Vines placed me back in my prison cell. My limbs and body were all achy and sore. Especially my chest. My pecs were double sore. At least I could walk a few steps… with vines for handles. At first I actually thought the affini with the red cloak was exaggerating how unfit I was but… no it was right. Or they? Anya used they a lot. I actually didn't know the thing’s name or pronouns. Anya called them Mxtress which seemed very they/them but with gender it’s best to not assume.
"Oh Mxtress, can I cuddle with Viv in her carrier?" Thankfully, Anya couldn't see my face when I heard that. Her words had me flustered and barely holding in a panicked gay scream… a panicked straight scream! Liking girls wasn't gay!
"You may, but you'll need to ask little Vivian. She is rather tuckered out right now." Oh no. They were directing the attention back to me.
A moment later the words came. "Hey Viv, can I come in there and cuddle with you?" The catgirl was free, why would she want to be put in a prison cell?! The bed was admittedly comfy… but didn't she have a problem with rebels? Ah, None of this made sense! I was the most rebellious rebel on the ship!
I took a few extra deep breaths on top of the exhaustion ones. Hugging the fox close helped me center myself and find my voice. "S-Sure if you uh, want to…"
"Yes!" She shouted so loud I had to cover my ears for a moment. The super strong wooden cage bars parted and vines set her in here too. The cat crawled up to me and wrapped her arms around me. "Do you want to be big spoon or little spoon?"
I just stared at her. "Spoons?" Like what did spoons have to do with cuddling?
"Do you not know about spooning?" She received a shake of my head. "Oh uh, do you want to hug me from behind or should I hug you from behind? You know, for cuddles."
I looked down at the fox I was cuddling. It seemed so cozy being held… I wanted that. "Can I be the hugged one?"
Rather than answer with words she slipped behind me and snuggled into the plush cat bed. Her arms wrapped around me and pulled me in close. She was really really warm. "Stars, you're like an ice pack!" Anya pressed herself against me as if attempting to drown me in her warm. Or rather steal my cold… The cat was calling me cold?
As if the experience of being held by a girl in bed wasn't making me scream internally enough, she started purring! Aaaaaah, she was an actual catgirl! Her soft hands gently grasped my arms and tucked them closer to my plushie. A light breath tickled the back of my neck causing me to shiver against her tight hold. Her warmth bled into me, mixing with the alien drugs to form a blissful tingle across my skin. I squeaked and whimpered as her skin brushed against mine.
I felt her teeth tickle the back of my neck as she gave me a light nibbling. The pinch sent a jolt through my body causing me to writhe and moan. Anya’s nibbling expelled every thought in my head, leaving me as a blushy squirmy thoughtless mess in her hold.
"Xenodrugs are great, aren't they?" she whispered in my ear. She waited a moment. "Viv?"
I, uh, forgot to think for a bit. Too many physical feelings. Soreness and warm blissful cuddles mixed with my heart racing at a million miles an hour. I'd never felt that present in my own flesh before. "Uh, um what?"
"Do you like the xenodruggies?" Her tail coiled around my belly.
Oh right uh… "Y-Yes?" Wait, weren't the xenodrugs torture stu- She nuzzled the back of my neck again and I forgot to do thinkies.
Physically exhausted and mentally absent, I remained cuddled for a very long time. Every time I'd start thinking deeper thoughts we'd shift a little and I'd feel her skin contact and get lost again. The fox sat at the heart of the cuddle, vibrating into my chest opposite the cat purr vibrating on my back.
Bodily needs ruined the cuddles. I actually remained in the cuddle much longer than I should have because of how nice it was. Plus my limbs really hated the idea of moving again. None of that changed the fact I had to get up and like, drink and eat and stuff. Anya did too.
Red leaf's return acted as the inciting motive to wrest free of the overwhelming cozy. The giant peeked into my cell. "Aww, cuties. I brought you both something to eat. And yes Vivian you do still need to eat."
Anya perked up while I groaned. "Thank you, Mxtress!" Then she kissed my cheek. "And thanks Viv for the cuddles. I'm gonna miss you when you get mailed." Right. I was gonna be sent away to be a slave to some distant affini. The energetic cat dragged my sore achy body out of the bed.
