Gay little stories about big gay plants

Revaricated

by Fluxom

Tags: #cw:gore #cw:noncon #dom:internalized_imperialism #drugs #Human_Domestication_Guide #scifi #sub:capitalism #anthology

This started as a "what if Divaricated but Thatch had gone to therapy" before evolving into "what if Katie sucked at everything to a cosmic degree" before turning into a full blown flirtation assault upon anna//bool's heart.

CW for explicit non-con, self-inflicted accidental injury, mean plampts, and also a LOT of weed and alcohol to dull the pain

Bryn awoke feeling a discomforting pain all across their body. Darkness had pressed in all around them, blanketing them in a heavy weight that crushed down upon their ribs and left them barely breathing through their sleep. Their limbs were slow to respond, but with effort they managed to stir enough to feel the lump of Something above shift and slither about. Snakes? The mass seemed to cocoon them on all sides, even wrapping itself underneath to act as impromptu bedding. Were they not feeling a blooming sense of claustrophobia manifest within, they might even dare to call it comfortable.

The terran tried to shift their weight to the side, braced their elbow against the sinuous bedding, and shoved with as much force as they could manage. The thing above them shifted, but it was only on their third such maneuver that it finally fell over to the side enough to give Bryn passage out. Beyond was a curtain of utter darkness, through which they practically fell forward into, stumbled blindly through, then on hands and knees barely managed to navigate their way to a wall. Both the walls and the floor felt like warm metal, and the air they breathed had the familiar acidic aftertaste of low quality astronautic life support. A spaceship then.

That… roughly aligned with their shaken up memories. They recalled a vague jumble of sirens and bright alarm lights and a lot of noisy activity that culminated in one of those overgrown houseplants looming over them, and then… well maybe whatever happened next would come back later. Hopefully. They blindly pawed against the wall until they found something that felt vaguely like a door, then reached blindly near it until their fingers collided with something that felt vaguely like a lights panel. They pulled the switch, blinked against the now blindingly bright lights, looked back at the room behind them, and screamed.

The thing they had been underneath was apparently an affini. Was, past tense, as the now corpse appeared to have been blown up from the back-side and largely reduced to ash and charcoal. Even the usual antenna were bent and burnt awkwardly out of the unwound mass that had previously been its false head. It was dead. Bryn reminded themselves about it’s absolute deadness as they nervously toed near it’s corpse and poked it, and only screamed a little in response to the inert mass collapsing further into itself.

They promptly ran right out the room and shut the door.

Then they realized the outside paths were JUST as dark, so they opened the door again, used the light from within to find to the light panel outside, and turned that on before shutting the door.

Then they opened the door again to turn the light off. Just in case there would be any problems with energy drain later on down the line.



Bryn was quick to discover a few key facts about their situation. One, they were currently stuck aboard the spaceship Vautioc, a once commercial liner retrofitted into a freighter re-retrofitted into part of the rebel fleet. Two, the ship was apparently in such a poor state that not even the emergency lights were functional anymore, plunging the whole mass into a dark labyrinth that Bryn was stuck crawling through bit by bit as they fiddled with the lights along the way. Three, for as much of the ship that was still available to them, large swaths were currently sealed behind heavy mechanical bulkheads.
 
Food and water, at least, were readily available in the kitchens. Beds as well could be found in the disheveled but quiet bunk racks stashed throughout the ship. After more aimless wandering Bryn even found a map of the ship, and with it was able to deduce that command, engines, and weapons bays were all currently on lockdown. No escape pods were found either. Or people, for that matter. Which, in Bryn's admittedly non-expert opinion, was a problem.
 
Without any escape pods or means to access ship controls, they were effectively stranded. Alone. On a spaceship floating through the void of the cosmos. Which, well, there could be worse fates than being alone on a stellar level, right? They could be trapped here for so long that they lose their mind and hallucinate others, and then die of starvation. Though at least in that situation they'd have some company.
 
They could, in fact, not be alone. That'd be worse. Struggle with figuring out a way to get to safety again AND fight with a spooky space alien- wait a minute, there *was* a spooky space alien on the ship. Bryn scrambled back towards The Room, peeked in, and saw that the corpse was still there and still quite dead. Okay, strike that. No spooky aliens.
 
That they know of.
 
Bryn gave a sigh of relief and shut the door. Then cracked it back open to peek in again before shutting it and locking it this time. No aliens. They were safe. From… whatever it was Audrey 3 would do. Eat people, if one believed the drunken ramblings of the erstwhile crew. Bryn didn't quite think that was true but they didn't exactly know enough to be sure. Back to important matters; escape.
 
Bryn's stomach growled, so they mentally placed Escape down one rung under Get Food.
 

Bryn thought it was a bit silly that even while adrift in space the cafeteria vending machines still asked for their credit card information before dispensing a hamburger. That the burger itself tasted rather stale and bland really was the perfect cherry on top to match Bryn's mood at the time. Bland. Probably as a defense mechanism against drowning in panic at the thought of being lost in space. Which would be a reasonable thing to be afraid of, really. They could die out here and nobody would know.
 
…nobody would know?
 
Bryn looked back at the vending machines that lined the mess hall. Nobody would know if they just… well, okay, they couldn't just pop open the burger machine, that one had to heat it and stuff. But the drinks?
 
Wait, Bryn could just use the kitchen, right?
 
They walked over to the normally locked doors and kicked them open, revealing the shining steel lair beyond. Apparently whatever events had cleared this room had been largely polite enough to tidy up after itself as all the plates, platters, and plentiful other tools were shining clean in their rightful place. Food, both packaged and fresh for now l, rested either in their packages or on the freezer at the back. They could just take anything and cook it up however they wished.
 
Damn, they really should have learned how to cook right. Bryn settled for taking a chocolate bar and a water bottle for now. If anybody wanted to crawl up their ass about it later, well they'd have to do so after rescuing them anyway.
 
With the base of their pyramid of needs thus settled and their opinions towards committing crimes thus expanded they set back to the important task at hand; escape. They had to… uh… establish communications? Find a radio or the like and get a message out there. But also make sure just the terrans get it, or they'll just be inviting more affini to come by and they weren't feeling particularly lucky about that.
 
Bryn became sharply aware of the fact that they were neither particularly clever nor smart. If they were some sort of hyperdrive engineer they were sure they'd have at least a dozen actionable ideas for how to solve this problem already, but they weren't. They were, frankly, kind of surprised when a toaster worked and even more surprised when they didn't burn their toast. When their computer didn't start right, they cried about it. And when a cosmic scale vessel broke apart around them? Well apparently they emotionally shut down entirely.
 
What was it the therapist had said once? They should, compartmentalize? or something? Break it down into steps. Orders of importance.
 
  1. Find a means to establish communications
  2. Does life support actually work or am I slowly getting choked by rising levels of CO2 bubbling up around me whenever I stand still or um-
  3. Energy??? Generator??? Bryn didn't know how to word this one but basically maybe at least take a lookie at how the gen is doing
  4. Sleep! Bryn's favorite part of the day.

That works! Bryn could totally handle all of that. Just… they paced in a circle for a bit. Well maybe they should finish exploring first, this time with a willingness to break a few doors along the way if need be.
 

As luck would have it, the Captain'# quarters were not only available but also easy to unlock with the assistance of a cool crowbar that Bryn had found. Sure it was, like, broken now, but whatever add it to The Crime Pile. Inside they found a right proper mess of a room that told a story.
 
From the Captain's bed the blankets had been tossed aside, and a case next to the bed was thrown wide open and discarded to the side. A few steps away a shotgun had been dropped on the floor with spent shells littering the area around it. Knocked over books and bottles of wine implied the passage of action, and the line of debris climaxed a pile of discarded- Bryn blinked. Pajamas? They nudged the pile of cloth with the crow bar and confirmed, whatever affini had grabbed the Captain here must have had some fun with her since top, bottoms, and underwear were discarded in a pile on each other. Only a small puncture and dot of blood on the shirt implied any actual harm, much less than Bryn would have expected from a possible devouring event. 
 
