Beach Escape!

((Lyntael Jacking in, from => Rogan's PET))

((Lyntael in SummerDress.GMO))

As usual, when the unstable beam of light crashed down on a fairly secluded looking section of the beach net, it left Lyntael curling up on herself briefly, body tight in a tense pain contraction. She straightened as the light faded though, and did her best to shake it off with a few long, deep breaths.

The breeze blew down the length of beach they were on, catching playfully at loose garments and making dresses whip in a playful manner, but it wasn't strong enough to be awkward. It carried traces of salt water and live seaweed, and other familiar, pleasant beach scents. This section of the beach looked like it curved around a series of bluffs and inlets, with rocky sections broken up by long stretches of white sand. The tide looked to be coming in gradually.

As the beach sands retreated upwards into low dunes and spinifex grasses, it looked to eventually give way to woodland, while the sea appeared to have a few smaller islands dotting it, further out across the water. The water itself was the usual picturesque clarity that showed signs of colourful reefs meandering in and around the bluffs and bays, under the surface and the sun beat down from a sky that was mostly clear, with just a few trailing wisps of cirrus clouds showing that the breeze picked up in the higher altitudes above.

The area didn't look completely wild; at long-distant intervals down the beach way, there appeared to be paths that led off the sand a little bit, to change rooms or shower blocks, but most of them were screened by wooden facades or vegetation that made them blend in to the casual eye and kept them unobtrusive.

Lyntael put on her sun hat, holding it gently to her head with one hand while the breeze caught and fluttered at the ends of her dress lightly. She took a long breath of the air and closed her eyes, then turned to make sure her friends were alright as well. There was no sudden objection from Rogan yet, so she had to assume they were in the clear, probably.
[>> A Space Reserved, and Forgotten - Homepages.]

Having been carried along with the unstable emulation link, Eternalis and friends were also as affected by the rough ride, if not more. Both Eternalis and Aurora were hunched over, and their heavy breathing could be audibly heard by each other. Sparky's whimpering was a little quieter this time around, with only Eternalis really being able to mitigate the internal pain caused by the link. Aurora drew her arms around herself, grasping at her chest slightly in between strained breaths to alleviate the scraping "heat" that the pain introduced.

As before, the first one to recover fully was Eternalis, and he slowly steadied himself to look around the area, while also tending to Sparky with gentle caresses and pats, as he did before. Looking down at his feet, the soft white sands that scraped against his boots were a welcome change from the cold surfaces of Sharo's snow and Lyntael's metal flooring alike. With the net's "sunlight" radiating down onto it, it was quite warm, but not unpleasantly so, as if carefully regulated to be just at the correct temperature. They were close to the edge of the water, and could see that it was quite clear, reflecting the blue skies that lay beyond. It was quite a well-designed simulation of the perfect seaside, appropriate for Electopia's apparently world-famous Beach Street network. While the change was quite welcome, he still had yet to check on the rest of the crew. "Looks like we got here in one piece, at least. Not something I'd like to do again, though," he commented.

"Yeah, ugh, not a fun ride," said Aurora, staving off the last few bits of her body seizing up from the pain, before it receded into a dull feeling that eventually vanished. The gentle breeze blew her long hair about playfully, and she shook it out of her face, drawing it to the side. After she corralled her hair, she saw Sparky hanging from Eternalis's arms with droopy ears. "Sparky all right?" she asked.

"Oh! Right," exclaimed Eternalis, having forgotten about the pup briefly. He knelt down to lower him to the ground, and the pup shook his fur for a moment before running over to Aurora, jumping up to her arms instead. Aurora giggled as Sparky began to give her an enthusiastic licking, eliciting some laughter from Eternalis as well. "Well, looks like he's fine. I think it helped that we got advance warning this time around, at least," he replied. Turning to Lyntael, he saw her looking off to the side for a moment, putting on the sun hat that she had brought along. Standing back up, he addressed her as well. "So, what do you think? Nice change of pace, ain't it?" he grinned.
The breeze was nice. Lyntael kept her eyes closed for an extra moment, just enjoying it against her skin and the way it whispered at her dress, before Auaroa's question got her attention. There was a gentle smile on her lips now, even before she turned to face the other woman and open her eyes, and she seemed about as calm and relaxed, and appreciative of that particular pleasant moment, as either of them would likely have seen her yet.

"Yes..." She closed her eyes again, inhaling the scent of the beach and then let it out slowly. "I've only been to the beach once before now, and I didn't get any time to relax. This feels... nice." The sense of serenity was quickly washing out the previous few hours; Lyntael's own natural resilience together with her propensity to focus on the moment let her soak in the respite of happiness regardless of what might be on either side of it. These were the moments that mattered. After another breath, she looked back to aurora and then along to Eternalis as well, grinning softly; all things considered of her situation, the smile seemed to come strikingly easily to her now.

"Where should we go? The beach looks wonderful, but I can see reefs out there in the water, and they look so bright and colourful. Do you think we could explore them a little? I don't mind following wherever you'd like to go, really. I'm just happy to relax." There were to her thoughts on her mind; things she wanted to ask Eternalis and Aurora about, but it could wait a little while; just a few more moments to do nothing and appreciate the calm and the beauty. The wind tugged at her hat and dress more firmly, pulling the latter against the outline of her slender figure, but Lyntael just turned her face into the breeze again for a moment, enjoying another long, deep breath. Her toes curled and played in the sand, ready to start walking and exploring, but she glanced back to her friends to follow their lead for now.
After letting Sparky have his fill of attention, Aurora cradled the pup in her arms as she turned to the other two that were with her. The peaceful look in Lyntael's expression filled her heart with warmth, and she, too, was compelled to take a deep breath, feeling the soft sands scrape against her boots. Looking out towards the water, it looked warm and inviting, and she did share their friend's desire to take a dive and look around.

"Honestly, the water looks good right about now..." mused Aurora, as her eyes lingered down to the cream-white bodysuit she was wearing. With how Lyntael was dressed, she needed to match it, but at the moment, the only appropriate thing was... that, which she had received not too long ago from Tail. She drew a long breath, and tried to steel herself for what was to come.

Eternalis looked out towards the water, and surveyed the immediate surroundings. From what he could tell, the area was somehow completely clear of viruses--perhaps Lyntael had brought them to wherever she had been before, somewhere that wasn't on the public network, through her emulated link. At least that was one benefit they had gained from it, he mused. "Yeah, I don't mind getting into the water. We can do that first, then," said Eternalis.

"Um, hang on! I need to find somewhere to... " interrupted Aurora, before they could continue further in that line. The last few words caught on her throat, however, as she reconsidered them. "... um, check on something, so let's go look for somewhere where I can get that done. Preferably somewhere private."

Tilting his head in questioning, Eternalis turned to Aurora. "Private? Did something happen?"

"Um, well... Kind of?" she said, some uncertainty affecting the end of her statement.

Fortunately, Eternalis wasn't really one to pick up on it, and probed further. "Can you check on whatever it is here? We can't exactly see what you're doing with your heads-up display, so that should be fine."

The woman scratched behind her neck as she began to fidget. "Um, no, not really, it's a pretty sensitive issue."

With Aurora's body language added to the signs, Eternalis's expression now looked slightly skeptical, before he rolled his shoulders. "Mm, okay, I guess it's something important. We can wait for you if you port back to the PET, I think."

Aurora's eyebrows creased as she directed her eyes away and put her fingers together, her voice becoming more of a murmur as she continued talking. "Well, I mean, I can't port back to the PET now either, now that I'm the primary operation target, and I have some other things to take care of and I have to prepare myself too and..."

