Perturbance

Chapter 6

by Leafstone

Tags: #D/s #dom:female #f/f #pov:bottom #scifi #sub:female #bondage #disassociation #dom:plant #drugs #drugs_are_bad_ok #Human_Domestication_Guide #hurt/comfort #medical #nevermind_drugs_are_good_now #ownership_dynamics #sadomasochism #sub:the_horror_of_existence_in_a_caring_universe #transgender_characters

Lena lay there in silence. She was tempted to just lie in bed all day - it wasn't like she had to go to work or anything, but she couldn't get the thought of what Ana would say out of her head. Before she could think about it too much, she was rolling out of bed.
 
Guess she made more of an impression on me than I thought. Lena smiled while thinking about her new affini friend. She'd have to message her to see how she was doing.
 
Humming to herself, she grabbed the tablet that Ana had sneaked into her bag and flipped it on. What was....that sneaky pile of leaves. Already open on the display was a to-do list, signed with a flowery cursive signature, and a chat window.
 
For adorable terran sophonts to-do:
 
1. Go get some groceries, takeout is a sometimes food
2. Remember to do your "P.T", all of it
3. Remember to go to the clinic to get your injections
4. Message me and let me know how you're doing
5. When you're up for it, go check out your old work. There are a lot of affini up here who would love to hear your voice on the radio again.
 
- Anaphylaxis Poaceanum, Third Bloom
 
Lena smiled and glanced over at the daffodil in the vase at her window. A vase that she had compiled herself, courtesy of the atomic compiler they had installed in her apartment when she was gone. She couldn't believe that she had been given the amazing technology without a second thought on the part of the affini. In fact, the affini who had made sure she was settled in had been worried that her apartment was too small, and it had taken some convincing before they had agreed that it would be sufficient.
 
After a bit of wrangling, she had the tablet figured out enough to switch over to the chat program. There was already a conversation open between RadioGalLena and Breathtaking.
 
Lena let out a snort as she saw the names that Ana had chosen. Clearly the sneaky plant had looked up what her name meant after Lena's reaction to it. As for her name... they had been taking apart an old Terran radio that Ana had somehow found, a real antique from the early days of Terran radio communications, and had found some weird crystal in it. Turns out that early radios had used the crystal galena as the receiver. Wait, was Ana calling her a bottom? Lena shook her head to clear her thoughts.
 
Lena grinned as she started typing.
 
RadioGalLena: thanks for the username Ana
Breathtaking: You're very welcome dear, I thought it fit you particularly well.
Breathtaking: Are you settling in ok? Did you sleep well? Your apartment isn't too small is it?
Breathtaking: Sorry, I just want to make sure everything is ok.
RadioGalLena: Everything is just wonderful. I can't believe I have an atomic compiler in my apartment!
 
Lena turned on the camera and took a selfie, making sure to get the daffodil in frame, and then sent it over the program.
 
Breathtaking: oh my stars look at you! absolutely adorable.
Breathtaking: check the compiler menu. I left a surprise for you there.
 
After a quick check of the menu Lena rushed back to the tablet typing away furiously.
 
RadioGalLena: omg you put that pasta thingy in! The spicy ravioli stuff! Thank you so much Ana ahhhhhhhh.
Breathtaking: :::)
Breathtaking: Now go out there and make me proud sprout.
RadioGalLena: Thank you. For everything.
 
Shutting down the chat program, Lena flopped back onto her bed, staring up at her ceiling giddily. She felt so alive and vibrant, every nerve fizzing with happiness. She stroked her side, where she could very faintly feel the green lines of the implant below her skin. Before, when she had an implant literally sticking out of her, the green veins from the kidney implants had seemed completely inconsequential, easily ignored. Now, when they were all that remained of her time recovering with Ana, they seemed incredibly special.
 
