Wellness Check

Chapter 3 - Sinister Machinations

by Darkfalli

Tags: #cw:noncon #dom:female #f/f #Human_Domestication_Guide #hypnosis #pov:bottom #sub:female #body_modification #bratty_sub #conditioning #dom:internalized_imperialism #drug_play #drugs #mind_control #multiple_partners #ownership_dynamics #petplay #scifi #transgender_characters
See spoiler tags : #body_swapping #memory_play #robots

Just a reminder, Aster is very dense and a tad unreliable as a narrator... nah Aster totally never misunderstands or miscommunicates anything, and neither does any other character!

I just kind of ignored Cyathea as much as possible until the move. I despised her, but I couldn't really be free of her. She'd give me my current meds and things. I'd take them. She'd give me food. I'd eat it. I didn't like it, but I just didn't have the drive to fight her on it. She'd just say, it's either this or domestication. The only problem spots were when she'd try to pry into feelings. I shut those down hard.
Outside of her, I still threw myself into my studies. Stuff was actually making sense and I finally started probing the nearest network node. My intrusion was detectable. I knew it was. I had the subtlety of a barking dog. Still, it was more about just being able to do things, rather than do them well or sneakily. Once I got the concepts of affini stuff down then I could apply what I knew about network intrusion and detection.
The shit was complicated as all hell. I was learning to think in a new nonbinary number system, read an alien language incorporated into an alien networking protocol. Once I had that down. it was onto probing for vulnerabilities in all the places I knew to look. I needed proper software for all of this, but that came after an understanding of what the software needed to do and how it needed to do it. Ultimately, that meant getting an affini program, and it turns out the affini don't leave those tools lying around their overnet.
NetworkRoots: Hey petal, I'm really excited by how fast you're making progress. Keep up the good work!
NetworkRoots: That being said I noticed you trying to find proper software for your work. I've attached some to this message modified to run on your system. I can't wait to see what you can do with them. I know an intelligent girl like you can work wonders.
NetworkRoots: I've already got a custom affini system to be set up in your new habitation unit. I hope you like it. I personally oversaw it’s construction to be everything you need to have fun.
The bitch. She was taunting me. Giving me hacking tools, promising me fancy new hardware. Who did she think she was? Well I'd show her. I was gonna take her shit and use it to do everything I had planned.
Bringing up the applications she sent, they didn't have those dumbed down UIs the overnet and those other applications had. No, these had all the bells and whistles and one was almost identical to my favorite bit of software. The other was different, but would be perfect for vulnerability detection. It was like someone took all the vulnerabilities I had been theory crafting while in the affini system and built a program ready to use them.
The access node was first. It took a few probing tries but I found the little secret message that popped up when I weaseled into root access. I did like how affini also called it root access in their own language. The message was a pep talk and an affini networking address for her own system.
Digitalis you sly bitch, you were asking me to break in. You'd regret that. I spent the last day in my apartment trying to find an opening into her system. It was locked down tight. Real tight. It was almost time for Cyathea to come around for dinner when I realized. What if she was playing another game. A bigger puzzle. It would fit her. Social engineering was the easier method of hacking and even if I utterly refused to talk to people, getting in her head space would be vital.
She spent a week playing games that taught me a number of vulnerabilities on my own system. She gave me the guides, and the software to hack her, and the network location to hack from. There had to be something there. She was smart. She was good. Almost better than me. Almost. And she was a playful bitch. I tried similar tricks to what she used to break into my machine and it failed.
I pouted as a message was sent.
NetworkRoots: Clever thinking little one, but I wasn't going to make it that obvious. However, you are on the right track my little cutie.
I blinked. If she knew what I was doing and how I was doing it, was there a point to all of this? Yes. I still had my plans and so what if she saw it coming. This was just training wheels I'd get so good she'd be blindsided. She'd be so impressed with me she'd uh… fuck. I didn't know. Whatever, I'd find out when I get there.
She did give me the means to break in. She admitted that I was on the right track. What else had she given me. All the cutesy messages. The food. The software… She gave me my servers back! Fuck that was it. I looked at it and she was hosting my servers on her private network. I was already in. Holy crap that was a good attack vector. Did she think I was some drugged up sophont who needed the help?
