1.4 The Syntyche

Dim-death is bland. Nothing visual—only a mix of vocal echoes. I recognize my own voice, Bailey's, The High Governess General's, my mentor's, and even the voice of my old crew leader from over 15 years ago, which I hadn't heard since I came to Candymaker Labs—in dim-death or any other type of dream. It was banal, in any case, which I appreciated.



An indistinguishable amount of time later, I find myself in the endless banks of the IDOX-chartered embassy space within The Syntyche. This time, there's no warm greeting from a gate-guard who's known me for years. No attractively-shaped clothing with or without a woman inside it.

Nothing but the hard lines and dazzling geometric architecture of the Syntyche. It's dazzling--humbling. Its design is sterile and wonderous, precise and breathtaking at the same time.

This is the nerve center. I pass through the halls with other skippers--male, female, humans, khidhons, pleisties, constructs, enchantments. We're all in the company of Syntyche: grey-clad stone-faced gender-neutral humans who maintain the bank gates with professional indifference. There are ubiquitous electronic eyes and surveillance strips. There are ominous platinum-gloss doors that I have never seen open as long as I've been a skipper.

Except for at the designated interaction, assistance, and nutrition stations, we are all silent—not out of compulsion, but because we know we ought to be. Even if you've never been to The Syntyche before, something about the place just makes you understand that courtesy and custom are the virtues that best guarantee your safety. Do not disrupt the flow.

I'm passing the central junction now, which is less busy than I want it to be. I move on. There can be no erratic behavior, no second guessing. This is the Syntyche.

Am I over my head?

I pass through another long corridor and attempt to cool my thoughts, and it comes into view. Thick triangular-latticed windows, each pane four times my height. 5 checkpoints burrow through the humbling glass wall and lead to the blue-grey skies of the Syntyche, otherwise tinted graphite by the glass.

I approach, and a free-moving light sign becomes clear to me in Systemian.

Respect all unsanctioned visitor restrictions:

  • Declare all alien technology and carried materials; harbor no technology except that which is integrated and vitally dependent; harbor no carried materials deemed restricted by Syntyche law.

  • Interact with familiarity only with Syntyche Diplomatic Authority; interact with no other Syntyche except to be directed to diplomatic assistance.

  • Travel under diplomatic assistance at all times if possible; travel alone only with fluent understanding of custom and law.

  • Take nothing; leave nothing.

  • Create no disturbance.

Under special declaration IDOX-335-SYNT0010-A0, your diplomatic rights as guaranteed by the charter are extended only under fully registered diplomatic assistance. Unsanctioned visitors without diplomatic assistance waive their IDOX-chartered rights and are subject to the full consequences of Syntyche law.

I smile. I present my business card. The grey face looks at me pleasantly, despite the fact that he's not smiling. He flashes a device at the backside of the teleontonic card.

"Systemian. One visit prior. State your reason?"

"Pleasure. Sight-seeing. Architectural appreciation," I smile. He doesn't take any action when I answer—no visible writing or typing. "I was here a few years ago as part of a diplomatic escort team [true], and I really enjoyed my stay and just wanted to take a look around again [false]."

"You are aware of the diplomatic exceptions regarding an unescorted presence outside the banks?"

"I am." The light sign disappears from my view.

"Make your declarations now."

"I harbor both an Intecast and a Neuropause. These are both vitally integrated and will not function for the duration of my visit." He's not impressed with my efficient delivery, at least...he's not showing it. He holds out my card with a blank stare, and I take it.

"Go in peace, Kalin Adriksehn of Systemia." He says, cocking his head a little and forcing what I imagine is a smile. "Create no disturbance." I return the customary gesture with an equal acknowledgement as best I can. The small pane of smooth glass in front of me slides into the floor, and I walk forward, out of the bustling hum of the banks and into the harmonics of the city.

The banks are part of a massive tower with several skywalks and bridges connecting to other parts of the city. The architecture is technologically and geometrically inspired in a way that reminds me of fractals—but for all its beauty, the whole place has been painted with a palette of pencil shades. Even the blue in the sky is subdued. Not hazy or smoky...more like polished steel.

The bridge I cross is at the mid-level of the city's altitude--kind of pedestrian path between the 30th floors of different blocks. The place I'm headed isn't far from the gates, so I need no interaction with transportation, making my purpose seem all the more believable.

I'm alone with my thoughts. I walk calmly and smoothly. I am dressed in the same chalk and ash palette as the tones of the world surrounding me.

There are colors, but where there is tonal saturation, there is purpose.  Building identifications. Municipal borders. Diplomatic Chaperones. If you're wearing a color, you're making a statement.

More platinum gloss doors. The same size, squared against the building I'm walking next to. Were they on every block last time I visited? I dunno. Last time I was outside the banks, I was younger. I was with my mentor, and I wasn't nearly as on guard as I am now.

Closer now. I breathe slow and steady. I focus on the few things here that remind me of home. I make this my home. I belong here. I'm simply delivering something. Never mind that this delivery is punishable by...whatever happens when you do something prohibited.

