a prison, a body

viii. rowan. locked in with me

by gargulec

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

Rowan sat on the edge of her bed, legs folded. Comedown spread through her body as a dumbing, heavy flow, springing from somewhere deep in her before oozing into her limbs and head, rendering then slow and heavy. She wrapped a blanket around her shoulders, then twirled it around her chest. It offered no cover - it was made out of some bizzare, translucent fabric - but it did provide another measure of comfort.

Its transparency was yet another realization of the principle around which her new habitat had been organized. As a cell, it was only a little smaller than the room she used to rent as a student, and in some ways more comfortable. The bed was narrow but soft, the entertainment system surprisingly robust. It never got cool enough that having to be naked felt like an issue, at least when it came to temperature. But beyond all that, it was also built to leave her with no chance to cover herself. It was made to expose.

It wasn’t just the transparent blanket, the lack of a screen around the toilet or the eye of the camera left prominently visible on the ceiling. All that could be made see-through was such, from the door to the cell to the large translucent panels set into the walls and the floor. Through them, she could see into the cell below, the cell above, the cells beside, and further—and their occupants could look into hers.

In the first days after she had been delivered to the facility, she’d restlessly looked for a way to cover herself. She would curl into a ball, trying to shield her exposed body from the eyes of others, whether they gawked or not. Sometimes they did. But the gestures and attempts were all futile. To cover one part with her hand would be to leave another exposed, and to cast an embarrassed eye at the fellow Galatea resources meant realizing they were watching, if only because she could watch them. She learned that the man below her, who was strangely awkward in his motions in spite of his muscle-bound body, would not stop exercising even as he was now in Galatea hands. She watched the girl to her left, sickly thin, her skin motleyed with discolourations, twiddle and toy with the mechanism of the ornate prosthetic that replaced her leg at the knee. Sometimes, she would return the favour, sparing Rowan a few glances and a friendly wave of the hand, but most of the time, she gawked at someone below that Rowan couldn’t see. It was the pudgy, young man to the right who stared at Rowan the most, but even then he tended to spend more time simply fidgeting with the device installed over his groin, trying in vain to get it off, or at least get off in it.

Rowan understood that. She touched the hard plastic shell around her crotch. Back in the world, she’d played with chastity devices for men, little silicone cages that went around the penis to prevent it from getting erect. They hurt to put on, pinched in wear and, in truth, did not even do their job most of the time. It took only a little more rubbing to get herself to come inside of them. They were toys, meant for couples, and so she always felt vaguely embarrassed to own one. But the device Galatea wardens stapled onto her was the real deal. She couldn’t even feel her touch through it, let alone get any stimulation, and it remained comfortable enough to not send her crazy within hours. Besides, it made it impossible to piss while standing; she had to sit down like a girl. She smiled at that thought.

Usually, it would also arouse her to think about this chastity belt, and maybe even get her to annoyedly rub at the plastic, but today she was well and truly spent. The day of being treated with electricity in every way she had fantasized about—and then some she could have never conceived of—had left her tired. Sore, as well, in this very pleasant way of a body exercised and exhausted. Slowly, she slumped down onto her bed.

She’d given up trying to cover herself for the same reason that, unlike that man, she didn’t try to force the device off anymore. There was no point. They wanted her to be exposed, so they’d made her exposed. Her body felt little better than it did in the outside world, but at least she would no longer drive herself crazy by trying to hide. There was no way she could make herself invisible. It was not that the shame she knew so well went away; she doubted it ever could. It lingered as an idle discomfort, muted by the twin weights of exhaustion and arousal. Besides, there were no perfect bodies around her to spark envy, and no Internet to feed her a constant stream of pictures of a life she could never have. Everyone she could see was mundanely imperfect.

A different kind of shame, however, increasingly followed her. She had lost track of the number of days or weeks she had spent here, but they were all filled with people treating her like some kind of a thing that they could strap down to a gurney and then see how wide its anus could stretch. She hadn’t heard her name spoken since arrival; in fact she hadn’t been referred to as a person at all. She had no idea what their plans were for her for tomorrow, and what use they had in mind for her. She lived as a prisoner, tracked and surveilled without pause. And yet, for all of that, for the first time in as long as she could remember, she felt safe. After she had to stop worrying about others seeing her, there turned out to be nothing left for her to be anxious about. Her days were exhausting, her nights marked by anticipation and uncertainty for what the next test would be, but she couldn’t bring herself to fear that. There was no way for her to avoid what was coming, even if she wanted to resist. But she didn’t, and it made her feel she should be ashamed.

But she was calm. Exposed, trapped, and used, she was calm. She slept well. It was not how her life was supposed to go. It was not what being an adult was supposed to mean. Her current situation could scarcely be more at odds with what she felt she was supposed to believe. She was meant to treasure her agency. If Helen could know how she felt, she would be disgusted. And sometimes, in the moments before sleep, Rowan could feel that disgust herself. But it came through distant and all too easy to dismiss, and that worried her too.

