shyver chuckled to himself. “Or… should I say Fabulous?” The panda-eared man pretended to have a limpwrist, but quickly went back to his normal pose. He felt a little bad for doing that, homophobia was frowned upon in most parts of the galaxy. Earth and Zharus’ Cape Nord were the only exceptions he could could think of.

“Oh looks like they’re already here.” Simone said spotting their brain casings from the crowd, she had kept her family updated as soon as they got close enough to Earth. “Pierre, Maman! Par ici!”

An R4-D5 Unit and a Silver Protocol droid approached slowly, unlike the one from the movie, this protocol droid bore a resemblance to the feminine physique over the male one and was far more flexible and maneuverable than C-3P0, it even had a humanoid face resembling what her mother looked like when she was pure flesh. “Simon darling, you’re here. I see you’ve had some cosmetic work done. You’re a… skunk.” Simone just froze in place as her mother’s cold metallic hands rubbed up and down her tail. “You look a little younger too… a lot younger. You don’t look like a man in his forties, with a face that adorable you barely look like a man. Heh, you know we were going to make your middle name Adora if you were a girl.”

“You’ve mentioned zat…” Simone didn’t want to say anything about her mother’s hands on her tail, but damn it was cold. “I feel a lot younger too, even better than when I was a teen. They have some really good clinics on Zharus. You should see what I can do with my brain implant now. It’d knock your socks off… if you still wore socks” Simone smiled, so what if it was cold, at least she was in the presence of her mother once again. “I see you’ve changed too, you’re not a crash test dummy anymore!”

“Is that real fur on his tail?” Pierre asked his mother, ignoring Simone’s question. This was not the true voice of Pierre that Simone remembered so fondly, but a very distorted mechanical sounding recreation.

“If it’s fake, it’s a pretty good one.” Simone’s mother, Marvelle noted. Plucking a strand of fur from her child’s tail.

“MER…. err.. sucre!” Simone grimaced in pain, but she still had to make sure not to swear in front of the woman who gave birth to her before grabbing her long luscious tail from her mother’s metallic hands. “Maman, yes, it’s real…. please… uhh.. don’t pluck out my fur.”

Pierre rolled forward and looked towards Shyver. “Heh, mom will never stop being obsessed with fluffy things. So Shyver, you’re my brother’s man? Gotta say I’m not impressed. He’s had a number of boyfriends and they wrote and cashed bigger checks than the one I’m seeing.”

“I didn’t hear any complaints from her on the ship.” Shyver said smuggly, though it was a facade. In truth he was nervous as hell and felt he had to say something that sounded impressive.

“SHYVER!” Simone blushed. “My mother is right here… lost in my tail admittedly. But still...”

“Her? I’m guessing you two role play a lot. Simon always did like playing a girl in VL, not that it’s anything you talk about around here. Free tip by the by. Shyver doesn’t sound like an Earth name though I’ve known some Saturnian tourists with the name, so I’m assuming this is your first time?” Pierre beeped.

“Second actually… It’s been a long flight, so how about dinner on m…. hmmm..” Shyver looked over the two, neither of them had stomachs anymore. Pierre didn’t even have a mouth, and Marvelle didn’t use hers when she talked, it seemed to be on there only for decorate purposes. “....I take it you two don’t have stomachs or taste buds in there do you? Mmm… Maybe Simo… Simon and I can grab a gyro and… we can figure out a leisure activity we can use to get to know one another.”

“Worse comes to worse we can always chill on VL.” Pierre reminded, really hoping that Shyver wasn’t about to make the ultimate tourist mistake of going treasure hunting. “I mean that’s what we do here anyway. The days of searching through the ruins of old Gaia are long gone. Nothing left to find really, but still people read the Clint Brubeck books and think they’ll uncover a lost sequel to Highlander that doesn’t suck or an actual DVD of Squidward’s Suicide.”

“There’s that. On Zharus we don’t even have Virtual Life, I’m just used to doing things in the real.” Shyver admitted, having nothing really to comment on the Clint Brubeck fad of Earth Digging. The only one he had ever read was Clint Brubeck And The Great Green Field of New Yorktropolis.

“Yeah organs are supposed to be real cheap up there, but nothing will ever bring back my body…” Pierre sighed. “Come on mom, I’m sure Simon has a lot of stories for us about how he got that tail.”

At Pierre’s words Marvelle snapped out of her fluffy distraction and put her hand over her face, she couldn’t blush, but hiding her blushing was a habit that never died out. “Oh Simon I was so distracted by your tail I hadn’t noticed your boyfriend, or that you were speaking english. Glad you finally learned. I guess it was only a matter of time up in space, English is one of the most commonly spoken language in the galaxy.”

“Figured he would. But I’m willing to bet you’re still a giant mesh of Oil Age French Stereotypes.” Pierre’s voice said with a hint of laughter from his brain casing’s speakers.

“Vouz better believe it! I’m so french that I haven’t bathed or shaved once since I left for Zharus! And among la stars my dear frère I have made quite a name and living for myself as the finest ever to suck snails!” Simone cheered with a roar of pride in her voice, even if it was only a joke.

“I imagine that must have kept you in a lot of wine and cheese! Heh heh heh, oh it’s good to have you back bro. If I had arms I’d hug ya!” Pierre chortled.

“Good to be back Pierre. Good to be back.” Simone draped her arms around what Pierre called his body.

After a round of proper introductions the four moved to Pierre’s car, he owned it although he didn’t drive it, he couldn’t drive it lacking the hands to do so with. It did however have a slot built into the roof to store him. It even took advantage of the features of Pierre’s tincan body, using his thought-to-speech, his vision, his constant connection to the net, all to make him a glorified EPS. Essentially turning the human into little more than a helpful subservient AI. Simone wasn’t sure how to feel about it, Pierre actually seemed happy about it, he even told her that it made him feel far more useful and that if he wanted too he could take full control of the car.