Right as I was celebrating having the perfect means to hop into her private system, the fern bitch had to ruin it with dinner, and my sleeping meds. I whined and complained, but I stopped pretty fast. I knew that it wasn't optional. It was more just routine at this point for me to complain before giving in.
Speaking of meds, she wasn't fucking around with those hair growth supplements. Like I already gained like two inches. It had only been a few days! I'd end up looking like Rapunzel at this rate. I mean I could just stop taking them at some point and get my hair cut back to the perfect length… I guess it wasn't a problem.
Another fun part about the meds was my eyes were changing from brown to blue. The affini did not fuck around when it came to their xenodrugs… or maybe they did because I still occasionally thought back to when she had me begging to be touched. I didn't want it. The drugs made me beg… but fuck if I didn't slightly enjoy that. It was like I was hypnotized into wanting it which… No Aster, not the time to drift off into kinky fantasies.
Instead, I drifted off to sleep.

My eyes fluttered open. "Wow, that was fast." I was in the arms of Cyathea. It was moving day and I was so terrified to leave my apartment to go to my new habitation unit that, at her suggestion, I had her knock me out with xenodrugs only to wake up in the new place.
"Flower, that's because that specific class-Z prevented you from being aware of the passage of time." She dutifully explained. The giant attractive but also ugly fern lady was still holding me.
Taking in my surroundings I was in something that definitely had my apartment's vibes. Same color scheme the layout was different and yet I knew exactly where to look to find the kitchenette which was more of a full blown kitchen at this point. There was my bed which uh, had been scaled up a little…or a lot. It must have been a king sized bed and then some. I could have an orgy on that thing. Well, that would require me to have an interest in human beings, and sex which uh was not really my thing.
I then spotted a staircase going up to a second floor and… "Is that an elevator?"
My affini case worker patted me on the head which I really couldn’t decline anymore since being put on that class-A that got her to shut up. It just felt too good. I'd never beg for it. I wasn't mind controlled anymore. But uh if she did give me that class-D stuff again well, I probably wouldn't be that mad about it…
Shit she got me to lean into that one. As soon as I pulled back she giggled. "Yes, that's an elevator up to your computer room that overlooks the open area here. While the stairs and floor have been designed to cushion any falls you might have. It seemed prudent to give you a means to get up without needing to walk up the stairs."
I squinted. "Are you calling me lazy?"
"Are you lazy?" She shot back.
"Yes, now set me down." I was gently let down. I still wore basically little more than underwear, but she did start doing my laundry which was cool. I was wearing a nice clean sports bra and gym shorts… "Wait, did you carry me here dressed like this?" I got immediately freaked out by the idea of people seeing me like this. Really at the idea of being seen by actual living human beings. People were scary.
An affini hand made contact with my head pat zone and momentarily paused the panic like a snooze button. "Flower, I had you covered up. No one saw you." With that the rest of the panic vanished.
"Where's my computer? They better not have fucked it up. I'd be pissed." I said looking around before realizing she just the computer room was upstairs. I rushed over to the elevator and pounded the up button. A moment later, I was in a space that felt so familiar. It was different, most noticeably in the fact there was a second massive affini biotech computer in the room. My normal system was there too and hooked up identically to how it was in my apartment.
I got down on my hands and knees to check the cabling and wow, they somehow got every cable plugged in correctly. Damn, affini were efficient. I got back up into my same old crumby chair and sat in my familiar spot. The aliens got everything right. The evil bastards and their hyper efficient and thoughtful post-scarcity society. I can see now why the affini are better than terrans in almost every way, except me. I was better than them.
Now I could pick up my work on infiltrating Digitalis's system with my own machine which I loved more than life itself. Or I could try the cool new custom built biotech xeno computer designed to help me hack affini communications like a pro. Fuck that was actually a really tough decision.
It was only when I realized, wow they are like within arms reach of each other that I figured out a solution. Both! Which technically my old system was already like three computers, my dedicated network watcher, my main hardware, and my local server. That wasn't even counting my numerous virtual machines. Technically, the ones on my local machine don't count, but the remote ones I had for work added like over a dozen more systems including the one that used to be hooked up to the company's quantum computer. I wonder if the affini can get me one of those.  