Sleep caught her midway through that thought.

She woke up to the pneumatic hiss of the cell door opening and turned from the wall to see the Galatea warden slide a food tray inside, still steaming. It was a tight contest between the warm food and the warm bed, but Rowan managed to overpower the need to stay under her blanket and half-walked, half-crawled to her breakfast. She ate and drank eagerly, quietly thankful that the corporation apparently understood the need to provide hot drinks to their human resources.

By the time the warden returned, she held in her hands the muzzle and the leash. Rowan knew what to do. She knelt on folded legs in front of the door and waited for the warden to enter and strap her in, filling her mouth with a large, silicone ball. Even though it was a daily ritual, Rowan felt a sizzle in her groin as the warden tugged her chin up by the leash and forced her to stand up.

She was guided out of her cell and onto the narrow catwalk outside. There, the warden clipped her to others, connecting them into a kind of a chain-gang. Could she speak, Rowan would have asked about the utility of all of that; it was not like any of them wanted to run away, she assumed. But the experience of having to walk, linked by the jaw to people in front and behind you, was something else. She could only imagine it looked spectacular from the outside. A row of people, all shaved clean and naked but for the muzzles and translucent belts around their crotches and shuffling together forward through a brightly-lit prison. It reminded Rowan of the bizzare erotic cartoons she used to look through as a teen.

Funny how things turned out.

They made their way down the catwalk and to a small ante-chambre below. The part of the facility she came to know had nine cells, and so there were nine of them. Rowan could never get a full picture as they walked, however - it was very difficult to turn one’s head when a short chain clipped it to someone in front of you.

They were herded through the ante-chamber and into the shower area. Air here smelled of chlorine and something else, some chemical that Rowan could not recognize. The warden unlinked them and, as the daily routine required, they shuffled into the steaming inside. As usual, Rowan waited a moment, giving time to that girl from the cell to the left to unstrap her metal leg. When she did, Rowan extended her arm to her and helped her walk into the showers.

Days ago, they had come to this solution wordlessly, and had held onto it since. Rowan would help her stand and walk through the showers, and in return she would scrub her. In those moments when their bodies were close together and she could feel her wet skin under her fingers, Rowan was glad both for the muzzle keeping her from saying something stupid and for the chastity belt saving her further embarassments. She had not realized how starved for touch she was before, and how much she needed even this approximation of it. And perhaps Rowan wasn’t the only one - others clumped together under the jets of warm water as well, stealing what little moments of intimacy they could. The warden neither encouraged nor opposed it, and so they used every opportunity they could to match themselves amidst the steam and scalding heat.

The girl gave her a pat on the back to signify that she was done, and Rowan supported her as she made her way out of shower and towards the towel rack. After she dried herself, she brought her the prosthetic. She gave her a thumbs up, and Rowan tried to smile back, though the muzzle made it difficult. There were times when she wanted to talk to her, learn what brought her into Galatea’s hands, ask if she held her correctly, ask… But for better or worse, they were both rendered thoroughly mute, and the grunts they could give through the gags in their mouth were no approximation of speech. All they could accomplish were a few ambiguous gestures they hoped would convey some meaning.

The warden assembled them in a line; again they were made to kneel. In a few moments, lab-workers would start shuffling in to drag them each to their daily destination. It was in those moments of waiting that the tension and uncertainty ran highest. No one knew what to expect, and no one had a way to ask..

Today, Rowan was among the first ones to be taken away. A technician she didn’t recognize - heavy-sat, round-faced with tired grey eyes - leashed her, and without saying a word, made her walk after her through a side corridor.

Outside the prison area, the Galatea spared little expense on presentation, even this deep in their facilities. Viviaria filled with overflowing greenery and exotic vegetation lined brightly-lit, immaculately clean corridors. People of all kinds shuffled around their business. Most were lab-workers in white coats and wardens in corporate uniforms, but sometimes they would pass a fellow corporate resource like Rowan, all nude, shaved and ever leashed. Most spectacular, however, were those figures clad head to toe in shiny rubber. Some delivered food and drinks, others walked about with no apparent purpose, and Rowan could never get enough of the spectacle of watching them strut in their ludicrous heels. She would close her eyes to daydream herself into their position.

The lab she was led to was different from the ones Rowan managed to become accustomed to. Instead of looking like a fetishistic surgery suit, it had the appearance of a flogging workshop.

Of course, the high-tech aspects weren’t fully gone. An entire wall of the room was occupied by arcane machinery: a row of screens and widgets around a vertical half-cylinder outfitted with dozens of straps and padded with soft foam. But the rest of it was just tool racks - tall stainless steel drawers flanking a large board from which dozens of floggers, paddles, cats o’nine tails and assorted whips hung. Rowan gulped; she was never much for impact play.

