Fictional Short Story
© Darren White 2013
" Seduction Games "
d a r r e n w h i t e
www.darrenwhite.co | www.facebook.com/darrenwhit3 |
twitter.com/dazzawhit3 | www.darrenwhite.co/blog.html
© 2013 Darren White
He strides purposely into the high class hotel lobby, leaving the
teaming streets bursting with impoverished pensioners and teens sporting
facial recognition defeat paint, behind in the frigid, moonless night air.
The artificial implants in his head feed directions to his ocular implants,
overlaying an arrow pointing to the hotel bar onto his enhanced vision.
He follows the virtual arrow into the tastefully expensive saloon.
Small, discreet groups and silent individuals sit modestly at the wooden
tables, bathed in pools of stylized light. He surveys the room, studying
the occupants filling the spaces around the islands of illumination. Name
labels appear in his augmented vision, superimposed over the heads of those
broadcasting mini biogs.
They are mostly corporate types away from home, looking for
connectionless, uncomplicated sex, or their desperate counterparts; the
lonely spouses of the business class. His dating application plays the more
lurid adverts of those practiced in casual liaisons. Bodies contort and
spread in fleshy displays, but he sees none of it. He scans the room
slowly, carefully searching for his target. He finds her sitting quietly in
the corner, offering only her arched back to the indifferent room.
He silently creeps towards the woman at the bar. As he approaches, he
reaches out with his augments, probing the woman’s defenses, looking for
weaknesses; a way in perhaps. He doesn’t really expect to break her
firewall, not with the blunt, brute force attacks at his disposal. The most
he can hope for is that he can map her defenses, and plan a second attack
To his surprise the attack succeeds, and the augments in her head
suddenly open themselves up to him. It’s so effortless that he wonders if
he has the wrong woman. A quick query of her emergency information confirms
that she is indeed the woman he seeks.
He immediately searches for her copy of the “BeerGoggles”
application, activating it in a hidden stealth mode. From that moment on
her ocular AI will overlay a more attractive, computer-generated version of
him into her vision, and she won’t even know that it’s not reality.
She twitches, beginning to turn her head towards him, perhaps
forewarned by a proximity alert. He reacts instantly, dropping onto the
vacant barstool beside her.
“Lilah, are you offline? I can’t-”, he stops abruptly in mid-
sentence; a practiced look of disbelief on his face. She jumps in alarm,
looking at him with a mixture of anger and curiosity. “You’re not Lilah,
are you?” He asks unnecessarily, smiling invitingly. The look of surprise
drains from her face as her gaze flicks over the enhanced image of him,
tailored to her personal tastes.
He chooses that moment to command her hacked neural implants to
release a carefully controlled cocktail of dopamine and opioids; dopamine
to give her a powerful jolt of wanting and the opioids to simulate a
feeling of enjoying something – hopefully him.
With a sense of immense satisfaction, his ocular implants highlight
the involuntarily dilation of her pupils. His illicit access to her medical
augments highlight the sudden leap in her heart rate, and thermal imaging
implants betray a slight blush in skin temperature radiating over her body.
“I’m sorry to have bothered you.”
“Not at all.” She replies with a warm, almost embarrassed smile. Her
nostrils flare. His augmented eyes can detect the river of blood pulsating
to her breasts beneath the thin material stretched over them. Tiny, almost
imperceptible mounds reveal where some of that blood terminates. He shakes
his head politely.
“I’ll leave you in peace.” He rises from the stool, preparing to walk
away. A flick of his eyes reveals the river of warm blood coursing to her
She gives him a micro expression of disappointment and he truly
notices her for the first time. She seems far younger than her forty plus
years. Her face, obviously benefitting from de rigueur collagen replacement
technology, could easily pass for mid-twenties, but that is the end to any
obvious artificial enhancements. She is consummately pretty without being
overtly beautiful or alluring. Her stance is confident and finessed yet
with an apparent vulnerable openness.
Some trivial imperfections remain; a slightly protruding chin and a
nose just too long to be classically beautiful. But for all this, her many
charms easily overcome the potential flaws. Her playful, curved smile over
gleaming tiny teeth, is effortlessly disarming. Her skin is unblemished,
the shape of her face beyond reproach. Her silky, rich, dark hair cascades
over her forehead, down past a tiny earlobe, and around the turn of her
neck to highlight a smooth upper chest, above just a hint of cleavage. A
thin necklace offers exactly enough adornment to highlight the expanse of
skin, and to make him yearn to dive into its milky smoothness.