I got sucked into both sic'ing my system on that whole hosted server vector while also spinning up the new plant tech. A little message popped up when I turned it on. Hello my darling intelligent little flower! I hope you love the new system. I know you're smart enough to have fun exploring everything connected to the overnet with it. Send me a message sometime. I'd love to hear from you. Love Digitalis Lutea, Third Bloom 💖💖💖🌹🌹🌹 Why was my rival so nice? Ugh I knew the answer to that. Because she was an affini and affini loved fucking with me.
The basic layout of the new system was similar to my old one, but that was UI stuff. Under the hood this thing ran so differently. I very loudly squealed when I found out this had a whole qubit subsystem with like a thousand times more qubits than the defense contractor's state of the art machine! Fuck this thing could shred the encryption on most terran tech in minutes. Like not bypass, I mean actually solving certain cryptographic problems that non quantum computers would take decades or millennia on in seconds.
Quantum computational proof encryption was not common outside of big corps and navy crap. I once caught a glimpse of an ONCI system at work and they did not fuck around when it came to that stuff. Still, even if the biotech computer couldn't brute force encryption on quantum computing algorithms this thing still had inconceivably more processing power than any terran supercomputer I had been made privy to. This was a gift from an affini, like they probably had systems a million times better than this. Who even designed the system architecture? I wanted like a textbook on this crap and the funny part was, if I asked Digitalis or Cyathea I'd probably be handed one, or sent a file of one in Digitalis's case. She at least knew that computers were bae and paper was stupid.
"Flower, how is everything?" Fern lady asked.
"Oddly awesome. Have you seen this setup?" I gestured towards the affini system. "Like are these common?"
She stared at my new toy for a bit. "Not to my knowledge, but I'm not exactly a tech expert, You'd have to ask Digitalis." Right, I'd need to ask my rival. "Now before you get sucked into that I'd like to show you the atomic compiler so you can start taking care of yourself like you wanted."
Oh crap, that thing that printed atomically perfect food. I glanced at my systems and rapidly typed away to begin some script stuff for when I got back. I took the elevator because I am admittedly very lazy.
Cyathea showed me the dumbed down interface and how to compile food and then decompile leftovers and dishes. It was stupid simple. Wow, I wouldn't even have a mess build up. Probably. Maybe. Whatever, Cyathea was going to keep showing up and handle that if it was a problem.
I still had like five days before she was going to wean me off her showing up and checking on me and doing the full thrice a day routine. I didn't even have to take those other xenodrugs she mentioned. Just the class-G for my tiddies, the hair supplement, some vitamins and other crap, and the class-A for my attention stuff. The class-A did admittedly help with tearing my focus away from stuff. It didn't stop me from hyperfixating on my work, and I'd actually have been pissed if it did.
"So unless you need anything else, I'll be back around dinner time to make sure you-"
"Eat, drink, take my meds, brush my teeth, bla, bla. Yea I get it, it's been almost a week. Now get out of my new house. I hate you and you still aren't welcome here, you fern." I pushed her with my meager strength.
She patted me on the head. "See you later, little Aster." The big fern lady then left me to my new abode.
I rushed back up to my new computer so fast I ended up taking the stairs which was a mistake as I got winded. Anyway, I was back in my space working on my plan to break into an affini hackers system. I, a little sophont, was going to vanquish the giant insidious mysterious xeno on their own turf.
A few hours later I threw my hands up and cheered. I got in! I then modified one of Digitalis's own message applications to say, 💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖Sup Digi, how are you feeling? I hope you are feeling great and I'd love to hear from you! Love, Aster💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖
Perfect, she was going to be so bothered. I ran the application and done!
Less than a minute later I got a notification on the IRC app in our private channel.
NetworkRoots: Awww flower you're so thoughtful! I'm so happy that you managed to solve my puzzle, and your message was delightful.
NetworkRoots: How is the new system I gave you? I really hope you liked it.
SystemLurkerQueen: Uh, systems amazing! Is this kind of hardware common?"
