Doctor Who: Amy, Captured Ch. 08byKurokami©
Author's Note: Hello again, readers! All still alive out there? That's good...
Anyway, here's the next instalment of Amy, Captured! I'm glad that the cliffhanger from the last chapter seemed to go over so well. Because of that, I was able to post two chapters within a few days of each other. Woo!
Special thanks goes to Isabel for her editing, and to Allyourbase for some truly excellent advice and suggestions. Thanks to the both of you!
Comments, votes and feedback are always appreciated. I hope you enjoy the chapter!
The shuttle landed lightly upon the rear landing pad, Mara practically leaping out while they were still in midair. Sander had once heard her remark that her entire life had been one long search for pleasure in all forms; taking this as true, it was hardly surprising that she was excited to be here. The Trine were renowned across the galaxy for their... unique abilities, and there wasn't a living being alive that hadn't harboured some secret thought about visiting with them, provided that they weren't asexual.
The sea air was still and light, seemingly achieving a relaxing ambience without moving at all. The sunlight engulfed them all as soon as they were off the shuttle, creating interesting geometric patterns through the clouds. The pristine sea made it seem as though they were floating on the surface of a colossal mirror.
There was a member of the Nirvana staff there to greet them when they landed. She was a Trine-form, still in the early stages of her life-cycle. All three humans gave a sharp intake of breath; there was something about the alien that was so... alluring.
Trine-forms were humanoid, and this one was typical of the species, meaning that she was entirely unlike anything that Sander, Mara or Amy had ever seen before. Her basic shape was that of a perfectly formed, athletic woman, with several factors hinting at her nonhuman origin. First, her hair was a shimmering, light pink. Her skin was pale almost to the point of translucence, a milky white colour that seemed luminous in the bright sunlight. Her eyes were a deep green, and they came to settle on each of the visitors in turn, regarding them with a speculative gaze that brimmed with energy and eagerness. She was slightly shorter than the three humans, but this was to be expected. As her life-cycle continued she would grow taller, and in later forms travel even further from her humanoid roots. But it was in this shape that the Trine-forms had found their niche in an expansive galaxy, when they discovered that their unique psychic talents had unexpected results on certain species' nervous systems.
'Hello, visitors!' The Trine-form said brightly. 'I am Lysithea, and I shall be your guide for the duration of your stay at Nirvana.'
'Yo,' Mara grinned, raising a hand in greeting. Lysithea nodded in return, then quickly turned to regard Sander.
'I take it that you and your girlfriend-'
'Ha!' Amy cut in.
'-will be the ones partaking of our services today?' Lysithea finished, making a sterling effort not to notice the interruption.
'Sure, the two of us will be partaking,' Mara said smoothly, gesturing to Sander and herself. 'As will our slave. She'll be getting the special deal.'
'Aww...' Amy whined, as the situation turned against her.
'This is unusual, visitors,' Lysithea's head tilted slightly. 'We do not get many requests to service slaves.'
'I'm not a-' Amy began to protest. The collar activated, shutting her mouth for her with a highly frustrated growl.
'Well, lucky for you we're super rich and willing to spread it around,' Mara smiled.
'We?' Sander hissed incredulously.
'Very well,' Lysithea smiled. 'Please, follow me.'
Lysithea led them around the edge of the building. There was a distinctly tropical feel about the deck, as though everything within a certain radius was pineapple flavoured. Sander stretched in the warm embrace of Theros' sun and looked out over the purgatorial water. It was slightly eerie, but undeniably relaxing.
'Check out that view, wow,' Sander grinned. 'Aren't you afraid of getting walk-ins here?'
'Not an issue,' Lysithea said over her shoulder. 'Nirvana changes position daily to avoid being located by the public. The sea is large, and we are protected by what law there is on Theros. We are highly valued here.'
'I can imagine...'
'Oh yes,' Lysithea smiled like an angel, teeth-sharper than the typical human variety- glinted in the sunlight. 'Now, if you would just wait here for a moment, I shall prepare a private room for your use.'
Lysithea disappeared into the interior of Nirvana, leaving the three visitors to look out over the sea. Amy edged away from Sander and Mara, still being careful to remain in their sight. Mara leaned over the railing, gazing out over the crystal clear vista.
'So, will we be partaking of Nirvana together?' Sander joined her, glancing sidelong at the blonde.
