Log Title: An Autumn Wind
Summary: Kagami pays a visit to Winter for his first VR session.
IC Date: Wed Feb 13 21:57, 2381
OOC Date: Wed Feb 13 21:57, 2019
Related Logs: Repairs, Programs, and Digital Freights
winterkagami

 

 

I didn't think my last sleeve's death was imminent either until bullets were going through me.

It's a nice day, as much as any day is ever nice when there's no such thing as sunshine anymore (if you're a grounder). But the wind isn't too windy and the winter chill isn't too chilly. Inside the small psychosurgery office, a little table fountain bubbles cheerfully and in the aquarium, numerous orange and purple seahorses cling to stalks of coral and rock, weaving in the filter flow and sucking tiny copepods up from the current. The doctor themself isn't immediately visible, but the door to the back room is open, the lights are on, and there's the odd snippet of indistinct conversation that suggests someone is back there.

* * *

Kagami got on his best pants, which still do not fit and his best shirt and jacket. The jacket is a rather tight leather jacket and it has a very feminine shape, perhaps from his old sleeve. The t-shirt is far too big. He walks into the office, the flip flop of his shoes which again are too big are easily heard. He appears to have tried something new with his hair, it's all to one side and pieced apart. He moves over to one of the chairs and takes a heavy seat in it.

* * *

There's another stretch of quiet before shifting from the back room and a voice calls, "…Is someone out there?"

* * *

There is a loud THUMP as Kagami falls off the chair before he inches towards the door and waves a little. "Hello. It's Ryuumi Kagami?" He seems to question his own name. "You told me to drop by today… I think or was that yesterday. Days are a little blurred."

* * *

"Blurred?" the voice calls before Winter pokes their head out from the back and offers a smile. "Have you been drinking? Or not sleeping? Welcome, Kagami-kun, I'm glad you came by. Would you like to join me back here? I keep the chairs and server in the back. Or we can chat in the front room, first, if you have questions."

* * *

He walks into the back room and smiles at her. "Wisteria Tau." He bows to her before removing his shoes at the entrance and walking over towards her. "A little of the drinking and a little not sleeping. I'm working on a new algorithm that I hope will help with scrambling certain data while transferred so it cannot be jacked."

* * *

"Mmm, sounds handy," Winter agrees. They close the door to the back once Kagami steps inside properly. "A program for anyone to use, or only for a particular client?"

* * *

Kagami moves a little more in and stands there with a grin. "I was thinking for people who seek it since so far… it can be plugged to something that doesn't have it and scrambles it causing… well if they don't have the keylog then they can't unscramble. Soooo yeah." He brings his hands in front of him and looks down to his feet.

* * *

"Hmm," Winter muses thoughtfully. "Very handy. Please, come in, take a seat. Have you had much experience in VR?"

* * *

He walks over and takes a seat. "No I haven't. I never really had time since I was in school and then work and then death you know. It all just sneaks up on you." He wipes his hands down the front of his pants.

* * *

"I see," Winter replies. "Well, the way this works is that I upload a program. A setting, more or less, for us to utilize. And, then we go there, talk, relax, there's no real expectations. In VR, you're not limited by your sleeve. You can take the form of any sleeve you've ever had, or even a sleeve you've never had. So, it's helpful for psychosurgery or for things like cross-sleeving, because it's an opportunity to… feel more yourself. Or to more gradually integrate the changes you find most challenging in the transition."

* * *

Kagami nods his head and grins. "That makes sense. So in VR do I just think about the form I want to take or do I have to program it?" He asks quietly to her. He bows his head. "I am sorry. I can program it but goodness knows I don't know how to use it."

* * *

"Nothing to be sorry about. It's mostly about personal perception. You tend to appear in VR as the person you see yourself," Winter explains. "I suspect, in your case, you'll be back in your birth sleeve. Most are. But, you can control the way you look from within VR, as can I to some extent, through programming. I don't often do so, however, unless there's a particular goal we're working towards that requires a certain aesthetic to achieve. And in those cases, I make sure I have my patient's permission and full understanding."

* * *

Kagami nods his head and grins slowly. "Alright. Hopefully I will see …this sleeve as more of a home in time." He brings his hands together and smiles slowly. "I am ready to jump in." He speaks softly.

