Megan danced in a blueberry puddle for a few seconds before moving on. A force field across the next door prevented Megan from entering the room. Inside was a proxy of Thomas lying on a bed.
Megan petted a tabby cat that was walking by on the ceiling. She looked into the next room. It was light blue and contained two huge four poster beds, a jacuzzi, a sex swing, a bed shaped like a heart, and various implements hanging from the walls. The room was lit by candles, and the floor, walls and ceiling were softly cushioned and covered in satin sheets. The options presented for the room included mirrors, jello wrestling, low gravity, lighting schemes, and several romantic environments such as a flowery forest grove and the nighttime deck of a cruise ship.
Megan moved on and pulled aside the veil to the harem. The space inside was sunny, frilly, pink, and covered the area of a small warehouse. Its ground and walls were cushioned satin like the sexy room, but the ceiling was an ornately inscribed oak dome. It contained numerous beds and couches, upon which lounged T's immense collection of sexbots. Some posed, waved, or writhed. Some danced, alone or with other bots. But most were engaged in just about every imaginable erotic and sexual act.
The sexbots had a large set of costumes and props- chains, collars, leather, whips, lingerie, business suits, spandex, bunny ears, etc. Many were naked. They were male, female, and androgynous. There was every color and style of hair. They had a wide variety of body shapes, piercings and body modifications. Every natural and unnatural skin tone and ethnicity was present.
Most were humanoid. For skin, most had soft, warm, human flesh. Others were made of ceramic, cloth, stone, or metal. There were androids, cyborgs, robots, angels, demons, and catgirls. They were natural and animated. Tusks, visible brains, numerous kinds of tentacles, udders, and innumerable other oddities were present.
Megan hovered a few feet above the crowd and darted around the room, looking them over. Many made seductive eye contact and suggestively gestured to her. The attention was exhilarating, though a bit creepy.
T's harem included musicians like Crain and Slain, actors and their characters, T's past lovers, other people he personally knew, and specially designed and trained sexbots from all over Outside. Megan spotted a sexy female Hitler dancing with Death. There was a familiar, anthropomorphic, cross-dressing bunny going down on a spider girl. Megan recognized at least two Pandemonium from Ataraxia. She was having difficulty getting her mind around the scope of what she was witnessing.
Animal features were common: ears, tails, fur, scales, feathers, wings, and claws. There were also many straight up "furry" proxies representing a wide variety of anthropomorphized life forms: mammal, reptilian, avian, plant, and insectoid.
There was an amazing assortment of eroticized fantasy creatures: dragonborn, dwarves, elves, gargoyles, gnomes, harpies, lamia, mermen, nymphs, orcs, slime girls, succubi, vampires, water elementals, werewolves, yeti, a large set of yokai, and many more.
There were a few proxies much larger than the rest. There was a dragon with female sexbots climbing and lounging all over it. There was a giant woman being pleasured by numerous male sexbots. There was a giant wall of slime molesting anything it could get its tentacles on. There was a medium sized Sphinx which Megan recognized from the webcomic she was just reading. There was also a strangely alluring, 15-foot-high silver metallic praying mantis with a rose for a head.
There were smaller proxies too: faeries, miniature women and men, and living dolls. There was a familiar cartoon mouse wearing goggles, fixing a robot with her tiny wrench.
There were a set of 6 small to medium sized clouds which Megan recognized as abstract sex interfaces. She wondered how they worked.
There were a wide variety of proxies in animated and comic book forms, especially in anime styles. There were classic animated princesses, cartoon icons, video game characters, comic book heroes/villains, anime heroes/villains, and famous characters from Outside worlds. These animated characters were mixed in with the more realistic proxies. This mix unnerved Megan, mostly because of contrast with the animated characters' unnatural proportions, so she separated the animated proxies into their own section, to which they were instantly segregated. Megan flew over it and her proxy turned animated to match the prevailing style. They didn't look as weird in their usual context.
In short, T's collection was a veritable who's who of attractive celebrities, characters, and monsters.
Megan changed the room's filter to display T's entire collection of bots and turned up their sexual behavior, just for fun. The room greatly expanded and the bots went at it. Megan found herself completely overwhelmed at being surrounded by the largest orgy she had ever personally witnessed.
