Bree hurt, a lot, but despite that, she was oddly comfortable. She was in a bed, but it was far too comfortable to be her own. She opened her eyes to figure out where she could possibly be, but the blank white ceiling above her didn't give her any clues. She pushed herself up with her arms and rested on the headboard of the bed.
Bree still didn't know where she was. It was a sparsely furnished room with strangely high ceilings. There were a few chairs of various sizes on either side of the bed, along with a simple nightstand to her left.
She tried remembering what had happened but it was still fuzzy in her mind, all she could remember were way too many loud sounds and a very big person.
Bree lifted the blanket off her lower half to get an idea of what the pain in her leg was. The source was immediately clear. While she couldn't see the wound directly, it was obvious that it lay under the thick layer of green bandages that had been wrapped around her upper calf.
Why were the bandages green? She'd never seen bandages in any color other than white. Bree leaned in closer to the bandage, as the door to the room began to slide open.
That was when things started to make sense again.
An Affini walked into the room, and positioned herself at the foot of the bed, "Greetings, little flower. Fenaia Helis, Second Bloom." she spoke in a strange way, it was clear and fully understandable, but it had an odd quality to it, like an old computer trying to mimic human speech but not quite getting it right. It sounded nice in its own quality regardless.
Bree recognized what was clearly an introduction even if she didn't know what 'Second Bloom' meant in this context. Bree figured she should introduce herself as well.
"Bree Kelly… not a bloom?" She didn't know if that was the right thing to say but she didn't want to disrespect the aliens' custom.
The Affini laughed and stepped to the side of her bed before ruffling her hair, "that you are not, little one" she smiled down at Bree. At least, she thought it was a smile, it was hard to make out the facial expressions of a plant, "Quick question; from what I've heard, Bree is a name that is typically reserved for female Terrans. You are female, correct?"
Bree hadn't expected the alien to go straight for the million-dollar question right away. Usually, she just got confused looks and disgusted glares when she introduced herself, this was a nice change. She smiled back at Fenaia, "Yes I am! But my body doesn't quite agree with that notion" she gestured to her mostly masculine appearance before continuing.
"How delightful! You may call me Fen if you wish. And as for your body, we have ways of convincing it to agree with you. That is, if you allow us to help, I understand that some Terrans don't like the idea of our xen-"
"yes!" Bree shouted, interrupting the plant, "Yes please!" Bree had wanted to begin transitioning months earlier, but getting a dose of 'non-essential prescriptions' to the small settlement was apparently too much of a hassle for the star-systems-wide civilization to provide.
Fen recoiled slightly at Bree's shouts before patting her head affectionately once more, “Alright, calm down cutie. I do have one more question for you though”
Bree tilted her head, “hmm?” Imploring the Affini to ask the question.
Fen lifted the blanket, revealing Bree’s legs, “Why do you have stripes?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
That was clearly the wrong question to ask. The small human immediately closed herself off the moment Fen had pointed out her stripes. She patiently waited for an answer but it was clear that no answer was coming. She didn’t understand why Bree had such an adverse reaction to questioning her stripes, especially considering how cute the markings were. Despite Bree’s lack of a response, Fen had learned something from the interaction though. The stripes were clearly not a normal thing and Bree was embarrassed by them.
“Okay, well we don’t have to worry about that right now.” She clapped her hands together and began walking away from the girl before turning to comfort her, “I’ll ask around about some class-G xenodrugs. Those will be just what you need to fix up your body” Bree seemed to brighten up a bit, but she still didn’t say anything else as Fen turned to leave the room.
Fen sat in her hab, mulling over the events of the day. It had been an eventful one for sure. She couldn't keep her thoughts away from that human, Bree. Something seemed so oddly unique about her, and that was before Fen discovered the stripes. She had already begun preparing the class-G's for Bree.