The color of the sky is like a Systemian evening—like the last evening I spent pathside before conning my first escape. It's exactly as calm as I want it to be. It's not crowded, but I'm not the only one on the walkway. My suit clearly isn't Syntyche issue, but it's less intoned than a diplomat I pass. I look like I belong here. I act like I belong here.

I belong here.

My target is inside the block I'm walking around. I'm praying for two more fortunate circumstances. First, enough door traffic that I can slip in without an ID; second, zero hallway traffic at the point of delivery.

But I'm not so much lucky as just plain wrong. The way to the block interior is open, nothing more than a passage half the size of the main walkway around the block. There's no security, no locks, no checkpoints...the way through this residential block is open. Slightly translucent numbered doors on either side of me as I make my way through the passage. 17§25º20, 17§25º19...17§25º18, 17§25º17.

I go down two levels on a spiral stair and walk back down a hall in the opposite direction. 17§23º17, 17§23º18...17§23º19, 17§23º20. Around the next turn is the drop point. Deep breath.

I turn the corner, and the silence is broken only by the humming light in the hall. 17§23º21 is dark. I continue slowly and see that 17§23º23, is dark as well. There is a lit door at the end of the hall. This is 17§23º25, and it is my recipient.

Another deep breath. I feel the cargo in my interior pocket shift. She knows it's almost time. I'm physically calm, but scared as hell. I stand in front of the door and lick my lips.

"Entry request." Unnatural words unnaturally spoken. I want to cringe. Nothing happens, and after a few seconds I prepare to go through the motion again. Then the light behind the door changes, and I manage to metre myself with another deep breath before the crystal-glazed numbered door slides open. It's a doll-faced woman, pale complexion with hard, shooting eyes that aren't common in Syntyche.

"Identify request." she stops and looks down at me, her blue-gray daggers burrowing into me. She doesn't break into a smile, and it's not really even a lip curl or anything, but I feel something change in her. Some formality shift when she realizes who I am. "Not Syntyche. A Kelysnethite? Possibly a Kamsatvian?"

"A messenger," I reply, dodging her question. The woman peers out her door and down the empty halls.

"Inside," she says without inflection. She steps back and lets me in, and the door slides shut behind me. The space inside is austere. There are only simple functional furnishings. Once we're outside of the entry way she turns around. "Who is escorting you here? Syntyche diplomat?"

"No one," I say. "I'm alone. Admiring the architecture." Now I see her break a little smile. Interesting.

"I'll bet you are," She says. "And what is your name, my admiring messenger?" Of course she was expecting me—but I'm going to do this with as little revelation as possible.

"Not part of my message," I reply. "And before you receive anything at all from me, I have terms of my own."

"What's the delivery?" She asks.

"My terms are a requisite for the delivery." She narrows her eyes and turns away.

"Of course." I see her silhouette grin in the shadow as she turns back. "You seem nervous, messenger. First time in our Syntyche?"

Our Syntyche. And then it strikes me. Her attitude shift, my delivery, those ice-cold but determined eyes...

She's Syntyche. A rare member of the Tyche Rogue. I ignore her taunt.

"This transaction is none of my business. I offer a service. Whatever risk you take from this service is not my own. Understood?" Only a smile from her. "I'm going to take out the cargo and place it on that table," I point. "I'm going to leave this place, and you're going to give me a quarter cycle-arc before you touch it."

"And why should I keep my word?"

"Because anything that happens to me here happens on contract of your Vestinian comrade. I'd hate to see a diplomatic crisis over a bit of...lingerie." I reach into my interior pocket and pull the panties out, draping them on the table in front of me. They're limp, playing their part for the moment.

"Well, how noble of you to think of the greater impact of your actions, messenger." The woman in gray approaches me, searching my face with those haunting jeweled eyes. "Are you a revolutionary too?"

"Only in the courier industry," I say, repelling her with indifference. She's beautiful, but I can only see manipulation in her. I'm in enough danger as it is, and I need out. "Are we finished here?" She sneers and waves me back toward the entry way.

"If we must be, messenger." She pauses. "A quarter cycle-arc?" I turn back and nod. "I think I can manage that," she smiles as her door slides open again. "Create no disturbance, messenger."

I say nothing as I walked out.

Create no disturbance. What a terrible send-off. All I can think about was getting back to the banks and skipping the hell out of here. I expected to feel safer without my contraband, but I didn't. I only wanted out.

I was back out of the block and on the main walkway. My pace slowed when I realized I had plenty of allotted time left. I used it to calm myself down before passing through the threshold leading to the banks—safe and sound inside IDOX-chartered territory.

On the last span to the banks, I was feeling relieved. No pale faces in grey suits ordering me to halt. No efficient dispatching or subduing. I made it. The cool was flowing over my skin again.

At the entry, my teleontonic card was flashed again as I waited to be admitted.

"Kalin Adriksehn. Unescorted visitor. One visit prior." The gray-faced man glares. "Can you affirm that you harbor no Syntyche materials obtained upon this visit outside of sustinative nutrition?"

"Affirmed," I reply.

"And can you affirm that you have left nothing upon this visit outside of bodily waste?" How technical. And kinda gross.

