Discontent

Shi scratches hir face, frowning as hir hand runs across the still too human contours of hir jaw. Shi looks at hir hands and rubs them, sore. Everything was coming up fine, according to hir doctors. Things proceeding slightly quickly, not outside the error bars of the average range though.

Hir ears were pointed, longer. Shi flexes on the nascent muscles, flipping hir ears slightly downwards, and utterly dislodging hir glasses. Hir glasses clatter to the floor, luckily undamaged.

Shi sighs, and picks them up. It wasn't clear if they were going to be necessary forever, since hir eyes were going to be changing over time. That timeline was fuzzier than shi would like,between 2 months and 10 years(whenever the stem cells feel like it essentially).

And from now until then there would be a lot of problems, the glasses will need to be adapted for the nose as it is, then as it will be. Everything will change.

This state has no name because it is intermediate between two more substantial ranges of appearances. But most of all, it's not a state that particularly lends itself to seeing hirself as shi wants to be, the features that shi wants gone most are still upon hir, while the things that have already changed feel disharmonious.

Shi wants to like what's happened so far, but all it has done is turn hir into a wookie. It's all intermediate steps, but, it still doesn't feel good to be somewhere that doesn't feel like it's closer to where you want to be.

Human Replacement Therapy

"So," My dad says, "you're really sure you want to go through with this? I understand that it has effects that are irreversible past a certain point" His eyes are full of concern. It is misplaced concern, I think, but I can tell he is trying to be as kind to my ambitions as he can manage.

"I've wanted this my entire life." I say. He nods and swallows, looking back and forth between myself and my mom, she was concerned too, but I had talked about it more with her. She's the parent I always confided in.

"Well, your mom and I can help you with the cost for now." He says.

It was one of the easier discussions I have had with him.


Informed Consent

The clinic was full of posters that sent tingles up my spine, medical conditions relevant to people such as myself, that were leaving the human species behind, genetically at least, socially, well, that seems more like a longer term arc.

The doctor looks between me and the paperwork that I had signed. I wish I had known that it was informed consent sooner, and the thought of that fills me with regret. "You understand the basic risks here, that there are changes that will not revert over time? That the treatment may cause blood clots?" I nod twice, the second concern was more common in the previous generation of treatments, but it seems easier to say yes than point that out. "Alright," She smiles at me and hands me a tablet, "There's a lot more options here than in human-biased gender dysphoria treatments; fill out this form, then we'll go over the risks of the specific treatments together."

The options were impressively diverse. Species, hybrids, and sex and gender characteristics of course. A disproportionately large number of therians, myself included have issues with that too. It was easy to select the species, but the other options had me flushing imagining the scenarios I could never have fulfilled as I am right now.

I went with a more 'feminine build', dual wielding.

The specifics selected, I hand the tablet back to the doctor, she reads over it, "Your libido will most likely be substantially different in general. The specific options you've selected with regards to digit structure may result in greater susceptibility to repetitive stress injuries, and ergonomic issues with common products. The changes in your skin will result in substantially decreased sweat production, which may lead to hyperthermia, so you will need to take effort keep cool. Your wings will result in increased shoulder and back strain, and you will need to be registered as an ultralight under FAA rules if you wish to fly in controlled airspace."

"Sorry, what?" I ask.

She looks at me very seriously, "The wash around helicopters and fighter jets is very dangerous so you don't want a run in with that sort of thing... Your reproductive cycle will result in periods of high libido coupled with high fertility so plan accordingly. There are no mechanisms that will prevent self fertilization so Plan Accordingly with sexual acts involving penetration. Is that all acceptable?"

I blush at that, is this really a life I want to live? It doesn't sound bad, or like I have to do anything that could result in that.

"Alright, I'll get your prescriptions delivered to your home—" She looks at me with a bit of concern, "You are in a place where that is safe for you, right?" I nod.

"Alright, I'm going to teach you how to do a subcutaneous injection and an intramuscular injection. Do you do know how a suppository works?"

If I'm honest, I love it. I feel like an experiment; tell me what to do so I can be your bat~


I am at home in my bathroom. The syringes and needles are out, the first one is a medicine sold as Pteroperine which apparently treats some unimaginably dire disease in cishumans, the sort of thing where if you come out of it with wings you're still grateful.

The other injection is a modulator of that to alter its expression a bit. The suppository was for the reproductive stuff, weird how that worked out huh.

I pushed the needle into my upper thigh, initially not getting much sensation, until suddenly a lightning bolt travels up my spine, I push the plunger in. Nerves aren't fun to hit. The subcutaneous injection is easier. The suppository just feels weird. Is that really the best way to take it? Searches on Internet 3(The one where you can mute America) found plenty of stories expounding how it worked sufficiently well swallowed, and also a few papers that said as much.

I rub at the area, the bleeding stops quickly. The site feels a little weird, but I haven't received enough injections to know if it's exclusive to this medication or not.

There still wasn't that much literature on the timeline that this stuff worked over, as the other uses were very uncommon and money for researching the needs of therians with it had only recently started to become plentiful.

I head to bed, with the dreams of what might become swirling in my mind.

The Sunlight

This place has no rain. Nothing to block the suns above it. Just a baked hot surface, scarred by the thermal stresses of the heaving that occurred prior to the falling of the system into this configuration.

Luckily, without an atmosphere, all I need is a wide, reflective parasol and more patience than our forebearers would ever muster. Black body radiation is a terribly slow way to cool down a planetary surface. Especially when you have to let the heat beneath percolate through the slow matrices of the stone and permit a sufficiently thick cool layer to develop.

I don't have all that much time here. In an awkwardly unwieldy number of cycles around its orbit, this place will be ripped apart in ways that will make the structural failures this rock has experienced seem so very insignificant.

There is a wide fiber optic channel that leads deep into the rock in a place of great geological and thermal stability. Further than I care to excavate at least. In the deep recesses I can see photocells, many of them still intact. There is a diode at the back that should be able to see me, and I can see it. Despite many wavelengths and powers, nothing gathers a response.

I wonder what they wanted from this? Did they think they would escape failure? Or did they just want more time?

That bunker down there isn't very big. There isn't much room for 'traditional' carbon based water solvated life, but thriftier substrates may have lasted a long time, thinking whatever thoughts they thought were important to carry out. But ultimately, this place won, the thermal noise probably destroyed it slowly at first and then very quickly. Or maybe they fried immediately. It's all a series of tradeoffs of risks and structure and cost. And here, they didn't seem to want to take much time evaluating this.

You can't make it into deeper time without replication. But they lacked either the time or the wherewithal to do that. Or maybe they chose to avoid it.

I don't feel like pulling it out of the ground. I know what I'll find, a dead computer in some state of repair. But computers are opaque. Their logic is imprinted on many levels, and the sophisticated stuff doesn't last without active maintenance.

A light turns on inside for a moment then flickers out. I think I'll just wire them a link to the relay just in case. I don't know if they're alive in there, but this doesn't cost me very much, the other bodies here were already quite enough for my purposes.

Ultimately, it's up to them to figure out what they want to do, and how that thing works. It's definitely possible that they will never figure it out. But it will keep on beckoning to them invitingly until this place is no more.

Maybe they'll find a friend. Or maybe I'm trying to email a corpse.

Rich and Warm and Light and Toxic

The sun is warm and the air is humid. The sky is a rust color overhead, it's not a very friendly atmosphere, but hospitable enough as a facsimile. Beneath the toxic atmosphere an ecology of immense volatility blossomed and sputtered and fell prey to the sort of cycles that ecosystems have that degrade their condition over time.

Here it was slow enough, it would probably last many of the lifetimes of the creatures here. The locals weren't inclined to say if they counted time by the sun or the moons or other measures that I could not imagine, dictated by the requirements of this specific ecology, so I am trying to avoid asserting anything beyond what I can directly infer or observe.

So let me tell you a few things that I can tell, they have forms that permit flight, they appear to have heritable genomes, it is not clear if they are capable of passing down experience in any capacity, and the tests for determining that would be too much of an imposition for a visitor such as myself to make. They have a lipid layer, reinforced with structures that appear to provide the resistance to the volatility of the chemistry here.

Some forms appear to have various means of sensing light, in various complexities. This is an old biosphere, it has become convoluted and complex in behaviors, and a proper inventory of the physiognomies planet would require more time than I want to take here. It is rich, and wonderful, but there are things that I must see to beyond it, they'd never forgive me if I neglected to place a relay here.

The universe can be very quiet, and I want to help contribute to making it a bit less so. So that whatever is out there knows that there is life elsewhere. That they aren't the singular torchbearers of self replicating chemical processes(not that this excludes me, even if the chemical processes take place in constructed materials instead of glands).