* * *

"Excellent," Winter replies, smiling and clapping their hands together once. "Now, I like to pick a setting you'll find comfortable. We could do this office, if you like to keep it simple. Or a tropical beach. A spring garden or a forest path. A tea shop. Anywhere strike your fancy?"

* * *

He grins slowly. "Do you have a forest path in the autumn?" He asks hopefully. He stands up and stretches his limbs out. Bones popping and back popcorning up his spine. "Please direct me to where I should go."

* * *

"I do, as it happens," Winter replies with a nod. "You can lie on one of those recliners. Give me a moment to ready the program, then the jack resting on the armrest plugs into your stack. Close your eyes and when you open them, you should be in VR." They step over to the console to tap a few commands and set up the requested scenario.

* * *

Kagami nods and walks over to the recliner. He slides down into it, wiggling a little to get comfortable. He slowly lies back and closes his eyes. "Take me on a magic carpet ride doc." He chuckles as he relaxes back.

* * *

Winter loads the program, stepping over to the other chair to lie down and pick up the other jack. "Go ahead," they instruct, "We're all set." They slide the jack into the small opening in their lower neck, close their eyes and go limp.

If Kagami does the same, once he opens his eyes (or her eyes, now?) they are standing on a forest path full of sunshine with vibrant red, orange and yellow leaves on tall trees all around them and scattered on the forest floor below. It's a little cool, there's birdsong n the distance, the leaves crackle beneath their feet. It's an impressive simulation. Good enough to be mistaken for a real thing. Winter stands looking much the same as they do in reality, though they have a light jacket, scarf and cap on. There's a very faint sort of haziness around their edges. Maybe it's the sunlight, but there's something that looks ever so slightly out of focus in Winter's aesthetic.

* * *

Kagami does the jack in as well and when she opens her eyes, she breathes in the autumn air. She's a beautiful Japanese woman with long hair and a slender figure. She's wearing a lavender kimono and her hair is pinned to the side. She's barefoot. She moves over to a tree and feels it carefully. "This is amazing!" She smiles brightly. She turns to Winter and bows to her. "Why are you … blurry?"

* * *

Winter smiles and returns the bow. "Well, hello there." They blink, brows lifting for their blurriness. "Am I?" They lift a hand, considering the edges. "Oh, it seems I am. Your pardon." After a moment of quiet concentration, their edges sharpen and look more 'normal'. "You know, I was imagining a young Japanese woman, but I hadn't anticipated the kimono. Do you often dress traditionally?"

* * *

Kagami glances down and frowns. "It was what I was buried in…" She speaks softly. "Or well what my parents said goodbye too." The kimono changes to tight jeans, high black stiletto's, a tight black tank top and a black leather jacket. She bows her head and smiles looking at herself. Her hair now pulled back in a pony tail. "Better. I guess." She chuckles.

* * *

"Oh," Winter replies, brows lifting again. "I see. Well, shall we walk? We can talk about whatever you like. It doesn't have to be consequential, though it can be." They look up towards the sun and the small shadow of a bird winging by. Something else flickers it the sky. Another bird? A leaf? The wind?

* * *

Kagami watches Winter a moment. "I love autumn. It's wonderful and cool and I miss it so much." She sighs quietly before looking at the sky and tilting her head. "Do you think I will ever get used to him?"

* * *

"Your new sleeve?" Winter asks. "I think it's very possible," they say after a moment of consideration as they begin to lead Kagami down the autumn path and towards a bench that rests nearby. "I wonder if you might be pushing yourself a little too hard. It's not a flick of a switch. There's nothing wrong with needing some time to acclimate." Another red and yellow leaf falls, though when it lands on the path, a couple small bits of it flake away to twirl… upwards into the sky?

* * *

Kagami moves after the doctor and her heels click on the path. "This is huge though. It's like trying to get a spider virus to talk to a worm. They are different in all respects." She points out. "So he has hormones and reactions and a NEED to drink and I never did. I am…rather normal for my age." She speaks calmly.

* * *

"Mmm," Winter agrees, "all sleeves come with the history of the lives they lived before us. But, it's not really 'he' anymore. It's you. And, the thing is, just because your sleeve's biological sex is male doesn't mean you are any less a woman."

* * *

She nods her head and frowns. "But when I'm in his body…" Still can't say it's hers. "I feel male. I feel like …I belong." She sighs quietly. "I still haven't tried standing to pee and I've not even looked at it. I've washed it of course with a cloth but… that feels foreign to me." She shakes her head.

