Her name was Siderea, and from the moment I first saw her dance I knew that I would never love anyone else. As I watched, transfixed by her sensuous movements, I wished that I could make love to her forever.
Dear gods, if only I could have imagined what forever really meant. If only...
Of course she was only as naked as the censors would allow, but my imagination easily stripped away the rest. And then my imagination stripped away the distance between us, and the dance became passionate lovemaking.
The touch of her hands and her tongue upon my breasts, my back, my buttocks, my legs, my clitoris, always seemed so real. For a time I was able to convince myself that the impossible had happened, that Siderea was really there with me, holding me, loving me, as I had always dreamed.
After what seemed an eternity our lovemaking culminated in one perfect moment of orgasmic bliss...
Then once again I would come to myself - literally. The only hands caressing me were my own. The figure dancing so sensuously before me... was only a forty-year-old holorecording.
With a sigh I paused the holo and settled back into bed, cursing fate for forcing me to be born in the wrong decade. If only I had lived in her time, I might have been able to save her.
Siderea’s career had the misfortune to reach its height just as the Medronites were beginning to clamp down on anything they considered obscene.
Nobody seemed to know where the Medronites came from, or how they got so powerful. One day they were just an irritating little cult with puritanical beliefs. The next, seemingly, they had overthrown the democratic government and taken power.
It was a bad time for freedom. Art galleries and theatres were closed down, books and holos were burned (at least, those that weren’t hidden from them, which fortunately were more than they ever guessed), and parents even stopped their children playing in the street for fear of arousing the Medronites’s disapproval. One of the few humourists to dare the censors claimed that the Medronites would soon put out the sun to prevent it shining too brightly.
In that climate of fear it was amazing that Siderea, an openly erotic dancer, managed to hold out as long as she did. It helped that some of her lovers had influence in business and politics, but one by one that influence was stripped away as the Medronites’ power grew.
Finally Siderea was forced to go into hiding. Some moons later, so the story goes, a group of armed guards broke into the small attic room where she was hiding and found her in the throes of orgasm with another woman. They don’t say what happened next, but she was never seen again.
But then something astonishing happened. The Medronites, whose hold over the people seemed so pervasive, seemed to lose their grip. Whispers of dissent slowly turned to rallying cries, often invoking the memory of Siderea, and within five years the Medronites had been ousted in a bloodless coup. Their puritanical laws were replaced by a new Bill of Rights, and those few who still held to the old ways slunk off to nurse their bruises and sulk.
The Medronites had of course ordered all of Siderea’s exotic dance recordings to be destroyed. After their overthrow a frantic search began for surviving copies, and before long many of her greatest performances had been rescued thanks to private collectors and data recovery experts.
Of course the authorities tried to discover what had happened to Siderea herself, but it proved impossible to find those responsible for her arrest. A search of her garret room yielded faint, unidentifiable energy signatures, but no clue as to where she and her lover had been taken. In the end no trace of them was ever found. It was as if they had simply vanished into thin air.
I must have caught my first surreptitious glimpses of Siderea’s erotic holovids in my very early teens, and from the moment I saw her I knew that I would spend my whole life in thrall to a woman who died two decades before I was born.
If only I could have lived in her time. If only I could have been the mystery lover who was with her on that last day. I could have warned her, hidden her, taken her away to safety, until the whole Medronite crisis blew over and it would have been safe to return home.
And then? I was not so selfish as to want to keep her all to myself. I knew she had had many male and female lovers, but I liked to think that I would always be one of them. Growing old together, we and her other lovers could have experienced all the wonders and freedoms of the modern age.
I sighed again and turned off the holo.
For all its wonders, living in the modern age still meant having to eat. I could have called for a home delivery, but I felt like getting some exercise, so after washing and dressing I strolled down to the local eatery.
On my way back to my apartment I noticed a curious shimmering in the air. I wondered if it might just be an optical illusion caused by the drizzle, but as I looked the effect intensified. It was as if somebody was waving a large distorting lens between me and the other end of the street, and the lens was expanding.
Could it be some new kind of holo-ad? If so it didn’t seem to be working properly.
I looked around to see if anyone else was noticing the effect, but the street was oddly deserted. There were no people and no traffic. It was almost as if somebody wanted to make sure I was the only witness to whatever was going on here.
The shimmering was beginning to look solid. After another moment or two it resolved itself into the shape of a young woman wearing a bathrobe, and apparently nothing else. Her face was contorted with ecstasy, and she moaned orgasmically.
“What the hell’s going on here?” I demanded. “Is this some kind of porno ad, or is it another of Aryana’s practical jokes? Because if it is, it’s really not funny.”