Bree had gotten so cute and happy when Fen had brought them up, and she was desperate to see just how excited Bree would be when actually presented with them. Fen was already imagining the small girl's eyes lighting up in delight as she announced that she would be administering the drugs. Just the thought of that was making her giddy, she wanted this Terran to be as happy as possible, and maybe then she'd share what she knew about her stripes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bree sat in what she now knew was her hospital bed. After Fen left, a few more Affini entered the room to speak with her, all of whom had gotten her pronouns and name perfectly right. Based on that alone she was glad that she'd been rescued by the Affini rather than the Navy. The Affini didn't misgender her, and the Navy would have expected her to fight with them, something that Bree absolutely refused to do and her lack of support would be likely to get the entire crew captured as well. She much preferred this outcome over any other. At least she was here as a rescuee instead of as a captive… or at least she hoped she wasn't a captive.
Most of the Affini who visited her asked questions about herself or just chatted with her about themselves. It was nice. One Affini in particular -she said her name was Mera- came by several times to check up on and tend to Bree's wounds.
The door opened once more and Mera popped into the room. "already? You've changed my bandages nearly four times today, isn't that enough?"
Mera simply giggled in response, "Actually, yes, we're done changing your bandages for today, in fact, I'm just here to let you know that it's lights out and to offer you a sleep aid should you need it"
"Sleep aid?" Bree asked.
Mera sat down at the foot of the bed, "indeed!" she presented a vine tipped with a vibrant yellow flower, "Stress is very serious. It often prevents precious little pets like you from sleeping well, especially in situations like this. So I offer to give you a bit of assistance to help you get the rest you need!"
Bree wasn't a pet. Mera probably just got some English words mixed around, it was clearly not her first language, as she imagined would be the case with all the Affini.
Mera made a noise akin to a throat clear, focusing Bree's attention to herself once again, "So would you like the sleep aid or not?"
Bree had never been able to get to sleep easily. She either couldn't fall asleep when she wanted to or began drifting off at inopportune times. She figured she might as well accept the help, the plants had been nothing but helpful up until then, so she trusted them, probably more than she should have. Bree nodded to Mera, accepting her offer. Mera shifted closer to Bree, slowly aligning the flower with her wrist.
As the flower grew closer, Bree noticed something at its center. There was a thin needle protruding from the center of the flower, with a tiny droplet of liquid dripping from the tip. She instinctively moved her wrist away from the invading plant.
"Bree, you need to hold still or this is going to be much more difficult," Mera said, her voice dripping with disappointment.
Bree gulped, "Umm… actually I’m okay! I don't need the help, I can sleep all on my own" she couldn't even convince herself with that lie. The needle had only made her less likely to be falling asleep any time soon and she knew Mera could tell too.
Mera gave Bree a look, she was clearly not amused with Bree’s lie. Bree shrank away from the plant’s gaze, feeling the weight of disappointment that Mera was projecting.
“What’s the issue, Bree?”
Bree kept her eyes locked on the needle, “I… um, needles…” She trailed off halfway through the statement, sinking back into the bed.
“Oh is that it?” Mera asked. Bree nodded in response, “Okay, well that’s not an issue at all” The needle retracted from the flower and Mera moved the vine away from her arm.
“Just take a deep breath darling, " Mera instructed, pushing the flower to her face instead.
Bree still had no reason to distrust her, she’d been tending to her wounds after all. Unless this was the ploy to get her to let her guard down before the plants actually made it clear that they were capturing her. But if that were the case they would have done so already nor would they have been so accommodating of her fear of needles.
Bree could already smell the sickeningly sweet aroma coming from the flower even at the distance it was at. She could even feel herself growing more drowsy as she took in more and more of the scent. She gently grabbed the base of the delicate flower in her hand, slowly bringing it closer to her face. It had such an amazing smell, it was so sweet and… well, flowery, Bree felt the urge to lick the flower, just to taste the source of the incredible aroma. She only barely resisted that urge, instead holding the flower up to her nose and taking a deep breath.
Bree’s eyes immediately felt so incredibly heavy, it took all her willpower to keep them open for even a second longer. Her arms fell limp at her sides, too tired to hold themselves up any longer. Mera pet Bree’s head, as she struggled to keep her eyes open, “It’s okay little one. Just drift off to sleep”
Bree couldn’t hold her eyes open any longer and drifted into blissful sleep as the Affini stroked her hair.