Alone in the dark, together

Time to go home

by Hopeschains

Tags: #cw:gore #buttrueferalism #dom:female #feralism #Human_Domestication_Guide #petplay #scifi #justbecausewecandoesitmeanweshould

Hello, all you wonderful sophonts!!!  We hope that your wake cycle is going well!!  We bring you another chapter of The Amee and The Jane, and hope that you enjoy!!!

As always, please please leave us a comment, your words bring us life.

Januasai led Amee towards the emergency exit, then took a detour.  Leading Amee to the lake, she gently lifted the canteen from Amee’s hip, and filled it to the brim.   Capping it, she put it back on Amee, and then took her shoulder, gently nudging her towards the water’s edge.  Amee walked to the water's edge, inspecting it, which Januasai expected, but then she backed away.  She seemed hesitant to approach again, so Januasai did the next best thing.  Cupping her hands together, she dipped her hands into the lake, bringing up a good amount of water.  Turning, she knelt and offered it to Amee while two trailing vines sank into the water.

The Amee didn't see any The Long Biteys in The Wet, and didn’t see The Big Four Legs Thing.  That didn't mean The Wet was safe.  The Jane tried to move The Amee to The Wet but it backed away.  It didn't know what The Jane was doing, but then it brought The Wet in its handses!!  The Jane was a good The Jane.  The Amee moved and drank The Wet, letting The Jane keep watching The Wet.

Januasai smiled, her core warming as Amee scampered up and began to drink from her hands.  And by drink, she meant that Amee sank her whole face into the water and began to drink.  She cooed, watching her floret, quivering with delight as she was able to take care of her.  Amee came up for air once, took a deep breath, and then dunked her face back into the water.  She watched as Amee drank, and ran some vines over her back, rubbing.  Once Amee pulled out of the water, Januasai opened her hands on top of Amee, letting the leftover water sprinkle on her.  Amee looked up seeing the water drip from her hands and tried to jump up, squealing.  Januasai laughed, which is when Amee's head swiveled so fast that she was worried Amee got hurt.  Whimpering, her floret ran for the tunnel on all fours while leaving a trail that Januasai knew wasn’t water, canteen bumping her knees.  "What is it, little one?", she asked, following, and then heard it.  Saw it.  The water in the lake was being churned to a froth, snarls now filling the air as two reptilian bodies, one smaller than the other, battled.  Occasionally coming out of the water as they fought, Januasai watched as the behemoth she originally saw fought a smaller, more nimble version of itself.

The Amee quaked in fear.  It had seen the Big Four Legs Thing fight The Big Four Legs Thing sleeps ago, and it knew not to go anywhere near them.  Even now, The Big Four Legs Thing was rolling, coming out of The Wet.  The Amee squealed and ran further into The Dark Place, followed by The Jane.

Januasai watched as the two fought for dominance, the larger one clawing and biting the smaller one easily.  After a few moments, it was obvious that the younger one was clearly outclassed, especially as it took a tail swipe that sent it rolling, crushing a stalagmite that was in the way.  Januasai blinked as it was up and moving almost immediately, the ferns slapping it but finding no purchase.  Rather than continue the fight, it took off at an oblique angle, moving five limbs, one hanging crookedly.  Weaving around another pillar, it slid into the water and submerged, leaving a trail of blood behind it.  'Just like that fight between those two predators on Esthu Eight', she thought to herself.

Januasai took one last look, took a quick picture with her tablet from the safety of the tunnel, and then left.  Amee was standing further in, whining slightly as Januasai approached, a small puddle around her.  "Shhhh, it’s ok.  You're safe", she crooned, lifting the little Terran up.  Gently rubbing her back, she wasn't surprised in the slightest to feel Amees heart beating faster than a horse could run.  It took a little bit of time but finally Amee calmed down.  "There, there you are", Januasai crooned.  She reached down with a vine and took Amees hand.  "Lets go, little one."

The Amee walked with The Jane, handses held by The Rope-Thing.  It didn't know where it was going, but it knew The Place and had a good idea.  They were going to The Interesting Place!!!!  The Amee hooted as it walked, only breaking free to chase The Moving Food because it wanted to.  It was going to The Interesting Place.  It stopped for a moment, looking at The Interesting Place.  There were stacks of The Thing and it wanted to go explore.  It could hear The Moving Food but it ignored it.  It pulled, whining, and The Jane let go with The Rope Things and it hooted as it ran in.  It climbed on The Thing and looked around.  It could see stacks of The Thing, and it scrambled down, following The Place around.  It could hear The Jane calling, moving around The Thing.  The Amee moved around The Thing, trying to find a way to The Jane.