The woman took a deep breath. “Oh, gods, that was stronger than I expected,” she gasped. “Just give me a second here, please.” Her hand went to her wrist as if to adjust her watch.
“Excuse me,” I said. “No offence, but I just have to make sure...”
I reached out and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“That’s right,” she said, “I’m not a ghost, or a hologram. My name is Cheliese. I’m sorry if the manner of my appearance startled you, but I have to convince you that what I’m about to tell you is the truth.”
I stared at her. “Why are you naked under that robe? And what was all that moaning about? Is this some kind of porn promo?”
“The less I wear or carry,” she told me, “the less power I consume. Matter is energy, you know? And sexual energy is the most effective kind, hence the moaning. I must admit I didn’t expect that one to be so intense, though.”
“You’re not making a lot of sense here,” I said. “You show up in the middle of the public walkway, half-naked and having an orgasm, and spout gibberish... what am I supposed to make of you?”
“Um, don’t forget the part where I mysteriously appeared out of thin air,” she said. “I thought that was the best bit.”
“It’s some sort of trick,” I said. “I’m warning you, if you think you can scam me...”
She shook her head. “It’s no trick, Elzia.”
“How do you know my name?” I demanded. “Did my friends set this up?”
“No, it’s not a prank,” Cheliese insisted. “There’s so much I need to explain to you, and as you quite rightly pointed out I’m half-naked in the street. Well, maybe this’ll convince you. You made sure to lock your apartment before you went out, right? Double-deadbolt with palm and retina ID scans?”
“Of course I locked...” I stuttered. “What is all this about?”
Her hand moved to her wrist again. “I really need a bathroom right now,” she said. “I could use a shower too.”
Her body began to ripple and shimmer, and once more her face became contorted with ecstasy. “Don’t... worry...” she gasped. “I... won’t... steal... anyth... ohhhhh...”
And then she was gone, just as suddenly as she appeared.
It had to be a trick... didn’t it? Nobody could really appear out of thin air, could they? Cheliese couldn’t really materialise inside my locked apartment. Of course she couldn’t. That would be ridiculous.
The time I made getting back to my block would have given a professional sprinter a run for her money. As I approached my door I kept telling myself it was impossible, that she couldn’t really be inside. Even so, once the locks confirmed my ID and the door finally slid open, a part of me was not surprised to hear the shower running.
As quietly as I could I laid my coat on the bed and stepped over to the bathroom. The door slid open, revealing Cheliese’s silhouetted figure within the cubicle. The bathrobe was hanging over the rail.
I wasn’t sure if she had heard me enter, but I quickly snatched the robe and took it into the bedroom. It had a small pocket which I checked for concealed weapons. What I found were three vibrators, what looked like two small watches, and an unmarked holodisc. Curious.
While I had been checking out the robe, the sound of shower had been replaced by the air dryers. I didn’t have long to wait before the robe’s owner emerged from the bathroom to stand naked before me.
For a long moment we just stared at each other. I had to admit she was quite a looker. She didn’t come close to Siderea, of course, but then nobody ever could in my eyes. Even so, I found myself becoming aroused by her.
She’s crazy, I reminded myself. .She just broke into my apartment and stole my water. She has orgasms in the middle of the street in broad daylight. She’s probably an axe murderess for all I know. I’d be crazy to let her seduce me.
“I apologise for the intrusion,” Cheliese said quietly. “Believe me, if there was any other way to convince you I’d have used it. I’m not here to rob you or abduct you or anything like that. Won’t you at least hear me out?”
“Well... all right,” I muttered. “But don’t try anything.”
“I know this is hard to believe,” she said, “but I’m from the future.”
“You mean all that appearing and disappearing stuff was time travel?”
“Exactly. That’s how I was able to materialise inside your locked apartment.”
“And I suppose you’ll be telling me this is a time machine,” I said, holding up one of the vibrators. “Which would explain the orgasms, right?”
“As a matter of fact, yes,” she replied. “Remember what I said about harnessing sexual energy? Once you’ve set the space-time coordinates on the wrist unit the time vibrator starts, and it won’t stop until it’s built up sufficient sexual intensity to achieve transport. Dematerialisation takes place at the pinnacle of climax.”
I stared incredulously. “So let me get this straight. A thing that looks like a cheap plastic sex toy - it can move anywhere in time and space?”
“You needn’t look at me like that,” she sighed. “I do know how crazy it sounds. You’re not the first person I’ve tried to explain this to.”
I took a deep breath. “All right, look... Cheliese... even assuming what you say is true... why me? Why would a traveller from the future want to visit me? I’m nothing special.”
