Taken, 8

Jul 8th, 2013
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  1. You wake to the sound of voracious eating and realize the feeding trays have been refilled. Orchid is eating her way to the bottom of her food bowl as if it could be taken away again at any time, often making sounds as if she's half-choking on poorly chewed bits and pieces as she swallows them.
  2. You stretch a moment on the bed before pushing up on your hooves and sauntering over to your own food tray as casual as a pony in your condition can, a yawn escaping you before you make it to the table.
  3. You stare at the food bowl with weary eyes, but the water bowl looks more inviting and you hover your face over it to stare at the tranquil liquid. You're just not feeling this whole being awake thing and end up smashing your face into the water to try and wake up!
  4. As you feel the wetness pull up into your fur, you blow out some bubbles through your nose and lift your head up again, the sound of water pouring back into the bowl from your soaked face helping you to realize you have not relieved yourself yet.
  5. You blink your wet eyes open to Orchid looking at you in shock, bits of food lining her muzzle as she sits halfway turned in front of her bowls. You give her a sheepish grin and return your attention to the bowls, taking a few bites of what turns out to be lightly seasoned Caesar salad. It is delicious! And what was just a few bites before a visit to the toilet quickly ends up with you emptying your food bowl.
  6. Dancing with your back hooves in the hopes you can keep from wetting yourself, you take a few sips of water to wash the salad away with, then rush to the nearest toilet bowl.
  7. Just in time!
  8. You let out a happy sigh as the pressure from your bladder washes out of you, and stick out your tongue at Orchid as she looks past the divider wall separating the two tables, one of her ears drooping down while the other sticks up in the air.
  9. "Are you ok, big sis?" she asks, and you finish up before prancing over happily towards her.
  10. "Yeah, I am," you answer happily. "Why?"
  12. Orchid just stares at you for a moment longer, but her drooped-down ear soon perks up and she launches herself at you for a warm hug!
  13. "I'm happy to hear that!" she exclaims into your left ear, her forelegs keeping you snuggly to her. You hug her back as good as you can, grinning from ear to ear.
  14. "I'm happy that you're happy, little sis," you return about the most cheesy answer you could think of, then stop and think about what you just said.
  15. You're still in captivity. Still separated from your Master. But something has changed.
  16. For some reason, you're simply not bothered by it anymore. You get your food, your drinks, your sleep.
  17. The new doctor is actually nice for a change.
  18. Even with the upcoming trial looming over you, things are looking on the up!
  19. Or are they?
  20. You snuggle with Orchid for a bit longer, trying to stave off the inevitable thoughts that come with waking up properly. Orchid's happy-go-lucky demeanor helps for a little while, but as the two of you finish rolling around on the ground, the thoughts slowly slip back in. You had been alternatively nibbling on each other's ears, nuzzling into each other, and even prodding each other's sides with your hooves, but ended up just laying spent near the center of the room, side-by-side, softly nuzzling muzzle-to-neck.
  21. And then the thoughts came again.
  22. There's still the question of whether you're able to get on the list as a proper witness. That former doctor tried to label you as dumb animals, providing tests that were impossible to do under the pressure he put on you.
  23. But you managed to do them. Orchid, on the other hoof...
  25. You sigh and nibble some on the fur along Orchid's neck. She just didn't have the mental capacity to serve as a proper witness. If someone in the court room would hold up a piece of candy in front of her she'd dance the macarena, or call her own Master a slaver, in order to get it.
  26. You idly wonder if Zephyr's Master had something to do with that, or if Orchid had been a bit ditzy to begin with before her transformation.
  27. Perhaps Orchid had simply embraced what your analytical mind could not; how to be a pet and think nothing of it.
  28. She did have several years or months on you, after all. She could have simply grown used to it over time and shut down all the parts of her mind which she didn't use in Master's care.
  29. If so, could they be re-activated again somehow?
  30. You tilt your head up as the food trays get pulled back out of the room, smirking lightly at the darkness hiding behind those panels in the back wall. Was there really not enough light back there or did they keep it dark for you and Orchid to not see those that give you food? To stop you from bonding with them, perhaps? Another security measure?
  31. You don't get to ponder this for long, as the door to the room opens and the doctor from before shows her face again.
  32. She limps back into the room, her face showing how much her left leg hurts every time she puts her weight on it.
  33. Doctor Gerste closes the door behind her and, ignoring you for now, hops on over to the bed she had been sitting on before.
  34. She sits down on the side of it and moves a hand down to feel over a specific part of her lower left leg. A part which, even through the pants she's wearing, is showing as being thicker than the rest of her leg.
  36. You and Orchid almost jump up in unison, but the response from the doctor is clear enough that you stop after having only taken a few steps in her direction.
  37. Warding you off with both of her hands in front of her, and with a panicked expression on her face, Doctor Gerste exclaims "Ein moment, bitte!"
  38. Even without knowing German, her expression and the warding hands are enough to make you stop and sink through your hooves again, Orchid following suit a step or two in front of you.
  39. You watch as the doctor slowly regains her composure and moves to pull the leg of her pants up over the bulge, revealing some bandages underneath. She carefully unwraps them, then redoes them a little less tight and turns to lay down on the bed properly, keeping her left leg laying flat on the mattress.
  40. In the brief moment that she redid her bandages, you think you saw bite marks under the gauze. Pony bite marks.
  41. "Are you ok?" you dare to ask, and she turns her head to face you.