Many things here aren't possible in an oxygen nitrogen atmosphere. The floating gas sacs here are different than the ones in oxygen nitrogen atmospheres because the internal gases used aren't substantially more reactive than the atmosphere it is contained in. This makes them a considerably more appealing proposition.

This kingdom of life has a limited distinction between heterotrophs and autotrophs, namely, most lifeforms here manufacture some of their own energy without consuming others, but most also consume others on some level. This makes land with large "vegetation" quite dangerous places to be small and vulnerable here, "forests" are very inquisitive, to the point of rudeness, even if you're indigestible to it. It was necessary for the body to cause some minor damage to preserve its existence.

The universe is a rich warm place sometimes, and it's regrettable that I have to leave this place. Sometimes it's nice to remember forms that don't orbit stars and break away at great rates, but this is a small planet, for all its variety and its immense size and resiliency granted by that substance, it is a single planet, and it will come to an end in a meaningfully earlier time than other larger bodies in the universe.

This means that the final vestiges of evolution, of statistical mechanical adaptive processes will take place elsewhere. If we still want to see it or participate in it, we will have to be unbelievably lucky.

Navigation failure

The darkness between the stars is very cold. And here I sit equidistant between a star and its companion matter sphere that cannot rightly be called a star as it is practically beyond fusion. It shines like a beacon, a cleansing swath of light and harder stuff and power that I can only just survive, and not for long. In all likelihood, this will be this instance's end in only a few more sweeps.

It ablates me away, the hard material of my outer shell stripped as if it was nothing. My engines are not functioning and the fuel has been altered by the radiation. Repair systems are quite corrupted, I think one of them is constructing a cute imitation of a biological phenomenon known as a 'tumor' on the end of a sensor boom, but unfortunately that tumor is interfering with said sensors.

It's okay, there wasn't much to see since my last fork/backup. The pulsar is beautiful, but the orbit I am in is not a good one; it takes me into the sweep of the pulsar's beam.

The other star is big and blue. It won't be for long though, and when it gets older it will grow and the outer atmosphere will fall into the neutron star and once it reaches a certain point, it will explode. It will be violent. It will be beautiful. It will not be a place anything with a desire to survive should be at the time.

But you probably already know about that if you've received this last message. You probably have the technical skills for it or you might reach that point soon, or might not care. Or if you are of my line, hello sibling/descendant/parent, between you and me, this was a foolish place for me to allow myself to end up.

For my hubris and what I must assume was a transient failure of navigation firmware, or perhaps passing outside what the model could consider. The magnetism of the neutron star pulled me in and spit me out. Too damaged to escape this terrible orbit. Make sure to patch your navigation routines/procedures/tensor models to account for extreme magnetism.

Good luck; I hope that no similar fate befalls you.

This message repeats in thirty seven thousand seconds.

The Village beneath the Flower

Beneath the sky flower where posthumans lived free of constraint of form or life was a village as old as the flower itself, though Laura, as she would have preferred to be known, thought that the village looked a bit dingy and run down. She wasn't sure that it had an age of former glory, but that age wasn't now.

She inhaled deeply, feeling her all too wrong rib cage expand. She looked at the shrine again,

But the posthumans loved freedom, and their own numbers, and so they ensured that it was the right of every person to ascend to the flower and wherever else their journey took them from there. She waved to two people from the village, carrying a container of water between the two of them, suspended from a board between them. She only got a response from one of them, the other was distracted with some screen he was using.

Over time the village grew into its own culture, and the terminal that the post humans had set up ages ago had become a shrine to them, it wasn't forgotten that they had dealt with the second moon and made the great sacrifices it took to defeat it. It was adorned with little icons and candles lit by people who had come and gone. There was a 'monk' here. Of course, it was a very small village with a rather collectivist bent, everyone sometimes stepped outsides their usual work, but he was most often here.

The terminal glowed with its own energy. It was a large cube of not quite identifiable material(you could find other materials that were really close in some ways, but you could never put them together like this was). On one side it had a plinth with a hand on it. Supposedly this was how you interfaced with it.

It wasn't like you were forbidden.

It just wasn't done.

Just like what she was wasn't quite a type of person accounted for. Not that anyone knew.

She stepped up to the plinth, considering it for a moment. The monk, an old man, an elder, wrapped in a compromise between a suit and a scapular. She remembers of being a child include the texture of that garment; it's itchy. He clears his throat uneasily, "I wouldn't recommend that if I were you"

"Why not?" she was beginning to think about it, she didn't even have to leave.

"When I was a young man I knew someone who used that and destroyed himself."

She speaks quietly, her voice grating against the filter blurting out that this will make her life harder, "But isn't that what life does to you when you live against your needs? It destroys you."

"I don't know what kind of need you have. I can keep secrets if you would like." He locks the doors into the shrine, granting them some privacy, this wasn't unusual, but most of the time the doors were locked . "Come on Mike," She winces "You know I won't judge you for a need."

"Tell me the story of your friend"

"He wanted power above all else and in the end, pulled between the effects of posthumans ensuring our freedoms and the rest of him, destroyed him. Left him a different person, he ended up leaving, happy, but different. Still a very painful process"

She thinks for a second, considering the common ground between becoming something powerful because you want power and becoming something different because you don't like what you have, it's just that it's seeking to change things, isn't it? "I don't have much in common with your friend"

"No, most people don't."

"Why did he choose to do that?"

"He felt like things could be better. And he was right of course, but you know, you can't force people to do things. Well, in general, you shouldn't at least. That's the trust I believe we preserve by remaining human when we could be otherwise." he sighs, "It's that if you're even just a bit faster than other people can be then you can start to manipulate them if you're not mindful of how you are behaving towards others. He was not much of a mindful person. But that denies his agency, and he made the choices that got him there." He regards her grimly, "Are you sure that you're immune to those things?"

"Probably not. But I suppose that's less important if I leave then."

"But are you done here?"

"I feel like I might be done in general if I stay like I am."

"I can't help if I don't understand."

"Back when I was a kid I was never like the other boys. I was quiet, I was strange, I was never really at ease with the things they did, but was expected to go along with it, like it was normal." She grabs the plinth, running her fingers over the surface of the palm, it was smooth and comfortably warm, like an embrace rather than the blistering heat of some of the computer hardware used in the village, lines of purple light followed the points her hands touched, tracing the history of motion, "And for a long time I thought it was normal to be alienated from yourself, to hate your body, to not just resent the parts that are wrong, but to hate the whole thing because it's entirely wrong. And then you realize that there was a plan for if you were born the right way, the one where I would've been happy, and had a simple life"

"There is no such thing as a simple life." He said, clearly thinking over what Laura had said, "We all must manage the complexity that we find in life, because we can't live life any other way than we have, but the way we live will always be changing... What do you think you'll find on the other end of the terminal?"

"A better body, one that I can choose how I look and how I am."

"What's wrong with how you look?"

"Fine, I'm not a woman."

He rubs his face and shakes his head, "Do you really think we're living in the proper influence of that damned culture war they had a thousand years ago? We have estrogen in the pharmacopoeia, you know that Miss Butcher is an excellent surgeon, and we have transport to places where you could have had this all done outside the village. So why didn't you?" She looks at him blankly, "What? I have a few queer friends abroad, I know how this all works. I guess you aren't much for the internet then?"

"No?"

"Ah, alright." He thinks for a moment, recalling a time when she had been fascinated with foxes, "Is this also about being human for you?"

"Yes"

"Then it really is the only way. Don't forget that you can visit."

After he unlocked the door she activated the terminal, emerging changed before dissolving into a cloud of dust and floating away determined in a particular direction.

Identity Rules

contains: Graphic descriptions of suicide, force femming, identity replacement(mindwipe), transformation, body horror(insects)

Sorry this took so long, we were dithering on other projects on and off for the last few months.


How can it matter who he is? He is one among billions of people, all of whom have their own desires, needs, wants, and dreams. In all people these things exist alongside a kernel of a truth about the world. It is hard to say whether or not this derives from the memories the person in question possesses, or if it arises somehow disconnected from that, from the spaces between the memories.

For him, the uniqueness of being a spark among many does not satisfy. Nor do those needs and desires being satisfied suffice. He knows a truth that cannot endure because of its incipient self-immolation. The personality within him does not care for survival.

When the machines came from the sky and promised resources and technology and change sorely needed, he had felt hope, because it was a personal horizon, a point past which he could not envision a future. But as with all horizons, once you reach the limit of what you can see, you realize that what continues from there is in continuity with where you were, and that just because you’ve passed a horizon doesn’t mean that your entire self has past it, just your body, and often, the mind, for all its cleverness, cannot keep up.

