25 - Unprocessed Trauma

by Fluxom

Tags: #cw:gore #cw:noncon #D/s #drugs #f/f #graphic_violence #hurt/comfort #scifi #accidental_conditioning #anxiety #blood #depression #disassociation #dom:female #dom:internalized_imperialism #dom:plant #Human_Domestication_Guide #medical_play #mindbreak #paranoia #self_care_is_over_were_doing_drugs_now #self_harm #self_harm_is_over_were_still_doing_drugs #sub:female #xenophobia
See spoiler tags : #awake_surgery #parasite/symbiote #plant_vampirism #sadomasochism #torture

cw for mentions of violence and blood, and pov flashbacks, and mentions of abuse

Deep within the nested rings of the various medical wings, Autumn sat in a small, dark viewing room. Through the glass she saw a sedate human body reclining in a complicated contraption, with tubes and wires connected all over their body. The machine bore a series of large metal and plastic rings that completely covered the human’s body from the shoulders up, rotating in a lazy circle around them as lights danced over their body.

“We just need to see if you recognize this person, little Autumn.” Ilex said, bent over Autumn and tapping away at a console in front of her. Solanum sat beside her, one hand held under her chin and the other silently tensing beside her, small thorns constantly slipping out between wooden plates before disappearing beneath flexing vines.

There were several affini techs working about the cramped room, as well as another xeno that looked something akin to a cross between a borzoi and a paralysis demon busily operating an otherworldly stenograph. Multiple voices whispered amongst each other, while one spoke out clearly as they reviewed the data to the other xeno busily typing away with their… twelve? Fifteen? Fingers. It was hard to tell past the blur of it’s movements.

“That looks like scar tissue by the heart.” One of the affini whispered.

“it’s medical record lists a previous exposure to okda virus.” The second one followed.

A third one made a disgruntled noise as they tapped on the screen, “There’s also some in the lungs. That would be consistent for long term damage. Note it for further inspection later, in case it’s more severe than it looks.”

“Advise against accelerant medications until further notice as well.”

Autumn leaned over to Solanum, pointing towards the affini in the room that seemed to be talking to the reclining person. “What are they talking about in there?” She whispered.

“Mostly asking about medical history to compare against official records, as well as prying for mental health problems.” Solanum answered. “The machines are checking it’s body for any signs of physical issues as well.” A soft beep emanated from one of the machines. “Like that humerus. Broke some time ago, didn’t quite heal right, sign of insufficient care, not reflected in the medical records. We’ll have to fix that.”

“We?” Ilex leaned in between the two suddenly. “*You* will do nothing but watch, Solanum.” Solanum growled quietly in response to that.

“Do you do this for everyone?” Autumn asked, eyes darting over the myriad devices that spun around the prone form.

Solanum hummed in assent. “Wouldn’t do us any good to have captures up and die of heart failure in the middle of transport, would it? Though, Ilex, I think it’s still high. That’ll throw off the interview answers.”

“That’s fine,” Ilex purred. “it’s not going to be leaving our grasp for a long time.”

“When’s the implant?”

“Unless Autumn here has a shocking revelation about it’s identity, tomorrow night.”

Solanum practically snapped one of her own thumbs off with how hard she clenched her fist. “What?”

“Pyrus provided the cells for an implant when we left the station. It’ll be ready tomorrow.”

“Pyrus!?” Solanum sounded positively flabbergasted.

“A pair of annoying punks, they’ll be perfect for eachother I think.” Ilex answered flatly. “Autumn, is your curiosity satisfied for now?” Autumn nodded. Truth be told, she wanted to stop and pick apart every piece of tech she saw on the other side of the glass, but she couldn’t escape the feeling that she’d already wasted enough time as is. Ilex clicked something on the side of her head and spoke in an assertive tone, “Lift the matrix for 2 minutes.”