Flipping up onto her feet, Lena's eyes glimmered with determination. Time to make her affini proud of her. Grabbing a canvas bag and her tablet, she glanced down at the to do list. Well, she didn't have to go to the clinic for her next shot for a couple of days still, so now it was time to get groceries and then go check in at her old job. It'd be nice to be back on the radios, getting to chat with the affini. She was looking forward to it. She was.
 
Ignoring the small black cloud of doubt and fear that seemed to hover in the back of her mind, Lena purposefully strode out of her apartment, on her brave mission of groceries.
 

 
 
The new affini-made grocery store was, much like everything the affini did, extravagantly over the top and massive. Lena wandered up and down the aisles, feeling overwhelmed and a little lost. She had started out strong, getting some staples that she was used to getting. But it wasn't like her shopping habits had been very healthy before, and Ana would want her to eat healthy. She just had no idea what that actually entailed. After half an hour of confused wandering, she resorted to just grabbing the things she remembered Ana using in cooking, and cursing herself for not paying more attention.
 
Looking down at her shopping cart, Lena's mouth twisted in a dissatisfied grimace. It looked less like a cohesive, well thought out cart full of groceries, and more like a random sampling of the world's strangest ingredients put together by a child.
 
No. She wasn't some brainless pet or something. She could do this. Go shopping on her own, go back to her work on her own, live on her own. She could.
 
After a few minutes of standing there, mind spinning in circles, a vine draped itself over her shoulder.
 
"Do you need some help, little one?" An unfamiliar Affini was standing next to her, looking down with their head cocked to one side.
 
Lena flinched and stammered out an excuse, then rushed out of the store. Dirt.
 
The trip back to her apartment with the groceries went by in a blur, Lena lost deep in thought. Why had she frozen up there? What was wrong with her? Sure, things were different, but she had been taking care of herself for a long time. She just had to adjust. She'd be fine.
 
With a start, Lena realized that she had gotten back to her apartment almost entirely on autopilot. After unloading the groceries, she looked at the cart in consternation. How the hell was she supposed to get this back to the grocery store?
 
Ana waved her hand at the silently hovering cart. "Off you go, back to the store with you!" she laughed. If only things worked that way.
 
The cart beeped happily and trundled off. Huh, maybe things did work that way now that the affini were here.
 
Alright, time to go check out her work. Lena's hand hovered over her doorknob, just waiting for her to grip it and go forth.
 
Lena spun around and paced her apartment. She had been on her own since she was 17. She had made her way through university *and* the Space Traffic Academy with no help from anyone. She'd been living on her own for years. So why was this so hard? She was stronger than this, better than this.
 
With a snarl Lena stalked out of her apartment and headed towards the maglev.
 

 
The Terran Space Traffic Control Central building looked slightly different than she remembered. Flowers and vines twined up the concrete facade that was the outside, and an epically large flower could be seen on the roof. However, even the clear affini influences couldn't change what it was. A large concrete monolith, towering arrogantly over its surroundings.
 
Lena stared up at the building, her feet frozen in place. ba-thump. ba-thump. ba-thump. When had her heart gotten so loud? her mouth felt so dry, and her legs were shaking, which made no sense, that hadn't happened since the early days of her doing PT.
 
With a whimper, Lena raced back to the train station, heart pounding away.
 
The entire ride back to her apartment Lena sat, hunched up in one corner of the train, trying to repress the whispered memories that threatened to overtake her. As the train neared her stop, a new emotion bloomed inside of her. Anger. The affini were supposed to help. They were supposed to take away all the pain and suffering. She had led them through the system, and then, as soon as she was fixed up, they abandoned her! They left her all on her own, to cope with what they had caused.
 
As her anger simmered and grew, she stalked her way up to her apartment, only to be brought up short. Sitting in front of her door, in a nicely decorated vase, was a bouquet of flowers. Brilliant pink Amaryllis and purple stalks of lavender, bound together with strips of moss. And a small typed note.
 