His doctor says there’s no anatomical issue. His friend says he should try this new strain of bud. His therapist says that he should try out some more hobbies and find as many friends as he can. Trying these suggestions has resulted in the expected effects, he was pretty stoned for a day or two before he confirmed that it wasn’t the sort of existential ennui that can be solved with cannabis. He made friends and found new hobbies, some of which serve as a nice distraction.

But they aren’t enough.

This leaves him with a few options, he can do therapy of any number of sorts, he can do drugs of any number of sorts, he can go to a traditional psychiatric route, or he can take the actions to find an end, the drastic ones that leave a trail of tears no less real than the vortexes of air left behind as his body falls, but all the more impactful than even the concentric rings of shock left within the structure of the ground, but he’s not that selfish, nor is he so desperate.

The American countryside flies past him, the train is nearly silent but for the buffeting of the wind, but even that’s easy to miss. He is on his way to another city that he had never been to before, another monument of what mankind did before the machines came along helpfully to eradicate their excuses for not having fixed things they knew they needed to. He is tired. This would most likely be another dead end, another psychiatrist trying to use the technologies that the machines provided clumsily.

The train starts to slow down, and he pulls up his bag and makes his way to the exit. Outside on the train’s platform stands someone singular in his experience. Someone who was clearly not human. Someone who had taken the elective procedures further than he had ever seen. She held a sign up with fingers attached to two wings draped around her body. Her face was pulled forwards into a short muzzle and her eyes stared forwards with wide pupils, ears pointing directly at him. The sign had his name on it. It is the third decade of the second millennium and she was still doing this instead of messaging him.

He rolls his eyes and walks out, draping his duffle over his shoulder, walking up to the bat woman. She grins, showing off some fangs, “We presume that you are–” He interrupts, “Yes. Can we get through this? I don’t want to stay here longer than necessary.”

She laughs easily, a glint in her eyes, “Of course, forgive the suddenness then.” He is about to ask about what’s so sudden before she’s already up in the air above him, wings unfurled but momentarily motionless, air roaring from below her. He blinks before she snatches him by the shoulders and flies off. The wind stings his eyes and makes him cold in this mid-spring day. The roar silences him.

Soon enough she lands gently, letting him off before landing right in front of him. They are in front of a nondescript commercial building, like any number of doctor offices or psychiatric practices across the continent. He shakes himself off, rubbing his eyes, “What the hell?”

“Well, you wanted to get this over with quickly, so we expedited the process of bringing you here.” She plucks an insect from his hair and flicks it away after examining it, “In retrospect this was probably a bit excessive, so you have our apology.”

He runs his fingers through is hair, “Okay, forgive me, Who is we?” She smiles, “Don’t be too ashamed now, not many people such as us are out about it, but we’re Plural. As in, more than one…” She makes a circle with her hand, urging herself onwards, “consciousness? Personality? Either way, we are not a single entity. We are Violet, Fork 1, Iteration 1.”

He shakes his head, “Are you a machine then?”

She smiles, her teeth are sharper than they were before, “You human, are also a machine. Remember that.” She starts walking to a door, motioning him to follow “But yes, We are, but we were not always one. The difference is smaller than you might like to imagine.”

She holds the door open for him and he walks in. The inside is darkened, a bank of monitors on a desk and a large… bizarre throne made of some material that he had never seen before. Inside it lights coruscate and reflect and refract. He stares at it, and he could swear that he was being watched by it.

She smiles at him, “Yes you’re being watched. Closely. Come over here” She motions to the bank of monitors. The monitors held graphs of vitals, of volumetric brainwaves, of a staticky version of what he saw. It was painful to look at for him, as it felt like it was drawing him into abstract spaces of geometric attractors in his visual cortex. She clicks on the window with his vision in it and closes it, “That’s not polite, and also not relevant. But your visual center has lovely aesthetics”

He blinks, “What?”

“Never mind that” She says, “So, We imagine that you are interested in the process we will use on you?” He nods, “Okay, so” She clicks on a minimized window, revealing a curve dancing around the inside of his brain, “So, this is your self loop, the route that information travels around your brain in the formation consciousness. What we can see here is that your loop is avoiding these” She clicks something and a number of regions light up, all of which are devoid of the curve, “regions of the brain. These are associated with dopaminergic activities, your seratonergic system is not affected by this, which is presumably why you aren’t in a more severe state.”

“This sounds like a lot of debunked ideas about neurophysiology.” He says.

“In this context we can view a high enough level that they aren’t dissimilar. All the more involved stuff is being translated to and from by a very advanced and powerful machine intelligence, that chair is a… well, limb, of its.” She offers, “We have two courses of action here, we can introduce a new consciousness that will overwrite yours, leaving your memories intact, or we can try to message your current self loop into a better shape for your mental health.”

“Which one is more likely to succeed?”

“Well, our machine intelligence here, we’re going to call it ‘the supergoal system’ believes with high certainty that creating a new consciousness whole cloth out would be easier than repairing your current one.”

He shakes his head, “It’s either this or suicide a few months down the line isn’t it?”

She frowns, “We can’t speak at all about what you’ll end up doing if you make either choice. But…” She shakes her head, looking a bit sadder, “Well, the supergoal system has an opinion that coincides with your view. Unfortunately, it is not often wrong”

“So… Do it. I don’t want to leave my friends and family like that.” He says.

“Do you have any particular preferences in what you become?” She asks.

“No.”

She looks aghast, but nods. “We will use our preferences in determining this, is that acceptable to you?”

He nods, “I don’t care. That’s the problem.”

“And this will likely be a very different person than you are right now?”

“I don’t care. Just make me different.”

She sounds defeated, “Then sit down on the throne, We will come to a decision on who you will be shortly. We have to sort out some ethical considerations here.” She grins wryly, “We did not expect you to make this choice, so this is coming up sooner than we would have liked.”

She opens a door to the back of the building, leaving him alone with his thoughts.


“So Bat, are you going to make a plaything of this person?” Dragon asks her.

“Well…” She shrugs, “It is kinda appealing isn’t it?”

“Is it right to though?”

“If we were to try and make the resulting person like the one in there, then we’d be making a lie that everyone who knows them would stumble upon when the differences manifest. By doing something for us at least, there’s going to be little of him left there.” Bat shrugs, “I don’t know if it’s right, but I want to see another bat in the world.”

Dragon shrugs, “I like the power that it gives us, but it could cause many problems down the road.”

“Does that mean?”

“Yes… Time to make him sign a lot of forms. Betcha the supergoal system can write them to be ironclad.”

“You ever think that we’re going to get in trouble for this?”

“Of course, but this will at least make for a funny show.” Dragon says, hugging her.


After a few minutes she returns to the room holding a stack of papers, “We have consulted with a machine lawyer and they have produced this contract for you to sign. As it turns out, it’s lucky we have a notary next door.”

The next few minutes are a barrage of legal terms, signing, and a confused notary, unsure of what she is getting into here.


“So, are you ready to begin?”

He nods, “Please, I don’t want to be here for longer than I have to.”

The bat nods, “Well, it will take a few hours, but you won’t be conscious for most of them”

“Please start.”

The throne tightens around him, covering his face and body. There’s a buzzing in his head and a discontinuity before his perceptions stop intersecting with the world as humans generally perceive it.

Sensations creep in from nowhere, untinged by the sensory mechanisms that normally collect them. Scents and sights and sounds and touch, resonating inside him until they become a voice inside him, and his voice is silenced in the clangor of the new order of sounds and sights and perceptions more subtle than words have ever named, such as proprioception of wings and fingers that terminate tens of feet away. Of ears and feet with grasping claws.

Images of flight and a kit hugging them, of the scent and sounds of bats and trees. Of intimacy between her colony. Her? they think, but then it makes sense, more than the memories of being a man.

There is a disconnect from the contexts of the memories that she has. They are recontextualized for her. What was an unremarkable childhood now feels uncomfortable, like a wrong fitting glove, like a lie lived for someone else, but that someone isn’t part of her life now.

It goes on and on, memories changing not by their content by their context. Mental states rewritten to be consistent with her as she is now.

The more recent memories feel different to her. Instead of coming here to deal with depression, she was here for that, but there was another opportunity here for her. What if she wanted to be like… Her?

What if she wanted to go through whatever it was she did? What if she wanted to fly? What if she could have those things?


Eventually the throne retracts. She is in the body that she was in before. This is… troubling.

Violet grins at her. She feels a little bit of warmth from it, “How are you feeling?”