"Affirmed," I say.

"Kalin Adriksehn, subject to IDOX extradition on terms of the IDOX-Syntyche special relations treaty regarding jurisdiction over dangerous persons and influences to the harmony of the Syntyche, can you affirm that you have made contact with no person or persons seditious or antagonistic to the harmony of the Syntyche and to all Syntyche law regarding such acts to the extent that you, an outsider, are reasonably aware?"

Skaj. That's a novella compared to the other questions. I almost wonder if it's that long solely to fuck with the heads of the guilty.

"Affirmed," I say as plainly as I can. The barrier before me deactivates.

"Welcome to the Syntyche Gates," The man says. "Leave in peace, return in peace. Create no disturbance."

Now real relief hits me. I walk away from the threshold and into the swarms of beings navigating this interdimensional mega-junction. I've just gained citizenship in Vestinia with nothing more than a couple hours worth of work. It was even easier than I expected.

But I hadn't listened carefully to the Syntyche who read the terms of my re-entry. I was on mental auto-pilot for security reasons, to keep myself from showing any stress—but with the danger behind me, I process the words beyond the silly formal voice in which the questions were asked.

As I walked down the corridor toward the IXIBIAC main paths, something was eating at me. I could sense something wrong, even in the charter area. I thought about the words IDOX extradition over and over, and even if I was almost to the next string of gates that would take me home--

I gasp. I can't help it. There's an open recess in the wall where a platinum gloss door should be.

I'd never seen one open until now.

Morbid curiousity causes me to peer down the silver matte corridor behind the opening, leading around a dim corner. And just as quickly, something grabs the back of my head and braces my arms against me. The experience is so terror-inspiring that I don't have time to see if anyone else in the corridor is aware of them taking me away.

I hear low noise shriek into a high pitch and disappear from my detection. A sharp pain goes through the side of my face. It feels like I at first like I'm struck by something, but there's no lasting throbbing that says a bruise is swelling anywhere. When I try to see who's behind me, who cuffed my arms and who's prodding me forward into the recess, the same awful noise accompanies the equally painful sensation—and this time they're both sharper.

"WALK." A digitally shrouded voice?

When I hear the low noise start charging again, I suddenly don't care. I walk forward. I no longer want to try anything else that would bring that pain back. I spit, and the metallic taste makes me think blood—but there's none there.

I'm led to a long silver and ink-black passage. Just a few meters after entering it, though, I hear the voice again.

"STOP." I do. "FACE THE WALL TO YOUR LEFT." I comply again, and a panel slides open. It looks like a titanium box, a meter square by two meters high. "STEP IN." I don't hesitate.

There is a black strip a couple of centimeters in height running on all four walls. Intuition says this is a complicated sensor strip. I also have a feeling that I know at least half of what's behind those glossy platinum doors situated around the city: intermediate detention centers.

I go delirious with denial.

It'll be a funny anecdote to tell to everyone back at Candymaker Labs. "I've been to Syntyche prison," I'll say, even cockier than before. "Got put in one of those steel boxes. They tapped my nerves, but I held out." I'll laugh like a war-grizzled ancient. "Those grey bastards ain't so tough once you deal with 'em face to face."

And right now I wish I could make myself believe it, but the best I can do is write the stories. The better part of me—the part that normally has nothing but faith and resolve in these sorts of situations—knows I'm a dead man, in whatever sense of the word Syntyche understand it.

I don't know how long I've been in the cold silence. A dim light buzzes over me, and I glance at the four cold walls with an all-seeing sensor strip. I turn around a couple times, and now I can't tell which side I entered through. All the skipper folk stories I heard about this place seep into my thoughts and reduce the design of this sterile cell to its logical function. I can feel the urge to weep welling up in me, like a little child. I'm going to be sick.

This isn't just a temporary prison. I'm in the Syntyche. This is a microscope slide for the mind and body of the criminal.

"I am the Tycharegent," says a calm voice in crystal clarity. "I serve as the security authority for this administrative district. Your actions during your visit are suspect to acts of disharmony against The Syntyche. Though it is unclear whether you intended malice, evidence suggests you had knowledge that your actions were prohibited by Syntyche Law before you took them."

"I am Kalin Adreksehn of—" the light over me turns a deep blue, and I hear the same low-to-high charge tone as before. Pain shrieks through my ears and echoes all over my body.

"Identification is not necessary. Capture would not have been authorized without certainty of your identity. Your suspicious acts have not yet been reported to any IDOX licensing body and will not be reported until the conclusion of your questioning and processing."

Well, I didn't exactly expect to hear the word trial. Silence for a second, and then...

"Do not attempt to disrupt the sensor strip or damage the transport module. You are integrated with biological interface technology that is currently on standby; make no attempt to activate it. Any information you require will be transmitted to you a the appropriate time; make no further comment or query until requested by the Regent."

A flash out of the sensor strip in front of me. Intense, but not bright? No pain this time. I'm not sure what I was just hit with.