The affini in the other room tapped some buttons on the side of the machine and the mass of rings slowly began to slide up from around the person. A wide array of colorful lights were revealed to have been dancing over it’s flesh as the machine opened up around it, in particular a set that had been flashing directly into its wide, unblinking eyes. Blown out pupils slowly attempted to focus back forward into place once they were free from the light's grip, followed soon by the person's mouth moving in an attempt to speak.

"Have the patient sit up and face the window." Ilex commanded.
The affini gestured and spoke some more before Qiru slowly began to comply. its hands grasped blindly for the ends of the armrests before it pulled itself up, then the affini needed to use a vine to tilt their head to face the glass as well.
"Is it okay?" Solanum mumbled. 
Autumn leaned in closer to the glass. Something about it's face tickled a memory but it felt faint, like a wisp on the tip of her tongue ready to dance away.
"it's in a severely altered state of consciousness right now. The hypnotics have enforced compliance and we can still get simple answers out, but odds are it doesn't even know where it is or who it's talking to."
"How long?" 
"1 hour and 14 minutes with the direct hypnotics so far, we still have another hour and 23 left until permanent damage."
It was the eyes that were throwing her off, Autumn decided. They were dilated out wide from the light show it'd been seeing earlier, and now they were left blankly staring off into nothing. She tried to picture them focused, aiming at her, with a face that actually knew what universe it was in.
"This is extreme, even for you Ilex."
"We're intent on unwinding the whole conspiracy on this attack, Solanum. Not one rebel will be leaving this ship until we've bundled up all the pieces and have them singing our tunes, starting with Qiru."

“Your voice betrays your true intentions.”

“Good. I’d hate for my passions to be so weak as to be hidden by procedure.”

The clothes it wore were all wrong too. Something about the way it's current fashion draped around it's hips didn't mesh with the silhouette coalescing in her mind.
"And you're fine with risking permanent damage to get there?"
"Pyrus already knew it'd be a rescue case. See that bruising pattern around the hips?"
Solanum spat some colorful swears.
"Did it have a hat?" Autumn asked. "A... black one, I think. With a blue pin on the side?"
Ilex flicked through her tablet and pulled up a picture from Qiru's capture for her. There it was, laying beside the terran. Autumn looked back up and pictured it with the hat in place once again. Unbidden memories of simulated winds slipping through her hair came crawling back to her. Smells of flowers. The faint taste of affini drinks on her tongues.
All at once Autumn snapped back into the memory. Standing in the station park while some stranger talked to her. She saw how their hat had been pulled low over the eyes, how their face bent into a mimicry of jovial moods.
She blinked and everything rushed back to the markets. The crowds. The empty haze where her emotions should have been. She saw a familiar cluster of people heading her way. One of them was staring straight at her, hands in it’s jacket and hat tucked low. Blue pin on the side. It looked to be in pain. “Sorry,” it whispered before it bumped into her.

Autumn felt a cold sweat trailing down the back of her neck.

“Ring a bell, Autumn?” Ilex asked. She nodded. 
Everything kept rushing back. The river of blood pouring down her leg. The faceless masses all turned her way. The cameras and hands and pain and fog and noise. Phantom pain blossomed across her stomach, chased by a sedate fog that desperately ran after it. The room suddenly felt all too claustrophobic. Was she breathing? She gave a pained gasp for air.

“I, I need to go.” Autumn stumbled out of her seat and ran for the door, running right out into the open path beyond before her bad leg gave out under her. False images of crowds staring her down and reaching out to her, hands opened into claws chased her every step of the way. She’d been carried? Someone in a white suit had grabbed her. There was some other sting on her body that was supposed to help, maybe.

Autumn grabbed at the flower as her memories grabbed at the knife. For a brief, stunningly clear moment, Autumn had a single thought in perfect sobriety:


She then lost all muscle tension once more and fell forward, limply drifting to the side in spin gravity until an affini scooped her up around the chest.
In her memories she’d ripped the blade out of her, flailing it at the shapes around her in the concrete belief that they were hunting her down. All of space had turned inwards on her, fangs and spikes bared for her throat. Even as the blood that pooled from her wound became a waterfall that flooded the halls in her mind and rose up to drown her.

