Charlie was always someone that struggled with excessive paranoia, the vet they had been seeing had maybe mentioned ‘PPD’ but to Charlie that sounded like something that someone is planning to do to them might say; what exactly they had been planning? Well Charlie wasn’t certain but their mind could easily conjure a half dozen ideas: ranging from potentially plausible to outlandish. The worst part was the Affini, who were by their very nature outlandish, so they couldn’t even tell themselves that the sillier thoughts were impossible. When their brain told them that the plants were plotting to drug them and take over their life, well that was actually true! So while some might call them paranoid, Charlie just thought that being paranoid was having all the facts.
It was almost a miracle that they hadn’t been snatched out of their hab and dragged into the waiting jaws, or well vines of the plants. But that was perhaps the one thing that their mind had taught them best: how to sit up straight, smile, and talk like there was nothing going on in their head out of the ordinary. That they couldn’t see the nefarious intentions behind those smiles and kind words, smile. Nod and say the right things, and then be very careful about what prescriptions they take. They still took the class-G’s no matter how often the whispers told them, ‘That the plants would probably start mixing things in there too,’ but the Class-G was one of the things they refused to pass up on. It hasn't always been that way, when they were younger they had taken everything they were supposed to. All of the memories from back then are a little hard to parse however. Whenever they brought them up they seemed to mesh poorly with tiger current thinking like looking at a stranger's life. Some time in their teenage years though, they had stopped taking the medications they were supposed to; they didn’t know then why they had to take them.
It was then that things started to change: the things Charlie had started to notice, things that had seemed innocuous before, started to fit together in a large puzzle. At first it wasn’t so bad, there was extra clarity and surety that they were seeing something that others couldn’t: that they could see the truth behind the carefully crafted facade Affini society put up, and for a long time that helped them smile and sit up straight. To say the right things, keep everyone sure that they were still right where the plants wanted them to be. That had changed, it was hard to pinpoint exactly when the suspicions grew larger; the shadows more malicious and the smiles more fake around them. It had happened and by the time they really noticed, they were too scared that everyone else had noticed. Maybe something had been done to their medication, and now there was no chance they could take it. Still that was Charlie’s head and they had been dealing with it all their life so, it wouldn’t be a problem. Besides, there were good things too.
Charlie had worked hard to become what they are today, deliberately androgenous with an aesthetic mixture of sharp and soft features and pale skin that gave them an almost inhuman elfin appearance that was immediately ruined when they clumsily stubbed a toe and started swearing up a storm but hey nobody’s perfect; not even the plants, probably. They glanced over at the other meds they had been given it was slowly stacking up of course because they had yet to figure out a good way to dispose of it that the plants wouldn’t be able to figure out, that was the challenge of course anticipating what they would be looking into and dealing with the part of their mind that said they were looking into everything.
The vet had told them that the meds were to help with the paranoia and the intrusive thoughts, but Charlie felt that it was silly to think that they were in any way actually paranoid enough to warrant it, after all it’s not paranoia if you’re right! The Affini could and did mind control people: it wasn't even secret! So how could they take the meds that were explicitly for messing with their head? It was with thoughts like these that they ended up where they are now carefully balancing actions and reactions so as not to give away that they were absolutely not doing what they were supposed to be doing, something that would inevitably get them pressed into a wardship. They shuddered and shook their head. Nope, not going there, not going to think about it.
The saving grace to this mess slowly building in the background of their life was the chat group, they had a pretty solid idea that everyone in the group was cool but that didn’t mean that everyone was totally free of suspicions. Still, Charlie liked the games they played and sometimes it was nice to see what the old terran’s found scarry back before the Affini had shown up and changed everything. Charlie couldn’t however; help but to see things in those games that were a little… off, themes or small details that stood out to their mind and made the over analytical nature of their thoughts kick into overdrive, they couldn’t be sure if everything they were hitting on was really something to worry about but they brought it up in what they assumed was subtle ways to the group.