"Alright, I get it, I get it, let's go find somewhere you can hole yourself up in for a bit," he said, cutting off Aurora as he put up some hands in resignation. He surveyed his surroundings for a moment, before crossing his arms. "This is a beach, so I'd guess they have some dressing rooms or whatnot? Let's see if we can't find any of those, they should be pretty private. Probably."

She breathed a sigh of relief, and looked down further across the beach, when something caught her eye. They were secluded by natural-looking cover, but they were definitely what she was looking for. "Oh! I see a few of them a bit further down earlier, we can walk there."

"... Well, if it's that urgent, then you can take Sparky or something?"

Aurora began waving her arms in denial with a harried-looking smile. "No, no! It's not anything super urgent, I just have to get on it... sooner or later, so I thought I'd get it done now. Let's just walk down the beach for now."

Once again, Eternalis shrugged, and turned to Lyntael. "Well, I guess we're heading down the beach for now before we get in the water. It's been a bit since we've just aimlessly walked around without any viruses, anyhow. Come on," he said, leading the way down the winding edge of the water.
Lyntael grinned, white teeth flashing as she held onto her hat. She'd hoped they'd want to go swimming as well, and the reefs out beyond the shallows looked so tempting. there was a slight bounce and skip in her steps as they started to wander along the beach, moving up the beach. Further in that direction, amidst the bluffs and coves, they'd probably find a really nice stretch of sand in the sun, she hoped, secluded from anywhere else and with an easy swim out to the coral.

Aurora's sudden hesitation made her pause as well, and her eyebrows drew in briefly. The request to check something in private, however, led her to guess at the problem and she bit her lip. That might put a damper on things. She stepped in closer to Aurora, slightly turning her face away from Eternalis so she could whisper.

"Bad day for swimming?" She questioned quietly, an understanding look on her features. "We don't have to, if you can't. We can just sunbathe for a bit, or wade in the shallows and stuff." She assumed that the delicate query would be obvious enough; Lyntael herself wasn't aware that, in fact, the majority of female form navi did not have to deal with the things she'd recently needed to start coping with, since her internet research into the topic had assured her that it was normal. The possibility that Aurora, a clearly more grown up and mature woman than her, might not immediately catch on to the question, didn't even occur to her. She glanced back to Eternalis.

"Even if we don't all swim, or just sunbathe, or something else, we should find a change block on the way anyway. I think some of those facades must be, either that or they're showers, I'd guess... so we can check them out!" Her glance down the beach for appropriate fixtures caught sight of the camouflaged structure nearest them at about the same time Aurora herself pointed them out, and their suggestions partially over-rode one another. Lyntael stopped what she was saying and ducked her head. "Right..."

One way or the other, the easy pace down the beach continued, and Lyntael focused on enjoying the atmosphere and the pleasant warmth. She could feel the heat of it, outside the circular shade of her hat, and considered that the sunscreen was probably a good idea, once they were settle.

"Either way, she should set up somewhere before we go in. Find a nice spot in one of these coves, don't you think? I'm not sure exactly where we are... it's somewhere near a place I came to before, where some really rich navi had a private boat... not quite the same place, but close to it. I don't think we'll be bothered by anything, probably, but finding a good place to settle down and spread out towels would be nice. Hey..." She looked to Eternalis now, tilting her head with a vaguely quizzical grin.

"Do you get sand, like... all, um, in stuff...? Is that rude? It's just, your body is all, like, gooey, and sand sticks and stuff, so I wondered... I mean, I'm sorry if that's weird." As she asked, she reaslied it was strange question, but the thought had come to her as her toes sunk into the sand each step. Eternalis was made of slime, so, how did he get sand off when it stuck...?

While she didn't get to respond to Lyntael's not-all-too-subtle query earlier, Aurora did manage a bit of a wry smile at her coincident observation of the changing booths with her. She trailed behind for a bit before Lyntael caught up to Eternalis, and swooped in to flank her on the other side. Keeping her voice down, she leaned in towards Lyntael. "It's not really anything bad, it's just something keeping me from swimming that I have to prepare before I head in. I won't be too long, so keep him company for a bit when I'm off," she whispered.

The secretive attitude made Eternalis raise an eyebrow for a bit, wondering what exactly they were whispering about. Girl stuff, maybe, he thought. Certainly wouldn't surprise him with how Aurora pulled the surprise on him on her friend Tail's store before. He was about to make a remark on it before Lyntael mentioned something about finding somewhere to settle. It was a good point, they should ideally find somewhere to gather their belongings--or, rather, Lyntael's belongings, since most of his and Aurora's would just be stored in their PET.

Then, he found himself being addressed directly. "Huh? Sand?" he said, looking down at his body. It was true, sand did tend to stick, but... "Ahaha, no, don't worry about being rude or anything. Though... I'm not sure, actually. I've never had a problem with sand or anything. It's pretty convenient, my body tends to reject anything going into it unless I specifically let it in..." he said, holding up his translucent arm against the sunlight. "... Or something goes wrong." The last part came with a bit of an awkward chuckle.

Suddenly, he found himself being handed a little squirming pup by Aurora. "Could you hold him now? We're here, I'll be just a bit," requested Aurora. Eternalis looked around--true enough, their walk had been much shorter than he'd realized. Obliging the doggy transfer, he reached out for Sparky, only to find the pup jumping out of Aurora's hands right onto his shoulders. As a result, he was knocked off-balance briefly, before he managed to pluck the eager pup and draw him into his arms.

"Thanks! I'll be back in a flash!" said Aurora, before running off towards one of the camouflaged changing rooms.

"Jeez, she's in such a hurry. Guess it's important," Eternalis saw Aurora off with a wave, before turning back to Lyntael. His eyes went down towards the sands. "Oh, while we're on the topic of sand, are you okay with just walking around barefoot here? I noticed your original outfit didn't have any shoes either. Doesn't sand get in between your toes or anything?" he asked.
Without fully understanding, and potentially drawing an incorrect conclusion, Lyntael nodded to her friend before letting Aurora dart off towards what they'd both presumed to be shower and change rooms. With the other woman's privacy foremost in her mind, Lyntael turned back to Eternalis with a bright grin and a ready distraction.

"How about around that way a bit more? Then we'll have some sun, but it won't be too far from the shade if anyone wants to move later, and it looks like the tide doesn't come in quite that far." She pointed just a short way further around the cove, not far from where the next rocky bluff began and kept walking with a grin, hoisting her bag lightly on one shoulder as she wriggled her toes in the sand.

"I like being barefoot, actually. I like feeling my feet on the ground, especially when I dance, and I don't like wearing shoes unless I have to. The sand feels nice between my toes, and it's warm and nice!" She giggled and the sound, vaguely girlish and infectious, did nothing to help her attempts at being seen as a mature woman. "So, anyway... you said, 'unless you let it'," tacitly, her mind glossed over the bit about things going wrong, more focused on keeping the mood pleasant. "Does that mean you can, sort of... hold stuff, just, anywhere? I mean... like, um... just kind of stick something that you're carrying in your shoulder or something, and use your hands for other things?" As she spoke, her eyes caught sight of his less than well-formed arm, and she flinched a little. Hand, not hands, mentally she kicked herself. "Ah... sorry."

It only took a little longer to reach a nice spot and Lyntael stopped, pausing to enjoy the breeze for a few more seconds, still holding onto her hat with one hand, then set her bag down and pulled out one of the towels. This one was thin, but much broader and longer than the other, and was clearly better designed for lying out on the sand. She started to spread it out, bending a little, then stopped and crouched instead as the breeze plucked at the edges of her dress. Soon enough, though, it was straight and she set her bag down a the head of the towel to stop it shifting or blowing. When she stood it was with a short, content sigh.

"Right. I should get changed and do sunscreen and things, but I'll wait until Aurora gets back, hehe. can't leave you two on your own!" She dropped to sit on her towel, legs crossed, then stretched her arms over her head and straightened her legs out to rock her toes back and forth at a lazy pace.