For a moment Cheliese said nothing, but merely gazed around the room at my collection of Siderea posters and memorabilia.
“On the contrary, Elzia,” she told me. “Your love for Siderea makes you special.”
“What? How... I don’t understand,” I muttered. “I mean, yes, it’s true. I love her. I’m head over heels about a girl who lived a generation ago. But how can you say that makes me special? That’s just an obsession, a... a fetish. Even if Siderea were still alive, she’d be sixty years old now. I’m not special, Cheliese, I’m just crazy.”
“Maybe not as crazy as you think,” she told me. “Come on, there’s something I need you to see.”
With that, she picked up the holodisc and handed it to me.
“Go on, take a look,” she said.
I stared at the disc for a long moment, feeling strangely reluctant to insert it in the player. I wondered briefly if the disc contained some kind of hypnotic imagery that would enslave me to Cheliese’s will.
Cheliese stared at me as if she had read that last thought. Maybe she was bending me to her will, because my hand seemed to move to the player of its own accord.
The first image on the disc wasn’t exactly hypnotic, but it caught my attention nonetheless. It was an overhead view of an attic in a run-down neighbourhood. I knew the place as well as my own home. It was the attic where Siderea and her mystery lover had spent those last hours together. As I watched, the camera swooped down and flew straight in through the attic’s narrow window, to find Siderea and her lover writhing together.
“Why are you showing me this?” I demanded. “I must have seen this dramatized twenty different ways, and all it ever does is make me jealous. What’s so special about this?”
“This isn’t a dramatization, Elzia,” Cheliese insisted. “This is the real thing. It took some effort to focus the scanners precisely, but we were finally able to record the actual circumstances of Siderea’s disappearance.”
“That’s really her?” I breathed. “Wow. I never realised she was that passionate. If only her lover could have been m...”
And then I caught a glimpse of the other girl’s face as she laughed and moaned with pleasure beneath Siderea.
“Oh, gods!” I gasped. “It can’t be. It has to be a trick. It must be!”
“It’s no trick, Elzia,” said Cheliese quietly. “Now you understand why I’ve contacted you. Anyway, you don’t need to feel jealous any more, do you?”
“Oh, sweet, merciful gods,” I breathed. “Time travel...”
My heart was racing. The girl in the hologram, the girl who was making the most fantastic love to my beloved Siderea... the girl was me! I was Siderea’s mystery lover... forty years in the past!
“Keep watching,” said Cheliese. “There’s more.”
Keep watching? How could I not keep watching? The viewpoint lingered lovingly on the couple’s bodies as they... as we... slowly brought each other closer to orgasm. I couldn’t help thinking that Cheliese could make a fortune by renting this vid on the porn nets.
The sight of the real Siderea making love (making love to me!!) was making me so horny I couldn’t resist fingering myself right there in Cheliese’s presence. It didn’t seem to bother her, though she chose not to join in.
Siderea and my other self continued to pleasure each other for what seemed like hours, while I pleasured myself.
Then, just as they were about to come, there was a pounding on her door and five or six uniformed men burst in.
Their leader approached the bed with his baton raised, crying, “Siderea and unknown accomplice, you are both under arrest for crimes against public decency.”
As the baton descended I heard my voice on the holo breathe orgasmically: “Too late!”
Then the picture flickered and broke up momentarily. Once the interference had cleared the bed was empty and the men were staring around in confusion.
“Split up and find them!” bellowed the leader. “They can’t have just vanished into thin air!”
With that, the holo came to an end. I was close to coming myself.
“He was wrong, wasn’t he?” I whispered. “They - that is, we - did vanish into thin air, didn’t we? We vanished into time!”
I sighed as my hands brought me to a slow, gentle orgasm. “All these years I’ve wept for Siderea, thinking the Medronites had killed or tortured her... but she escaped! She escaped back to the future with me, just like I’d always wished!”
Cheliese placed her arm over my shoulders. I didn’t resist.
“You know, I’m still tempted to think this is all an elaborate scam,” I said.
“Trust your feelings,” she whispered.
I didn’t reply, but the look on my face was enough for her.
“Good,” she said. “Now, as soon as you’re ready I’ll transport you back to a few hours before the - event. I’ve made contact with one of Siderea’s friends. She’ll send you to Siderea, and the rest, as my people say, will soon be history.”
And that was how, not long afterward, I found myself preparing to make love to a woman I had only just met, holding what she claimed was a vaginal time machine.
“Dual stimulation, right?” I said. “No wonder you were coming so hard earlier.”