[Queen_of_the_roost]: is Spook having another conspiracy theory day? What is it this time? The same thing as last time?
That’s about how it usually went; and spoke to how subtle Charlie actually was, but that didn’t mean they weren't listening and merely had to say things like that so as not to give away that they understood the warnings. After all, even Charlie couldn’t be certain if any of the members of their group were in on it, and they were almost certain that the plants could monitor the chat whenever they wanted to.
Charlie sighed and pushed their chair back with a little smile on their face, counting as it clacked across the floor and bumped into the wall, it was lunch time and not eating was a silly thing to do for one Charlie was pretty sure the hab AI would alert someone if they didn’t eat regularly and Charlie wasn’t quite to the point that they were ready to suspect the atomic compiler of being against them in some way.
Fetching food was as simple as walking over to the compiler poking at it listening to the AI, wondering if the AI’s response was slightly different from before and if that meant anything. Then plopping right down on the floor to eat the burrito that had popped out of the machine. Things were fine weren't they? The Affini hadn’t discovered that Charlie knew yet and hadn’t made any obvious moves to trick them.. Yet.
Bite. Chew. Stew on thoughts that were free to go in circles and steadily getting more and more wound up overanalyzing each and every interaction with anything in the past few hours, picking apart everything to hunt for the hidden meaning they knew was there. Slowly come to the conclusion that everyone you’ve ever met is in on it; whatever it actually was, in a self reinforcing cycle that Charlie was in no way actually prepared to acknowledge might be a problem and might be something that should be handled… by the meds; that the plant had given them. But how could they? When they knew that they were out to get them: it was obvious and there was no way they could trust the meds to not be a trick of some kind.
Charlie curled up a little tighter, knees pulled up to their chest and took another bite of the burrito, cold now but still food and they were hungry there was no question of that. Once they had finished and set the dishes to be reclaimed by the compiler they paused, what now? That game? There was a new game that Loremaster had found on some dusty old terran server, supposedly from before the collapse of the Accord. Charlie had doubts about that but didn’t voice them. The same sort of nagging paranoia that had defined their entire life, instead they just logged into the chat room.
[Spookums]: Are you absolutely sure that this new game is safe?
[Loremaster]: pretty sure I had a poke through the code and I didn’t see anything obviously malicious. The Affini have also been pretty good about scrubbing malware out of the old servers, and a few of us digitized have been trying to set up ways to detect it better when we go hunting for old media.
[Flower_Power]: We haven't had a scare before, but Mistress checks everything that gets installed on my computer for me...
[Spookums]: no but like are you sure that there’s nothing weird about it?
The Affini totally could have hidden all kinds of nefarious things inside a program and the worst part was that Loremaster was a digitized sophont and was thus likely compromised as a free agent. And Flower is a Floret so, well Charlie wanted to trust them but simply couldn’t when in a heartbeat their brain would offer them up a half dozen plots and twist everything they ever said in malicious ways. Charlie wasn’t sure how long they spent staring at the screen without seeing what was on it just circling those thoughts around and around inventing larger and more malicious conspiracies that all seemed equally likely and plausible as the last while they circulated through Charlie’s thoughts. It wasn’t until an incessant sort of pinging noise drove through their consciousness and dragged them forcefully back into the moment slowly banishing those twisted potentialities from the forefront of their thoughts.
Charlie shivered, hands coming up to hug around their own torso and rubbing at their arms. Today was a bad day it seems, bad enough to take the meds like they were supposed to? Absolutely not. Nope, Charlie pushed up to their feet and made for the computer where the pinging was coming from, daily alarms were helpful things if they got to stuck in their own head there would be one of these set up to drag them back to reality, it was maybe one of the few concessions they had actually made to the plants efforts partly because it was helpful and didn’t trip to many nefarious flags in their head.