Maybe the plants don't have to each all bitey like thought. Maybe they just, like grind people up for fertilizer nutrients? Gross. 
 
Well, whatever happened here exactly it was apparently a fun time judging by the smell still lingering in the air. Bryn snuck past all that though and riffled through the Captain's desk. No secret solution to their problems, but they did find a revolver and a handle of whiskey so they grabbed both. On the coat rack they grabbed the Captain's hat and donned it with a bit of whimsy, then fished an ID card out of the jacket pocket. Perfect! Hopefully. They giggled with presumed success and proceeded to sip whiskey as they pranced out of the room.
 
This card SHOULD, if they remembered the mechanics right from video games, give them access to anything they need. The first thing they could think of was to run over to the nearest bulkhead and try tapping it against the nearby panel.
 
Nothing happened.
 
Hrm. Bryn took another sip of whiskey as they pondered that. They tried tapping the panel a few times, and all it did was light up to say "Emergency safety measures engaged." No buttons to disengage. Okay, no luck there. They tried walking over to food instead and tapped it against the vending machine, which happily spat out another fresh burger free of charge. Sweet. Bryn then went to medical, where the card unlocked the various offices and… whatever medical rooms were called, in which they found more discarded clothes and one of the surgeon's ID cards.
 
Fuck yeah, this was *just* like their videogames and not at all horrifying with the idle worry that they'll die alone and unloved in the vacuum of space. Bryn took another sip of whiskey to abate the fear. 
 
With the surgeon's ID card they were able to bypass the need for credit card information to operate the AutoDoc, which then dispensed their totally real prescription for medicinal marijuana. 
 
Bryn realized they got a bit side tracked from doing anything productive. Whoops. Now they were a bit drunk, too. Whoops!!! Oh well, nothing to do but get crossfaded and continue tomorr- A quiet noise tumbled through the open door behind Bryn, causing them to bolt out of their humorous reverie. They spun, clumsily, and hefted the whiskey bottle like a weapon over their head as they stared through the open doorway into the darkness below.

Only silence and darkness answered Bryn’s fear. The seconds dragged on like minutes, ticking ever so slowly against the quickened pulse of their heart. Nothing. Nothing was there at all. Bryn told themself that several more times and they tipped the whiskey bottle back down and pulled from it again. Nothing but them on this ship.



Bryn ended up finding a particularly comfy bunk still with a blanket, got themself incredibly drunk and high, and THEN had a right proper panic attack about their situation before passing out entirely. When they awoke next it was to a pounding hangover and heavy hunger. The protective numbness in their heart had escaped them somewhere in the night, and in it’s place the simmerings of fear and paranoia were quite ready to make themselves apparent. Thoughts like ‘what if I die?’ and ‘what if I’m never found?’ flitted inbetween half-formed desires to seek food and water again, paired with the desperation and frustration that wanted to find someone to blame for this situation and scream at them over it.

This was getting nowhere. Bryn fished another blunt from the packaged lot and smoked it down rapidly. Not that it actually helped any, but by their estimation being high and panicked was slightly better than being hungover and panicked. Maybe they could just smoke up every day until something failed and killed them, and they’d be way too cooked out of their brain to notice any of it. Haha. That’d be a silly way to go. Haha. Ha. Haaaaaahhhhhh fuck.






FUCK!!!!!

Bryn kicked the wall and screamed. FUCK!!! FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!!! They screamed and flailed and threw random trash littering the room around until they were not only high and hungover and panicked but now exhausted too and sunk into a corner, arms wrapped tight and shivering. Fuck.

They had to be better than this. They had to *DO* something to get out of here. It was probably just dumb luck that they didn’t choke in their sleep already.

Bryn proceeded to lay there and wallow in misery for another hour or two before the growing headache finally eclipsed everything else enough to force them onto their feet. Back in the mess hall they instead wallowed in despair over a bottle of water and a low quality breakfast burrito until, once more, they could have sworn to hear a noise just barely murmur into audibility. At once a more immediate sense of panic took over, and they ran into the kitchens to chase the noise while brandishing the burrito as they went. Within they found… more nothing.

They remained standing in the doorway looking in for another few minutes anyway just in case something decided to show up.

…pretty please?

…nothing, then. Maybe they were just going mad already. Rude of their hallucinations to play hide and seek.

Well, fuck it, now they didn’t feel like moping anymore either. What a waste of a perfectly good bad mood. Bryn settled for returning to something that vaguely loosely looked kind of like productivity anyway, and went to go steal some more booze before handling other less important matters. Like figuring out the life support situation. Or anything else about their situation.

Their answer, after much aimless wandering, came in the form of finding a security room stashed unsuspiciously between two different bathroom sections. They tried the Captain’s ID card on it, and discovered that the door was actually broken and could just be shoved open as is. Inside were even more signs of past struggle, this time in the shape of discarded firearms and discolored splotches of… some kind of goop splattered against a far wall.

Bryn had an impulsive thought to try tasting the weird goop but shoved that aside. Maybe if they had literally no other options.

Though it did look kinda tasty.

But no! Serious matters first!!! Bryn chugged the rest of their water and tossed it into the pile of discarded gun before taking a seat at one of the desks. Random clicking at the computer was enough to lull it into wakefulness, from which randomly tapping the Captain’s ID card against the screen, then keyboard, then mouse, then the comp box itself was eventually able to flick something to bypass the lock screen. The reward for such clever espionage was camera feeds. A variety of boxes filled the screen, each showing the darkness of the ship (as Bryn was still dutifully turning off the lights whenever they left a room) with a different location tagged.

Cafeteria, black screen. Bunk section 182, black screen. Aft turret b8e4, static? With a little tag flashing err- no contact on the bottom. Bryn frowned. That was different. Aft was… the back of a boat? Right? A bit of aimless riffling through the drawers at this station revealed a handy helpful manual guide for beginners at monitoring software, which included a little fold-out that roughly traced the path of cameras over a map of the ship. How handy! Also, according to that the aft *was* the back of the ship. Starboard and Larboard didn’t mean a whole lot given the rotating barrel nature of the ship which, hrm.

Bryn looked up and pondered. There was still simulated gravity, so… the rotation was working, right? Stars they wished they were smarter right now. Maybe they should have paid attention in class instead of smoking weed under the bleachers all day.

Whatever, they couldn’t do anything about it anyway. They grabbed a pen from a “Space’s #1 Cop” mug and marked off the static turret, then switched to the next one. Cameras that worked got a check mark. Cameras that didn’t got an x through them. A small bead of concern worked it’s way into Bryn’s heart as more and more of the cameras on the back half of the ship came back No Contact. The implication of what THAT meant started to wiggle itself into existence in their mind, and they didn’t want to dare think of what could make it happen. So they marked them off. One by one. Again and again. Fore of the ship, fine. Aft of the ship, Err - No Contact. Again and again until they flicked to a hallway camera in the middle.

They saw space. Bare and beautiful and terrifying in equal measure, spinning rapidly off in it’s infinite distance and leaving brilliant streaks of light in the sky. Or, no, how did relativism or whatever work? The starts weren’t moving they were. Right??? Right. So the ship was spinning… concerningly fast and the only reason it didn’t seem like it from inside was because Bryn was already of matched velociraptor or whatever. Cool. Awesome.

Oh also apparently the entire back half of the ship was fucking GONE. Bryn flicked through the remaining cameras to confirm it. Everything beyond the visible break was No Contact because they weren’t fucking there. Everything on the other side of the quarantine walls was pure fucking vacuum and burnt wreckage.

…there was no fucking engine to turn this mess around. Or command center. They were literally spiraling out through space while emotionally spiraling back down into despair. They were probably going to, barring an energy and life support failure, probably crash into something and be utterly helpless to stop it from happening or worse get caught in some kind of gravity bell and fall into the fucking sun. And then die.

Bryn numbly flicked through the camera screens as they emotionally crumbled. Absent mindedly they grabbed the bottle of vodka they stole earlier and got to sipping it down too. Why not? Dying sober would, like, probably suck, so. Both actions hit an abrupt freeze when they flicked to Hall 7V and saw something move.

