Mari had finally been captured. As she was brought onto the massive Affini ship, her thoughts turned back to what had led up to this. The various rebel cells in the area had determined that communications had been compromised. Any signal was easily picked up by the Affini and encryption didn’t even slow them down. So, Mari had been given a single seater scout ship and was playing messenger between the factions. It was during one of such runs that this massive ship had appeared and dragged her into it. Leaving aside the pistol she carried, because what good would it be, she meekly got out of her ship once it was in the all too big docking bay.
Mari wasn’t a hardcore rebel, no airlock before domestication ridiculousness was in her. Maybe if she showed some cooperation now that she was caught things could go easier, things could go better. As soon as she had even put one foot out of her ship, vines had gently wrapped around her and pulled her between two Affini. Was it two Affini? They were identical and not in a similar way that perhaps two roses might look similar but utterly identical. Mari wouldn’t claim to know everything about the Affini, but enough glimpses at their propaganda told her that they were unique and completely individual. Even as she tried to process these two identical Affini, other Affini in the docking bay caught her attention and all of them were the same. Perfectly identical copies. Was this some sort of mind game?
Even as she struggled to come to terms with her capture and the twenty something identical Affini in front of her, the two beside her began speaking. “Hello little leaf, we are 0002 and 1968 respectively. What is your name?” The Affini gestured between the two of them before looking at Mari expectantly. Okay, another odd point for Mari, she knew Affini had normal, well, normal enough, names and 4-digit numbers certainly weren't the usual style. What the fuck was going on here? “Little leaf, please answer our question or we might need to use xenodrugs” That brought Mari back to the present. “My name is M-m-Mari.” She stuttered a bit as the threat of xenodrugs had alarmed her. A smile appeared on both of their faces following her answer, probably meant to be endearing but the perfect similarity just made it more unsettling for her.
The one introduced as 0002 began to speak again while starting to move slowly toward what appeared to be the exit from the docking bay. “Well, little Mari, it is wonderful to meet you and if you’ll follow us, we will take you to meet the ship’s captain.” Knowing what little power there was in resisting, Mari meekly followed with 0002 leading the way and 1968 bringing up the rear. As she exited the docking bay, Mari was stunned by what she saw. There was a city, a clean, tasteful, and incredibly large city in the spaceship. Who built a city like this in a spaceship? Heck, Mari hadn’t even seen comparable cities planet side and as her eyes moved through it all she realized that the sky was dominated by the branches and leaves of what seemed to be a massive tree that seemed to originate further in. These branches had to go on for at least several miles. All of that had distracted her at first but now the other oddity had dawned on her. There were more Affini, but they were all the same Affini. What was going on?
0001 paused to allow Mari to take all of it in before giving a polite cough to get her attention and moving toward the rail station. Brain still trying to process everything, Mari just sort of followed along stumbling slightly from the shock. Mari had started glancing around constantly trying to see any individuality and finding only the one Affini, a multitude of times. In short order they arrived at a rail station and entered the nearest one. 1968 proceeded to lift Mari up and buckle her in. She struggled a bit at the sudden invasion of personal space, but the Affini didn’t seem to notice and instead gave her a pat on the head. “Sorry dear, but safety first.” They even sounded exactly the same. Mari wasn’t an expert, but something was wrong. As the rail took off Mari saw they were headed toward the base of the large tree that was sprawled across the skyline. Even as fast as the rail was, it took a little while to get there and Mari had dozed off, her system ran ragged by everything that had happened in such short order. A gentle shake of her shoulder by 0001, or was it 1968? Unless they reintroduced themselves Mari didn’t know how she would ever tell. Seat belt off and vines gently placing her on the ground, the three left the rail and Mari was confronted with the absolutely largest tree trunk she had ever seen. Making their way around it Mari was almost unsurprised to see that the trunk had a face, and almost even less that that face was just a larger identical face to the rest she had seen on the ship.
“Hello little Mari. I am the captain and sole Affini aboard this ship.” The voice boomed and reverberated through everything that was Mari. The feeling as it washed over her almost made her miss a key detail. “Sole Affini?” Mari replied, glancing at the two Affini(?) next to her. “Yes, those two with you and the rest you have seen are just fallen shaving of me, able to move and act in ways a body this size might not be able to. Allow me to illustrate.” Following his statement, the large Affini made a look of slight concentration before a crack was heard from above and another identical Affini was lowered from the branches above. “As the newest one, you are 2001.” So said the tree, naming their new arrival. “Ah, but where are my manners, I have yet to introduce myself properly. I am known as Arthur Mono Lithlitctitus, but I am usually known as the Affini who are A. Mono Lith for short.