NetworkRoots: It's not! While there are certainly far more robust systems out there, I designed yours to be great at all the little network intrusion stuff you love. It's actually a modified version of my own system! A little scaled down since you had space limitations, but it should be more than enough for you to have your fun. Just remember, don't get caught!
SystemLurkerQueen: I'll do better on stealth next time. Also, what are the odds I'd get detected anyway?
NetworkRoots: Please do work on the subtly. As far as getting detected, most affini are only passably skilled in computing and non-affini sophonts almost would never notice unless you did something obvious. There is one caveat and that is to avoid messing with digitized consciousnesses. Almost any digitized affini would immediately notice with your current skill level.
SystemLurkerQueen: Wait what do you mean "digitized consciousnesses" like people can upload their brains onto your systems?
NetworkRoots: Exactly! Aren't you a smart little flower.
NetworkRoots: Yes, digitization has been around for a very long time and large numbers of affini and their pets are digitized. My floret is even digitized though I opted to remain biological with a rather large array of technical implantations.
SystemLurkerQueen: That sounds crazy, but so does all other affini tech.
SystemLurkerQueen: Also kinda seems like a philosophical headache
SystemLurkerQueen: Personally, I'm in favor of being a cyborg
NetworkRoots: We are known for our technological superiority. I hope you enjoy sharing in it, petal. Including any potential cyborg modifications you get.
NetworkRoots: Enough technical talk. I'd love to meet up with you if you have the time. How does tomorrow for lunch sound?
I froze. She wanted to meet up? Why? Was she going to show me affini tech secrets or was she going to get revenge for me hacking her system? She probably wanted to humiliate me in public, since she likely knew I hated being in public. I, Aster Manning, was a genius. I uncovered Digitalis's ploy and now knew how to perfectly counter it. The xeno would rue the day it messed with me.
SystemLurkerQueen: Can you come over to my place for lunch instead of going out?
NetworkRoots: I'd love to see you in your new habitation unit. Would you mind me bringing my floret or did you want to meet up in private?
Crap, she found another way to fuck with me… except.
SystemLurkerQueen: I thought she was a digitized person? How would she come with you?
NetworkRoots: She has a physical body she can remote into. It's very adorable. I think you and little Nora would get along great, but I understand you are still working through your social anxiety.
SystemLurkerQueen: uh, no floret. Just you.
NetworkRoots: Of course Aster. I'll be there for lunch. I'm so excited to meet you in person!
There, now I had a date set… date, uh… I had an appointment set to meet my arch-rival for lunch. I thwarted her scheme to socially manipulate me and now I could manipulate her into spilling all of her affini networking secrets.
I was so proud of myself I let out my maniacal cackling laugh. Truly, I was a mastermind hacker with no peer. I was going to social engineer the shit out of Digitalis.
With all that set, I now had to sharpen my hacking skills, learn my new plant tech system inside and out, and steal some data so I could get Digitalis a disturbingly perfect gift.

I was sitting on one of Cyathea's vines in the bathroom as she was brushing my long ass hair. It was even longer still and took forever to dry, but Cyathea helped me with that too. I told her about the appointment with my rival and that I wanted to look extra good today. After all she was my oddly skilled evil xeno hairstylist that I definitely hated. It was easy to let her handle it.
She suggested these floral dresses for my outfit, but it didn't really feel me. Instead, I had this black sundress with a blue circuit pattern that glowed like my eyes were slightly doing. You could only see the eye thing if you turned out the lights, and it was pretty dim, but they were still changing from brown to blue, so I figured it'd be brighter in the end.
Over top of my dope ass black sundress, I wore a zip up black hoodie. An ancient and yet always fashionable piece of clothing. It had thumb holes on the sleeves that were cool and it too had a blue glowing circuit pattern with a blue glowing skull on the back. I got black boots and leggings to finish the look. Technically, the hoodie and dress were different shades of dark gray, basically black. The dress was the lighter, basically black color because it made my growing curves stand out more. The hoodie was for hiding in, so that could be the uber dark black.
"One last thing, Aster." I was confused. I looked over myself and I looked great. She pulled out a pair of glasses. "These are some smart glasses. I'm sure you can figure out how to use them. I thought they'd make a nice gift for my lovely ward."