That one was definitely not a hallucination. They couldn’t, like, actually make out WHAT they saw there, it was just a lump of dark pixels that dashed behind a corner, but, it was something.

Bryn’s brain compulsively spat up two solutions. One, they were not alone and would be killed and eaten by whatever that thing was before they could die in the sun. Two, they were alone and already lost their beans so bad that they were making up friends. Fun. Bryn shut off the computer entirely, grabbed one of the discarded firearms and the map, and nervously left the security room behind.

Fucking nothing. That was all Bryn found for all the nervous pacing they spent around the broken remains of the ship. No dark shadows around the corner, no spooky noises, nothing even had the good mercy to jump out and off them either. After enough shaky pacing they even gave up on the idea on actually finding what those dark pixels were and retired once more to the Mess Hall.

Why did people have to eat so much? They just wanted to like, not. Ever. That’d be nice. More time to sleep. They wouldn’t have to stuff- they glanced down at the package in their hands- ready made mac and cheese??? Gross. They wouldn’t have to ever eat *that* again. Wash that down with more alcohol and some chips. And some water, too, they guessed. That was like, important or whatever. Guh.

Base physical needs met, Bryn once more returned to wallowing in despair by heading back to medical, getting more weed, and then crawling all the way back to their borrowed bed to cry, drink, smoke, and eventually sleep once more.



Day three, and Bryn had made basically no progress at all. In fact, they would dare to suggest that they made literally negative progress in that time, as they felt even less capable now than they did when they first woke up. That had to change! In ten more minutes. Bryn pulled the blankets up tight and rolled over, going right on back to sleep. Some unknown time later, now hungrier and more dehydrated, they promptly repeated the ritual and went right on back to the nap zone. Some even more unknown time later, now painfully hungry and wildly uncomfortably dehydrated, Bryn stared at the wall.

…okay, fine, they crawled out of bed and dragged themself back to the Mess Hall. They might as well just bring the bed there with how often their stupid human stomach needs kept dragging them back. Yipee. Time to feed the gross chemical balloon organ again. Yummy yummy water and uhhhh…. Stale bagel time. Eventually all this food would go bad, right? Or was it all so lathed in preservatives that it’d last longer than them? Or worse, they’d die and have so much preservatives in their body from eating this garbage that their corpse never decayed? That’s morbid. And disconcerting. Not morbid and disconcerting enough enough to make Bryn STOP per se, but, like, still.

All of that immediately went right on out the window when Bryn spotted something poke out of one of the air vents. Immediately the bagel and water fell to their sides to be replaced by them leaping out of their chair, tripping on a metal leg of the table, and falling flat first on their face. When they rose it was with gun in hand, aiming vaguely and shakily in the general direction of the air vent. There they saw… a hedgehog? Or an acorn. A cross between a hedgehog and an acorn with two lil antenna poking out of it’s tiny fuzzy face.

Bryn blinked dumbly at the tiny thing. The tiny thing stared blankly back at Bryn. That… was weird. Right? Maybe? Bryn mentally racked their admittedly still kind of hungover and hazy brain to think of anything that fit the descriptor of what they were looking at. Plant. Antenna. Crawls in the vents. SHIT! AFFINI!!!! Bryn drew in a sharp breath, eyes suddenly going wide with panic. They pulled at the trigger three times, but it was locked in place. Fuck. Uhhh, the safety was on? They pulled back the gun and looked over the sides. Let’s see… button for releasing the magazine, brand logo, AHA! They switched the thumb lever from off to on, grabbed the gun tightly, and BANG!

They had a handgun off safety for all of one second and promptly shot themself in the leg with it. To Bryn this was unfortunately on brand, so even as they fell flat on their ass and screamed in burning agony they thought ‘yeah that seems about right’. Fortunately the more immediate fear of the terrifying if tiny plant alien was enough that they didn’t completely drop into screaming and writhing on the spot. They still did scream in pain, of course, but it was between the acts of firing off the rest of their bullets in the general area of the scary houseplant, throwing their handgun at it once empty, and then screaming at it to stay as they tried to crawl out of their own growing pool of blood. Not that they could actually *see* the affini at that point, of course. Maybe it ran off. Or they were going blind. But still, they imagined it was there and that was spooky enough to encourage more flailing, more crawling, and then when they managed to pull themself up to something half resembling a standing position an awkward limp run away towards the medical rooms.

By then Bryn was barely even awake enough to be considered functional. Every time they blinked, the world seemed to flicker out of existence, their leg had skipped past burning heat of pain to just feeling cold, their breath felt shallow and empty, and yet sheer obstinacy to escape the affini carried them into the bed of the AutoDoc. The machine whirred to life around them, mechanical arms already tracing pretty patterns of light across their body even as they flickered in and out of consciousness.

“You are suffering from [blood loss] and [1] [gunshot wound]. Please present your insurance-” Oh godamnit was this really the time to demand money??? They blindly pawed at their pockets to find the Surgeon’s ID card and found it absolutely smeared with blood. Of course. They rubbed it against their shirt until clean enough and then blindly tapped it against the console. The machine just continued to insist on its request for insurance, over and over until the card slipped between Bryn’s bloody fingers and clattered against the floor. Stars damn it all. They didn’t even have the energy to reach for it anymore. “Please present your insurance.” Well, there were worse ways to die. “Please present your insurance.” At least this way they were still ah uh,,, what did those other more passionate rebels say? “Please present your insurance.” A proud free terran! Yeah!! That!!! “Please present your insurance.” Uhg god shut up.

Bryn fell limp against the bedding of the autodoc. They didn’t have the strength to act anymore, everything just felt too cold and distant and floaty and uhhhhgggghhhgg fuck it all. Fuck space, too. Space sucks, they decided. It was empty and cold and the robots wanted their money.

“Your vitals have fallen below acceptable thresholds. Now administering emergency treatment.” Oh boy! “Please be aware this will incur additional fees to be billed at the end of your stay.” Of fucking course. Mechanical arms went to their merry work splitting cloth from flesh, then pierced her with an array of needles on her shoulder and down by her wound. Something else was probing around her arm, probably a… a whatever the thingy was called. Pokey stick. With a tube. That had the uhhh. Stuff. In it??? Wow thinky hard. Maybe it’d be easier if the room would stop spinning. Please?

Fortunately for Bryn, the room did soon stop spinning. Unfortunately for Bryn, it was because they passed out into a drugged sleep.



Bryn woke up in a dull haze. The autodoc must have given them some pretttyyyyy good stuff, ‘cause instead of agonizing and embarrassing pain from having blasted their own leg they just felt a kind of floaty happy high instead, the kind of thing that they could totes just drift on allllll day and not care. Fuck yeahhh. Wwworth. “Please remain still until released by a medical professional.” Oh shut up AutoDoc they’re busy tripping. Bryn glanced down to see that their left arm was currently pinned in a series of metal clamps with wires and tubes currently plugged into them. That explains why they don’t feel thirsty. Looking up from that they next saw- aw fuck.

The hedgehog shaped affini was currently squirming through the gaps in the air vent into the room. Bryn normally would have been panicked about that but thanks to the tasty chemicals they instead just felt kind of vaguely miffed. “Go awayyy,” They groaned. The plant, despite Bryn’s best polite protest, continued to wiggled through the thin slats and popped right out, sending it tumbling out into the room. It rolled up into a ball, bounced off the floor, and ended up rolling across the distance where it collided with the far wall.

Okay that was a *little* cute. But still.

When the tiny affini unrolled itself and started walking towards Bryn all the panic right properly came back. Still muted, but enough that Bryn was able to redouble their protests. “Nnoooo,” They whined and used their free arm to try to wave off the plant. “Donnn’t.”

“Please remain still until released by a medical professional.” Not the time, AutoDoc. There was an evil alien invader like two feet away!

When the tiny little plant hedgehog started clambering up the side of the console and worked its way up. Bryn attempted to swat at it, but all they got for the effort was a clumsy sweep, an uncomfortable realization that dried blood still caked their hand, and another stern reminder from the AutoDoc before its mechanical arms grabbed them by the wrist and pinned it to their side.

