a prison, a body

xiii. rowan. my innermost apocalypse

by gargulec

Tags: #cw:sexual_assault #D/s #drones #pov:bottom #sub:female #transgender_characters #bondage #exhibitionism #sadomasochism
See spoiler tags : #robots #scifi

Suspended in warmth and darkness, Rowan gradually lost track of her body. She knew it was still there—when she focused, she could feel where its orifices were spread open and intubated, or where soft bindings secured and immobilized it. But such focus came reluctantly; for a time now her thoughts had been moving slowly and sluggishly, and even as she tried to hold onto them, they kept dissolving into a trance-like bliss. To concentrate on where the belt pressed into the skin of her left thigh was to lose track of the one on the right and of all the others too; to try to feel the shape of the tube in her mouth and throat was to forget the ones in her nose, or in her back.

There was a point when she could find some certainty in movement. She would strain her muscles, trying to wriggle free of the bindings, trying to pull herself away from the gibbet encasing her. That there was no point to it, she knew perfectly well. Yet, the sensation of restraint, of having her movement denied, anchored her to the flesh that was her. When that tired her, she would instead try to move her fingers and toes, feeling them sift through the thick water she was submerged in. But in time even those bursts of motion ceased being securely hers. The machine would run gentle shocks of electricity through her muscles, making them twitch and contract and strain against their bonds. The less secure her grip on the body was, the less she could tell if it was her will that moved her to struggle, or the machine’s. Could she even move on her own anymore? There were moments where it felt to her like she did not exist at all, and the sound in her ears was not her heartbeat and not the rush of her blood, but the mechanical music of some great mechanism she was only ever a part of. It became difficult to tell where she ended, and it began.

It grew hard to determine which side of the boundary between sleeping and wakefulness she was on any given moment. She had dreams, or maybe she was dreaming right now. Sometimes, the pitch-black of her tank would be interrupted, and she would see—before her own eyes—images unfolding. Wonderful scenes of subjugation, visions of a body she could have never had, brief bursts of pleasure and joy. Maybe they induced it in her, or maybe they were just the sort of dreams she always used to have. She was unsure if there even was a difference.

Time lost any meaning. It felt like she could stay in the tank forever, and wouldn’t even notice the passage of the time of her life. She was neither hungry nor sated, neither cold nor warm, neither tired nor energetic, neither bored nor excited. Neither happy nor sad. Sometimes, quickly unraveling thoughts would flash through her mind, but they were gone all too soon. She drifted, deeply lost in the kind of calm that came only with cessation of everything else.

It wasn’t exactly bliss, but it was, at last, peace.


The voice, at first, was a sound too fine and delicate to separate itself from the idle hiss of her body, or of the machine, that rustled in her ears. It was just another layer in it, another sussurating note weaving in and out of her faded consciousness. By the time she recognized it as speech, it could have been there, calling out to her for hours, or days, or maybe years. At first, she ignored it. Not willfully—it just seemed so tiny and distant and insignificant that to even acknowledge it was too much of an effort. But it didn’t vanish into silence. It haunted her, worming its way into the sphere of her awareness over and over again until she finally recognized it as a voice, and a word.

“Focus,” it asked. “Focus.”

It was a challenging task, and a struggle. She half-forgot how to grab hold of her own thoughts—if, in fact, they existed at all anymore—and had to strain through a quicksand of calm to get them together into a state recalling concentration. But however challenging it was, the reward was easily worth it. As soon she managed to put her attention to those words, to center them before her mind, she felt a dart of pleasure. It flowed into her as the sweetest scent, and when it rested in her lungs, it spread through her entire, like ink staining water until it was all gold, until she too was sweet and content.

“Good,” she heard a whisper in her ear. For a moment, only a crackle lingered, and then it receded, leaving behind a sated kind of silence.

The pleasure filled her for a time, slowly fading until she was left again calm and at peace, but wanting more.



She searched for the world in the bands of hiss and rustle, in the subtle grinding and clicking of her machine womb. She had been waiting for it to come again, and when it did, she sprang to focus, and again, was awarded pleasure. Sweetness swelled within her.