No matter what you get done or decide to do today, I'm so proud of you my little sapling.
- Ana
 
All the anger seemed to drain away in a flash as she carefully picked up the vase and breathed in the heady scents. Sure she hadn't been able to go into her old work today. There was always tomorrow.
 
Humming happily, Lena carried the vase into her small apartment and placed it carefully next to the daffodil, making sure both of them could get as much sun as the small apartment offered and giving them both a little water.
 
With a spin and a skip, Lena went to make dinner. She was going to make that ravioli pasta thing that Ana had made for her that first night, on her own, from scratch. This was going to be awesome.
 
Thirty minutes later, Lena looked about her kitchen confused and consternated. There was flour everywhere, bits of tomatoes and peppers were filling her trash, and somehow, egg had ended up on the wall. With a whimper and a sigh, she slouched her way over to the compiler and had it spit out a nutrient bar. Curling up on her bed, she slowly ate, and fell into an uneasy, restless sleep, filled with twitching and flailing.
 

 
 
The passage from sleep to wakefulness was slow and unsteady. She dreamt of vines reaching out and binding her and taking her away, of being filled with ecstasy and bliss, of being abandoned and thrown away, of being alone, of having a thousand voices echoing in her head demanding attention. Time and time again, she'd wake up gasping for air, before falling back into sleep. By the time she truly woke up, she was covered in sweat and shaking.
 
As she dragged herself to her shower, feeling absolutely miserable, she noticed her tablet's notification light blinking.
 
More messages from Ana. Talking about her day, asking how Lena was doing, filled with light and life. Lena couldn't respond. Not yet. She hadn't managed to do anything yet. Ana would be so disappointed in her. It was ok. She'd shower, then she'd go and get her injection, and then she could talk to Lena about that. It was fine. She could do this.
 
One shower later, Lena headed out to the new affini clinic near her. It was simple. All she had to do was walk into the clinic, tell them who she was, an affini would just give her a little prick, and she'd be fine for another two weeks. Nothing to it.
 
Lena stood outside the affini clinic, her guts twisting inside of her. What if they wouldn't give it to her? What if they didn't have any records of her? What if she was still counted as active Terran Navy somehow and they took her and domesticated her and gave her to some random affini?
 
Eyes wild, she spun on her heels and walked off. With no particular destination in mind, she wandered the streets, now clean and free of the detritus that used to litter them, with a clear blue sky above. Even here, deep into a district that no affini had moved into yet, the signs of their occupation were clear.
 
Coming out of her daze, she found herself in front of an old terran style bar. An old accord flag hung limply above the door, and the faces inside looked sullen and angry.
 
What the hell, why not. The affini probably already think I'm a rebel anyway. Lena snarled to herself as she wrenched the door open, causing the dozen or so people already drinking in the middle of the day to look up in suspicion.
 
"Two shots of whiskey and a pint." Lena curtly said to the bartender, sliding into a stool at the bar with a scowl.
 
The bartender looked at her suspiciously, finally relenting when Lena snarled at him, "what are you looking at?"
 
Shooting back the shots as fast as she could, Lena settled down to nurse her beer and think.
 
Why was she so miserable? It wasn't really because of her reaction to the idea of going back to work. She had enjoyed the job, sure, but it had also been hellishly stressful and hard. Looking back over everything, she could only reach the grim conclusion that this was Ana's fault. She was following a pattern that Lena had seen time and time again. She'd become friends with someone, get close, and then they'd drift apart. Sure they'd make an effort for a bit, sending some gifts or chatting over the Overnet, but pretty quickly they'd get bored of her and fade away. This was just her rebounding because they had seemed so close, that's all it was.
 
Lena's funk was interrupted as one of the group huddled around a table raised their voice. "They think they're so superior and better than us! Someone really ought to take them down a notch.
 
Her curiosity aroused and her inhibitions lowered by the booze, Lena swung herself around on the stool. "Lower who down a notch?" she questioned.
 