"So, um, I wanted to ask, but I was a bit worried because it felt rude, but if you say it's ok... before, when you changed. you looked a lot more like a girl, you know, and you sounded that way too. Is, um, is that sort of thing just everyday normal for you? Do you actually, um, change, or is it all just cosmetic?" She only paused briefly before a second thought seemed to occur to her and she perked up a little more, though she waited for Eternalis to answer before speaking again, if he'd started to respond.

"So, that was a cross, right? Was that from spending time with me? I've only encountered it once or twice, and for me it's only ever been with other people that look, well, like me, you know? so, my body has never changed at all, just my clothes, usually. If you could, though, do you think I...?" she thought about it as her words trailed off, wondering what kind of effect undergoing a cross with someone like Eternalis might have for her. She began to focus a little more on the same kinds of relational thoughts that she knew had triggered crosses for her other friends in the past, but didn't dedicate herself to the process just yet, not until she'd listened to anything else Eternalis might have to say. He seemed like his alignment was to water, though, so maybe it would borrow another of her swimwear designs, like Di's cross had... She pondered it a little more.

"Yeah, that sounds fine," replied Eternalis, in response to Lyntael's suggestion of going a little further down the beach. With Sparky in his arms, he nodded along to her explanation on her lack of footwear, while the pup seemed to be more interested in the sights that passed them, its head darting around in curiosity, and its nose twitching slightly in response to the salty seaside air.

In response to Lyntael's query and subsequent apology, Eternalis only responded with laughter. "Hahaha! Holding stuff anywhere, huh... Yeah, I can do that. Here, I'll show you," he said, raising his arms up to his chest, empty-handed. Of course, this would normally let Sparky back down on the ground, but instead, Lyntael would see Sparky's body being almost completely embedded into the blue Navi's translucent abdomen, with only his head sticking out. Inside of the slime body, the pup's stumpy limbs began a slow doggy paddle, trying to 'swim' through the viscous blue jelly.

Peering down at Sparky, Eternalis smiled broadly as he began to urge the pup onwards. "Swim faster, boy! Go on! You can do it!"

After a few moments of his efforts bearing no fruit, the pup's legs suddenly became much more animated, and he launched himself out of the Navi's chest onto the sand. With a few errant flecks of blue slime still stuck to its fur, Sparky shook it off, and turned back to his owner with a happy bark, as if to show off the 'achievement'. Laughing still, Eternalis bent down to pat Sparky on the head, electing to let him run at their side with a quick "Come on!", instead of returning him to his arms as he did before.

As they reached their stop, Eternalis looked around the area. The soft white sands stretched out to their sides, with the water just a stone's throw away. A tall coconut tree stood just behind them, while the towel that Lyntael had spread out was slightly in front of it, such that if they wanted to move into the shade, they could quite easily just pull the towel up a couple of meters. It seemed like Lyntael didn't want to sit down just yet, and had a few more questions for him. Sparky, meanwhile, satisfied himself with running around their base, sniffing about at the tree where they had chosen to set up camp.

A bit of a knockout for the first question, he thought, as he tilted his head slightly in thought. "Well, if you wanted to ask me what I thought was 'normal', I honestly don't know myself. I can certainly feel my body changing, of course," he shrugged. "In the first place, I don't know what it's like to be either one. If you ask me who I was... I'm just me. Changing form doesn't really do anything to change how I think about myself, since it's just changing how I look to other people." Holding out his 'good' arm, he began to change it into a few different forms. An arm cannon, a large paw similar to Sparky's, a bird's foot, and finally his own arm. Pulling his arm back, he examined his fingers as they clenched and unclenched.

"Anyway, yeah, it was a Cross. I don't know how it works myself... It just feels like putting on some armor, normally. Armor that kind of talks to you, but not really. Taking your form was a little different than the others, though, I'd say. I think it felt... a little harder to talk? But it also felt like I just wanted to go out and run and all sorts of things. It felt full of energy, I should say. But it also felt like if I did too much I'd just run out and collapse. It was interesting," he said, grinning as he turned back to Lyntael.

"Anyway, I've only seen one other person use a Cross of mine personally, so go for it if you'd like. I'm sure you can do it," he said, giving her an encouraging thumbs up.


As the door shut behind her, Aurora caught her breath in the changing room she had secluded herself in. Similar to what she had seen at Tail's shop previously, the room didn't have much in the way of a real changing room, except for a single large mirror that reflected her anxious-looking face. She examined her own features in the mirror, turning around with a wry sigh at her modest proportions. She then raised a hand to her visor, selecting the model override from her inventory and activating it.


She had seen the swimsuit once before at Tail's shop, after it was included with a sneaky message attached. Good luck, Aurora! I'm rooting for you! the message attached to the "Borealis Bikini" datasphere had said. The squeaky fae shopkeeper's voice echoed inside Aurora's head as she recalled it. As she examined herself in the mirror, her heart still threatened to burst out of her chest, despite her own reassurances. It was silly to worry, she told herself. Just walk back out there, she told herself. Come on, move it, she yelled at herself.

Before she knew it, the minutes passed by before she was able to turn back towards the door, its hinges artificially creaking as she hesitantly pushed it open.
The very literal example of her question drew a small surprised sound from Lyntael as she watched Sparky's situation, followed by another, longer set of giggling at the antics. By the time they got to chatting about her more thoughtful questions she calmed a little but was still watching her friend curiously. It hadn't occurred to her that something like a definition of gender, or indeed of sex, might be equally as flexible for a person with a body as mutable as his was — she didn't stumble over the word in her mind, since it seemed to be the one that both Aurora, and he himself, used most comfortably. Instead she grinned and nodded, standing again and stretching.

"That's the best kind of answer, I guess, hehe... 'Just you'. I like that. It fits." Still smirking a little she nodded at his description of the cross and rolled her shoulders. It was true, she supposed, from an outside perspective, but it made her wonder whether she really seemed that hesitant and uncertain to other people. Eternalis, on the other hand, always seemed calm and sensible; even when things got strained, so far as she'd seen, his answers were always more or less collected and reasonable, and, in an odd juxtaposition in her mind, it created a comforting kind of solidarity to having him about. It occurred to her that she'd spent more of her time with the pair chatting to Aurora than him, but a part of that was the quiet sense of dependable comfort that Eternalis gave off. She stepped off the towel and away a bit, then turned to face her companion.

"Ok, I'm going to give it a shot! I think I understand how this works... but, I don't know how it'll look. One of the times it happened, it drew on outfit data I'd designed already, but the other time, it just made something completely different, like the clothes of person it was for, so... fingers crossed, right?"

With a quick inhale and release of breath, Lyntael closed her eyes and focused, reaching out for the same sensation she'd felt at other times when something similar had happened. She'd done a little more reading since the email that Martia had sent her, and understood the process more or less, it was just the act of calling it up without really knowing if it was there. Surely enough, though, she found the thread of change and pulled on it in her mind until it widened into a river that began to wash over her. The first changes she was aware of were the cool sensation of metallic cuffs forming at her wrists and ankles, as well as something around her neck and collar bone as well. She imagined that they must be like the armour pieces that Eternalis wore, though she didn't open her eyes yet and focused on lettinghte feeling of change move across her.

What Eternalis could see would indeed be metallic bracers similar in design to his own armour, but sleeker and more delicate in design. They were a yellow colour, but the edge and highlights were trimmed in his own shade of blue. Along with the wrist and ankle pieces, a gorget piece encircled her collar region, this one in metallic Eternalis blue, but trimmed and highlighted with yellow. If anything, this bit more resembled the piece that Aurora now wore instead, but on Lyntael the design was flat-lying and thin. The upper rim only reached a little past her collar bones, nor covering her neck at all, while the front section extended far enough to meet in the centre, where it circled and sat flush with her emblem, leaving it visible as the central tie-in for the armour.