Shyver, ever the businessman, had no comment, he was busy taking notes on it. Simone couldn’t blame him, after all the plan was to lift Pierre and her mother out of their situation and restore them to normal humans, on top of them making them RIDErs if they so desired. Though Simone and Lucille decided they would draw the line at turning Pierre into an Integrate, a request they knew he would probably make based on an analyzation of her memories. Well 50-50, it all depended on a number of factors whether or not Pierre would think of RIDEs as people and whether or not Xhyz would allow visitors to Triangle Lighthouse who weren’t exactly what you could call Defusing Impaired. It just wouldn’t be fair, neither to Pierre nor to the unlucky RIDE if he was allowed to buy one just to forcibly integrate to him (according to the numbers Simone and Lucille ran there was a 0% probability of Pierre crossing intentionally, and a 35% chance of an accidental crossing.) It wasn’t that Simone and Lucille hated being an integrate, in fact, they loved it. Before they were friends, now they were like sisters. If there was a way to separate them they would flat out refuse. Forcing someone who is at best a minor acquaintance or at worst a complete strange to become a real and permanent part of someone else was just cruel and unusual punishment for the crime of nothing more than being bought by the wrong human.

The drive was expectedly very noisy with all parties very talkative, Pierre was focused on driving while answering Shyver’s many questions about the technology behind his body having taken the wheel from her mother who just wouldn’t stop asking questions about her younger son’s big fluffy tail. This was proving difficult for Simone’s required charade about RIDE kind and how she wasn’t meant to reveal them, but her mother seemed happy with the half-truth that Zharus was highly into 20th Century Pop Culture and with it a massive revival of the Oil Age phenomenon known as the Furry Fandom. More than happy, she was already googling up articles about it. It was sounding very exciting to her and she already was coming up with plans for a fursona of her own.

The whole furry thing truly bored Shyver who stayed out of that conversation having been locked into one with Pierre about his body’s features. Truthfully he was a businessman first, a boyfriend second, and someone who only had time for himself. A habit Aristo had taught him. “So you’re THAT Shyver!” Pierre shouted with a heavy hint of surprise to his voice, one that distracted Simone and Marvelle’s conversation bringing to a halt, at least in the material world. “Damn Simon you really know how to pick them, I would never have guessed. Unusual name here, but on Saturn’s Moons it’s pretty common. I don’t get it, you and Aristo revolutionized the cyber game back before he got deported. What would you want with studying my tincan?”

“On Zharus they like gimmicks like your ability to sync up to the garage, but too few companies up there are prepared to offer them. We’ve found a way to make our technology work harder, not smarter so most companies don’t take chances. Mostly by studying Earth Cyber that people discard to trade up for real meat do we know which gimmicks work and which don’t. But, it’s rare any of us get to study them while they’re in use. You’re already giving me Billions of MU, Monetary Units, worth of ideas.” Shyver smiled, his note taking software’s purely metaphorical pen was a blaze.

“Heh, no problem. Just cut me a check and we’ll be good.” Pierre laughed nervously. Not sure how he felt being studied like a creature in a lab.

“I can do more than that Pierre.” Shyver laughed to himself a little, he couldn’t tell Pierre this, but he knew that his lover’s brother desired a body but thought it impossible. On Zharus they know that it definitely isn’t, and neither Shyver nor Simone knew how to tell him this discreetly.

::Your boyfriend is ACE’s Right Hand Man!?!:: Marvelle thoughtspoke in shock.

::I was going to tell you later…. It is a long story and I can’t tell you all of it. Believe me it would make my life a lot easier if I could. Please don’t ask too many questions about it. Just know that Shyver is a changed man, he doesn’t serve Aristo anymore.::</nowiki.> <nowiki>::How can you be sure? He clings to that tyrant like a dog humping his master’s legs.:: Marvelle couldn’t help but to send an emoticon of, well, a dog humping a leg.

::Because Aristo is dead now! I saw him kill himself.:: Simone said sending an emoticon of her as her Integrate Self pounding her fist onto her palm. Marvelle was almost too distracted by this emoticon to answer not sure if she should find it cute, asking who this was supposed to be an emoticon of, or pondered why her breasts were so massive.

::That would do it…:: Marvelle answered. ::Just, please be careful. Don’t let him take advantage of you… especially now that you’re so pretty. I can’t get over it. I almost want to call you Simone, even in those pretty purple eyes. I see more of a Simone than a Simon, interesting eye color choice. Are they bionic?::

::Purple? I see… I don’t even notice it anymore.. I really am becoming more like Zedi..<nowiki>:: Simone had forgotten she was sending, but managed to catch herself. Good thing too. She almost accidentally revealed that she was an Integrate.

::Notice what? Becoming what?:: Marvelle knew Simone was different, pure instinct told her that, but how was the real question.

::Nothing, Shyver’s on the other line. Pierre’s stopped at Grillé…. Let me read the menu:: Simone sent, clearing her head as she looked over the menu of Grillé, a popular french fast food restaurant that had existed since the Oil Ages. She knew three minutes ago that she wanted a lamb gyro. Ordinarily she’d have to talk it over with Lucille, but it seemed the two were far more in sync recently. Their Integration had been forced so they didn’t share the exact same closeness as most Inties, but now they were, Simone automatically knew the food that she and Lucille agreed on the hardest was the lamb gyro, without even thinking about it. Really she was taking the time to think. Only saying “Lamb gyro combo with a side of humus and a Newt.” when Pierre prompted her to finally pick something. Newt may not sound like anything but a lizard to most non-earthers as on Zharus the standard softdrink fare was 20th century brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Earth had long since moved on. Newt was a drink that was very similar to Mellow Yellow made by a company that didn’t really have much of a presence on Zharus called Gaia Tonics with only minor differences in the ingredients. It was one of those things where you’d have to be really paying attention to tell the difference.

Once those who still had flesh, techno-organic or not, had been fed they decided to go with Pierre’s original idea of just heading back to the Bertrand place and going online. As crummy and rundown as it was being little more than a living room with small furnishings, a bathroom that hadn’t been used in forever as neither Marvelle nor Pierre needed one, a small kitchen, and a few bedrooms Simon’s still looking exactly as it had been left. There was no food in the kitchen so Shyver would have to go out and buy some for him and Simone, there was just nutrient cream, the only food suitable for Pierre and Marvelle. The place was run down and looked like no one had lived in it for years, likely because all Pierre and Marvelle could do was screw around on Virtual Life while waiting to die.