"The damn weeds of course!" The man who stood up from the table was wearing a t-shirt with the words Terran Cosmic Navy printed on it, and he was very clearly drunk. "They treat us terrans like dirt, and I for one am sick of it!"
 
Lena nodded in agreement. "Yah! They always act like they know what's best, but, but... they don't! They don't always know!"
 
The rest of the group lurking around the table nodded and muttered. The guy who had stood up elbowed the thin looking person next to him. "Tell her about the plan Ellie. 'S a good plan."
 
Ellie rubbed their nose and muttered something about OpSec under their breath. "Fine. Whatever. You know that big ship they have hanging over our heads all the time? Damn thing is big enough to see during the day."
 
Realizing they were talking about the Sequoioidium, Lena made an inquiring noise for them to go on.
 
"We're making a bomb. Gonna show those damn weeds that they aren't invulnerable." Ellie looked at her with thin lips, as if daring her to speak ill of their plan.
 
Lena blinked in shock. They were doing what? Her first thought was that these were not the brightest bulbs in the factory, and if it was the best the so-called Resistance could muster up, then there was nothing to worry about. Any bomb they built wouldn't so much as scratch the paint on one of the shuttles, let along hurt the ship or any affini. Her second thought was that people who talked about building bombs probably wouldn't be very accepting of people who had planttech inside them.
 
"Well mates, good luck with that. Vive le Terra Libre eh!" Lena turned and headed towards the door, trying to act casual.
 
"Hey!" the bartender's shout stopped her in her path. "You still need to pay your bill. I ain't holding with any of that communist bullshit the weeds are trying to pull."
 
"Uhhh, I think I left my credits in my other pants." Lena said nervously as she shuffled towards the door.
 
The group of rebels stared at her, Ellie narrowing their eyes as they focused on her lower torso, before standing up suddenly. "Grab her!" shouted Ellie, as the drunken man grabbed her shirt collar and tried to yank her backwards, lifting up the bottom of her shirt.
 
"Oh fuck! She's a plantfucker! They've been spying on us!" Well shit. The planttech was really that visible. Dammit.
 
Wriggling free, Lena raced out the door, sprinting out of the alley as she went. Looking behind her, Lena watched as the group of rebels stumbled out of the bar and started chasing after her, some now armed with knives.
 
Fifteen minutes later, Lena puffed and gasped as she put her hands on her knees outside a small flower shop, safely in an affini district of the city. That. That had been far too close.
 
Walking slowly back towards her apartment, being sure to stick to well lit streets and affini areas, Lena lost herself in thought. She needed to talk to someone about this, but who? Sam was in no state to talk about things, Bill was....gone, and the affini were the cause of all this confusion in the first place. Not for the first time, Lena cursed her lack of friends and social skills.
 
Looking up at the night sky, she smiled at the sight of the Sequoioidium, clearly visible in the sky next to...the moon. Lily. The chill, relaxed controller from Luna. Lily who had helped her when she needed it most. Lily would know what to do. Assuming that she was still around.
 

 
 
Finding the chat information for someone on a different planet when you only knew their first name should have been difficult. But when the affini got involved, somehow things just seemed to work a little bit easier. All she had to do was send a chat request to 'Lily, a space traffic controller on Luna', and somehow, they were able to find her and relay her the request by the next day.
 
Soon enough, a new chat window popped up on her tablet. Ignoring the unread messages in her chat with Ana, she quickly opened up the chat with MoonDusted.
 
