Cross-Pollination

Getting to Know You

by priestessamy

Tags: #D/s #dom:female #f/f #multiple_partners #pov:bottom #sub:female #bondage #breath_play #clothing #Human_Domestication_Guide #pov:top #scifi #trans_egg #transgender_characters

This is part of the Human Domestication Guide universe of stories. I've done my best to stick with canon, but there may be some hiccups for those who know the setting well.

“Sir?”

Lance Corporal Jacob Luna was fairly certain he had misheard. Or perhaps this was all a dream. The last three years had certainly felt like a dream. A fever dream. A nightmare.

Humanity had gotten lucky with its initial taste of alien life. First Contact with the Rinan had been terrifying, of course, because people were stupid and easily frightened. But before long it was clear that the terrans were dealing with the xeno equivalent of teddy bears. Humans got to do what they did best - assert themselves.

But then, horror stories started making their way back home from the borders of known space. They were clearly just idiotic little rumors. Worst case scenario — history would repeat itself. Everyone would panic for a while, until humanity had enough time to get used to their newly-discovered neighbors. They would dance around each other, have a few sorties, a few symposia, the usual. Humanity would eventually come out on top, because of course they would. And the Terran Accord would grow bigger and more powerful.

That did not happen.

Perhaps if the affini proved to be ruthless monsters, it might have felt like a worthy defeat. Instead, it was the most gentle takeover anyone could have imagined. Casualties were low, surrenders were high, nothing made sense, everyone was confused. And all the while these massive plants just cooed pleasantly about how this was better for everyone, and they were saving the terrans from themselves. As if humanity wasn’t a civilization thousands of years in the making!

This aggressive kindness somehow made the Terran Accord fold in record time. Plenty of soldiers sat around complaining about the decision, calling the people at the top every unkind name you could think of, and several inventive new ones as well!

Jake was not one of those soldiers. The Lunas were a military family. His mother had been a soldier, and her father before her, and his mother before him, on and on down the line for centuries. And when that was your heritage, you had incurious obedience drilled into you from a young age — beaten into you if necessary. The Accord wouldn’t have signed the Human Domestication Treaty unless the math had dictated that it was the only reasonable course of action.

But here, in this present moment, he was feeling the first true inkling of combativeness. Not outright rebellion. He didn’t agree with the separatists. But there were some concerns.

“Look, son, we can sign all the paperwork there is — and let me tell you, these plants love their goddamn paperwork!” The admiral chuckled, while the two monsters flanking him uttered their own series of noises that could maybe be mistaken for laughter. “But we wanna change hearts and minds before these goddamn rebels do! Terrans across the stars need to see that we made the right decision here. And to do that, friendly faces have to dive right in to this domestication nonsense.”

“So I’ll be drinking the kool-aid with a smile, sir?”

He barked out another laugh, slapping his hand against the sturdy wooden desk. “No need for the gallows humor, boy, nobody’s dying! Hell, from what I’ve seen, this is basically your retirement. You get to go live in the lap of luxury, metaphorically and literally.”

“It should be noted,” one of the aliens said, bending down until its face was level with the admiral’s, “there isn’t likely going to be much in the way of… helpful cold weather during the process.”

“I’ll explain later, sir. Sordid bit of terran history, that one. Jake’s just being morbid.”

Jake chose to interrupt before all of them got off on some wild tangent. “I’m still unclear as to why I’m being chosen.”

“It would seem you little ones have a habit of lifting up select members of your species for various reasons. Leaders from the former Terran Accord felt it best to place some of them as pets immediately for the purposes of…” It trailed off, obviously having once again run up against some cultural barrier. How were these creatures supposed to be in charge if they didn’t seem to have a single clue how humans actually worked?

“Getting people on-board is gonna be a whole hell of a lot easier when they see that famous person they like cuddling up with our new viney overlords,” the admiral said, picking up where it had left off.

Jake shifted slightly, looking back and forth between the two aliens, then back to the admiral. “I’m not a celebrity, sir. Just a grunt.” He knew that wasn’t quite true. But part of the Luna tradition was modesty. You weren’t allowed to admit to how many pirate cruisers you had boarded and utterly destroyed from the inside out. You didn’t boast about how much you could lift, how long you could run, how many days you could survive in the wilderness. You did them and you shut the hell up because virtue was its own reward.

“Said the handsome, humble leader of the Eclipse Strike Force. You’ve got a fan club and you know that damn well.”

“To be clear,” the other affini continued, “you are not actually being domesticated. That process is reserved for fully-consenting volunteers, and terrans who are a danger to themselves or others. We are not in the habit of lying as a matter of principle, but we have been assured you curious little cuties still practice traditional ‘acting’, which is a much more layered and complicated process.”