Shyver was mortified to see the place like this, but it was exactly what Simone had expected. They were all too anxious to go into the VL World. “...Mother I…, I knew I would see this place like this. It chills me to le bone to think zat you and Pierre have been in this sty while I’ve been enjoying Heaven on Zharus. I really hope it won’t take much to convince you to come back with us.”

Marvelle sighed, she knew it was coming. “Simon, your letter said that’s what you’d be here for and… well.. Pierre and I aren’t sure that’s a good idea… Even with Pierre’s fulltime job and my foodstamps we’re not making enough to survive. Zharus sounds great, but.. I don’t want to be a burden on you.”

“Mother, it is really no burden… I would feel much better if you came with us. The things Zharusian medicine could do for you two…” Simone sighed, cursing herself for being unable to reveal what exactly.

“Well I guess we could some medicine. Pierre what do you think?” Marvelle asked her son.

“Medicine?!?!” Pierre said angrily through his speakers. “We don’t have bodies anymore! What good would medicine do for us? Yeah I know organs are cheap up there, but you can’t just stack em together and make a new Pierre.”

Simone knew that the printers on Zharus were so efficient that one could do just that, but she couldn’t reveal the depths to which Zharusian tech was capable of. Not without risking the start of a war if the Earth was listening, which they usually were. “Pierre, I promise I will do the best for you and mother that I can…”

“Look it’s bad enough I’m a brain on wheels. I do not need charity from my kid brother! Right mom?” Pierre spoke up angrily.

“...Pierre there’s no reason to get upset… Simon has the best intentions. Look, we’re not going anywhere Simon. Pierre needs me to take care of him, he doesn’t have arms so he can’t exactly pour his own nutrient cream. I need him because his fulltime job pays very well and I can’t get enough cream to get us through the months without it. Not with how often the senators are slashing food stamps.” Marvelle sighed. “As long as Shyver can afford food for you two you are welcome to stay as long as you like.”

Shyver shook his head. ::Simone I’m sorry… but if they don’t want to go we can’t force them..::

::I’m not leaving them behind like my bastard father! We’ll just have to stay until we can convince them to leave with us:: Simone replied to Shyver. The conviction in her mental voice was noteworthy and admirable.

::Need I remind you your own condition requires a certain mineral to keep you alive. One I cannot find on this planet.:: Shyver said angrily to the skunkette.

::I know Shyver, I know. But look at this place… Could YOU sleep at night if it was your family you left in this roach motel.::

::Fair enough love…:: Shyver couldn’t argue against that point.

“...Fine.. we’ll stay for a few months, it has been a long flight… So Pierre, no offense, but, what does someone like you do for a living?” Simone asked, as an invite popped in her head asking her to come to Pierre’s server. Shyver and Marvelle got one to.

“I’m a Beta Tester for various vidya. Because I don’t have a body anymore, I can play for a long time without getting tired. You find a lot of bugs that way. Care to join me? It’s a Football game, I know they’re your favorite.” If Pierre could have smiled he would have.

“Okay zat does sound fun.” Simone smiled, clicking her invite and before she knew it she was on a field in a yellow Soccer uniform looking the way she did before she left for Zharus opposite her was Pierre in a blue uniform and a soccer ball in his hand. But not the tincan Star Wars body Pierre, the true Pierre from before he sold his meat. “..Pierre.. you’re you again.”

“It’s why I took the job brother of mine. In reality I can never have a body again, but in here.. fingers.” He wriggled them as he said the words. “Toes, a back, a neck, a mouth… God if only I could just live in here… I say I’d give anything, but I’ve given all I can.”

“It’s amazing. You have no idea how much I’ve wanted to lay my eyes on you… It’s why I want to bring you to Zharus. Look I can’t promise anything, I wish I could, but I can get you a better deal than the one you have on Earth.” Simone was really committed to watching her words. It would mean nothing if she got Pierre back to Zharus only if it were to fall under attack by something she said.

“I’m my own man Simon. I can’t give that up over ‘I can’t promise anything’, you understand right?” Pierre said, kicking the ball towards his brother.

“Sadly I do, which is why I’m sorry to say it’ll take me a long time to get it through that thick skull of yours zat you need Zharus!” Simone replied, kicking the ball straight into Pierre’s goal.

“....You know me too well brother!” The Ball respawned in center field and the Bertrand Siblings really started going at it.

Far back in the bleachers, Marvelle and Shyver were watching in the fake digital crowd. Marvelle was her old human self in here as well, Shyver was amazed by how much she looked the way Simone did back when she was human only with far more realistic portions and blonde hair instead of white. “You look, really good Mrs. Bertrand, I suppose this is the old you?”

“Yes, but, can you please put aside pleasantries and tell me how long I’ve had a daughter.” Marvelle said softly as she smiled, watching Simon and Pierre play soccer reminded her too much of the simpler old days.

“Come again?” Shyver seemed bewildered that Marvelle could know.

“First off Shyver, you are not gay. With how homophobic and transphobic the climate on Earth is, there is no way someone who worked so closely with someone as infamous as Aristo could have been gay or even bi without the media reporting on it in an attack against you. Second I’ve looked into her eyes, there’s something there. Possibly more than I know, there’s just something about her eyes that tells me Simon’s changed in a big way, something I just can’t put my finger on. Beyond that however, my Simon has never been that cute. I don’t know what kind of creature has eyes like that, but whatever it is, it’s a female. Just something about those eyes.. she’s different now, that much I know for sure.”

“What makes you think Simon isn’t just cute? I’ve been very good at hiding my homosexuality, I assure I uhh, I crave the cock.” Shyver was a notoriously bad actor and Marvelle could see that. “That Simon. I tell I love my coffee like I love my men, as french as the day is long.”

“Shyver please, that was the least convincing performance I’ve ever seen. I’m her mother, call it maternal instinct, call it women’s intuition, whatever. I know in my heart that Simon is not a man anymore.” Marvelle looked into Shyver’s eyes with grave concern. “Be honest with me, why is she like this?”