“Amee!!!  Where are you, little one?”, Januasai called out as Amee got lost amongst the stacks of crates of synthcubes.  “Amee?”, she called out, glowing a tiny bit brighter.    She happened to have some of her “eyes” facing away from her which was how she was able to see Amee crawl onto the top of a crate and crouch, watching her.  It still amazed her that anyone was able to sneak up on an Affini, but if anyone could do it, it was her little hunter.  She dimmed her glow and turned, smiling and walking towards her.  “Come on, little one.”  She looked around as she walked.  “You know, before we arrived, this would have been considered the dream of many a Terran.”  She shuddered.  “I’m glad that we’re here, and you cuties can dream far better dreams.”  She smiled, and considered her floret, and then shrugged.  Who knew what she dreamed of?  

The Jane was making sounds again.  But they were nice sounds, so The Amee was happy to listen.  The Jane clicked and patted, walking out.  The Amee was curious where The Jane was going to go next, and it followed The Jane into The Interesting Place.  The Crunchy Stuff was on the ground, but The Amee ignored it.  There was The Interesting Thing and The Amee hopped up onto The Thing to look at The Interesting Thing.  The Amee didn’t know what it was for, but it was The Interesting Thing.

Januasai watched Amee curiously as they walked into the Medbay, wondering how Amee would handle the shattered skeleton on the floor.  And Amee just ignored it, walking past it to hop onto a stretcher and begin examining an otoscope on the wall.  Poking it, before giving it a lick.  “You’re not going to like that,””, Januasai said with a smile.  “I can guarantee that you have enough iron in your diet,””, she joked as she watched Amee bite a metal railing, and then begin to look at everything else.  And she let her have her fun, looking all over and climbing everything.  Eventually she decided that Amee had played enough.  Walking over to a door set in the far wall, she opened the sheaf of papers and read them again by the light of the lichen in the room.  Then she wiped off a sign that was next to the door.  Clear instructions on how to operate the emergency exit stared at her in the face and again, her heart broke.  The exit had been here the whole time, and Amee could have used it if she’d only known how.  She looked back, and found Amee staring curiously at a free-standing light fixture.  As she watched, Amee gave it a poke, drawing back, and then poked it again.  

Turning her attention back to the door, Janusai followed the instructions.  Pressing the buttons on the wheel-style lock in the sequence written, she hoped and prayed that the mechanism hadn’t rusted or degraded.  Thankfully, it only took a try or two and then she felt and heard a THUNK!!! from inside the door.  A clatter from behind her at the same time had her looking.  Amee looked back at her, the lamp on the floor.  She must have shoved it hard in surprise when the noise surprised her.  “Amee, come here,””, she said as her vines continued to press the buttons in sequence.  From what she’d read, the “food” store and the Medbay were the fallback positions if the bunker was overrun.  Some of the crates amongst all those synthcubes were filled with weapons.  Internal doors were supposed to engage, sealing this part of the bunker off from the rest, but it didn’t look like they’d ever been installed.  ‘A bunker within a bunker.  That sophont was REALLY paranoid.  I wonder where he is now’,’ , Januasai wondered.  She resolved to look him up once they left here, to let him know that his bunker saved at least one life.  

Inputting the last sequence, she turned the flywheel.  It resisted her for a second, and then it spun freely.  Once it stopped, she gave the door a cautious push, and smiled widely as it opened with no impediment.  “Amee,””, she called, making the click and patting her thigh.  Amee hopped off the exam table she was currently perched on and walked over, looking up into the stairway.  “We’re leaving now, Amee.  You’re going to live with me, and I’m going to do everything that I can to help you be your best self,””, Januasai said to her floret.  “Take a look around, because I don’t think we’re going to be coming back here.”

Amee just stared at her.

Then blinked.