“Good,” the voice praised her, before retreating once again.

She held onto the honey-like bliss, until it too went away.








It would come, and then go, each time the same little thing, until her attention was trained to pick the tell-tale crackle of it emerging from the noise, until her thoughts rushed to its attention the moment it asked her to. She waited for it expectantly—and sometimes it surprised her that she did not look forward to even more. But the moments when she heard were the only solid points in her drifting, the only milestones in the great, blank expanse of blank, meaningless time. Whether it was seconds between each calling, or hours, she did not know, and did not care.


Her thoughts stood at attention, and were rewarded. But this time, something was different. The sweetness—no, the sweetness was still there. Was it muted? No. It felt the same. But the other word—where was the other word. Did she do something wrong? Why did the other word not come?

Confusion bloomed in pleasure, and, as if through a thick fog, she felt herself become more lucid, struggling to find the cause for this breach, for this disorder. Her head tried to move; it couldn’t. Her eyes twisted about, but all was plain black, pure dark. Or so she thought, until she saw it.

It came into view subtly, like a ripple slowly going through a still pool. She didn’t notice it at first, mistaking it for some distortion of her eye, some figment of a suddenly hyper-active imagination. And maybe it was just that; after all, it was so little. Just an outline of a human shape, drawn as if with an unsteady hand, the fine white line silhouetting it ragged and shimmering. It had no solidity to it, no form, no feature and no gender. But it had a voice.

“See,” it asked, and Rowan wanted to listen. Would there be a reward, too?

The shape stepped around her, and she found that she could follow it with her eyes even as it moved around her.

“You’re ready,” the voice whispered into her ear, and she felt excited, even if somewhere, deep inside, another voice, one that she hadn’t heard in a while, screamed at her to stop. “Good.”

It started to fade; the fine line diminishing until it was a shade of gray almost invisible against the black. And she understood she feared that word, she feared what it would mean, and that she wanted the sweetness to seize her again.

“I am sorry,” it said, soft and delicate, “for what I will do to you next.”

What the words meant, she did not know; her mind was too slow to process. And so, instead, she just thought don’t go away and make me feel sweet and gold. She yearned.

She saw it shake its head, and—just before it disappeared—make a gesture as if lifting something from before her eyes.

A harsh, ammonia-like scent filled her nostrils.


She was suspended in a water-filled tank, strapped and wired into a machine. A plastic tube ran down her throat. She didn’t gag on it, but she couldn’t get it out of her mind, just the same as she couldn’t stop thinking of the other tubing in her nose, in her ass, on her dick, or of the dozens of little electrodes attached all over her body. She couldn’t quite keep track of them—the warmth of the water confused her senses and made it difficult to keep track of the surface of her skin—but they were there, and the occasional, electric shock made it impossible to forget them. The bindings pressed into her body—it was some wonderful technology that allowed them to be tight without making her limbs feel like they were about to wither. There was something in her eyes, and there was something in her ears.

The minutes and hours when lucidity returned to her were harrowing. It was like waking up from a deep sleep, only to learn that the paralysis wouldn’t go away, and that she would remain bound to this bed for as long as her owners wanted her to. It was realizing that the machine would feed her and then drain the piss out of her when necessary, that the shocks would keep her muscles from atrophying, that she would be breathing through tubes. It was the soreness of her jaw clamping down on some bit of polymer preventing it from chewing on the tube. It was feeling her dick harden in the grip of the device affixed to it, and trying her best to thrust her hips forward just to get the edge off, but having them secured so tightly that they might as well have been bolted down. It was getting only more aroused off that thought and being ashamed of it.

It was, also, realizing that she had been drugged up her nose for God knows how long, and conditioned like a dog, trained to respond to stimuli and rewarded for it with—what, more drugs?

It was recalling her fantasies like that. It was thinking that it was the most awful, hottest thing that happened to her in her life. It was worrying that the numbing pleasure and dumb bliss would come back any moment now—or that they would never come back at all.