"You are well hydrated and properly nutrified. Sensors indicate that your somatic urethral nerves are active. Please indicate if you require urination." And damned if I do, but I don't trust this situation, reasonable as this voice is being right now. "Please indicate if you require urination. You will not be asked again until your arrival."

"I can hold it," I say stupidly without knowing exactly why. Maybe I'm resisting out of pride; right now my bladder and my colon are about the only two things still under my control.

Minutes pass. The box stays a comfortable temperature and there seems to be a fluid cycle. I don't get the stale air feeling one gets when oxygen in a small space is slowly being replaced by the choking tastelessness of carbon dioxide.

Despite all this, I'm sweating. I'm lost inside my head, trying to loop nonsense while keeping myself straight. What was it that the sensor strips are sensing? Can the Syntyche tap thoughts? Remote neuron cyclic firing interpretation?

Is this a setup? Was this delivery a plant, the distant vengeance of someone's ruined day? Some prototype I stole? Some mineral cache I got for Candymaker Labs while out-negotiating some powerful trader's pissed-off reps? Some major interest I spoiled for someone powerful?

When paranoia shoots into my head—real fear—I put junk data into the stream by fearing the most ridiculous things. Paranoia atop of paranoia. I have no reason to believe this steel box can read my thoughts, but I'm pretending—like some witchdoctor—to defend myself against the evil spirits I perceive around me. I know I can't hold myself together for long, but I also figure that The Syntyche have better plans than letting me sit in this box.

"You have arrived at Aiatel Bank. It is in your best interest to be cooperative and to follow all instructions carefully."

Arrived? However long I was in here, I didn't feel any motion. But I realize the boxes themselves must have teleporters in some external matrix. A perfect system to reroute disruptions. "When you hear the tone, face the indicated wall." A pleasant sounding tone rings, and I see a sensor strip flash just inside my peripheral vision. I turn to face it.

The panel slides open, and now I'm looking at a black wall. Pitch. No reflection. At the perpendicular walls, the same silvery dull uniformity as in the transport module. No sensor strips I can distinguish.

"Step out."

I do. I think I see something at the corners of the room, but making sudden movements here isn't an acceptable risk. They're in control. I hear the panel click closed behind me, and the color of the room shifts slightly blue except the ominous wall, which only swallows the change.

"You are free to move about this cell. You are free to request rehydration or bodily relief. You are being monitored. Do not touch the analysis panels. Do not touch the black wall. Your assessment will begin when you stand on the illuminated panel."

I get a look at the room. Six meters square and three meters high if my guess is on. I assume the black wall to be another sensor interface, but it's probably more. No reflection, no chalky surface. Two domes protrude out of the back corners of the room. They're a different gray then the rest of the silvery-lead gunmetal the walls have taken on. There is a single illuminated panel in the center of the room that I'm careful not to touch.

"I'd--like to relieve myself now." At one wall of the room, a panel shifts and rotates. There's a crude funnel in the corner of the floor now, tapering down to a space too small to fit a hand through. I unclip my gray slacks and make ready.

The hum is ugly. Sinister. I can't imagine what's going to happen to me next, but after the box there's some hope in me, some prayer that whatever procedure The Syntyche have in mind—it's so far advanced that it will learn that I wasn't smuggling for malice and end my life mercifully. The bladder lets go, and as it drains into the hole beneath me—the words come back.

Can you affirm that you have made contact with no person or persons seditious or antagonistic to the harmony of the Syntyche and to all Syntyche law regarding such acts to the extent that you, an outsider, are reasonably aware?

Are they breaking me down already? Why am I running over my guilt in my head? I zip up and take a deep breath. Clear it all out. You've been here before. Embrace your fate. Good humor is all you've got left.

I stand on the panel.

Editor's note: There's a distracting shift of POV here. When we did Kalin's book, Bailey was so detailed about her accounts that I couldn't help but include her own perspective in some places. It's unconventional, the boss isn't terribly fond of it, and it tears open the risk of confusion like a bad wound, but...there's my confession. I can't tell this story without her! I'll do better on the next one, I promise! -Fauler


"--and you can dance." I'm grinning like a fool. Kalin's Vestian suit is a charmer. Its personality isn't like his, which makes me wonder where the influences come from. The dancing is wonderful. With every turn and dip, the suit takes some of my weight off of my feet, lifting me like a feather as I twirl around the hold with them. I have to ask. "Are these things you just learn automatically when you're brought to life?"

"No, no--" the suit chuckled. "You seem to think that experience is limited to your funny little mucous membranes and chemical sensors." I laugh, making a grossed out face and nudging the jacket. "An ethera-based being doesn't have to learn things the same way you chem-sprites do."

I've dealt with Vestians on a diplomatic level, but only as clients. There are no chartered tour groups to Vestinia, its core forks or subtangents. They guarantee no rights for uninvited visitors, meaning open tourism is out of the question. Some even keep humans domestically.

It all depends on who you ask. I've heard people call it an insane hell where you don't know what's alive and what isn't, and then there's Kalin, who considers the place a party haven 'so long as you can go with the flow'. I've always been a little curious, and beyond my formal diplomatic ties to the Vestiniad, now that I have a 'new' Vestian here to pump for information--

"Alright, so explain," I say, resting my head against the jacket's chest, wrapping my arms around it tighter. It responds just like I hope, reaching its sleeves lower around my back--one of them at my hips.