Only after a moment, she noticed the other person in the room - with the pristine white plastic it was encased in, she at first had assumed it to be a kind of a mannequin. It looked like one of those shiny drones she was staring at, but it was unbound and unheeled, simply enclosed in this bright shell, subtly ornamented with strips of bright red. It stood, impassively; the blank plate that covered its face made it impossible to see what it was looking at.

In any case, Rowan didn’t have much time to take the atmosphere of the room in. The lab worker crouched next to her and started to take down the chastity belt. The moment it was off, she pushed Rowan towards the cylinder, and started to strap her in, arms pressed tightly to the sides of her torso. Soon enough, Rowan was held immobile, pinned inside, face forced into the porous material. It was soft and didn’t obstruct breathing, but it also made sure she was well and truly blindfolded.

Her world became only sounds. The whirring of the machinery around her, the quiet metallic croak something was lowered behind her head (she felt a cold touch on the back of her scalp), the clicking steps of the lab-worker and quieter, softer ones that must have belonged to that person in white.

Someone came closer; she tensed, expecting a blow, but instead felt a cold, damp blob being put on her buttocks, then rubbed around by gloved fingers. A lotion, or a cream. She relaxed; it wasn’t an altogether unpleasant sensation.

She heard more steps around; she tried to shift her head about to catch maybe a glimpse of what was going on, but the metal ring held her secure, eyes forward. All she could do was wait. So she waited.

And then waited.

And waited.

There were no blows, no more touches, only the sound of someone’s annoyed breathing and fingers tapping against a keyboard to the tune of electronic chiming. Again, Rowan strained in her bonds, and again there was no way she could even look at what was happening.

“Don’t start just yet,” she heard someone’s voice; the lab-worker, probably. She spoke quickly, and with non-insignificant frustration. “The scanner isn’t working.”

The machinery whined louder, giving a veritable symphony of beeps, whirs and other computer trills.

“Shit,” the woman said finally. “The imager is not responding.”

For a moment, the device went quiet, before roaring back to life. Rowan heard more finger-presses, then something like a hand banging against a metal plate.

“It actually broke.”

Rowan listened in, feeling a hint of relief. Would that mean no testing? No whips and blows?

“Can we take her to the other lab?” she heard another voice. It was strange, completely impersonal and without a discernible gender. There was a vague crackle to it, as if of static, making it seem like it came not from a human throat, but rather from a synthesizer.

“It’s in use now. Crap…,” the lab worker groaned. “And tech support is busy with that blowup above. And we were supposed to wrap this up today and send her on to conditioning tomorrow, goddamnit!”

Conditioning? The word sounded like a danger, and like most dangers of Galatea it made Rowan think of things that were not entirely unwelcome, even though they probably should be.

“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” the other voice asked. The sound was no less bizarre than the first time. Was it really a person speaking, or a machine?

“Yes!” the woman groaned. “It’s broken.”

“Try it again?”

“You stupid…” the lab-worker’s voice rose sharply and then broke a bit. “Are you sassing me? Are drones even allowed to do that?”


Drone. Another word that made Rowan think to the catalogues, and all that strange pornography that she had consumed. And it was spoken so casually. Even in the presence of one, it baffled her to think that it was actually, after all, real.

“I thought they removed your personalities.”

“Only sometimes,” the mechanical voice offered. “The situation seems to be stressing you. You should relax. I suggest...”

The lab-worker groaned again, cutting in mid-sentence.

“Shut up. I’ll be reporting your erratic behaviour,” she declared. Rowan sensed her come closer and start to undo the straps. “You’re bugging out.”

“Hmm,” it said. Even though emotions barely reflected through its voice, Rowan could just tell how smug it was. “Maybe you should try turning me off and on again?”

The woman muttered something profane and dragged Rowan back out into the room, quickly moving to put the belt on again. As usual, it took some fiddling, and she felt an embarrassed blush on her cheeks as someone struggled with squeezing her genitals back into a protective cover.

The drone stood to the side, clearly turned towards Rowan. In its slender hands, it held a small flogger; as she looked at it, it hung it back on the rack, and, with the lab-worker still focused on Rowan, it gave her the slightest hint of a disappointed finger-shake. Rowan blinked as a small image of a cat’s face flickered through its face-plate. It was, she realized with an embarrassing delay, a wink.

Before Rowan could think of returning the gesture, the belt finally clicked back on, and the woman hastily clipped the leash back to her muzzle. This time around, the lab-worker didn’t just tug - she dragged her out of the lab and into the corridors. From a pocket, she drew a phone, and not stopping selected a number.