But it is her eyes that draw him in. Perfect, trusting blue orbs,
slightly pleading for tenderness, making him feel like he could give
himself body and soul to her. That here is someone utterly unable to ever
hurt him. She blinks and long, luxurious eyelashes bat over those
He is pulled from his thoughts and the moment rudely shattered by an
internal alarm. His first thought is that he has somehow betrayed his
hidden intent, but a heartbeat later he realizes that it is just his dating
app. A flashing ‘mutual attraction’ flag blinks in the corner of his
vision. Both of them have been secretly transmitting their attraction to
the other, but it remained hidden until the mutual attraction was
confirmed. The same app is also busy trying to data mine useful information
about her, while it suggests clever lines and even watches her body
language for tell-tale signs. The app designed to shortcut the flirting
game has them both laughing in embarrassment,
“I’m sorry,” he apologises, “That’s embarrassing.” His eyes flick
down in apparent humility. “I should have turned that off.” The dating app
had been part of the plan, but much later. He curses his sloppiness. She
seems equally embarrassed,
“I’d forgotten it was even on!” She gives him an almost astonished
look. They laugh again. The moment stretches to the cusp of an
“I’ll definitely leave you in peace.” Again he violates her firmware
defenses and releases a macro of commands to her augments, causing them to
flood her brain with serotonin, and serotonin transporter inhibitors. A
feeling of euphoria combined with a sense of intimacy washes over her. Any
anxiety she is feeling washes away. Her smile widens,
“Are you sure?” She pauses, considering, then hesitantly adds, “You
could always join me?” She suddenly glances swiftly around the deck, “but
aren’t you meeting someone?” He drops back onto the stool,
“I think I just did.” She flicks her head back as she laughs a
nervous giggle. He turns and tries to attract the attention of the bar
staff. A glance back at her reveals a glazed stare as she twists her hair
absent mindedly around her long, slender, index finger.
“Can I get you a drink?” he asks. Her hacked medical implants show
her blood alcohol levels are already high.
“Champagne Cosmo, please,” she asks, pushing her empty flute glass
forward. As he signals his order to the bartender he contents himself with
the knowledge that she is probably reading the fake personal, career and
social media info he planted in advance, complete with ambiguous video,
never quite revealing his face.
“Martyn Fogg”, she finally reads aloud, “Geomicrobiology Consultant?
Impressive.” She glances his way, nodding appreciatively, a single arched
eyebrow raised. He discreetly completes giving his order to the barman,
before turning back to her.
“It’s just throwing together the geology, environmental science and
microbiology to make the world a better place. One contamination black spot
at a time.” She swivels sideways on to him, crossing one long, shapely leg
over the other, pointing her foot towards him, before bouncing it
nervously. She strokes her lower thigh as she asks,
“So, found any microbiology based medicines recently?” He nods,
before repeating the carefully rehearsed line,
“That’s not really my area of expertise. I don’t save the world, I
just clear up its messier spills.”
“And how do you do that?”
“I’m sorry I can’t really talk about it.” He shrugs apologetically.
“I understand.” The conversation descends into a lull. Careful, he
thinks to himself, don’t do anything to dispel the image she’s created of
you. Don’t talk yourself out of this. He moves quickly,
“Wow, that killed the mood didn’t it?” he rolls his eyes. She smiles
encouragingly. “Note to self, not a good topic for flirting.”
“Is that what this is?” she asks with fake indignity. He shakes his
“I thought so.” Their drinks arrive. He holds his up to her,
“Cheers.” She taps her glass against his, all of the time maintaining
eye contact. He notices the exposed white skin of her inner wrist. They
both take a sip, hard alcohol burns a hot track down his throat while fizzy
bubbles caress hers.
“And now it’s my turn.” He focuses slightly away from her. In his
vision a multitude of channels of information appear around her. Clusters
of looping video, sliding text, and still images remind him of the
extensive research he has conducted into her. The information is drawn from
all available sources; social media, news, even her cracked employment
records. He ponders for a second, wondering what to say first, before an
approach occurs to him,
“Er, you’re not transmitting anything, not even a biog. Not even your
“Halina Howard,” she volunteers. He smiles,
“Hello Martyn.” She drinks again. He pauses, confused,
“Facial recognition doesn’t know you.” Then puzzled, has asks, “are
you off grid?” She beams in amusement,
“I’ve given you my name. Perhaps I should give you my rank?” His face
drops in fake horror,
“I’m Colonel Halina Howard.”