Shyver took a deep breath and told as much of the truth as he could “....On Zharus, Gender is different. On Earth men are breadwinners, women are babymakers, end of discussion. But in Zharus the rules are a little different, and because the rules are different people are given the freedom to try on different genders and see how they like them. Aristo and I put Simone in a odd situation and she reacted by becoming the way she is now, and, well I just couldn’t help falling in love with her. She’s taken some steps at hiding her changes, but yes, you’ve latched onto the truth. Don’t be mad at her, she could have gone back to being a man, but she likes being a woman, it’s become the new normal for her and honestly I can’t even imagine her as a him anymore.”

“What kind of odd situation would do that to my baby?!” Marvelle raised her voice, Shyver was scared, it looked like the woman was about to strangle him until he stopped moving.

“Look I can’t get into specifics, but… Aristo had a master plan to take over the universe, as he usually does. Part of that involved tricking your son into undergoing a gender change. This was a couple of years ago. Once Simone realized she’d been tricked she was given the option of going back, but she decided of her own free will not to. So if you’re mad at anyone, please, be mad at me not her.” Shyver admitted, closing his eyes and inhaling, taking a few deep breaths in anticipation of what Marvelle was going to do to him.

Marvelle turned her gaze back to the field and smiled again at her children playing. “I know Pierre won’t take it well, but if she wants to be a woman… then she is my daughter and I will love her no matter what. I would go with you and her really, but Pierre is as stubborn as a mule. He needs me, and ever since their father left things just haven’t been the same. God how many years ago was it when Ximenes left? He said he’d be back but he never returned.”

“Ximenes… Bertrand?” Shyver asked, he knew that name. He could never forget that name. The panda eared man could however curse himself for not making the connection between Ximenes and Simone based on last name. It was a big damn galaxy, he thought for sure it was coincidence.

“Well it’s only the last name of me and my two kids, so yes… That bastard isn’t on Zharus is he!?!” Marvelle cried out, after all he had done to her she would have loved to see him unalived.

“The name rings a bell, but I’ll need to do some research to be sure…” Shyver lied, he knew perfectly well who Ximenes was and where he could be found, but that was information he needed to hold onto until the right time.

Simone and Pierre were having unimaginable amounts of fun playing their soccer game. Despite Simone’s Integrated status leaving her with a far more solid and less laggy connection that Pierre’s the two were proving evenly matched just as they had been when Pierre was made of meat. In many ways Simone was glad for this, it meant nothing changed about Pierre. Not where it really counted, on the inside. Eventually Simone through circumstances that made her jump. The bell traveled a distance towards Simone’s side of the field only for her to run up to it, she saw it out of the corner of her eye but blamed it on the adrenaline courseing through her strange body that was neither meat nor machine in the real. However it turned out as soon as she kicked that it was very real, her feet were having a literal ring of flame engulf them. It reminded her greatly of the flamethrowers in her palms, the ones she used battling LucyPop, Shyver, and Aristo back on Zharus. This however was a thought she only held for a few seconds as a new one replaced it. For once she kicked the ball, all the fire transfered from her cleeted foot and onto the ball. Rocketing it like a flaming bat out of hell, right through the goal and more importantly, Pierre's chest.

Pierre had his blood poured out all over the field along with his organs, heart, lungs, if it was in the chest it was painting the grass red. On Pierre himself there was blood coming out of his mouth and exposed bone and guts.

"Sacre bleu!" Simone cried out. "What did I..." The integrate knew she didn't actually kill Pierre, she couldn't have. This was a simulation, the blood didn't look real it was far too dark and looked more like paint than blood. If she actually had killed Pierre she would have far more words to say about her act of fratracide than sacre bleu. It was more the shock of the unexpectedly gruesome effect in what seemed to be an otherwise normal soccer game. ::Lucille did we do that?::

::No, I don't think so... Actually checking the programming of the game it's a move we did on accident.:: The voice of her RIDE friend rang, now a permanent part of her subconcious mind. ::That effect though... for a second even I thought you might have offed him.::

::I never thought that.:: Simone tried explaining, but Lucille could feel the nervousness from Simone before Simone herself was. Lucille spent more time in the subconcious and those could pick up on their emotional state better.

::Nice try, you can't hide your emotions from me. I am your emotions!:: Lucille countered, as little sense as that would make in most contexts she did have a point.

::Okay you got me. Just the thought of anything happening to Pierre...:: Simone rubbed up and down her arm as she shuddered. ::but, while I have you. Can you explain why our thought have been more jumbled together lately? I mean on the ship there was that vaginas thing that I couldn't tell if you said it or I. And maman said our eyes were purple… Not red or blue, but purple.::

::I got the sense she was talking to me actually….:: Lucille walked in circles around the mindscape of herself and her human mmm.. Our Integration was very sloppy. Maybe the final walls between us are breaking down. We never were as in sync as the others.::

::I really am not sure if I am scared or excited by that…. But if you feel comfortable with it. I feel comfortable with it.:: Simone said trying to calm herself.

::That’s the idea!:: Lucille cheered.

Simone was about to turn around to look for Pierre when his voice called out behind her. “Boo!”

“Ahh! Pierre!” Simone called out jumping back a bit at her brother’s voice not expecting him to be there. “Interesting… effect your game has..”

“Yeah I keep telling them they need to tone it down. It’s very out of place in what is really a straightforward soccer game. Or at least save it for the mini-games.” Pierre said with a sigh. “But I’m only a Fulltime Beta Tester whose spent weeks doing nothing but this game, why would I know what would be healthy for it?”

“Ego is often le downfall of great people, but on Earth, not often enough.” Simone said with a solemn tone in her voice before perking up. She was with her brother now, her beloved older bro, the one who watched over her “Shall we play some of zese mini-games?”

Pierre nodded “But of course dear brother.” and played with some settings on a menu that materialized out of thin air and moved his finger down to the button labeled “Robot Revolution” and pushed it.

No sooner than Pierre had accomplished this that the sky turned blood red, the ground quaked violently, actually startling not only Simone, but her mother and Shyver. Moreso when giant robots that almost seemed cartoonish if it weren’t for the blood coming out of their jaws and the rust covering them completely. “And you said zis game was intended for families? Mon Dieu zis is terrifying.” Simone screamed as she looked up at the creepy colossus.