  42. "You kleines pferde are nice, yes? Wir can talk in civil ways?" she asks instead of answering your question, and you need a moment to figure out what she means.
  43. "Er, yeah," you start, tilting your head a bit. "We can talk like civil ponies."
  44. Doctor Gerste holds out her left hand towards you and Orchid and beckons for you to draw closer. "Komme, slowly."
  45. Orchid and you slowly get up again and draw nearer to the doctor's hand, and she shivers a bit as you get within biting range. You can see it takes her some effort to keep her hand in place, a light twitching of the limb showing she's fighting a fear response.
  46. Orchid lowers her head under the hand and nuzzles up at it, keeping her mouth away from it as much as possible. You realize she either noticed the bitemarks as well, or is just responding to the fear pouring from the doctor.
  48. "Are you ok, doctor?" you ask again, slowly walking past Orchid and sitting down a little away from the bed, but close enough that the doctor's arm can still reach the top of your head, and back of your ears.
  49. Doctor Gerste sighs out deeply, letting her hand relax and rest on Orchid's head as she, too, sits down.
  50. "Ich werde zum anderes pferde gehen," she starts, then catches herself and repeats in English. "Ich would go to the other horses, ja?"
  51. You nod, and the doctor smiles weakly.
  52. "There ist this one horse. He ist gross," she offers, bringing both of her hands up to indicate something big.
  53. "Didn't he get washed?" Orchid wonders, as always oblivious to the most obvious of clues.
  54. "She means he's big," you help your sister understand, and the doctor nods.
  55. "Richtig! Big, gross.. Yes.. Same word," she smiles. "Ich werde into his room and then he bit mein leg! Ich had nothing gesacht yet!"
  56. You sigh and realize what must have happened. The old doctor had been a complete and utter jerkwad. Anypony with that experience would feel hostile towards anyone else working here.
  57. Especially if they didn't have the fortitude of having that doctor lose his temper in your presence, destroy equipment just outside of your room, or have some young male make himself known to be not quite as professional as the others working with him.
  58. Whomever this other pony was, there was every reason for him to be angry with the organization that stole him, and you, from your masters.
  59. This Doctor Gerste, however nice she may appear to be, was part of the same organization. Her clothing was similar to that which the other doctor had worn. Anypony who didn't knew her would have seen her as just another face of their captors.
  61. You carefully shuffle forward to gently nuzzle at the doctor's shoulder and see the small spike of panic in her eyes. It's not going to help you one bit if the only doctor who actually cares about you were to leave because she can't control her fear.
  62. She does ok as long as you keep your distance, but when you get closer to her her twitching intensifies and you can see her glance at the door.
  63. "Doctor Gerste? Can I suggest something?" you start, as an idea pops into your head.
  64. "Ja?" the doctor replies, looking confused.
  65. "You got bit by another pony and we know that you're feeling uneasy around ponies like us now because of it. It's clear in your actions, as well as in your scent."
  66. The doctor bites her lower lip with a blush, shrugging a little. "Ja, ich have a little fear," she mutters.
  67. "If Orchid and I can help you with your fear, will you allow us to meet with the other ponies? We can help them see you mean well, help them understand what's going on."
  68. The doctor narrows her eyes at you as you finish your question, and lets out a thoughtful hum. "Ich weiss nicht... Maybe it work if you do so.. but maybe it not work."
  69. "Oh! OH!" Orchid suddenly pipes up, jumping up to her hooves and sending the doctor cowering in the corner of the room. "It'll be like group therapy!"
  70. You slowly turn your head to face Orchid. "What do you know of group thera... never mind."
  71. Doctor Gerste, pulling herself back together after her fear spike from an overexcited Orchid, nods slowly. "J... ja, group therapy... That could work," she agrees as she slowly shuffles back to the edge of the bed, nearer to you than to Orchid.
  73. You smile up weakly at the doctor and slowly approach, with your head tilted away from her a little, to give her a soft nuzzle to the side of her left upper leg.
  74. You let out a soft sigh as the doctor places her hand on your head and gives a tentative scritch through your mane and you feel Orchid's warm body move up to your left, possibly doing the same thing.
  75. You close your eyes to the light scritches, and just let your thoughts roam free.
  76. Group therapy. How did Orchid come up with that? What did she do before she became a pony? The organization you're with doesn't know her human name, so you can't ask them.
  77. Orchid herself isn't that open either. Her brain has a funny way of ignoring that which she doesn't know an answer to and pulling random thoughts out of thin air. A bit like Pinkie Pie, but without the 4th wall there to break.
  78. You never really noticed while you two were with your Master. It was a simple life, being a pet. Not too many high-functioning thoughts required. Most of it was just "When do we eat?", "When do we get pettings?", "When do we play?", and "Can we go sleep now?".
  79. The last time you had to think this hard on a single topic was... before you were turned into a pony.
  80. "Doctor Gerste?" you ask, nuzzling up at her scritching hand to move it a bit closer to your right ear.
  81. "Ja?" she answers with a light chuckle, moving her hand as you indicated and giving soft scratches behind your ear.
  82. "Hmm... Can we meet with the pony who bit you before we meet anypony else?" you ask, and the scritches stop dead. "We could serve as a shield if we can't get him to calm down? We don't mean you any harm. It may help to find out how to help other ponies to calm down as well."
  83. There's a long pause, then a deep sigh from above, and you feel the doctor's hand move to tousle your mane a bit.
  84. "Maybe," she finally answers.
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