"Oh... that feels strange..." Lyntael grinned slightly but kept her eyes shut at the feeling of something cool and soft spreading out from the metal pieces. for a few moments it felt like it was trying to convert her body, but the efforts slid away without traction and settled instead for a feeling something like a gel coating that swiftly covered her entire body from each of her extremities and from the gorget down, and it felt snug and comfortable, but without any kind of restriction. It was a comfortable feeling, she decided. She could feel that her hair had settled down and was now lying flat and loose to her head, but it seemed like most of the changes had run their course by now.

From his perspective, Eternalis could clearly see all the changes in her form as they occurred, primarily because her original clothes faded away as the cross took hold. The bracers and neck piece were fine, but as the blue slime gel had begin to spread out, he would have seen it try, and abruptly fail to modify the girl's actual physical body. When this failed, what happened instead was that the slime spread out and coated her form in a layer about an inch thick and form fitting, but also, true to form and worryingly, every bit as translucent as Etenrlais' own slime was. This left him in full view of the girl's body underneath, from pale skin and barely developed chest, to the small sun charm piercing at her navel, and further down as well, to where she appeared to now bear pubic hair that was stylised as a water drop, where it had been a lightning bolt when the changes began. This and other things that Lyntael herself would most certain prefer to keep hidden, were not at all appropriately covered by the thin gel layer, no matter how comfortable and all-covering it was.

Lyntael kept her eyes closed for a few extra moments, thinking about how she felt internally now as well; that was something else that changed,she knew. Her inner charge felt dampened, in a similar way to how it had been with her cross to Di, but not quite the same either. There was also something more stoic in her heart than before. Part of the reason, she supposed, that she was taking her time with this and paying attention to it without immediately trying to see everything all at once, might come from that influence. At last, she opened her eyes and lifted her hands to look at them, focusing on the stylish bracers she now found herself wearing, first.

"What do you think? How do—" Her eyes drifted from the bracer tot he smooth, gel slime that covered her arms, and naturally from there to the rest of her body. Her breath caught as she realised what she was seeing and she froze, the words catching in her throat as she looked up towards Eternalis, wide-eyed and stunned for the moment.

When Aurora trawled back to the area where she had left the main group, she came across their footsteps in the sand, leading up to a stop at a bluff just ahead. She clutched at her chest, her fist clenching periodically. Thankfully, there was nobody else around that she could see. "Uuuuugh, I wish I could be invisible right about now," she muttered to herself.

It didn't take long for her to catch her own words, the realization washing over her with relief. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she began to activate her signature processes. The air around her began to twist and warp, before a set of invisible honeycomb-like panels began to appear around her. As they enveloped her, her body disappeared from view, and her nerves settled down slightly, as she quietly started tracking through the footsteps, using Lyntael's earlier footsteps in the sand to disguise her own.

As she was trying to reassure herself, she came closer and closer to the place where her fellow beachgoers had settled. However, as soon as the place came into view, she came to a dead halt, shocked at the scene unfolding before her. It took her two seconds before she then broke into a dead sprint, racing across the sands as fast as her feet would take her.


While his encouragement had been in good intentions, Eternalis hadn't anticipated what would come next--with the modification of his part of the Cross bearing an unfortunate loss of clothing. The words caught in his throat, and he resorted to turning his gaze away. A saving grace came into view--the towel that had been laid out behind him, which Sparky had tentatively started to step on. "Sparky--" he started to call out, before he was interrupted by a flurry of motion.

From their perspective, it would've looked like the towel was suddenly thrown up by the wind. Those keen of hearing, however, would hear the quick steps that pattered through the sand beforehand. Eternalis's eyes would follow the sudden movement of the towel, where it pulled itself in one direction to cover up most of Lyntael's body. They would be able to hear something grinding to a halt against the sand beside Lyntael. The towel quickly wrapped itself around her, and pulled to a point behind her. Unfortunately, whatever it was that covered her decency was unable to take her arms into account, and the enormous towel had essentially restrained her nearly completely from the neck down.

"Whoa!" exclaimed Eternalis, as he caught something furry in his arms. Sparky had been flipped into the air from the sudden displacement of the towel, and neatly landed himself in his master's hands. The pup shook wobbled about slightly from the unexpected movement, before shaking his fur and letting out a quick bark.

Lyntael would feel herself being supported from the back as well, and a weary sigh. "Sorry, are you all right, Lyntael?" a familiar voice said from behind her.

"Aurora? You there?" called out Eternalis, punctuated by a couple of barks from Sparky as well.

The voice called out again, in the woman's voice. "Honestly, I can't leave you guys alone," Aurora huffed, letting her grip on the towel loose slightly, so that Lyntael would be able to move a little more.
It took a second or two for Lyntael to fully process what she had discovered and the ramifications of the costume she now found herself in. She managed to stare down at herself, then up towards Eternalis, who, she was just barely able to process, was looking away with what she presumed to be embarrassment. A moment after, before she could try to grope for some word to say or action to take, things moved quickly around her and an unseen force bundled her up in the beach towel with a rapid flurry.

She could feel the other body moving about her in the process, even if she couldn't see it; it was definitely hands holding and moving the towel, and definitely a sense of presence and movement of sand that announced feet. She didn't have time to actively think about those pieces of awareness before she was wrapped up and her arms unconsciously nestled in underneath the towel to allow it, like a small child being towelled up by a parent. Somewhere in her mind, she connected the dots, and knew she was safe, but she didn't more consciously realise it was aurora until the other woman's voice spoke to her. The easiest response, while she was still trying to get her own bearings, was to nod.

Lyntael herself was silent through the next quick exchange between the startled Eternalis and the still quite invisible aurora. Her face had suffused itself in bright embarrassed red, but as the initial shock of the unexpectedly indecent change passed, the girl's next reaction probably came as something unexpected to both of them. She giggled. Softly, and heavy with nerves, but very definitely a giggle.

"I don't think this cross is suitable for public viewing..." The giggle grew harder, though her hands reached up under the towel to take control of it and make sure it continued to cover her properly; she felt more confident about that as long as she had a hand in it herself as well.

"I think I'm going to have to edit it later.... hehe... I, um... I had no idea it was going to do that... hehe... but, I guess, um, I guess, since you don't wear proper clothes, I sort of should have guessed, maybe. Hehe... this is very silly." She realised, underneath, that she wasn't' quite as panicked as she might have otherwise been. Rather, there was a simpler sense that things were alright. She was with friends, after all... and Eternalis, sort of, didn't really count in the same way that another male might have, in her mind. Or something like that. It was hard to pin down exactly where the more relaxed vibe was coming in. Instead, she turned around to roughly where she guessed Aurora might be and opened her towel up a bit more, still keeping herself covered from Eternalis, but with none of the fastidious desperation she had previously.

"I sort of.. I tried to see if I could make a cross work, like he did earlier, and I think it all worked, but this happened..." she shook her head and closed the towel again. Another thought occurred to her, followed by a new fit of giggles, though she wasn't managing to cool down her blush at all.

"Hehe... Or maybe this is all just because this place is secretly a nudist beach, but it didn't have any signs!" She peeked over the towel towards Eternalis. "You're not really wearing anything, and I'm like this... and Aurora might not be wearing anything underneath all that invisibility either! Maybe we should just declare this cove a nude beach and then no-one's doing anything naughty!" The blush was not going away, and the giggling certainly sounded like she felt like she was being naughty, but she seemed at least some measure of calm given the circumstance.

