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This is a multi-page story; just click on the “Pages” links at the foot of each page to move back and forth.


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The woman gazed at the ident-block on the door’s security panel with a nervous expression. She had passed any number of such panels on the way up to this office, but none of them had read:

Sherman, Ariel
Chairwoman /
CEO
Fantasial Productions
ILC

It felt strange to Taraia to be interviewed by the CEO of a corporation for a job … especially when the job was really an entrance-level position. Her college advisor had told her that Lady Ariel was peculiar in this way; she wanted to get a feel for new-hires outside of the production aspects of her theatre’s show and night club. Was it because, again according to her advisor, promotions came from within the corporation, and so she might have closer daily exposure with the Boss than at two or three removes …?

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Encounter with Darkness   1 comment

As promised, here is the short story I’ve been working on with Jem’s and Conan’s help. It’s long by blog standards (nearly 3,000 words), and thoroughly illustrated, so I’ll be breaking it up into pages. (Which also gives me a chance to experiment with some WordPress tweaks.) Just look for “Pages” beneath the Related Posts section at the bottom of each page, and click on the next page to continue.

If you have questions, such as Ariel and Adam’s backstory, contact me in world, or write harper.ganesvoort at gmail dot com, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Visits to Terra were an extremely rare thing for Ariel Sherman, despite her dual positions as a successful performer across multiple modes, and head of the interstellar corporation known as the Cyborg Condominium. Most questions of business could be taken care of in a holographic quadcomm conference call, after all. Considering how far the distance was between the ancient mother planet and the Videra Sector, which contained the star Eta Pegasi and its inhabited planet of Videra, that was just as well. The Limlight Republic was spread across well over two thousand systems, and the trip between the two sectors, even in hyperspace, took nearly a month one way.

But some companies insisted on face-to-face meetings, and real sign-manuals on plaspaper contracts instead of electronic signatures, and so Ariel found herself far removed from the comforts of her home on the pleasure planet Videra, and from her revue show at The Land of Fantasy Theatre. Not that her surroundings were uncomfortable at the moment. The hotel suite she and Adam Sandhara, her husband, occupied for their stay in Old Manhattan was sinfully luxurious; and it should be … after all, it was owned by the Condominium. Even if most of the trip could be written off the taxes as a business expense, the bean-counters preferred keeping those expenses to a minimum.

The cost of the meal could still be written off, though, because Ariel had chosen to make a virtue out of a necessity, and ply her preferred trade in a new sector of the Republic. Before leaving Videra, she had informed the hotel manager that she would be bringing her nightclub act to one of the clubs inside their hotel for a surprise appearance.

Curtain time was approaching, and the ’borgs were finishing their meal with a few glasses of champagne, and a cigarette on Ariel’s part.  Glancing across the floor where his wife would soon be performing, Adam grinned and said, “There are times, Ari, when I don’t know why I indulge you as I do.  Coming over 200 light-years from Eta Pegasi to perform at a nightclub is a bit of a jaunt, even in this day and age.”

“Oh, I think I can come up with a few reasons why you indulge me, darling,” Ariel laughed as she blew smoke toward the ceiling ventilation ducts.  Soft lights shimmered off the silk of the lehenga sari from New Karnataka that she wore.  “Reasons which I heartily return, by the way.  That’s the reason we stay married, even after twenty-something years.  Anyway, you should blame this on the company that insists on face-to-face negotiations in a board room and an actual signature on a physical contract, signed in person before a roomful of lawyers and notaries public.  We could have solved everything from Videra with a few teleconferences and a blockchain signature.  This company doesn’t do that kind of thing, though.” 

She tapped off her ash in the ashtray, and added, “And don’t tell me you’re not taking advantage of your little ‘vacation’ here to meet up with old clients for Micronan, and maybe hunt up a few new ones.  That’s the only real reason you needed to come along, other than spending time with me when my meetings break.”

“I admit you have me there, lady,” Adam smiled, the lights of the club glinting off his metallic “skin,” as golden as his wife’s.  “I still say you’re giving in a little to ego here, looking for some applause even when you’re technically away from the stage.”

