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Jul 30, 2021 3:51 PM
a d/s au Alessa and cousin in Daémon
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She wants to go to the beach! Not now though because right now she wants to learn Moves.


They look around; wait for permission or instructions. 


It is much quieter than a place with this many people would normally be.  The TMs each give off a faint electronic hum, and the occasional shuffling of feet or someone clearing their throat.  The floor is carpeted and the ceiling has panels of foam, which also helps.  

Azure is on his phone.

Azure - We're at the library

Verity - So am I

Verity - I'm in the move testing area

Verity - Some kids were here, and I thought it'd be fun to let them race as suicune for a while on the treadmills

Azure - we'll be waiting in the TM room

"Verity will be here in a minute," he reports in a whisper.  "Bring two of the taller stools for your daemons and follow me."

He then goes further down, looking for an unoccupied spot.  It is fairly busy, but as always there's plenty of space to walk just in case very large daemons need to pass.  There's an empty cubicle about two thirds the way down, and Florentho goes to grab one of the extra TMs from further away to drag over.  He inspects inside - three chairs in a U-shape, two small tables at the corners.  One of the tables has a small box labeled 'white noise' with a series of four buttons on it, plugged into the wall's outlet.  The other has a small stack of pamphlets that don't look important. 

"These walls have some soundproofing," he gestures towards the cubicles when they get near, still whispering.  "For people who want to talk while they wait, or can't keep quiet for an hour.  Talking normally is fine, though shouting will still get through." 

"As for Moves...  Those can be tricky to decide on even for people who know what they all do.  I could give you my recommendations, or leave it to Araeneve, or, hmm.  Maybe I can recommend the most obvious one that you'll definitely want at least for the next week or so, then the first thing that you can go over with Verity is picking out the other three while the first is being learned?  What are your preferences?"


They can be quiet, and whisper, and bring stools and follow as told.

"I'm - not sure that we know enough to know what might be best, sir."


With a pair of aliens who might need to fight back at any time against the people who brought them here, the logical and obvious thing to do would be to insist on the most highly recommended combat builds that don't require a license. It's just that he's been told off so many times for insisting on things that should be other people's choices, that he can't help but expect the resentment he'd get from a local even though he can tell they aren't feeling any.   

Having someone who actually wants to be told what to do is... nice.  

"I'll pull up the best fighting sets, then, with some alterations for moves that would be more useful for getting away from real danger outside of an arena," he whispers.  At a touch, the control panels for the TMs flicker to life, and with a bit of checking on his phone he sets each one. 

For Vulpix: Flamethrower, Confuse Ray, Body Slam, Substitute

For Spinarak: Sticky Web, Poison Jab, Leech Life, Spider Web

"The TMs are ready.  To use them, Orange and Green can press these buttons here," he gestures.  "Each one takes about an hour, staring at the lights and... the instructions say 'putting them into the place where Moves go.'  It doesn't make sense for humans, but daemons can do it instinctively.  Other than that, it should be pretty obvious."


Verity-and-Araeneve can be seen walking in.  Head raised, Araeneve scans the room.  They begin walking towards the gallade. 


"Thank you, sir." He was a little worried the guide wouldn't like that they hadn't expressed a preference after being asked for one; is glad that doesn't seem to happen. "Will they know what they'll do, sir, or should we read about it?"

He catches sight of Verity-and-Araeneve. Isn't sure if it's polite to wave from a distance so he doesn't. (He's also not sure if what their guide said means they're going to be here for one hour or four hours (or four hours total but not all right now?). But he doesn't have plans to adjust for one way or the other, and presumably they'd find out soon enough, so he doesn't ask right now.)


They can sit on the stools and press the buttons and look at the lights.


The program starts with a brief warm-up where the flickering lights and shapes repeat a very simple pattern, giving the daemon a chance to get into the right state of mind.  While the humans in fact merely interpret the lights as nonsense shapes - somewhat pretty, but meaningless - to a daemon they just... click. 

There are places in their mind.  Not physical places, but also different from their memories or any other parts of their minds.  Patterns like this... they go in those places, and stick there like real things instead of fading like memories.  There's four of them, leading off in some strange not-direction to places brimming with the same sort of power that their anti-damage barriers feel like.  As obvious as they are, it is also obvious to them that their human halves have never experienced this sensation and do not have those places.  

