The floors were the same heated interlocking metallic panels as I’d seen in Tlalo’s hideout, except triangular rather than hexagonal, and all made from the pale golden alloy. Wherever a flat surface was needed to hold something up, even long term, some number of the panels had risen from the floor and now floated at the desired height.
It seemed a waste of energy to me, but then my idea of wasteful use of energy was based on a grid powered by a mixture of nuclear, fossil fuels and renewables. Probably each of those triangular panels contained a vial of Vril which would last it for longer than the natural lifespans of the occupants.
Rather than paintings, there were images formed by the walls themselves, ever-shifting. Not like a movie exactly, often the subject of the image remained mostly still except for stuff like breathing and occasional blinking, but the background would animate. The deep red grass would sway gently in the breeze, flying animals too large to be any bird I knew of soared past in the sky, stuff like that.
The girl rushed to her room, where she’d prepared a larger habitat for me. It resembled nothing more than a doll house, except where a dollhouse is normally open on one side, this one had a sheet of something like transparent acrylic to keep me inside.
It permitted observation of me no matter what room I was in, bathroom included. They must know humans desire privacy, I thought. They just didn’t care about that more than their own desire to watch our every waking moment for whatever perverse amusement it brought them.
Their children, anyway. I couldn’t imagine an adult Nordic bothering with something like this. The house was not like any I’ve been in, but instead resembled the larger dwelling I was inside of but scaled down to a size appropriate for me.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I suppose. It was not so far off from a human dwelling that I was uncomfortable in it, I just wished that baby faced monster wasn’t constantly watching me.
She was very close to my size except for muscle mass, which she had in curious abundance for a girl, much less one of her age. Because of this she might’ve inhabited the model house along with me if ever she wished to.
I didn’t imagine I could physically overwhelm her, but there was still the possibility of fashioning a weapon and killing her with it if I could lure her inside and catch her off guard. I began making plans along these lines while watching her unpack a bag, then change into less substantial clothing that it turned out served the same purpose as pyjamas.
I expected her to sleep right away, but to my surprise she left her room like that. To eat dinner? In her pyjamas? Not unheard of I guess, though they may just be a general set of casual clothing for use only within the home.
Every little tidbit I could pick up from my surroundings went towards a model of their society I was building in my head. Hoping some pattern would emerge, that I would be able to use that information to plan my escape. Still believing, at that time, that this whole pet business was only to be a brief setback.
Instead, several days later, I was still trapped in that ridiculous habitat with no clear hope for escape. My food and water were replenished automatically by small shape shifting metallic servitors with no visible joints, just pale golden alloy flowing from place to place as it rearranged itself.
The water came out of the tap as it would in a proper home, but the supply was an enormous water bottle up on supports just outside. Like my own personal water tower. The food came through a vending mechanism which replenished the interior of the refrigerator when the door was shut.
This was the first lead I came up with for how I might escape. Since the back of the fridge opened into the vending mechanism, I hoped I could somehow subvert the sensor which determined whether the inner door was open or closed.
If it thought the door was closed but it was actually open, I might be able to climb through while the outer door is also open, then make my way up through the vending mechanism. It must surely open someplace or the servitors would not be able to resupply it.
The other thing that occupied my mind near constantly was the whereabouts of my Vril staff. I wished I’d taken the time to memorize where exactly in the field I buried it. I couldn’t have recorded it without the recording being confiscated of course, but if I’d noticed a nearby landmark or something…
Useless to agonize over what I could’ve or should’ve done. Of course if I had the Vril staff now, I would at least stand a chance. I could create an opening in the transparent acrylic barrier. I could fashion myself clothing, perhaps vaporize the girl and her parents before they could do it to me.
If wishes were horses. Instead, days turned into weeks. Each day exactly the same as the one before, a tedious routine of eating and drinking interrupted only when the girl wished to hold me. Of course I had no say in the matter.
It’s a strange thing to be manhandled by a child about the same size as yourself but much stronger. They all had similarly sculpted, athletic physiques though I saw no gym equipment on the way into their home, and couldn’t imagine weight lifting was encouraged for children.
She would put animal costumes on me, though designed after animals I’ve never seen. She would put me in toy vehicles and cause them to move around with her mind as if I were the one driving. All terribly amusing to her I assume, though it rarely showed on her face.
This went on without any meaningful changes until one day, out of the clear blue sky, she said “You may speak if you like.” In English. I almost didn’t believe I’d heard her correctly. Cautiously, I asked what changed that I should be permitted to speak freely.
“I’ve done everything else with you that I wanted to. It would disappoint my mother and father if I were to get rid of you so soon. If I let you speak, there’s more we can do together. You can tell jokes, or whatever you imagine a joke to be. I can teach you to imitate animal calls. You can tell me what sort of things humans think about, insofar as you’re able to think.”
I anticipated it would be condescending, but not in such a thoroughly pure way, lacking any shred of self-awareness about it. The words just rolled off her tongue as if it were the most natural and self-evident conclusion in the world, and she expected me to have already figured it out for myself.
“I want to go home.” She didn’t react right away. But then the corners of her mouth crept upwards into a wry smile. “Don’t be foolish. You already are home.” I insisted I wasn’t. That I had a life before this. People I loved, my own ambitions I was in the process of pursuing before all of this happened to me.
“That’s all over” she muttered, soundly slightly tired. “None of that matters. You live with me now. Tell me a joke.” I again insisted it mattered very much to me and I wanted to be released back onto the surface.
She began to look mildly irritated. “The ambitions of a human are nothing. They are meaningful only to you, like insects fighting what they imagine to be the most important battle of all time over a fallen fruit. Your life has only become significant since you were purchased. Now you have a chance to make me happy. There is nothing you might’ve accomplished on your own that would have been even a tenth as constructive.”
I wanted to smack her obnoxiously perfect, cherubic face. But I knew where that would lead, so I restrained my anger and sought to humanize myself to her…though perhaps that’s the wrong word for it. “Wouldn’t you be terrified and sad if you were separated from your family, and held captive by a stranger?”
She furrowed her brow. “Yes, but you and I are very different. There’s no comparison. You’re a human. Your species doesn’t even have a permanent presence outside of the Earth. You haven’t even mastered fusion, let alone discovered Vril. If I wanted to destroy you, there is nothing you could do to prevent it because you are weak and stupid by comparison. That’s why you are worth only as much as the enjoyment you can bring me.”
Stay Tuned for Part 34!