“I may grant you that one, lord.  But I see it more like I’m drumming up fresh trade myself for the revue.  Even without us on board as the constant star artists anymore, the revue is still hugely popular; but keeping the name out there in fresh areas helps keep the business up.”

“Mmhmm … that’s what they all say, I’m sure,” Adam said with another grin … and then he laughed as he caught the napkin Ariel threw at him.  He tossed it back as Ariel took a final sip of wine; she patted her lips dry, then kissed her husband, and trotted back to the dressing room set aside for her, to do a last repair on her makeup before coming on.

Unsurprisingly, the hour-long concert set proved a hit; even two hundred-some light-years from Videra, the star quality of Ariel Sherman enthralled spectators.  She accepted the enthusiastic applause of the audience, none of whom had known that she would be singing for them; as she bowed, though, she glanced around the room, and noticed that Adam had vanished.  It wasn’t unusual for him to meet her in the dressing room, however, and so Ariel worked her way “backstage.”

When she made it inside the dressing room, there was no sign of Adam.  She noted, however, a “message waiting” advice on the wall commpanel, and tapped it on.  Adam’s face appeared, and said, “Darling, I’m sorry, but one of those old clients of mine called with an incredibly urgent consultation request.  I can’t put him off, so I’ve gone down to the comm lounge to handle it.  I’ll meet you in the bar after we’re both done.  Sorry.”

Ah, the joys of running insanely successful corporations ….  Ariel grinned as she shook her head, cleared the message, and returned up the halls to the bar area, passing by the transsteel door to the businesspersons’ communications lounge.  A glance inside showed Adam still there, pacing back and forth as he spoke to an image on his digicomm.  Seeing he was occupied, Ariel moved on.

The nightclub’s bar wasn’t a large one – most drinks were served at the tables – and was tended by a single ’droid.  Ariel ordered a small white wine and turned to gaze idly toward the club’s outside entrance; then she started as she focused on the door, her lips falling from their smile and her optics locking on the woman who was entering.

People of the Heart – Lovers

Zana Sherman checked herself over a final time in the mirrored closet door of her bedroom in her university apartment. Everything was nicely in place, everything was covered that needed to be, and the tips and tricks she had picked up from her mother’s makeup artists at The Land of Fantasy Theatre had allowed her to “put on her face” in under 10 minutes. Well, that and a ‘borg’s speed and accuracy, she added with a smile. Never let it be said there aren’t any advantages to being a member of this species.

She tapped at the panel, switching its surface back to a door instead of a mirror, grabbed her ident fold and slid it into a carry-pocket on the inside of a feathered sleeve, dabbed a few drops of cologne on her throat, and swung out of the bedroom. Thankfully, the 48th Century C. E. didn’t require university students to live in hovels; everyone had a personal set of living and sleeping rooms, with a mini-foodsynth for eating. It still wasn’t luxurious … especially compared to what Zana was used to at home … but it put a decently comfortable roof over one’s head, and good enough food, if not up to the same standard as, say, La Paloma Azul in downtown Vidran. Each living room in the complex even had an electric fireplace.

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Family and Friends

 

4767 C. E.

Ariel Sherman, relaxing one night on the front terrace of her mansion in Vidran City, saw the flitter descend from traffic level outside the estate, aiming for the parking area in front of the garage. The golden cyborg smiled as she recognized the color and markings on the air vehicle. Laying aside her bookpadd on a side table, she stood and headed down the stairs to the ceramacrete pathway between house and garage.

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Traditions

 

4754 C. E.

Among the traditions that had held on in show business, the Green Room was one of the most persistent.  Nobody knew for sure why the room set aside as an actors’ lounge was called “the Green Room,” and Ariel Sherman had heard of many rooms that weren’t painted or otherwise decorated in green, but there the name was.  And when they had built the original Land of Fantasy Theatre out of the old pleasure house, Ariel had included a Green Room — though it was a touch more open to other people than just the performers in the revue — and insisted it be “correctly” decorated with green walls.  Though she doubted few theatres had ever gone in for expensive draped green satin wallpaper; but, with the seed credit the cyborgs of Videra had to start with, why not splurge a little?