After a moment, the lights shift to the Real TM light pattern, and they find themselves falling into an almost hypnotic trance, moving the information into themselves as the rest of the room falls away.


They carefully step through the middle of the aisle, passing the various staring daemons who are thankfully too absorbed into their own TMs to pay much attention.  

She was brought in to be 'less intimidating,' and still doesn't quite know what that means or how someone with a Suicune can be less intimidating than anyone.  The extra care she's taking to not seem scary only makes her body language come across as even more sub-like.  Araeneve follows behind her as she approaches, similarly trying to look a bit smaller.


"They'll know how to use the TMs, and the moves.  I can send the relevant strategy pages to your phones for more information."

Once Verity gets closer, "Good, you're here.  Verity, Kente, Alessa," he says, gesturing to each of them.  "You all met last night, but I don't remember if Verity introduced herself.  Take your seats inside."

Florentho steps over to Araeneve and starts rapidly explaining things in a whisper far too quiet for any of the humans to pick up on.  




"Thank you, sir." They can sit down as told.

All they know about her daemon is what their guide told them; they have no built-up associations. And the body language helps, on a level not entirely conscious - not exactly like what would identify a sub at home, but with enough overlap with how a sub might walk, might hold themselves, to carry through emotional associations.

He - isn't sure how he should greet her. If she has a high position he should greet her accordingly, but if she has bad associations with it then that would be unpleasant for her -. Well, she is who they are going to speak to, and there's no one else here except their guide, and he is her friend or something like it and has not seemed strict about etiquette. He'll - try not.

He ducks his head a little, smiles a little. "Hello."


"Hello," she says back, sitting, still a bit self-conscious though sitting does help - while she's not exactly giant, she is a few centimeters taller than Azure.  This is normally something she enjoys about herself, but makes her further question her suitability here.  She glances towards Azure curiously.  His message hadn't been much to go on in terms of what she was supposed to do.  

She can feel the indignation, sympathy, and protectiveness running through her from whatever Araeneve is hearing, though doesn't yet have the context.  


They're also looking to their guide. 


"Okay, just so we're all clear on the plan here:

"Alessa and Kente, you two can explain their society to Verity without needing to be... diplomatic.  From what I've been able to pick up, you seem to instinctively expect me to harm you for speaking out of line, because I resemble someone of the Dominant typing and that is something they do in your world.  Verity - to the extent anyone in our society counts - is the Submissive typing.  Not only will she not hurt you, but you'll be able to feel like she won't hurt you.  I wouldn't either, but I do know how emotions work."  While he's never spent much time thinking about it, the fleet isn't without traumatized people of its own.  The reactions don't just go away because someone says they aren't useful anymore.  

"And Verity, you are very good at pointing out flaws about the fleet, so I know you'll be able to give honest answers about how we function here without sugar-coating anything yourself."  Azure thinks she could be a very good influence about that.  She also has seen the fleet from more perspectives than him - while Legendaries are important and well regarded, unlike him she didn't grow up with it.

"Anyway, I'll let you get to it.  Call me in a while if you finish everything you want to say early... we could maybe fit another chair in.  Otherwise, I'll be back in about four hours."


He - they - 

To him this will read as their guide thinking they expect him to be cruel, or abusive even ('expect me to harm you'), and - some doms get angry, at that, don't like being treated as though they would be like that when they certainly aren't, have dealt out no mistreatment. Their guide doesn't seem angry, but - he's been good to them, and generous, and more than fair and forgiving (is being so right now), and Alessa doesn't want him to think they don't appreciate it, aren't grateful. Doesn't want to - miscall him, by their actions (and - he's been kind; it might be upsetting, to think people are afraid of you in excess, if you're kind.)

And it's - hard to get it right, when being not careful enough can end so badly and being too careful also can. But he doesn't want their guide to think that - that they're nervous, really, in a new place with maybe new rules, and new people, is some opinion they have about him.