“Like I said, the greater the stimulation, the more efficient the time transfer,” Cheliese replied. “Now listen up. Both time vibrators will be slaved to my wrist controller - and yes, they will be synchronised. You’ll be using the same arrangement with Siderea, so watch carefully. I’ve programmed them to transport the other controller and solo vibrator along with us - they’ll be my ticket home. We won’t need to take clothes. I’ll be transporting directly back, but Siderea’s friend has agreed to lend you some clothes when we arrive.”
With that she inserted her vibrator, and after only a moment’s hesitation I inserted mine.
“Oh... my,” I breathed. “That’s incredibly... um... comfortable.”
“They adjust themselves to fit the wearer,” said Cheliese. “They can be played with manually, but if you let go, a force-field holds them in place, freeing up your hands for other things.”
“Just out of curiosity,” I asked, “are there any male time travellers? I imagine they’d need to use some sort of artificial vagina.”
Cheliese laughed. “Oh, no,” she told me. “The time unit has to penetrate the user’s body in order to work, and a lot of men are still put off by that idea.”
I chuckled at the thought.
“All right,” she said, adjusting her wrist unit. “I’ve set the coordinates, and I’m activating - now.”
“So how long will it take until we’re transpor... oh. Ohh.”
I broke off as my clitoris began responding to the vibrator. I’d never been stimulated so quickly or intensely before.
“Ohh. Oh, gods,” I moaned. “That was... that was...“
“Just the start,” said Cheliese, reaching out to stroke my arm. “Just go with it. It’ll...ahh... take as long as it... mmm... takes.”
The next surge almost made me lose my balance. Cheliese caught me, and for a while we stood swaying in each other’s embrace, luxuriating in the euphoric sensations the time vibrators were producing. Then we started giving them some help.
I kissed Cheliese’s feet. She stroked my breasts. I stroked her ears. We slid each other’s vibrators in and out with our teeth. She slapped my buttocks. I caressed hers. All the while our pleasure grew and grew, getting closer and closer to orgasm yet somehow never arriving, until we lay writhing upon the bed, furiously pushing at each other’s vibrators to try to force them to climax us.
For a long time I thought it wasn’t going to work, but then the vibrators subtly changed their tone and I felt a new, incredibly powerful tsunami of pleasure approaching. There was nothing I could to prevent it flooding over me, overwhelming conscious thought as I came and came and came.
A small part of me was aware that the room was fading, becoming transparent...
...The world dissolved into endless grey nothingness. We experienced one perfect moment of bliss...
...And then the room reappeared, and we were coming, and coming, and coming, and gradually coming down from the vibrators’ overwhelming orgasmic stimulation.
It was a long time before I could think or move, and when I did I began to notice that our surroundings had changed. We weren’t in my room anymore.
My surprise must have showed on my face, because Cheliese kissed it and grinned.
Cheliese rolled off of me languidly and removed her wrist unit and her moist vibrator. “Well, now you know it’s true,” she sighed. “These cheap-looking sex toys really are a time machine. We’re in Siderea’s home town, in a safe house run by one of her friends, and we’ve gone back just over forty years to the day of Siderea’s disappearance.”
I sat up and pulled out my own vibrator.
The room we were in was sparsely-furnished. The shutters were closed against the daylight, the room was lit by a single incandescent bulb, and there was a spyhole in the door. I was tempted to sneak a peek out of the window, but then I thought of the Medronites and decided against it.
There was a small bathroom next to the bedroom, and we used it to freshen up. We took separate showers, because Cheliese insisted on conserving my sexual energy for Siderea.
Our clothes hadn’t arrived yet, so we sat on the bed and waited for Siderea’s friend to deliver them.
“It’s a weird thought,” I muttered. “Being back in the Medronite era, I mean. Gods, what would they do to us if they caught us here? Two nude girls together, with a couple of vibrators as evidence?”
“Don’t worry,” said Cheliese. “We have a precise record of their movements. I guarantee they won’t find either of us here.”
“You know, I’ve always wondered about the Medronites,” I said. “How did they take power so quickly in the first place, and then when they had power, how did they lose it again so quickly?”
“It’s a long story,” said Cheliese. “Would you believe me if I told you their leader Medronis wasn’t human?”
“What?” I protested. “You mean he was from another planet?”
“Another dimension,” she said. She didn’t sound like she was joking.
“Millennia ago,” she continued, “a handful of his kind arrived in our world, and they’ve been making trouble for humanity ever since. Some people call them demons, others worship them as gods. They have the power to influence human emotions, and when they reach the height of their powers - as Medronis did, a few years before the time we’re now in - only the strongest-willed, like Siderea, can resist them.”