She did the same thing some ten years later, when The Land of Fantasy added a supper club to the front of the theatre building.  Again, walls hung in green satin, gentle holo-abstracts and other artwork, and comfortable furniture provided relaxation for performers preparing to go on before the club’s patrons.  And, as the club’s first performer — a change from starring in the main revue for so long — there Ariel was, breaking in the room … with a nasty case of stage nerves.  Why in hell do I put myself through this? she wondered in her mind as she dragged hard on her cigarette holder.  Years of performing six nights a week, multiple interview appearances on the ‘screen, even two virt-vids to my credit by now, and I still get stage fright before an opening.

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Cyborgs of Fantasy

It was a Saturday evening, two nights before the official public première of The Land of Fantasy’s new revue, which Lady Ariel Sherman and her writers had christened Nights of Fantasy.  Newsstream writers, critics and celebrities from across several stellar cubes of planetary sectors had been invited to a preview of the show, and an after-party to celebrate.  And the mood of the people milling through Sherman Mansion at that party, hosted by herself and her husband, Lord Adam Sandhara, gave Ariel every encouragement that the reviews soon to be written and off-hand interviews to be given would be strongly in the positive.  Her smile gleamed almost as much as the sheen of the garden lights from her golden integument as she moved through the crowd of information-hungry reporters and celebrities who toasted her with sparkling etrinya wine and air-kissed her when they saw her.

Four years ago, such an event hadn’t been needed.  The news coverage of the freeing of over 700 citizens of the Limlight Republic from bondage, following their near-total conversion into cyborg “pleasure workers,” had still been fresh in the public’s mind when the original version of Ariel’s revue premiered.  Now, Nights of Fantasy needed to compete in the market alongside the other entertainments on the pleasure planet Videra, and that meant publicity.  Ariel had set the marketing group her theatre always used to work on it, and that included Dara Furtano, the young woman who had arranged and masterminded this party.

dara-and-ariel-1

Young indeed, Ariel thought as she spotted Dara under a wooden gazebo in the garden and went over to speak with her.  Figuratively, Dara was less than a year old, though she had been born over twenty years before.  Dara had requested that Ariel provide the means to convert her into a ‘borg herself, for reasons that still mystified Ariel in some ways.  Ariel had resisted every request — until an accident at the theatre had almost killed her and her daughter, Zana.  Dara, nearby at the time, had saved them, which placed Ariel in lifedebt to Dara; and, after more discussion, had agreed reluctantly to the conversion.  She had found no cause to regret that concession; indeed, Dara, already an excellent publicist and marketing executive, had grown even better with her now total recall of needed data, as well as the ability to synthesize solutions on the fly.  And her already present beauty had been intensified by her conversion into a silvery cyborg.

dara-and-ariel-2

“Dara, if I had to give the night a review, I’d say you’re what they used to call a boffo success,” Ariel smiled as she stepped under the gazebo.  “Thank you so much for what you’ve done for us.  And you are as charming as could be in that gown!  I thought it would look good on you.”

Dara smiled back, if shyly, and dipped a small curtsey to her host, the fuchsia folds of her dress billowing about her in the bob.  “Thank you back, lady.  The same could be said about you, how well the show went off; it was fantastic!  And your dress is lovely, too.”

“Something I pulled out of my closet; I hadn’t had a decent place to wear it until tonight, and I don’t think you can find it anywhere now.  Who knows, but it may come back into style after tonight.”

dara-and-ariel-3

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The details:

Harper (Lady Ariel Sherman) wears —

ariel-closeup

  • Skin: Fallen Gods Pure (Gold)
  • Eyes: Less is More CyberEYE v3.0
  • Hair: rezology May Rose
  • Attachments: SLink Avatar Enhance hands and feet
  • Gown: [sYs] Majestic (vintage)
  • Shoes: Vero Modero Murcia (vintage)
  • Accessories: Adam n Eve Opera Gloves for SLINK Hands (Black); Anachron group gift cigarette holder; Chop Zuey French Kiss suite (bracelet, earrings, ring, necklace) and Lala in Love wedding suite; Heth Haute Couture Royal Star brooch (you’ll find this on the men’s side; I’ve borrowed it for Ariel’s Republican Order brooch)
  • Makeup (eye application order): Oceane Body Design Metallix Eyeshadow (Purple); JUMO Vega eyeliner (Black 003); *BOOM* Liquid Glaze (vintage); Mystic Canvass Pucker Gloss lipstick (vintage)