“Please remain still until released by a medical professional.” NOT THE TIME!!!

The pointy thing breached the top of the console, it’s… face? Front plate? Whatever it was that terminated the forward facing portion of the plant quadruped. “Stay awayyy,” They begged through the drugged haze. It didn’t seem interested in listening though, as it paced back and forth a few times before running and leaping, landing right beside Bryn’s pillow. Bryn yelped and tried to lean away, but they were given so little space that they couldn’t even properly escape. “Please stay away?” They were down to begging at that point.

What luck, begging to a plant the size of their fist. It advanced without pause, crawling up onto the pillow itself before marching even closer towards the terran’s face. Bryn at first wiggled their head to get away, then, breathing fast and shallow, froze up as it came next to them, and shut their eyes and mouth tightly. This was it. They were dead. For real this time. The plant was gonna eat them and- and- um,

…um,

It just crawled up on top of their forehead and laid down.

Bryn remained stock still in continued fear. When nothing happened they peeked one eye up to barely see the hedgehog’s silhouette looming just above their eyeline.

…it wasn’t doing anything.

…well then.

Bryn tried sliding their head back into a comfortable position, and the affini didn’t budge in response.

This was just awkward, then.

Bryn remained in a state of nervous tension for what felt like hours, though given the contrasting forces of drugs and nerves it was probably about like two minutes. The affini spent that whole time perched atop their skull and, apparently, softly breathing judging by how it consistently inflated and deflated. It was actually kinda comfy, if they pictured it was a cat laying on them instead of a plant.

…wait they were still an evil invader. Bryn huffed and tried to puff towards the plant, but the weak exhales barely made it stir. On the third try though the little bundle of wood and leaves suddenly shook, wiggled its head around, and then sneezed. Pink mist launched out from within it’s body and coated the air around Bryn’s head. Fuck! Well this was their own damn fault. The air itself tasted unusually sweet, and left a fizzy sort of popping sensation on the tip of their tongue as it inevitably drifted into their system.

The affini wiggled up onto its tiny little steppers and moved from Bryn’s face down to their chest, trailing more pink mist as they went. The mist was clearly drugged. Bryn could feel its blatant touch coursing out from their lungs and stealing away what little bits of energy they still had available as it went. At least it felt nice. Kind of floaty and bubbly and silly and calmmmm annnnd ummm, Bryn blinked repeatedly. What were they just doing? They tried to rack their brain but they couldn’t quite recall anything important beyond the fact that they felt like, super nice, and have been feeling super nice for at least five seconds previous. Feeling nice was nice. They also had some kind of comfy weight on their chest, which, also nice.

Bryn closed their eyes and let the floaty comfy feelings wash over them and pull them allll the way down into sleepy time.



Apparently the fearsome evil affini wasn’t *too* evil, as when Bryn woke up next they not only felt wonderfully refreshed but also blitzed as FUCK on painkillers and quite comfy with a lil warm ball of spiky bark on their chest. How nice. It almost even felt like they hadn’t accidentally given themself an accidental injection of lead in the leg, too. How sweet.

“Please remain still until released by a medical professional.”

“Oh shhhUT UP, Autodoc.” Bryn groaned. What a buzzkiller. Their wiggles of protest at the machine’s ironclad grip stirred the nefarious weed upon their chest enough to drive it to action though, and soon the terran felt the mighty footsteps of its tiny tiny form marching across their body, then roll off the side and down to the floor. Okay bye then??

A few minutes later the herbal rodent appeared once more on the console with the surgeon’s ID card (still bloody but coagulated and dry now, so, gross) and did… something with it to release Bryn.

Bryn blinked numbly and dumbly at the tiny shrub. How… generous? And helpful? “...thanks?” It bristled up into some kind of green shimmer in response. That was some kind of response, so hopefully a positive one. Maybe. They weren’t a xenolinguist.

Bryn tried to hoist themself off the bed and managed a spectacular stumble and fall face-first into the floor, only by good fortune able to brace themself with their arm before crashing down. Saved from the embarrassment of knocking themself out, doomed to a fresh bloom of pain on their arm to match the fresh bloom of agony on their leg.

Bryn laid face-first down on the floor and groaned in pain instead of doing anything about it. This just felt appropriate to them. Something about the vibe being right to their dramatic fuck ups.

The hedgehog, meanwhile, seemed much more productively minded and used that time to fish out some crutches from one of the closets and nudge them with its tiny adorable face towards Bryn.

…okay, they couldn’t really stay scared at the thing when it kept being so nice. Bryn grunted something that kind of vaguely sounded like thanks. Getting up on the crutches was, like, kind of awkward? But with those to support their weight at least their leg was spared further effort.

Speaking of leg, they only then noticed that their leg was bare save for the clear water-proofed wrap over their bandaged wound.

…in fact, both of their legs were bare.

Bryn looked down and realized they were actually stark fucking naked. Oh bloody hell, the AutoDoc stole their clothes. Like, they were a mess so Bryn understood *why* the clothes would have to be removed but STILL.

“You wouldn’t happen to know where I can find some clothes, would you?” They asked the tiny plant at their heels. Not that they’d expect and answer- oh,no, it immediately scampered over to the door and turned around to face them. Add that to the pile of disbeliefs then. The plant led, and Bryn followed.

Through the dimlit halls of the space wreckage the two traveled until they found their apparent destination. The baths? Bryn looked down at the plant incredulously. “Seriously?” It ruffled up its scales at them. Bryn stared back for a moment, then dared to sniff under their arm.

Oh gods.

They just smell like sweat, alcohol, and blood.

Disgusting.

“Okay fine you win this one.”

Sponge bathing was at least not *too* difficult of an affair in their state. With a bench to sit on and their wound already water-proofed they had to scrub. A bunch. Okay maybe it was a little difficult but that was because they were high as fuck, they swear. Like, who *wouldn’t* get stuck watching bubbles form on the sponge’s surface when squeezed with enough tasty chemicals in their blood? Nobody. That’s who. Don’t judge. So the truth of the matter is that they absolutely fucking sucked at bathing themself and ended up spending the whole time a kind of giggly mess because the sponge felt like tickling and whenever they got some good bubbles going they’d wobble about in false gravity and that was funny to them.

Bryn must have been at it for a while, ‘cause eventually the affini came back and jumped on a lever that poured cold water over the human, shocking them out of their bath-time funsies and into upset shivers and discontent. That the affini followed it up by prancing towards the towels didn’t really help a whole lot, but Bryn was simply too cold all of a sudden to avoid its tiny tiny ideas.

Once toweled off they next discovered that they had taken SO long with their bubble sponge bath that the affini apparently also had time to drag a bag with fresh clothes in. Come on, how dare it actually be productive. Wasn’t the normal thing to like, cry a bunch first and do drugs about it? Did the plant skip that step? Bryn huffed. Now they just felt incapable by comparison.

At least the clothes were comfy. Standard issue navy pajamas, a jacket, and comfy warm socks for their feeties. Add a pair of slippers and it was basically the ideal lazy day wear, complete with being just a bit oversized for extra comfort. Perfect. Add some weed and tasty food and they were ready to spend all day in bed. By the time they managed to pull all those clothes on the affini was once more standing in the doorway expectantly. “Yeah, yeah, I’m coming.”

The next place the itty bitty plampt led them to was the mess hall. Ah, home sweet home. Wasn’t there a blood stain in there from before? Bryn didn’t see one and frankly was a bit too busy feeling like their brain was made of fog to really think about it too much. The plant continued it’s bossy little stomps right up to a series of vending machines and paused to face Bryn until they got something from them, stopping and several in a row until Bryn was left with something that vaguely resembled a proper breakfast sized meal next to yet another plastic bottle of water on the side.

Bryn contemplated getting some more alcohol after this, to wash down the inevitable taste if nothing else. The shrub spent the whole time just sitting on the table across from Bryn. Watching them, probably. This just felt kind of awkward to be silently sitting there with an alien, honestly.