Vines took over and pulled me out of my cage. A table and chairs had been set up and a pizza sat in the middle. We both got placed in chairs by the affini. Prison was weird. For all the evils of the affini, I also had to give it to them that they treated prisoners pretty well before they did awful things to them. My crewmates were all basically devoured or enslaved.
A hand planted itself on my head snapping me out of my thoughts. "Flower, I made sure to put extra poison on this one." The affini winked at me.
Anya giggled at my expense, then joined in. "Thank you Mxtress! I love extra poison!"
I pouted extra hard and glanced down to my fox plush in my lap. It assured me that the poison thing was a legitimate fear even if it didn't end up being accurate. They still made fun of me for it. I also still felt that vague hint of fear that this time was the time it'd be poisoned and the jokes were just to get me to lower my guard. That's why Anya always ate first.
The cat sank her fangs into the delectable looking pizza. From her expression and satisfactory noise it definitely tasted as good as it looked. Of course she didn't feed herself. No, that'd be too normal. The jailor affini fed her using their vines. They'd tap her with little vines and she'd open her mouth and stuff for the food.
They tried it with me but I had fox cunning and stopped before I got too sucked into it. Everything with the affini was mind games. Everything. This was all too nice and casual to not be a set up. Still my plan to befriend the affini was working, since I was definitely getting lots of time out of my prison cell.
I finally sank my teeth into the pizza after Anya didn't fall over dead. I did feel a little bad using her as a poison tester, but she also made fun of me for it. The pizza itself was stupendously good. The affini were clearly enslaving really good terran cooks or something. It's not like plants knew how to terran food. Well, they did but only with terrans as food.
"Enjoying your poison?" For a fraction of a second my mind was simultaneously panicked about the poison and got butt hurt over the joke. The result was both streams of thought leading to me spitting out the bite of pizza onto the affini. "Flower, you're supposed to eat your food. I can't digest things for you. At least, not without extensive modifications."
"What?" They said words that had a meaning but I could not grok it. Like I knew each word but uh, the sentence didn’t register..
The affini replied, "Vivian, you need to swallow the food." They sat next to the table so they could have their evil vines all over everything.
"I know that!" Gah! This was all the alien's fault. "Just stop with the poison jokes… Please." The last word came out as a whisper. I-I really didn't like being made fun of. Especially not about a fear that was still present. Still too real. Most of all not from my captor, a creature I couldn't trust. I could at least believe that Anya would never poison my food. But an affini? This affini?
Vines rubbed my back and my tension got turned into touchy squirming. "Alright little one. Thank you for asserting that boundary. I won’t joke about it again. Now you're a growing girl, so eat your lunch."
Growing girl… I-I was… I looked down at the fox. It knew. The little miscreant knew and I wasn't going to touch that topic with a ten-foot pole. A few taps had me opening my mouth and… "H-hey!" The pizza got placed in my mouth and I begrudgingly chewed while I swatted the tappy vines away.
I ate the rest of my part of the pizza myself.
Still too tired and sore to make my big escape, the affini placed me back into my carrier… I mean my prison cell. Anya didn't join me but the soothing music did come on and then I saw the colors again.
They swirled, drawing my eyes in. For a brief moment, I noticed something come over my eyes and then the colors returned. They danced to the tune of the music and the vibrations of the plushie. I lost myself in all of it. Sinking deeper and deeper into the rhythm.
The pretty colors stopped. My face got all tingly as a vine danced around it removing… something. In my post colors haziness, I nuzzled the cozy vine next to my cheek. Another ruffled my hair and I heard the words "good girl". They melted me back into the cozy comfort of my bed.
I finally awoke from my post lunch nap and did a little wiggle. Weird dreams of colors and good girls kept happening. Well, I was the good girl in all the dreams which was weird because I was definitely… a uhm… My thoughts halted as I recoiled from the word. Maybe the fox was onto something, but now really wasn't the time.
