A Love Story (part 1)

 

Part 4/11 of the 'Upgrade Anthology' - Out Now: eBook, Paperback & Audible

For an integrated experience, the author suggests listening to:

Saeglopur by Sigur Ros whilst reading (the author claims no ownership, copyright or control of this song)

Prefer audio to text? Listen to this chapter instead!

With a coy smile she bit her bottom lip. “I’m nervous, it is my first time you know?”

Blushing a little, she went on. “Well my first time since … changing.”

Smiling, he pulled her in close, causing her hands to fall upon his bare chest. He felt strong, and defined. She pulled away sightly and with one finger, traced the lines of his tattoos down towards his abdomen, rising and falling with the contours of his muscles. His smell was as intoxicating as it was subtle.

She knew he didn’t really smell like that, or for that matter possess that body. She knew that at some level, it was all just a beautiful illusion, conjured by the connection formed between their combined software. Something to do with neuro transmissions, projection overlays and schema reconstruction.

But those details that seemed so important prior to the transition, the ones she agonised over, were now completely mute. The Integration specialist had told her as much.

“Once you Integrate, you will see just how irrelevant those questions are. You don’t yet know what you are capable of experiencing …”

Regardless, it went both ways. Her body was now more youthful, or at least it appeared to be, she wasn’t quite sure anymore. It was smaller in some places, and larger in others. She wasn’t ‘perfect’, but that was how it was supposed to be.

“True beauty lies in perfect imperfection”, the Integration Specialist had explained. “No matter what we try, we can’t escape the ‘uncanny valley’ phenomena. Originally, Integrates were rejecting their ocular implants and damaging their neuronal connections. The illusion was broken. That was until we programmed imperfection into the software.”

She nodded, although she didn’t quite follow.

“This is what you look like now.”

The specialist pulled up a projection of her Natural image. It stood nude in front of her, rotating slowly. Catching its eyes with her own, she noticed that they seemed to be coloured somewhere between a dull grey and a light blue. She was slightly overweight, not too much, but more than she would like. Her hair was flat and dull, but neatly styled. Her once youthful and firm breasts were starting to droop, and she noticed the beginnings of cellulite forming on her bottom and the back of her legs.

“Ok, enough!” She looked away, blushing.

He fiddled with some controls, causing a new image to appear. She gasped. It was her, but not really her. The image projected was like something out of a dream.

“This is you, with no flaws. This is perfection.”

“She’s so… I’m… stunning”, she gasped. “That’s amazing. Oh my God, look at my body, I’m flawless!”

“Look a little closer.”

She did. Settling her gaze on the projection’s face, she started to feel uneasy. The eyes, a deep blue, glared with otherworldly intensity. Its cheekbones were high and pronounced, giving its face the impression of forcefulness.

“Something’s wrong. I … I’m not quite sure what, but something’s just off somehow.” She frowned, asking in a soft voice, “But she’s… I mean, I’m perfect, I can clearly see that. So what’s wrong?”

 “The problem is that no real human is ever perfect. At our core, we expect a certain level of imperfection. In fact, evolution demanded it. Imperfections in a potential mate suggest that their possible offspring will acquire genetic diversity, thus optimising it for survival.”

The specialist fiddled with the display and continued. “Eventually, we will develop the technology to remove that flaw in our evolution, but we are not quite there yet. Although once we have it, we expect the upgrade will roll out globally.”

He paused, and with a knowing smile, he asked her, “Are you ready to see what you could look like once you Integrate? Remember, this is just one possible avatar that could suit your bio-structure, and you can switch between them at any time, just think and accept.”

She immediately breathed an accepting sigh. The body of the new projected image was practically unchanged, yet its face now felt warmer, more welcoming.

Its eyes were blue, speckled with gold, like sand against an ocean break. This was contrasted against the larger, heavier set eyebrows and the slight upturn of its nose at its peak. The Makeup Overlay complemented the look. Her lips were a couple of shades redder than normal, and were also slightly poutier. When the projection smiled, she noticed that its teeth, whilst straight and white, were not completely uniform.

“I love it” she whispered. “When can I begin the transformation?”

Despite having been Integrated for some time now, she was still nervous about taking this next step with her man.

“Can’t we just do it Naturally again? I am not sure if I am ready for this.”

He kissed her softly and placed a tablet in her hand. A Stimul-Dose. Planning ahead, he had preloaded it, selecting ‘Sensuality for Him & Her’.

“We pop them together okay?”

She nodded. His smell, his touch drew her in. They placed the small capsules into their mouths …

This short story was part 4/11 of the 'Upgrade Anthology'

Out Now: eBook, Paperback & Audible