So this was it—the heart of Galatea’s designs. Were those drones she admired born in tanks? Would she be, at the end, covered in molten latex and rendered, quite literally, into a biomechanical automaton? She laughed at that thought, or at least tried to: she could scarcely move her jaw. Even after all that that she had seen, it felt too outlandish. No, they would just soften her mind with chemicals and then mulch, and she was still so horny for it.

What would Helen say, if she saw you like that? a familiar part of her wondered, and she had to concur. Only that she wanted to see herself, too, see this pervert-machine interface she was a part of now. She would love how much into this you are.

Helen. She’d tried to talk her out of it, because she understood, probably better than Rowan ever did that no, you can’t live through something like what Galatea offered and not have your mind go a little. If she could sag in her bindings, she would, but they left her no slack.

It surprised her how much clarity was there to her thoughts. Ever since she arrived in Galatea’s hands, her mind was constantly busy, either with pleasure, or with self-denigration. But right now, she just felt… pensive? Was pensive the word? It was way past time for doubt. The great pharmacopornographic conglomerate by the name of Galatea had swallowed her, and she was being digested. There was no escaping, there was no safeword, and in a short time, she was reasonably sure, her mind would probably just get erased and there would be no more Rowan.

Maybe for the better, and she concurred with herself again.

A kind of weary sadness spread through her. She didn’t really have to wonder much to know precisely how Helen would react to this sight. She’d seen it once before, and the memory had burned itself into her brain to be this sort of a shame that would come crawling back to her attention when she couldn’t sleep and instead relived all of her greatest embarrassments one by one.

It had been when they watched Graphic Sexual Horror together. Rowan had suggested it because, back then, there was this stupid thought in the back of her head that maybe, maybe the snippets of hardcore InSex porn the docummentary contained would seem to Helen as hot as Rowan found them. But for Helen, to watch the women have their bodies shackled, abused and humiliated brought her to nothing short of disgust. And, well, the story of the person who’d created those images was just as sordid.

After the movie ended, they’d sat in Rowan’s room and argued for hours. She’d cited papers about how it wasn’t really that bad, how those images depicted something radical and new in sexuality, how the fact that not every performer got treated fairly did not negate that importance. That maybe there was something more to it than just patriarchal sadism.

In response, Helen had cited common sense, and that was that.

She had always known that Helen was right. Of course, back then she’d just gotten uppity, started lecturing her on how common sense was a tool of normativity, that to argue that women couldn’t really live with such desires was an example of feminism’s problem with sex—she argued all the things she’d read in books, and Helen had said a few things she’d known from her life. Rowan should have listened.

But if she had, would she have ever come to the conclusion that she was, in fact, trans? After all, was it not a sex thing for her, first and foremost? Was it not because at the end of the day, she just wanted to be that woman twisted into metal shackles and brought to a shouting orgasm with an overpowered vibrator? Wasn’t that her primary point of reference for femininity? It really was. Had she listened to Helen, had she listened to her parents, had she listened to herself, she would have never called herself a she and would be happier for it.

You can’t call yourself a woman because you think it’s hot.

And so, suspended in a device meant to break minds, and about to part with herself, Rowan—Robert—finally admitted what he had been running away from for so very long. He was fake. And had he accepted that, he would have lived a happier life.

It was liberating, it had to be, to finally come to terms with himself. But, somehow, she only wanted to cry, and stop existing. Even if he knew that he would get over…


Her body reacted before her mind could intervene; her body tensed as her senses searched for the shape of the body, and the source of the voice. A memory of warmth spread over her body, a memory of sweetness.

And then, she saw the shape, filtering into view in front of her, seated, cross-legged, watching her with an eyeless face.

“Rowan,” it said, “I’m here.”

Confused, she tried to speak back, say something; her mouth moved over the plastic and made no sound.

“Just think,” it said. “I will recognize your thoughts.”

The darkness surrounding her vanished in a flash, replaced by a panoramic view of her own body, as it was in the tank. She saw it from the vantage-point of an unseen camera, dispassionately surveying a suspended, intubated flesh connected to vast, arcane machinery. And even though she knew he shouldn’t be finding this hot, she still did.