Instead, I did some more wiggles and stretches. Soreness permeated my body and pain lurked in a few spots. The affini put me through a lot of exercise stuff recently. It'd been like a week or something? I couldn't keep track with all the naps. Especially after I stopped eating the rations and started eating normal terran food. Plus a berry from time to time, but not when the affini was watching.
I decided to see if they were still here. The thing did seem to have a life outside of keeping me company. From the way Anya and the affini acted, I was sure the two hung out a lot. Their dynamic was weird. Anya always asked permission and then the plant would dote on her. I was beginning to think she was one of the ones that broke and was now helping the plants enslave humanity. At least she was friendly and happy.
Anyway, the affini was definitely there. I heard their ruffling right before I glimpsed them. After having gotten… comfortable around my temporary warden I had to admit the look was kinda cool. Sure their soft oddly friendly personality didn't match the cloaked badass monster queer look, but it was a cool look. The added bit of their occasional dramatic cloak flourishes almost made them seem dorky. Yeah that was it! They had dorky vibes. An evil dork.
The evil dork noticed me. "Good to see you finally awake, flower. I've got something special to show you." The first moment I was excited, then it turned to anxious dread. Like was this the part where it turns on me? Was I about to be violently torn apart? The creature pulled out a tablet. "I got you a tablet!"
Oh. "Oh." The feelings of sudden anxiety crashed like a tidal wave into a wall of benign vibes. My logic told me this was more dorkiness, and my emotions were unable to move past believing I was about to die.
"Something wrong, flower?" They strode over to get a closer look at me.
I hugged my plushy close to my chest and rapidly calmed down. The emotional support fox was disturbingly effective at managing my anxiety and stress. I should have gotten a plushie years ago. "Just uh, emotions."
The affini studied me for a moment. "Your anxiety slipped through, didn't it?" I nodded. "Sorry Vivian, I'll up your class-E dose for tonight. You seem to be building up a tolerance a little faster than I expected." A tolerance for space drugs…
They slipped the tablet through the bars. "So this is for you. I thought I'd give it to you early since you've been so well behaved. I took the liberty of adding Anya and I as your friends in the messenger app along with another very special sophont."
"Who?" Maybe it was a crewmate. I wouldn't consider any of them special. I couldn't fathom who it was. Maybe the captain escaped and was bargaining for my release? No, I'm pretty sure he hated me.
The affini gave that very affini smile of like, knowing a little smug secret. The kind they wouldn't tell me. "Someone who’s very interested in you and will be video calling you soon. So you'll just have to wait and find out." They winked. The affini winked before leaving me alone.
Aaaah!!! Waiting! I couldn't wait! Especially if my anti-anxiety xenodrugs weren't fully working. I crawled around my cage in a panic. Also, over to the water fountain since I had that post sleep dry mouth. But mostly panic pacing!
I dove back under the weighted blanket with the tablet and found my chew toy. Yes, I was still nibbling on it. It was a perfectly normal autistic thing to do! I chewed on it and started looking at the tablet.
The tablet contained a web browser, a chat app, a camera app, note taking software, and a host of games. The terran version of this with all the software would cost a fortune. A bunch of overpriced software subscriptions, heck maybe even the hardware being on a subscription too. Companies really really sucked. Fuck, if there was one thing I didn't care for in the Accord it was faceless corporations constantly ruining everything for everyone.
I poked the chat app because I needed to know who this mystery sophont was. There was
Anya, a Coleus, and a user that had been named Mistress… I dropped the tablet. I-It was my slaver. The one who was going to own me and work me and-and do all the horrible things to me!
The evil dork betrayed me! I thought we were sort of maybe not entirely enemies and then it hands me an overpriced tablet with the creature that was going to torture me! I screamed into a pillowy part of the pet bed.
I then attempted to do the most rebel thing I could think of! I took the tablet and attempted to break it in half over my knee! The tablet slammed into my knee with great force… Aaaah! It hurt. My knee hurt. The tablet fell unscathed into the blanket as I nursed my painful knee. I held the fox plushie against the injury cause the plush made everything better.
