Another fascist ran off like a dog, knocking over stools, bins and books on their way out. I sigh while I try to bend my broom straight again, part of it split open. After a few test sweeps, it finally snaps into two bits of sharp metal with a brush at the end of one. I go and toss them in one of the garbage bins, and go to set my literature back on the tables. This abandoned restaurant used to keep a few homeless people warm at night, but ever since the affini showed up, there hasn’t been any of that.
Just my friends being picked off one by one, preying on their vulnerabilities and kinks. Even though I doubt the affini are evil in any sense of the word, they monopolized violence way stricter than the Accord ever could, installed a surveillance state more powerful than I’ve seen in any bunker world and treated every terran like animals to be doted on. I’m beginning to doubt we’ll ever be free, or that most terrans would want freedom.
I’ve made myself a vegetable sandwich with some of the vegetables Enya and Annie helped me grow and watch the neighborhood around the squat get leveled building by building, eerily quietly and replaced by apartments that look like they would have been reserved for the ultra wealthy under capitalism. People look happy now, hardly anyone passes by with some kind of stress in their body.
After I finish eating, I activate the deadbolt in the front door and leave out the back, locking up the squat. I worry that the building won’t be here in the morning, instead replaced with some kind of affini cafe, full of cute blank workers to be doted on by the plants. On my way home, one of those people-cat cafes catches my eye. In the window I see a huge wreath styled affini, with a cute blonde girl laying on its lap with the hottest vacant expression.
Part of me feels guilty about it, staring at her through the window, and the other part screams to keep looking. My better half loses out and I find myself already inside. Oh fuck. That wreath affini looks up to me and waves,
“Hello there, little one! I’m stuck here at the moment, but I can help you after this cutie moves!”
They say with a wispy but masculine voice, flirting like most affini do. I take a seat one table away from him, and look at a sign explaining cafe rules. Basic consent stuff, adjusted for altered states of mind. I’m allowed to just touch them if they come up to me, and if I approach one, I have to wait for them to initiate. Sane rules.
“Hey. I just saw a bunch of people laying around and got curious.”
I say as a half lie, watching as the girl on his lap turns her head to me, but stares past me. All of them have collars and wristbands on, but the girl on his lap has a thick leather dog collar with a tag dangling off of it. The affini giggles, their dark blue eyes looking me over.
“I’m Evergreen Carpinus Fourthbloom, he/him, and this is Betty Carpinus, First Floret and she/her”
I give him a weak smile, but never take my eyes off that girl, “I’m Jennifer, she/her.”
The affini gives me a big planty grin, “It’s nice to meet you, little one! How about I give you my girl and we get you something to drink!” They say while already standing up.
“Uhhh! O-Okay?? I’ll have a coffee..!”
Suddenly, that cute, blank girl is laying against me, her chest pinning mine to the chair. She emits this desperate whine, and then wraps her arms around me, leaving me flustered and shocked.
“I-Is this okay?? I don’t even know this girl, and she’s clinging to me..!”
Evergreen laughs while they go behind a counter, grinding some coffee beans.
“Oh, that means she likes you. She’s on some xenodrugs that stops words from coming out and makes her sensitive. Pet her back!”
I can’t stop blushing as this girl cuddles into me, so I gently rub along her back. She moans out random noises and squeezes me tighter, far too weakly to actually hurt me. Soon, there’s a coffee on the table and Evergreen is sitting in front of me with a big knowing grin.
“You like her, huh?”
I pour some cream and sugar into my drink, and give Betty a little stroke on the back of her head, nodding to the plant.
“There’s a girl I’m close with who’s going to end up like her, and one of my other friends is already domesticated..”
Evergreen smiles a bit too wide there, “Aww! Are you thinking about joining them?” He teases, making me almost spit my drink out.
“N-No, I’m nowhere near bottom enough to end up like that.” I take another sip, “I’m just worried that I’m only ever going to see her blank and drugged up all the time, like all of the florets.”
His smile changes from flirty to understanding, “Every floret’s relationship with their affini is different! Some like lucidity more than others, and if your friend likes being as empty and comfy as Betty, well.. You look like you’d enjoy her just as much.”
That affini reads right through me, and I’m left hugging the girl stuck on my lap. He brute forced through my doubts, and left me to my thoughts. After about a half hour of silence, we talk again about the Compact, xenodrugs, and change.