I ran back into the bathroom, double checked the makeup she helped me with and tried on the glasses. Not a big change but they did seem to adjust instantly and wow, I guess I needed a new glasses prescription. As I leaned in to look closer, they changed focus and wow these were like hi-tech bifocals or something.
I came out. "Thanks for the glasses."
"You are very welcome, little one." She had that smug look again. "So you are meeting your hated rival?"
"Yup!" I chirped. "I'm gonna like… wait, you'd probably tell her my plans."
She knelt down. "Aster, I promise to keep your adorable little plans secret."
I rolled that around in my head for a bit. Could I trust this awful evil affini who wouldn't leave me alone? It was a tough question. She'd never lied to me before, and she did help me look super amazing for my lunch appointment.
I leaned in to whisper in her ear… actually she didn't technically have those, but I whispered where the ugly fern leaves covered her hypothetical ears. "So, I'm going to give her this gift that I snooped around her system and found out she really likes. It'll disturb her how much I learned about her. Then I'm going to talk her up a bunch and get a bunch of affini tech secrets out of her. She's going to be so upset when she finds out I learned all her tech secrets and that I really am the better hacker."
I went to look up at her when I heard something that almost sounded like a barely contained laugh, but I got distracted by a well-timed head pat. I may have leaned into it by accident. Definitely an accident. I still hated her and the affini and all that.
"I hope you have a lot of fun and success with your little plan." She told me earnestly. What was it with affini wanting me to hack their stuff? They were so highly competent until it came to me where they all acted really stupid. Jokes on them. Underestimating me only made my work easier.
Cyathea left, and they left me alone to tinker with my systems and new smart glasses. The glasses were weird and cool. They seemed to automatically pick up on what I was looking at and adjust to reduce eyestrain. I could sit a foot away from my monitor and it was no longer fucking up my ability to see distances. Though I technically had seen nothing more than like twenty feet away in three months. Not until I got to the habitation unit, where things beyond that were hard to focus on, even with my previous glasses.
Beyond just vision stuff, I found out by connecting them to my new affini computer that they had infrared and ultraviolet vision modes. The lenses doubled as screens and I could stream anything I wanted to them. Looking on the overnet for more info apparently with the right implants, I could mentally control them to act as bonus tiny extra computers.
That also got me sucked into looking at affini implants, the ones meant for terrans. This crap was wild. They had more than I could imagine, from mental communications stuff, to tails, entire limbs. They seemed to favor plant tech, but they had retro terran tech looking implants too but like without all the problems that were found in Accord tech implants. Basically, if you weren't a billionaire or some secret black site lab experiment, your implants were going to be crap and breakdown in a year. That's not even mentioning the horrors of implant rejection, or surgical mistakes for brain interface hardware. Obviously, the affini in their hyper competence didn't have any of that.
A lot of the brain interface affini implants all required something called a Haustoric Implant. They didn't offer it on the body mod site. I was about to type it into the overnet search engine when a voice chimed.
Ding-Dong. “Hey cutie~! You have a visitor!”
Oh, that must be Digitalis! Actually, what if that was a person… I clacked away on the very satisfyingly clacky keyboard to my affini system and found a big plant person outside my hab unit. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was terrified a human person might have been there.
I rushed down and almost forgot where I placed that gift for my rival. I opened the door and wow… She was pretty. Unlike Cyathea, who looked okay minus the fern bits, Digitalis looked amazing. She had these huge flower petals that sort of formed a poofy dress that was this shade between purple and pink. The same type of petals were a sort of short, spiky, cute hairstyle thing. Underneath it all was a familiar mass of vibrant green vines and a face so tightly woven that I couldn't even see the individual vines with my fancy new glasses.
"It's wonderful to finally meet you in person, petal!" Gah her voice was magnificent. It had the timbre of a flute and came out like a song on the wind. “May I come in, Aster?”
I realized I got so enthralled with all of her I had just stood slack jawed looking up. I pulled myself back together, stammered some incoherent mess, and gestured for her to come in before making sure the door shut.
I followed the affini as she walked around my new home. Her head turned as she took in all the details. "You have an exquisite home, flower."