“So…” Bryn started between mouthfuls of bread. “...come here often?” Stupid. Stupid silly question. Why was *that* the first thing to come to mind???? The plant didn’t even have a verbal response, if it were even capable one. It just tilted that faceplate thing to the side and it’s antennas did a little wiggle. Uhg. Take two. “So… do you eat people?” Bryn, what are you saying??? The affini just tilted its head the other way. Just assume that’s a no. Silly. “...do you know a way out of here?” That got a more energetic reaction. Some shivering of scales and more excited wiggling. Was that good news? Hopefully.

Bryn tried to consider it a hopeful sign and reacted appropriately, by leaping to their feet- ouch, no, bad, they immediately slumped back down to their seat and face planted the table in shame. Bad bad bad.

“Between you and me, I think I kinda just wanna smoke weed and sleep today,” Bryn whined audibly. Sucks that they, like, had a whole life threatening situation going on. The plant, though, wiggled over across the table and bumped against their cheek at that. “Yeah, yeah, I know, we gotta like, find an escape vector or something.” It bumped against their cheek at that. “Just give me a minute.” Another bump. Bryn sighed and scooted back up, back to stuffing their face with food. Once finished they grabbed their crutches and dragged themself back up. “So, whats our out?”

The affini ran in a small circle a few times before scampering out to the exit. More follow the leader, then. This time it lead them to… the bunks?

Bryn looked down at the plant. “Don’t we have to like, do stuff?” Not that they were actually complaining on the inside, sleep would be a great solution to the existential despair currently simmering underneath their chemical induced comfort. The affini just bumped their heels repeatedly. “Okay, okay, I’m going, I’m going.” They awkwardly hobbled in and, guided by the tiny plant bonking their heels, ended up once more draped across a bed. Well, fine, if an extragalactic entity demanded they go to bed who were they to complain?

Bryn made a mock display of discontentment and need to go Be Productive or whatever, the kind of thing they’d do to save face in front of other terrans, but ultimately caved and tucked themself up under the blankets. Mmm. Comfy. Once they were properly down the affini trekked another circle in the ground before marching right on towards the door.

“Wwwaittt,” Bryn groaned. The affini turned around in the door frame. “Do you have any weed?”

The affini seemed to pause for a moment, then scampered back over to Bryn’s side. Did it actually have weed??? Oh fuck yeah, space weed. It clambered awkwardly onto the bed, hopped across Bryn’s body, and then shook out a wave of pink mist from its body over their face.

Wait, that's not space weed.

Bryn gasped in shock, which filled their lungs with that tasty pink mist and all too soon they were right back to happy pleasant foggy tingles as they drifted down into sleep.



Maybe if Bryn was lucky when they get out of this space junk they’d be able to find the kind of job that lets them lay around and get high all day and not worry about anything again. They’d earned that, right? This whole mess was like, enough anxiety for two lifetimes. Getting bossed around by an itty bitty plant was just an extra layer of Weird to add to the mix. Since being ever so chemically tucked into bed and made to take a good long nap Bryn had basically been getting nudged around by the rodent to bathe, eat, drink water, and every time they tried to go get more alcohol about it the damn thing had instead showered them with more happy pink mist that had then slumping off into sleep again instead. Not productive, but admittedly not, like, TOO upsetting.

They almost even forgot they were going to die! Haha, how nice. Oh to be in a state of blissful ignorance as the ship plunged into a star or crashed into an asteroid or-

Bryn bolted upright. “I need to get off this wreck,” they uttered. Then laid back down and fell back to sleep. When they next awoke it was with a slightly more muted but still present version of the same worry. The affini was even in their lap this time! “We need to get off this wreck.” It wiggled about in response, stomping its little feeties on their belly as if to tell them to lay back down, but Bryn felt the drive to act actually brimming in their veins for once. They slumped out of bed, grabbed the crutches, and then hobbled themself up into something that resembled a standing position plus minus some dignity.

Bryn took exactly one heroic step towards the door and paused. They didn’t actually know what to do next. Hrm.

Bryn turned to face the affini. “So uh… do you know what to do now?”

The plant paced back and forth a bit, then ran forward before leaping onto Bryn’s arm and clambering up onto their shoulder. With another set of wiggles they managed to produce a vine which they used to point Bryn forward on out of the room. Together the two mighty heroes hobbled back into the great darkened paths of the ship, and…

Okay Bryn didn’t actually understand a thing about what the two were doing but the plant was pointing and they were following and that felt kind of like progress. Maybe they’d get one or two tasks done and then get a burger and some beer and get crossfaded again, that’d be fun and feel kind of like a success. The path the plant led on eventually wandered into a room that, at one point, looked like it was actually kind of important. Rows upon rows of computers, more hardware along the back, cables and buttons and switches everywhere. Bundles of the stuff were even disassembled and strewn about the place. The plant hopped off of Bryn’s head and got to sniffling about within the guts of the machinery, while the terran…

“I don’t know what to do with any of this.” They said with a defeated sigh. They slumped down into one of the chairs and groaned in frustration. Useless. Actually fucking useless. Now they just felt bad. The most functional thing Bryn had to contribute to a mess of machinery was idle pickings at the wires and quiet but also empty contemplations. The affini, however, was quite industrious in how it used it’s tiny adorable planty form to wiggle about inside the machinery and assemble some kind of contraption in front of Bryn.

Piece by piece the plant formed a jumble of thingamabobs and whatsits, punctuated it with a cute little switch, dial, and a speaker. A communication ansible? Bryn reached for the switch and got a swat on the wrist for it.

Seriously? They glared at the plant, and tried again. Another swat on the wrist. Oh fine. They silently watched the plant fiddle about inside the machine a bit more before it fully crawled out and took a seat next to it. Bryn reached for the switch again, slower this time in expectation of being chided once more. When it didn’t react, they flicked the switch. The machine hummed into life, air filling with static from it’s uh… speakybox? Whatever the sound bit was.

White noise. They glanced between the device and the affini. Was it working right? They fiddled with the dial, and the noise coalesced into a voice. “...ter solution. Affini medical technology provides effective solutions to your medical problems. Regardless of if you are suffering from mental health issues, chronic illnesses or are just on the lookout for a safe space to experience new highs.” Bryn blinked. A radio? Their untrained eye couldn’t figure out if there was a speaky thing or not, so… a radio receiver?

Bryn turned towards the plant. “So… how does this help?” It shimmered its scales in response and scampered off. “H… how does this help though?” The voice on the radio continued on to talk about affini xenodrugs whatever whatever, then changed programs to something about health care or whatever? Bryn turned the dial, turning the voice to static again, then to another neutral to slightly feminine voice came on talking about food. Food was nice. Bryn liked food!

….wait this was basically just an entertainment device. “Did you make this just to distract me!?” Bryn asked incredulously. Wow. Just wow. Even the plant thought they were useless. It’d be a waste to not use this ansible though, so… Bryn turned the dial back to someone talking about drugs again. Then to another channel where a soft voice went on in a loving-but-condescending tone about how adorable some alien species Bryn never heard of was and how they had managed to make the cutest little warp drive all on their own (with some help from the affini of course) and how everyone should be proud of them.
 
Bryn felt that was utterly silly, but so sincere that it flew right past their propaganda wards and landed in the "oh they actually mean it" bin. After another hour of flicking through the channels the same bin filled up with a number of other educational facts about the affini that painted QUITE the surprising picture in Bryn's mind, and honestly I could detail them all one by one but its basically just genre catch up and we all know what the deal is here, this is like twenty fics deep (and if this is your first HDG fic and you don't know the genre conventions, how did you get here? go read Divaricated like 90% of this is crutched on it for metatextual context).

Long story short, Bryn had come to the understanding that the big scary plant aliens from outer space basically came here to pet the humans because they thought they were cute, and in the process overturned the human government to replace it with vines petting human heads forever. “This is ridiculous!” Bryn shouted. “I don’t want to be a pet!” Their affini friend poked its tiny little head out of the wireworks at that and stared blankly in Bryn’s general direction. Well, it didn’t have eyes, but, like, the vibe was staring. “Don’t look at me like that. I don’t want to be a pet, I just want to lay around and smoke weed all day, okay?” Which apparently was an option now, since the affini claims about having domesticated the concept of scarcity was either a societal level illusion or actually sincere.