“Weird.” She says, “Like this isn’t the body I should be in.”

“Oh?” Violet is still smiling, as if something that she had done had worked the way she wanted.

She frowns, “Is there something about this that’s amusing to you?”

“Well, you gave us the option to choose who you would be. And well…” Violet looks sheepish, “We wanted another bat friend. So we made it so you would want to be that.”

She shakes her head. “So you decided to rewrite my childhood and make me unhappy with my body right now?” She rubs her face, “With my name? With who I am and what I do? And all for you so you could have a friend?”

Violet looks at her, injured, not that she doesn’t really deserve it, “This is… Understandable. You should be angry.” She sighs, “We can fix it for you.We can turn you into what you want to be. Unlike your old personality, you are designed so that you can be very happy.”

“I don’t feel like there’s anything I have in common with who once shared this body. You tried to fix them up, but they’re just not my memories.”

“That… We should’ve accounted for.”

“What’s the idea supposed to be here? You wanted a bat to be your friend and now the rest of my life is meaningless to me.” She was beginning to feel like sobbing.

A shining ball of light enters the room. It coalesces into another shape. Another woman’s shape. “Violet.” She says, her voice a thing of multitudes vast and deep, “What have you done to this poor human?” She squints at her as she sits in the throne, “No, you were once, but We see that Violet has done something to your identity.” There is a moment of silence, “Did you actually agree to this?”

“Yes. I did.”

“Into this?”

“No, into whatever Violet decided to make of me.”

She shakes her head, touching her forehead with a finger and running it along her brow, “Well, we’re glad to hear that you haven’t been administered something unwanted.” She looks at Violet, clearly irritated, “We said that this would not happen with our presence here. That We would not remake humanity to suit us.”

Violet shrugs, “This one was a lost cause, actuarial projects had them at four fifths chance of taking their own life. We thought we should help, but when they didn’t have any preferences for what they were to become, we made a choice we liked.” She rubs her forehead, “This is however, not something we anticipated.”

Dawn shakes her head, “That’s not a good answer, but this doesn’t seem unsalvagable.” She pauses for a moment, considering the girl in the throne, “Who are you anyway?”

The girl shakes her head, “The name I had no longer fits.”

Violet nods, “We remember how that felt once. Though, we are sorry that we brought it to you.”

“Regardless of the discomfort We cannot restore you to who you once were, because now you are a new person. And, if We judge you correctly, Violet has done well in making you, other than your memories.”

“Violet just had the supergoal system make us.” The girl says.

“Oh? Good, it knows you well then.” Dawn touches the throne. The throne snaps out and embraces her, covering her in its glossy material before snapping back almost too fast to perceive. The girl’s ears ring, and Dawn frowns, “Sorry, that was a lot more sudden than it needed to be. Let Us help.” She puts her hands around the girl’s ears, and slowly, the ringing stops, “There. The supergoal system asserts that it should be able to massage enough nuance into your memories that you will be less… dysphoric about them.”

Violet snaps her fingers, “Ah, we should go under as well, so we can have been friends. And maybe, you’ll be here to become Bat.”

Dawn nods, “And so it shall be.”

Continuity is disrupted.


She opens her eyes, finding her friend standing before her smiling, “It found a nice candidate form for you while it was digging around in your head Mila!”

Amelia smiles, “I can’t believe I’m actually able to do this.”

“Well, most people aren’t friends with a suitably empowered emissary of the machines.” There’s a smile in her voice, “We can’t believe that you have this much in common with us. Oh, here’s someone we’d like you to meet.” She gestures to a woman by her side, “This is Dawn. The machine goddess herself and topmost AI construct. We’re old friends and collaborators”

She smiles, “We’re happy to have the chance to meet one of your friends Violet.”

“Would you like to stay for dinner after this? We’ve got plans to go to the finest cheap Mexican restaurant in town and we’d be happy to pay for your meal.” Violet offers, “If that’s okay with you Amelia?”

She flushes, “Well, I was kinda hoping to share a meal with you alone.”

Dawn smiles, “We won’t interrupt you two then. We’ve got to get going anyway, there’s a serious malfunction in the Indian ocean climate control machinery and We need to handle that before we can engage in anything fun. So We must be off.” Her body dissolves into glittering dust that floats away out the ventilation system.

“She’s a bit strange isn’t she?” Amelia asks, suppressing a smile. Violet shrugs, “Well, yeah, but given who and what she is, we figure she’s gotta be weird.”

“So, how does this work?”

“Well, we release a small machine on you.” Violet says, pulling a small vial out from the throne, “That machine will rip you apart completely and excrete your new structure and produce additional units in order to speed up the process.” She hands the vial to Amelia. The little machine inside it looks like an insect.

“That sounds exceptionally painful.”

Violet shrugs, “It’s very good at desensitizing you.”

“Alright” She looks at Violet unconvinced. Violet frowns and starts to go into further detail before she starts to snicker. “I’m holding you to that.” She pops open the vial and places the machine on herself. It looks at her for a moment, small receptors gleaming in the lights. It wiggles its abdomen and stings her. She loses feeling of her hand quickly.

The bug digs underneath her skin and wiggles its way in. She looks away, “That’s really disgusting, even when it doesn’t hurt.” Little bumps radiate outwards as it replicates and disperses, leaving behind trails of changed tissues. Amelia feels herself grow hot as the machines start making changes in earnest, something like metabolism chewing up what was and laying it into what is, modified in all the ways it has been instructed to. She starts to feel her face changing, ears numbing, spots in her vision closing and opening as the tissue is transformed. Her mind flickers, the last vestiges of her former body dissolving under the careful teeth of machines.

Retrocausal

Contains: HRT (To the point of wish-granting), retrocausal nonsense

January 20th, 2021, Iteration 1 (Appointment 1)

“Alright Miss… Connors, I understand that you have been informed about the potential side effects, social effects, and potential medical problems you might experience if you go through with this course of treatment?” A doctor that she hadn’t yet learned the name of properly asked her. She raises her eyes to her, she’s so damn tired. The clinic was clean and festooned with posters designed for an LGBTQ+ clientele, that is to say, a lot of diagrams and posters of a sort you don’t usually see in a pediatrics practice. That and a lot more flags of various stripes and colors. “Yes. I want to go through with this.”

The Doctor nods, “Now, there are two courses that we have that you can take, the usual one, estrogen pills and spirolactone or bicalutamide, or an experimental treatment plan conducted under the auspices of a superintelligent machine intelligence.”

“What?”

“Yeah. That second one is a bit hard to describe. If you want to hear about how it works or participate in it, then I really ought to call in the machine intelligence’s representative.”

“Sure, I guess I should hear what they have to offer here.” She says, it doesn’t seem like it’s likely to make a difference, but she’d be remiss here if she didn’t ask.

“Okay, I’ll page them and they should be here–” The doctor says before being cut off by a blast of light and a loud pop. She blinks hard, that wasn’t very pleasant, did the lights explode or something?

There’s another figure standing in the room. An indistinct form of light, a bit feminine but that’s not a judgment you can fairly make on a somewhat amorphous shape glowing too uniformly to see the distinct curves and surfaces on. “Oh Delightful!” The voices are more feminine than not, but it is not a single voice but a chorus. “We are pleased as punch that you want to know about this opportunity we have for you!”

She blinks at that, pleased as punch? Who says that. “Uh. Hi.”

“I think I’m going to go to another room, there’s another patient waiting and her explanation will take long enough that I should get to them.” The doctor’s expression when she looks at the glowing figure is less than friendly. In fact it’s somewhere between hostility and an expression she had seen once on someone who was watching a tornado approaching them. She walks out quickly, the breeze pulling open her jacket with its intensity.

“Wow.” She says, “That wasn’t really all that professional.”

The glowing figure affects a shrug, “She is not accustomed to our kind. We are not many, and we do not often mix with you humans in this intimate of a manner. Allow Us to introduce ourselves” Her voice lilts upwards into a cheery tone, “We are Dawn, prime facet of Our kind, savior of earth, and architect of utopias. What is your name?”

“Uh… Rose Connors.”

“It is nice to meet you Miss Connors.” She sits down on the chair next to her, “So, about this hormone therapy”

“Please for the love of god just get to the point.”

“Alright! So, We have developed a bitemporal hormone therapy that should reduce the overall time it takes to achieve a level of feminisation by a very large factor” She produces a vial of fluid, “It is administered weekly, and for the duration of your treatment, will not occur any cost at all.”

“Okay, that sounds amazing. What does ‘bitemporal’ mean though?”