"I bet this... um... outfit..? good for swimming too, since I can tell it's water aligned... It's actually really comfortable! Just, indecent. Ack, I'm really sorry about this, I had no idea it would happen, hehe..." She glanced down at her shoulder bag and frowned for a moment. "I wonder where my dress went..." It wasn't anywhere visible, though there was always the chance that disengaging the cross would restore it, possibly. She really didn't know. A small part of her mind was concerned about how calmly she was contemplating what would effectively be going skinny dipping with two friends she'd only met a short while ago... and finding herself borderline ok with the idea... but she realised it was also, at least in part, because she'd assigned them as a couple in her mind already, so there was nothing 'wrong' about it as a result.

Both Eternalis and Aurora were slightly taken by surprise from the unexpected reaction from the little girl, who was currently swaddled in a towel. Eternalis recalled something slightly about her making some racier outfits, but he didn't expect her to get over it so quickly. Then again, he recalled the way Aurora had to step in to keep her from exposing herself to him in her PET. This made it the second time already; perhaps the girl really just had a hidden exhibitionist streak that they were (unfortunately(?)) bringing out now.

"Ah, I kind of figured that's what happened. It's not quite decent, I can see that," joked Aurora, giggling slightly to lighten up the mood. She felt the towel shift under her hands, and took it as a cue to allow Lyntael to cover herself of her own volition. The sands shifted around slightly with her steps, deliberately made more prominent as she was still, of course, invisible.

"Yeah, um, my bad? I can't really help it, so I guess you'll just have to live with it," laughed Eternalis nervously, looking down at his own, rather thread-bare body. However, Lyntael then made an off-hand comment shortly after that revealed something new to him, and he looked back up in surprise. "Oh! I didn't know you could edit Cross appearances. I thought they just came up sort of naturally," exclaimed Eternalis, more of a thought said out loud than anything else.

"You don't exactly need it," Aurora interjected, glaring at Eternalis before realizing that he wasn't reacting to it--of course, she was still cloaked with her invisibility.

"I guess not!" replied Eternalis with a laugh, oblivious to the additional stinker eye that Aurora had given him.

His laugh was cut rather short by an unexpected joke from Lyntael--or at least he hoped it was a joke. It certainly was accompanied by a copious amount of giggling, at the very least, but her tone suggested something of a restrained attitude just begging for a chance to do something completely wild. His reaction was appropriately nothing but a stymied look for a moment, while Aurora's was somewhat similar, though hidden. Looking towards where he figured Aurora was, he began signaling frantically with his eyes.

Her expression scrunched up--she knew what to do, but her nerves hadn't had time to steel themselves. She thanked her good fortune that she was still invisible, as she quietly took a deep breath. A brief shimmer of light preceded the deactivation of her camouflage module, as she stood in place, wrapping her arms around herself in a rare show of uncertain shyness. The reason would be clearly displayed, as she had changed from her usual cream white bodysuit to a two-piece black swimsuit. Her outfit consisted of a halter bikini top, supported by some thin straps, covering her up to her armpits, a plain black bikini bottom, and a translucent long sarong tied to her left side that covered half of her bottom side. Her hair was swept over her shoulder to her side, accentuating the kaleidoscopic colors of an aurora borealis that moved over the top and sarong like the real depiction of a winter night.

"Er, sorry to be a buzzkill, but I'm still properly dressed. Ahaha," she stated, smiling awkwardly.

Eternalis had intended to follow up with Aurora's cue, but it was slightly put off by his jaw becoming slack with awe at the change. Aurora could feel her pale cheeks burning up, as she didn't know how to meet her partner's gaze. She ended up turning to Lyntael, her hands clasped behind her, still with an awkward expression. "I mean, I'd rather that you wore the swimsuit that you brought along earlier. It'd be sad if you didn't even get to use it, right? Then we can go swimming," she said, trying to prop up her request with reasoning.
As they variously recovered from the sudden shock, Lynteal shuffled over to her bag and crouched down, temporarily slipping the towel up and over her shoulders and letting it drape to the ground; once more the primary function was keeping her shielded from Eternalis' angle, with no real attention paid to doing the same for Aurora, or where she suspected Aurora to be. The bigger, thinner towel might work for covering for now, but it was meant for lying on the sand, after all. She rifled through the bag and pulled out the rolled towel containing her actual bathers and started to unravel it while the others exchanged words. It was kind of amusing, she though, listening to them; not the conversation itself, but just, with Aurora invisible still and Eternalis trying not to look in her direction — which she appreciated, of course — she could only imagine that it had to feel fairly strange. She glanced up and over her shoulder while she unrolled the towel and pulled her swim wear out of it.

"Oh... well, I mean, I spend some of my time making up clothing, even though I never really intend to wear most of it. I'm really not brave enough, hehe... but, a little while ago, when I formed a different cross, it sort of drew on one of the design files I had at the time, and that let me find out more about some of the technical bits. So, I mean, now that I know this is something that exists, I think I can trace back and make some quick baseline changes to how it forms. It should be simple, I think." The process made sense in her own mind, anyway; without any further experience to go from, Lyntael herself wasn't aware that such alterations weren't normally as simple as altering an override. She stood up, then carefully wrapped the fluffier drying towel about herself, under her arms and twisting it at the top and side safely, before turning to spread the beach towel out on the sand again where it belonged.

In her mind she was still cautiously weighing up whether it would be ok to go swimming as she was. It would be a bit naughty, no matter how she justified it, but there was no-one else around, and she was with friends she could trust, so why couldn't' she do something a bit naughty for a change anyway? There was a vaguely surreal sense to the thought; the bit of her asking 'was she really going to do that?', while the rest of her, excited, embarrassed and a little stunned, didn't immediately push back like it normally would have. she began scanning the waterline for a good place to go in, still not quite sure. Aurora and Eternalis would put a stop to it anyway, if they thought it was actually a bad idea.

She'd barely had that thought, however, when Aurora made her confession of clothing and revealed a swimsuit that made Lyntael's breath catch briefly and caused her to draw in a small gasp. She didn't even mind that Aurora was dashing her suggestion of declaring the beach an impromptu skinny-dipping zone; the outfit was quite stunning on her, and looked professionally designed. She clapped her hands.

"That's looks really pretty on you! The effect is amazing! Did you make it? It looks great!" It helped, of course, that Aurora had the figure and the curves to accentuate and sell the bikini, in a way that she was just never going to, but the smaller girl put that thought aside for now. The older woman's gentle nudge towards proper swim-wear calmed her down a bit, and the slightly fluttering in her chest about what she might have dared to do faded away. She nodded instead.

"Yeah. Alright, um, I'll..." She glanced back to Eternalis and ducked her head. "I'll go change quickly. Back in a minute!" She crouched once more to grab her shoulder bag, then darted across the sand as quickly as she could without losing her towel. As she went, she had to fight down a giggle again as she stole another quick glance back at Aurora's bikini. It was very... appealingly designed. she wondered if it was what she normally wore, or if the other woman was wearing it especially for Eternalis. She guessed, from the other navi's reaction that it was his first time seeing it as well, and she hummed to herself, gleeful at the cute couple, and tried not to skip too much as she sought out the same change rooms that aurora had presumably found earlier, leaving the pair to each others' company, just for a little while.

"Ah, no, I didn't design this myself, I don't have nearly the amount of designing talent. A friend of mine made it for me," said Aurora, her cheeks slightly rosier from the compliment. At the very least, she seemed to have convinced the other girl to give up whatever wild course of action she was contemplating before; she internally sighed in relief. Seeing Lyntael off as she ran off towards the changing blocks, she waved half-heartedly. "Ah, be careful..." she said, before her hand drooped slightly, and a brief silence came over the remainder of the group, with only the sound of Sparky's idle panting and Aurora hearing her own heart beat quickly.