“Hi,” she grunted into it, leading Rowan back to her cell, “Maia here. Reschedule impact test for…” she stopped abruptly and took the phone from her ear, checking something, “#5532-g/21 for tomorrow. Damaged equipment, couldn’t get that new imager to work,” she picked up her pace again, briefly quiet. “Yes, I tried turning it off and on again. Yes. Please. Stop. Yes, it needs a technician. And that drone stationed there needs one too, I have no clue what’s up with it…”

Even from the distance of the lead, Rowan could hear the person on the other side laugh. The lab worker swore again.

“What do you mean, ‘it’s Catty?’ Isn’t the entire point of those drones that they don’t act out? Oh, whatever. Just handle the schedule. Bye.”

For the rest of their walk, Maia quietly fumed, mumbling to herself in quiet frustration. A part of Rowan wanted to reassure her, but in the end, it felt inappropriate to even try - not to mention impossible. She was delivered back to her cell and the muzzle finally removed. As the door hissed closed behind her, she realized she had, for the first time since joining Galatea, an entire free day ahead of her.

There was something eerie about the prison around her being all empty; no one there to look at, no one there to be seen by. She chewed on her lip and paced her cell a few times before settling in front of the entertainment system. It booted quietly. The selection of games and movies it offered was surprisingly extensive, if a bit dated. Rowan scrolled down a list of indie hits she remembered from her youth, trying to figure out what to do with herself.

“Locked in my room,” she murmured, “alone and playing video games. Feels like being 18.”

She tried booting up Celeste, but very quickly remembered why complicated platforming action was not for her and returned to browse the game library again. Having to choose was an honest pain, and made her recall her Steam backlog of several years.

Eventually, she made her usual choice. Slay the Spire loaded quickly, and even though having to unlock everything from the beginning would be a pain, it was pleasantly familiar.

Hours passed at a measured pace, if maybe a bit slower than she would want them to. It reminded her of those long days she’d spent in front of her computer, only this time she literally had nothing better to do. Even masturbation was out of the picture. The game offered some semblance of companionship - but also time to think.

She settled in a familiar groove, hands on the game-pad and mind wandering somewhere else entirely. It’s not like she needed to focus on low difficulty runs. She thought back to the aborted test, and that strange drone in white. What did that lab-worker say to her? Don’t they remove your personalities?

There was this picture Rowan remembered finding as a teen in her trawls through hentai sites. It depicted a girl, in ridiculously exaggerated proportions, mouth thrown wide open and pointed tongue dripping as her breasts exploded with milk and her vagina with whatever the artist thought women gave off when aroused. She had something - some kind of a metal ring, if Rowan recalled correctly - affixed to her forehead, and a screen on it which read “Momo erased”. She’d felt awful wanking to it, but the picture had remained saved somewhere on her hard drive, even as she looked for ever better versions of it.

Even, in fact, as she got her degree and learned how real brainwashing was, how real the patriarchy’s insidiousness in making women into willing objects of exploitation was. She was always so ashamed of not being able to shake the habit of typing the “mindbreak” tag into the search bar of her favourite porn site. And that was before she realized that she was a woman, too. She’d always felt queasy afterwards, like she was not supposed to be getting off to something like that. It was everything that was wrong with porn, rendered into a simple depiction of a woman’s agency being destroyed to make her pliant and oversexed.

Funny how things turned out.

“It’s not like that,” she murmured, putting the game-pad down. “That drone,” she didn’t want to say it, “said it. There’s still a person there.”

Drugging, a familiar voice in her head whispered, and one that had kept—or perhaps been kept—so quiet until now. As always very pleased with itself. Conditioning. Drones. Aren’t you excited for what they’ll do with you?

She started playing again, but the thought, once free, started to burrow around her brain. What had she gotten herself into? They’d never said what their intent was. Were they just going to do to her what she wanted to watch done to others? Was it that? Was it basically an object lesson in…

“Stop,” she pleaded. “You’re working yourself up. It’s okay. It’s gonna be okay.”

You were always good at rationalizing your perversion, the voice reminded her. And then, it kicked the floor from under her. At excusing yourself for where you are just being a horrible masculinist pig.

There it was. She froze, like deer caught in a headlight. She was just rationalizing. She’d sold herself to slavery to prove to herself that it was okay to like what she liked. But if she could only take a look from the side, she would see how crazy it all was. Drones. Drugs. Exploitation. Bodies penetrated like sacks of meat. Abject objectification. Every single horror of pornography, put into flesh.

Now you’re getting it, the part of her that was always right laughed softly. And you like it here. Suddenly, you’re happy. Where’s your dysphoria? Where’s your feminism? Where’s your theory? You know…

She wanted it to shut up, but it was too late. There was nothing in this cell to stop the thought from ringing out in her head.

...you know, Robert…

She crawled on her bed and lay there, motionless.

...you’re a part of the problem.

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