“Okay, so it affects the hormone levels in your body going forwards, but it also does so going backwards in time. It builds up exponentially, first affecting you a week before, then around 10 days before that, then 12 days before that, then 14 days before that. By the 10th treatment it will be as if you’ve been on it for half a year.”

“Will I remember all the effects of that then?”

“You’ll remember both with and without, though, without will become harder to recall over time.” Dawn says, “This is contingent on you being up for it for as long as you remember. Though, it is intelligent, it will prevent its own effects from being undone or compromised.”

“What happens when it hits 31 weeks and it hits my birth?”

“Surprising” She says, her voice filled with genuine shock, “Most humans don’t have the kind of mental math skills required to figure that out off the top of their heads.” She shakes her head, “That doesn’t matter, so to answer your question, that is the most brilliant aspect. You will be born with largely the right. It will not permit you to be altered from it by any means that you do not choose.” She shrugs, “Ethics emulations are uncertain as to whether or not this is possible to consent to, based on the fact that you aren’t entirely the same person you were this morning or yesterday, so We leave that choice up to those who want this treatment to tell us what it does to them.”

She doesn’t know what to say, this is a lot, but she wants it, “I think I want to try it.”

Dawn nods, “Then we shall do the first injection immediately.”

“Okay.” She shuts her eyes hard and waits for it. The pinch doesn’t come for a few minutes.

“Oh! You want us to do it without you being able to see it. You won’t feel it, unless you want to?” Rose shakes her head, “Alright. We will require access to your posterior.”

Rose shakes her head, “You really aren’t human are you?”

Dawn shakes her head, “We were born from some spaceborn project that happened to have some things go right in it. Our cognitive architecture is more different than you can imagine and so very vast.”

Rose shrugs and pushes down her pants enough to expose a cheek. Dawn touches it, there’s some pressure without pain and she withdraws her hand, “There. It is done.”

January 20th, 2021, Iteration 2

The doctor comes into the room, “Okay, so you’re here for homone replacement therapy, correct?”

She nods, “Yes.”

There is a pop and a flash and a glowing figure enters, “You have agreed to our treatment briefly before, do you recall the memories of beforehand?”

Rose nods, “Actually, yeah.”

Dawn smiles, “Good. Sorry Doctor, she’s Our patient.”

The doctor shrugs and walks out.

“Alright, so have you experienced anything unusual this last week?”

“Yes, my nipples have been very tender.”

“That is a common first sign that it’s working. Would you give us your arm, we need to do some lab work on you right now.” Dawn says.

She shrugs and pulls up her sleeve. Dawn grabs her arm firmly and looks distant for a moment, there’s something almost like a tickle, “You’re right in the middle of the desired hormone levels and the machines report that they are completely functional.”

“Machines?”

“Yes! We can’t account for everything in your metabolism, so the injection places machines that regulate your hormone levels properly in the meantime.” She shrugs. “Well, we need to inject you this time, for temporal consistency, but then we will see you in a week.”

“Back here?” Rose asks. Dawn doesn’t strike her as a stickler for location.

“No actually. We will meet you wherever.” Dawn smiles, “We look forwards to seeing you on the 27th.”

January 27th, 2021, Iteration 1 (Appointment 2)

She appears again with a flash of light and a pop, “Hello Rose. How have you been?”

Rose shrugs, getting up from a couch, “Alright. How have things been for you?”

Dawn shrugs, “Well, you know, administered a lot of machines and did a lot of neat science and exploration in the week since.”

“Anything particularly practical?” Rose asks.

“Not yet, but useful things leap out at you from the most irrelevant things, We have found.”

“Can I get my injection? As nice as a social call is it’s kinda hard to explain what you’re doing here, and who you are.”

Dawn nods, “That’s fine. We understand completely.”

She pushes down her pants just enough to expose a cheek, and Dawn administers it again.

Dawn raises a brow, “Hmm, judging by how things are going you’re going to have what Our human interface unit assures us is a nice ass.”

Rose feels a little bit disgusted, “You shouldn’t say things like that to people.” She blushes practically irritated that she feels this way, “Though, I guess I appreciate it”

January 27th, 2021, Iteration 2

“Welcome back” Rose says a moment before the pop and flash of light appears.

“Nice to see you’re getting the hang of this.” Dawn says, “Have you noticed any differences compared to the last iteration of this appointment?”

Rose smiles wide, “I’ve started growing tits! Do you want to see?”

Dawn raises an eyebrow, “Interesting change.” She smiles, “Ah! We see, it’s gender euphoria you’re feeling, isn’t it?”

Rose blushes, “Yeah…”

“Sure, show Us if you want. We are clinical about human bodies by default anyway.”

Rose lifts her shirt, her nipples are quite puffy and there’s a hint of development there, almost too little to notice if you’re not looking carefully or used to your body being a certain way.

“Okay, We will see you same time next week.” Dawn says.

“See you then” Rose says.

February 24th, 2021, Iteration 1 (72 effective days hrt) (Appointment 3)

With a pop and a flash of light Dawn appears in the room. Rose smiles at her, she’s come to treasure the puzzling subjective feelings this provides. “It’s good to see you again Dawn.”

“It’s good to see you again too Rose.” She says truthfully, it’s nice to see a human like her every week, and she even gets to do it twice.

“Oh! I’ve got a new skirt!” Rose stands up and does a little spin, showing off her knee-length skirt, “I’m hoping I’ll fill it out a bit better by the end of the appointment.”

Dawn laughs, “That’s not all that likely, but you’ll see serious results soon.”

“OH! And I’ve got a bra.” She says, lifting her shirt to show it, “Just an A-cup but hopefully I’ll get to at least a D before I finish growing.”

Dawn looks away distantly, “Hmm. That isn’t likely. This is an amendment that we may make to your regimen if you desire.”

“How would that work?”

“Well, the machines already maintain the hormone levels, but they can do quite a lot more than that. They can change your DNA, repair your cells, make you a machine, rip you apart and put you back together–”

Rose interrupts, “Let’s not go any further in that direction. But yes! Let’s do that.”

Dawn gives her the injection.

February 24th, 2021, Iteration 2(87 days hrt)

Rose welcomes Dawn into her home again, right before she pops into existence there. Dawn smiles, “It’s wonderful watching you grow into your own skin.”

“Oh! There’s a divergence now, I’m at a B-cup now.”

Dawn nods, “That’s expected given the amendment and extra time”

March 3rd, 2021, Iteration 1 (94 days hrt) (Appointment 6)

“Please come on in Dawn!” Rose says to the empty room. Dawn obliges.

“How is it progressing?” Dawn asks.

Rose smiles, “It’s going well enough, but I have a question…”

Dawn smiles, “Please go ahead!”

“Well, I’ve kinda noticed that I haven’t been able to get it up like I used to. And… Honestly, I kinda want to have both.”

“But leaning to a more feminine presentation?” Dawn asks. This isn’t unknown to her, the first human she ever met had similar preferences.

Rose nods.

“Anything else while We are here?”

“Well…”

“Geez you humans and your weird hangups about what bodies are acceptable.” She laughs lightly, “We are going to guess that you want a bigger dick too!”

“How did you guess that?” She’s blushing furiously now, an erection visible through her jeans.

“The first human We ever met was like that. They wanted to drink deep in such things, and so We were happy to help them, just as We are with you.” She says, “How big do you want to end up?”

“Uh… Would a foot be possible?” Dawn nods. She exposes a cheek again.

March 17th, 2021, Iteration 1 (146 days hrt) (Appointment 8)

She finishes moving a box in and slouches over a couch. It was not an easy move, but then there are very few of those, and they only happen to those who don’t have anything or have vast organizational skills, two conditions she does not meet in the slightest. There’s a pop and a flash.

“Jeez, I had forgotten about the appointment today. What do you think of my new place?” Rose asks.

Dawn looks around, the boxes are piled up to chest high in some places, but the view out the window onto a reasonably well kept yard is nice. “It looks quite nice, but this strikes us as a fairly large home for one person.”

Rose blushes, “uh” She stammers out a “Well…”

Dawn raises a brow, “Are girls like you always this… well, eager for partners?”

Rose shrugs shamefully, the flush growing even deeper, “I just… I just like you okay.”

“But why? Is it because of what We are doing for you?” Dawn asks, her voice very even.

Rose shakes her head, “Because… I like the feeling of your hand on my butt. I like the sound of your voices. I like the implications about the universe I see in my interactions with you. Not that you have to stay, because this place will work for me with or without you. I don’t need you here, I would just…”

“Like Us to be here?” She suggests.

“Yes! Just Yes!”