“Colonel? You’re military?” His smile fades in a practiced manner.
“I was. Honorable discharge.” She puts a comforting hand on his arm,
letting the contact endure slightly too long, maintaining intense eye
contact throughout. “Don’t look so worried. I’m not here to arrest you. I’m
out.” He allows himself to visibly relax, then he smiles again, pointing
“You are aware that the military have their own bars? They even admit
the ones who got away.” She holds the eye contact again, her gaze smolders
“I thought I’d have more luck in here.”
“And did you?”
“I’m not sure yet.” He takes another sip from his drink. She copies
the motion. A thought occurs to her,
“Who’s Lilah?” she hurriedly asks. He shakes his head, leaning
forward, smiling knowingly,
“No one,” he answers with an almost arrogant smirk. She seems
“No really, who is she? Are you meeting her here?”
“Really? She’s no one. I made her up.” She gasps in a comically
exaggerated way, pretending to be appalled by the deception. “I just needed
a reason to come over and talk to you.”
“Needed?” She stares intently into his eyes while playing with her
“Needed.” He confirms. Sensing that he’s being too intense he visibly
“Seriously, it’s really none of my business, but when I saw you from
over there you seemed,” he pauses, considering, as if searching for the
right word, “burdened by something?” He raises a quizzical eyebrow. She
shrugs, staring at her drink.
“Is it that obvious?” He nods, considers, then offers,
“You know what I do with burdens?”
“Tell me?” she encourages,
“I get rid of them. Give them a kick.” She nods slowly,
“If only it were that easy.” Another lull. She pulls a hair from her
clothing, preening herself.
He starts to say something, but her piercing blue eyes take the words
away. Something in the yearning, innocence of them transports him to a
different time; a time when he did this for real, when it was genuine and
not a premeditated, performed deception.
“You have the most beautiful eyes,” he unexpectedly finds himself
telling her. His words shock him. She smiles warmly, accepting the
For fuck sake, he berates himself, get it together. Focus. He tries
not to let his expression betray his thoughts. Romantic love is just the
brain tricking you with chemically induced OCD, he thinks to himself
“You know, maybe it’s too early and I shouldn’t tell you this, but my
therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance,” he nods as the words
sink in, “We'll see about that!” She laughs a laugh out of all proportion
to the humour.
“Light travels faster than sound,” he tells her. “This is why some
people appear bright until you hear them speak.” She laughs again. “I
intend to live forever. So far, so good.”
“You’re really funny,” she tells him, chewing her bottom lip. He
decides to up the ante, and steer the conversation towards riskier ground,
“You know 69% of people can find something dirty in every statistic
they hear.” She laughs harder, resting her hand on his.
“You know funny men can always laugh me into bed.” She says, raising
an eyebrow, as if to challenge him.
“Is that so?” he smiles coyly, sipping his drink. Really? Don’t you
mean if you fancy them then you’ll laugh at any old bullshit? Again his
good humoured expression hides his thoughts.
“I think I’ve had enough to drink.” She tells him, abruptly rising
from her seat. “I’m going to my room.” He gives her a quizzical look. She
starts to walk away before pausing and giving him a look over her shoulder,
“Coming?” she invites.
“Are you sure?” He asks, motioning slightly towards her empty glass.
“Why should I be lonely tonight?” she says simply.
As he drains his glass, he works quickly, penetrating her inner
firewalls he injects dream seeding and hypnotic suggestion viruses into her
augments. They begin to surreptitiously insert urges, beliefs and images
subliminally into her subconscious, subtly rewriting memories, altering
their recall in real time. Long term they will rule her dreams. Turning
most of them into nightmares.
In moments she will believe exactly what he wants her to, and she
will act exactly as planned, giving him exactly what he came for.
She pauses, considering. He wonders if she has detected the viruses.
“Can you just give me a minute, please?” He nods, slightly confused.
“I just need to make myself even more irresistible.” She slinks away,
towards the female toilets, exaggerating the sway of her hips as her long
legs eat up the ground. As she reaches the door she takes a triumphant look
over shoulder at his attentive gaze.
Once inside she makes for the giant mirror running over the hand
basins, removes a small pot of lip gloss from her clutch bag and begins to
apply it carefully with her finger. As she touches up her make-up she makes
a video call with her augments, navigating the menus with a series of eye
flicks, calling the mystery number they had given her. The recipient of her
call answers, an empty head silhouette taking the space in her vision where
his image should be.
