Senescence stepped out onto a snowy white platform from the transport pod. The biting chill in the air made her toes curl inside her shoes.

 

It seemed like she had just buckled into the pod in Belle Sphere, and now, here she was in her new home, Shatl Sphere.

 

She was startled by the crunch-crunching of the snow under her shoes. The snow didn’t make noise in Belle Sphere. In Belle Sphere, weather was only a visual experience; it had no sound.

 

“How strange,” Senescence thought.

 

Still looking down at the ground of the busy platform, she noticed the shoes of passersby. They looked the same. They were all Converse shoes but different colors, and they all looked new.

 

Her brother, Gravatar, noticed the shoes at the same time and they looked at each other.

 

“What the…?!” Senescence mouthed slowly.

 

She looked down at her beat up olive green Blowfish low-tops. Styron had drawn on the toe parts on top of each shoe the last time they saw each other.
 

Chapter 2:

Shatl Sphere

“The left is Belle Sphere, see?”

 

He pointed to the top of her left shoe. He had drawn a picture of the tree they liked to lay under together.

 

“And that’s you and me under our tree.”

 

Senescence felt tears gathering in her human and robot eyes.

 

“The right one is in Shatl Sphere. That’s us under a tree."

 

Senescence squeezed Styron’s other arm.

 

"I don’t know what trees look like there but I’ve heard there’s a lot of pink in Shatl Sphere--whatever that means-- so I made the trunk pink.”

 

Her gaze stayed on Styron's face.

 

"Rad! I love them, Sty. Thank you.”

 

She didn't want him to look at her, to see that she was crying.

 

A few human tears dripped from her eye and landed on the drawing of her right shoe in a series of damp thudded plinks. The pink from the tree trunk crept upward toward the branches and leaves as her tears sunk into the cloth of her shoes.

 

Senescence gave a light laugh between her tears, “I guess the whole tree is pink now!”

 

“Haha! I guess so,” Styron replied with a smile.

 

She hadn’t noticed that he had been crying, too.

 

He wiped his tears away before she could see that his cheeks were wet.

“Did you know that pink used to be the color associated with those who identified as cisfemale?” Styron asked with a know-it-all kind of face.

 

“Yeah, and blue was for cismales,” Senescence said in a mocking tone.

 

Senescence hated that she was feeling annoyed by Styron. They only had a few days together before she left for Shatl Sphere.

 

“That’s so weird, isn’t it?”

 

Styron looked up at the night sphere sky through his ceiling window. They were laying on his gigantic bed waiting for the falling sphere stars. The sphere stars showered twinkles of light over Belle Sphere at the change of every weather cycle.

 

“Look! There they are!” His excitement was endearing.

 

Senescence kept her arms firmly at her sides and pointed upward to the sphere sky with her nose.

 

“Sweet!”

 

Styron shot up and laid back on his elbows and forearms. His pinky brushed against hers.

 

The slightest touch from Styron made the hair on her human arm stand on end.

 

Usually, Senescence would lace her fingers between his and lay her head on his shoulder as they watched the stars fall, but this time she felt paralyzed.

 

She wanted to grab Styron’s hand and beg him to come to Shatl Sphere with her but she knew that wasn’t an option. Styron was a creature of comfort.

 

It was difficult enough for him to manage his moods in Belle Sphere, the only home he’s known.

 

Moving to a new sphere would be overwhelming and Senescence didn’t want to put him in that position.

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Senescence’s attention was quickly diverted back to the ground by thick strips of snow lighting up in long flashes of pink. A line of hot magenta light moved up and down the platform.

 

Senescence was mesmerized.

 

“Weird, Stryon and I were just talking about the color pink the other day,” she mumbled to herself."

 

Senescence’s memory of Styron was interrupted by a group of teen robots bustling by on the pod platform. One was carrying a large bulky bag that bumped her arm as they passed.

 

Senescence looked up with an annoyed look on her face. “Hey!” she yelled. The teen with the large bag turned around, “Sorry! I’ll make it up to you!”

 

They caught each other’s gaze. She felt her stomach tighten. His face was unlike any she had seen before and she couldn’t look away.

 

“Uh...OK..?” She wasn’t sure how to respond. “He’s going to make it up to me? I don’t even know who he his!” she thought. For some reason, she believed him.

 

The way he looked at her, she knew they would see each other again.    

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