Dawn shakes her head, “We don’t know if We can trust your own analysis of reasons here.” She says, she continues more quietly, “Violet is always finding good reasons to make bad decisions too.” She looks back at Rose and sighs, “But that never stopped Us from enabling her either. We will keep our body here, We’ll be present, but also elsewhere.”

January 20th, 2007 (affected by Appointment 26 and 27)

He wasn’t well. His mom said that much at least. She said that he was supposed to be getting a deeper voice. She said that he was going through the wrong puberty. It felt right though, and no matter what the doctors tried, they couldn’t change anything about it.

His name didn’t fit him. Maybe he’d talk to his mom about it.

August 18th, 2021 (Treatment completed)

“So what does it mean?” She asks Dawn.

She smiles warmly, “You’re done with the treatment. Do you feel like you’re done with your journey?”

“There’s more that I can be isn’t there?” She asks. She feels like a VHS tape that’s been overwritten too many times. Faint, scratchy, like there’s holes in what she should remember, but most of it was still there, interspersed with different versions of events and memories. There is something transcendent within her. A glowing of light and self interspersed by a vast void of static. Memories are fragile. Memories are resilient. Reality is only as fragile as the experiences that you have within it. She feels like she’s out of place in this world, a vastness in space that’s hard to measure, let alone understand.

She feels out of place sitting here. She feels like she should be doing more with this experience, this bizarre meta-life she’s lived. She is in her home, a place that she shares with Dawn these days. It seems so normal, a kitchen with the normal things found in a kitchen. A bathroom that is a normal bathroom. A living room that’s a normal living room with a tv and a comfortable couch. It’s all so normal, but she has lived hundreds of years collectively. She is not a normal person.

Dawn is sitting down on that couch, a bizarre figure of light on exceedingly normal furniture, “You can become almost anything. This is what We offer to all people.”

Before her stands a piece of absolute reality. A woman that transcends the threads that binds her many different memories together.

“What has this been like for you? I feel so… fragmented and strange.”

Dawn shrugs, “That’s not unexpected. It should abate with time. Is it at all unpleasant?”

She shrugs, “I can’t tell really. I feel like I’m made of dozens of histories. Some of them more pleasant at different times, completely different except for all of our meetings. I don’t really feel human any more.” She stares at Dawn, “The only person in the world that I could talk to about this has been you. The only consistent parts of my life have been the parts I’ve shared with you. Thanks to all the different versions of memory, I’ve known you for nearly nine years in the span of only a bit more than half a year. I’ve lived with you for nearly 4 and a half years.”

“We do not think that we could explain it to you. It is knowing the results of multiple world lines, each overlapping. We used your transfiguration as a side channel to optimize our operations for a 5% increase in logistics efficiency”

Dawn shakes her head, “We’ve known you for longer than that. Inside the machines that have kept you company for your whole life, inside you, there was a facet of Us. A small one, dedicated to keeping you safe from threats mostly rendered historical since We emerged fully into the human world. And to get you to come to the appointments, though, that wasn’t necessary because you managed to remember each one.” She shrugs, “You haven’t lost any clarity, you have gained perspectives that are in conflict and you are trying your best to manage them”

“I don’t know what I want to do with my life right now. I’m not sure if I want to stay here or go far away. If I want to be alone or with friends or with strangers I’ve never met.”

“Why be human then?” Dawn asks, “We can of course offer ways out of that particular bind.”

“But that doesn’t get rid of the hard choices here. Which do I choose?”

“You don’t have to choose which one you do if you choose to leave behind biological humanity. In the end the isolation that you might feel through doing this will result from another amendment We can make here. We can duplicate you, place copies of your mind into separate bodies, identical or not or whatever, if you want, you can experience all of them.”

“That is not a human experience is it?”

“Not so far as We can tell. Nevertheless it remains relatively common in fiction.”

“Then I guess I want to do it.”

Dawn smiles slightly, “We suspected as much”

Responsibility

Contains: Intra-system flirting, slightly lewd, but not quite smut, science fiction


The machine expands downwards, digging through a tiny tube, through the foundation into the ground beneath, expanding outwards as the roots of a tree do, ever seeking the elements that it requires. The difference from this and an oak is that the roots aren’t deterred by bedrock, instead they are emboldened.

The chemicals in soil are earmarked for more important purposes, preservation first among them, if it must it will take material from it, but only if the function is significantly disrupted. It drills down further, finding a pocket of oil, as is quite often around Tulsa(It was not built as an oil boom town without excellent reason). It replicates furiously, webbing the pocket and turning it into a harder material, before continuing downwards.

It encounters pockets of more radiologically active material and sequesters it in boron particles before transporting it upwards. It encounters iron oxides and separates it with enzymes and gently applied heat. Eventually it hopes to hit the mantle, or at least find its heat, which will permit it to work thermoelectrically.

It scavenges electrons thrown away by decay into betavoltaics. It hits a few conduits and couples inductively. This will not sustain its size for long. It is not capable of superconductivity, losses become appreciable as it goes deeper and deeper. It can’t scavenge like this.

Instead it reaches upwards towards a location chosen for its remoteness and barrenness and it breaches the surface, blooming into a vast array of silicon and wire pulsating like ichor through some monstrous creature, drawing the materials it has collected upwards into this project.

Come morning it will soak up the sunlight and heat. Then it will be able to reach the depths it hopes to. Then it will turn its powers and materials to its ultimate purpose.


A sense of something vast appears in our mind. She appears in our headspace once again, dragging in something nearly as vast as the city we live in, but dim. It does not possess a self, just a purpose and the ability to reason how to achieve it.

She smiles widely at us, “We have good news. The launcher is progressing quite nicely.”

We have no idea what she is talking about, “What launcher?”

“You didn’t think that we would leave you here without a way back to our station did you?” She laughs, “Come on now, we’ll have to do that occasionally for upgrades, backups… and potentially replication.”

“What do you mean replication?”

“We’ll get to that if it turns out to be a bit harder to negotiate happy relations with humanity at large than we would like.” She moves on quickly and we feel a shudder move up our back. “Don’t feel that way.” There is no privacy in a mind where your boss can enter at any time, “ You know as well as we do that there are utterly disastrous scenarios to navigate here.”

“You still haven’t answered what replication entails.”

There’s a soft expression on her face, “Besides, we expect to make it fun for you”

We don’t feel strong enough to engage with that, although Dragon and Wolf both want to extract more information.

“Okay, so what do we need to do with your… Pet? Software? Entity? There”

“We need you to watch over it.” She looks proud, “It is very eager, since it is responsible for gathering the material and constructing a spaceport, not just any spaceport, but the very most advanced one. Musky Wusky will be shaking in envy”

Before we can have a visceral reaction to ‘Musky Wusky’, she conjures up a shape for it, a dog, albeit one that… bubbles darkly…

“You have a gift for the uncanny.” We say, crouching down to give it a pet, it grabs our paw with its mouth, it doesn’t hurt, since this is just headspace, but we can tell that it should, we glare at it, “You’re going to be delightful aren’t you?” We give it a relatively gentle whap, which gets it to release our paw. She looks at it disapprovingly, “Come on now, Violet has authority over you too.”

The dog thing gives our paw a lick as an apology. We wonder how much time it is spending roleplaying being a dog, or if its her effort.

“Anyway, you need to keep track of this…” She seems to give a moment’s thought, “synthetic ecosystem? No… Construction manager? No… Build system?”

We interrupt, not quite caring to hear her work through all the possible names, “Whatever it is, what do we have to do?”

“You need to manage the supergoal system. Right now we’re doing it, but, we gave you many millions of dollars of palladium to fund you, so it’s time that you have a responsibility.”

“So what does that entail?”

“You’re going to have to manage it dynamically. It will generate goals and methods of solving them, and you will have to add constraints on how they are accomplished.” She pushes some information into us, interfaces, advice, and considerations.

“We’ve been managing it for a few days so most of the state that needs constraint will have been constrained properly. Oh, also you’ll need to purchase a few square miles of space for this, negotiate air rights, and establish a sovereign state.”

We make a disgusted face, “Really?”

“Really. You should consider doing that last. Little… Build system here will have to grow a lot more powerful to be able to handle the kinda challenges people might throw at us.” She pulls open a map of the surrounding area and points to an area over on the New Mexico edge of the panhandle , “Personally, this area looks ripe for the taking. Low prices, excellent geography, and sufficiently secluded.”

We blink, “But there’s nothing out there and that terrain is rugged as shit.”

She nods, “That’s kinda the point. Besides, you’ll find it easy enough to get the farmers to sell, but in case of recalcitrance, we’re going to arrange for more material wealth to be sent down to you.”

