Amareth Falls

12 - What Now?

by Miss_Praxis

Tags: #cw:noncon #bondage #dollification #dom:female #f/f #latex #maid #sub:female #AI #brainwashing #clothing #f/nb #gaslighting #multiple_partners #Nanites #Nanotech #pov:bottom #robots #scifi

CW: Assault, and Date Rape

Julie keyed the door for Amareth and Beatrice’s unit, heaviness in her limbs forcing her to retype the code twice before it dinged, giving them access. 
They shuffled indoors, hair disheveled but their nanite makeup still picture perfect. The two beelined awkwardly toward the pullout wall couch in the living room and dropped heavily on opposite ends. As the room lighting slowly warmed, a soft chime pinged on Beatrice's computer. 
“You wanna get that?”
Beatrice’s eyes fluttered where they’d shut. “Nnn.”
“It doesn’t look like it's gonna quit it, Bee.”
“Don’ care. Not annoying enough to move.”
Julie sighed and let her head fall back, allowing the sound to lull her.
After a minute of gentle repetition a small feminine voice announced, “Miss Donne, I have a message for you. You marked this conversation as a high priority.” 
Beatrice stirred slightly at this remark.
”Miss Donne, it is from Arthagia.”
Beatrice's head jerked up. A brief moment of fear struck her and she locked eyes with Julie, but then she was up crossing the room in a single bound, all weariness banished. 
She yanked the computer chair out with a jerk and gingerly sat herself before the screen. 
“Miss Donne—“
Her fingers flew, the keyboard clacked, the screen split into glowing life. Beatrice retrieved the message and, fixing her eyes, sat transfixed.. 
Arthagia had found something. They had come through for her. 
A video file was attached to the message.
“Beatrice?” Julie hesitantly inquired, still tiredly slumped on the couch. “What’s up? Did something else happen?”
“No.” Beatrice blinked. “Well, I guess. Yes. I was waiting for a, uh, contact to get back to me with anything they found out about what—” Beatrice paused to look away. “What happened to Amareth.”
Her fingers twitched, she scrolled to open the downloaded attachment, and the video began to play. 
A scene flickered to life, captured from the perspective of a city watcheye. It was overlaid with numerous timecodes, glyphs, and other digital affectations - scoring which would have been removed had the footage come via official means.
It showed Amareth she was walking away from her job at Reiko’s Ramen shop in Bottom Alley, a bag slung over her shoulder, confirmed by a little annotation noting her cover identity - the one they’d taken their lease out on - scrolling by, as well as an identification code. She looked --
The time stamp read 5:38 pm - Beatrice wondered what could have delayed her so much; her shift ended at five. 
The camera perspective shifted to another watcheye, the time-stamp jumping forward a few minutes, as Amareth walked around a corner. A new annotation in the video highlighted a petite young woman. The system marked her as an unknown; not local, no occupation.
No name, but a crude note marked her as assailant 1. 
She was dressed casually in a bodysuit, and the moment Amareth came into view, her head came up, she pushed off the wall, and she began to trail far behind Amareth.
Beatrice felt her gut begin to clench.
Amareth’s path took her from the larger passage of the Bottom Alley into one of the many winding passages of the city - particularly, the one that led toward one of her favorite eateries - given the late hour, she’d probably been held late, Beatrice reasoned. She would have wanted some comfort food, something to salve her mood. 
Two more people were highlighted in the spliced footage: a bulky Terran dressed in dirty overalls, and a slender waif of a Belter dressed in green skin-tights, their chest bare. 
Infrequent visitor. Occupation Varied.