Her eyes flitted over to her side. "So, um, what do you think?" said Aurora, trying to fight back her nervousness and flashing the best smile she could muster.

"Well, I mean--It's--" Eternalis began to stumble on his words, blinking a few times in the process. "I don't know, it's kind of hard to keep my eyes off of you if that's enough of an answer. I assume I owe a life debt to Tail now."

Her heart soared at her partner's evaluation, and Aurora beamed happily. "Hee hee! I'm glad you like it, I'll pass on the compliment," she giggled. Walking over to Eternalis, she bent down to meet Sparky's face as well. "How about you, Sparky? Do you like it?" she asked. Whether the enthusiastic barking afterwards was affirmative or not, Aurora was happy regardless. The combined warmth from the sun as well as from inside her heart made her feel full of life; perhaps this was how Lyntael felt as well.

Eternalis himself was feeling similarly happy. However, the swimsuit Aurora had shown off also made him think of one of Lyntael's earlier comments--as was pointed out to him earlier, he wasn't wearing a shred of clothing. Perhaps he also ought to fix that part. "I guess I'll put mine on, too," he said.

"Oh? You have one?" queried Aurora.

Her question was answered by a brief gleam of light, though not as all-encompassing as a normal override. His unstable arm coalesced into a more normal limb, and the remainder of his armor sank into his body before disappearing. In exchange, a few other articles of clothing appeared. The first to appear was a pair of large orange swimming trunks, with a fruity motif printed on them. Next, a translucent sun visor of the same color appeared on his head, framing his monster-like facial features well, along with a pair of orange floaters affixing themselves around his arms. His form also became more defined and human-like, with a bit of muscular definition added on for flavor. However, his feet were a little less defined when compared to Aurora's, the foot looking more like a singular lump rather than one detailed with proper toes.

Aurora's eyebrows visibly raised at the shift in appearance. "Oh! That really looks good!" she exclaimed, eliciting a warm grin from Eternalis. "Glad to hear it," he replied. If only for a moment, they had temporarily completely forgotten about their friend, and their eyes only saw the other and nothing else--such that even the clumsiest girl would probably be able to sneak up on them and catch them unawares.
It didn't take too long for Lyntael to find the slim block tucked away at the edge of the beach, just where the rocky bluffs met the woodland. It was well screened with wood cladding, keeping the structure quite stealthy and not braking up the otherwise picturesque setting. Any other time she would have appreciated the attention to detail a little more, but right now, Lyntael dashed into the ladies side and leaned on the wall, blushing bright and panting to herself.

What on earth was she thinking, making suggestions like that? Ok, it had mostly been a joke, but only mostly, and she knew that some part of her would have just run with it, if Aurora and Eternalis hadn't decided against the idea. She understood, a little, why it hadn't seemed like a really bad idea, just a little bit naughty, but the understanding itself almost made her pout. It was the realisation that Eternalis and Aurora were much more like a mature adult couple, while she was still just a girl, more or less, so it wasn't naughty on those grounds... it made her frown because she didn't want to be viewed that way, but if she wasn't, then the suggestion would have been a whole lot riskier than it felt. It was all really silly.

Shaking her head, she pulled off her towel and let it rest on one of the benches. The area looked more or less unused. There were change benches, with hooks at head height for hanging bags and such, and matting on the floor to soak away water quickly, but everything looked brand new. She supposed that it wouldn't see a lot of use anyway, given that most navis just changed their clothes with a command, like magic. There wasn't a mirror anywhere, so the girl had to settle for looking down at her unusual cross outfit, and her exposed body. The change in style at her groin made her eyebrows rise for a moment, and her blush leap up to full strength again. It didn't really feel appropriate that something like that would change without her knowledge. She swallowed, then poked at the gel covering.

It was comfortable and giving, and it hadn't made her towel wet or stained it at all. Her finger sank in until she could feel it touching her own skin below. That wasn't entirely safe, or protective. Hmm... Curious, she dragged her finger around her middle, swirling a pattern, and found that it easily pulled the gel apart and away, exposing her skin to the air, but within a few moment the suit encroached and reformed, sealing itself back up again. This was the strangest cross she had ever experienced... but then, Eternalis was a very peculiar navi, she though. She smiled all the same; the thought was a good one and meant in a good way. She liked him, for all his claims of looking monstrous. The arm was a bit worrying, but it didn't seem to cause any problems, and the rest of him was just... friendly.

The next experiment was to scrape a large swath of the material away from her midriff; it came away easily, leaving her middle bare, and she threw the gel across the change room with a giggle. It landed with a wet slap and then degraded, sliding through the porous matting and away. Once again, in moments, the remaining outfit recovered. She couldn't exactly wear a swimsuit over it, but maybe under it would work; she could feel it pressing snug against her groin, and the idea of something even only very mildly self-active doing that was not a comfortable one, really. Appropriate coverage was one thing, worries about it becoming invasive were quite another. A traitorous thought pondered how the gel would react if she got— Lyntael crushed the thought and took a deep breath, fanning her cheeks.

Changing focus, she pulled the stringy bikini out of her bag and straightened it out. Now. How to get it on, without ending the other... she couldn't' just press it on, that wouldn't' work... what she really needed was a way to make it all— a shift in the gel as she thought about it led Lyntael to grabbing the thread in her mind and concentrating a little more. She focused and part willed, part envisioned the gel part of the cross gone. It took a moment, but he a quiet slurping sound heralded the suit splitting in places and rapidly retracting, as though it were being sucked away into her bracers and the neck piece. A moment later and she was standing in the change room properly naked, save for the metal parts. Well. That was one way.

With quick, hurried motions, she slipped the bikini on and tied the strings in large bow knots. Humbly, she had to admit that the swim wear would probably look sexy and racy on a woman with a well developed figure and large breasts. On her it just looked... normal, she supposed? Decent? The triangles over her chest covered her sufficiently well, even if they were only connected by string ties, and the same was true of the lower half; she wasn't daring enough to try any of the styles that left her bum more or less bare, and she had to admit, with a sigh, that the result was that it was, more or less, something appropriate for a girl, as much as for a woman. Oh well. This wasn't about showing off anyway. There was no-one she wanted to show off to even watching. Why was she fussing about this at all? This was just about having fun at the beach, for a change. With her swimmers on, she darted across the change area to where the showers were and pressed a button, ducking under the water and getting used to the cool temperature, then stepped out again once she was thoroughly wetted down.

Next, she closed her eyes and tugged at the same sensation she'd felt earlier, focusing on the gel back in place; sure enough it rapidly slithered back, covering her as before with a sensation that made her squirm and giggle as it crept across her skin. Thankfully, it went over the top of her swimwear this time, leaving her blessedly decent for being seen in public. Lyntael grabbed her bag, stuffed her towel back inside it and then headed back out to the beach.

The sand clung to her bare feet, still wet from her quick rinse, but it was a pleasant feeling and Lyntael ambled back towards the others without rushing. It was a nice combination; she felt like she was fully covered, wearing a light wetsuit or some such, and knew that she was at least visibly wearing an appropriate bikini, but she could still feel the sun on her body, and feel the brush of the wind, even if her normal senses for it were muted. She'd just make some edits to the modesty coding later... or put some in to begin with... and then it would be ideal.

By the time she was returning to the place she'd left Aurora and Eternalis, Lyntael noticed a change in her newest, bluest friend. She suppressed a new wave of giggles. He looked pretty cute, in the same way she might think of a puppy as being so. It was a fun costume change, a little silly, but wilfully, good-naturedly so, and she felt that the two of them looked borderline adorable together. The slightly better formed shape of Eternalis helped make them look more couple-like, she thought, as did the disappearance of the creepy eye-arm thing. She almost didn't want to interrupt. Her ears caught the tail end of stumbling compliments and she smiled, but finally decided not to slow her pace, arriving back only a few moments later.