“That’s the market they’re aiming for.” Pierre replied as he anticipated for the soccer balls the robots would soon start firing at the two from their mouths. Simone got hit once, but only because she had been taken off guard. The game had no warning whatsoever and just launched and launch.

Simone quickly picked up that they were supposed to dodge the balls to make them inert and then kick them back toward the machines to damage them. Interesting concept, but all of the morbid scenery mixed with the eerie music made it very unsettling. The Integrated woman’s both halves were actually relieved when it was over and the two took a break in a VL Chat Lobby to continue to catch up on old times. What of them Simon-Lucille could tell. She told of Cape Nord and its policies, that she ran a garage that fixed skimmers, but not much else. In return, she had heard that Pierre’s life was simple, just beta-testing and saving up for a new body chassis. The pay was shit so it was taking a long time, but eventually he knew he’d get there. Somehow.

The conversation really took an interesting once Pierre looked over at a news feed and smiled to himself. “It’s HERE!” he bursted out as he summoned a comic book into his hands. “Oh Simon, I just realized. I hadn’t told you about GoKARTers yet!”

“GoKARTers?” Simone asked, looking at the comic book’s cover and being quite perplexed as she saw what appeared to be herself posing with the Kitty Tamer whip she fought in Venars with. Surely it had to be a coincidence, Lucille thought so too.

“Yeah, this comic book artist who takes regular trips to Zharus wrote a comic book about his experiences there. It doesn’t appear to be very accurate, but it’s entertaining. I’ve been waiting for the newest issue to come out. It finishes off this story arc about a French Collaborate character who you would just love. She’s just like you if you had superpowers” Pierre explained, reading intently with a big smile. “She’s obsessed with french culture, her name is even Simone Barrows.”

“A Collaborate?” Simone asked, raising an eyebrow. There was no way, there was just no way that this was happening.

“Yeah, on this other planet there are these machines called KARTs which are robot animal pets they merge with their operators and give them powers. Even tails and ears a lot like yours… But if you merge deep enough it becomes permanent and you become this being called a Collaborate. Simone was recently turned into one by this really rich guy called Affluenza as part of his scheme to take over the world, now she’s fighting his minions. Most people think it’s cheesey, but it’s very fun. Here sending you my copies of the previous issues.” Pierre said, lost in his story. “Sometimes I’d really like to go to this version of Zharus, they call it Zathorn. They even have technology that could just give me a real flesh body, but yeah I know it’s just wish fufillment.”

Simone was speechless, even more so when she looked over Pierre’s comics. Every aspect of Zharusian culture was captured perfectly, except for the gender stuff which had likely just been taken out to make it more acceptable for an Earthen Audience. Everything from the Steaders, to Clint Brubeck. Even the war between Nextus and Sturmhaven or, Technos and Girltopia as they were called in the book. She was even in these books, Simone Barrows was every bit the woman Simone Bertrand was in real life. “Sacre Bleu…” she said to herself, having already caught up and even hacked to copy the book Pierre was reading. Being an Integrate let her speed read the whole series in seconds. “Pierre, I… Do these books ever make you want to come to Zharus?”

“Naw, I gotta save up for my body. Besides, it would never be anything quite like this.” Pierre replied shaking his head with a laugh.

“What if I paid for your ticket? I’m very wealthy.” Simone offered, even Lucille was aching to see how Pierre would react to Zharus.

“No way! I have to stay and keep saving up. Nothing can stop me from my goal.” Pierre shouted angrily. “Maybe afterwards I can go, but if I have to re-situate I may never see myself having a body again, even if only a cyber one.”

“Well I’m staying until you agree to come with me.” Simone folded her arms and logged out. It was time for her to find a job if she was going to be here for so long.

Days turned to weeks turned to months. Shyver started drinking again, begging to go back. Simone was right, he was taking medicine for granted because of his vast wealth. Once his liver started showing signs of failing he sold it immediately for it to be replaced and rescued. Too much of his wealth was tied up in off planet accounts, he only had enough with him on Earth for survival and the trip back to Zharus so he couldn’t rely on it.

Simone worked in as a software engineer, or rather Lucille did. Writing various programs for Earth using the skills only at her disposal to do so. She didn’t give them the full power of what she could do, but enough for a significant advancement. Doing too well might have attracted Government interest to her. Most of her money went to buying DINs and Qubitite from what other Earther Integrates she found in a small network., but it wasn’t much, especially not at inflated prices.

Pierre didn’t get his newer body, Simone never understood why Pierre didn’t get more assertive and seek a better job or higher wages. Hell there was even a grant Pierre was a shoe-in for that he never even bothered applying for. Maybe he was just used to the idea that he would never get his new body and just kept became comfortable with working a dead end job while taking no chances to better himself. All he did was talk about GoKARTers and slave away at his job, at first Simone was flattered by how much he liked the fictionalized version of herself, but eventually it became boring and tedious to her.

Five whole years had passed when finally, Simone could wait no longer.

-155 AL- Simone was fatally low on her body’s need for Q, and she couldn’t afford anymore from the Earther Integrates. It was getting so bad that one day, she awoke to find not only was she functioning at only 10% of her capacity, but her hardlight generators were not working.

Shyver was hungover in the living room at the time, but Marvelle had the strangest feeling that she needed to check on Simone not help him. A maternal instinct aided by how she was sleeping in far later than usual. All she could see when she came into the room was a skunk with glowing green patterns all over her pattern laying on the bed her offspring slept on, groaning. “My daughter, this is what you really look like…. isn’t it?” She said to her, unmoved by her strange appearance. “I knew you weren’t exactly… human anymore, but I figured you would tell me when the time was right…”

“Maman… I can explain…” Simone said meekly, trying in vain to cover herself with a blanket. “It’s not that I didn’t want to tell you, I was just worried that… they would hear.”

“The Government? Yes, I… I guess I can understand that. You’re far behind any cyber I’ve seen, you’re reading at a level I can’t begin to fathom…” Marvelle said, rubbing Simone’s furry body. “But you’re not well… that I can tell just by looking at you. Is it a virus?”