* * *

"Your body," Winter replies gently, "and if you feel male in it then that's fine, too. Lots of people are gender fluid. But I would say it's not a bad idea to consider yourself in a mirror in your sleeve. All of yourself. There's nothing shameful about it; you need to understand your own body to be at home in it." A few more leaves fall, but they break apart into flaking pieces that scatter in the air before they land.

* * *

Kagami sighs quietly and nods. "I…it was someone else's body before mine. Who was he? How did he live? Is he dead or on ice?" She looks at her hands. "I want to look him up and figure out who he is. What if someone was holding a mortgage on this sleeve and my parents just bought it from under them and their loved one is gone?" She looks over to Winter. "A mirror… that's actually rather.. ironic." She grins slowly. "Kagami means mirror."

* * *

"Sometimes those are questions that don't get answered," Winter replies. "Sometimes, the answers help us and sometimes they hurt. It's difficult, learning about our sleeves before we… uh…" they fall quiet as they finally notice one of those falling leaves that don't land because they scatter into bits, instead. "Hold on, that's not right." They squint up at the trees, and near the tops, there the leaves get a bit lost in the sunlight, there's more fraying and flaking. Bits of leave and bark lighting away to leave a sort of blank whiteness behind.

* * *

Kagami frowns. "He's a kid. How is he dead?" She shakes her head. Then she's looking at Winter and following her eyes. She sees the leaves and then lifts her eyes to the sky. "What's going on?"

* * *

"I'm… not sure," Winter replies slowly. Now that it's been noticed, a sweep around the space reveals that edges everywhere are flaking away and leaving white nothing behind. "I think the program might have a glitch. Just give me a moment." They hold their hands out and a clear keyboard appears, which they tap on. Kagami would likely recognize the lines of text that flick across an equally clear screen as code. "Hold tight, everything should be fine."

* * *

<FS3> Kagami rolls Programming: Good Success. (1 6 5 1 7 4 3 3 7 2)

* * *

Kagami watches Winter pull out the keyboard and she instantly knows what Winter is trying to do. While Winter works, Kagami slowly transforms her body into her new sleeve's body. She tries her best to clothe him as well. He ends up in fitted dress pants, a white dress shirt that fits him well and nice brown shoes. His hair brushed back out of his face.

* * *

Winter's frowning faintly as the edges of their created setting continue to fray, but after a few minutes, there's a small breath out and the environment goes back to rights. The sky is the sky. The leaves fall downward. No strange blank spaces. Their hands drop, and the keyboard and console vanish. "Well. That was exciting," they say cheerfully. "And, hello, you've switched. How do you feel?"

* * *

Kagami watches the sky return and then the leaves fall how they should. He grins slowly. "How do I feel?" The voice decidedly less female with a deep rich tone to it but still young. "I feel like I'm confused. I feel like I'm home but at the same time…" He touches his own stomach. "Who were you?"

* * *

"Mmm?" Winter asks, canting their head. "Who was I when?"

* * *

Kagami shakes his head. "No. This sleeve. Who was he?" He walks over to Winter and points just above his right peck, "This aches sometimes." He grumbles. "I don't know why but when it does I want to drink."

* * *

"Then perhaps he had an injury and he drank sometimes to ease the discomfort," Winter guesses. "He seems very young for a full on drinking habit, though." They cant their head, thoughtful. "If you truly want to know, I'm sure there's ways of looking into it. Every DHF keeps a record of all sleeves its had, and those records are accessible." legally or otherwise. "If you truly want to know this sleeve's history before you, there are certainly ways of finding that out."

* * *

Kagami nods his head. "Oh I know. I am curious as all get out but at the same time it's right there. I know if I read it and find out something horrible like he killed himself or he was murdered or a horrible accident… I will feel guilty for his family and want to restore him back to them but in doing so I'd lose my life and … I'm selfish that way. I kind of want to keep living."

* * *

"Oh, I don't think he died," Winter opines, "You can't resleeve into a dead body and yours is quite alive. So either he exchanged this sleeve for another or he was forcibly removed from it." After a beat they add, "Or she. Or they."

* * *

Kagami nods his head. "I guess you are right." He glances down to his lean body. "Why trade in this one if he did or what did they do to be removed?" His hands move down his figure. "He's quite attractive so I think he was removed."

