“Welcome to Venus Ascendant, a Public Grade space station in the Andromedan Galaxy. With our open-to-all policy, any being in the universe can find their perfect R & R, romantic getaway or dangerous liaison at our purpose built resort. The on-board empathic AI Ganesa ensures that anyone coming to Venus Ascendant will find their heart’s desire, with suites that transform from luxurious boudoirs to sunset-lit beaches to dark BDSM dungeons. So come to Venus Ascendant and find exactly what you’re looking for!”
It was meant to be a romantic getaway for Marie and the love of her life Jaisen; a chance for him to get to know her better after months of her denying him more than a few stolen kisses. Instead, Marie finds herself dumped and alone on Venus Ascendant with no credit for a transmat and the next starship home not due for another hour.
But the all-seeing AI isn’t going to leave anyone aboard the space station with their dreams unfulfilled. Marie's boyfriend might not have made it to the station, but there are others willing and able to take on the role - even if they aren’t entirely human.
The door glided open and Marie stepped through, to find herself in the heart of the nebula. She squeaked and Soren grasped her arm in reassurance. The floor of the room was a burnished silver disk beneath the heavens. Crimson and gold light, woven in twisted strands of fire and strung with stars, formed a gauzy canopy overhead. As the door closed, the illusion was complete. They hovered in the fiery remnants of a long dead star. In a shroud of scarlet flames between them and a void full of shadows and distant pinprick suns. Marie forced herself to take a long breath, then another. Her heart fluttered. “I told Jaisen that if I ever had the credit, I’d do a tour of the nebula,” she murmured, as she drank in the beauty of it. “You can barely see it from the surface of the planet. Too much light pollution and atmospheric distortion.” She knew she was rambling but couldn’t seem to stop herself.