“....I’ve become something, far beyond a cyborg or a human… but I need minerals from Zharus to survive. I had been getting some from a black market, but I can’t afford anymore. I’ll have to leave for Zharus NOW, or I will die….” Simone-Lucille frowned her ears lowering. “I wanted to wait until you and Pierre could come with me, but I…… I’m sorry you had to find out that I was a woman like this. I could have just told you.”

“...Simon… Shyver already told me you weren’t a man anymore and I don’t care why that is. I lost you once, I won’t lose you again. Me and Pierre will come with you to Zharus, and he will not give no for an answer. I guarantee it.” Marvelle smiled at her daughter.

“Marvelle…” A voice came from Simon that was unfamiliar to her mother. “My name is Lucille, I’m inside Simone’s body too… she is what she is because something happened to us that made us become one being… The proper term for us is Integrate. We’re two people occupying one body yet, at the same time, one whole person. It’s difficult to explain… It’s good to formally meet you. I designed Simone’s body, back when I first turned her into a woman I mean. I used her memories of how you used to look. You’re, very pretty, I can’t wait to see you become that way again.”

“You as well Lucille.” Marvelle smiled, she was taking this rather well. “I don’t know how I can be pretty again, but. I look forward to getting to know you better… We can talk about this more when I sober Shyver. I need to get you off this rock yesterday.” They were gone by noon that day.

-Red Baron- Shyver was more than thrilled to be aboard a ship back to Zharus, looking at the window as they left Earth Space heading for Zharus faster than light would allow. In one year’s time they would be back on that rock and Simone would be back to normal, if she held out that long. They had disguised Simone as best they could in very heavy clothing, luckily it was enough to get on the ship and her in her sleeping quarters as soon as possible.

Pierre was pouty and complaining that his chances of getting a new body were screwed, continuously going back and forth into a wall on his rollers. “Mom, why did we have to come with?”

“Because we’re family and we’re not letting Simon go into a situation where he could die without us ever finding out if he survives.” Marvelle responded, she thought it was best to tell Pierre only what he needed to know. Simon being Simone wasn’t something she thought he could handle. “Besides you could find a way to get your body on Zharus, I ‘ve heard good things about the tech there.”

“Whatever…” Pierre groaned and wandered off. For him it was a very long, hellish, year that would never end. Especially since he could hear that his brother would die any day now. They had a few scares here and there, but ultimately Simone barely made it. Spending much of the time sleeping, eating, and recharging.

-Zharus, Aloha 156 AL-

Though unusual for the Red Baron they stopped in Uplfit. Simone wasn’t feeling well enough to get up, and had only hours left to live. Marvelle stayed on board to take care of her, while Shyver and Pierre got up to explain the situation to the Captain who agreed to go on a short delay and pitstop in Uplfit’s SpacePort

“Welcome to Zharus Pierre. I need to buy your brother’s medicine. Here’s a small amount of Monetary Units to sightsee with. You’ll just slow me down, I know what I’m looking for and what I need, I don’t want to have to play tour guide.” Shyver communicated to Pierre, his voice stern like he was mad at him. It was likely the delay he caused in Shyver’s returning to Zharus. “Got it?”

“Whatever…” Pierre sighed before rolling off to see the sights on his own. It was pretty interesting seeing all the vehicles flying around in Uplift’s dome from old Oil Age shows like the ones the famous Clint Brubeck unearthed on Earth. But nothing would cheer up Pierre, new world, no job, and he couldn’t even find a place that did prosthetics like what he wanted. Which really bummed him out when he got all the stares.

After minutes of wandering a mannish looking woman with elk parts like his brother’s skunk parts followed by what appeared to be some kind of Elk stopped to talk to him. “Woah! You must be new here, and from Earth I’m guessing. Nice chassis, when do you get out of it?”

“...Well SORRY you live the privileged life up here. I had to SELL my body just to feed my family! I was saving up for a better chassis, but no, my brother gets sick and the only meds that work on him are up here… I can’t even find a cyber dealer in this town. I guess in a good enough economy…. Sorry, I just don’t need your lip right now!” Pierre beeped angrily at the woman, or at least Pierre thought she was a woman.

“You realize you can literally just have a new flesh body printed. Hell Doctor Eleven would probably do it for free if you gave him that tin can.. Just google him.” The elk loving woman answered calmly, laughing to herself internally about that little outburst. “His practice isn’t far from here, me and my friend here can take you if you want.”

“No, no, that’s okay. You’re right he isn’t far, I can make that in minutes on my rollers.” Pierre responded, this had to be a trick. There’s just no way. If this guy could really give anyone any body they wanted, why was this elk lover looking like she was an oil age transsexual who started hormones a little later than she should have? He was fully expecting a catch to show up any second now. Maybe it was just a skin graft or this was an elaborate money scam or something. “I’ll check it out myself.”

“Alright suit yourself. And don’t worry so much, this is Zharus! Anyone can make it out here. Why my friend and I showed up a few years back with nothing but the skin on our backs and not enough money for a cup of coffee, now he owns his own RIDE Garage. Well ever since that excursion a week ago, she. I’m so proud of her for that.” The elk enthusiast smiled, offering the tincan two V-Cards. “I myself am a tour guide, here are our v-cards.”

“Uh thanks…” Pierre didn’t even bother to look them over. “I’ll be going now.”

“Safe travels.” The woman responded giving a naughty smile. “And if your body is handsome, don’t hesitate to call me.”

“I… will?” Pierre raised an eyebrow, was she hitting on him? Regardless with much haste Pierre hurried to the office at the Elk Lover’s co-ordinates and was seen by the doctor in no time.

When he got there he noticed that his office was fancy, themed after this phone booth like time machine from this sci-fi show Pierre was trying desperately to recall the name of. “Another Earther? Tell me, what would you like. The funds in your digital wallet should cover any treatment and your recovery stay. Should only be a fortnight before you're literally on your feet again.”