“My thoughts exactly,””, Januasai said.  The stairway wasn’t lit, the lichen not having gotten in, and the smell of wet dirt was almost overpowering.  But to Janusai it smelled like growing things, like life itself.  Ushering Amee in, she let the door close behind her.  It swung shut with a series of clicks as the locks re-engaged, and Januasai realized that there was no handle on this side.  Which made sense, since that meant that nobody could invade from this way.  ‘Paranoid.’   Bringing a tiny bit of ichor to the tip of a vine, she led the way, holding onto Amees waist with a single vine.  Amee was three steps ahead, sniffing the air, hooting and making a face as she tasted the dirt covering the stairs.  She didn’t know if she’d call it a face, but she was certainly getting used to the nuances of Amee’s expressions.  

The Amee was enjoying The New Place.  It had The Good Smell, and it was easy to move.  As The Amee moved, it felt something move underneath it.  But there was nothing that came out, no The Moving Food, and The Jane didn’t seem to notice.  So the Amee kept walking.

Paranoia was something that the designer and builder of the bunker had in more than an excessive quantity.  He’d, unbeknownst to anyone, also hired another company to prepare a nasty surprise for anyone who thought they could take HIS bunker.  He’d made four entrances to his bunker:  One inside the city, one four miles away, and two more around the city.  And to that he added a secret emergency route, known only to him and the company that he’d hired to dig it.  A company that had ‘mysteriously’ suffered a catastrophic fire afterwards that took the lives of everyone involved.  And then he added the traps.

As weight was pressed on the ramp, a pressure plate pushed down on a small battery, completing a circuit that sent a signal to multiple receivers around the facility.  Each one was connected to a little strip of magnesium that went into a package of two very simple substances that most Terran children knew about before they were ten years old .  But combined in the right proportions, they burned at more than two thousand degrees Celsius. Far more than was needed to liquify stone into magma.  Far more than was needed to collapse the tunnels and seal the entrances to the bunker.  


On the Surface

Glasha had his vines in a bowl of water, enjoying the cool water, nodding as the heavy digging gear was offloaded and set up at one of the exits to the complex.  His communicator beeped suddenly, and he looked at Alduriana.  “NOW what?”, he asked as he activated it.  “Glasha here.”

“Sir!! Sir!!!”, an excited voice practically yelled.

“I’m here, no need to yell,””, Glasha said.  “What's the problem this time?”, he groused.  Had they told him that a flock of winged horses, like the ones that Gladialis was going on at him about, were descending on them, he simply would have shrugged and considered it normal for the way that these last two days had gone.

“Well…I’m registering heat along those entrances to the complex.  Multiple sources, at more than twenty five hundred degrees, Sir.  Umm…those tunnels you were going to use?  They’re collapsing, and filling up with what looks like lava, Sir.”

“Wait?  WHAT!?!?!?!”, Glasha yelled, suddenly on his feet, bowl of water flying.  “Are you telling me that we’re on an active volcanic source as well?!?!?!”, he yelled, the Affini in the area looking over in consternation.    

“What?  No, Sir.  Lava or Magma is just the term for stone that’s been heated up to a liquid point.  Near as I can tell, you’re not anywhere near any volcanic activity.  The way that these all sprang to life at once, I'd suggest an explosive of some kind.  Not explosive, mind you, but an exothermic reaction.  You’re going to need to wait to dig into the complex, Sir.  Unless you just dig straight into the ceiling, Sir, but there’s no telling what that’s gonna do to the structural integrity of the rest of the facility.  Or if there are any more traps that could harm the occupants of the facility.”

Glasha cursed as he sat down.  “ROOTS!!!!!!  What’s your name?”

“, Sir?”, came the nervous reply.

“No, me.  YES, YOU,””, he said, suddenly wishing he had a very, very, VERY stiff drink, as Laria used to say.

“Le..Lerupta, Sir.  Lerupta Krlasuthi, First Bloom.  Xe/Xers, Sir,,””, came the nervous reply.

“Well, Lerupta, I want you to do nothing but watch the screens around this place.  I need to know everything that’s happening.  The millisecond that it’s safe to drill, I need to know where and when.  Any other bombs go off, anything.  I need to know about it.  Understand?”

“Sir!! Yes, Sir!!”, Lerupta said.

“Good.  Glasha out.”  And then he put his tablet down, his body turning into a shapeless mass of vines for a moment as he tried to visualize just what exactly was going on down there.  “You ever have one of those days where nothing goes right?”