They were marked as assailants 2 and 3.
The pair were arguing loudly. The Terran leaned over the Belter to shout in their face. It was a good act; it looked real. The Belter’s hand stayed near their waist, Beatrice noted.
Amareth’s pace slowed as her head turned to watch the vitriol.
The argument escalated, as the Terran boxed in the Belter against the wall they had been leaning on with their large frame. The Belter’s face broke from the mask of politeness as they tried to slip out of the Terrans' reach.
That was the last straw in the act, it would seem, as the Terran surged forward. With a forceful shove the Belter went flying into a wall while the Terran remained firmly planted in place, magnetic boots locked to the metal of the corridor, a feral, satisfied grin crossing his face.
She noted with a practiced eye how easily the Belter took the blow - seemingly without injury - though they remained rolled up against the wall shielding their head...
Amareth stopped and turned.
Beatrice felt the knot within her tighten, knowing what would come next. Her partner could never keep to herself when it came to a bully. 
Amareth had watched the display as a wary onlooker looking to pass by them, but when the Terran threw the Belter, and then rushed their fallen form, fist raised, her posture shifted and she acted
She sprinted, closing the gap between them, and jumped, throwing herself forward with the help of a low hanging pipe, her whole body lancing out toward the Terran.
He had a moment to turn and face the new threat; a moment in which Beatrice thought that he didn’t look very surprised to see his shift in fortunes.
Amareth struck him square, her foot extending and colliding like a precision jackhammer blow directly with the Terrans head. The pair flew apart from the force of the kick, the Terran remaining upright; held in place only by his magboots, his body swayed as he doubtlessly saw countless stars.
Amareth tucked herself in and landed in a crouch, before springing to attack the man again, unwilling to give him a chance to recover.
The alley was mostly abandoned at this time of night, so the few who bore witness to the fight were drunk or asleep. 
The young woman who’d been subtly tailing Amareth slipped into the corridor like an eel flitting through a reef. Her expression became determined and the set of her mouth razor sharp. 
As Amareth approached the unconscious Terran, the young woman approached from her blind spot, surging into motion only as she closed in. 
Her right palm pressed out as her fingers pulled back. It bore a port, a large needle emerging smoothly from within.
Julie, now standing at Beatrice’s shoulder, gasped as the young woman in the feed slipped up closer to Amareth. Amareth started to turn toward her, however the Belter sprung from where they lay, a knife sparkling in their hand. 
Assailant 1 struck, stabbing the needle harshly into the back of Amareth’s augmented spine. 
The Belter lunged forward and grabbed her by the collar, yanking her further off-balance, and stabbed the stiletto-like blade of their knife into Amareth’s forearm.
Amareth writhed, twisting ineffectually to reach for her back. 
The knife glowed with a pulse of light, the needle punched deeper, seeking a better angle.
Amareth eventually slowed, strength draining and coordination faltering, before finally slumping down onto the Terran beneath her.
Aghast at the perfection of their teamwork Beatrice watched the hit carry out in slow motion - each move choreographed like a recital, every mistake accounted for with opportunities for recovery. 
Julie’s shaking hands clinging to her arm barely registered amidst the static haze of her thoughts.
Then everything sped up again as the pair hastily lifted her off of their comrade and the Terran, staggering to his feet, put Amareth into a fireman’s carry. Barely pausing to glance around for witnesses, they dashed down the corridor. 
The feed switched perspectives twice over the next minute as they traced a circuitous, switchback path through the alleys.
The Belter led the trio’s way until a drunk stumbled into the corridor, bowling into the group. The Terran, nearly losing his grip on Amareth, recovered and bodily hurled the vagrant out of the way, sending the Lunie tumbling into a pile of detris with a series of slurred protests.

The trio ran until they reached an airlock, one of many dug out long ago to house the essentials of life on Luna. They led, in Beatrice’s knowledge, to the old municipality's tunnel systems; places without cameras, where nobody could be bothered to watch things. 
It sprung open easily for the Belter. They disappeared into the lock, and the feed cut out as the file completed, one last annotation noting the last location.
Beatrice stared vacantly at the black screen, her hands softly twitching, trying to grasp hold of her life again.
“I, I— What the fuck was that, Beatrice? Who were those people? Why did they do that?” Beatrice turned her head slightly, catching Julie’s eyes with hers, cheeks running water like icy glacial tears.
She didn’t recognize her own voice. “I don’t know.”
“How can - do you know anyone who would have it out for Amareth? No.” Julie shook her head. “I’m stupid - who doesn’t fucking have it out for Amareth. Fucking idiot! You’ve got to have some idea who!”
“I don’t know.”
Julie fidgeted restlessly on the foot of the pullout, fear raising her voice in volume.
“Well what can we do then?”
“I don’t know.”
“But you have the footage! We can look through everything that your contact got you, then... Then we bring it to the authorities - it’s their footage! There’s got to be some way to get them involved? Right?” 
Julie waited a moment, and then snapped, “Bee!” 
“I don’t know!” Beatrice’s voice peaked, and cracked. “It’s stolen footage. If we go to the authorities, we’ll just end up in a cell ourselves. And even if it wasn’t, when’s the last time a pig helped anyone? Not a fucking chance, Julie.”
Beatrice sounded distant, her words settling into something synthetic, steady, and empty.
Julie stared at Beatrice, her face pale and waxy.
“Beatrice… There has to be something we can do!”
The exclamation trailed into silence, two brains struggling to process what they had seen to find some way to move forward.
Beatrice could barely stand to move on from the last image - the last frame of Amareth sprawled and limp in the arms of her captors. 
Amareth wasn’t meant to be helpless. She was the help. The muscle. The fist slamming into the teeth of whoever stood in the way of what she wanted or thought right. An impotent Amareth was a contradiction - an anomaly - and Beatrice’s mind refused to compute the error into something intelligible. 
Amareth solved problems. Her own, Beatrice’s, anyone she decided she wanted to protect, or those who paid well enough.
Who knew where she was now. Whether she was alive. What had been done to her since they’d dragged her into Luna’s sewers.
Who knew…
Someone. Someone knew. 
“We need to find out who took her,” said Beatrice quietly, her eyes like black, bottomless pits. 
She shifted in her chair sitting upright, shoulders stiff, as slowly she came out of the fog, back to her body. “It’s probably one of Amareth’s enemies - one of the people she was hired to hurt or damage for whatever reason. We need to find out which one, and where they are now, and how we can get to them. They can tell us where she is.”
Julie stared at her.
“Oh-kay? I think that's kinda insane, especially with the sort of people Amareth was in with,” she said, cocking her head as she looked questioningly at Beatrice. “Somebody who can abduct your girlfriend will be a fish so big they’d… they’d swallow the pond!”
“So? So fucking what, Julie!” Beatrice felt her voice harden further with every word, certainty resolving from her mire of emotions. “That’s who would take her, no-one else would, or could. I will do this, one way or another. I will take her back.
Beatrice locked eyes with her friend and for a moment all the rage fell away, “She’s my world. I can’t... The thought of losing her… I’ve been on my own for so long, Julie. Amareth’s been there for me - I can’t just let her go, I can't bear the thought of it.”
“I know, Bee,” Julie sighed, coming to a stop beside her friend. “But I also know that if you die chasing her, then you’re never going to have any of it again, and neither will she.”
“You think that matters to me?” Beatrice asked. “If I die, It won’t hurt more than a future where I didn’t try. It's what Amareth would do for me.”
She paused, and then said, softer, “If you're scared, leave it to me then. It’s okay. I can handle it myself. I’m used to it.”
“Why would I leave?”
“Why would you want to stay?”
“You both matter to me, you selfish asshole!” Julie’s words struck Beatrice across the face like a whip crack. “You think I don’t get it? You think she means nothing to me? Do you think for even a second what losing you both…? Amareth saved us both, you stupid, self-absorbed bitch!”