The affini, as always, was silent in response.

“Oh who am I kidding?” Bryn continued on anyway, slumping forehead first into the desk ahead of them. “I’m so doomed. The second you plants get here I’m as good as gone, aren’t I?” Their plant companion just tilted it’s head to the side in response. Bryn sighed, once more wallowing in feelings of uselessness until they actually dared to look up once again and inspiration finally truly struck. “...wait,” They said, a hopeful glimmer finally trailing in their voice. “You’re lost here too. Surely if I help with the escape I can be like, ‘oh look I helped save one of your kind, please don’t hurt me’, right?” Nobody would turn on someone who HELPED their own kind escape certain death and doom in deep space, right???

The hedged hog’s response was to flop over onto its side. GOOD ENOUGH!!

“It’s a plan! Show me what to do!” Bryn shouted ecstatically. The hedgehog just rolled about for a bit before waddling over, flopping off the table, and bumping their injured leg as it tumbled down to the floor. Bryn’s bravado immediately broke into whimpered grunts as they folded around their leg and grabbed it. “Owwwww, ow  ow ow, why would you do that?” They whined.

Hedgemus St. Hog did not respond with words but rather with more bumping at Bryn’s heel. They knew well enough that that meant to get moving, and maybe this time it’d be helpful moving. Onward!

To the mess hall??? Again??? Bryn grabbed several water bottles per its instructions and a packaged snack. Yeah, okay, being hydrated is an important step to being helpful and thus earning one’s independence. Then they went back to the bunks, where Hedgbert Von Hogsmas nudged Bryn until they sat down on the bed once- “Hold on, this is just more resting.” Bryn proclaimed.

The affini turned on its heel and did a jolly little trot right on out the door.

“W-wait! I want to help!?” Bryn shouted after it, rushing to awkwardly put their myriad goods down and grab the crutches to hobble after the plant. That got a much faster reaction, as it turned around and bumped Bryn right back into bed. This was silly. Of course they COULD just ignore the tiny insignificant force bomking against their leg but, like, that’d be rude. After ferrying them back to sitting down the plant proceeded to bonk against their injured leg a few more times. “What, I can’t help because I’m hurt?” It ran in a little circle. “Well what if I try anyway?” It mocked a dramatic turn to face away from them. “Wait, no, hold on, I don’t know how to do jack shit around here.” It spun around and bonked their leg again. “So… I rest, and later you’ll let me lend a hand?” And, by extension, prove that they’re a nice helpful terran who definitely doesn’t deserve to be, uh, domesticated. Yeah. The affini hopped a few times on it’s tiny little feeties at that, which Bryn decided was a positive sort of reaction. “Okay fiiiiine, I’ll stay here.”

Now satisfied, the affini turned on its heel and marched on out. Bryn, alone, just laid down on the bed, flicked the radio back on, and… god okay this part is boring actually. They just laid there and listened to whatever they happened to find. Dreadful. Didn’t even have any alcohol to make it a party.



“...ifth bloom. We know things are scary right now, especially for some of you. Maybe you’re feeling lost in this new world, staring out into space, fearing what is to come. If you need us we will find you.” Amongst the many new broadcasts to fill the air, one that seemed to actually help Bryn a bit was a bit of, uh… guided meditation they guessed? Stars knew they had the free time to learn a bit of meditation now. It was more fun than listening to two Neoxenoarchaeobureaucrats debate the elder memes for four hours again. Besides, it was nice to just relax to a nice feminine voice telling them that they’d be all comfortable and stuff, like, even normally but especially when their real situation was one of mild anxiety and worrying about, like, a rock or something hitting the ship. “Take another deep breath, smell the flowers, take in their pollen, my xenodrugs, and let them calm you down, keep those worries away, let me bring you to your happy place.”

Happy place. Right. They had a happy place. It involved being incredibly brain meltingly high and bundled under like twelve blankets, but they could simulate by burritoing up with the blankets they had. The voice went to something about taking a rose and planting it deep inside. Symbolic, obviously, but Bryn couldn’t help but recall the sneering voices of rebels insisting that anyone who took anything from the plants was somehow less than human. So like, taking a whole ass flower into oneself would make one extra not human, right? And uh… judging by the way people had talked about that it was supposed to be a bad thing or something?

Bryn kind of wished they were a bit smarter so they could actually think these things through. Or have someone smart around who could explain it really really well- uhg, this was like, the opposite of meditation. They were thinking TOO MUCH now! That’s hardly any fun. Maybe they could ask the affini to bring them some weed again. Which would result in more not space weed, of course, but like, it’s not THEIR fault the affini didn’t have space weed so that doesn’t count.

“...this might have been a bit intense for some. Take some time to recover, take care of your needs, then maybe message a friend.” With that the broadcast reached its scheduled close, and Bryn was left into the gentle musical tones that followed after it. They’d message a friend if they could. Did the hedgehog count as a friend? Bryn hoped so. It seemed to be down with their ‘dodge being domesticated by space plampts’ plot, and if that didn’t count as a friend well then what did?

Bryn tapped a knuckle against the air vent, and a minute later the familiar shape of a plantly hedgehog appeared from between its slats. It even had a cute little flower this time! “Hiiii,” Bryn called out. “The radio show said I should message a friend and I think you’re the only thing that counts right now, so, uh, hello?” The innate silliness of having a one-sided conversation with a plant-based entity the size of their first had by then worn down to a relatively comfortable ease of just saying whatever was on Bryn’s mind at the time. A few days of boredom and xenodrugs just, like, did that to people. “So… how is… whatever the rescue plan is?” They still didn’t know what was up with that. Every time they tried to do something that wasn’t eating, sleeping, or cleaning themself up the lil plant got stompy again, so,

Their little hedgehog friend rolled right on out of the vent, bounced off of Bryn’s head, and rolled down their torso to land in their lap. It then pranced about excitedly in a circle a few times before scurrying under the blankets and scampering over to Bryn’s injured leg. The terran pulled aside the blanket and watched as it crawled over the bandaged limb a few times, paused, and then tugged on one of the strips of cloth.

“Is it really time to change the bandage again?” They whined. They could have sworn they just did this yesterday. Or… a few days ago, maybe. The time in the middle got kind of muddy with how they were kind of maybe sort of asking for space weed every night and sleeping in every morning slash afternoon slash evening (it was for pain management, they swear). They also didn’t really do any of the bandage changing themself, either. Hedgy had these little tendrils it used to do the job so they just kinda laid back and let whatever happened happen.

Bryn slipped into the usual unfocused state of waiting as they felt their little hog of the hedges start pulling apart the bandages to reveal the state of their wound. The stitches were gone by then, of course. And the bleeding had all stopped, yay, but also it was kinda itchy and gnarly looking and frankly Bryn preferred not being able to see it. This time, however, the affini paced around the now exposed patch of skin a few times before plucking the flower off their body, several roots along it’s structure unwinding as it detached before twisting back together into a spearlike structure as it hefted the thing and-

“Wait!” Bryn sat up. They’d heard the plants talk about medical implants on the radio before, so like, it wasn’t a COMPLETE mystery what it had intended but, um, that, uh, the plant was looking up at them now, flower still in hand. “...it’ll make me not human?” It didn’t move from the spot, but Bryn could practically feel the weight of its stare turn judgemental. “No, I don’t know what it means, I just heard it from other terrans before and they all talked about it like it’s super bad.” Silence reigned between them. “...No, I don’t know why that’s a bad thing either, okay???” More silence, this time just feeling very awkward. “Look, I’m not very smart and I don’t know what people mean more often than not and I rarely understand things but like they were really emphatic about it so I kinda just felt like maybe I’d ask later for details and forgot and that happens all the time, okay?”

The plant bundled the flower up into itself and walked in a circle again before rolling up in a huff. Was it…. Pouting?

“Sorry,” Bryn said quietly. “If you could talk right now you’d have some clarifying things to say, wouldn’t you?” It ruffled its scales again. Bryn laid back down, quite ready to some self pitying for being so fucking stup- They felt the unfortunately familiar kick of a warp drive in their lungs. Bryn blinked several times. Surely that was wrong, right?