Jem (Dara Furtano) wears —

dara-closeup

  • Skin: Fallen Gods Pure (Ice)
  • Eyes: Less is More CyberEYE v3.0
  • Hair: rezology Kunai
  • Attachments: SLink Avatar Enhance hands and feet
  • Gown: Chop Zuey Tizziana pink gown, inspired by John Galliano designs, complete with bracelet and earrings
  • Shoes: KC Couture Cassiopeia sandals
  • Gloves: Sweet Tea Formal Gloves (Fuschia [sic])
  • Makeup (eye application order): Oceane Body Design Cat2 eyeshadow (Fuchsia); Zibska Innes lipstick (05); FATElashes v2.0

Photographed at my home

Most poses by PosESioN; conversation animation by [RNP] Animations

signature 3

The Sea Queen

The young cabin boy’s day was over, his captain to bed; and he knew that he, too, should be rolled up in his own hammock with the powder monkeys below.  But the men were yarning tonight to pass the time, and many of them had a soft spot for the young lad.  They would tell him tales of the sea, taking pleasure both in their skill at spinning tales, and at his interest in their words.  The boy hung rapt now as a scarred old veteran sailor drew on his pipe and let out a cloud of smoke to be blown away on the wind coming through the gunports, then spat out out the nearest one, and launch into a fresh story.

“There are those who claim that the world is round,” said the fellow; “that the Sea bends back upon itself without end and goes about the earth in a circle that never stops; that you can sail from one point to any other point on any other seacoast without flying away into the heavens. And they would be right…except when they are wrong. For there are those who know the spells which, for a time briefer than can be measured, yet longer than the world is old, can unbend the Sea and open the door to the skies, and a ship may sail away to a world beyond the world…the world of the Sea Queen’s folk.”

The Sea Queen in Annon 1

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Posted April 14, 2015 by Harper Ganesvoort in Arts, Stories

Tagged with , , ,

Lynxa of Opar, Daughter of La

Lynxa, by Styles by Danielle, is the gown for Miss Benin in the EOE 2012 competition. When I got the group notice about it, I had to get this and model it. Appropriately for my story, Benin is in the West Africa region which was home to Tarzan as he grew to manhood.

The woman stood on the mansion’s wooden balcony and looked out upon the dawning day. The sky to the east burned with orange light, which would soon lighten to yellow as the Sun rose over the horizon to welcome the spinning planet Earth to another twenty-four hours of time.

Lynxa, daughter of La, heir to the title of High Priestess of Opar, smiled slightly in satisfaction as she reflected again on what she had just called the bright golden disk in the sky: “the Sun.” No longer the Flaming God of her mother’s people, the men and women of the lost Atlantean city of Opar. She had abandoned that faith twelve years previously, when she had turned 21 and was faced with the choices of men she would be required to select from for a husband. None there could match, or even approach, the tales of the man whom La had always called Lynxa’s father, the man she always referred to as Tarzan of the Apes.

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Hallowe’en 2011: The Chill

The woman stood and contemplated the fire burning low on the hearth.  It gave off little heat, was there more for the light than anything; she had no need for the heat, not since the day he had come and touched her lips and heart.  Moon-pale she had always been, some said.  Not as pale then as now, though, others replied.  A few of the servants had spied from behind doors and curtains, as servants often would, and they all swore that they could see the color draining from her face, the red of her lips replaced by the black, some claimed, of the grave.  Her people had served her faithfully before — now they feared to leave her, lest she come seeking them some night, and bring them back to her halls, changed as she was….

Keep on reading after the break.  Fair warning:  lots of pictures.

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