Alduriana shrugged.  “I don’t think this could be counted as nothing going right.  You have your equipment, and these bombs are just proof that Januasai is doing what she does AND was right in going down there.  Who knows, perhaps the facility is full of Feralists and this was some last ditch effort to stop us from saving them all in some misguided attempt at remaining independent.”  She shrugged, and entwined some vines with his.  “And the best part of it all is that with the tunnels like that, there’s nowhere for them to go.  No chasing them, Glasha.”

The pile of vines shifted, almost like a nod.  “I guess so,””, said his voice from within the mass.  “It just seems like there’s always…” and then his communicator beeped again.  “See what I mean?”  A vine reached out and tapped the communicator.  “Is it horses this time?”

“Sir!! No…ummm…horses?  Those…umm…they don’t exist, Sir.  But I have good news that DOES exist.  I got a ping from Januasai’s tablet!!!”

“Wait what what what?!?!?!?!”, Glasha said and immediately formed up, his bowl ending up dumped into his lap.  Sucked up by his vines, regardless.  “That’s amazing!! Finally!!! Some good news.  Where?”

“So it looks like there’s a small shaft coming from the complex about two miles from where you are.  It’s easy to see why we didn’t see it, it’s about six feet wide at its widest point and it meanders quite a bit.  Each time it does it’s almost like…” and then Glasha cut Lerupta off.

“Just follow it and send me its exit point.”  Glasha smiled widely as he looked around.  “See?  I knew that this day was going right!!”

To their credit, not a single Affini there did anything other than agree with Glasha.  Grabbing the four Affini that had come with him when they’d examined the other exit, Glasha looked around.  “Ok…let’s get to work!!!  Let’s grab a transport shuttle, who knows how many sophonts Janusai is bringing.”  

In the tunnel  

Januasai had no idea of the chaos that was happening on the other side of the bunker.  She walked, noting how the tunnel switched back and forth a few times, watching as Amee kept sniffing the air, licking the walls.  Clearly, this was something new for her.  And then she felt the nonstop buzzing of her tablet.  As she pulled it out, she saw multiple messages and notifications.  “Roots”, she swore, watching as Amee turned and looked at her with curiosity on her face as she heard the buzzing, so much louder in the quiet tunnel.

The Amee looked at The Jane, wondering why The Jane was making The Funny Noise.  Then The Jane took The Interesting Thing from inside it, The Interesting Thing making The Funny Noise.  The Amee tried looking at it and hissed, The Glowey giving it The Owie.  It turned away back into The New Long Dark, hearing The Moving Food but far away.  Not its usual hunting grounds, but that didn’t matter.  The Moving Food was The Moving Food.

Januasai looked at her tablet again, dimming it so that it wouldn’t hurt Amee’s sensitive eyes as she watched the counter for unread messages tick up.  And up.  And up.  Then stop around six hundred.  Including one from the Captain.  “Oh fuck my life!!!!”, she cursed, and then apologized to Amee who looked back, her eyes glittering in the dim light.  “Well, no way around it now.  Let’s go, darling,””, as she continued to walk forward.  Soon enough the tunnel began to widen, and ended at a blank wall.  No… not a blank wall.  There was a lever set into the wall.  Grabbing it with a vine, she pulled it over and over, seeing a section of the ceiling begin to slowly lift.  ‘Hydraulic lift,’’, she realized.  She kept cranking, and then heard them.  Her kin, clustered around.  “Everyone back up a lot, please.  No sudden movements.  I don't want you to scare my floret.”


Januasai, are you ok?

Did you get injured at all?  Are there more?

Glasha’s voice cut over all of them.  “You heard her.  Everyone, back up to the edge near the transport, and don’t be scary.

Januasai waited a few more minutes, and then kept cranking the lever.  Eventually the ground stopped moving, the lifted portion forming an awning of sorts as a ramp formed.  A breeze swept into a place that had not felt such a breeze since it was dug.  Januasai smiled as she heard Amee sniff, clearly curious about the new scents.  She stepped up and smiled, waving to her kin as she took a few steps out, thankful that it was an overcast night.  She turned as she took a few more steps, watching as Amee slowly and carefully crept out.  Running her hands over the grass, a look of amazement as she tasted the wind.  Januasai saw the small transport shuttle on the far end of the clearing, four Affini she didn’t know standing around it and Glasha standing a bit closer.