'Yes,' Mara drew out the word. She knew what was coming. Sander was nothing if not persistent.
'So, what if-'
'I know where you're going with this, Sander, so you need to hear this. We would probably be a disastrous couple, you know that?'
'All my personal relationships are disastrous,' Sander reminded her.
'Look at the two of us; we're beyond the pale,' Mara laughed. 'We're goddamn insane, Sander! Look at what we're doing!' She gestured to Amy, 'Do you think we could ever be forgiven for this?'
'No, definitely not,' Sander answered quickly, as though he had the answer chambered up and ready to go at a moment's notice.
'Then is it worth it?'
Sander was silent for a long time. He gazed out over the endless ocean, deep in thought. When he finally answered, it was quiet, yet firm.
'I have nothing else.'
Mara pointed at him, eyes liquid and hard to read, 'You just hold onto that thought, Hackett. In the end, you don't have anything but me and your tool over there,' Again she gestured to Amy. 'Once again, let's not test the waters while we're distracted by other things.'
Sander opened his mouth to say something, but Lysithea chose that moment to reappear and usher her guests into a private room overlooking the water. The room was large and dimly lit, and the moment Sander crossed the threshold he shivered.
'Whoa... That doesn't feel good. Ugh...' He swayed on the spot, gritting his teeth.
Mara stuck out her tongue and gagged, eyes screwed shut, 'What the fuck is...'
Amy felt it too, like every cell in her body had suddenly expanded. Every sensation, from the soles of her feet pressing against her shoes to the movement of air over her skin seemed unbearably magnified. She understood why Mara had retched; she could feel the back of her tongue pressing against the roof of her mouth in excruciating detail.
'This room is enclosed in a Neurological Amplification Field,' Lysithea explained evenly. 'What you are experiencing is the magnification of your body's physical sensations. You will adjust to it soon, and the nausea will pass.'
'Honestly? I would fucking hope so!' Mara said unsteadily.
'Just ride it out, Mara...' Sander groaned.
The trio steadied themselves against any available surface to suffer through the sickness. They had become aware of every tiny movement, every little, long-ignored sensation; Sander could actually feel the blood pumping through his veins.
Slowly, the sensations receded, becoming mere background noise once more. Sander still had the sensation that he was floating, and his awareness of his physical body was still amazingly acute, but it was no longer unpleasant. He stood on his own two feet again, marvelling at his newfound ability to feel every crack and depression of the interior of his shoes. Around him, Amy and Mara were doing much the same, moving slowly to experiment with their new sensitivity.
'There you are!' Lysithea nodded approvingly. 'Better already, yes?'
'This is so weird...' Amy said unsteadily, waving a hand in front of her face and feeling the air currents rendered in incredible detail.
'I kind of like it,' Mara said, grinning and feeling each and every muscle in her face move.
'I am glad,' Lysithea said. 'But we should continue to the next step. Are we all aware of how this process works?'
'I am,' Sander nodded, and then gestured to Amy and Mara. 'I doubt that they are.'
'It's true,' Mara nodded sagely. 'I don't have much book learning.'
Lysithea merely smiled inscrutably and gently placed her palm on Sander's forehead; in the throes of Neurological Amplification, he was surprised to learn that her skin was rough, almost like a shark's, and very warm.
'You will learn,' Lysithea glanced at Mara before closing her eyes.
Sander's eyes screwed shut and he shuddered as Lysithea went to work. He felt a humming inside his mind, like an inner radio being tuned. This sound quickly faded away, replaced by a soft tinkling noise that itself faded away to silence. He felt strange, as though something new had been introduced to his mental processes.
'We are connected,' Lysithea said quietly. She tilted her head, just slightly, 'You are a complex man, aren't you? So angry, and sad, all at the same time. And above it all, you are terribly lonely.'
'Stop it!' Sander hissed. 'I'm not paying you to dispense psychological advice, and I'm fine with my mental illness!'
'My apologies,' Lysithea said evenly. 'It is in the nature of the Trine-form to analyse what we discover in the individuals we connect with. Many find it entirely helpful.'
'I do not!' He growled. 'Let's just move on.'
'Very well,' The Trine-form shrugged. 'I shall repeat the process for your companions, and then we can begin the game in earnest.' She smiled that bright, ageless smile.