Back to the computer, after a quick shower and a new set of clothes; also habits that being around the plants for any length of time instilled in one. The new game was installed and they wanted to give it a try, dealing with their own thoughts grew exhausting enough a few hours of only worrying if the game was evil was fine enough and hopefully wouldn’t give their brain license to conjure up images of what might be happening while they gamed. Nope games were one of the few things that could occupy enough of their processing power to leave little room for spiraling into paranoia.
Starting the game took a bit and then realizing that it was a VR experience made them groan, another few minutes of fiddling to get the visor set up and ready to go and they where in the game seemed to be… weird it was supposed to be an indie game right? Then why was it so mechanically complex? One could clearly see it had a solidly realistic physics system, objects moved around like they actually were in microgravity, and graphically it seemed a little too good for something supposedly made by one or two people with no budget wasn’t it? The group had played a number of these older games from before the fall of the Accord; though a large number of them had been stylized or made with pixelated graphics, so they thought they had a decent idea of what to expect in terms of quality and complexity.
While something that tickled at that side of their brain that was ready to try and put together the puzzle pieces that wasn’t the goal here, just play the game. It couldn't be that hard right to just not worry and play a game?
Charlie let out a breath and squeezed their eyes shut whole body going tense for a moment then relaxing forcibly, maybe just, maybe just one dose wouldn’t be so bad right? No! No no, whatever it was they could handle it, Charlie had been ‘handling’ it for years just because today was a particularly bad day didn’t mean they should give in and let the plants take away their mind. Deep breaths and keep going.
The game was neat, crawling around on what seemed to be a solid depiction of an old terran warship repairing broken parts and getting shouted at by over the top men in military uniforms. It was almost relaxing to be crawling in the tunnels, they were small pressed in on all sides like being cozy in a box, a box that occasionally had broken bits for them to fix a cathartic sort of effort that made the box better, it even quieted their brain down in a satisfying way. Surrounded on all sides by unyielding metal that nothing could get to them through, doing a simple repetitive task that took little brain power but was still immensely satisfying? Perfect for a few glorious moments, everything was quiet.
Until it all broke, in a jarring crash that momentary blanket of calm quiet safety shattered with the sound of a crash and a shudder that rocked the ship sending them sprawling across the floor with a high pitched squeak. The moment continued with sudden shouts, stomping feet and gunfire. For another few moments it was all actually just too much going on at once, that their brain couldn’t latch onto any one thing to build the foundations of paranoia that it immediately dove towards whenever anything went slightly wrong. Charlie just froze in place staring forwards. No, wait this was part of the game wasn’t it? Scripted event, sure sure okay its not all going wrong nobody is slipping into the hab while they were distracted playing games, haha no that would be silly. Charlie had to actively fight the urge to rip off their visor and check. It was fine; just the game, keep going, this is fine.
The sounds of distant combat steadily started to dwindle out to nothing, and the radio crackled and from that radio one of the plants spoke.
“Hello sweet flowers~ Please put down your weapons and surrender, it’s for your own good after all.” Hrk! Fsdjdfghxdsgh! Charlie threw the radio an instinctive violent rejection of the sound coming through from the other side. They watched it sail and heard it clatter against the metal floor of the maintenance tunnel. Nope, no nope nononono. Their mind didn’t really do anything terrifying with that jolt, just ran in circles spiraling steadily down the drain of pure denial. It was too real wasn’t it? That was a real Affini voice. No way impossible, but it was undeniably real and that just tore right open that can of worms, made by terrans? Haaa what a bad joke. Stars that’s impossible there’s absolutely no way that some terran game makers got the affini voice that correct.
Charlie didn’t even notice consciously when their body curled into a ball and started rocking back and forth. Far too lost in their head to deal with the swirling spiral of terror and stark realization, the sudden fear slamming into their skull, that all of the twisted little thoughts; that some part of them knew where wrong, and that they shouldn’t listen to were just proven right.
How? Was it a trick for them specifically? For all the people in the group? What if Loremaster was in on it? He brought the game to the group and was a digitized Soptont. Surely he would have noticed that the game was too well made and that it was obviously made by the plants!