The Amee didn’t understand.  Was this a new hunting ground?  It had never smelled anything like this in The Place.  It was bright like The Glowey but everywhere.  A BIG The Glowey.  It heard an odd sound, like The Flying Moving Food but stronger, like a BIG The Flying Moving Food.  The ground was covered in The Not-Slappy Stingy.  It felt like The Slappy Stingy but it wasn’t.  It smelled Not-The Slappy Stingy, and blinked.  It was different.  The Jane made more sounds, but The Amee hunkered down, trying to see if The Not-Slappy Stingy would hurt.  It took a step or two, and saw that The Not-Slappy Stingy didn’t sting.  It felt almost like The Wet, but smelled like The Slappy Stingy after The Amee ripped it off of it.  So The Amee took a few more slow steps into this new hunting ground.

Januasai cooed as she saw Amee exploring her new environment, hesitant and staying low.  She heard someone approaching slowly and turned, seeing Glasha approach.  

“Januasai.  You had us worried for a bit”, he said, smiling.  “Umm…where is this floret you’ve found?”, he asked.  He didn’t see anything past Januasai, just an oddly shaped fuzzy object near the entrance.  Nobody was more surprised than him when the lump moved, snuffling and extending a clawed red hand to touch a fallen leaf.  

“This is my floret.  Amee Etheri, Third Floret,””, Januasai said as Amee looked around, and rose, crouching on her haunches..  

Glasha blinked slowly.  “Hello, little one,”, he said gently as he smiled.  There was no answer, or even acknowledgment that he was there.  “Januasai?  Is that a Terran?”, he asked quietly.  “I’ve never seen a Terran look quite like this.”

The Amee looked on as The Jane made noises, and The New Big Thing Not-The Jane made different sounds.  The Amee didn’t understand the sounds, but it listened.  It heard The Moving Food in the distance, but it looked up to see where The Big Flying Moving Food was.  And it got very scared, whimpering.  There was no Big Flying Moving Food, no The Glowey on the ceiling.  This was not The Wet Place with The Flying Moving Food sleeping High-high.  This was not The Place.  This was a Bad Sleep Time.  There was no high-high here.  This was The Bad Sleep Time. There was only The Place.  It whimpered again, The Jane making more sounds as it turned to The Amee as The Amee let out more wet and it shuffled back, looking for The Long Dark.  This was a Bad Sleep Time.  A very Bad Sleep Time.  Maybe when it woke up it could forget The Bad Sleep Time and just be in The Place with The Jane.

“Amee….no…come here, sweetie,””, Januasai cooed as Amee began to panic.  Making the saddest whimpers as she peed on herself in fear, making Januasai want to do nothing else but hug her and calm her.  “Shhhh, it’s ok.”  She knew she didn’t have a choice, but bringing her outside had clearly been a bad idea. Years of claustrophobic living in the tunnels clearly had left her floret not equipped to handle being out under the sky.

And then disaster struck.

Massive floodlights on the outside of the transport blinked on, painting the clearing in pools of bright light.  Januasai watched as Amee shrieked in pain, hands over her eyes as she stumbled back, aiming for the tunnel.  “Shut those fucking things off!!!!”, she snarled at Glasha as they both reached for Amee.  Despairing as Amee moved fast, like she was hunting.  Glasha missed with his grab, clearly having never seen a Terran move that fast before.  Januasai panicked, hurling a trio of neuro-toxin laden needles at her floret.  If she was knocked out, she wouldn’t be in pain, and then Januasai could get her into a dark place.  And for the first time in over a Terran century, she missed.  Amee somehow dodged the needles, and took off, running on all fours to make her way back to the tunnel.  Januasai reached out as she jumped, snaring Amee with a single vine around the waist as she took a dive, her legs disappearing as the vines all flowed to give her the most reach possible.  A stinger quickly delivered a dose of her neurotoxin as she reeled Amee in, carefully holding her close in her own shadow as the lights of the transport shut off.  

And amazingly, Amee was still awake, looking at her.  Staring at her, trying to struggle as the toxin worked.  “Shhhhh, it’s ok, it’s ok, my darling.  I’m right here, my sweet, and I’ll never leave you,””, she cooed, vines forming a hood to protect them both from the light as Amee finally closed her eyes.  “I’ll take you home.”

We hope you enjoyed Amee's journey from The Place.  Please, leave us a comment.

Remember that YOU are you, unique and special.  Each and every single one of you is The Interesting Thing.

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