“You okay?” The affini holding her lifted up her limp body, revealing that it was Pyrus. “No, of course not, you wouldn’t be in this position if you were okay.” He tucked her body under his arm as he resumed pacing around the room. “Is it that bad in there?”

“I think she’s having flashbacks.” Solanum paced after her, gently taking her body from Pyrus’ grasp as she approached.

Autumn wasn’t particularly aware of the affini’s anxiety. She was still stuck inside a wave of red, with a looming figure backlit by flickering lights. Dark shapes arose from it’s silhouette and it spoke with a mouth full of blades. Everything surged at her, shattered her limbs, invaded her flesh, then faded apart into a grey cloud around her before the whole nightmare repeated again and again and again and again and she couldn’t even scream and flail against it. Her body drew breath in steady even gasps, her eyes still blinked, her heart still beat, but none of it was under her control. Everything that moved did so under the command of the implants laced through her flesh.

Solanum tilted the human’s head up to face her, smaller vines adjusting Autumn’s eyelids. “Take notes, Pyrus, this will matter to you soon. See the eye movements?” Pyrus sidled up next to Solanum and looked down at Autumn. “Even when paralyzed those will still work. If they’re twitching like this then it means she’s in a state of heightened anxiety.”

“So what do you do?”

“For now, try to talk her through it since she can’t do that herself. Remind her she’s here and safe and protected. When the drugs wear off it’ll be time to process these things.” Solanum shifted Autumn’s position to be held closer to her body, head pressed against her shoulder and body wrapped tight in her vines. “Autumn, little one, listen to my voice dear.”

Autumn’s mind readily latched onto the words the two had been speaking. Every syllable was like a handhold for her to desperately reach out through the storm of blood raging within.

“You’re with me now dear. You’re safe, you’re protected, and nothing bad can happen to you.” Solanum spoke softly, one hand trailing across Autumn’s cheek. The affini’s face blended with the silhouette in Autumn’s mind, merged together to create the full image of the affini the moment before she attacked. There were no fangs. No blades. For once her face had been contorted to show an actual expression, and in the instant before she unraveled and descended upon Autumn it had been nothing but worry. Solanum slipped a tablet out from between her ribs and tapped upon its surface a few times. “In a moment you’ll be able to talk again. I want you to try to describe where you are, okay?”

A chilling sensation of pins and needles blossomed up from her neck, followed by the familiar warm fog of the perpetual high she’d been in since awakening on the Baiera. Autumn flexed her jaw experimentally, making a low groan as the muscles on her face finally returned to her. “Sssolanumm,” Her tongue still felt too heavy to move.

“Yes, little one?”

“My face is buried in your leaves.”

“Oh!” Solanum adjusted Autumn’s position to let her eyes linger over the curved hallway of the medical wing. Right, time to focus, breathe, try to ignore the visions of a waterfall of blood spilling down her leg and every terran in the galaxy trying to drive more knives into her stomach.

“I ssee…” She started, eyes lazily drifting across the space. “Why do you use so many fucking lights?”

Pyrus choked back a sudden laugh, collapsing forward into himself in the process. Solanum’s expression immediately flattened into a quiet sort of upset status. “Everywhere I go it’s human swears.” Solanum growled, bending her arm unnaturally to elbow Pyrus in the side without adjusting her hold on Autumn. “I blame you for this.”

Pyrus took the hit by bursting out into open and uncontrollable laughter, reeling back and stumbling about the hallway blindly before finally coming together enough to make it back to Autumn’s side. “Oh I needed that bit of humor, thank you Autumn.”

“Happy to help.” Autumn groaned. “There’s no humans around, right?”

“Not one.” Solanum answered.
Autumn hummed quietly. “Good. I think I have some new trauma to process tonight.”

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