Loremaster had to be in on it, it only made sense and they had tricked Charlie; Charlie was playing the game, the plants were in their head now and it was only a matter of time before everything they where was ripped out of their head. No no dirt and roots no, it was all falling apart and there was nothing Charlie could do about it? Run? They lived on an affini ship! Hide? Hahaha the plants would come find them after a few days and claim it was a wellness check. Fight.. Ya the terrans could tell you well that would go.
Their brain ran in circles and slowly created and rejected plans and plots to escape from whatever Affini came to steal them from their home without getting drugged out of their mind. That all consuming panic settled around their soul gripped their heart in a vice tight enough they could feel each thump like a cage of ice had squeezed around the organ, that too fed the cycle. Was that what the Xenodrugs felt like? WAS IT ALREADY HAPPENING!?!
They didn’t even notice anything at all going on around them, not the slowly flashing bar that was draining inthe corner of their vision. Not the pink haze that was slowly filling the tunnel. They didn’t even notice till the screen flashed and a sound dinged through the headset they wore slowly pulling them back to paying some modicum of attention back to the game, huh? Not even a game over screen. What was that blue light? OH ROOTS NO! NOPENONONO!
They started scrambling to retreat down the tunnel, but the vines caught them far too quickly for that to matter. Gently curling around their body and pulling them in slowly winding tighter, supporting their body in the little ball they had curled into the moment the vines made contact. That same voice that had come over the radio was surrounding them now.
“Shh shh it’s okay petal, you’re safe now~”
“Shhhjjff..!” they tried to say something but it just resulted in their tongue flopping about like an oversized fuzzy horse that had jumped out of a river! Oh... what was that? It was enough to make their brain screech to a halt for a moment. Wait, had they been drugged and they hadn’t even noticed?
“Awe little one it’s alright.” the plant cooed, they did glow a really pretty blue… and a vine brushed slowly over Charlie’s head. “Deep breaths for me okay? and it will all be okay I promise. Just a quick little nap for me okay?”
Oh.. they had been upset about something hadn’t they? It was important wasn’t it? Well probably not if they couldn’t remember it really.. Gosh this plant was pretty she had swirls.. Pretty swirls and… Charlie was tired weren't they? The plant said so and they felt it, a sudden exhaustion that pushed into their head. Ther body was already heavy and ledden and it was just their brain clinging to wakefulness. They smiled softly; letting thoughts of what they had been so upset about drift away. Letting that heaviness drag them down into blissful quiet.
After that came flashes, moments that felt like real experiences rather than flashes from a game or a dream; they felt a blissful mental quiet where their thoughts didn’t run in circles. Where the touch of vine brought them such a profound sense of security that it made their heart hurt with need. It was a whirlwind of memories that felt almost real enough to touch. A collar; a constant comforting presence, a touch when they needed one and a firm hand to help them with the things they struggled with. Meds? Taken until they could have an implant that would do it for them… forever. A constant stream of affection so bright and pure, so perfectly sincere in its application that the paranoia that they knew lurked in their head couldn’t even find purchase to doubt its intention. Then they sunk back into that heavy quiet warmth and a fleeting thought reminded them that they could have all of that if they just asked for it.
That heavy quiet didn’t last long, at least it didn’t really feel like it did; but when they woke up they were back in their hab the visor had fallen off at some point and was sitting on the floor. Charlie themself had fallen partly over and was laying partly slumped over the armrest of their chair. For a few moments they stayed right there blinking, breathing. What. Did the game drug them? There’s no way the visor shouldn’t allow for such a thing? Hypnosis? Mind control? Or… or was all of that just a paranoid delusion conjured up by their overstressed mind? That was the one they chose to go with, willingly desiring domestication? Haha no nope, no way, not for Charlie! They drew in a breath and let it out in a shaky whine. Before climbing to their feet, not thinking they just walked over to the small pile of bottles of pills and opened one. Hesitating just a moment before taking the pill that had fallen into the palm of their hand, back into their mouth and swallowing.
