Sozont was hungry. He considered getting another emergency ration
bar from the kitchen. But that was silly—he should go to Furry Fairytale
Land and hunt! Sozont chucked his clothes on the floor and began suiting
As he often did while putting on the sensor/effector
suit, Sozont thought about upgrading to a better model that would provide
more kinesthetic realism. But skinsuits needed periodic replacement.
He knew that once he upgraded he would never want to go back, so it
would be a permanent commitment to a higher maintenance expense. Sozont
prided himself on his ability to make more money in VR than he spent in RL,
while devoting only as much time to paid projects as he wanted to, but this
required that he keep monetary commitments to an absolute minimum.
Sozont installed the waste orifices and remembered
how he used to feel, back when he first started to use whole-body VR, like
he was preparing to have sex with a machine. But that old thought was
ridiculous now! It was not the machine that he loved, but the world
that it opened to him, which tasted of freedom from hy00man constraints.
Sozont inserted the oral interface, swished its familiar
parts around his mouth, and bit into the tooth holders. He was almost
home! He put on the rest of the headgear. The vision system was
in "pass-through" mode. He took a final look around his apartment;
the place where he was leaving his human body seemed safe and secure. He
invoked the "enter program" sequence. »»»»»»»»»»»»
He was in Furry Fairytale Land! The smells, the
sounds, the sights, the ground-effect breeze ruffling his feathers! Speaking
of odors, his fur smelled like the last few things he had eaten before the
field emitter failed. It reeked of places he had been recently and
myriad other things. Sozont was hungry, but he decided to put off hunting
and started heading towards Soapy Lake to clean up. How about some
speed? Faster, faster, faster! His ostrich legs chewed through
It was an unpopular time of day for a bath, so Soapy
Lake was deserted. Well, Sozont would rather bathe alone, anyway. He
took off his belt and jumped into the lake. He wriggled and splashed
to cover himself with soap. He took some of the water in his mouth,
swirled it around, and spat it out. He even did some "just for fun"
swimming. Sozont was a poor swimmer, even by tigrihippostrich standards,
but there was no one to see him.
Sozont got out of the lake and went to Rinsing River.
He fluffed his fur and watched the soapy bubbles float away. He
kicked his legs and felt all his feathers move from the waves he made. He
moved his hippo segment around, this way and that, until the dischordant
RL sensations were almost imperceptible.
He walked out of the river and towards his belt, the
water trickling off his body segments in three different ways. He felt
like a tigrihippostrich again! He was home. Life was good.