Julie’s words struck Beatrice like a cold torrent of water. She felt her body slackening and curling in defensively, her jaw tight not only because she had nothing to say. She stared at the floor unable to meet Julie’s eyes.

Beatrice stood, hands clenched into fists at her sides, a cocktail of adrenaline and anger rippling through her. The tension pulling her muscles into taut steel cables. The interlaced synthetic muscle fibers that ran throughout her thin frame showed clearly through her taut skin.
A long minute passed.
Then: “Sorry.”
Beatrice exhaled. “Me too. I… just… Why did I have to fall in love with a merc?”. 
Julie’s laugh was strangled but genuine, and after a few moments she regained enough of herself to ask, “So, what else did Arthagia send you?”
“They got the ID of two of the attackers, which according to them was an absolute bitch.”
“What are we waiting for then? I want to see these fucks faces.
Julie leaned in over Beatrice to get a clear view of the screen. “The Terran is Jordan Najemnik,” she read, Julie’s chin on her shoulder. “It’s got some of his bio details… Height, weight… Worth a hefty sum too.” She clicked open a different section. “He’s been running with the ‘Sovereign Enforcement Attitude Tamers of the Belt.’”
Julie's nose wrinkled, “SEAT Belt? Please don’t tell me that asshole was a Terran Sovereignty sprog.”  
Beatrice scrolled a little, and then sighed. “Oh, yeah. The whole kit and caboodle.”
“What was he even doing here then?” Julie said, her brow pinching. “Shouldn’t he be off like trying to burst some poor Belter’s O2 recycler?”
Beatrice shrugged. “I would have thought so too. It's really weird that they would’ve been working with that Belter at all.”
Beatrice continued scanning through the information. Arthagia was… thorough.
“Aren’t they full on fashy towards a lot of the Belters?” Julie asked eventually as they bypassed the fifth record of questionable employment and moved on to the Belter’s document.
“Oh definitely. That's the thing though, look at this,” Beatrice said, pointing to a space on their info sheet.
Their name was listed as Cantos Deliverance, of the Typheres Consecrated Convent. Also listed was a warrant - highlighted by Arthagia in case they missed the large, official lettering - they were wanted for involvement in two biochemical weapons theft incidents.