How long had they resisted taking them? They could probably count the bottles and know for sure but… but they didn’t want to, Charlie just shrunk down towards the floor and crawled under the desk. How sad, it made for a poor imitation of the safety they had felt in the tunnels but they could close their eyes and lean against the wall and just.. Imagine until the Xendrugs properly hit their system and all of those thoughts melted to a warm fuzzy nothing. They just basked there in that mental silence for a few minutes. It was, wow, nice even they couldn’t force themselves to spiral into worry about something. Things they had been thinking while playing the game felt silly. But they felt the need to check didn’t they? They slowly crawled out from under the desk and crawled back into their seat fishing about for the keyboard and tapping at it to pull up the chatroom. Just in time to see a message appear.
[Whiskers_Click]: This is real right? You’ve checked it?
They hesitated a moment but eventually responded, typing out a message while compiling their thoughts on the game.
[spookums]: mm yeh I gave it a try, it's VR so make sure you get something compatible in your rig just uh.. Dunno something’s weird about this one.
[Whiskers_Click]: ya weird how?
Okay now was the time to start but their brain wasn’t quite in the same headspace it had been in when they had started worrying about the game and looking back at the time they had spent playing all of ten minutes to be sure, was Charlie even sure that everything they saw and remebered had been part of the game? Or a paranoid fever dream of some kind, They sighed and shook their head typing slowly to try and give themselves time to explain what was in their head. Beyond that quiet warmth that left them feeling far more lucid.
[spookums]: I dunno it’s like… are we sure this one’s legit?
[loremaster]: pretty sure, I pulled it off a preserved terran server, the Affini just had it in storage and there’s definite evidence that it was made back before, the meta data puts it at just over a hundred years old and the code looks like terran stuff.
[spookums]: If you say so.
They felt a twinge in some part of them that wanted to spew thoughts that weren't there onto the screen. They just sat there staring at the screen for a bit trying to conjure up those memories from the game and parsing them over and over again.
[spookums]: Did anything look weird in the code to you Lore? It’s just the game seemed way too advanced for its supposed age and budget and they got the affini… perfect like. How does a terran game company that's never even seen one of the plants get them that perfect?
[loremaster]: hmm I didn’t really dig too deep in it, honestly it looks right and is absolutely old but I can have another look? Just… y’know you’be always had a bit of a habit to take things a bit too seriously.
[Queen_of_the_Roost]: Spook’s being paranoid again. What else is new? It’s just a game, coincidences happen all the time.
[loremaster]: There’s no need to be rude, if Spook is worried then it takes no effort for me to check and if it helps Spook breath a little easier then that's a good thing.
Charlie let them talk, they couldn’t really muster up the normal level of thoughts on the matter. The Affini.. Even if they made that game weren’t malicious, honestly it almost seemed like what had happened to them was a safeguard coded in right? The moment they started panicking the plant appeared and pulled them out of the game. That was something they would do right? At least from what Charlie knew of them…. And no other thoughts came, just a gentle warmth that had settled over their head. Quiet.. Warm. It wasn’t the worst thing was it? Maybe they had let things get out of hand staying off their medication for so long let thoughts that shouldn’t have run rampant do so. But wouldn’t that be exactly how they would feel if those thoughts were right and the drugs actually did warp who Charlie is?
But, was that a bad thing? That thought came unbidden bubbling up to the surface. If being “Charlie” meant being constantly suffering under the pressure of endless fear and anxiety as their own brain beat them down, then why did they want to be Charlie so badly?