A moment later they were proven quite right, as a dozen affini burst down the door, jumped through the air vents, climbed out of the walls, and somehow one came out from under their bed. Through the dizzying and seemingly spontaneous blur of motion Bryn only managed to hold on to one mental fact. A secret and powerful weapon to instantly defeat any affini that they had learned from one of the soap opera broadcasts.

Bryn threw their hands into the air and shouted, “I’m very soft and cute!”

All of the affini immediately melted into adoring ‘awwwww <333~’ noises. Perfect. Absolute victory. Now instead of being fiercely tackled and immediately domesticated on the spot they were being pet by a baker’s dozen of affini at once who were all talking over each other about how cute and sweet and soft they were. Thank you, soap opera, for providing real and life-saving information.



Bryn learned several fun facts after being graciously cradled by an affini and carried off to the shockingly extravagant medical wing of their spaceship. One, the hedgehog that spent the whole trip napping on their lap was apparently one Veratrix Kousa, 15th (soon to be 16th bloom). Two, while Bryn was being, according to the affini, “a very good and helpful terran by napping and recovering appropriately” Veratrix had been quite busy building an ansible capable of communicating at strength capable of reaching out to the affini to come rescue them. It was supposedly a very thrilling endeavor full of heart pounding tension and difficulties. Super cool time. You shoulda seen it. Anyway. Third thing was that they were actually quite amenable to Bryn’s gentle but insistent request for independence. While they were quite condescending if adoring about how little Bryn was able to contribute to the escape plan (besides their adorable terran face which no doubt helped Veratrix a lot, according to them), they did seem to appreciate how ‘polite and obedient’ Bryn was Miss Kousa’s demands.

Sadly, Veratrix quite badly needed to take a nap in what looked like a surprisingly large fish bowl full of a multi-colored soup and dirt substitute so that she could rebloom properly. It took a while. Like, longer than Bryn had to spend in the medical wing while. They visited while they were moved to a cute little hab room (with all the appliances and furniture still a bit too large for terran use and an AI that teased them if they didn’t say please before asking for water (but they worked!!! So Bryn didn’t cry about it) ), then visited again as they were meeting more affini to officially handle matters of independence and lapsed IDs from terran accord to terran protectorate paperwork. Then there were meetings to debrief about what happened on the ship, a meeting to consult what Bryn’s favorite stuffed animals and types of drugs were, a meeting to consult on whether or not there were too many meetings involved in this process, and by then Bryn was so tired that the meetings just went on around them as they took a cute little nap in the corner. They definitely were sleeping on a big pillow and NOT an oversized doggy bed, by the way. Definitely.

But when all was said and done, Bryn was one physical healthy terran individual with a stack of paperwork that certified they were a very good little terran who was very polite and helpful and absolutely deserved their independence if they wanted it, only requiring the signature of Veratrix herself before it was all official and taken care of. So Bryn once more visited the recuperating affini.

Within her reblooming chamber Bryn had watched her first enter as a little hedgehog, tiny scales wiggling about to burrow underneath the ground, and slowly grow into the twisted shape she now bore. A thick arch of wood mimicked the pattern of a human spine, clutching a seed the size of Bryn’s head in its thin ribs. A blanket of vines and wooden scales burst out along it’s lengths into a pattern that nearly mimicked a great cloak, with bright leaves blooming into a texture akin to fur to highlight. Bryn would dare to say her sleeping body reminded them of a reaper dressed in rich furs, just waiting to unbury itself and pull a scythe out after it.

Menacing, if not for the fact that Bryn already associated her with an adorable scaly pointy mouse.

But anyway back to the important matter, Bryn and Calypsys (8th bloom, wonderful lady, loves boardgames and has three florets.) went together to visit Veratrix with documents in hand to find her still sleeping her merry if slightly creepy sleep, having long since drained the ichor into herself for nutrients and becoming a wonderfully verdant mess in the process.

“Is she still sleeping?” Bryn cocked their head.

Calypsys sighed, “She’s just being lazy again, I’ll wake her.” The tall affini then slithered on over to the sleeping plant and rapped her knuckles against Veratrix’ spine a few times. “Veratrix, you sleepy bun, we have paperwork to handle.” That seemed to catch her attention, as her body suddenly wrenched itself free from the soil, tendrils snapping together and weaving into simulacras of flesh, wood breaking apart into scaled patterns that danced over false shoulders, cloak billowing out behind them like a pair of verdant wings, and lastly pulling free a wooden mask carved into a beastial visage that she pressed into her face.

“Can’t a girl sleep in a little after such a thrilling adventure?” Her voice was a deep and warm timbre, like a blues singer mixed with just the right level of societal exhaustion to call someone a a very colorful insult to their face. Truth be told, it hit Bryn with a sense that a longing they hadn’t felt before was suddenly fulfilled by its return despite never having heard it before.

“Ver-” Was as far as Bryn got before she whipped a series of vines across the room and slammed them against the wall, silencing them by force. At once they felt themself squeezed in on all sides, thorns and needles grazing against their skin while a rising tune flooded their senses. They struggled on pure instinct, blindly pulling against the powerful restraints even as no progress was ever yielded to them.

“Sorry about my pet,” Veratrix continued. “They’re quite chatty, as I”m sure you’ve learned. What did you need me for?”

Calypsys looked form Veratrix to Bryn several times in rapid sequence. “Bryn uh… was filing for independence and needed you to sign off on it?” They held up the papers in question.

Veratrix’s response was one of stunned silence, their own eyes going wide only momentary before proper understanding hit and they shifted into a laugh. It started low, like a small chuckle that built up steam by the moment before bursting apart into a thunderous cackle, with even the mask splitting apart to reveal rows and rows and rows of razor teeth as their voice roared at the hilarity of the mere suggestion. Veratrix snapped herself back together, grabbed the papers out of Calypsys’ hand, and tore it in half. “No.”

Okay, scratch that, not a blues singer. A supervillain. Bryn had been stuck with a supervillain style affini and hadn’t pieced it together because she was just too small and cute to reveal it. They redoubled their efforts to break free but were only rewarded by the threatening thorns against their body breaking skin for their efforts. Ow ow ow ow ow fuck.

Veratrix tore the very complicated, carefully filed, and wonderfully hand-written pieces of documentation to tiny little shreds as she took long, slow steps towards her captured prey, tossing the mess like a pile of confetti into the wind without a care once she was right next to them. “Is surgical hall 3 currently open?” She asked the still stunned affini.

“Uh… yes?” Calypsys answered.

“Wonderful, I’m taking it” Veratrix then pulled Bryn’s still struggling body down to the floor, changing her vine’s grip to focusing more around Bryn’s lower face, neck, and shoulders to act as a leash as she dragged the human behind her on her path. “By the way, we should have a game night sometime. I’m sure your florets would love to meet mine once I’m done,” She breathed in sharply, excitement on her tongue “breaking mine in.”

“They uh… already met Bryn though?” Calypsys obviously hadn’t expected this meeting to go this way, as she completely missed the part where Veratrix had already walked right on out with Bryn in tow.



The poor unfortunate soul that was Bryn learned quite quickly that despite being literally dragged kicking and screaming (though muted by the vines), nobody was going to save them. The most they got was an occasional affini saying something along the lines of “oh my” and quickly dashing out of Veratrix’ path despite the terran’s attempts to claw at the vines on their mouth and scream for help. All the panic they had successfully stifled aboard the wreckage had now come back in full violent force, all of which was focused solely upon the target of what they felt was a horrid betrayal. They had trusted her! Stars they had even listened to her and been polite and nice and rested like they should have and- okay there was that one part with the gun BUT STILL!!! They didn’t want to be a pet!

By that point Bryn had exhausted themselves from actively flailing to limp struggling and crying. They were fucking stupid. Godsdamnit. They should have seen this coming, but just like everything else in their stars damned life they were just too dim witted to see the truck barreling down the road both blinkers on and horn blaring. Fuck. Fuck fuck FUCK!!!!