“T-Sov Chud’s are downright obsessive, tracking down their nasty shit,” Beatrice said, mildly impressed despite herself. “Amareth loved watching them froth at the mouth over shit like that… At least anyone who got in that much trouble would be especially high on their shit list.”
“And anyone who helps them. You'd make it big… or suffer if they got caught otherwise.” Julie shook her head. “Which means that ‘Jordan’ here’s either a good liar or he’s in big trouble with his employers, if this is on the record.”
“And Typheres people are just straight up fucking crazy.” They’d both seen the news reels - chaotic shows of terror and bloodshed from an organization that straight up hated the world; all of it pointless, and yet still seemingly unending. It didn’t need elaboration.
The pair both fell into a brief silence as the two women’s minds churned over this information.
“How the fuck are they working together?” Beatrice groused. “It makes no sense! He should’ve reported their ass and got a promotion, it’s stupid not to when his employerer would string him up if they caught wind of it. Why wouldn’t he?”
Julie shook her head wonderingly. “This is some serious shit Beatrice. I don’t know why anybody from those nutjobs would ever work with a Sovereign willingly, and I don’t know why a Sovereign wouldn’t just execute them on the spot and collect the bounty.”
Beatrice didn’t either, at least until she stopped trying to think of it logically.
She sighed. “Well, let's be honest Julie. It's probably for the same reason anybody does fucked up shit. Money or power. Probably both.”
She felt Julie’s vexed exhalation against her cheekbone. “Well… that means whoever hired them… At least I assume they were hired… Almost certainly has a lot of both. Enough to convince people from organizations hellbent on eradicating each other to work together.”
“Enough to put out a hit on Amareth.”
Her friend pulled herself out of the chair and flopped onto the couch with a growl of frustration and anger, and closed her eyes.
A thud: this time Beatrice's hand didn’t carry the same rage as it struck the table. She closed the file and let the terminal power down.
She stared at the ceiling, examining each joint in the aged, smooth polymer panels.
Julie lifted her head, looking over her chest at her sullen friend. “This whole thing—” She waved her hand in a half-hearted circle. “Smells of evil amounts of fucking money.”
“It does,” Beatrice said, her voice sinking back into a quiet monotone.
Julie's arm fell back to her stomach softly. “I’m so sorry Beatrice.”
“Me too.”
The pair sat in silence for some time as Beatrice continued to look over the data that the owl, Arthagia, had supplied. 
They accomplished little else that evening aside from ordering an excessive amount of takeout.
Later that night or early the next morning, depending on one’s personal philosophy, the insistent hum of Julie’s phone roused her from troubled slumber.
“Huhhh… the… Fuck.” She clicked the power button and turned back over.
Seconds later, it began buzzing again. 
Julie groaned and pulled herself up to her elbows to hazily examine the caller ID.
Beatrice. Julie blinked some of the sleep from her eyes. “Really… What now?
Her friend’s tiny digital portrait smiled up at her. “Fine.”
She tapped the answer key.
She yelped and dropped the phone, and Beatrice’s voice clamored up at her from the floor. “Finally! Pick up the damn phone sooner, why don’t you! I have a lead - One of them is still here! That Terran is still slumming around on our rock. I’ve found out what hotel he is staying at!”
Breathe, Julie. Just roll with it and ignore how unhinged she sounds. She reached down and brought the phone to her ear. “Oh, and just what,” she asked, “do you find yourself inclined to do with that information, Bee?”
“Julie, he’s our only lead. He knows where Amareth might be. I need to find out more.”
 ‘You need to get some rest, you absolute maniac,’ Julie thought. 
She said: “What, so you want to confront the guy who took down your girlfriend? Y’know, Amareth? The woman who can break you and me both in half with one hand each? That Amareth?”.”
“Really?” Julie held back as much of the irate tone from bleeding into her voice as she could muster. “Then what? Are you planning to beat the information out of him? Like this is some bad action movie?”
“No.” Beatrice said flatly. “I want to. But what I want isn’t going to help right now.”
A pause. 
“Look, I know it’s late. I know I don’t sound like I’m thinking straight right now, and that I’m just calling out of the blue, but I am, and I’m not. I got this information a couple hours ago. I’ve been thinking of a plan since then.”
Julie sighed and flopped back onto the couch, closing her tired eyes.
“It’s good to know you have at least some semblance of a grasp on reality,” she muttered.
“Do I?”
Julie chuckled wryly. “I honestly don’t feel like I’ve had much to do with reality since they took her. It’s all felt like a bad dream.”
 “I mean, that seems like a pretty normal response to me.”
“Ya.” Julie grunted and sat up. “Fine. Lay it on me. What’s the plan gonna be, Bee?” Julie said.
“Date rape.”
“I’m sorry, give me a moment.” Julie waited. “Right! Nope, that still makes absolutely no sense.”
“You heard me.”
Julie felt her face frozen in what she imagined was a stock image of disgust, but after a moment she fought the feeling down. Beatrice had to have lost it, she wasn’t… 
“Oh-kay,” she exhaled. “It might be that simple in your head but I think I’m gonna be in need of a little bit more information.”
“Just hear me out, please?”

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