They spent the rest of the day making food, chatting in the group and finally having a bath. There in the warm water was the best time to think. Trying mostly to hold onto that quiet sensation and ignore the nagging feeling that whatever that experience had been, had seeded in Charlie, both the desire to stay like this head actually quiet and safe. And maybe too the smaller feeling that had come from those flashes that seemed to last weeks after the ‘game’ was over, wanting to become a plant’s pet? That was nope. Had to be something that was conjured up by their panic stricken brain right? A sudden desire for something stronger than themselves to reach in and pluck all those bad thoughts out of their head. That was just a fantasy, not something they actually wanted for real. Or so they told themselves throughout the bath, otherwise enjoying the effort of scrubbing themselves clean. Spending time inspecting their body and being endlessly pleased with the progress of the Class-G’s.
Nobody could look at them and guess their gender, perfect. Charlie stepped out and glanced at the mirror, soft golden curls ringed a face that was at the same time sharp and soft, soft lips sat over a sharp chin and obvious jawline. High cheekbones and wide brown eyes that seemed to be almost too big for their face, ears that were slightly pointed and skin that was almost too pale. Charlie smiled and that face lit up. Everything was okay wasn’t it? They had food, the body they had always wanted and now a quiet brain. Why had they ever resisted taking the meds? Everything was good.
Charlie dressed and returned to the computer just in time to see a message flashing on their screen, not from the group a direct message from someone new. Brows furrowed as they clicked on it.
[Neon-Glow]: Hello petal, I received a little notification that you had a small issue with a program I made. I must apologize deeply for any distress my creation may have caused you little one. If you need to talk to anyone please reach out, okay?
They stared at the message, that was that wasn’t it? Proof layed out that they had been right and… they could feel that sharp edge bubbling up from under the warm quiet. The sharp blade slowly rising towards their thoughts to dice them up with fear and stress.
It was real wasn’t it? All the bad things their mind had conjured up all of it and they had proof! Haa! Paranoia was just having all the facts right?! Well they had the facts now and they were right! The game had drugged them hadn’t it? Tricked them into taking the Xendrugs! And it was all orchestrated by the affini! It was only a matter of time wasn’t it? Till they were breaking down Charlie’s door to drag them off and.. Stuff. The knife had flashed up out of the hazy warmth and stabbed into Charlie’s thoughts sending them immediately spiraling out of control twisting upon themselves. It was a trick wasn’t it? That quiet warmth was a lie to make them more compliant! And that was bad because… it just was! They had caught onto a thought that refused to leave and more than that was content to make its home in Charlie’s head, it had been a bad day so far and this was just looking to make it worse.
They curled up in the seat of their computer chair face buried in their own knees blocking out light and slowly grappling with the thoughts that run rampant through their head. It was all coming down around them, a life carefully built by being cautious and carefully choosing words and actions to best keep them free and they had messed it all up in an afternoon. It was exhausting to realize the gravity of the mistake they had made, playing that game taking the meds both are a trick, a trap. But it had made them feel good, for once was that so bad? To not want to be constantly on edge? Charlie stayed in place, letting emotions rage and fight within them going nowhere; as that warmth that had felt so comforting was disrupted by a twisting serpent of stress. They squeezed the keyboard till their knuckles went white later they would recall that at some point they had sat back up and started arguing with the others in the group about the possibility that the game had something to it that would affect the people playing it. It wasn’t even that strange! The Affini openly had mind control; they didn’t even hide it! But the others where adamant that even if it was true it wouldn’t be malicious the plants didn’t do that and that argument on the outside mirrored the war going on inside Charlie’s head; steadily sapping away at Charlie’s fervor till they started to droop and after a few false starts, and far too wound up to worry about finding their bed they passed out.
When the morning came and Charlie slowly crawled their way back to awareness the first thing that came into focus was pain, a pitiful whimper reached their ears and it took a second to realize that the sound had come from their own lungs. They had spiraled even through the meds, and passed out in the chair? As they stirred and sat up; whimpering in response to the sudden pain and discomfort in their back and neck. Lying awkwardly curled up in the seat of a chair wasn’t good for their body but a few stretches later and they were… Mostly okay. A brief flash of emotion tore at their heart and before they could stop themselves they had surged across the room and snatched up one of the bottles of Xendrugs. Charlie was glad they had managed to eat and bathe before getting worked up. It meant that well at least they hadn’t skipped those parts of the routine.