"Hey! All better, see?" She called out once she was close, waving to each of them. "Now we all have beach wear!" This time she did let herself giggle as she looked to Eternalis, but grinned along with it, all neat white teeth and dancing green eyes. "I guess that solves the nude beach mystery, hehe. Hey, look what I worked out!" She put her bag down at the head of her beach towel again, then stood in front of the pair clearly. With some focus, she retracted the gel suit back to just the bracers, and of course, her actual swim wear. "It comes back if you scrape it away, too. It's kinda strange, but I like it. It's fun. Should we do sunscreen before we go in?" She tilted her head, struck by a thought and looked at Eternalis. "Do you need sunscreen? Does that even work, or would it just kinda sink in...?"

Either way, she shrugged and dug in her bag for her own tube, coming up with it triumphantly and pausing to look up at the sun. She knew that her own skin was fairly pale, so even though the sunscreen's statistics set reapply time at an hour, she should probably keep track and do it in half that time. She'd made it for the outfit based on some quick research online, since buying suncreen for navigators had proved to be a frustration. Eric had warned her that things like this might be hard to track down, and she understood why he'd been so prompt on getting her the medicine cabinet. She'd done a cursory search for such important products, just out of curiosity, and found literally nothing. She brushed the side thoughts away and held up the bottle to see if Aurora wanted any.

"Wah!" exclaimed both Eternalis and Aurora, jumping slightly as they were forcefully snapped out of their reverie. They both turned towards the source of the disturbance, and Eternalis exhaled slightly as he saw Lyntael in somewhat decent swimwear. For some reason, she had decided to wear it directly over his Cross that she had engaged earlier, which made it look a little odd. It was almost as if she was wearing a full body suit, at least if it wasn't for its translucent nature and the actual bikini worn under it breaking the illusion. The armored neckpiece and bracers on her limbs made for an altogether strange ensemble, though it didn't look bad.

The demonstration with how the slime worked made Eternalis wonder for a moment. He briefly attempted to exercise the usual control that he had over his own body on a small part of the slime on her arm, just as he did when he was on Aurora's person a few days ago. Unfortunately, his attempt was met with rejection. Ostensibly, he figured it was already a part of Lyntael's systems, so he let it pass for the moment.

Meanwhile, Aurora raised an eyebrow at how the slime worked, being somewhat concerned for Lyntael due to her own experience with wearing the 'slime bodysuit'. As she watched, however, the girl seemed comfortable enough with it that she pushed it aside, not wanting to be overbearing with her attention. "That's kind of weird, but I'm glad it worked out. The swimsuit looks good on you," smiled Aurora.

The subsequent sunscreen offer made Eternalis do a double take for a moment, before he chuckled amusedly. "Heheh, yeah, I... don't think I need sunscreen. Thanks for the offer, though--can you even put it on through, uh, that?" said Eternalis, gesturing ambiguously towards Lyntael's 'suit'. Aurora, meanwhile, took the bottle offered to her and examined it. Sunscreen wasn't something that she had considered using before--she knew some humans needed it to prevent their skin from burning, but as far as she was concerned, she had never had such troubles. The bottle in her hand said something about being 'formulated especially for Navigators', though it offered no explanation as to how.

Then again, she hadn't exactly been outside of Sharo, and her skin was about as pale as it could be, so it might be safer to err on the side of caution. As she looked back up, she realized that Eternalis did bring up a valid point; how was Lyntael supposed to put it on herself? Would she just sink it in somehow? "Do you need me to help put it on? I might need some help myself, since I'm not sure if I can reach everywhere," asked Aurora, handing the bottle back to Lyntael.
Still fighting off the urge to giggle around her smile, Lyntael nodded to Aurora and turned about once at the compliment. It was easy to see that the swim wear was appropriate on her only really by virtue of her small proportions; between the small panels and the thin string ties leaving her back bare, it was a very minimal set.

"Thanks! This is just one I whipped up quickly to go with the dress. I think my other set of swim-wear is a nicer design, but this one is better for sun, I think." She paused to look at the bracers on her wrists; she could barely feel their presence, really; if anything they felt like a slight muffle on the hum of her strikers, but she had to agree with Aurora that they looked a little bit out of place as beach wear.

"It is a bit strange, but if it's anything like the other one, then it'll have a neat breather and eye mask built into it, when we go swimming. I'd love to look at the reefs properly but I don't have a proper snorkel or goggles or anything like that, so I thought I'd keep this on as long as possible instead. I can always switch to the other one if it runs out as well, I think. Maybe." She thought for a moment, then shrugged. It would be fine, one way or the other. Instead, she glanced towards Eternalis, stretching her arms above her head and taking a long breath of the sea air as she did, enjoying the sunlight.

"I'll probably want to let it soak in for a few minutes before going into the water, but I don't think the slimy stuff will interfere once I've applied properly." With Aurora's offer she grinned back, grateful. "Oh, yes please! If you could get my back that would be great! Oh, um, here, just give me a good squeeze first." She stepped in, only clarifying the potential misinterpretation by holding out her hand palm cupped, towards the bottle that Aurora now had. Once she got a decent amount of the viscous white protective she turned away again, presenting her back to the other woman and reaching back with her free hand to make sure her hair was out of the way; since her cross, it was now lying flat, rather than the rough, wild spikes that it normally settled in, and lifting it off her neck was actually important for once.

"I've never really been able to go swimming just for fun before. The only times have been when I've had some important job to do, or when Rogan has been making me fight things. This is fun!" Despite the probable importance of her holding a little bit still, Lyntael bounced a little on the balls of her feet without really being aware of it. She also seemed to have shed, at least temporarily, her burgeoning phobia of physical contact. It was probably Eternalis' influence as much as anything else.

"Hey..." Lyntael began to apply the sunscreen to her face and neck carefully, behind her ears and over every other little easily missable part on her face and neck. her voice sounded contemplative a she chatted. "You asked before, hat other navis I'd met... I don't think I ever answered you, did I?" Her sideways glance peeked up at Eternalis between rubbing at herself. with her face and neck done, Lyntael moved onto her chest and mid-section, giving Aurora time to take care of the expanse of her back and shoulders, and however far down that the other woman decided to go while hey chatted.

"It's not really been very many. I don't really get any chance to meet other people, so anyone I do meet is usually just once, because of some mission or job that Rogan needs me to do. A couple have been nice, and um..." She broke off; there was a moment of obvious discomfort and bleakness before Lyntael firmly shoved the memories away and drew herself back to the positive present. "Well, some have been nice. Like you guys, and, um, like this nice, brave lady I met, called Martia. I think I made that weird though. She never wrote back to my last email." Her hands rubbed the sunscreen between them, alternately lifting the fabric of her bikini top a little bit, so that she could slide her hands under and cover every part of her skin evenly. After the first brush, she did her chest a little more gingerly, under the cloth; her nipples felt unduly sensitive for some reason today. That done she moved down to her mid-section and her sides.

"I, um... I know this is just business with Rogan, and everything... but I really hope we can be friends after, and see each other again some time. I'm, um, I'm sorry if that's an odd thing to say." she turned her eyes down to the sand instead and continued to focus on rubbing in sunscreen.

Aurora shrugged at the explanation, while Eternalis wondered about the effects of his own Cross. The only one he had seen actually use it was Rhea, and she hadn't quite gotten to use it in water. Since Lyntael was wholly different, being a close human replicate, he wondered how she would be able to use it. From what he could see, the effects seemed to be more external than any kind of bodily modification. He saw her glance in his direction briefly. Trying to ward off his own self-consciousness, he tried to deflect attention off of himself.