"Well, haven't you ever danced with him?" The suit asks.

"Yes, actually. Way back when we first met." And now I'm remembering it—some Ischarislan festival five years ago, not long before I was hired onto Candymaker full time. I was a liaison for my family's skipper tour service, and Kalin was...Kalin. Dancing with his suit feels something like him, but not enough that I'm uncomfortable with this empty clothing. And just now the inflection finally occurs to me. "Oh—you mean he's danced with you. That's how you know how to dance." I feel a pat on the small of my back.

"Right," The suit says. "There were no means of expressing the significance of 'knowing how to dance' at the time, but because the experience is in the suit, it's in me—because it's my body." I notice the voice isn't quite like Kalin's. Just like the feel of the motions, there's something familiar about it, but it's not him. The suit's voice is has less weight. My head rests between the chest and the shoulder of the enchanted blazer nicely. It's firm, but softer than the ribs, collarbone, and tense muscle-fiber that would normally be behind it.

"So—forgive me for oversimplifying," I say,  hearing my own voice partly muffled through my ear against the blazer, "but for every other day before he took you to Vestinia for a job—before you could walk and talk on your own—you remember being his suit?"

"You said it best: oversimplification." The sleeve on my hip shifts lower, and what feels like emulated fingers squeeze one of my cheeks for a second. It's quick and firm, and then the suit goes on like it didn't happen. "I innately have some experiences from my body, which is the suit—but the rest of me is Vestian ethera. I don't sort information by ethera any more than you do it by neuron."

I look up at the empty space above the collar. Well, yeah—so...through it, I guess. It's not really Kalin—so I can go with this without it getting awkward later, right? Gun it.

"Well, however you know what you know, you know enough of it to be a hell of a flirt." I make my move, pulling the collar down toward my lips. "So I have to know," I whisper, getting dramatic and accentuating every syllable. "Is that from him, or are all Vestians this anxious to play?"

"You're not too bad yourself, chem-sprite," the suit says. With even more confidence than before, both sleeves shift down over my ass. Ten digits tighten around me as if they'd been poised and waiting for me to open the gate. It doesn't even have nerves, and I can tell something's coming. "So I have to know," it mimics. "Are you teasing me by dumping that pheromone feast in the air around you, or it that your body begging to be fucked?"

Even a newly awoken Vestian doesn't kid around. If Kalin's going to be back before Temponis' Zenith, I might not get another chance anytime soon. I do have the Hold all to myself--outside Kalin, no one's coming back for at least another 5 days.

"Begging?" I ask. "We'll see about that." I run my hand over a breast of the blazer and reach it inside. I can feel every articulation of a torso beneath the buttoned shirt under it. It's firm and well-formed. Even better, it's warm. "I'm not the one that absorbs sexual impulse like plants to sunlight." I go over the chest and feel a nipple protruding from beneath the dress shirt. My, my. Fingers, the entire package complete? I pull my hand out of the blazer and move down to the suit pants, where a shape behind the fabric is growing—the outline around it becoming more clear as I press against it. I run my fingers up and down the shaft in the crotch of the trousers and grin. Not easy to be stopped by inhibition when you're only dealing with clothes. "So where do we go from here?"

"First, we go here," The suit said. Its collar bent toward me, and somewhere above it I felt pressure against my lips. Pressure and moisture? It doesn't register as a pair of lips until I break the kiss with a smack.

Oh my god. Lips. Moist lips? I start to think of what else might be possible and grab the shaft gingerly through the suit pants. The lips press against mine again, and this time I part them, feeling electric cinnamon enter my mouth. The phantom tongue wrestles with my own, and I swim through the feeling, squeezing the tightening fabric in my palm like a hand pump. "And now, my sexy chem-sprite," the voice says—apparently without having to use the lips working over my own, "I say we go upstairs, initiate those stockings, and take you for a ride."

And I think it's a great idea. I signal my agreement with an "mmhmmm" while my lips keep dancing with this hungry invisible mouth. Now I'm being kissed furiously while firm hands knead and squeeze me, practically picking me up by my ass. Then I realize something.

"What's wrong?" It asks, and I can't believe it notices right away. I smile a little and look away, despite the fact that I'm not staring at a face.

"You don't—have to tell him, do you?"

"Do I have to not tell him?" The Vestian asks. "I don't know how I feel about keeping secrets from the person responsible for my consciousness." Great. Is it being serious? I shouldn't have brought it up. I should have promised more mojo later if and ONLY if the suit agreed to silence. So much for diplomatic leverage, Bridgman.

"Pretty loyal suit," is all that comes out when I try to respond. Yeah. Touché.

"I told you, syrup-squirter. I'm not just the suit." I want to react to the very off-putting name I've just been called, but one the hands stops playing with my ass and reaches down further. In between. A finger slides right down the seam over my ass and just glances on the tender area beyond. "But if you're asking me to keep this discreet, we can make some arrangement, I'm sure."