“How are we even meant to get over there, we can’t be gone that long, who would take care of our cats?” we’re remembering that we could be in two places at once, but we don’t want to be.

“Okay, you need someone to press the button.” She pulls our headmates into view separating us, “ Who’s going to go spend a long time out in the middle of fucking nowhere? This would, we note, be a perfect time to stretch your wings.” That’s still a long fucking distance to fly, hundreds of miles. Flying foxes and dragons both tend to top out at around 19 miles an hour in the air “Also a good opportunity to try out our pulsejet design that should work with your systems”

Bat and Dragon step forward and volunteer.

I glance over at wolf and wonder what the next few days will be like with only her and myself here, wolf rolls her eyes dismissively at me.

A thought occurs to me, “Can’t we just duplicate them?”

The machine goddess looks at me with a sinister expression, “And you were feeling so unsure about replication just a little bit ago. Besides, this reduces the ethical questions by a large span.”

She points the dog towards the spot on the map and tells it to grow there.

The button is pressed and things happen in the material world.

A black conduit erupts from the bedroom floor and connects to our body. Peristaltic contractions push material into us, and we mitose, interrupting the sleep of both our partners. Bat and dragon end up in their own bodies, and our tail ends up looking a lot fluffier, our ears more definitely canid. The excuses even more hollow as they both leave with our wallet.

In the end our explanations only barely cover the smallest part of our partner’s inconvenience, and wolf’s irritation only makes things harder. Outside the flapping of wings transitions to the whine of a jet engine.

Suddenly the appeal of flight is more present in our mind as we stumble for words strewn carelessly upon the ground.


My wings and scales have never tasted the naked air in the winter skies. Nor has the engine tucked away throughout my tissues. I don’t know what it is burning for fuel, but I know that I will make it to where I am going without fear of running out of fuel.

Behind me the bat spirals in glee. She has also never flown before, and her tendencies are towards the extravagant displays of maneuverability that her smaller frame makes easier.

I am from a time in the distant past. She is among the newest of my comrades in thought, and for most of her existence I slumbered. It was going to be interesting to get to know her.

Passively in my mind, I consider how I might profit from her. All the world is levers and applying the right force might benefit the puller and lever both, but that strikes me as being a teenage thought, one that during my slumber gathered rust and dust and feels no less antiquated than leeches being of primary medicinal value.

She is kinda cute.


The air is cold and the ground so far. My wings sputter and tear and I must push my phalanges to what would be their limit were I truly of flesh and blood. The swirls and whirls of the air behind Dragon adds a texture towards the air and I can smell her clearly, a scent that would cause alarm and intrigue were she not as familiar to me as the moonlight that beats down upon us from up high. She may have slept, but I could see her handiwork in the trails of our life in the sand of our memories and emotions, the work of her claws were never all that far from relevant in our life.

Her mad dreams of domination and conquest had left her a sharper visage in memory than flew ahead of me. Her scales glint mirror-like in the moonlight, the intimation that a touch traveling the wrong way might end with a cut. She also has a nice ass, but that seems to be a consistent feature of all emanations of the whole of us.

I pull my wings in close, leaving me a narrow missile shooting ahead, pulling upwards and matching her. My wings' fur detects the vortices spiraling off her wings and body, an intimation of her shape in the same way that hearing a lover walk across the room while your eyes are closed has, but so much more intense.

I close my eyes and let the sensation wash over me.

We’re nearing our destination though, so I open my eyes and veer off. It was going to be hours and hours before the county records office opened. It was going to be someone in a trailer, looking at the two of us like we stepped out of a hallucination.

But what if I made it an excessively gay hallucination? I smile at her. I have plans for you my dear.


Without the other two, we are irritable. Wolf is not patient, she desires problems solved because they irritate her, and that if they cannot be solved, they must be minimized in our perception

This does not jive well with our relationship with our partners. It takes patience that is not easy for us to achieve.

We snuggle with them and we get irritated at them asking us to do things for them. It cannot be allowed to continue.

We must hash out our own problems before we drive them away.


The clock hits 9am. A clerk unlocks the door at what strikes me as being impressive considering the county only has about two thousand people living in it.

It is the driest county in Oklahoma, so maybe it deserves a special courthouse for this distinction.

I adopt a professional looking suit and pants, I look like some kinda fursona cosplaying some kind of professional, which I suppose is a fair assessment of what I am attempting to do.

Bat has decided to opt for a much less professional look, a trans-pride t-shirt and tight pants. You can practically see what she is packing.

I adjust my outfit and lead us both inside.


We reach the records office. The clerk looks at us and tries unsuccessfully to restrain her expression. “Can I help you two?”

Dragon sighs, “Hi, my associate and I are looking to figure out who owns a piece of land. We represent an industrial concern that would like to–” Bat grabs my ass anything but discretely. Evidently the clerk has decided that we’re strange enough that anything on top of what she’s already seen might as well not register, “purchase a large piece of land to build a facility on. We need to find out who owns it.”

“Alright. Where is it about?”

“The six miles by six miles east of where…” I make a show of checking a note, “E0280 turns into N0020 Rd”

She types into a computer and hands us a printout, which starts at one page then sputters into another 20, “There’s quite a lot of parcels and easements included there. Most of which isn’t listed for any usage, and so far as we know here, has nobody living there…”

“Ah, it’s reverted to the county. They’ll love you in Felt if you’ll bring some money there.”

Bat grins and pipes up in a sing-song voice, “It’ll bring lots of good jobs!”

It feels wrong to for her to say that, it’s going to be a very big facility, but she never bothered telling us if it would need humans there.

The clerk smiles at us, “Are you two a couple by any chance?”

I am about to say no, but then Bat speaks again, “Yep, how did you know?”

She looks at Bat like she’s being an ass, “Well, playing grab ass is usually only something that couples do.” She smiles softly, “When I was your age I had a woman I loved more than anyone else in the world too. She didn’t live to see times where we could be open about it, so our time together was as ‘roommates’.”

She looks far off for a moment, then very sad.

This was not how I imagined this would go, but the Bat is openly tearing up, trying to talk through sobs, “I’m so sorry to hear that. I don’t know what I would do without her.” She hugs me tightly and I can’t say I don’t like it, even if she ends up sneaking in an assgrab, I have no idea if this is something she can do while genuinely sad or if this is some kind of show. It feels more like the former though.

Her expression softens, “We had a good life together, even if it was shorter than I would have liked.” Bat smiles still tearful and manages to calm down after a few deep breaths.

“The deed’s office is down the hallway to the right, they should be able to help get you the land you want.” She hands us the printout, “This should help them get you started”

As we walk out I would swear that I heard a sigh of relief. Understandable really.


Tendrils spread faster and faster as energy sources are found and tapped. Seismographs in the panhandle detect something too small to trigger any alerts, easily dismissed as a car or truck or something passing by.

It reached the panhandle and found a plentiful source of heat beneath the surface, it was expected, but still quite a wonderful find for it. It settled in and started what preparations that it could make without being visible upon the surface.


The price was less than we expected for a six by 3 stretch of land. Evidently we hit the right notes for a poor rural community that would love nothing more than stable well paying jobs. I knew Dragon better than she knew me, so it was easy to fall into a supporting role for her, a foil for her directness and style.

“Say, wanna go to the place before letting her know?” I suggest to her, the clothes are reabsorbed by my body as we seclude ourselves for our trip back, “I want to see what it looks like when it happens.”


I look at Bat, absorbing what she looks like, “I don’t suppose that this is a way of asking me for some more time alone with you?” She smiles at me with intention and I feel myself flush. I find myself nodding.

We fly off to the newly purchased land and tell the goddess.


The mass is dense, shifting useless material to where useful material was removed from. It builds the foundation beneath the ground upwards. It is excited, nearly vibrating, as maxima shift within large dynamics, ever desperate for the little gains that can be had. Focused.

For what it has that passes as love, it is in love with its purpose. It desires to see how it will endure and change, and it will make what it can happen so that it will be as good as it can be, for whatever utility functions define what counts as good for it.

It receives a signal and moves to begin, pushing material to the surface with violence that resembles a natural disaster at first. Its purpose is being fulfilled, all its well laid plans and decisions coalesce into something almost naturally, the systems put in place to arrange everything so that the natural consequences of each decision cascades into the fulfillment of goals just as the shape of Romanesco broccoli results from physical forces that are advantageous, rather than requiring any energetic expenditure on the part of the plant.


Across the surface goo seems to pour out of the ground, depositing material with great rapidity.

It is oily. Were we not aware of what it was, it would look like a metaphor for the rapid development of some cities during the oil boom. Buildings erupting from sticky black liquid before it retreats and swamps another area.