As I nursed my accidental injury, I heard a chime. It sounded really nice… coming from the tablet. Like that same relaxing sound that played when I rested. The caller was Mistress. My thoughts of shoving the tablet down the toilet calmed down pretty quick and I decided to answer it. She was supposed to be lightyears away and I could hang up if I wanted.
The video call started and I witnessed her. On the screen, the most beautiful perfect majestic wonderful lovely being smiled back at me and my heart skipped a beat. A towering affini woman draped in an evening dress ambled through a fanciful garden. Her hands were clasped behind her back with a single vine protruding towards the camera. The dress of ivy vines dragged along the ground.
Her green eyes flickered like half remembered colors. The way she swayed drew me right in. I could just imagine her having the same pleasant scent as the fox plushie. Her voice captured me with its slow dulcet tone. "Hello darling little Vivian, it is a pleasure to finally meet you."
I froze. She was too pretty to look away from. Her words smothered my heart like a warm blanket. I could listen to this mysterious entity talk for hours or days and love every second of it. My mind was too focused on her to form thoughts and words.
Time meant little as she casually strolled through an alien garden. I watched and she pleasantly hummed. After what could have been minutes or hours, she introduced herself. "I am Hedera Helix, 19th Bloom, but you may refer to me as Mistress, my little fox."
I squeaked a yipping noise, and flushed. Aaaaaa! The moment Mistress called me little fox my heart exploded. I was the little fox. Me! Stars, stars, stars! There were so many things I needed to express to her! Like being separated from one's best friend and finally getting to see them again and wanting to reconnect by telling them everything.
"Remember to breathe Vivian." Ah, she was right I was forgetting to breathe! My everything was short circuiting. "How about you take a big deep breath with me, okay?" She waited for my nod then counted down. I took a breath with her and all the explosive feelings became a lot more manageable. "Feeling better?"
"Yes Mistress!" I chirped. I chirped like a little fox. Eeeee, I loved this! It was like the missing piece of my life just showed up and everything made sense now.
Her slowly dawning warm smile made me melt into my soft pet bed. "Perfect. So little Vivian, how have you been?"
"Terrible! But also great! Uh. At the same time. Like I'm a rebel and I got captured by the Compact and now all my crewmates are dead leaving me the last one. That really makes me sad sometimes, and also there's this constant fear that the affini are going to like try and eat me or poison me, or put me into slavery, or just throw me out an airlock. And it's been really stressful." My rambling halted as I noticed she was about to speak and I needed to listen to her. That was how conversations worked!
Mistress stopped walking to bask under some glowing alien tree and consider her words. She made me wait and wait before finally speaking. "Vivian, they will not harm a single hair on your adorable little head. Relax." The command squished me further into my soft bed. She stated it like a simple matter of fact. I wanted to believe her. I did believe her, but a part of my head still held onto the worry. "Now tell me about all the great things you mentioned."
Right! The good stuff. There was so much to say! "It's been really nice relaxing a bunch after all the long shifts in the navy. I got this really cool plushie." I held up the fox and motioned for its little paw to wave at Mistress. "I met this girl I really really like, and she keeps bringing me all this amazing food! She even tastes it all first to make sure it's not poisoned. Oh and I have this chew toy I like to bite and stim on and the bed here is so soft! I didn't think beds could be this soft. Today I was given this really expensive tablet with lots of stuff on it! Honestly I'm gonna be really sad when I escape and lose it all."
The affini's eyes narrowed on my big tablet's screen. "Little fox, what is this about escaping?"
"Well I'm a rebel so I need to like, escape from here and go help the resistance and stuff. I'm trying to like, befriend the affini jailor and once I can run. I'll use my time out of my cell to leave and find a shuttle. Then I'll uh… find more rebels and help stop the affini from enslaving and eating people" I couldn't believe I forgot to explain the escape to Mistress. Like I should have started with that!
The affini sat down on a patch of grass in silence for a long time. So long I asked. "Uh, Mistress, are you still there?"
"I am here, little fox. I was just thinking about your little escape plan. Would you do me a favor and stop trying to escape?" Mistress wanted me to not escape?