'Hey, wait a minute,' Mara said. 'What exactly is the "process," huh?'
'The Trine are hive-minded and psychically linked with one another, Y'know, sort of like the Ood?' Sander looked to Lysithea for confirmation. She nodded.
'Strong psychic link, yes. But not like the Ood,' She said, a little snippily. 'We do not need to carry our brains in our hands.'
'Anyway, Trine-forms at this stage in their life-cycle can attune their minds and sympathetic nervous systems to be compatible with another species,' Sander explained. 'In effect, we'll all be linked up when the games start. It's an interesting sensation, but I can't dip into Lysithea's mind like she can into mine, for some reason.' He shot the alien a pointed glance.
'We have become adept at shielding our own thoughts from others, sir. It wouldn't do to have everyone we join with knowing our innermost feelings, especially in this line of work. But do not worry, since you have requested that I no longer read your mind, I shall offer no further intrusion. However, the three of you will be connected to each other in a rudimentary fashion; just emotional states and shared physical experiences, nothing terribly deep.'
'We'll be able to read each other's minds?' Amy said, aghast at the idea. Something about letting her captors into her mind crossed all kinds of lines.
'No. You will share feelings, nothing more. It takes years of training to achieve the level of extrasensory perception that I have, not to mention a natural Trine-form affinity for the craft.'
Lysithea said briskly. 'You will understand the process better once you have become a part of it.'
She stepped up to Mara, pressed her hand to the human's forehead. Again there was the slight shock, the noises in the mind, and finally the sensation of something moving just beyond to edge of Mara's perception. Lysithea stepped away and nodded with satisfaction.
'You are connected, Mara-' Lysithea paused, tilted her head. 'Oh... Well now, Mara. That is interesting...'
The alien's gaze shifted to Sander, searching his face. Her delicate brow furrowed, and she turned back to Mara with a look of compassion, 'He looks so similar! How can you stand to be around him, when he looks like that?'
'Shut up,' Mara said through clenched teeth. 'Just shut up.'
'I don't care what you're seeing,' Mara whispered. 'Just shut up. Sander's not... He's not the same. He's not Walker.'
'Very well, Mara,' Lysithea said, slightly sadly. 'I shall withdraw.'
'Fine. Good,' Mara hissed.
Lysithea turned her head, regaining her former composure, 'Just one more now.' She smiled soothingly at Amy, picking up on her nervousness at the situation. She reached up to touch her.
'Wait,' Amy began, backing away.
'Amy...' Sander murmured, tapping his foot impatiently and glaring at her.
Amy made a helpless noise in the back of her throat and dipped her head in submission, opening herself to Lysithea's touch. The Trine-form gently stroked the palm of her hand over Amy's forehead, a gesture of kindness that, much to Amy's chagrin, was actually unexpected to her. She forced herself to reconsider this new world; to remember that there were still beings in the universe that were not hostile to her, even if her experience so far had been to the contrary.
Once she considered this, the idea of having Lysithea read her mind became far more tantalizing; the collar stopped her from speaking, but it couldn't stop her from thinking. She could communicate her predicament to Lysithea, find some way to finally get rescued. Amy smirked to herself, overjoyed with her new plan, and closed her eyes, willing for the connection to come as soon as possible.
When it did, it was a total shock to her system. Sander and Mara had grown up in a universe that was larger than a single world; they had been in contact with psychic beings before. Amy had not, and she was unprepared for the feeling of an alien presence in her mind, strange tendrils of thought prying apart her memories and insinuating themselves into the core of her being. What was experienced as mild noises to the worldlier Sander and Mara was an entirely different prospect for Amy. There were lights in front of her eyes, symphonies in her mind, and cold fingers on her spine. She shuddered, an action that shook her to her core and became audible through the long, shaking exhalation that followed.
'Amy is...' Lysithea paused, her mouth a grim line, her eyes narrowed. She nodded, 'I see. It is certainly a unique situation that the three of you are in.'
Amy whimpered, utter hopelessness filling her again. Was everyone on this planet totally unsympathetic to her plight? It wasn't fair!
'Oh, no little commentary for Amy?' Mara said playfully. 'I figured you would have something to say about her.'
'It is not Nirvana company policy to judge our guests harshly, Mara,' Lysithea said. 'There is very little law on Theros, and much is permissible. In any case, I hope that I can provide satisfactory service regardless of your personal situation. All that is left is to connect the three of you together, although I must warn you: Some of our clients find this next part to be somewhat... intense.'