He's thrown, by this, with what their guide says, and he doesn't know what to say himself, how to - say any of it, and without also sounding like they're ungrateful about Verity, and doesn't know how to say they're grateful about Verity without implying -

And then their guide is leaving, and he - hasn't even said anything at all, is just looking after him.


(...Four hours after all, another part of him notes, meanwhile. It's probably good they had some food then, if they won't be having lunch so long.)


Verity watches him leave, out of sight though the door to the cubicle hasn't been shut yet.  She is... not accustomed to Azure handing her any sort of delicate social stuff, given that he has several times more social skills than she does.  He'd been casual and cheerful as usual when he left.  Only the connection to Araeneve listening to Florentho let her know he was feeling unsettled.  Un-Settled being an especially apt term - like a fundamental aspect of their very soul is not being visible when it normally would be.  Verity was of the opinion that most stereotypes regarding daemons were garbage, but that didn't mean they all were.  To Azure, someone who didn't recognize what it meant for his soul to be a gallade was... pretty much the opposite of how Verity feels about not getting bowed at for being a suicune.  

With their daemons occupied, she has less insight to the aliens.  Alessa does seem unhappy.  Maybe?  

Before they shut the door, Araeneve puts their head into the room to whisper the information to Verity.  It seems like the sort of thing where both sides of themself should be on the same page.  While quiet, they do make their voice carry louder than a normal self-conversation, figuring that they might as well know what is being said about them.  That they seem to have an underlying current of expecting things to go wrong.  That submissives like to be useful and devoted and follow-rather-than-lead, and dominants like to own and oversee and command.  That they self-identify at a young age, and submissives lack many freedoms they take for granted here - it sounded like slavery to Azure-and-Florentho, but they don't identify it as such.  

Their explanation finished, Araeneve takes a guarding stance outside.  With one of their long tails, they nudge the door shut and leave the humans in slightly-more-silence. 

Verity looks towards them, still in thought.  Hesitantly, "Did that seem about accurate?"  She's not sure whether they want to start with asking questions or speaking more about their own world.


They definitely don't even know at all what it means for someone's soul to be a gallade.


Submissives can like to lead. In the country they're from it's not allowed much, but other places submissives have led armies, led all sorts of things. (His voice has changed, and his body language. Not as much as it might have at home, definitely not as much as for a sub he knew or was in the same position with. Still nervous, to some part, and careful. But - something like less of it, and engrained politeness is different, and the careful attentive deference gone out of it.)

It's - pretty bad, when people treat leadership (and other things) like it must be dominant, can only be dominants. He's really sorry something like that is happening here too. (He's not going to not jump, yet, right into all the sympathy for what's happening to her - people can have different feelings, on that. But he can be close by).


Oh that's why slavery had come up. Well. That might be a good sign? (He's going to continue letting Alessa do the talking for now; he's not under the impression that being a sub (or something?) means someone is harmless or that you can definitely say whatever around them.)


(He also notices the slavery piece. Which - it's not unheard of, he knows, for even dominants sometimes to find some rules for submissives that their own culture is different with to be horrible - that public punishment in the streets is barbaric and shameful for everyone, or that not allowing submissives to speak in public is ridiculous and harmful to societal functioning and shows mistrust in their dominants' discipline. But he doesn't know enough yet to know what that might fully mean - people from cultures where submissives aren't to go out alone can find that opposite horrible, he knows, frightening and unsafe and uncaring.

But he'll be asking about rules soon enough, and then he should know more.)

That sounds in the general accurate otherwise, he thinks. 

Also, they're sorry, the worrying about things going wrong is just - they're in this new place and they don't know the rules, and they'll try their best but they don't know a lot and don't think they'll get everything right. Their guide (he compensates for not knowing the proper form to talk about him by saying 'he' and gesturing to the door; another thing he can maybe ask about) has been really good to them and they didn't at all mean any affront to him.


"I'd be doing the same thing," Verity assures them, regarding the expectation that something's going to go wrong.  

"What is the difference between leading and commanding and overseeing?"  Those are not perfect synonyms, but they're so close together here.  The only example she can think of is a business leading in innovation or being the 'leading expert' on something, but that doesn't fit with the example of leading armies.  


(That - helps to hear as well, on some level underlying.)

