A sappy interabra? I hate interabras.
A pair of arms suddenly reached over my shoulders, hands meeting on my chest. Startled, I spun around and saw a tall woman with curly blonde hair and a white dress, wearing enough jewelry to blind anyone looking in her direction.
"Don't look so surprised, Qunell. As if I'd let you out of my sight before you could consider my offer?"
Without patience or regard for manners, I lifted the sleeve on her right arm. No descender. The woman tugged away and held out the diamond bracelet that was there instead. "Surely you haven't forgotten our night on Ganymede?"
Aether could have been anybody in that room, I didn't even know if I looked the same or not. I looked back toward the window. Unlike normal glass or translucex, its material not only distorted the view of the stars but suppressed our reflections.
An announcement chime came over the sound bars. "Welcome aboard the Intergalactic. I am captain Zak Roylance and I invite you to settle in as we clear the dock and proceed on our voyage around Neptune, the most fabulous jewel in the heavens. If you have any requests, please do not hesitate to ask the staff. Thank you again for flying in Profit Luxury."
Several in the room applauded politely. I turned to the woman, whose name was identified by my SNDL as Anikaa Trumpp, and broke out of her latest embrace. "Yeah, about that offer... can we talk later? I kinda need to find someone."
The words had barely left my mouth when she slapped me hard across the face. "Don't waste my time!" Obviously programmed to be the jealous type, she steamed away.
I rubbed my bruised cheek. "And that's why I hate interabras..."
There would be a lot of these flirty, illusory romances, I thought. They're all over DR, the normal thing for ascenders to do, the reason many come in the first place. I remembered how offended I was during the medieval simulation, when Aether planted an amai to motivate me with sex. But how can I blame the malvirai? When girlfriends, engagements, and marriages mean so little to everyone else, how could she have known my love for Veronica was...
No, I thought. I can't deal with this now.