Jozie, better known as Jo, finished the last chapter of the last book written by Yersan Mien, her favorite author on her favorite reading app. She should have gone to bed over an hour ago, but she got wrapped up in the steamy sex scenes, and then wanted to see how the story ended.
When she finally finished instead of being led to the next story, since there wasn't one, or to a similar book by a different author like she expected, she instead was given a special offer. She reads, "Thank you for enjoying our entire series. Since you have finished them all you are invited to experience a free trial offer of our new interactive series. All we need is your name and address, so we can immediately send it to you."
Jo scoffs. Free rarely meant free. Usually it was free for a limited time, or free after rebate, or at the very least free if you paid shipping. But, all of those versions of free required a debit or credit card. They aren't asking for that information, so they couldn't charge her accounts, not that they have any money to take, but still failed charges weren't good for her credit score that was already too low to get any decent loans.
She sighs. "What's the worst that could happen?" She asks herself before answering, "They send me nothing, or some junk I have to throw away?"
Deciding she has nothing to lose she taps the Accept Offer button and fills her name and address out on the next page that pops up. Then the page closes without asking for any payment information.
Another alert pops up that says, "Thank you for your participation. Expect your package in the morning."
Jo looks at the time. 1:34 AM. "Good luck getting it in the mail that fast." She whispers to the alert. Then she closes out her apps and set her phone down, before scooting under her blankets.
She falls asleep fairly quickly, but still sleeps through the knock on her door at 7AM. When she gets up at 10AM she gets dressed and goes to leave, almost tripping over the box sitting in front of her door addressed to her. The sending address just says IMS.
She puts the box inside her tiny house, on the table that sits just inside the door. Then she continues on her way to see her cousin.
A short while later she enters her favorite burger joint, the best place to eat in this town of only 500 people, approximately. "Hey Bev, how's it going today?" She says to the much smaller woman.
Beverly looks up and smiles as she replies, "Not much, just doing some reading."
Jo sees the app as her cousin sets down her phone, and instantly recognizes it. "They've got some great stories. I personally recommend the Spacewrecked series."
"You secret hoe!" Bev exclaims, "That's what I'm reading, and it's all about women getting claimed by two, and sometimes more, men."
Jo laughs. "Just because I read it doesn't mean I want to experience it."
"Then you should quit reading while you can." Bev whispers seriously.
Jo raises an eyebrow and asks, "Why?"
"When you've read them all you get an offer to experience a free trial offer of a interactive series." Beverly informs her cousin, "One of my friends got it, and interactive doesn't quite cover the experience. That's the whole reason I'm reading through them as fast as I can. I can't wait to pick out my virtual fuck buddies."
"That's what's in the package from IMS?" Jo whisper shrieks.
Bev smiles. "You've already gotten yours? Then I guess you really do like the series."
Jo blushes. "I enjoyed the series, reading it. I don't want to become the star of my own kinky story."
"I'd take yours off your hands if I could." Bev replies with a smile. "But that's not allowed, no sharing either. Besides, I'm only a few books from having my own."
"It sounds like something you would enjoy." Jo admits, "I on the other hand am starting to wish the box had a return address, so I could send it back unopened."
Bev laughs. "Look, you don't have to rush into anything. The interactive program lets you pick the guys at your own pace. Each set gets eliminated from the program after they've been chosen, and you only get to pick one set, so you need to be certain that you want them. My friend took two days to pick hers, but once she did she has been enjoying it every chance she can."
Jo shakes her head. "I can't imagine having virtual sex with one guy, much less more."
"Apparently they're done up to look like the aliens from the series, so you can really lose yourself to the fantasy." Bev states as she picks her phone up and continues speed reading.
The waitress shows up, and Jo places her usual order. Bev has to be torn away from her phone to give her order, and then turns back to the story.
Jozie knows there's no hope in having any real conversation now. Beverly is more determined to get the special offer now, somehow her competitive side comes out with a vengeance when it comes to her cousin.
She sighs and lets her mind wander. It lands on the stories she just finished, with the aliens that have to mate two males to a female in order to procreate. While the stories were well written, she couldn't imagine herself in the place of any of the women.
The food arrives and Bev finally puts the phone back down. As soon as the waitress leaves she admits, "I have trouble identifying with the women in these stories, and I'm not sure I could handle being with any of these guys, but my friend assured me that none of the characters from the books are in the interactive simulation, and if you pick the set you feel a connection with you'll enjoy yourself like never before."
