Challenge #02050-E226: Stockholm's Invisible BarssteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  8 months ago

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Humanity has always fascinated a certain alien “scientist” shall we say, though in reality they were nothing more than a monster. Their newest “pets” were the result of their most recent experiments in gaslighting and the human phenomenon known as Stockholm syndrome.
Never had one so cruel ever known such an horrific punishment by the hands of humanity. -- Sorry

[AN: No you're not]

Beware becoming your obsession. There are many that will eat you alive and not even spit out your bones. To enforce the point, let us examine Blixnar Ratangu. A name that will live on in infamy...

She became obsessed with Humans. The deadliest of Deathworlders known to civilised kind. Deadlier, even, than the highest-ranking Deathworlders. Where others might rely on might, Humans rely on bloody-minded determination. Even one of their own entertainment creators named it as an essential element of nature[1]. She insisted they could be tamed. She knew that they could become docile if treated properly.

Though she was technically correct, her methods were the furthest definition of 'properly'. And her results were the furthest thing from 'docile'.

Survivor File #BR-013, code name Pax. Tamed through methods of aversion by remote implant delivery of a nervous shock directly to the pain centres of the cerebellum. Subject learned to eat, drink, tolerate cleansing, urinate and defecate on command. Subject learned sequence commands noted and logged in file Helper Monkey 23579 (Offensensitivity warning for systematic abuse of a cogniscent being).

Subject first responder to the scene. Security recordings show Pax voluntarily disobeying conditioning to call outside of the Ratangu hidden facility, and subsequently screaming from terror at Ratangu's reprisals. Pax remained in a hysterical fuge state until sedated. Subject recorded as underweight and suffering several stress-related diseases on entry to a therapy environment.

Survivor File #BR-002, code name Ma. Subject found covered in Ratangu's blood, and guarding subject code-name Baby from Ratangu's injured body. (See file #BR-SecRec-LastMins. Offensensitivity warning for extreme violence against a Galactic Citizen) File Helper Monkey 23579 alludes to Ma and Baby being conditioned in the same manner as Pax. This was obviously not effective.

All survivors have been moved to a therapy environment, program Elysium. Ratangu has been exiled to Human territories where she was tortured by Humans and transformed into a 'pet'. The Humans have seen program Elysium and acknowledge that it is the best environment for the survivors.

It was another beautiful day. There had been weeks of them. Warm sunshine. Gentle breezes. What precipitation their was came down gently in the night. The water was always sweet and clean and the house they shared was always clean and comfortable. If there was a Master, then they hadn't said much beyond the commands that let them do as they wished.

Sally was still crying and rocking. Elaine gently guided her to food and helped her eat, just as she fed her daughter. There was always a supply of good food. Not too hot, and not too cold. Always full of good flavour and none of it ever rotten.

Sally was still scared of the Master. Still terrified to put a hair wrong.

"What would you like today, Sally?" Elaine asked. "There's blue, and red. And green. And they have yellow, today. Don't you like yellow?"

"My name is Pax. They call me Pax. My name is Pax, now. I don' wanna make 'em angry. They can't be angry at us. We're good pets. We're good pets."

Elaine put her toddler Gai down so she could hug her sister. "It's all right. It's all right, now. They're not mad I called you Sally, okay? So..." she was grasping at straws and she knew it. "I'll let you be Pax today... and you can try being Sally for... an hour... how's an hour sound?"

"Tomorrow?"

"Yeah. An hour tomorrow. What colour stuff do you want, Pax?"

Sally/Pax mumbled breathlessly to herself. What Elaine recognised as 'praying' to the Master. When no other omens were forthcoming, she squeaked, "Red?" and instantly flinched in fear of punishment that didn't come.

It had been weeks. And still her sister feared their dead Master's anger. Today was one of the bad days. Matching the regular, cyclical nature of the alien's wrath. Elaine didn't find solace in the fact that this one was less horrible than the last one. The next one could always be worse.

The road to recovery was long, rocky, treacherous, and mostly uphill.

But for an hour, very likely less, Sally would at least try being Sally. In the meantime, Elaine welcomed her choice with the same faked enthusiasm that she used for her daughter showing her a pretty leaf or a flower for the infinitieth time. "Mmm. Red sounds so good," she cheered. Sally making a choice on a bad day was a trembling step forward. And every step was a step away from the ruin she was on the Master's death day. The day she'd killed that alien asshole for daring to hurt her baby. "Do you wanna have some Red with Aunty Pax, Gai?"

"Wanna yellow," said Gai.

"Okay. Yellow's just as good. I'm having some Red. And Aunty Pax is having Red too. It's all so nice." It didn't have much in the way of a different flavour. Somewhere along the way, their hosts had become confused about flavour encoding, and Red was something like a strawberry-scented steak. At least these ones were trying to be nice hosts. Making certain they felt safe, that they were fed, that they had things to do, and that they had a choice.

Halfway through chewing her Red, Sally/Pax burst into tears. "They're never coming back," she sobbed. "They're never coming back and they're gonna be so-o-o-o maaaaaddd..."

Elaine didn't point out the illogic. It never did any good. She just hugged her sister and cooed, "It's all right, now. It's all right. Nobody's mad at you. I promise."

Just another day in paradise. Helping her sister climb slowly out of her personal hell.

[1] GNU Sir Terry Pratchett.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / QiangBa]

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