There's still a small part of me—though a quickly disappearing part—that wants to stop this. Kalin wouldn't let me live it down if he found out. Having my stockings charged was one thing, but getting freaky with his suit? I give the well-shaped member behind the slacks one more good squeeze.

Aw, hell. I know myself too well; my mind is made up. I've spent too much 'sterile' time dealing with these things on the diplomatic level to not be curious about how this is going to feel. I've played around with feminine Vestians before, maybe had a little tryst with a human woman in Vestinia, but I've never actually done this with a male Vestian. Ever.

Screw Kalin, whether he finds out or not. He gets to do the playboy swinging-dick skipper thing all the time. I'm the one that has to keep up appearances, know customs, memorize cultures and etiquettes. It's my turn to get dirty.

I break away from the suit, running my hand down a sleeve of the blazer until I reach the end. I find a soft invisible hand and wrap my fingers around it, pulling the suit along with me as I walk toward the spiral stairs. It follows behind, and when I start ascending the narrow stairs, I let go.

"Ooh!" I shudder a couple steps up and stop. Four fingers grip my ass while a thumb slides back and forth between my legs. I hold on to the railing and let it happen. I hear a shoe click against another step, and another invisible hand snakes under my arm and grabs a handful of tit.

Not gently. I'm getting wet. Every invisible caress from this strange energy-based being is so deliciously intentional. There isn't an awkward motion or second guess in any of its motions. I'm trembling, but I manage to take another step up the stairs. The hands stay right with me, the suit right behind me. It doesn't need to "step" up the stairs, so the contacting fingers around my chest and the teasing ones on my lower half go uninteruppted.

Another step, and the thumb between me retreats. The hand pressed against my backside is gone, and the hand at my chest disappears too. I take this as a cue that we're going to my room now, but just as I'm approaching the top of the stairs, hands clamp around my thighs, just under my hips. It's pulling me backward!

"Hey, hey!" I'm on spiral stairs, so I'm not exactly comfortable with my body being pulled...until my body hits something. Something warm, pressing into the seam of my pants, right at the swell of my butt. Just underneath it comes a slithering wet sensation, and my eyes close. I'm not concerned about the stairs anymore. Fear about whether I'm falling subsides to a moan when all the sensations become clear. The vestian has me sitting on its face. The strong hands clamped around my thighs pulsate against me as the invisible face licks, prods and nudges.

I'm eventually pushed forward, placed on the stair again and held at the hips until I grab the rail. I continue to the top, frustrated and aroused by something I can't see. And I fucking love it. I turn around.

"How do we 'wake up' the stockings?" I ask. The suit doesn't need a word to respond. It leans in, and I let out a muffled sound of approval as the unseen lips meet mine. There's a tension building in this matrix of invisible energy, accelerating since we stopped dancing and started fooling around.

The sleeves are up near my cheeks, and I feel the light touch of fingers through my hair, pushing it away and holding it—gently framing my face as the silky tongue turns my body to putty.

Sooo good. It knows when to be nice and when to get rough. It knows where to touch and how. It doesn't have a body, but the expert technique of the mouth I'm kissing makes my pussy tingle. But what happens when it comes time to fuck? It's not like it can leave the suit entirely and fuck me like a ghost.

I'm backed down the hallway a couple of steps as the kissing goes on. The sleeves move lower, past my shoulders and back down to my thighs.

"Hang on to me," it says, fluid and commanding even as its emulated tongue darts around my own. I raise my arms up and drape them around the suit's firm shoulders. As I do, I feel the blazer bend down just a bit as hands curl under my legs and lift up. Yessss. The invisible hands raise me off the ground by the back of my thighs, readjusting to place its palms squarely on my ass. I wrap my calves around the trunk of the suit and lock my ankles.

Tied around it now, kissing furiously and contracting my legs, I can feel the hard tip pushing against me as the pants shift, rubbing against my clit through my seamless black pants. I slide my hands up the shoulders to an invisible neck. As I go higher, I feel soft, not-too-long locks. I grip the emulated hair tightly and pull toward me, turning aggressive and sticking my tongue deeper into his mouth.

"You're absolutely saturated," the suit whispers. "This is going to feed me for weeks, even in a magic-weak path like this." I open my eyes for a second, and I'm looking at my clinched hands inches away from me, pulling on invisible strands of hair. I look down into the collar of the suit, and my mind blurs. The strange visual sensation of what's effectively an invisible man only makes me higher, and I decide to leave my eyes open.

We're moving down the hall, but I don't feel the stride of the suit's legs, revealing another benefit of a selectively mutable body. We turn the corner into my room, and I'm set down, placed on the edge of my bed. The sleeves slide out from under me, and as I release the locks of hair and move my hands, the mouth detaches. The suit stands upright in front of me and points a sleeve.

"Behind you," the suit says. I look, and my pair of lifeless stockings is sitting on the bed. "Put them on." I raise an eyebrow. Commands? Ha. This Vestian's doing a professional job on my body, but that doesn't mean I won't play for power.