"T-Thanks." I stammered out. Gah, why was I acting weird? She was a beautiful plant, but still just a plant, a thing, not a person.
She made her way over to the affini sized couch that came with the place and I went to the me sized one next to it. My mind kept running in circles and I was having a hard time remembering my plan… Right, the plan!
I pulled out a small box that held her gift. Now to rub it in as smug as possible how much I snooped about her. I held it up in my hands. "I-I uh, got you this um g-gift…" That stammering mess wasn't smug! I was fucking this up.
"Oh little petal, you're so thoughtful!" She reached down and grabbed the box before carefully opening it. Her fingers delicately reached inside and pulled out the turtle plushie. "A horse! Flower, how did you know I loved horses?"
I blinked. "T-That’s a turtle. I thought you liked t-turtles…"
The affini tilted her head and glanced at the turtle and then me. "I didn't know that this breed of horse was called that! You are such an adorably smart little sophont." Was she fucking with me? She had to be fucking with me. That evil bitch! To think my rival was so devious.
She reached over, patted me on the head, and my thoughts hitched for a moment. Gah, she was my rival. I wasn’t supposed to be enjoying her touch. Stupid xenodrugs. Well, not the class-G that's actually a really smart and awesome xenodrug, but the A ones are so…
"How about we get you some food, little one? It is lunch time after all." S-She took control of the conversation from me. I know I like had terrible talking skills, but I was supposed to be leading her around.
My stomach grumbled. It was lunchtime, and I felt hungry. It turns out that eating regularly makes me feel hungry whenever I miss a food time. "O-Okay…" I stood up and sort of shuffled over to the compiler and got chicken tendies again. I was a creature of habit and eating the same thing over and over never bothered me.
As I sat back down with my food and stuff, I just sort of awkwardly ate before asking with my mouthful, "Uh… did you like want something? I know affini don't eat but…"
Her vines shot over in a blink. "I am fine, but you shouldn't talk with food in your mouth. You'll get crumbs and stains all over your pretty clothes." I glanced downwards and found she had caught a bit of food that came out. I almost said sorry for some weird reason, but she shushed me with a vine. "Chew and swallow first, then speak."
I did as I was told. I was sort of really embarrassed. I normally only had the fern lady around and I did that on purpose with her because she was an evil xeno… What am I thinking? Isn't Digitalis also an evil xeno? I shouldn't feel bad about that, but I guess it would ruin these really cool clothes and I guess I didn't want to be seen as a slob by her. Without food in my mouth, I said. "S-Sorry."
She smiled. "It's okay flower. Just try to remember that in the future." Her and her evil niceness was too much.
I finished eating and before I could work up the courage to talk about one of those things I kept blanking on; she took the lead again. "So flower, I understand you have a fascination with computing. I'd love to know how you got drawn into the subject."
"Oh well, uh, I was basically raised on computers. My um family sort of just handed me a tablet as a kid and I just kept learning more about them. I started accidentally breaking software and found it like really fun and eventually found others doing stuff like that. Actually, my first proper computer was one I got when I was twelve." I started diving into the specs of my first real computer, all the software I used, and the things I did.
I got sucked into recounting every computer I had owned, every bit of software I used to use. I skipped around a lot and talked about work. All the systems I got to play with there. How I got into the tech field as a front line tech support before lucking into a system admin role. The time I stole a year's salary in cryptocurrency from some middle management jerk ass. I spilled secrets I had never told anyone about other tech crimes I got up to. I focused a lot less on the crimes themselves and more on how I went about them. That was the fun part. Who cares if I hacked into someone's email. It was how I got in that was the exciting part. I barely even did anything with most intrusions. My favorite ones were really just me breaking in and then as soon as I was in I cut the connection, wiped my trail, and moved on.
Throughout all of it, Digitalis was listening intently. She heard every word, but more importantly she seemed to understand all the technical details I spewed out. Her only questions were clarifying words or terran cultural stuff she didn't understand. I even paused once to apologize for rambling, and she asked me to keep going. I'd never gotten to share any of it with someone before, and sharing it with my rival, who I knew understood all of it the way I did, was amazing.