RadioGalLena: Hey, is this Lily, the STC controller?
MoonDusted: heeeeey, whatup. ye thats me. Who u?
RadioGalLena: Its uhh. It's Lena. From Earth. We spoke about two weeks before the affini arrived?
MoonDusted: Ohhhhhh heeeeeeeey. whattup girl? Nice name, real retro.
RadioGalLena: Thanks.
RadioGalLena: A. A friend picked it out for me.
RadioGalLena: Or at least I thought she was my friend.
RadioGalLena: Look I just need someone to talk to who isn't too tied in with the affini, someone who can give me some objective advice. Help me get my head on straight ya know?
RadioGalLena: ...Lily you there?
MoonDusted: I'm sorry about that dear, my sweet little Lily got very giggly for some reason and handed me the tablet. I am Papavera Hedera, Lily's owner.
RadioGalLena: Oh.
RadioGalLena: I'm sorry ma'am, I'll leave you two alone, you don't have to worry about me, I'll be fine.
MoonDusted: Nonsense! My Lily seems to be quite worried about you and cares for you quite a bit.
MoonDusted: Why don't Lily and I come down to Earth and you can meet with Lily in a park. I'll stay some distance away, you can discuss whatever you need to discuss without fear or judgement, and I promise you that Lily will give you her pure, undiluted opinion on us affini.
 
Lena sat back, her heart racing. Lily was a floret. Lily's perspective would undoubtedly be biased towards the affini. But Papavera had promised that the discussion would be free of judgement. And she didn't have anyone else to talk to. And well, the other side had already shown her their arguments, and it involved knives and bombs.
 
RadioGalLena: OK. Let's set it up.
 

 
The last time Lena had been to this park, before the affini had arrived, it had been a desolate empty lot, too smog-choked to walk around without a respirator, with nothing growing on it but the most tenacious of weeds. Now, it was a virtual paradise. There was a gently flowing stream, trees providing shade, and plenty of soft grass to sit on.
 
Lena stood there, surrounded by the beauty the affini had brought, and anxiously shoved her hands deeper into her pockets as she huddled in her hoodie. Hundreds of anxious thoughts swirled through her head. What if they didn't show up? What if they did show up and took her away? What if some rebels showed up instead? What if Ana somehow showed up?
 
Her swirling thoughts were interrupted as a tall, lanky woman strolled up to her. She was wearing a companion dress and a collar, but while she was clearly not sober, she didn't have the dazed, blissed out eyes she was expecting.
 
"I didn't really know what to look for, but Miss pointed you out and well, figured you're probably Lena, so hey. Howzit?"
 
Lena jumped and took a deep breath to collect herself. "Lily right? It's uhhh. It's nice to meet you in person."
 
"Yeee, Lily Hedera, Third Floret. My Miss made me get relatively clear headed for this meeting, something about not wanting to scare you or something. She's over there by the way." Lily jerked a thumb over her shoulder back towards an affini standing a distance off, arms spread out and face upturned, her flowers and leaves seeming to soak in the sunlight.
 
"Ahhh. So that's your...your owner?" Lena chewed her lip nervously as she stared at the affini. "Should I uhhh. Is it ok to be talking to you and not to her, since you're like, well, you know..." Lena trailed off awkwardly, casting her eyes around desperately before settling on looking at her shoes very intently.
 
Lily laughed and swept Lena up into a hug. "You're so heckin' adorable! But no, you're fine to talk to me. That's why I'm here. So you have someone you can feel safe talking to. Pippy won't mind."
 
Lena blinked in surprise. This was...very different then what she was expecting. Seizing on to the one thing that she could make sense of, she stammered, "Pippy?"
 
"Ye! That's what I call my Miss. I mean I also call her Miss and Mistress and whatnot, but like...she's also my Pippy, ya know?" Lily grinned brightly at her as Lena mentally reevaluated just how there Lily really was.
 
"So...I can talk to you about things. And you won't tell your Mis-errr, Pippy?" Lena questioned nervously.
 
Lily cocked her head to one side and hummed. "Well I mean, I guess it depends what you tell me. Like if you start talking about how you're gonna start killing people or something, then I'd probably have to tell her, but like, I don't think you're the type to do that, so."
 
