Now, on to the sneak peek. I've said before that in this story, you'll be able to choose your stand-in's sex and orientation (with orientation being loosely defined; you're not locked in with the sex scenes). I'm about to give you the first segment of the story, where you choose your stand-in's gender, and then the first path after you choose the character's gender. The paths diverge right away, and I've decided to give you the male point of view because there's a bit more mystery to it. So here you go:
The camera in front of you hovers in midair. You have no idea what keeps it up there, or even what it’s made of. The surface looks like translucent chrome, and beneath it are dark, whirling shapes and pale lights. No matter how you move, it stays about three arm lengths away from your head, swiveling around to catch the best view of whatever you want to record.
That’s another thing that worries you: how does it know what you want to record? It turns toward you when you begin a report, or when you want to make an important point; but at other times it seeks out the best subject in its (and your) line of sight and homes in on it just as well as any human cameraperson.
It’s a lot more unnerving than a human cameraperson, though. You didn’t ask for this device, or even this assignment. You were given it along with the Imperators’ summons to attend their first press conference. They called for you (and for several dozen other reporters) specifically by name.
How did they even know your name? You’re a junior reporter, not that well known aside from a small fan base. And after today, maybe you’ll only ever be known as a not-quite-nobody who got enslaved by an Imperator. Whatever they have planned for today, it’s more than just a press conference.
Still, you’re a professional, and you’d have taken this assignment even if it were a choice and not a command. You square your shoulders, look directly into the camera eye, and begin your report.
“This is Mark Holland, reporting live for Global News Network.”
“This is Elizabeth Kirkland, reporting live for Global News Network.”
“I’m on the final leg of my journey to the Seychelles, once the most exclusive island resort on the planet, now home to the man and woman who rule that planet. Thousands of others live here too. Once they were kings and queens, politicians, models, performers, soldiers, and the preexisting resort staff of Mahé Island. Now they’re only slaves.
“At the moment I’m just a few miles west of the Island, approaching the North West Bay. For the most part, the view is magnificent: soaring green mountains dotted with granite outcroppings, clear turquoise water, and hardly a cloud in the sky. But there’s something different about the Glacis District these days: irregular patches of silver clouding parts of the Imperators’ complex. Until today, when they finally allowed outsiders to approach the Seychelles, we believed the blur was only visible to satellite cameras, that it representing some kind of jamming field. Well, it certainly is a jamming field, but it’s also a physical phenomenon. Have a look.”
The camera follows your gaze, homing in on walls and domes that look like solidified mist. They glitter brightly in the morning sunlight. You know what used to be under those structures, before the Imperators came back; but anything could be under there now.
You continue your report. “Fortunately, most of Mahé is and always has been visible. Just over there you can see the beach where the British SBS were scheduled to land during their joint raid with the American SEALs–” you point, and the camera follows your finger. “Whether they did land, and what eventually became of them, are two of the mysteries I hope to solve today.”
Even seeing the Imperators will solve one mystery. Earth’s satellites capture slave displays every day, but you haven’t seen an Imperator since the disastrous raid, although they’re surely not hiding out of fear. Earth has no weapon that can hurt them. Steven Dominick and Julia Alexander still look human enough, but they are not human.
They aren’t even the people they used to be. The two of them must have gone through a battery of psych tests before being chosen for the Europa mission, and if they’d had any tendencies toward world domination, NASA would never have accepted them. But here they are now, ruling the planet and mocking every attempt to take them down.
You think again about the sex slaves, displaying themselves (or being displayed) so proudly. It hasn’t escaped your attention that every reporter the Imperators summoned is young and telegenic. They might plan to make sex slaves of you all…and if they do, how could you ever stop them?
You imagine yourself nude and kneeling blissfully at the end of an Imperator’s chain. It might happen or it might not. Maybe the Imperators don’t want you for a slave, or maybe there’s some way to change their minds, or to beat them, or…well, something.
Still, you can’t stop thinking that you might end up a mindless sex toy. And if you do, whom would you rather belong to?