By Sandi Layne
teased Kat, applying tongue and fingertips where they would bring the
most prolonged, intense pleasure before bringing both Kat and himself to
simultaneous fulfillment. He watched the electric sparks and impulses
travel through the transparent amber connections at Kat’s temples,
wrists, and carotid artery.
was stunning. Kat screamed how it had never been this good – ever, not
in her whole life.
Right, Reece thought, all eighteen years of it. “It never will be
again,” he assured her, just before he pulled the connections from her
mind and body.
suddenness of the withdrawals sent Kat into cardiac arrest, and she died
while Reece was still getting his breath back.
^ ^ ^
started because of the sex.
Memcube had been perfected in the late Twentieth Century. Decades later,
it had been streamlined, modified so that the immense storage capacity
of the Memcube bit into a slender, smoky amber wand with the barest of
striations at the ends for connectivity.
experimenting with this new form of economical storage, greater than any
computer chip known to men on this world or either of the others that
had been contacted, the scientists had discovered that – somehow – the
wand could absorb actual pats of the human psyche.
What a boon
to the wealthy! What a boon to the industrial giants, so that they
could share what they knew before they forgot it. However, the Ethics
Committee of the TriWorld Council had deemed that the use of the Memwand
had to be approved by a majority of the Committee before it could be
utilized. The expense made “astronomical” seem like a conservative
measurement. The potential for misuse was even greater.
didn’t let ethics stop him. Any brilliant psychophysicist could
construct a wand, if he knew the secrets. And Reece had paid well for
the secrets. Because of the sex.
^ ^ ^
types of girls liked the restraints necessary for the Memwand to be
utilized. Certain varieties of women enjoyed the pain that went along
with the connection process. They got their thrills – sexual excitement
and psychological highs – from the Bondage scene. From playing games.
From the temporary exchange of power for a night’s pleasure. The Den was
a place for such people, and Reece had become a regular client. Just to
find these women.
problem, of course, was that the abrupt breaking of the connections to
the slender storage of the Memwand did something to the women. He though
it might be hormonal, or genetic. It had never, ever been mentioned in
any of the studies done with the Memwand.
girl, Annalee, had taken Reece to places he’d never been before. Without
knowing it would destroy her, he’d severed the connections and moved to
untie her from the bed. She had gasped and gone instantly pale, her life
ending before he could regain his wits to try to help.
it had been a matter of some urgency to destroy the body. The Memwand
was a treasured, interplanetary property. If word had leaked out about a
mere civ-scientist having possession of one, there could have been
serious universal tension.
himself it was for the greater good that he never told anyone about
Annalee’s death. Especially when he made himself download her experience
with him and relived her sexual gratification as well as his own. It was
like a drug. An addiction. She had a file, titled “A,” on his personal
download cache, called a dek. He had paid someone to create a
security system that no one could break, and he had stored Annalee’s
in guilty delight.
he had paid to create the security system had been Brennie, a
counter-culture genius who refused to bend to the rules of society. This
quality had brought her to The Den and, eventually, to Reece. That time,
he had known the disconnection would kill her, and he had prepared
himself. Her sexual psyche had gone into his dek and her corpse into the
incinerator. No one had ever asked about her. Ever.
had consumed him by then, and Reece made a game out of going in
alphabetical order. Annalee, Brennie, Crys, Dalyn… He remembered them
all. He downloaded them into his dek and relived the sex whenever he
felt the urge. Kat was only the latest in the line. Next month, perhaps,
he’d go looking for L-somebody.
the heat filter into his room from the building’s system and smiled,
goose bumps rising along his arms. There was Kat, warming him again.
^ ^ ^
The Pen.” The voice was bitter, but humor touched Kat’s
she asked. “Oh, stars, I met the most incredible man there, once.”
voice floated through the unquestioned darkness. “Reece Jac. We know.”
But when Kat would have gushed to share the whole experience, yet
another voice cut her off.
sex, Kat,” this new, hard voice advised her. “It’ll never happen
you up like perfume, Kitty-Kat.”
voice came from a different place, so that she had the impression of
being in the center of a large group, but she couldn’t see anyone.
Before she could give voice to her fright and bewilderment, the voices
started in again.
see, Kat. Learn to adjust.”
“We all had
statements flew at her, hitting her psyche like a barrage of sharp-edged
pebbles. Kat flinched.
tried to. But she couldn’t. Her mind told her hands to shield her face,
no rocks. There were no hands. There was no face.
tried to pierce the darkness, but it couldn’t. Kat felt pressure, all at
once, all around her, as if she were bound in liquid metal and shoved
between all these other women. Yes, the voices were all female.
I?” she whimpered. “Where am I?”
been downloaded,” the hard voice said. “I’m Brennie, but I wasn’t
was me,” Annalee said, and swore. “The man is insatiable. Be grateful,
Kat. At least you’re not in here alone.”
than ten others introduced themselves to Kat, with names ranging from
Annalee to Jynna. Kat fainted.