They stared at the bottle gently rolling it between their fingers, ‘no thinking,’ they reminded themself and popped it open to take one swallowing it before they could stop themselves. What did it matter that it was a lie? Or a trick, they craved that quiet warmth with all of their being and it was inevitable wasn’t it. That they were going to lose, so why fight it? A small part of them rebelled against that thought line but it was a quiet one that was smothered alongside the rising panic and paranoia, by that perfectly blissful quiet warm softness. Still it felt fragile this time. They knew from yesterday that if it got bad that shell could crack and give way… Did that mean that the Xenodrug wasn't strong enough?
What does that mean?
Should they talk to someone about that? They glanced at their computer and moved over to it, their lifeline and shook the mouse to wake it up. There was a few more messages from Neon-Glow waiting for them, but they immediately closed that chat without reading them; nope that was, not thinking about it. The first thing they did was look up xendrugs, of course they didn’t get much info, nothing technical. The first thing they found was a sorta floretized explanation of how they would make the bad things go away and make them feel good and giggly and adorable. Of course all of that would sound good, great even but it wasn’t enough to help. So they kept digging, eventually finding nothing much but it was clear that Charlie had somehow managed to obscure the exact degree of paranoia they suffered from, or it had gotten worse. Because that’s what it was wasn’t it?
That thought didn’t stop a little bubble from rising up through the warm quiet fog, a bubble that popped and left them with the reminder that the drugs could totally make them doubt their own thoughts and that they had been right about the game being AH! AHAHAH! No, nope not thinking about it LALALALA! Warm and quiet, Warm and Quiet.
Warm and Quiet.
Warm and Quiet.
Nothing is wrong, it's just… Quiet… and warm and nothing was wrong and there was nothing to think about. Absolutely not dwelling on the fact that the game had totally been made by an Affini and absolutely had some kind of brainwashing evil, WAIT! Stop!
Just breathe and Don’t, Think, About, It.
It was like this as a matter of course for the next few days somewhere in that time Charlie managed to eat enough to state off starvation and even found time for a bath somewhere in a moment of quiet; but all in all most of those days were lost to fighting the rising anxiety and spirals of paranoia, then taking another dose of the meds. It was those days later, three perhaps, that Charlie realized they had taken two weeks worth of medication in less than half that time. That was a terrifyingly sobering thought, these where the scary evil Xenodrugs their mind had conjured so many terror fantasies about? So terrifyingly effective they could erase their very being and… they had taken two weeks of doses in three days and were still spiraling right through them.
They couldn’t help it and started laughing. It was an awkward thing: a hacking, choked, painful laugh that was more tears than mirth. This was all that it had come to? A lifetime of carefully mitigating worries and stress, of staring plants in the eyes and saying everything was okay and they were ready to throw in the towel what? After one stupid video game and three days of bad? Were they really this weak? Of course they were, the laughter had already broken down to sobbing and they didn’t even notice when the hab door slid open. They didn’t hear the words spoken to them not until vines had wound around their body and scooped them up.
“Oh petal I’m sorry, its okay, you’re alright I’m here now little one~”
Those were the first words to actually reach their brain, and steal them back to reality, catching a sob halfway through and turning it into a hiccuping cough. A vine came up to gently wipe away the tears that stained their face and they shivered. Those vines had some very pretty blue glowing lines to them, a blue that dug at something in their addled brain. The same as the game…
That brought another strangled laugh to their lips. But they couldn’t even muster up the energy to get worked up over it anymore.
“Little one, are you alright? Would you like a little something to help you calm down?” the plant was asking how kind. Charlie nodded just once and a moment later felt the slight pin prick and the sudden cool feeling flooding through their body, convincing muscle that had would up lik a spring for days to relax and slowly go limp and by the time it reached their head Charlie was happy to let out a low tortured sigh and let that sound and exhale take with it the last of the… bad.