“So if it wasn’t for people like Siderea they’d be even stronger?”
“Right. And Siderea’s arrest is scheduled for today, which is why it’s imperative that you get to her first. If you don’t rescue her, the Medronites will give her a show trial and throw her in prison for the rest of her life. History will be irrevocably altered. The Medronites will consolidate their hold on the population, and your parents might never even get together.”
“You mean if I fail I could cease to exist?” I gasped. “Gods, talk about motivation! But... but what about your people, Cheliese? Couldn’t they just come back and blast Medronis and the other creatures with some sort of futuristic super-weapons?”
“It’s not that easy,” she said. “It’s dangerous to try to inflict that kind of major change upon history deliberately. We could very easily end up making things worse. Anyway, the creatures can’t be killed as such, but occasionally with a lot of effort they can be permanently banished, back to their own dimension.
“Did you ever hear the story of the sculptor’s model who became one of his master’s statues? His rival, the one responsible for imprisoning him in stone, was one of those beings. Fortunately that one got banished soon afterward. We know how to block their access to our world now, so once they’re gone they’re gone, but as I mentioned it’s taking a lot of time and effort to get rid of the ones who are still here.”
“So Medronis gets banished a few years from now?”
“Yes. When Siderea fails to show up for her trial everyone assumes she’s been executed to save the Medronites the trouble. Not even Medronis can predict the amount of buried discontent and distress that her apparent death will unleash, and the wave of dissent will continue to grow despite all of his efforts to suppress it. Eventually he’ll be expending so much energy trying to control the population that he won’t notice our agents getting ready to banish him, until it’s too late.”
Just then there was a knock at the door. Three short taps, followed by a pause, followed by two more taps, another pause, then two more.
“It’s Marelia,” said the visitor. “You there, Cheliese?”
Peering through the spyhole Cheliese replied, “Yes, I’m here. I brought my friend, like I said.”
Cheliese admitted Marelia and quickly closed the door after her.
“Here,” said Marelia, “I brought the clothes like you asked.”
She handed the clothes to Cheliese, before looking my naked body up and down. There wasn’t much point being embarrassed, so I just said, “Hello. I’m Elzia.”
“Nice,” said Marelia. “I’ll say one thing for Cheliese - she has good taste in girlfriends.”
In spite of myself, I was turning red, in more places than I cared to admit.
“That’s enough, Marelia,” said Cheliese. “I told you, I’ve brought Elzia to meet Siderea.”
“So you said,” murmured Marelia. “Well... Elzia, was it?... luckily Siderea has good taste in girlfriends as well.”
Turning back to Cheliese, she crooned: “Soo... how about giving me a ride in your sexual time machine some day, hmm?”
Cheliese smiled and stroked Marelia’s cheek. “Not today, Marelia. Someday, maybe.”
Marelia sighed. “Yeah, just like you said last time.”
Cheliese handed the bundle of clothes to me. “Would you mind turning your back while I get dressed?” I said.
“What for?” said Marelia. “I’ve already seen everything.”
I muttered under my breath as I began dressing.
“Never mind Marelia,” said Cheliese. “When you face death or torture every day you have to find ways of dealing with it.”
The clothes Marelia had given me were similar to her own, plain, thick and utilitarian, buttoned up from the neck to the knees to avoid causing temptation to men, let alone (Gods forbid!) other women.
“Here,” said Cheliese, handing me the time vibrators and control unit. “You remember how to set the coordinates?”
Marelia handed me a coat. “It’s a bit nippy out,” she said. “More to the point, the coat’s got big pockets that won’t show the shape of those fucktoys from the outside.”
Cheliese took my hands. “Well, this is it, Elzia. Time to meet the girl of your dreams at last.”
“Gods, I’m so nervous,” I said. “I mean, I’ve spent so long fantasising about her that I don’t know what would be worse - whether she isn’t how I imagined her, or that she is and I can’t measure up. Cheliese, suppose she doesn’t accept me? What if the future gets changed because I mess things up?”
Cheliese placed a hand on my cheek. “Elzia, if you just be yourself there’s no way she’ll turn you away. You’ll see, it’ll be fine.”
I took a deep breath. “Well, then... thank you, Cheliese. Just to meet her in the flesh... it’s more than I could ever have dreamed.”
Then another thought occurred to me. “Cheliese... are you sure you don’t want to come with me? I mean, the time vibrators can be programmed for threesomes, can’t they?”
Cheliese smiled. “It’s a tempting thought, Elzia, but I can’t. Giving Siderea a third lover would cause too big a change to the fabric of time. The consequences would be unpredictable. Rest assured, though, I’ll be thinking of you.”
