The pair walked along the pedestrian walkways. Lucia had recovered from the overstimulation and was examining her surroundings in awe, diminished as her sight was. “This has all just… been here? All this time?” She asked Niarith.
“Yeah, pretty much! Humanity has been a spacefaring species for… it’s estimated to have been about 3000 years now. Historical records say that Xia IV itself used to be mostly tropical jungle. That was something like a 1000 years ago though. Anyway, it won’t be too much further to my place.” They continued on their way, through the endless cityscape, neon lights and massive skyscrapers as far as the eye could see.
They stepped into a space that to Lucia looked as if it were a small glass closet. As they stepped inside, heavy metal doors slammed shut behind them, causing Lucia to jolt in panic for a moment. Just as suddenly, the elevator began to descend. Lucia just stood there, accepting that whatever was happening must not be dangerous, if Niarith wasn’t concerned by it. The elevator continued to descend, slowly gliding deeper and deeper into the dense mass of skyscrapers and pedestrian walkways. Finally, it stopped in a dimly lit place far below the spaceport. “Welcome to the Lower District, Luci.” Niarith said, though she didn’t seem pleased about it. Lucia could see the outlines of countless walkways and tunnels built through and around the immense buildings above.
After several minutes of walking through dimly lit, poorly maintained streets, Niarith led Lucia down a narrow alleyway and down a short staircase. She used a card on one of those shiny black panels and the door opened, sliding to the left, into the wall. Lucia looked up, noting that she couldn’t see the top of the building they were entering. Lucia stepped through the doorway, into complete darkness. She didn’t notice this, due to the device she was wearing, and instead saw the white outline of a small square room, with a kitchen, a strange pair of poles on one wall with a couch facing it, and two doors on opposite sides of the room.
As the door slid closed, Lucia took off the device. Niarith had turned the lights on, and the reality of the room became obvious. It had a single dim light, in the center of the ceiling. The walls and floor were made of a smooth grey stone-like material, greenish stains had seeped down them in various places. Several large rugs had been placed across the stone floor. There was one window in the room, a tiny thin little thing, up at the top of the wall next to the door. Little light made it through from the alley above. The poles on the wall across the room glowed faintly on the edges facing each other. The kitchen was entirely foreign to Lucia, the food on the Epsilon VI had been prepackaged rations, though she had no memory of eating it. Niarith walked to the center of the room, spread her arms and said “Well, here we are! I know it isn’t much, but it’s home. Bedroom is through there” she gestured to her left “Bathroom through there” she gestured to her right.
She stood there expectantly, waiting for Lucia’s response. She looked strained, as if afraid of Lucia’s opinion. Lucia took another look around from where she stood at the front door and said “It’s… beautiful. This is downright incredible!”
Niarith looked incredibly relieved, walking up and hugging Lucia tightly. “Thank you, Luci… thank you.” Lucia realized Niarith was crying, and hugged her back tighter. They stayed that way for a while, Niarith venting her emotions with her tears, and Lucia providing silent physical comfort. Niarith pulled out of the hug and walked over to sit on the couch. Lucia, not knowing what else to do, followed.
“I guess I should probably give you a bit of a crash course on… y’know… everything.” Niarith said after a long moment. “So, we live in what’s called The Federal Interstellar Commission. It’s an area of space owned and governed by a capitalist government. It encompasses over 1500 known systems and many more unexplored ones. They run the Primitive Territory Enforcement Department, it’s an arm of their government. A small and oft neglected one, but an arm nonetheless.” she sighed “Not that that’s very relevant to us anymore, now that I’m unemployed.”
Lucia placed a hand on Niarith’s shoulder. “Losing that job bothers you more than you’ve said, doesn’t it?”
Niarith nodded “It’s not so much the job as it is the… well, freedom. I spent most of my time out on the fringes of Commission space, observing, cataloguing, and sometimes ‘correcting’ the course of primitive civilizations. And now… all I have is a rusty old ship and…” she looked around the room, gesturing vaguely “this. I know it’s incredible from your perspective, but knowing what else is out there, how others live, living here is… humiliating. Depressing even. As a PTEO I didn’t have to be here. I could forget about my situation and lose myself in my work. But now… this is all I have.”
“Nia, you have me. You.. we, may live in a place that’s not exactly opulent, but we live here together. We have each other. Living here with your girlfriend has to be better than living here alone, does it not?”
Niarith let out a small laugh and kissed Lucia on the cheek. “I guess you’re right about that, Luci. I guess, for now, I can be happy with that.” She turned toward Lucia, a mischievous look in her eye, and pushed her down onto the couch by the shoulders, leaning down over her and kissing her. Lucia kissed back, wrapping her arms around Niarith’s waist and holding her close. Niarith slid down to Lucia’s neck kissing and licking sensually, eliciting soft moans from Lucia. Things continued to escalate, Niarith reached up Lucia’s shirt, fondling her petite breasts, whilst Lucia slid Niarith’s shirt up her back, simply enjoying the feeling of her love’s skin on hers. They continued this way for quite some time, escalating, kissing, touching, for the first time completely as themselves.
Lucia wasn’t entirely sure when they’d gotten to Niarith’s bed, but there they were. The room was smaller than, and made of the same material as the first. Another small window was up on the outer wall, multicolored neon light filtering in now that it was dark outside. Lucia found the bed very comfortable, and Niarith’s presence was a comfort in the unfamiliar surroundings. She was asleep, and very nude next to her in the bed. Lucia put her arm around Niarith’s sleeping form, cuddling close to her as she stared at the lights in the window, and listened to the muffled sounds of the city outside.
She awoke to the feeling of Niarith stirring. It was still dark. The lights from the window were still there, though their color was slightly off, more blue in them than there had been. Lucia realized with slowly dawning horror that the light… was teal. Niarith’s body sat up in the bed, her eyes gently glowing with Mirideth’s teal light. “Hello there, Plaything.” Niarith’s voice combined with Mirideth’s metallic one. “I assure you, you are in no danger. It is as they said, I am unable to affect you as I did. As much as I’d like to…”
Lucia glared at Niarith’s glowing eyes. “What do you want, witch?” Lucia felt a slight smirk form on face, upon realizing she could call Mirideth that again.
“Why nothing, dear Plaything. It isn't like I could get it if I did, is it?”
Lucia felt her anger rising. “Leave Niarith alone, witch. Get out of her mind.”
Niarith’s arm reached up to stroke Lucia’s face, the movement was odd, strained, as if moving was difficult. “Oh Plaything, you know as well as I that I can’t do that. You’re stuck with me. Though I must admit I only have control due to the fact that Niarith is currently asleep.” Immediately upon hearing that, Lucia took to violently shaking Niarith awake.
“L-luci? What’s going on?” Niarith asked, sleepiness slurring her speech.
“That witch, Mirideth. She was still able to take control of you while you were asleep. I had to wake you to make her stop.”
Niarith’s eyes were no longer glowing “That’s… disconcerting.”
“She didn’t seem to have as much control of your body as before, but…” she trailed off, unsure what to say.
Niarith reached out and hugged Lucia close. “Oh Luci, I don’t like it either, and if there were any way to remove her I’d do it in a heartbeat, you know that, right? She’s not in control of me. Not at all.”
Lucia looked up at Niarith “Y-yeah, I know. I… I love you, Nia. I love you.” tears began streaming down her face as Niarith leaned in and kissed her before saying “I love you too, Luci.”