“You have irregular sleep patterns.” Batista didn't waste time with greetings.
“I still get your REM requests. I'm here, aren't I?” Isabeinya seemed unfazed by him, though her heart rate might have told otherwise. She savored these dream-state rendezvous.
Batista paused to take her in and then turned to lean against the railing of the bridge they both stood on. He wondered how it was possible for her to defy space-time and grow more radiant with every passing year.
Isa looked around to observe the construct. It was a warm night and bioluminescent koi swam in glowing circles below them. She appreciated the way Batista architected sultry spaces for what some might call their shared hypnagogic hallucinations. “Another bridge. Why do you enjoy surrounding us with water?”
Batista ignored her question. There were too many reasons he programmed bodies of water into their meeting locations. Did it protect the data flow? Yes. Did it symbolize their need to stay adaptable? Of course. But it also reminded him of just how close they were to the wet fever that would envelop them if they succumbed to the lust they both felt yet rarely spoke of.
“How are you? Really.” He asked.
“Besides the debilitating sonic terrorism that continues to wreak havoc on me at random, I'm doing quite well.”
“Who's after you?”
Isa shook her head. “I have some ideas, but nothing concrete. It might not be me that’s being targeted, I could just be too close to the bounty. How have things been with you?”
“Too close to the bounty….that definitely sounds like you. I'm still helping to build the network. We're making headway.”
“That's good,” Isa said quietly as her eyes trailed down Batista's genetically enhanced chest. “You're also still looking pretty broccoli.”
“Just broccoli? No broccoli rabe?”
Isa smiled, but refused to give him the satisfaction of hearing the words come out of her mouth. He was brolic as fuck. A whole bowl of broccoli rabe with the linguine and the sausage and the parmesan cheese.
There was no real reason for them to keep meeting like this. They hadn't been partners in years. And yet, here they were in another one of Batista's constructs…secretly meeting while everyone else believed they were fast asleep.
Batista gently grabbed Isabeinya's waist and pulled her in. His hand traveled up her side until he could feel the soft shape of her breast against his palm. “I can almost smell you,” he whispered.
Isa took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. She stepped backwards out of his embrace and leaned against the railing as he had done a few moments before. “The network needs you more than I do.” As she said the words, she wondered if they were true. But it didn't change how much she yearned for him. Moments like this were almost too much for her. Too consuming. Too distracting.
“I might be leaving Cybercore soon.”
“Changing factions again, Batista?”
“There's too many in need. It's time to step up before this galactic plague gets any worse.”
Isa laughed. “You know…good intentions don't always lead to good results.”
“I thought you'd be trailblazing this effort, and here you are discouraging me. Why aren't you a part of the movement?”
“Don't get me wrong. I support it. But I've spent a decade in the New Frontier Territories. I've made my home on the edge, breaking in the unknown. The movement can't be sustained by nomads like me and you know it.”
Batista nodded. Isa was right. The movement needed leaders who were present…who could be accessed and trusted. He was ready to be one of those leaders.
Isa could tell that something serious was brewing in Batista. Was he actually interested in doing good? Or was he solely hungry for the prestige of being a decision maker? Either way, it wouldn’t change her feelings for him.
Isa turned abruptly and now seemed to be in a rush. “I've gotta go, but be on the lookout for a package.”
“Coming soon to a theater near me?” Batista smirked as he asked.
Isa winked back at him. “Ba da ba ba ba.” That fuggin burger planet anthem would never get old. Batista chuckled even as he watched her vanish from the bridge to return to her physical body. Goodbyes were hardly ever somber with them.
Back on the ship, Isa was knee deep in reports and recordings, all the research she had been collecting for her analysis. Little did Batista know, Isa had switched factions, too. As part of the Alliance of Dark Matters, she was determined to understand the wormhole which had both devoured and given birth to them. In order to do so, she needed continued access to the network Batista was helping Cybercore build. With him planning to leave the faction, she was at risk of losing her entry point. Hence her hurry to wrap a package that would be good and ripe for the moment, and get it starposted to Cybercore country with the utmost quickness. She pushed open the dome ceiling of her relaxed-fit cryo chamber and got to work.