Oh, no, sorry he wasn't trying to draw a distinction between these words in particular, that wasn't it, it's just that in their country like he said submissives aren't often allowed to lead, and - there are people who will say submissives can't, so he wanted to be sure he said that they can, and can want to. (...Maybe he shouldn't have said that, or said it so directly. But, he doesn't know that, and he doesn't want to leave it out if he doesn't have to, if this is how they'll first know this.

And she's something-like-submissive, maybe.

And, this wouldn't be the worst of ways to run into a forbidding rule after all, if he does. And it'd be him running into it.)

There - is nuance in the words, if he thinks about it? But if he needs to better explain that probably isn't where to start. 

...It's really hard to try to figure out how to describe it shortly. It's - not at a level they'd usually be trying to describe like this, for them. And when he'd said what he'd said before to their guide (he does the 'he' and gesturing again) he'd thought he was just trying to really clearly point to something they both knew. (It's still very strange to think that it's not. But.)

...He's not really sure how to explain well. Maybe Kente could do better? (And he's still not sure how exactly everything works here, just where it might be similar and different and otherwise. But they should try their best to explain well, and if they run into something already known, that'll help everything be clearer, really.)


Well, he can try.

...So a lot of countries and cultures have all sorts of rules and expectations for what submissives and dominants do and don't do. But as far as he, and in his opinion reality, is concerned, submissives and dominants can do most of the same things. Just, for some of the things they'll tend to approach them differently?

Like - to shrink down a bit - in some households, if there was a trip upcoming, the dom would plan it, and in some the sub would plan it. And if the dom planned it they'd be thinking - they're in charge of the household so they'll be making the decisions about how the trip will go, and they're the head of the household and that includes responsibilities to it and making this go well is one of the ways they take good care of the household which is theirs

And if the sub planned it they'd be thinking - this is work they will do for their household, a job they can do well and are going to do, a way they serve their dominant, they'll please their dominant by planning the trip very well.

Er, obviously not all people will be thinking the exact same thing, and some things will overlap, like if whoever's doing it thinks trip planning is really fun. But.

So, having never led an army himself, he'd generally figure that a sub leading an army will be thinking of it as the role they can do well like someone else can make weapons well or whatever, and how they can best serve, and is super not likely to be thinking that the army should obey them because it's theirs and they say so.

So with respect to words there's a lot of stuff where word nuance kind of gets at this sort of thing? A dom might say they like executing a plan with defined steps but is not likely to say they like obedience, might say they want the esteem of those they admire and is not likely to say they want to be pleasing, might say they want to be secure in their position and is not likely to say they want to be kept.

And then Alessa when he'd tried the quick description before had said 'orient to' - there's some things that divide out pretty hard, and there's some things the difference is more like how core they are or something like that? Like, um, how a romance where the characters witness a crime one time and have to deal with that isn't the same thing as a book about tangling with the criminal underworld.


(He's also somewhat worried about crossing lines here, but he is very determined that if people here end up wrong about this it'll be because they're determined to be wrong (like, well, lots and lots of people he knows at home) and not because he himself wouldn't say it right.)


That does make a lot more sense.  She can see the distinction, with that example.

Sometimes people will phrase things to try and make them more palatable, and she normally interprets that as them being unctuous and politicking - as if people are supposed to find a regulation on plant height less unpleasant because the person making it is 'serving the community' instead of 'just likes forcing their aesthetics on everyone' even though the result is the same either way.  It hadn't occurred to her that they might have been trying to explain something genuine.

In her case, she can't feel any sense of ownership or need to control and guide the people, and she doesn't think she'd do a good job at it in a serving-the-whole capacity.  The latter phrasing does seem less... completely wrong, and more like a normal preference and talent thing?

As for whether she'd want to be useful or pleasing or devoted... 

She does like being useful.  She likes how they can use their abilities and moves to help serve the ship, keeping the water levels up and cool and clean.  She likes when someone she likes has something that she can help with, and takes pride in how her talents and strength can be called on by them.

For devotion or being pleasing, that would depend on the person.  Most people haven't earned her devotion.  Most people are unpleasant to deal with, and she has no interest in trying to be pleasant first.

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