“What do you mean any treatment? I mean, sorry if I sound like a dumb tourist, the ad says you can give me any body and it’ll be flesh. There’s a catch right?” Pierre asked, anxious for the disappointment so he could hurry up and write this off as a loss. “Something I’m clearly missing.”

“No. No catch, any body you like. And it’s yours, any ethnicity, any physical sex or mix of the two, age, skin color, whatever.” The Doctor re-assured calmly. He seemed proud of being able to do this, considering it was a commodity that always made tourists practically wet themselves, he had reason to be.

“Yes, but I’m just a brain…” Pierre reminded.

“Which is why it’s very important we hurry up and make your body to overcome that handicap.” The Doctor smiled at the tin can Pierre inhabited.

“Well… I’d like to be my teenage self again. Before my first organ was sold, but, in much better shape. Far more handsome. Here’s a picture.” Pierre said, sending the doctor a photo of his younger self. “That was the last time things made sense… Oh and if you can, I would like to be double-jointed with a very good metabolism.”

“As you wish. Any emergency contacts you want to give me before we begin.” The Doctor spoke softly, unscrewing the lid to the chassis and placing some anesthetics in his nutrient extractor.

"Oh sure, here's my brother's boyfriend's email address." Pierre said. Within minutes he was out like a light.

-Two Weeks Later at a Bar called Cheers-

“It’s very weird, you’d think at this size they’d get in the way or feel awkward. Yet I feel like I’ve always had them…” Spoke a woman who appeared to be some kind of lynx with a metal outfit as she motioned to her breasts. It reminded Pierre greatly of the Mergers from GoKARTers. It must have been some kind of bipedal chassis like his mother’s. But this wasn’t who Pierre was here to see. “It took a few tries to remember that I couldn’t stand up in the bathroom anymore. Overall, I’d say I’m adapting better than I thought I would.”

“Yeah gotta say, the morning wood not being there when I wake up was the weirdest part for me. It’s the brain restructuring. Feels so much more natural than it should. Don’t you remember Sex Education back when we were just boys?” It was the Elk woman who pointed Pierre to Doctor Eleven, that’s who he was here to see. Some passers-by mentioned she could be found here often.

“I remember you practicing what you learned with half the class…” The lynx responded with a chuckle as she rolled her eyes. “I swear nothing is ever going to change you. You could become a completely new sex completely unlike the two we’ve experienced, grow three more heads, Integrate, and run off for thirty years. When you come back you still won’t have changed”

“Hey I just wanted to make sure I understood it correctly.” The elk woman laughed before sipping her beer. “Besides, Extra Credit never hurt."

“Rufia right?” Pierre said to the elk woman. “Thanks for the advice you gave earlier, I feel… I feel…” The once-again teen just ran up to her, kissing her full on the lips. “I’ve never felt better! Thank you, thank you so much for what you did.” And before he thought to explain himself he left.

“Another one of your boyfriends? God I hope you aren’t seeing them THAT young.” The lynx woman glared at Rufia with minor suspicion.

“I was just about to card him if he didn’t leave so quickly.” The doe fuser bartender, Diane, commented, giving her two cents on the subject

“Ryan, you should know that I am many things. A pedophile is not one of them and I almost think you should know better than to make that claim. Almost, I am into some pretty weird stuff. Anyway I have no idea who that was. Maybe he was a she recently or de-aged himself?” Rufia tried recounting before giving up and asking her elk companion. “Yvonne do you have any idea?”

“Probably the flesh version of that R4-D5 unit you bypassed back in May. The one who screamed at you. The only R4-D5 Unit that wasn’t attached to someone’s replica landspeeder? I swear Ruf, you can be so scattered brained at times.” Yvonne the elk rolled her eyes in mild anguish.

“Oh him, I guess that makes sense. Well yeah, that’s fair. But hey you can safely say that with me there’s never a dull moment.” Rufia laughed, nudging her RIDE playfully. “I can’t remember every one I bypass on the street regardless of whether or not I have their number.”

“And never a moment where I know quite what to do with you either!” Yvonne countered sharply.

“Rhianna… My name is Rhianna now. Ryan was a lifetime ago. I don’t know if I want to be a woman, but I can’t be Ryan AND Kaylee’s partner at the same time. Not anymore.” Rhianna corrected her friend after a long silence. It was a strange feeling being called Ryan when merely a month before it would have been perfectly normal. Once this sank in, she buried herself in thought. “It’s going to be a series of long days for awhile… I can’t say I regret what happened, but still...”

“Hey, I know, you went to some great lengths to stay a man and now it’s all over. Possibly forever. It’s easy for someone like me to say you’ve gotta let go, but you’re not like me. Honestly I think that’s why I like palling around with you so much. You’re responsible, you’re sexually conservative, you’re a hard worker, and, no offense, but sometimes you’re boring. Literally you are everything I am not. If you were just like me that would just as boring for me as if I were just like you.” Rufia explained. “Just like our RIDEs, if Yvonne was more like Uncia do you have any idea how much a snooze cruise that would be?”

“Yeah, yeah I get what you’re saying…” Rhianna began smiling once more. “How about another round on me?”

“I could spend your money all day pal.” Rufia patted her friend on the back as she finished her beer.

“I bet you could…." Rhianna left remembering more than a few times when she had to pay for Rufus' shenanigans back on Earth. "Say... Ruf.. I’m not THAT sexually conservative am I?” The New Boston woman paused her laughter to object to that title, she had had her number of sexual exploits in her day with the opposite or, what was now, the same sex.

“Rhi, you literally wouldn’t know what to do with it.” Rufia said, amusingly this is was the one instance where that sentence was 100% correct.

“That’s a really good point actually. I haven’t even thought of that yet.” Rhianna said chuckling loudly. The former male was about to bust a gut at her buddy's joke. the re-kindling of her friendship with her friend Rufia was going well, but that was another story for another day.

-Outside A Hotel In Uplift-

Simone stepped out of the Holiday Inn with Marvelle and Shyver beside her. For days Pierre had been missing without a word, they all figured he'd message one of them eventually. Since Simone was legally dead there was no rush to get back to Venars. They were on the planet, that was the important thing. Thus she had taken it upon herself to get Marvelle and Pierre adjusted to the Zharusian lifestyle, but first, they needed to actually find Pierre. For this reason she had turned on her male hardlight disguise.