The shape stood up, moved to the side; its feet barely touched the bottom of the tank; it turned away from Rowan, and looked at her body.

She just wanted to know what it was, what it was doing here, and why it felt the need to talk. Why interrupt her like that, instead of just dosing her up and finishing what it had started? It made no sense.

“I am an eidolon,” the voice explained. A spectre, a shadow, a manifestation—Rowan remembered the word. “And I am here because you have to decide what happens next.”

Even though her body yearned to pay attention to this “eidolon”, Rowan once again found herself fighting for a laugh. Decide? Had she not signed away her soul already? Was this some joke, some petty sadism? Rubbing in her mistake? Can’t it just go on and kill her already, kill her mind and self?

“I can.”

Her heart stopped as she saw vicious, red liquid fill the tubes connecting her to the machine, pump into her body, as she saw blue electric arcs wreath her head, as she saw herself twist in the bonds trying to tear herself free and scream without words until even that was taken from her. She almost didn’t realize it wasn’t real. Just a projection. Just a vision. Nothing was happening to her body. Nothing like that.

Even then, the horror with which she watched her body cease to be hers, with which a sea of chemicals was injected into her, with which electric shocks wiped her mind clean like a useless hard drive, was visceral. But it wasn’t just hers; the eidolon stood next to her, and watched the scene unfold. Briefly, it gained in shape, in form; there were features on its face, even if indistinct. They were painted with disgust.

“I don’t want to.”

What did it want, then? Was it a part of Galatea’s game, so that he would open himself for a strike? But that made no sense. Rowan was already as powerless as it could get. She knew that if Galatea wanted it could melt her mind and condition her like one would a dog. So why bother with tricks and apparitions, why not just proceed with what they clearly wanted to do?

The view in front of her got distorted; it melted and shifted until it displayed a simple white locker room. Or a kind of it, at least; what peeked from one of the ajar locker doors belonged more in one of the laboratories Rowan was tested in. A naked, bald woman sat on a bench, hands on her knees, eyes half-closed, faint, damp sheen all over her exposed skin. Two drones in their trademark black shells shuffled behind her, digging for something in the storage.

Rowan’s eyes focused on the woman. She was tall, boyishly built, broad-shouldered. Beautiful, in a way, even if it was a strange kind of attractiveness. And then, there was something more. She appeared familiar, like someone she knew. The proportions, the shape of the limbs, the waist, she had seen them all somewhere before. But where?

Fascinated, she watched the two drones come back carrying parts of a flexible white shell. The woman stood up, and they came close, to start to encase her in it, like they were medieval squires helping their knight with her armor. It was so wonderful to watch, so very intimate. The worries that plagued her retreated for a moment, replaced by yearning: how much she wanted to be that woman, only that he knew he never would.

One of the drones slid filament-thin pieces of electronics beneath the shell; the other clasped it around the woman, stretched and adjusted them. It was as she looked at the chest, compressed flat by the shell, that Rowan finally recognized its shape. It was hers. It was the body that she dreamed of having, though he knew was impossible to have. And she was seeing it, right there, before her. Her heart fluttered; even under all the machinery, she felt herself blush and tense.

“Is this what you want?”

What could she say? She drank the image of the drones finishing their work, of them sliding a gag down her mouth and encasing her head in a faceless mask. She thirsted for it, for how it would feel to be that person, for how it would feel to be that body. It was a dream, even though he should finally stop with his perverted yearning.

“Why did you come into my hands?” the eidolon asked. It moved through the frame like a ghost, a small distortion against the backdrop of a vision that Rowan desperately wanted to continue, even as he knew that to watch it was to keep with the pain of an unreal dream. “For this?”

Yes, she thought, but he knew it was wrongHe came here because he thought it would be hot to become a drone. It was, and it was also horrifying. There was nothing more to it. Nothing. Just stupidity and the horniness of a sad, lonely dude convinced that he could make himself something he never was.

“I can validate that.”