"And what if I don't feel a connection to any of the character sets?" Jo asks between bites of her burger.
Bev shrugs her shoulders. "My friend didn't have that problem."
When they finish eating Beverly decides to stop at a park to sit in the shade and continue reading. Jozie goes home and stares at the box, deciding if she wants to open it or not.
After about ten minutes she comes to the conclusion that she might as well.
Inside the box is an instructions manual, that's more like a pamphlet, a headband and four little triangles, all in two shades of green, and a nice almost navy blue. She opens the instructions manual and reads, "Place the four triangles into the corners of your bedroom, house, or apartment, with the dot facing outward. They will stick just fine. About halfway up the wall will work. Then place the interactive headband on your head, and let our virtual assistant guide you through the process."
Jo shrugs her shoulders. Her tiny house is smaller than a lot of people's bedrooms, but it doesn't say anything about a minimum or maximum space needed, so it shouldn't be a problem. It takes less than a minute to have the triangles placed in the corners. As soon as the 4th one is in place the pale green dots light up and shine like neon. Jo takes a deep breath and places the headband like she's a jogger and this is her sweatband, like the image in the manual pamphlet shows.
The tiny house fills with scans, and an energy flows through her body.
Suddenly an alien woman appears next to her. "Jozie Wailen, nice of you to finally join our experience. We were starting to think you weren't going to."
Jozie grimaced. "I wasn't sure either, specially after I found out more about the interactive program."
The woman's eyes raise.
"My cousin knows someone who is already testing your program." Jo volunteers, "And she's working on getting it for herself, but I'm not sure it's right for me."
"Yet here you are." The woman points out.
"I figure no one can force me to pick if I don't want to, so I'm still in control." Jo states calmly.
"Quite right." The woman replies, "I am your virtual assistant Gee-ann. I will be available to answer any questions until you pick your mating set."
"Can you please go into detail about how this works?" Jo asks as she takes a seat at her small table.
"I can help narrow your choices according to your tastes. Then you scan through until you find a set that both males appeal to you, in a way you can't deny." Gee-ann explains, "The males are already in their sets, and cannot be separated or mix matched. You either want them both, or you move on."
"If I don't find a set I like?" Jo asks shyly.
Gee-ann answers, "Then you don't choose any. We can always alert you when new sets join, so you can see if one of them is right for you."
"Okay, what do you need to know to help narrow it down?" Jo inquires.
"Preferred height and build?"
Jo smiles. "I'm 5 feet 11 inches, and don't want them too much taller or shorter, so between five eight and six two for height. I like guys who are strong, but still have a little meat on their belly, no six pack abs."
Gee-ann puts the information into a tablet like device. "Does eye or hair color matter?"
Jo shakes her head. "What matters is what I see when I look in their eyes."
"Very well, I have twelve sets that match your parameters." Gee-ann states, "Feel free to take your time. Say next if you don't want them or want to continue looking, and say decided once you know. Just say my name if you need any further assistance."
Jo nods her head in understanding.
Gee-ann disappears and Jo starts looking through her choices. None of the first half spark anything in her, they're great looking, but that's all they have going for them. It's the seventh set that has her pausing and really looking them over. One is six foot even, and the other is five ten. The taller one has hazel like eyes, with specks of purple and orange in the mix. The shorter one has the darkest green eyes she's ever seen. Both look like they could look into her soul, or bear their own just through their eyes.
Part of her says she should take a look at who else is available, but a bigger part of her doesn't want to risk losing them, not when they're so perfect for her, she'd just be wasting time looking at men who weren't these guys. "Decided." She announces.
Gee-ann appears and looks at her pick. "Prince Zane, and his best friend Tristain, they should be delighted to know they've been selected. Give me a few minutes to get the program fully loaded, and then they'll be fully interactive."
Jo shook her head. "Did you say prince?"
Gee-ann nods once. "Names, and rank, aren't released until chosen, so they aren't a factor in your choosing."
Gee-ann disappears again. Jozie thinks about the series that got her into this simulation. Prince Zane and his best friend Tristain are mentioned frequently in the ones featuring military men or castle guards, both are known for being stern and strict.
"What have I just agreed to?" Jozie asks herself, but doesn't have a response.