She kissed me goodbye, long and lovingly.
“Goodbye, Elzia,” she said sadly. “History will always be grateful to you.”
Marelia took me by the arm and led me out the door.
“Farewell, Marelia,” said Cheliese. “There are a couple of Medronite plain clothes patrols snooping around Meadow Lane and Darrizel Street. If you go by way of Green Street you’ll avoid them.”
Marelia nodded. “Hey, wait until I get back, will you, Cheliese? I may not be able to take a ride on your time-vibrator, but I can at least help you to build up your sexual energy for the journey.”
As we exited the house Marelia said, “So... I guess you’re here to take Siderea on a ride through time, huh?”
“Cheliese never said what she was really planning, but I’ve guessed,” said Marelia. “It’s obvious the Medronites have been tightening their net around Siderea. I kept telling her to leave, but she said she felt sure something would happen. I guess you must be the something, right?”
“Yes,” I replied. “I’m supposed to take Siderea to the future where she’ll be safe.”
We walked on in silence for a few moments. Then Marelia said, “I suppose I’ll never see her again.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I suppose after we arrive in the future Cheliese might bring you to join us.”
“Yeah, right. What are the odds on that?” she sighed. “No, I’ll be leaving town tonight. If I can make it to the border then maybe I can sit out the rest of the Medronite occupation. Cheliese says they’ll be out of power within five years. Hard to believe right now.”
“But it’s true, Marelia,” I said. “Believe me, the future will be a lot better than anyone in this climate of fear can imagine.”
We turned off of Green Street into a narrow alley, and Marelia unlocked a small side door that was half-hidden in the alley’s permanent shadow.
“Well, this is it,” she said. “Room’s right at the top, four flights up. Don’t forget the knock.”
“Aren’t you coming up? To say farewell to Siderea?”
“Nah,” she said, doing her best to put a brave face on. “I hate goodbyes. When you get to the future look me up, all right? I plan to still be around when you get there.”
Just as she was turning to walk away she gave me one last look. Even in the darkness of the alley I could see the glint in her eye.
“Make her happy, Elzia. You hear? Cause if you don’t...”
And then she was gone. With a sigh I turned and entered the building, locking the door behind me.
I thought about Cheliese’s advice as I climbed the stairs to Siderea’s loft room. “Just be yourself and there’s no way she’ll turn you away.”
Despite her assurances my heart was pounding. How could I face the literal girl of my dreams without becoming completely tongue-tied?
Taking a deep breath I knocked on her door three times, paused, knocked twice, paused, and knocked twice again.
I took another deep breath as footsteps approached and the door was unbolted from within. The door opened and I found myself face to face with Siderea. My beloved Siderea.
My heart leapt. She was far more beautiful than any mere holo could ever have shown.
Siderea’s face wore a surprised expression - obviously she hadn’t been expecting me - but she motioned me inside and swiftly bolted the door behind us.
“Marelia sent me,” I heard myself saying in a surprisingly normal tone. “She... she said to tell you she’s leaving tonight.”
Siderea nodded blankly. “Yes... I guessed she wouldn’t be staying. She always hated goodbyes.”
“Siderea,” I said, “I realise I’m a complete stranger, but please believe that it’s vital for you to trust me.”
She looked me up and down for a long moment. “It’s true,” she said, “it can be hard to know who to trust nowadays. On the other hand, I do have faith in the notion that friends can be found in unlikely places.”
So saying she flicked on a table lamp, illuminating a small object covered by a cloth.
“Before I began full-time dance training I also took art class,” Siderea told me. “I never completed the course, but I’m quite proud of how this one turned out.”
Siderea lifted off the cloth to reveal a small but exquisitely-detailed clay statue on top of a dresser. Two entwined nude figures were captured in a paroxysm of mutual ecstasy.
“I call it ‘One Perfect Moment’,” Siderea informed me.
The upper girl’s ecstatic face was clearly a self-portrait. Her lover’s right hand grasped one of her taut buttocks while the other hand caressed her arched upper back. Although the lower girl’s face was also contorted into a mask of pure bliss, it was unmistakable.
“Siderea,” I breathed, “That... that’s me! This is a statue of you and me, making love! How could... how could you possibly know what I looked like?”
Siderea gestured toward the drawer beneath the statue. Opening it, I discovered a sheaf of papers. On the top was a neatly-handwritten set of notes, which began:
My jaw dropped as I read on. Just as I had become obsessed with Siderea after seeing her dance in old holograms, so she had become equally obsessed with me after seeing me in dreams and visions.
I had loved Siderea for so many years. How could I have ever imagined that she had loved me for the same amount of time?