"Why don't you put them on me?" I say, placing my hands on the bed and spreading my legs. "If I'm feeding you for weeks, you don't need to need to spare any effort." The suit laughs.

"Is that an ultimatum?" it says.

"You think I'm so swept up in you that I'll let you milk me for fuel without making some of my own demands?" I cross my arms and smile.

The sleeves of the blazer point at its two fastened buttons. They come undone, one after the other, as if by magic. Once the jacket opens, the sleeves stretch like they're preparing for something.  The suit crouches down, and I lean forward to watch its sleeves stretch toward my ankles. I feel my lifted slippers pulled off, one gently following the other.  Both invisible hands clasp over one of my socks, rubbing the sole of my foot. I sigh.

This just builds and builds.

After a couple seconds, the foot massage stops and I feel a tug on the hem of my pants. One of the suit's sleeves moves over to my other leg, and there's a stronger tug on that hem. Now both are being pulled, and just as I'm about to mention the fact that my pants are still fastened—I find I'm wrong. The sleeves are nowhere near the waist of my pants, but the clips unfasten themselves and the zip beneath climbs down its track.

"That's..." I'm in awe as I watch the waist of my pants sink down over my hips. They tug at my ass as they struggle to pull themselves from between me and the bed. I wiggle a little to let them go, and they shoot down my thighs. The suit easily pulls them from my ankles now, and I'm left in a pair of black cotton bikinis so damp in the front that they're almost glossy. "That's a neat trick."

"I had to be touching them," it explains. The suit tosses my pants aside and leans over in front of me, one of its sleeves reaching behind me, and another in front. I clasp my hands around the sleeve near my belly as unseen fingers coax me through my bikini.

At the same time, the back of my waistband pulls up, and I assume it the other ghostly hand until I feel the fabric gathering in between my ass. The suit shifts around me, and its other sleeve comes back into view, carrying the limp stockings just beyond end of its cuff. The other sleeve is at my hip, an invisible finger hooked around the side of the bikini.

I howl as the damp fabric pushes itself against my clit. I can feel the fabric in the back playing with my asshole, gently pushing and retreating.

"Shirt," I plead. "Do it to my shirt. Play with my tits."

"Patience, chem-sprite." The suit says. "One step at a time." The ministrations at my panties subside, and the sleeve begins to pull them down. I wiggle my ass again, letting the fabric slide out from under me. The damp bikinis are pulled down my legs and over my feet, but instead of tossing them aside, the suit places them on the bed next to me. The sleeve points at a sock at pulls it off slowly. I feel my ankle lifted up toward the collar, and a tongue slithers around my big toe.

"Oooh..." I tremble. The sensation races up through me, echoed by my swollen clit. My other sock is pulled off, and now both of my ankles are held together as a mouth laps against both of my feet. I tremble again, and I hear the suit cry out.

"Sooo fucking saturated." The suit says as a tongue moves from my heel to my toes. "Glazed in nectar." As it continues, I ache with pleasure. I run my fingers against my unattended clit. The kissing stops, and I watch as the waist of the translucent black stockings is pulled over both my feet.

The fabric rolls, pulling the legs of the stockings all the way up my feet while the slack never rises past my knees. Once the toes of the stockings slip against my own, my ankles are pulled up again, and I feel something soak my nylon covered toes. The mouth is back, and it's joined by both invisible hands caressing my stocking covered feet.

"Ooh," says another voice somewhere beneath me. I watch the waist of the stocking rustle around and stretch. "Mmm...that's niiice." It's a mousy feminine voice coming from my stockings. They're awake.

"Wrap yourself around her," The suit says. "It'll feel even nicer." I watch the waistband move up over my knees and toward my waist. As it hits the edge of the bed, I feel something lift me. Without having to wiggle, my weight is pulled back, allowing the stockings to glide over my naked hips. When I pull my hand away from my pussy, the juices hit the front of the stocking, and I hear a sound of divine pleasure from the stockings.

"Ooh...delicious!" I feel my legs pull back and open, the front of the already-soaked nylons lapping gently at my clit. I can feel the fabric squeezing around my ass, running over my toes and teasing my calves and thighs. The sensations are all over the most sensitive parts of my lower half, orgasmic impulses dancing everywhere the magic stockings touch me.

"She certainly is," says a voice at the doorway. I try to focus my eyes through the waves of pleasure the living nylons are delivering. I watch as a pair of boxers hover in, the outline of a member held back by the soft fabric.

"I wondered where you got off to," said the suit. "I figured maybe we'd double team her." I look up at the suit in shock. "Yeah, I figured you'd like that idea."

"Of course she does," the stockings add. "Everything in the air says she wants a good, nasty fuck." And it's true. I've been teased long enough—building on this supernatural high. Hearing these empty clothes talk dirty to me makes it even better.

"Are we going to fuck her through you?" The boxers ask. I watch the impressive outline of the member tumble to the side, toward the open flap. The hole pops open, revealing the back of the boxers through a thick teardrop-shaped opening in the flap.