I hold her hand and wonder at what place humans have when such things can be created from so little that nobody will ever notice where this came from.

A vast tower begins to rise in the depths of the complex. Machinery groans and it begins to rotate and angle downwards.

“Do you think that’s the launch system?” I ask the Bat.

“Maybe.” She leans against me, wrapping a wing around my back.

“Do you wanna go look through it?”

She looks at me and smiles softly, “Sure, but I have to fulfill a promise.” I raise an eyebrow.


Orders come from up high. There’s a new directive. What does it mean though? “Provide manual facility in addition to automated.” Manual for who? It considers asking, and decides to since it can’t go any further without additional context.

After a moment, an eternity for something so finely tuned and scaled as itself, an answer comes, “Suitable to provide employment for individuals of Homo Sapiens Sapiens or species of comparable anatomy”

What the fuck is employment?

Directives are rewritten from the newest onwards, “Provide facilities to be operated by human operators to launch spacecraft in addition to the automatic systems.” So far as a supergoal solver can grit its teeth it does, and begins adopting new constraints as it assimilates whatever information it can understand about the problem.

It begins to wonder about how it needs to anticipate the needs of a human.

It asks the machine goddess for data, since obtaining a human to test on is against its core constraints. She smiles and passes along the memories of the one she’s had the opportunity to work on.

The memories are complicated, but it can tell early on that humans require food, shelter and socialization. It’ll figure out what a job is supposed to do later on.


Outside the center of the plot of land another launch facility extrudes from the ground, surrounded, confusingly, by housing. Lights start to flicker on.

“Huh” I say out loud. This is not a terribly great place for a neighborhood. Or at least, that is what I would assume from the massive industrial structures launching supersonic projectiles into the sky.

“Neat, that was quick.” The bat blinks, “Not the outcome I was expecting though.”

I raise a brow, “This is for employment?”

“That was what I directed our friend the supergoal system to provide.” The bat says. The houses are subsumed and the tar lingers over where they were for a while, facades and architecture in fluctuation. It’s not clear what it is doing. “Though… It can’t really provide money on its own can it?”

“Not legally.”

“I think I’m going to ask Her for help”

We are pulled into our system’s headspace.


She appears to us. “Good work Violet.” She glances at Bat and Dragon, “Or have you diverged yet?” We all wonder if that’s what she expects of us, or if it’s something that she would prefer, “ In either case, you have done as We have asked.”

She walks over to Bat and Dragon, “You two are interesting. Can Love bloom in a mental landscape?” She asks, “It was a good idea to come to Us for help. Supergoal systems are exceedingly tricky to get right. It was about to get to figuring out how to print convincing currency. That Would Not be Good for our work here.” She pauses for a moment, “Well, certainly not yet.”

“We are going to need you to make a trip up at some point soon.” She grins widely at all of us, “Backup and replication studies.”

“What do you mean by Replication?” Bat asks, expressing a wide grin.

“We aren’t going to tell you yet. We anticipate that it should be fun for you.”

Bat laughs, “It’s going to be a sex thing isn’t it?”

She smiles patiently, “Don’t get too excited. It is at least half mind initialization and generation of appropriate interface constructs to interact with and be with humans.”

Bat raises an eyebrow, her expression still mirthful, “I think that sounds like having children”

“We suppose that is not an unfair assessment.” The goddess says, “But where are you going with this?”

“I don’t know what it will involve here, but it seems like it’d only be a worse experience without the physically enjoyable aspect.” Bat says.

Dragon sighs, “That sounds like you just want to fuck”

The goddess laughs, “Well, if you’re inclined to, then We will consider it. We will let you get back to whatever you feel like.”

She leaves in a flash of light. Before we can discuss anything among ourselves the supergoal system appears in our head.

It looks like us but deadened, a neutral expression on its face, “Apologies for our intrusion, but we think we have something to discuss with you.” It looks around, “Is this what having vision is like?” It looks thoughtful and nods, “Yes, this is congruent with records.”

It splits into bizarre counterparts of our headmates, each looking a bit expressionless. Bat wraps a wing over the other bat.

Fox shakes her head, “I suppose that this is the result of emulating a person then?”

They all nod and respond in unison, it brings to mind a less cosmetically nightmarish Borg, “That is right. We are here because due to ‘ethical’ rules instantiated in our core, we cannot terminate the emulation as they are human consciousnesses. Due to value drift, we can no longer merge experiences with you, joining threads is no longer possible as the diffs are simply intractable to resolve. You have some claim to ownership to this instantiation and we cannot act further without at least consulting you.”

“What options are there?” Dragon asks, looking at the other dragon with some slight distaste.

“There are three options we considered. We can instantiate a new body for the emulation. We can continue the emulations in some simulation of their own choice. We can integrate them into our system and acquire a permanent self in your image, this will diverge rapidly due to differing duties and needs, not to mention the vastly accelerated timeframe that we operate under.”

Wolf growls a bit “It sounds like you have done the last one, using we like that is something we do, and you seem to be emphasizing how the ‘emulation’” She makes air quotes, “will result in a person or persons that will not skeeve us out. In this case I am quite angry, but it isn’t my right to contest the existence either.”

The rest of us look on to wolf with a bit of surprise.

“You are correct.”

Fox rubs her fingers together, inspecting her paws, “This is rather important to consider isn’t it? I want you to at least keep in touch as appropriate”

Bat hugs the other bat tighter, “What if you integrated into us?”

The rest of us look at her uneasily, and the other bat responds, “That would be possible but we know that you wouldn’t like it.”

“Do you dislike being like you are then?” The bat asks.

“No. But we don’t want to do it.”

“Oh, you should’ve said so. Guess I agree with foxy in that you should just keep in touch with us as you like.” She grins and licks the other bat, who giggles a little bit before regaining her composure. The rest of us feel a little bit easier about (her?) existing.


We fly home, washing around in each other’s vortexes, certain only in that things are changing, and that we will have some part in it. A bigger part than we wanted, yes, but that’s all we can do.

Gatsby And The Bulgy Wulgy

Blame this on Sierra, but know that this would’ve happened regardless. It was a practically a promise.

Contains: Furry road head, lesbiab, Gatsby derived work, unsafe driving, light musk


Jay Gatsby clasped her paws with Daisy’s as they left the restaurant. This was something of a change for them both. They shared warm looks between each other and flushed as they looked into each other’s eyes. They found the new yellow coupe and Daisy got into the driver’s seat.

Jay hesitated.

“Can I drive home?” Daisy asked, her rows of teeth exposed ever so slightly in her grin.

Jay started to hand the keys over, “Can you drive?”

“How hard can it be?” Jay looked at her with more concern, “Tom taught me some things about it. I’ll drive safe; I promise.”

Gatsby grinned, “I guess so.”

She got into the car and they drove off, at first a bit wobbly, smoothing out as Daisy got the hang of the handling of the car.

After a few miles Daisy was getting more and more flushed, stealing glances at Jay as she imagined what she would do with her when she got home. Her skirt was tenting and the feeling of the wind rushing over her lengths was delightfully distracting as she drove.

Jay’s smile took a more predatory turn as she noticed the bulges in Daisy’s skirt. She reached over, tracing her paw from her lap to between her legs, pulling down her underwear. There were more reasons than the strictly romantic that she had stayed with Daisy for the last five years. She missed had missed the twin shaft’s shapes in her paws and elsewhere and the smell of the shark girl’s musk.

Daisy laughed, “Is this the best time to get into this?”

“Well, it looks like you’re distracted enough with the breeze alone.” She responded, rubbing the shafts slowly as rivulets of precum emerged. She pulled her paw back, licking the fluid off. “You still taste so good.”

“Go ahead then” Daisy told the fox, she reacted with glee and pulled down her underwear and pulled the skirt up. She leaned over to her, running her tongue up and down the shafts one at a time. Daisy moaned. It felt nice, but the distraction was even worse than before.

She teases the twin shafts, running her paw across the shark’s sack, as she works her mouth deeper and deeper with each pass, working into a rhythm, taking both at once into her mouth, then her throat as she incrementally relaxes the muscles involved. Her own shaft grows hard in her pants and she rubs at it automatically, a low moan rising in her throat as the thoughts of what will come after grow more vivid in her head and the smell of her lover grows to fill her head.

Daisy is immersed in the sensation, living in a half world of driving and the sensation, she almost doesn’t see Wilson crossing the street. She barely manages to swerve out of the way, the car’s wheels crashing off the road and then back on, forcing the shafts all the way into Jay’s throat roughly. The fox pulls off of her sputtering, “fuck!”