Before they knew it they had been pulled off the floor, their dress violently torn from their body, and were pressed face-first into a surgical table that locked their arms out to their side and left their back exposed to the air. “I’m sorry,” They sputtered between tears and snot. “I’m so sorry I promise I’ll be good just don’t-”

“Shh,” Veratrix cut them off with naught but a gentle pat on the back of their head. “It’s okay, dear. There’s nothing you can do here now. After all, every time you tried to do things when we were together you failed, remember? And now I’m here to make sure you never need to fail so spectacularly again.” The words hit Bryn like a knife of ice into the heart. What…? The hand on the back of their head suddenly tightened into a grip on their hair and yanked them back, bringing them face to face with the affini- no, the monster before them. “By the way, it’s adorable that you thought you had a chance at independence. See, part of why I took so long to bring myself together is because from the first moment I saw you, I had decided to make you mine. And so I’ve been nurturing a little gift for you all this time.” One of her hands slipped up the length of her false sternum, slipping underneath her ribs momentarily before returning with what looked like a small centipede trapped in amber. “A gift from me to you.”

Bryn felt themself begin to slip into hyperventilations. This couldn’t be happening. That was, that, it- Vines slithered around their body and pressed a series of wires into their back along their spine, while more still slipped needles into their arms. No chemical fog came to rescue them, only a faint pins and needles sensation before they realized they couldn’t move their body.

“That’s for your safety. I’ve decided to give you a second gift, though this one is a bit more…” She gestured some circles in the air as she sought the word. “Conceptual. See, I still recall two things you clearly told me. One, you wished *oh so dearly* to be able to laze around and get high. Two, you were afraid that having plant matter grafted to your body would no longer make you human. With that in mind I came to a decision.” The hand holding Bryn’s hair pushed them back down into the face-rest of the surgery table and held them firmly in place. “You will get to enjoy the bliss of both of these possibilities, little lost bird. For now, you are still sober and clear, but when next you go up into the most wonderful bliss I will see to it that you remain there. Permanently.” Bryn gulped. “With the implant’s help you’ll never gain a tolerance, neither physical nor mental. Everyday will be as good as the first time, and every time you ask, ‘will I be like this forever?’ the answer will be yes.”

Shock had replaced all other emotions that could still flow within Bryn’s addled heads. Something cold and wet slid across the back of their neck. They heard the snaps of latex gloves come next, then Veratrix moved out of their vision and slid up behind them.

“So enjoy this moment, take a deep breath and taste the air, feel the blood pumping in your lungs, think what little you can in that empty little head of yours, and know that in a moment I will strip you not only of your sobriety but your humanity.” Another cold feeling pierced the back of their neck, sharp and wretched as it dragged through them. “I wonder how the rebels would react to the sight of what you’ll soon become. No longer a terran like them, but less. A pet. My pet, specifically. Do you think they would scorn you? Or perhaps pity. Not that it matters, they’ll all end up in the same position as you anyway.” As she spoke she continued to work, sending more cold lines darting through Bryn’s senses as she did… something back there. “You have beautiful neck muscles by the way." Another pinch, then a vague sensation of pulling. “And an even cuter spine. I must be the luckiest affini this side of the galaxy.”

A vine slithered across Bryn’s extremely limited vision through the face rest and brought with it a mirror, completing an array that allowed them at last to see that Veratrix had had already peeled open the back of their neck and held the amber egg aloft, haustoria inside already squirming at excitement at the sight of its new home. They felt nauseous.

“Are you ready, dear? Got the memories all sorted together? I hope the warmth of your final human heartbeat can stay with you for at least a few years, but truth be told I expect you’ll forget ever having been an unfortunate terran by the end of the week.” Through the reflections they saw her slice open the shell, and with sanitized tools pluck the home grown implant free. She held it delicately over their exposed nerves, and it *squirmed*. All of the little lets reaching, desperately, begging to attach, to fuse, to *become*.

The last vestiges of anger finally burned up from Bryn’s throat to shout, “FUCK YOU!” Their voice hoarse, desperate, stained wet with salty tears, and quickly breaking apart into defeated sorrow.

“You’ll beg me to forgive you for those words in five minutes.”

Veratrix placed the implant with loving care into Bryn’s exposed neck, and with two hands and many vines mimicked the kinds of motions one would have for tucking a beloved pet into bed, except in place of blankets and pillows it was all nerves, meat, and tissue encompassing the pulsing form of the post-human’s new spinal friend. To punctuate the mess, she finished by plucking the familiar flower from before and weaving it in as the stitching to the surgical wound.

A fresh wave of pins and needles washed across Bryn’s body from the neck down, clarifying with each bit of flesh being pieced back together cell by cell, the same as they had felt it before but with a tangible touch of another’s hand having formed the picture. The implant, then. Mediating between them and their own fUCKING skin. Only once the cascade finished downward did it then turn up, crawling disastrously up their neck and pouring into their skull. Wait, please. A haze formed.m frightful as it was sweet. Wait. The promised solace, permanent bliss, and they wanted to cry against it. How dare their skin buzz with warmth, how DARE their emotions break apart into whimpering joy and want. The chemical control wasn’t just obvious, it was an overpowering scream over their own innate thoughts coming from inside their own damn skull.

Mistress released them at last. Bryn, in an act of primal terror, bolted off the side of the bed and attempted to run just to collapse. Still fucking up when they make their own choices. Blood, hot and wet, spilled down the back of their neck like a burning reminder of why. They rolled up into a ball and wept even as their skin continued to rise in warmth. Fire bloomed next through their veins, with all it’s terribly hungry want sucking in the oxygen from their soul. They needed. They didn’t know what but they NEEDED. Fear, sorrow, dread, one by one the pains inside of their skull were suffocated, turning their momentary weeping into strained pathetic sniffling, then confused whimpering, then at last the want won.

When Bryn looked up again their face was still streaked with lines of salt and fear still shone behind their eyes, but their voice was one of confused wordless begging that pulled them up to a seated position. A hand of wood and vines met them, and it’s touch was enough to assuage every last drop of pain that lingered in them. But then it was gone, and they were once more left to burn in desire.

“What’s wrong, little lost bird?” Veratrix’ voice brimmed with pride. She stood to the side of the room, casually leaning against a counter despite the display before her.

Bryn struggled to remember how to string the words together for a moment. Brain synapses no doubt faulty from their control being seized from them. But they breathed, their lips twitched, and in a moment they spoke, “Please?”

Veratrix’s smile broadened, even going so far as to split her mask apart just to show a humanoid mouth hidden beneath that grinned down at them. “I still haven’t forgiven you yet.”

Bryn wept once more, except this time it was in absence of their Mistress’ light. Left to the fire they wailed and screamed, resistance burned to ashes, and then at last they begged, “Please! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I just, I’m- Mistress!”

The looming mass of plant matter slowly settled down to crouch upon her heels, elbows on knees and eyes still looming over her pet. “To the end I overestimated you. It hasn’t even been two minutes yet.” She mocked a disappointed sigh, leaning her head to the side as she did. “Oh well, we can consider it yet another reason you simply must be domesticated.”

Veratrix placed her hand upon the pet’s empty little head, and once more it was subsumed into a sea of comfort and calm. Bryn fell into the chemical bliss happily, and the adorable inhuman moaned in satisfaction as its Mistress rewarded it for doing so. The blood upon its back was cleaned, the wound bandaged, a collar fitted around their neck and a brand new dress cloaked their form. Countless vines adored her beloved pet so much that Veratrix would even suggest she was spoiling the little thing, if such a thing were possible. But within the middle of all that adoration, the pet simply felt-

Well let’s be real Bryn felt SO FUCKING HIGH like holy balls what a fucking experience and like knowing that that high was going to literally stretch out forever because of it’s :pleadyfaceemoji: hot plampt mistress :pleadyfaceemoji: uhg thats SO hot (I am immediately clubbed and dragged away for my crime of crashing the mood at the end of this story

No post-scripts for this one I ended up taking all of the ideas I had for that and rolling it into a different one-shot that I'll be finishing later nyehehehehehehehehehe

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