“It was Cheliese,” I muttered. “She planted those visions in your mind. Dear gods, it was her all along! She’s been grooming us both for this meeting. What gave her the right to play god?”
Once I had told Siderea how I had encountered Cheliese, and how the time traveller had given me the opportunity to make my dreams come true, Siderea nodded slowly.
“So,” she said, “this Cheliese has spent years manipulating us both into loving each other?”
“And she’s succeeded,” I whispered. “Manipulated or not... we can’t help loving each other... can we?”
“No,” sighed Siderea, caressing my cheek. “We can’t,”
Reaching into my jacket I brought out the watch-like time control unit and showed it to Siderea.
“You’ve seen this in your visions, haven’t you?”
“Then I suppose you’ve seen these as well,” I said, taking out the two time vibrator units.
“Oh, yes,” she said with a small tremor in her voice. “Sexual time machines. I’ve often used vibrators, but my visions always told me these would be... different.”
“You wouldn’t believe,” I replied. “Here. This is your one.”
Handing her the slave time vibrator unit, I began removing my borrowed clothes.
“We’re still going through with this, then,” she whispered.
“Of course,” I replied. “What’s the alternative? I can’t leave you here to get captured by the Medronites. Your visions must have shown you that.”
“Of course,” she muttered. “My Future Girl could never abandon me.”
We kissed, long and tenderly. If that was fake, it felt real enough to the pair of us.
“All right,” I said, once I got my breath back. “It will take some time for the vibrators to build up enough sexual energy for the time jump, so the sooner we get started the better.”
I strapped on the wrist controller and inserted my own time vibrator. I sighed a little while it adjusted itself to the shape of my vagina and clitoris and began pulsating gently.
My arousal increased as I watched Siderea removing her clothes. Then she slid her own time vibrator into place, gasping as it familiarised itself with her womanhood.
The two of us, who had loved each other from afar but believed we could never meet in the flesh, now stood face to face, shy and awkward like teenage virgins seeing each other naked for the first time, each of us afraid to make the first move.
We both moaned as the time vibrators sent a set of synchronised pulses through our clits.
“Idle warning,” I gasped. “The time vibrators are reminding me that they need programming.”
I reached for the control unit and entered the coordinates of my own apartment. I set the time for the exact moment after Cheliese and I dematerialised. The dent in the sheets would still be waiting for Siderea and me.
“All right, Siderea,” I said, “Here we go.”
With that I pressed the Start button and the time vibrators began stimulating us in earnest.
“Oh, my,” breathed Siderea. “That is... different... isn’t it?”
“It’s going to be... mmm... quite a ride,” I said, embracing her.
The vibrators did their work, stimulating us slowly at first and then with increasing urgency. They were programmed to bring us to orgasm, and there was nothing we could do to stop them. On the other hand, there was plenty we could do to help them. Caressing each other from head to foot, we slowly explored each other’s mouths with our tongues. The vibrators supplied the sexual energy; we supplied the love.
All of my doubt and shyness was gone. Siderea was my lover, the girl of my dreams. All Cheliese had done was ensure that our destiny would be fulfilled. We were meant for each other, and nothing we did for each other could be wrong.
We must have licked and stroked every millicubit of each other’s bodies. We made love standing, sitting, rolling on the floor and leaning against the wall, gasping and moaning and panting and laughing and howling like lupinoids. Never mind the Medronites - we didn’t care who might hear us.
Time after time we thought we were going to come, but the time vibrators kept taking us to the brink and holding us back. They weren’t going to let us come until they’d built up enough sexual energy to transport us.
In a haze of delight we fell onto the bed, rocking our hips together in an attempt to make the time vibrators speed up. They sent short, intense bursts of ecstasy coursing through our bodies from head to foot, but it still wasn’t time for our orgasm. Not quite.
We were vaguely aware of raised voices outside, of marching footsteps approaching...
“I love you, Siderea,” I breathed.
“I love you, Elzia,” she moaned at the exact same moment.
The vibrators’ stimulation grew slower, more subtle, yet somehow more sensuous.
“Beautiful dancer,” I whispered.
“Future Girl,” she replied.
I rolled onto my back and Siderea rolled on top of me.
“Soon we will be free,” I sighed.
There were footsteps on the stairs. It didn’t matter. I could feel myself starting to come, and I knew that Siderea was going to come simultaneously.
I heard myself laughing ecstatically as the door burst open and a group of armed men marched in. The vibrators were powering up for the jump. My right hand tightened spasmodically on Siderea’s taut buttock.