“Well?” the recipient barks bluntly, via her personal internal,
surround speakers. “Did he take the bait?” She glances around the
apparently empty bathroom, unsure if the closed stall doors denote
occupancy. She silently mouths her words into the mirror, allowing her
augment to lip read them. They appear as overlaid subtitles in her vision.
He went for it, she tells the mystery man, I don’t think he suspects
“He’d better not,” the caller warns gruffly. “Tonight took some very
careful organizing. We won’t get such a good opportunity again anytime
I need to raise my defenses, I’m wide open here, she complains. God
only knows what he’s doing to my augments. Then with disdain, I can feel
his vile wetware sloshing around inside me.
“Just see this through. Let it play out and take its course”. She
looks at the mirror in derision, harshly miming the words;
Are you saying what I think you’re saying?
“I’m just telling you to do your duty.” He states coldly. “After all,
it’s not like you’ve not done it before.” She furiously screws the lid back
onto her lip gloss, throwing it into her bag.
I’ll do my best.
“I’ve heard you always do.”
Good to know I have some skills you value, she mouths in sarcastic
contempt. She kills the call and strides to the door, pausing to smooth
down her dress and smile, before pulling it open. Back at the bar, she can
see him still sitting obediently where she left him. She widens the smile,
giving the appearance of being pleased to see him, then manages to retain
it while she walks over, laying her clutch bag on her barstool.
“You are even more irresistible.” He tells her. She accepts the
compliment with a girlish laugh, caressing his cheek, staring deeply into
his eyes. The she turns sharply, and walks briskly away.
He rises from his stool and strides purposely after her. He allows
himself a self-congratulatory smile as a thought crosses his mind, she
thinks she’s found the man of her dreams, but instead she’s found the stuff
He catches her up, escorting her from the bar with a guiding arm
around her smooth, bare shoulder. She puts her hand over his.
“Mr. & Mrs. Ayckburn!” someone shouts from behind them. They ignore
the voice and continue to walk across the bustling hotel lobby. A thin man
wearing a hotel uniform steps in front of them, baring their path. He holds
out her clutch bag. “You left this on your stool, Mrs. Ayckburn”. She takes
the bag from him with a smile,
“Thank you,” she quickly accesses her implants to retrieve his name,
finding nothing, undeterred she replies, “That’s very kind of you.” She
waves the bag slightly.
“Don’t mention it. Enjoy your stay with us.” He smiles at her before
turning slightly to nod knowingly at him. “Have a good night.” Before
either of them can answer, he excuses himself and melts back into the busy
They glance at each other before laughing in exasperation, as their
carefully crafted ruse collapses.
“Well that’s ruined that then!” he remarks in mild irritation. She
laughs again, letting her head drop, before throwing her arms around him in
a loving embrace. He returns it warmly, fondly kissing the top of her head.
They hold the clinch for a long moment, their little game unraveled. She
pulls back and looks up at him,
“You were a bit harsh on the call, you know.” An instant of confusion
crosses his face before he realizes what she means and he regains control,
“Well I guess that’s it all over,” he says simply, changing the
Her expression changes abruptly, pulling herself from his hold, she
steps back and takes his hand, leading him eagerly towards the elevators.
“No it’s not!” she tells him. She stabs the lift call button. “I’ll
tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to get into that lift and when
the lift doors close we go back into our roles,” she points a determined
finger towards the brushed aluminium doors, “and we’re not going to break
character for the rest of the night.” He beams an enthusiastic smile at
“You are crazy.”
“Absolutely! But the moment the lift doors close, we’re back in the
game!” The lift arrives and the door opens. She steps in, across the
threshold, still holding his hand at arm’s length. “Are you in?” He laughs,
“Of course.” A moment later he follows her in. She touches the button
for her floor. They wait for the doors to close.
“What suggestion did you put in my head anyway?”
“What?” he asks absent mindedly, as if he’s not heard her.
“When we were roleplaying, you hacked me and put some thought, some
suggestion in my mind,” she looks up at him inquisitively, “What was it?
What did you make me think?”
The lift doors begin to slowly slide closed. He seems to ignore
her, waiting for them to finally close, and for them to drop back into
their roles. Just as they are about to meet, he smirks, before finally
“I made you think you’re my wife.”
The doors snap tightly shut.