Megan pulled up a window showing the complete set of sexbot proxies and their ghosts and sifted through it. There were two components to a sexbot. First was the proxy body, with its material dimensions and attributes. Second was the ghost, or the trained simulation of a person's sexual behavior. The ghosts and bodies were largely interchangeable, but not all worked terribly well together depending on how generic they were.
Most sexbot bodies had sliding scales to change their gender, ethnicity, skin hue, temperature, etc. Almost everything was changeable: clothing, hair, vocalizations, strength, etc. It was easy to mix and match parts from different proxies, or multiply or subtract limbs. Some ghosts had variants to work without legs or to skillfully utilize multiple arms or mouths.
There was, of course, a wide range of genitalia- male, female, and other. They were realistic, cartoony, or abstract. Most were designed to work naturally, but could be made controllable beyond their physical counterparts- such as prehensile penises and manipulable vaginas. Genitalia, like any body part, could be added to any part of a proxy, or to multiple parts.
Secondary sexual characteristics were easily changeable- such as body hair, breasts, and proportions. Sweating was optional. Proxy bodies could be flavored and scented naturally, or however the user wanted. Megan noted that their smell, taste and saliva could be made to be appealing to a user, by simulating that user's preferred "pheromones". She wondered how well that worked. Friction was not a problem for virtual sex, but there were natural and artificial lubricant feels available.
There was even a "necrophilia" mode which simulated various stages of death. Megan wondered if cold, stiff bodies were an essential part of the necrophiliac experience. Wouldn't necros have a better time with warm, pliant corpses? She did not know.
Many sexbot ghosts had been trained to possess multiple orientations and behaviors. For example, the sexbot ghosts trained from recordings of Thomas' sexual behavior were unusually diverse. They came in a dozen versions with various genders, bodies, and orientations. They could play slaves, dominatrices, and everything in between. Some liked pain while others avoided it. Some were nice, some were mean. Many of their components were mixable and could be finely adjusted. Several of them were characters he played in games, including three separate characters from Ataraxia.
Sexbots weren't exactly sentient, and couldn't hold unscripted conversations of any complexity. They could follow and give most relevant commands, within their own narrow sexual context. A good sexbot could respond convincingly to the sexual whims of a user, with a nuance and tactile sensitivity almost equal to human lovers. They kissed well, snuggled well, flowed well with the give and take of intercourse, begged and pleaded well, and even dominated submissive users well. In fact, good sexbots were better rated than the average human lover, at least in physical terms. This required sophisticated pattern recognition. A good sexbot could seem to have a mind inhabiting it. Many distraught users had been consoled by the warm, seemingly caring embrace of a completely accepting lovebot.
Like all simulated beings at this level of technology, sexbots weren't conscious and had no subjective experiences. But sometimes that didn't matter.
There were numerous sexy locations and scenarios associated with various bots. Characters often brought environments from their original worlds with them, as well as role playing situations that could be played through. For example, there was a popular game scenario where you rescued a prince (or princess) from a castle and were then rewarded by them. The rescuing (and subsequent deflowering) of royalty from monster or evil stepmothers was a common theme.
There were many generic games and scenarios that could be played with a wide range of bots, such as innumerable dating sim games. And then there was the single player "sex arena" where players could fight bots or force bots to fight each other in a variety of forms of combat. Many bots had masterful combat skills trained the same way their sexual skills were, so fights could be quite exciting. The winner of sex arena matches could do whatever they wanted to with the loser. This mostly involved S&M and sex.
Megan did find a few entries that seemed out of place. She began downloading T's entire collection from his SIS, if for not other reason than to investigate some of the anomalies on her own. But there was one she was compelled to ask about.
Megan filtered for T's favorites. The room rapidly shrank and all but 87 disappeared. A few of them were glowing green. Megan didn't find every bot in the eclectic array attractive, but it was an interesting and dynamic mix.
The room was more of a showcase than a place for sex. Megan imagined correctly that the sex itself occurred all over T's lair and anywhere else he might go, since bots could be brought most places that proxies could go, even places sexbots weren't "supposed" to be. At the very least they could service his safe proxy while he went about Outside. Nothing could stop that from happening.
