November 30 – 12:15 PST
[LatexaTheWitch is set to appear offline.]
[GoddessEsmeralda has logged in.]
“Nicole… I know you’re there, sweetie… Won’t you wake up for me?”
Though a bit distant, her words were just enough to rouse me from my fitful slumber. “What…? What are you doing here, mistress…?”
“I come bearing good news, Nicole. The fight is over now; you’ve won.”
“But… I lost Iris… I had to break up with her… I need to run away…”
“Shhh…” Pulling me close, she began to run her fingers through my hair. “If you’re worried about that, perhaps she should tell you the good news herself, no?”
November 30 – 05:45 PST
[LatexaTheWitch is online.]
[Cybil has logged in.]
“Nicole, calm down. There was no reason for you to cause a scene like this.”
“I’ve had nearly six hours to digest everything, and I still don’t know whether I can take back what I said.”
“Iris had fun, didn’t she? All of it was temporary, controlled, safe. You’re freaking out, Nicole.”
“Cybil… I no longer feel as though your followers have a chance to truly consent – especially the girl who I heard was frozen solid!”
The situation had finally reached a point where everything that could go wrong… had gone wrong.
Iris was absolutely horrified; once the followers of Cybil had started to sacrifice more and more of their own personalities and identities to the woman’s doll project, Iris feared more and more that hers too would become lost. Thus she called upon me in the morning with tear-filled eyes, begging for a way to respectfully distance herself from Cybil – and from the harem as a whole. There was, however, a part of me which worried that the damage might already have been done.
November 26 – 16:30 PST
[LatexaTheWitch is online]
[SinfulMonument has logged in.]
“Cybil’s powers have come back to her.”
Upon hearing these words, Nicole’s first instinct was to say nothing at all. The shock she felt came not from the news itself but rather from how suddenly it had been revealed. Nicole had expected – or perhaps she merely had hoped – that things would remain quiet until the end of the month. Unfortunately, there was nothing to be done about it now. “I guess Aurelia was successful after all.”
“I saw it happen around noon. She was implanting tentacle imagery into her followers’ brains and then commanding them to publicly exclaim how good it felt to be dominated by her.”
“How do you feel about her doing all of this?”
“The pleasure and the submission appeal to me so much, but something about what I saw… doesn’t feel right. The mind-fucking feels like it’s sideways…”
Shortly thereafter, Lae and I came together and began to draft an extension of our original narrative. It was our hope that by tactfully doing so, and by presenting our testimonies before the court of public opinion, we’d be able to keep everyone honest. Of course, things were not so simple as to copy statements into a file and then spam said file across all of Vista. That was – after all – very much against the law.
Our story takes its name from the culture of anonymity which has defined the Net from the very beginning. Even as digital traffic has become more and more subjected to timestamping and geolocation, there have remained countless methods with which to conceal one’s secrets within plain sight. Thus, it goes without saying that the many players who were acting atop this virtual stage have each been given a pseudonym of their own – and that obviously includes myself as well.
I have often adhered to a belief that life is about embracing an acceptable degree of risk. I was not about to throw my life or my future away so easily – not when I finally had a person I wanted so desperately to protect. Yet there were certain boundaries that I was nonetheless prepared to cross, knowing full-well that doing so might place me into all sorts of legal gray-areas.
“It’s these unique circumstances which are protecting you also.” That was what she had said to me. “ You have a talent which has been recognized by others. In some respects, that makes you a bit of a celebrity – for better or for worse.”
I had not recognized those words for what they truly were.
I often feel that the most difficult aspect of writing a story is establishing the starting and ending points of a character’s existence – also known as their ‘canon.’ A character’s canon tends to be dependent on how well the reader digests or interprets their story, and canon can be expressed or defined through one of three principles:
In the first principle, a character’s life is wholly contingent upon the words of his or her creator. The flow of time freezes in such a way that only the direct continuations of the story can ever be used to establish the character’s full range of experiences. On the other hand, the second principle asserts that when moving beyond the pages, the flow of a character’s life becomes open-ended. Any continuity which has ever been conceived by an outside observer could ultimately become the character’s truth; therefore, all truths are valid.
Fans of fictional worlds tend to lean consistently toward one side or the other, and the two ideologies have been in direct contest with each other for several decades – if not for far longer. Yet there is also the dilemma of a ‘third principle,’ one which serves entirely to render the other two completely false. It is this third principle which I would like to talk about.
After being attacked by Eros, Cybil became bedridden for more than twenty-four hours. Given what she had been put through, she was actually quite lucky to have not ended up in the hospital from it. To keep those closest her from worrying, she sent out a single message which claimed that she had suddenly contracted the flu. It was an easy enough lie for others to believe, and it bought her some much-needed time to introspect. Getting over the fact that she was attacked had allowed her to focus more on how the attack had manifested to begin with.
Cybil was interesting in that she almost came off as being Nicole’s antithesis. Like Nicole, she also had recently turned twenty-four; and like Nicole, her real-world situation wasn’t exactly as good as it could have been. She worked long shifts in a diner and made enough to only just scrape by. Being herself in transition meant that she had been subjected to many of the same social hurdles as Nicole too was facing; and much like with Nicole, her access to the Net was a much-needed escape that allowed her to devote her off-hours toward what she considered her ‘true craft.’
It could perhaps have been said that the woman was more versed in BDSM than the rest of us – Esmeralda included. She had begun making a name for herself years prior – as far back even as to predate Nicole’s introduction to hypnotism. Before joining Orbital Vista, Cybil’s virtual-home had been on the massively-multiplayer 3D world of “Alter-Ego.” This program had been around for ages and could be considered Orbital Vista’s direct competitor.
Upon creating one’s ‘alter ego,’ a player was then dumped into a virtual building which they owned and could customize to their liking. Virtual objects and assets could be created, bought, or sold. Ever-fascinated by the BDSM lifestyle, Cybil had turned her building into a kind of ‘living-art’ gallery. She specialized in transforming other’s avatars into realistic-looking latex dolls. She charged money for her services, but she was willing to waive these fees on one condition: complete and genuine acceptance as a doll.