I did eventually run out of things to say. Digitalis got up and got me a glass of water when I finished. I hadn't spoken that much in years. Possibly ever. My throat uh was not used to that much speaking and I was thankful for the drink.
"Perhaps you should rest your voice a little, flower." She told me as she sat back down. I was about to reply when her vine shushed me. "I very much enjoyed hearing you talk about your exciting adventures, but if you keep talking, you're going to lose your voice for days. Take a break from speaking, and perhaps I can tell you about how to have fun adventures like those on our network."
Okay, that had my immediate attention. Wow, I was great. I didn't even mean to trick her into spilling her secrets with that, but I did. The foolish affini fell for my expertly laid plan that was totally working! I mean, I was originally going to talk her up rather than just ramble for over an hour about me. Still, accidentally stumbling into the solution is still solving the problem.
I just got to sit back and relax as she spilled all the beans. Digitalis somehow knew exactly what I had understood with affini tech and started relating concepts back to what I knew. Unfortunately, to my horror, it became clear I had only scratched the surface of the xeno's technology. A few times she slipped into stuff that I couldn't wrap my head around and I'm not sure I ever could.
Digitalis noticed and switched subjects every time that happened. While she definitely had the same enthusiasm for all of it, she didn't ramble like I did. Instead, she was talking in a way meant to convey the concepts and nuance rather than gush about something while skipping essential bits until no one but me could understand what I was talking about.
"And that is why that adorable little exploit you used to get into my system worked." She sounded… proud of me. Like there was a bit of patronizing but also genuine glee that I accomplished that.
My throat was feeling better. She got up periodically to refill my glass, and it took her a while to get through all of that. "But other bits of affini tech don't have those same vulnerabilities?"
"Some do. There are a few like you that like to break into things for fun, so we leave exploits on non-sensitive systems for you cuties to play with. Our more essential systems are far more secure and actively monitored. Same with spaces for digitized sophonts." She patiently explained.
"Uh huh." Okay, that had to be a challenge. Getting into an essential system was now the end goal. Like a weapon system!
"So, my adorably bright little flower, what did you think of my puzzle to get on my system? I had a lot of fun setting that up. Especially on which of your servers I opted to leave the opening." She was hinting at something. She sounded way too playful, saying that. Dangerously playful.
It took little thought to figure out why. I used that server. She-She looked at it. She knew. That bitch! How dare she look at my private super-secret smut server! "Y-You didn't like look at uh anything on there… r-right?" My face was heating up.
That knowing smile. She did, she fucking did! "Well flower, when I stumbled upon that particular server I hadn't yet found its owner. I thought that someone clearly put a lot of effort into hiding and organizing it. Then I traced it back to you. If you ever wanted to try any of those things, I would be more than happy to show you a good time, my beautiful little flower."
I buried my face in my hands and screamed a little. How dare she play with me like that! Digitalis would rue the day. I'd go find her secret smut server and then tell her… that didn't even make sense! Why did I keep turning all of her weirdness back around? Proposing I play out her kinks for her was such a stupid idea.
"T-That's not even like possible… like you can't uh, force h-hypnotism on someone." I stammered. That was a dumb defense. I should have just told her to fuck off. Gah!
She made a little screen like window appear out of thin air between us. A hologram floating right in front of me. "Well, my cute petal, why don't you read about that particular classification of xenodrugs."
I looked. I scanned. I parsed. Class-H xenodrugs… Oh stars, they had a xenodrug just for hypnotism. Why? How? This was too much!
Weird feelings overcame me and I shook my forearms back and forth as if to vibrate the feelings out. It was too much. Too much. I was processing too many feelings that I couldn't even. I was rocking a little back and forth. I needed a fidget thing. But they were all upstairs! Gah! I was flapping my hands. My eyes darted back and forth.
"O-Out! G-Get out. Leave." I-I needed to be alone. Too much. Too much.
She stood up and then patted me on the head which was too much. I flailed an arm at her but it did nothing. Digitalis stopped. "Alright little one, but I meant what I said. If you ever want to explore any of that in a safe setting-"
She left and I was alone.

Digitalis maybe correctly mistook Aster's actions as flirting back. Miscommunication is sad. (also cliffhangers are evil, aren't they)

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