"Absolutely," the stockings answer. I gasp as I feel the fabric swell up between the lips of my pussy. "Oh, you've got plenty of juice to soak me down." The fabric gently grows. I grab my tits, holding them up and pushing them together. I look down to see the invisible girth inside the boxers. resting against the lower half of the flap. I'm not sure that the boxers have all the parts of an invisible body, but they clearly have the one I'm looking for.

"Fuck me," I beg, anxious to feel electric Vestian cock inside me.

The boxers approach as the stockings pull my legs a little higher to meet the phantom spear. With the boxers a good seven inches away, I feel the tip press against my already opened pussy lips. The nylon already inside me doesn't stop the invisible cock from pushing deeper, filling me up with its thickness. It's silky fire between my legs, and I watch the hot cylindrical empty space stroke my stocking-encased pussy lips.

"It's goooood," I moan. I reach out and take hold of the boxers' hips, pulling them against me and laying back in the bed. I'm going to come hard, and I'm not going to be able to hold it back. I've had some exotic encounters—sure—but these are sensations I've never experienced. "I'm gonna come pretty soon."

"Not just yet," the suit says. I watch it reach a sleeve down toward its waist. The zipper flies down, and the sleeve reaches in to pull out its invisible cock. "You can have the mouth," it adds, and I suck air as the boxers suddenly pull out of me and float over my body.

Invisible male parts packed inside magic hovering underwear. All the sensation, none of the mess. All the attention, none of the nonsense. Fucking hot.

"Open wide, sweetheart." I reach a hand up toward the hole and grip. My fingers tighten around invisible flesh, and I run them to the bulbous mushroom of the shaft. As I open my mouth and twirl my tongue around the tip, I feel my pussy expand again. The suit sleeves reach up to my suspended legs and grab my feet, bracing my legs as I'm filled up with another invisible cock.

I make a muffled moan, hungrily grabbing and pulling the other unseen member toward me, licking the shaft and wrapping my lips around the cock. I could taste myself on it. Now the suit starts pounding away at my pussy, and I get even closer.

"That's gooooood," I hear the stockings squeal. "Harder—she wants it harder!" The suit follows their command as I continue sucking my own juices off the phantom cock sticking out of the boxers. "I'm going to come soon, Bailey—are you going to come with me?"

They can bet their amazingly tangible disembodied cocks that I am.

"Yes! Yes!" I cry, giving my mouth a break on the cock for a second as I beat it faster with my hand.  "Play with my tits," I ask, wanting attention everywhere for the approaching climax. I'm losing control, and I swear I feel both cocks pumping harder, just as anxious as I am to burst.

The waistband of the stockings reaches up to meet my shirt hem, and I feel what I've been waiting for. There's light pressure moving over my tits, dancing back and forth over my aureloa.

Everything slows down.

It's a sea of sensation. The cock throbbing in my pussy, the sensations dancing over my tits, the ethereal cock I'm about to set off, the living stockings whose moans echo through my hips and make every cell in my body want to--

"I'm COMING!" the stockings shout as I build to my own muffled wail. Both cocks rattle inside me, and when my pussy explodes in ecstasy, it tightens around the magic cock inside it. The invisible member streams ethereal ejaculate into me, lighting up every nerve ending as the cock in my mouth does the same. The magic cum tastes like hot amaretto, and I drink it down greedily, momentarily wondering if there are any side-effects to a steady intake of magic spooge.

"Ohhhhhh, chem-sprite," the suit says, gripping my feet and resting inside me.

"So good," the boxers add as I suck the last invisible drops from its male protrusion. It pulls away from me gently, and I feel my body slide back onto the bed as the suit leans over and lays atop me. It's light. It doesn't put any strain on me; it simply holds me in an embrace as I feel the swelling force in me subside.

"So much to absorb," the stockings coo.

I let out a low laugh. I feel amazing. The aftershocks of my release are still washing over me.

"You didn't disappoint," I say, reaching around the back of the suit.

"Neither did you," the suit responds. "But trust me, it gets even better."

"Well," I pant, looking up at the collar of the suit, "I'm not sure why you'd leave a dimension where you're free to come back with Kalin—but I'm glad you did." The sleeves of the suit squeeze me, and the suit chuckles.

"What's the difference?" The suit asks. "He'll have citizenship there soon enough anyway." It rolls off beside me, and an invisible hand caresses my shoulder. I feel like a puddle of afterglow. It's been a while since I've been fucked that good. The suit's words take a second to hit me.

"What are you talking about?" I ask, starting to catch my breath. "Citizenship is his payment?"

"Sure," the boxers say. "But just part of it. He's getting a place to stay, too. A haven, of sorts."

"So the favor he's earning from Royalty is--"

"The High Governess," the suit says, cutting me off. "It's not often she asks any outsider for assistance, so the idea is that this is worth the political capital that will come with her favor." Political capital? From Nyxe herself? For what? There's got to be more I'm not getting.

"How do you know all this?" I don't get where the history is coming from.

"The Vestian he smuggled in," the suit answers. "She had a lot of interesting information." Interesting indeed. From the pillow talk I'm hearing, Kalin's reason for taking this gig was more than just plain old material gain. Now I'm feeling nosy.

"What else do you know about this job?" I ask.