It wasn’t long before walking around Uplift that they noticed a teenager hauling Pierre’s body. “Let go of my brother he’s not an android or an IDE he’s… Pierre I didn’t recognize you.” Simone said noticing that this was in fact her brother.

“You’re not going to believe it! But they do cheap full body replacements here!” Pierre’s voice cracked a little as he got overzealous. He was going through puberty again, he had not realized that when he picked out his new body. "I was actually just about to message you guys. We can sell the old me and get mom a body too!"

“I know Pierre… but why are vouz twelve? Vouz know I’ll never let you live this down.” Simone responded. “You’re very cute.”

“I just told the doctor to make me look like I was when I was happiest… I was this old when dad left. I may have myself aged a little, not too much.” Pierre admitted, looking up at his younger brother.

“Well, I have a confession of my own. Since vouz have an embarrassing fact about your body.” Simone focused and slowly shifted herself to the female version of her human self. Once she did she revealed an incredibly busty white haired woman who looked much like their mother used to aside from the insane proportions, purple eyes, skunk bits, and some minor facial features. “Our Maman already knows, but, I’m a woman…... This red tanktop I am wearing makes far more sense with THIS body in mind doesn't it?"

Pierre blinked twice stepping back a bit. “...You look a lot like Simone Barrows too… When she was human… But there’s no way you could have gotten a body mod like that in just seconds like you just did... Simon... Simone.. whatever. what the hell is going on?!?”

“We have a lot to discuss...” Simone said with a lump in her throat. This was a long time coming, and it needed to be said. The skunk in disguise even looked towards her mother for assurance who nodded as if giving her blessing to confess this. “...For instance your comic. Well knowledge of that book will serve you quite well here.”

“You’re bluffing….” Pierre responded, looking at his sister with some bewilderment. “There’s no circumstance in which being a GoKARTers Fanboy could help anyone. I mean it’s entertaining, but...”

Simone gave Pierre a sinister smile laughing for a bit. Taking a few seconds to ask Lucille what she thought the two were in on a brilliant idea. The integrate began looking around and finding an empty alley to give one hell of a private show for her dear and simultaneously younger and older brother. Perfect for a dramatic performance he would never forget and a good way to end the day. Pierre’s meat was new and would need rest as would Marvelle’s when she was restored to that glorious woman Simone once called mother and meant it in her heart.

“Uhh… Simo… er.. sis? Where are you going?” Pierre was lost. Where was Simon, Simone now he guessed, going with this. Was Zharus completely insane or was it just Pierre? Pierre, Shyver, and Marvelle ran to follow Simone to the alleyway. Shyver and Marvelle already had a good idea of what they’d find, but Pierre was lost in the dark.

Simone smiled as they surrounded her, disabling her hardlight disguise causing her humanity to literally chip off and away. Bits of flesh rising up and disintegrating as an exploding fluff storm of skunk fur sprouted upward, her facial features reconstructing to be far less human as she smiled showing off this version of herself. “Well Pierre, what do you think?”

“You…. are…. fucking with me.” This was Pierre’s only reaction as he brought up the digital version of his beloved comic in his mental implant to compare the image he was seeing now with the image of the fictional Simone Barrows. “This isn’t happening… But that means that girl with the elk robot.. that wasn’t her pet, it was her KA.. No, no. Simone… I don’t know how you’re doing this… But you aren’t seriously implying.”

“That it’s all true? How shall I prove it? Do I show you that there is such a place as Girltopia?” Simone asked with a smile as she displayed a hardlight screen of Sturmhaven’s Wikipedia article floating in mid-air right in front of Pierre’s face. “Or with a humorous display of my Collaborate Abilities?”

“Sturmhaven is a polis on Gondwanna, not far from Nuevo San Anotnio most noteworthy for its controversial political groups the Valks and the Gaians which have been called Misandrist by its opponents….” Pierre read aloud, skimming it over. “Look! The war with Technos.. Nextus rather, the KARTs…. it’s… Simon. Why didn’t you tell me this!?!” “Because it’s as the comic says. Qubitite is a rare and powerful mineral. If the Earthern Government were ever to find out about it, they would mine this world dry. Allowing tourists free reign of the place while Zharusians are reduced to glorified tour guides watching in horror as their beloved home is torn to shreds as they are forced to stand still, smile for the camera, and applaud. Just like what happened to Paris.”

“What you didnt trust me not to squeal to the Government?!?!” Pierre was offended, all Simone had to do was show him her skunk form and tell him that his body could be restored for less than a fraction of what he made in a month.

“I didn’t trust the Government not to have everything that ran on electricity mining for data and spying on its citizens. What good is it to me to take you to Zharus if Earth is mining it dry?”

This was a good point actually, there had been dozens of conspiracy theories on Earth with any definite proof immediately covered up and the people who leaked it thrown in jail with only a mock trial and shamed on every newsgroup. Once Earth’s nations prided itself on having free speech on a global scale. It still does, but now it’s a joke, but no one is laughing at the punchline. People either stay on Earth because they can’t afford to leave or they get the hell out of dodge for a taste of real freedom instead of the watered down diet stuff the Human Homeworld offers. Here Pierre stood in the land of his wildest fantasies watching Simone use her Integrate Powers to hack a nearby billboard advertising EasyFuse Jumpsuits to read. “Welcome To Zharus Marvelle and Pierre Bertrand.”, as opposed to “Comfort AND Reliability, 20% Off with Coupon Code RIDE ON!” and the only thing Pierre had to say now was the following. “I want a RIDE.”

“In good time.” Simone turned the electrionic billboard back to normal and re-assumed her human disguise. “I’ve already rented us out a hotel. Things work differently on this planet. I’ll have to get you two up to speed before we start settling in. Trust me, you don’t want to make some of the mistakes I made.” Simone shuddered, remembering what life was like back when she lived in Cape Nord.

Preceded by:
TWREpilogue:We'll RIDE Again Someday
Together We RIDE Succeeded by:
Part 2:Day Of The Din