As Megan looked around the room, bots continued their attempts to entice her. She waved at the room and a number of bots waved back. She knew that they were not conscious, or even intelligent, but they responded to her eye contact realistically enough for her to feel self-conscious.
Megan lingered a few more moments before moving on.
Megan entered the room across the hall. It was white, empty, and shaped like the inside of a hollowed out donut. On a hunch she walked up the wall and onto the ceiling. The gravity of the room changed automatically to allow her to walk on any surface. Megan could change gravity at will throughout most of T's lair, but this room was set up so that all orientations were equally valid.
Domes completely covered every surface of the room, with diameters ranging from a few inches up to a foot. Each of the domes represented a different Outside destination. Many were game worlds like Hell Fray, Ataraxia, and Yoma. Others were social communities like Mars Colony, Friends and Lovers, and a set of perennial film festivals. Some were pure recreation worlds like Hot Pursuit, Mech Smash, and certain Spirals. T's priority worlds appeared to be clustered in the room's central column.
As Megan moved about the room, the domes on the ground below her rose and hovered about her waist, while the domes on the ceiling descended to just above her head, giving her ready access to them. As she looked at a world, it tilted to give her a better view. Megan found it easy, using standard controls, to change the camera views of each world and to zoom in and examine its happenings in detail. She picked one up and tilted it, observing the progress of some players building a moat in some strategy game.
Simply paying a little attention to a dome popped up a window of information including world details, relevant stats, and additional video feeds from the virtual space. Many had multiple compartments, showing the activity of different places within each world.
Most of the worlds allowed full immersion, but didn't necessarily require it for user participation. They had websites offering information, allowing users to check out the worlds, and providing feeds from around the world. Most characters could be played remotely through a screen with the player's preferred level of tactile feedback, including partial or none.
The extent of the worlds varied. Some could be explored in a few hours. Others could be explored endlessly because of the rapid rate of content being added. Some were for quick fun. Others required heavy involvement. Some worlds only had single user instances. Others were filled with millions of people, many of them almost full time inhabitants.
Megan saw something familiar on the other side of the room. She made a circular motion with her hand as if to rotate the room, and the entire set of world domes flowed around her like a stream. It was exhilarating. She felt like a god, swirling a huge multiverse with her slightest whim. She also felt a bit dizzy. She stopped the flow when the dome she wanted was a few feet away.
The colorful dome floated up in front of her. Happy Land was a mixed simulation of numerous theme parks, including water parks, Universal Studios, Disney World, and Super Land. Their rides, shows, and structures were reconstructed from numerous uploaded experiences of parkgoers which were composited together to form the ultimate theme park. While the parks could, and sometimes did, ban external recording devices that could be used to record a person's environments, there was little they could do about Planted individuals, who could record video straight from their optic nerves, auditory nerves, as well as the motions and feels of rides from their various tactile senses.
After the pirated theme park Happy Land became wildly successful and had withstood numerous attempts to shut it down, Disney World and others built virtual theme parks to attract customers, parts of which had also been incorporated into Happy Land. Happy Land now had many different instances for people of various demographics and interests. You could even start your own instance and be the sole visitor to the immense virtual theme park.
The instance of Happy Land Megan was looking at was one of the first. It was sometimes dubbed Anarchy Land, and anarchy was what Megan witnessed as she peered into the dome. The park reset itself every few days, but in the meantime park goers did their best to tear the rides apart and create giant heaps of broken bodies to immolate. It was great fun.
Megan filtered for similar worlds and found Destructo World, one of her favorites. It was a replica of the entire physical world (with some imaginative additions) that players could destroy. Players could lift cars, or almost anything else, and throw things into buildings or other players. They could tear through buildings with their bare hands, or earn super powers like the dreaded laser finger. The more you destroyed, the stronger you got. That is, until a stronger player tore your head off and used it as a projectile.
Megan created a character in the game and remotely controlled it via her Universal Remote Control. She chose not to inhabit the character due to the relative simplicity of the game and the psychological distance it afforded from the carnage. She had her character pull a road sign out of the ground and bludgeoned to pieces a few of the many screaming child bots that ran around the world. She catapulted herself over to her old high school and was gleefully wrecking it when a giant ball of destroyed wreckage rolled over the building, crushing her to death. Her proxy joined the debris as some maniac rolled it into the distance.