Lena sagged in relief and flopped down onto the ground. "I...I don't even know where to start to be honest. Everything is just so confusing, it's all such a mess. And I don't know if it's my fault or her fault or no one's fault or what."
 
Lily folded herself down to sit next to Lena and blinked in confusion. "I think you better start from the beginning. Fill me in on what I missed since you went and single-handedly kept the entire solar system in order."
 
Lena stammered and blushed, but eventually began laying out the story. "So after I recovered enough from that bout of stupidity, Ana moved me to her hab to finish my recovery. It was really sweet, she kept leaving me flowers and took such good care of me. I ummm." Lena blushed and ducked her head. "I even ended up sleeping with her. I mean, not like that! Just in her vines and stuff ya know? And she gave me a flower when I left, and sent me a bouquet of flowers at my new place and stuff. And I thought that maybe she ummm. She. Well. Anyway I read stuff into it I shouldn't have, and now I'm all bummed out just because she wants to be friends and is letting me have autonomy and god this must all sound so *dumb*."
 
Lena put her head in her hands and groaned.
 
Lily leaned back onto her hands and narrowed her eyes in thought. "You know, I think Miss was right to make sure I was mostly sober for this. Do you remember what kind of flowers they were?"
 
Lena blinked in confusion. Here she was pouring her heart out, and Lily was asking botany questions? Being a floret must really mess with one's head.
 
"Ummm the one she gave me before leaving was a daffodil, and the bouquet here was amaryllis and lavender. Bound up in moss. Why? Like I know affini are all about flowers, but."
 
Lily gave her an enormous grin and burst out laughing. "Dirt and seeds your affini is a massive dork even by their standards. Have you ever heard of flower language?"
 
Lena blinked in confusion and shook her head. "Is that some kind of affini thing?"
 
"Nah," explained Lily. "Old old old Terran thing. Specific flowers meaning specific things and all that. I think that your affini was trying to talk to you in an extremely dorky way."
 
"Huh?" Lena was confused and flabbergasted. The flowers had meanings to it? How the hell was she supposed to know that? How was she supposed to figure out what meant what?
 
"Yah, like, daffodil, partially it means new beginnings, which makes sense for you leaving, but it can also mean unrequited love, or be used to ask someone to return your affections." Lily hummed in thought.
 
"The amaryllis on its own means pride, as in being proud of someone, but the lavender means things like love and devotion again." Lily gave Lena a sly grin.
 
Lena sat there wide-eyed. "The...the other flowers. They were ummmm. Sweetbrier! And some sage. And ummm. A big bouquet at our final meal before I had to leave. There was ummm. Hollyhock, and aster, and honeysuckle, and sweetpea! Do...do they mean anything."
 
Lily wiggled happily and cackled loudly enough for her Miss to look towards them for a moment in concern. "Let's see here. We got something pleading you to remember her, a symbol of love and trust, devoted affection and bonds of love, and tenderness and farewell."
 
Lena stared at Lily slack jawed.
 
"She's got it bad for you hun. And unless I'm mistaken, you've got it bad for her." Lily gave her a positively ecstatic grin.
 
Ana liked her. Ana wanted her. She hadn't been imagining things. She had ignored Ana's messages for days now. She had to go back to her apartment and get her tablet right now.
 
Lena scrambled to her feet and bolted out of the park.
 
"Run Lena! Run to that adorable dork of a plant!" Lily shouted behind her as she raced off.
 

 
Lena grabbed the door of her apartment and flung herself inside at reckless speed before grabbing the tablet up and opening the neglected chat.
 
Breathtaking: Hope you liked the bouquet darling!
Breathtaking: I heard you didn't go in to get your shot, is everything ok?
Breathtaking: I don't know what's wrong, but Lena, you know you can talk to me about anything right?
Breathtaking: I'm sorry for bothering you so much. I won't message you again. I misread your friendly actions as something more and acted foolishly. I won't bother you again.
 
All unread messages over the past several days. Oh.
 
Fuck.

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