Challenge #03019-H096: The Walking Wounded

They had anxiety issues, didn't sleep well, often awakened in tears. After years of war, living in peace was very hard. They left to get groceries and returned to find a shocking discovery. A massive tank was in their apartment with an odd arrangement. One side was the life support system for the tank, the other side was a large metal box, almost as tall as they were, attached via wide metal tubes. Inside the tank was a huge octopus, or what seemed to be an octopus. Still, it was a lovely arrangement, and caring for the octopus, making sure the water was clean, there was plenty of food, soft music, was not only easy, but soothing. However, during a rain storm, when thunder set off the PTSD, another surprise occurred. The octopus could talk, and, acting as a therapist, was trying to calm them down. -- Anon Guest

War is hell, and all the devils wear uniforms. Ex-Sergeant Dae knew this as a fact. When they throw soldiers at a problem they didn't want to solve by other means, it got messy. It got brutal. Those who came back without their wounds on the outside often came back with a hell of a lot more damage where it didn't show. Not until something happened to set them off.

Thankyou for your service, soldier. Welcome to Respite Station. We're going to look after you. Sit. Stay. Good dog. Dae spent a solid week inside his livesuit until all scans confirmed it a habitable environment. The lung-melting spores of Kacticus V were a lasting lesson about assumptions. He didn't need PhysServ so no therapists turned up, but the department did gift him nutritionally appropriate rations, and then options to branch out into a healthy yet interesting diet. Including options for "sanity treats". Ha. As if food treats could restore his broken brain.

The habitat was, surprisingly, a Standard Double. Space enough for two people to not get into each other's elbows, but only one sleep niche. He'd run the test protocols daily and checked the maintenance alerts like the paranoid shit he was. Pros, he had more space to throw a wobbler when something set him off. Pros, the garden space was nice and big and had an artificial sky. Cons, some spaces in this place were big enough to have their own weather. Cons, including electrical storms. Cons, especially thunder, which carried through the superstructure. Pros, if it counted, MentServ was sending him a live-in therapist sometime real soon now.

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