Megan brushed the world aside and filtered for T's shortcuts across his entire set. Thousands of spots in the domes around the world lit up, displaying T's access points.
A dome fell from the ceiling across the room and spun toward Megan, stopping in front of her. At first it was hard to make out what she was looking at. The world was called Worldcraft. It was a "sandbox" construction game through which players, often in cooperative groups, could create any world they could imagine.
Megan had played around with a Worldcraft server before she had been Planted, and she'd seen some pretty cool structures which had come out of Worldcraft and been integrated into Destructo World. But she couldn't get her head around the vast landscape of T's server. There were innumerable, often gargantuan edifices constructed of any number of materials, including metal, sand, wood, bone, and marble. The structures ranged from ugly and random to beautiful and elegant. Some seemed functional as living spaces, some appeared to be puzzles or arenas, and others appeared to be momentous landfills.
Megan spotted a tower with an intricate etched design around its base. She created a cursor inside the 3D game environment in the dome. She moved the cursor beside the tower at ground level. This particular game didn't allow proxies to port inside matter, so clipping wasn't a concern.
When she had selected a spot to port to, she clenched her hand like she was holding a key and turned it clockwise. This was the motion she had chosen to port smoothly from one proxy to another. Instant teleportation was fastest, but smooth transitions were more comfortable. Even if she turned her hand as fast as she could, there was still a half second transition as the temperature, lighting, and feel of the old environment shifted to the next. If something was wrong with the new environment, she could always reverse her hand motion to bring herself back to the original environment, or she could come back by clenching her hand before the full key turning motion was complete.
Before she had accepted her proxy's position inside Worldcraft, her new perspective from the ground there allowed her to see a more interesting building off in the distance. She was pretty sure she could fly or teleport over there, but out of convenience she moved the cursor in the dome next to the more interesting building. As she moved it, she swiftly flew across the landscape to the new location, although she didn't feel the motion because she was still only previewing the world. Once there, she flattened her hand, which signaled her acceptance into the game, making her newly formed Worldcraft proxy subject to its rules.
She had held her pinky out while she motioned turning the key, which was her signal to leave a shell proxy where she had just teleported from, if possible. In this case, the proxy left behind in T's lair was set to mimic her bodily position inside the game. This was so she could easily switch back to it at any time with minimal disruption. Experienced Plants grew used to abrupt transitions between proxies, but Megan still found it jarring. It could be a little rattling to change instantly from running to lying down. A smooth change of body position and form was more pleasant and contiguous.
Megan looked over the building. It was incredibly complicated and decidedly steampunk, covered in piping, with countless gears and springs. She flew up high and zipped over the land. It was a vast wilderness of desert and forest, with faint trails crisscrossing throughout. It was populated with diverse constructions, beautiful vistas, maidens (and the male equivalents) waving in distress from the towers of immense fortresses, mountains formed around sleeping giants, and monuments covered with strange symbols. The largest structure was an insanely large pyramid made of sandalwood.
Some parts of the land seemed patterned after Hell Fray, but most of it had its own peculiar style. Megan flew over it for several minutes, but could find no end to it.
Tools like Worldcraft enabled users with limited coding skills to easily build social or game worlds. With enough work, anyone with a vision could create a compelling game world that could be further modified and added to by other players. Players could use it to integrate parts of other worlds with each other and with their own constructions.
Worldcraft could be used to create not only buildings and proxies, but rules and restrictions for any given virtual space in order to craft an entire environment. There were standard proxy interaction systems that could be used to create gaming rules. These had the physical model as a starting point, which gave a common point of reference to different worlds, allowing various levels of crossover. For instance, swinging a sword with a certain force did similar damage in most gaming worlds aside from augmentations within the game. It was also possible to take the gaming rules and physics from other game spaces and use them with your own created space, with various levels of success depending on how closely they meshed.
Megan flew straight up and bumped against the sky, which was a sold dome. From there she could see that all of the land she had flown over was a giant island floating in space. She teleported to the island's underside and was astounded by the complexity of the entire bottom half, which had been carved from rock into a sprawling structure of palaces, towers, fortifications, and tunnels.
Experiencing vertigo, Megan exited her character from the game and jumped back into her proxy in T's Lair by selecting that proxy and turning her "key" again.