* * *

"Perhaps that sleeve held a woman who wished to be in a sleeve that matched their inner identity," Winter suggests, "Perhaps they got a job on a colony and needed to needlecast into a sleeve light years away. Perhaps they suffered from reverse fragmentation and couldn't inhabit one sleeve for more than a few months without psychologic repercussions. There's any number or reasons why the former DHF might have resleeved."

* * *

Kagami growls a little. "I want to know about this man." He points to his chest. "Not any inhabitants after him, him! He was born to parents who probably are not that old and now he's where? Gone? In jail? Working elsewhere?" He shakes his head. "Never mind. I feel this… urge to protect this body so I will. I can't let it die."

* * *

"Let it die?" Winter asks. "I don't follow."

* * *

Kagami stares at Winter. "It's a logical train of thought. I need to protect this body. I cannot let it die. It being body. It's like algebra but words."

* * *

"Well, I suppose," Winter replies. "I just didn't think this sleeve's death was imminent. Though, your sleeve was relatively young too when it was killed. So, perhaps that's a bit on your mind, now you're in a new one."

* * *

Kagami nods. "I didn't think my last sleeve's death was imminent either until bullets were going through me." He sighs quietly. "Death happens quickly and usually unexpectedly. As mine died so recently, I feel like I'm a guardian for this sleeve. I'm more paranoid of people and more distrusting of motives."

* * *

"Sleeve death is traumatic and leaves lasting impressions on the psyche," Winter agrees. "But our sleeves aren't our souls. And it's highly likely the original DHF to this sleeve is safe somewhere. In worst case scenario, in storage. Or, otherwise, living in a different sleeve by choice."

* * *

Kagami nods his head. "You are right." He bows his head and takes a deep breath, his hair falling into his eyes. "Is there any way to fix the damage done by the death I experienced?"

* * *

"Yes," Winter answers with a soft smile. "It's one of the most common reasons psychosurgeons are employed. Coming to terms with violent sleeve deaths. Most commonly, we treat DHFs to prepare them for resleeving, but that's not always possible."

* * *

Kagami looks at Winter and puts hands on his hips. "So fix me." He grumbles at her before pointing to his stack. "Fix the nightmares that wake me up, the sinking feeling of meeting someone new, the anger towards the police…just some of the things."

* * *

"Okay," Winter replies, "but that will take numerous sessions. It's not a matter of rewriting code. It's dealing with psychological trauma. I'd advise meeting once a week for an hour-long VR session. We can worth through nightmares, fears, resentments. I'm the guide, the real work falls to you."

* * *

Kagami grins a little. "I'll pay for them." He says quietly. "I fear a lot of things now. I wake up covered in sweat and I never used too." He grumbles. "I'm afraid of sleeping because I see it again."

* * *

"That's understandable," Winter says gently. "We lose our sense of safety when our sleeve is killed. A feeling of security in our own existence we didn't even know was there until we lose it. We can start next week. For now, I think we should head back into our sleeves. Are you ready?"

* * *

Kagami nods slowly and takes a deep breath. He closes his eyes and then opens them back in the office. He unhooks and then glances down at his body. A sigh of relief as he pushes himself up but he grips his pants. "I need new clothes…" He pulls his pants high and reties the belt around his waist.

* * *

Winter opens their eyes and sits up with a slow breath out. They slide the jack free, stand, stretch and step over to the server to close down the program. "Your clothes did seem to fit better in VR," Winter agrees, "Have you not had a chance to purchase any since changing sleeves?"

* * *

Kagami shakes his head. "I'm wearing clothes my dad gave me. I think they were lost and found at the hospital. I don't understand men's clothes and I don't really have a man to help me." He shrugs his shoulders. "Everything is numbers that are far higher than I'm used to and it's waist and inseam and that doesn't make sense to me."

* * *

"I'd meet with a tailor, then," Winter suggests, "or shop in VR where you can try on everything before you buy, figure out sizes. Or ask your father to go with you, he's male. He's likely had to buy clothes, before."

* * *

Kagami stares at Winter. "Yeah I can afford a tailor." He shakes his head. "VR would be smart though." Then he chuckles. "My mom buys his clothes for him. Maybe I should take her? The only issue is after they resleeved me, they can't look at me. They miss their daughter. So we talk on the phone."

* * *

"You are their daughter," Winter replies, "but I'm sure it's difficult for them." They close down the server for now.