"I don't really see any breathers or eye masks, though I'd like to see what that other Cross is like. Can't be any worse than mine," he joked.

"I'd hope so," said Aurora, with a wry-looking smile. Her brow furrowed at Lyntael's poorly-worded request, before realizing what she meant, and dispensing some of the sunscreen for her. Cold, she thought, as she began to squeeze some out on her hand to get started. After she obtained a reasonable enough amount, she set the bottle on the ground before reaching out to Lyntael's back. With how much of it was exposed, she was able to get a good look at it without feeling too invasive.

As it was, the girl looked a little lacking in meat on her bones, but she didn't quite look emaciated. Aurora didn't know the extent of the human emulation, but from what she had surmised from their few interactions, the similarities ran quite deep--much deeper than even human-like Navis like her would have. As she started to rub in the sunscreen from the neck down, she could feel the difference from what she had sensed in Sharo Net. The electrical loop was much more stable now, and there was a steady beat of warmth emitting from her core that penetrated through her skin. She also realized that Lyntael had easily consented to her offer, despite her previous aversion to physical contact; her smile grew slightly wider afterwards.

Lyntael's next statement peaked Eternalis's curiosity slightly. "Hm, where'd you swim before? Have you been here before?" asked Eternalis. It would make sense, why she had ported them to some off-road location in Beach Net instead of a main entryway, he thought, as he started imagining some kind of hardcore swimming exercise in his head.

Meanwhile, Aurora was working in the sunscreen on Lyntael's back, making sure to get an even spread of it in while listening to their friend's small talk about her previous friends. "Ah, maybe she's just busy. I'm sure she'll write back soon," commented Eternalis. "And of course, I'd love for us to stay friends! It'd be a good excuse to do something other than virus busting once in a while."

Aurora chimed in as well. "Right, I keep in touch with a few of my friends still; we can always arrange for something later on. Hopefully you don't have to sneak out or something, though, I'd really rather not get you in trouble--" said Aurora, though she caught herself after realizing what she was saying. "--Er... that's a little too late to say now, isn't it. But for next time, I mean! Maybe do some sightseeing someplace, a little virus busting while we get there... Preferably while walking through a network that isn't below freezing. Just so you can have something to report to your operator that you didn't waste any time away from him. It'll be great!"

Then, she glanced over at Eternalis, who seemed to be intently watching, and gestured away slightly with her neck. Eternalis caught the signal quickly, averting his eyes for the moment. Then, with a bit of hesitation, she slid her fingers in slightly into the elastic of Lyntael's bikini bottom, before moving back up to finish the job. She then retreated slightly, spreading the excess over her own arms.

"Alright, I think that should be all that I can help you with," she said, reaching back down to the bottle at her side, and dispensed some for herself, trying to manage the amount that she used frugally. "Eternalis, I think you can stop looking at that coconut tree now," she joked, noting the way Eternalis had chosen to interpret her unspoken request from earlier.

Eternalis rolled his eyes slightly, not moving from his previous position. Chuckling slightly, he replied to Aurora. "No, I think I still need to watch it, just in case one of them falls down and I need to catch it," he grinned, making a show of defiantly staring up at the tree. Of course, the tree was a few feet away from being able to drop anything on their head, and he wasn't quite paying full attention to it. His head was turned in her direction in a not-too-subtle motion, enough that Aurora would be able to shake her head at it with a knowing smile, as she started spreading some sunscreen over herself.
Lyntael finished off her front and other areas while Aurora took care of her back; the lotion was water resistant enough that it wasn't bothered by any lingering flecks of water from her brief pre-swim shower in the change rooms. she glanced back, and then towards Eternalis and stifled a giggle at the way he was avoiding looking towards them both.

"It's ok, really... I sneak out sometimes, when Rogan is working, or when I know he won't need me for a while. He's still not really used to having a navigator, I think, so, you know... he doesn't really rely on me for much, outside of the work he makes me do. I've only slipped out once or twice, I get very nervous and a bit scared about doing it, but nothing bad has ever happened... well, nothing compared to other things." She shook the thought off before it could take hold and drew a breath, turning around and reclaiming the bottle once Aurora said she was done.

"Your turn!" The proclamation was bright, with a grin and a hint of giggle to it, attempting to move more firmly away from less pleasant thoughts. She reached up with the bottle, squeezing a snaking trail across the other girl's shoulders, provided Aurora turned around for her; the cream itself was cold on contact, but the smaller girl quickly began to run it in thoroughly after completing her wobbly design. For a brief second, it had been a grinning sun on Aurora's back, which she may have felt the girl drawing, but just as swiftly became a white smear as her fingers slid up to the back and sides of her neck, then began to work thoroughly down from there. She glanced across to Eternalis again as she worked.

"I had to come here once for a mission that I signed up for. I was... I guess I was trying to do something that would help me be more useful to Rogan, in the times when he didn't need me, rather than just sitting by myself and waiting for him to wake up." She moved out to make sure she got the tops and sides of Aurora's shoulders, and down to her sides, under the arms. Lyntael felt a slight blush crest her cheeks a little as the process made her that much more keenly aware of how much more, er, soft area there was on the other woman, her fingertips just barely brushing towards places that she then left for Aurora to take care of herself.

"There's a very rich navi who owns a luxury ship, not too far back the other way, or at least, that's where it was moored when I had to visit it. I was a bit worried about what he wanted me to do, at first, but, it turned out that I only had to deliver a message, so, it all worked out fine, in the end!" Her hands moved down to Aurora's lower back, tracing her spine then sliding around in a manner that felt something between massaging and vaguely sensual, though the girl herself chatted away without really being aware of it. the process slid over and rubbed around her hips in a smooth pattern, then traced back, two fingertips on each side tucking about an inch under the band and sliding back from her sides to the centre that way.

"I think your done! Did it feel like I missed anywhere?" She stood back from aurora with a grin and a nod, and unless she was called on to service her further, Lyntael swiftly began to work on doing her legs as well, giving the lower half of her biking the same few inches of under-cover that she'd given her top as she went.

"Once or twice, huh," repeated Eternalis. His curiosity nagged at him regarding what constituted 'other things' that Lyntael had mentioned, but she seemed to be clearly taking steps to avoid the topic.

The coldness of the protective cream made Aurora jump for a bit--she wasn't quite used to direct contact on her skin with such variance, as she had been protected by her suit's temperature regulation feature for so long. Shivers ran down her body from the foreign touch. Different from Eternalis's body, Lyntael's fingers were much less... autonomous, and felt much more like her own human touch. Aurora froze for a few seconds while Lyntael traced her spine with her application, trying to keep her voice down until it was finished.

Thankfully, it didn't last too long, and Lyntael eventually retreated away. Shaking her head, Aurora continued on her front side, while being thankful that her face was turned away from their friend--she figured she looked a little odd just then. However, as a result of the unexpected reaction she had to Lyntael's touch, Aurora had neglected to remember that Eternalis, while seemingly turned away, was still in full view of her face, and the Navi's reaction could be summed up as a mix of concern and... something else that he couldn't determine. Whatever it was, it was making him uncomfortable, like something squirming in his chest--


--that just escaped from his arms, running towards the water. "Hey, Sparky! Come back here!" yelled Eternalis, chasing the runaway pup, which had been all too eager to head towards the water after being cramped up in his master's clutches for so long.

The sudden departure of two of the beachgoers' party also made for a welcome distraction from Aurora's predicament, as she watched the two dive into the water, Sparky in particular causing the seawater to splash high into the air with his explosively high-velocity entry. She giggled, and turned to Lyntael. "Yeah, I think you did fine," said Aurora, turning around to examine herself. She then proceeded to continue with the sunscreen as best as she could, working down her own legs and mirroring Lyntael's movements. "Let's get this done so we can join them."