Lysithea clicked her fingers. Sander and Amy cried out together, hands clutching at their heads. They growled in discomfort through clenched teeth, as Mara stared at the two of them, perplexed.
'What? This is intensity? I don't feel much of anything,' She said, eyebrows arched.
Lysithea smiled, 'Mara, you have an extremely accepting personality. You're having very little trouble integrating your companion's minds into your own. They, on the other hand, are having difficulties accepting a spirit as... vast as yours.'
'Ha!' Mara bounced on the spot. 'Their tiny minds cannot comprehend me!'
'Something like that.'
'Ow!' Sander exclaimed. 'Mara, is that you I'm feeling?'
Mara closed her eyes and searched; in the back of her mind... She could feel a couple of new things. In her mind's eye there were two twisting columns of colour, one deep blue, the other vibrant red. Tiny utterances of sound- thoughts, she supposed- flowed through the twin maelstroms. Of course, that was only her imagination superimposing shape and form over something completely different to anything she had previously experienced.
'Yup, that's me,' She grinned. 'I see you're knocking around in my head too.'
'Y-yeah...' He said unsteadily. 'Could you just calm the fuck down for a second? Y'know, let Amy and I recover? You're thinking too fast.'
'Good lord, is that what that noise is?' Amy quavered. 'I thought I'd had a stroke.'
'Allow me to moderate you all,' Lysithea closed her eyes, pulling the chaos of three minds together down into a manageable form.
'Okay, thank you for that,' Sander exhaled. 'Mara, you think so loudly!'
'Yeah?' Mara challenged. 'Well, your thoughts are way too fucking maudlin, Sander! Lighten up!'
'Oh, calm down you two!' Amy yelled. 'You're hurting my head. Inside and out. And... Actually, Sander's the... The blue one, right?' Amy gestured, as if trying to shape the words. 'Wow, that is serious.'
As much as she hated to admit it, Amy was having lots of fun with her newfound telepathy. It was like having a new toy inside her head. She experimented, dipping into Mara's loud, brash and confident thoughts and finding that focussing on them for too long made her head throb. Pushing herself into Sander's mind had been a mistake; there was something truly horrifying about looking out over a desolate landscape and realizing that what you are seeing is the inside of another person's mind. It wasn't that regular human emotions didn't feature; she could detect amusement and, distressingly for her, lust floating on the surface of his mind. It was just that anything he did think seemed to be held aloft over a deep well of sadness and rage that at times threatened to consume everything around it. There was a part of her that looked over such a mind and empathized, even took pity on him.
Of course, there were plenty of other parts willing to point out why that was wrong. Sander may be a deeply broken man, but that didn't make him any less of a monster. His surface thoughts were proof of that. But she would look at him differently from now on, she was sure.
Experimentally, Sander prodded at the minds of his companions. Mara's mind glowed like a sun, brilliant gold and pulsing with energy, light, movement... everything. She was a tempestuous giant, her every thought possessed of such verve and vitality that it was hard to concentrate on her without developing a headache. Sander was left in no doubt about her limitless potential and frightening intellect. Mara... every aspect of her personality... He could find himself falling for her very, very easily.
He moved his mind on, shifting his focus to Amy. He recoiled, almost physically, at the dark colours floating on the surface of her mind. He tried to convince himself that he was fine with what he had seen, but it was a lie Sander couldn't swallow. She was filled with such deep anguish, such heavy despair and fear and world-burning anger. When she thought of him, Amy was pure hatred. And she was afraid of him. Afraid of Mara. Most of all, afraid that they would kill her when they grew bored with their games.
And behind the oily darkness, nestled deep within her blackest emotions, there was something else. A tiny glimmer of light. Some positive thought about them... What was that?
Sander flipped his gaze to Mara, knowing instinctively that she was feeling all this too. She stared back, matching his concern and growing revulsion with sheer lack of interest. It wasn't surprising that Mara felt that way, but Sander felt somehow worse, being alone with his empathy.
With a great internal struggle, Sander clamped down on his feelings, forced himself to be cold. He had committed to this path long before today. It was far too late to turn back. There was no forgiveness for this. The chill fell over his heart when he remembered Elsa, why he was doing this.