Her first dive into the network. Like swimming in an ocean of light, the experience as disorientating as expected. Translated to a current and merged into the information superhighway, the disconnect between her body and mind is unlike anything she could have imagined. All the contrast had been dialled up past maximum while all background white noise was completely banished. Her every sensation experienced in perfect clarity. Unadulterated perception unmarred by the frailty of imperfect senses.
To exist in the network was to be deaf, blind and dumb while at once being as one with the true form of information as carried upon waves of light. For Sonorous that first dip into the network delivered her salvation from a torment she had never understood. She had been warned the shift affected everyone differently. For some it was addictive, while for others it was torturous. To her it was at once both and neither, at it’s core the experience was transformative. Akin to a spiritual moment.
She drifts helplessly in the overwhelming storm of information. To be expected for a first time diver, she focused on the static points that connected her to the world building familiarity with them for next time. After the allotted time expires, she is forcefully withdrawn from the network to be re-injected into her body. The experience is even more jarring, now able to recognise the strange background noise that accompanies her every waking moment the confining nature of her body is instantly painful and disconcerting.
“So?” the feminine voice, usually so smooth feels harsh and rough as it burrows into her skull, “How did you like your first dive?”
Attempting to sit up in the reclining chair, Sonorous’ head spins dangerously. Her vision swims as the earth seems to rush towards her, “I’m gonna be sick.”
The voice laughs sweetly, driving razor shard daggers into her one by one. The chair reclines further to allow Sonorous to lay flat, though her spinning head feels as if she has been turned upside down. Her stomach churns with nausea, threatening to vacate the contents of her stomach with every smell or taste that afflicts her.
Compared to the clarity of the dive, reality was a jumbled mess of discordant noise vying for dominance. Forced to scrunch closed her eyes from the blinding light of the room, she lays in place steadily trying to master her breathing as she waits for the nausea to pass.
“Messed up isn’t it?” the voice finally starting to sound like Faith’s again, “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to that with practice. If you’re good like me you’ll even learn how to appreciate the intensity of both states to get an even sexier high.”
“It’s like you’re screaming that from inside my skull,” Sonorous moans, wincing at the echoing of her own voice. The minute vibrations from the movement of her jaw and throat as she talks like earth tremors.
“Have some fluids, your electrolytes are all out of whack,” no sympathy in Faith’s upbeat tone, “Your novice body’s got no idea how to react to what you just did to it!”
The vertigo fading Sonorous finds the button to adjust the seat to an upright position. Her head still pounding, she is able to open her eyes enough to squint around the room to see the opaque container resting on the the bench beside her. Reaching for the bottle she discovers her equilibrium is equally as affected by the shift and her hand trembles uncontrollably. Clumsily she grips the bottle and draws it to her lips, pouring the fluid into her mouth and immediately regurgitating at its flavour.
Across the room Faith groans with disgust before speaking, “Gross. Look, I know you’re struggling to reacquaint with your body but you need to drink. So just get over the taste and swallow.”
Trying to tune her out, nevertheless Sonorous obeys, succeeding in keeping the next mouthful of the acrid solution. And the next. Soon the unpleasantness of the sensation is washed away by the sudden bone deep thirst that wells up as she recognises her body craving more.
Draining the bottle, she leans back in the seat. Pausing for another rest she feels herself slowly feeling more human again. Her eyes adjusted at last to the painful glare of the lights and the cacophonous groaning of the air being filtered into unconsciousness once more, she turns her head wearily towards Faith. The barely older woman is sat cross legged on the bench counter on the opposite side of the room, smiling innocently at her. The vibrant neon pinks of her hair and trimming of her dress stand out even clearer against the lacy black base and her dyed pale white skin.
“Good girl,” she grins, tilting her head in the over the top cutesy manner she does everything, “Ready to go again?”
Apparently her expression response is hilarious because Faith bursts out laughing at the sight of it. Leaping daintily down from the counter she glides gracefully over to Sonorous’ seat, climbing up to sit on her lap. A little taller than average Sonorous is giant next to Faith, the woman was heavily augmented for aesthetic. Resembling a human sized doll, her augments are bizarre and heavily fetishised.
Snuggling against the larger woman’s chest, Sonorous is pleasantly surprised to realise the contact isn’t as unpleasant as she’d expected. The warmth and slight pressure was even comforting. Unable to stop herself from smiling, she pats Faith’s head, receiving a happy smile in return. “Alright, you’re cute. But any more sadistic jokes like that and I’ll rip your stitches out.”
“Meanie,” Faith pouts, before growing serious again, “That was a two minute shallow dip into the network. Your body is still reeling from the shock, but you’ll bounce back quickly. In a few minutes I’m gonna drop you in for a fifteen minute dive, it’ll be way more intense but also less of a shock if you paid attention last time like I told you to. After that I’ll check how you’re doing before decided if we continue or stop for the day, okay?”
Reminding herself that she had no-one to blame for her choices but herself, Sonorous musters up whatever enthusiasm she can and nods, “Can’t wait.”
Faith’s sadistic giggle is her only answer.