Alright, so I've written this sci-fi/thriller fanfic (with some philosophical elements, I guess) that's VERY loosely based on Serial Experiments Lain (read: it has little to do with the story at all, and if I change a term or two it would be a completely independent storyline). I decided to write it on a whim one day and finished it in about four days. That being said, I'm wary that it may be lacking in quality: I switch between past and present tense and the plot might be full of holes. Therefore, feedback is more than welcome! === Access We were just past the halfway point home from our monthly hi-bye in college when our cells brought us the blissful news. CYBERIA OPEN TONITE Rei playfully shrugged. “Guess we have somewhere to go this weekend.” I nodded, although if I went by my gut feeling, an overjoyed dance would rather be in order. “Been long enough too: two months already.”, I said. Cyberia is the hottest club in the country and beyond, and with good reason: no one has heard of it. Based on bartender J.J.’s last estimate, about 550 people in total know of it and approximately 380 of them fill the dance floor every time. Pretty low-key for a joint that can make the improbable certain. Then again, it may just be low-key enough for a venue that only opens when it, or rather its quirky proprietor, pleases. “Then I’ll finally have a use for this.”, I boasted as I flipped a white card from out of my pocket. The train seats within hearing and viewing distance were virtually empty anyway. “No Boundaries…”, Rei read on the digital screen, “Wasn’t that the one you won the annual cocktail inventing contest with?” “Uhu.”, I confirmed. “Got a prescription for it the moment the winner was announced. Got a text from J.J. advising me to check my card. That’s when it appeared. How’d you do?” “Horribly.”, she moaned. “Seventh place! I don’t think I’ve ever done so poorly. I don’t get it either: people who tasted the Window In The Sky all told me they loved it! Thought long and hard about the name too.” “It’s because you basically shoved it in people’s mouths!”, I teased. “You didn’t drink anything but that stuff last time we went to Cyberia, and ordered it for people who didn’t ask for it. There is such a thing as too much advertising, you know?” “It wasn’t as much advertising as it was genuinely liking the damn thing. I felt like I outdid myself.” Rei shrugged again, but I knew she was still disappointed. I’d be too, if I had done my best for a change instead of fooling around with crazy ingredients and giving the result a flashy name. As it turned out, intuition is what works out best for both of us. Don’t know what to make of that. “Better luck next year.”, she said flatly. “Besides, has anyone ever won first place besides us?” “Ransack won it once, I think.”, being pretty sure that he did. “But that was a fluke.”, I immediately added. “I know, right?”, Rei snapped. “No one still orders his Ransack Mk. V anymore, if they ever even did. ****** generic-ass name too. I mean, come on…” She’s right; half of the drink is in its name. Ethereal or badass names seem to work best in garnering attention, but there are almost as many exceptions to this rule as there are examples. The other half of a Cyberia cocktail is the experience of drinking it. Taste alone just doesn’t cut it. Texture, colour, and even being aware of what you’re drinking are all part of the package. Because believe me, Cyberia’s compounds contain ingredients you wouldn’t deem potable, from paraffin to motor oil and yes, actual drugs and medication as well. J.J. has never been shy about admitting that he mixed antidepressants into a generous percentage of his own creations. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s where the term prescriptions originated. Speaking of which… “How many prescriptions do you have by the way?”, Rei asked one stop before our destination. “54, since I scored the No Boundaries one. You?” “Same here. Eden’s Elevator was my latest addition. Want me to set you up for its prescription?” “Depends. What’s in it?” Rei scrolled on the card until she met the list of ingredients. “Gin, banana, lemon juice, Xanax, sweeteners, some vitamin supplements…” “No, thanks.”, I broke her off. “Is that what you’re gonna kick the night off with though?” Rei flashed a smile. “Nah, I think I’ll stick with Wealth & Taste tonight!”, she decided genially. Recalling that this was her winning entry last year, I smoothly replied: “Make that two. The No Boundaries can wait.”, and I saw her flash another smile, detecting a subtle hint of randiness behind it.