I was supposed to escape but I wanted to listen to the affini. The confusion warred in my soul. I turned to the fox. It always had good wisdom. It said to ask Mistress because she would know what to do. "Uhm, but I need to escape! I-I don't know what to do and the fox is telling me to ask you. So um what should I do?"
"Vivian, you should stay put. They are planning to send you to me and I will help you figure out things once we meet in person, okay?" Wow, that was perfect! Mistress gave even better ideas than the fox did.
I did my best foxy chirp, "Yes Mistress!"
"Good girl~" Her praise washed over me in a tidal wave of warm tingly blissful euphoria. I actually dropped the tablet for a moment as I felt all soft and melty. I propped it up against the edge of the bed and started nuzzling the fluttery feelings into the plushie.
A glance over showed Mistress smiling at me and Gah! I started wiggling and rolling around and making noises. Then I remembered I'd be getting to meet her in person and I shrieked so loud I hurt my own ears. My legs kicked the air.
I moved enough to trigger my back pain. I yelped as my weak spine reminded me of not good things. Finding a position to not hurt as much in took a moment. By the time I looked back to the elegant affini, she had shifted her expression to concern.
Mistress placed a hand on the tablet as if cupping my face. "Dear, tell me what is wrong."
I really didn't want to like, bother her with my problems. Especially when the spine thing was my own fault. But she asked, or uh told me to so I did. "My back hurts a lot cause I was moving too much."
"I see… Do you tell your veterinarian about your pain?" Mistress asked a rather weird question.
She hummed in thought. "Colus?" She watched my face through the screen carefully, but yea I had no idea who she was referring to. Mistress then finally made sense. "The affini keeping you locked up as a prisoner."
"Oh! Uhm no, why would I tell them? They're evil and vile and have kept me locked up in a cage and misgender me constantly and drug me and are planning to poison me and-" I heard a throat clear and stopped.
"Little fox, tell them about your back pain." Mistress ordered me too…
I wanted to listen. She was so confident in it, but that inkling fear of my jailor doing something awful to me still lingered. The pain in my back also lingered. I glanced at the fox. The fox always knew what to do… I should listen to Mistress.
I called out, "Uhm Mx jailor, My uh, back hurts a lot." Then I refocused on my voice chat.
The ivy woman held her tablet close so I could see her face much easier. "Good girl." A rush of warmth followed her words.
The red cloaked affini showed up at my cage. Their eyes looked between me and my tablet. "I see. Hedera, I'm going to have to borrow little Vivian." Their vines reached in and started plucking me out.
My initial attempts to scramble out of the creature's grasp resulted in aggravating whatever pain I set off. I-I didn't want to be taken out! I was talking with Mistress! I gave up the struggle quickly as I needed to sit still to not be in pain. I still whimpered and reached for the tablet.
The fox never left my arms, but a vine grabbed the tablet and brought it with us. I was carried over hugging the fox and staring at the elegant woman on the screen. Anxiety slowly crept upwards in intensity.
As if seeing the fear on my face, Mistress said through the tablet. "Relax, you are safe."
I did my best to relax as I was set down on the patient bed and the affini went through the cabinet looking for something. Their warm hand gently landed against my back and I tensed from the rush of tingling it brought.
"I'm going to give you a pain killer and then handle your medications a little early." I wanted to believe its lies. Mistress said I'd be safe, but it was hard. I was a rebel at the mercy of this affini and whatever weird things it decided to inject me with. I shook a bit as a needle slid into my back muscles and all the pain fell away. "You'll want to say goodnight to Miss Helix before I give you the rest."
My eyes still rested on her elegant face. Mistress gave me a nod to go along with the order, so I spoke. "Uhm, g-good night Mistress."
"Good night, my little fox. We will speak again and meet soon enough."
A needle slid into my chest flower and my body turned to limp rubber. Another few and I was barely holding onto thoughts as vines touched me all over.
Mistress mentioned something about modifications as vines petted my thoughts away and carried me off to the bath. I was touched and scrubbed until the colors returned. A piece of my brain finally figured out the colors. They were Mistress's colors. Almost like her eyes in the way they shifted and danced.
The sound of her humming sank in as I was placed somewhere soft and cozy.