The image shifted, and she saw herself—not the idealized, impossible, body, but the one he would have until his death—at the end of the contract. Tired, haunted, hurt. She recognized the look, she recognized the regret. It would be a lesson she could never forget. Yes. He would finally learn what’s good for him.

“But I don’t want to kill your soul.”

The eidolon waved its hand, and the image disappeared, wiped clean. They were back in the tank, watching Rowan’s body from the outside. The eidolon kept silent for a while, as Rowan readied herself for finally giving up. Then, it looked back at her.

“Was that the only reason?”

There was nothing elseHe came here because of this mad hope that she could be like those drones. That she could sit and he should really stop thinking that, those thoughts had already harmed him enough, it would be good if he could just…

Rowan’s lips moved, trying to form a simple “please”. Not at the shape, but at herself. She could not hear her own thoughts over that voice. Over the part of her that she feared was right, but desperately didn’t want to be. There had to be something else. It wasn’t just a kink, it wasn’t just a phase, it wasn’t a stupid idea she had because she didn’t know what else to do with herself. No, it couldn’t be. That wasn’t the reason she wanted all of it.

If there was ever a time to admit it to herself, it was now. She exhaled.

She was here because Robert really couldn’t bring himself to believe that he could be a woman, and thinking himself as one hurt—but it was the hurt that felt good in the end. And that pain was the madcap hope that there really would be another life waiting, that one day he would no longer think himself that odious he and that there would be no more Robert, but rather someone else, who had once been him, but no longer. And he was so afraid that this hope would amount to nothing that he never pursued it. And it was the kind of hope he could never realize on his own, and could never admit it to anyone who could help him with it. So it ate at him, that vision of someone who would help him tear away all the chains that anchored him to himself, so that she could finally think herself a she with pride and conviction.

Thankfully he knew that it was not possible, that if he could not chase his hope alone, he should better abandon it. And…

“I can help you.”

As it spoke, it reached out, towards the suspended body, its fingers brushing against Rowan’s neck. She imagined feeling it; it was such a reassuring touch. Someone reached out. She never thought it could really happen.

“I can help you leave him,” it promised. “It is what I was made for.”

He knew he was being deceived, he knew it would only bring him pain, he knew that the part of him that had always been reasonable and right would convince him to retreat again and takes years of misery over trusting in…


No, she thought with all the strength she could muster. Maybe she was right, maybe she should have never chosen that, but it would be better to trust the devil rather than live like she was. Maybe it was impossible, but he…


She wanted to be herself.

“Then,” the shape said, and it grew until it was all around her, a towering ripple against a disintegrating picture of the body that would be hers, and its voice rose as well, a shout, a cry, a clarion, “let me in.”

And she did.



She stirred, her mind instantly at attention. She was no longer being rewarded just for that—well, most of the time. Sometimes, she would feel the familiar burst of sweetness in response, but only sometimes. Usually, she had to work harder for her pleasure.

Learning to associate the commands of the voice with joy was easy, once she had gotten past the initial hurdles. It required a degree of openness and excitement, but it was also wonderful and leisurable. She was being rewarded for her attention, for her focus, for thinking herself obedient. She knew that it was just the initial stage, that there would later be more programming, targeted specifically for her intended purpose, but before then, she was just growing to treat the voice as a part of her, one that would guide and command her, and one that she would obey with exuberance and excitement.

The rewards were easily worth it. Sometimes, it would be an orgasm of the sort that made her feel like her body would snap free of its bindings from the sheer force of it. Sometimes, it was a feeling of sweetness filling her until she felt like it was going to burst into a cloud of golden sparks. Sometimes, it was watching what she was going to become, and the body she was going to receive.

Leaving Robert was more difficult. He was a part of her, and she didn’t want to kill him, and she didn’t want to erase the memory of him. After all, had it not been for him, she would have never become herself. He still lurked in the back of her head, and sometimes struck with his hooks of doubt and fear. But slowly, she learned how to deal with those strikes, how to harden herself to them. She was rewarded when she did. Maybe, once, she would have been more disturbed at having the man deprogrammed from her mind, but why would she ever want to be him? His life was miserable, and she was glad he was finally going away.


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