I saw the guard leader approaching the bed as if in slow motion. I was vaguely aware that he was attempting to arrest us, but my pleasure was overpowering conscious thought.
As if moving through molasses, his baton descended toward where my arm lay across Siderea’s back. I heard myself sighing orgasmically: “Too late!”
I was coming, and Siderea was coming... hotter and hotter, harder and harder... The world was growing fainter and fainter, more and more transparent...
Just before the world disappeared completely I felt an impact as the guard’s club struck the control unit. There was a tiny sound of breaking glass, a faint crackle of energy...
The world went away, dissolving into a formless grey void. We were free! I had taken Siderea beyond the reach of the Medronites! My elation at having saved her was almost as powerful as the physical pleasure the vibrators were generating.
Ecstasy was blazing through every nerve in our bodies. It was an incredible sensation, as if we were having every orgasm we had ever experienced and all the orgasms we had ever hoped to experience rolled into one.
As our sensations reached the peak of their intensity, the barriers between our minds seemed to melt away. I could feel all of Siderea’s love, elation and ecstasy, and she could feel mine. It was beautiful, and it was overwhelming, and it was impossible... and it was perfect. It was everything we had ever dreamt of. It was our one perfect moment. We came... and came... and came...
Time seemed to stand still, and we came... and came... and came... for what seemed like hours, or weeks, or years...
Story continues below
The world doesn’t come back. The formless grey void continues to surround us for what seems like hours, or weeks, or years. And we come... and come... and come... for what seems like hours, or weeks, or years...
The sensation is so intense that it almost overwhelms conscious thought... but not quite. The parts of our minds that can still think eventually manage to figure out what’s happening to us.
Time isn’t just seeming to stand still. The guard’s club must have damaged the time controller’s watch-dial just before we dematerialised. At the exact instant that we climaxed and vanished into the void, the watch’s delicate mechanisms short-circuited.
Normally if your watch stops it’s no big deal. You just get it repaired, or buy a new one. This watch is different. It wasn’t telling time for us, it was controlling it - and when the watch stopped, time stopped with it!
Somehow we can still think. Subjectively we feel as if something like time is still passing. But objective, physical time has frozen solid, and it can’t be unfrozen.
Our beautiful, overwhelming, impossible climax, goes on and on for hours, or weeks, or years. Pleasure saturates our bodies, never changing or diminishing in the slightest, always fresh, always new, always happening right now...
Has it really been hours, or weeks, or years? It’s a meaningless question. Time doesn’t exist for us anymore. After a trillion, trillion, trillion eternities of orgasm, we will have been here for one single moment... the perfect moment that Siderea captured in clay.
The Medronites claim that “sexual deviants” will be chained in eternal fire. Well... our bodies are permanently aflame now, if not in quite the way the Medronites would prefer. We want to wail and moan and shiver and writhe in ecstasy... but we can’t. We can’t make the slightest sound or movement. We can’t turn off the controls, stop coming and return to normal time... even if we wanted to.
The Medronite guards will destroy Siderea’s statue, but it doesn’t matter. We are the statue now.
Did Cheliese know this was going to happen? She said “farewell” to Marelia but “goodbye” to me. Was she sad to see me go because she knew I was about to be trapped in ecstasy with Siderea... or because she knew she couldn’t join us? There’s no way we can ever know now.
All we do know for sure is that we fulfilled history. Back in the real-time world that we’ve left behind forever, the Medronites will fall. All it took for that to happen was Siderea’s disappearance. Cheliese never said she had to reappear, either in the future or anywhere else. Poor Marelia will wait for her in vain. I have her all to myself until the end of time...
No, that’s not quite right. As far as we’re concerned, time has already ended, and its final instant has stretched to infinity.
Oh, my beautiful, beloved Siderea. This is not the freedom I promised you. We can’t go anywhere or do anything, except climax. We can’t even turn our heads to see each other’s faces. (That doesn’t matter, though. Your cherished face is always in my mind, and I know that mine is always in yours.)
At least you’re safe in my arms now, and I’m safe in yours, just as we always wished. We will never feel fear or anxiety again, only eternal love and pleasure. The only thing we can do is give ourselves up to our perfect moment of overwhelming, impossible, perfect ecstasy... and remember.
Her name was Siderea, and from the moment I first saw her dance I knew that I would never love anyone else. As I watched, transfixed by her sensuous movements, I wished that I could make love to her forever.
Dear gods, if only I could have imagined what forever really meant. If only...
Alternative titles I considered for this story included In the Moment, Eternity in an Hour, and - yes - Stuck in a Moment that you Can’t Get Out of.
From Standing Dan on the Naga’s Den messageboard (commenting on the original version of the story: