Queen Dairy
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  • 14

    It has been a strenuous, humiliating ordeal – the way Raul ripped your badge lanyard from your uniform and stripped you of all authority. The way you wanted to clutch at your heart when the security bureau tore through your home, your offices.. like rabid animals hungering for flesh. (Hell, they flipped your couch upside down.) All the log entries of every little thing you've done, laid bare for Raul to scrutinize.

    Now you are nobody. No one – nothing.

    Only a piece of meat, waiting in the cells while they're debating how best to dispose of you and find your replacement. The harsh lighting, casting no shadow anywhere – it never ends..

    Why is each passing second a torment? It's not from want of sleep, though you feel your temples aching.. your brain chafing as if someone is slowly stuffing chili power into your skull. Your thoughts flitter on the way you've longed for her, or that you were this close to selling your love out for the selfish pursuit of your own tranquility. That you've failed your duties as the dome's medical officer – and now, because of you..

    Lil and Vincent are going to suffer forever at the hands of the proxy who heard your longings – who, out of anyone, most understood your heart..


    The bed is a slab – as solid and dense as your closed-up fist will get to know. It really hurts, and you end up slicing open your palm on the bed's sharp edge. The blood spills out, painting the cell with drabs of red. It's a brief moment of catharsis – you almost adore how red your own blood is. Rich with oxygen, blood-type 'O+'.

    As it turns out, the alarm blares, and the guards wrap you tightly in a straitjacket while the autoreivs wipe away the traces you've left in the cell, their movements mechanical and efficient. Just like how a fellow citizen should be. If only the WombSys hadn't cursed you with this mind, trapped in the confines of a flawed human soul – if you were born as someone else.. life right now wouldn't be a torment. Would it?

    Your hand is starting to itch..


    "Daedalus," Raul says, summoning you to his office. You've been wheeled over – your limbs clasped to the wheelchair. On the way, a pale reflection of yourself: your hair has grown out. There's stubble over your chin. You no longer resemble the youthful scientist, holding yourself in high regard. Instead, a scruffy outcast, who looks back upon you.

    The leers you've received from others, while the auto-reiv wheeled you out from the car.. an subject of disgust.

    "Daedalus, are you listening?" Raul asks you. It takes a moment to really focus on his eyes, as you're filled to the brim with shame. "I think I'll have Kristeva get you a cup of coffee.. Kristeva!"

    As she hands you the cup, Raul asks: "Do you take cream? Sugar?"

    You think for a moment, observing the staccato-like ripples of the coffee's surface. The rustic scent of the steaming drink throws you back to when Lil shared her jasmine tea with you in the courtyard.. the reason it'd tasted just right in its sweetness – Lil said that white sugar leaves a bad aftertaste, like you're tasting your own spit long past the sweetness.

    Instead, it's honey which is the secret..

    "Kristeva – give our man a pinch of honey!" Raul whistles to his autoreiv, waving his fingers like a lasso before culminating in a snap. "You're also a man of fine taste, Daedalus. I like that." He bites his tongue, holding back a pointed remark about Lil.

    You're not allowed out of the restraints, so it's Kristeva who holds the cup by your mouth, and you sip it.. it goes down smoother than one of Raul's liqueurs (when he personally toasted to your career).

    "Oh-hhh," you moan, tasting your first real respite from purgatory. "This is good.."

    "Cool, isn't it?" Raul glees, deriving pleasure out of watching you. Countless hours, he's spent getting Kristeva's drink-concocting skills honed. "You can have all the coffee you want, Daedalus, it's not going to change the fact.."

    Raul rests his hand on your shoulder, playfully squeezing it. You wince – he grins, knowing you can do nothing. If only these restraints aren't holding you back, you'll happily grab the cup from Kristeva's grasp and smash his smug fucking button-nosed face in, with the same intensity of his inexplicable attraction to you. One of the great mysteries of life you ask in private is whether Raul enjoys being aroused by pain.

    "You are continuing to leave the entire medical office, the regent, and really everyone – disappointed."

    Disappointed. The word echoes in your hollowed-out chest. For an instant, you ask yourself if this whole thing is your retaliation for how your own underused heart is left.. disappointed.

    "In case you feel like asking," Raul goes, "we combed through your records. With your history of exemplary service and breakthrough medical science.. there is no better way to put it: you are a living paradox, indeed. On the one hand – the brilliant brain you lovingly hold."

    He caresses your skull, and you wince away as best as you can from his touches. Then he holds your head in his arm with a vice grip, the pressure squeezing, as if saying: Don't fight me, Daedalus. I am your master.. and every futile thing you do to resist is only exciting me.

    "I'd ask Kristeva who would best exemplify humanity's inventive spirit-" Raul says, his breath spilling over to your ear. "She spoke of Da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, and I'd retort with Oppenheimer and Niemann.. it's the pursuit of destruction, of crushing all your enemies into pulp which is the only true impulse we've followed in history. Just like how you're struggling against my restraints, people have struggled against being subjugated – at the mercy of unfair rulers, by and by.

    "Yes.. you want to kill me. I can feel the hate swelling in you..

    "To give you credit, the FP rounds you've produced is about the best we have so far in reclaiming our destiny from the proxies. Ergo Proxy, Monad.. they think they can rule over us all with their powers – but we don't need them! Not anymore!"

    Raul puts an FP bullet on the table. The blue gelatin fluctuates with a barely contained energy, as if ripe to ignite chaos in a single touch.

    "By the time Vincent arrives home.. if he ever does, he will learn to obey – or else we shove this up his ass, and he'll endure the same mortality we've had to face our entire existence!"

    You see the maniacal glee.. that harsh twinkle in his eyes. What you've gone out of your way to invent to protect Lil, Raul now twirls amidst his fingers – caressing the cartridge case, perverting your invention to his aim. It's a shame though: you're at a loss to explain how without the proxies, all of Romdeau and life would be good as gone.

    "Before we get carried away, let's not forget how you've lusted after the regent's sole daughter.."

    Your eyes narrow over the mention of Lil, dreading it. Suddenly the coffee tastes like bile in your stomach, and you urge to vomit it out..

    "Don't," you whisper.

    "Ahh, the one pressure point I can count on, your neediness. Isn't that right?" Raul picks at that gaping wound with a knife. "Daedalus.. Lil's secret admirer! It's like in those romance serials broadcast to the ladies; a perpetually hopeless fifth wheel in a love triangle. Shall I read one of your unsent love letters to her -"

    He scrolls through the terminal, picking a file. "Oh, Lil," he goes, his eyes mirthless. "My unwitting, darling angel. The least that I've wanted is to find a chance to redeem myself to you. Loving you from afar is a burden – nay, an agony I must bear each day, in silence, as we go on talking behind the veil of professionalism."

    ".. shut up, shutup SHUT UP!" you scream.

    "I am sorry about how I am-" Raul speaks above you, "my body, my face.. my irredeemably awkward and shy personality. I'd wish a hundredfold that I was a better man, a stronger and more assertive man in every respect, so that I could naturally enrapt your attention as you did mine. But it's a dream that's proven to be more impossible than finding the cure for your terminal condition.

    "I'm sorry how I've grown to adore you above everyone else, as my mind internalizes every perfect detail about your being.. and that the only conclusion to draw is that you are either descended from the heavens, or that fate has been so kind with WombSys as to grant the regent.. a daughter who is worthy of a king- oh, Daedalus, stop it please, this is making my heart blush, you should have been a ghostwriter!"

    He is perverting your words also.. what you've written in a solemn privacy. It's enough to make your mouth frothe; some of the coffee drips out from your lips, which Kristeva is kind enough to wipe.

    "Lil – when I touch myself, imagining your caresses, the bliss I'd feel is oh, so indescribable .."

    That's when you fight hard in the wheelchair, the springs squeaking while you struggle like a caged animal. Raul glances up at you, running a wicked smile, and he walks over.

    "Kristeva," he says, "let this part be off the record."


    Raul crosses past his table, his eyes intent on yours. That glimmer you initially mistook for malice, it is blossoming now into full-blown desire.

    It frightens you.

    "Daedalus," he says, as he kneels by your side, "I won't hide this from you any longer. I've.. held feelings for you also. You baffle me.. you, being one of the best and brightest Romdeau has produced.. and you want to toss all that away for her? Out of all people?"

    ".. especially you?" you go.

    Raul's eyes widen. "My, Daedalus, you catch on so quick. That's what I adore about you.."

    His finger brushes over the bristles of your chin, before his hands dive upon your body – sliding under your straitjacket to feel the skin of your chest. Searching for your areolae and nipples, and upon finding them, he rubs.. his hands are surprisingly soft, warm. An electricity to his touch that is undeniable.

    "How long.." you sputter.

    "How long have I loved you? At first, I tried brushing off those feelings as just respect for a colleague. You were always so reserved, and I asked what it is.. what secrets lay behind your pretty brown eyes. When my wife.. died.."

    Raul tears up, the flashbacks of her abrupt death still painful. "I was at a loss. Who could I love after, when my heart's light faded away? Or so I thought, until one day.. I found you in the royal courtyard. You were alone, an angelic serenity over your face. That day.. I offered you a drink.."

    It was liqueur – meant to brighten your spirits. The concentrated intensity of the alcohol was too much for your tongue to handle, but like a lost virginity, you was eventually able to discern the taste; the sweet grapefruit, the oak which it had been fermented in..

    "It tasted like nothing I've ever had before," you huskily say.

    "You dreamt of kissing Lil again – a liqueur unfurls like a kiss. It's a shame.. the passion you're saving for her, you will never willingly show me. The only thing left, for both our sakes, to say goodbye. It's off to the recycler for you-"


    Raul looks down at you, having a tense grip upon the wheelchair's handle. "What?"

    You gulp – fearing the disgust you'll have to endure for survival's sake.

    "Don't make me leave you, Raul.."

    You lean in, beckoning him to come hither to your lips, as a single tear escapes your eye.

    His mouth slowly meets yours in ragged breaths. As you kiss him, your tongues sliding over one another, you try your best to imagine that it's Lil.. as if she'd taken a couple swigs already. Your hesitancy soon melts away into compassion, as you give in to meeting Raul's heart straight on.


    When he draws away from you, his eyes slowly flutter open. "Why did it take so long for this moment.. to happen..?"

    Kristeva stares at the both of you; her eyes blank without comprehending.

    "Why should that even matter?" you go. As you feel the heat, how it radiates off your face, you start to realise how much sweat you are expending.. how the chronic aching and itching has gone away. "This little time we have together, Raul, it's made for you and I.. please, untie me. It'll be awkward otherwise if we do end up going.. all the way.."

    A beat – Raul's hand hesitates over your thigh. You can feel your erection uncomfortably pressing against the fabric; you arch yourself up to him like a willing model in front of the camera.

    You want him to notice it.

    Nothing escapes those eyes which are enrapt by desire. As if petting a cat to calmness, Raul strokes your bulge, and the muffled sensation offers tremors, surging from your legs up through your spine – you groan..

    "Daedalus!" he exclaims. There's a raspy gait to his exhales which you recognize in yourself. "You're.. amazing.."

    The sweat is collating where the wheelchair's clamps hold you steady. "Raul, do you want to know just what it's like, having me hold you in my arms? Let me out of this chair, and I'll give you what you've only dreamt of in those lonely nights." Your pleading is as sincere as you can muster.

    He looks you in the eye. His other hand strokes your oily, unkempt hair.

    "Never. You're perfect where you are."

    Raul reaches under. It's as much of a violation as you've feared, and then some. He gropes and each squeeze renders you as much of a victim of sexuality as his control.

    "Raul-!" you go. "S-stop!"

    Your protests are interrupted in a kiss, as Raul holds you close and you jerk your hapless body in a sporadic intensity.. the wheelchair rattles, moans trapped in privacy, and the orgasm, like precious amber sap out of a tree you frequent in moonlight, is verging near.

    All you can do to preserve your last shreds of dignity is pretend it's her – anything so long as your intimate cries aren't.. with him..

    Instead of post-coital warmth, you are flooded with chills.


    "Daedalus," Raul says, rummaging his drink cabinet. "As long as you'll love me, you shall remain at your post." He pours two glasses, the red drink swirling under the amber-lit room. As he turns towards you, his lapel still has some residue on it.. "Everything will be normal again. That's how we solve problems.. both yours and mine."

    Kristeva has un-done the binder on your right arm. You struggle to hold the glass steady.

    "Salute!" he goes, and he downs the wine – his glass raised to the ceiling. With no other recourse, you take his drink and sip it also, ever so lovingly. It's good enough to make you want to hold back the bile.

    ".. salute," you half-heartedly whisper.

    Raul wheels you to the balcony to greet the night. You feel the crisp wind, a brisk air-conditioned product of Romdeau that barely replicates the actual feeling from Tetiana's worlds. It's a nostalgia for a past that's never really existed.

    "Romdeau," Raul says, leaning over. "We're like an anthive, despite all our intelligence. Everyone fills out their little niche, everyone lives out their happy, ignorant lives with the autoreivs, and that's how it'll go. It's the ones who can bear knowing the horrible truth about our existence – people like me and you – who deserve to wear the mantle of Godhood. To prove to all the eons that we'll rightfully helm our destiny."

    The wind brushes by his hair. "You understand me well, right?"

    A beat.


    "It's a dangerous game," you go, still clutching the empty glass. "You're not talking about just us; it's about everyone's survival. By enslaving proxies.. those beings we're not even close to understanding, you're presuming that we'll all become masters of the world again."

    Raul does a spit-take. "Without presumption, we'd still be left in the Stone Age, my boy! We don't need to understand them to know that proxies, like any other, balk in fear for their own lives; you've seen that in Monad already. There's us, and there's them. And we'll get them to make the rest of this wretched planet habitable.. and us, free of this curse of reproductive sterility.."

    "If you've studied history," you say, "you'll know slaves eventually steal the whip from their masters."

    "Yes," Raul says. "You didn't let me finish my sentence. When our demands are met.. we'll wipe the proxies out, every single last of them out of their fucking misery – and then we'll be totally free.. no slaves, no masters. No more resentments, no more living like caged animals in this goddamned zoo! Our freedom! Won't you taste it with me, Daedalus?"

    He rips the glass out of your reluctant hand, and tosses it out into the air – where you watch it whirl down like a skydiver in freefall..

    "Oh, not to worry," he says, gleeing. "I'll have Kristeva synthesize me another one- first, we need to put you back to work, first thing-"

    Your eyes dart, recalling the freedom of Tetiana's compassion. And past that, the sheer desperation of Lil and Vincent's entrapment, their lives far past anything resembling control. "Raul, I'll do anything that you ask. But let me show you something first.. in case you're still curious about what I've been really doing, before my arrest."

    "Before you do," he goes, his hand over your arm, "do you think I should trust you?"

    You gaze at him, mustering that same serenity which Tetiana has willingly shared with you. "We're lovers now, Raul. What are you even asking."

    Silence. Before he heartedly laughs.

    "Of course."