“It’s standard propaganda, Jake. Give the affini a hug and a nuzzle, smile for the camera, tell the people it’s all okay.”

“I can make a speech when the situation calls for it, sir, but I’m no actor.” Jake was doing his best to toe the line here. You didn’t argue in these situations, but you were allowed to bring up reasonable points and let the logic stand on its own.

The admiral just gave a dismissive wave of his hand. “Already got that covered. You’ll be staying with an actress and her scene partner. She can show you how it’s done. Just think of it as training, and she’s your drill instructor.”

Damn. He was playing the game too well. Jake was losing exit strategies with each passing second.

The more feminine-sounding affini gave the admiral a pacifying head-pat and mimicked a vaguely human smile. “There will be a dozen other pairs doing this same exercise across the planet and system. Leaders, performers, celeries. Once a week, you will be filmed and documented, then broadcast to terrans everywhere.”

“Celebrities, darling,” the other affini corrected.

“Dirt, yes, that was the word. At the end of three terran months, you will be freed from your obligations and you can enjoy the rest of your life as you see fit.”

Three months. Easy deployments took six, this would be a walk in the park. He’d been stuck far longer in far worse situations and come out the other end in one piece. And this time, he didn’t even have to dodge gunfire or sleep in cramped quarters. Okay, the lack of action sounded miserable, but survivable. “Fine. Tell me more about this affini I’ll be working with.”



The aliens had been hard at work making themselves at home on earth. All across Terra, cities were being overtaken and reworked by their new alien overlords. Jake and his ‘instructor’ as well as their two affini were being stationed — or whatever word civilians used — in the Second District of Columbia. It had once been the nerve center of the United States, which in turn had been a central figure in forming the Terran Accord. Turning it into one of the primary locations for a renaissance in the wake of the Human Domestication Treaty was yet another strategic move to help boost popular opinion.

Some neighborhoods were left alone as zones where independent terran ‘sophonts’ could live — those who existed without being domesticated. Well, ‘left alone’ wasn’t quite the right phrase. Any terran-designed buildings that were safe, sturdy, and livable were reinforced with incredible affini tech that wound its way along the structure in the form of branches, vines, moss, and more. This made it easier to install the highly advanced technology they made available to everyone. Buildings that were in any way deemed unacceptable were demolished and swiftly replaced with habs that were purely affini-designed, but fitted for independent terrans.

‘Habs’, as it turned out, were buildings composed entirely of the high-tech plant life, and came in all kinds of shapes. Some were the more familiar squares and blocks, others were in hive-like hexagons.

There were also neighborhoods made for predominantly affini residents. Well, that, and… their florets. The one Jake currently stood before was a large dome roughly the size of a mansion. This was going to be his home for the next three months, during the course of this ridiculous farce.

With a gentle shrug of his shoulders, he adjusted the military-issue duffel bag and stepped up to the door. He hadn’t really processed it until he got closer, but the damned thing was enormous — easily ten feet tall. This building had obviously been built with affini in mind first, and terrans second. When he was about a foot away, the wooden paneling was drawn inside the structure by the vines holding them, allowing him entrance.

An affini standing in the foyer turned to look at him as he entered. “So! This is to be my darling little pretend-floret. My… flauxret!” He idly wondered just how long she had been contemplating that portmanteau.

Jake had spent years of his life training every aspect of his being. His mind was a steel trap. His will was indomitable. His body was finely tuned.

None of those things mattered when you were meeting a goddess.

He’d been introduced to several affini by now. Some of them were certainly intimidating. Anything that difficult to kill fired off those deep-seated ape instincts. ‘Big thing no die. Big thing scary.’ Add to that the myriad different ways the affini traveled in and out of the uncanny valley like they had vacation homes down there. There were vines that simulated bones and muscles, wood plating and leaves that made up skin and clothes, and that weird way they talked. Hell, ‘talking’ was a generous description. They vibrated and swayed and it could be so damned hypnotic and unsettling.

But this one in particular was off-putting in a wholly different way. There wasn’t a trace of green in her. The vines were a pale teal, leading into a sky blue veins tipped with spade-shaped white leaves. Even the bark of her wooden plating was pale, like birch. Her limbs and cloak were covered in flowers in every color of the rainbow, a dizzying array of petal formations. The pair of feathery antennae atop her head were a pastel pink. Her movements were much more fluid, practically dancing over to him.

And that voice was the song that she danced to. It wasn’t sonorous like all the other affini. It was so bright and lively, backed by a chorus of bright piping. She strode right up to Jake and reached out, brushing a vine against his cheek. “Ohh, it’s a shame this is a mere farce. I could see myself quite enjoying you.”

Something within him, instincts from years being crafted into the perfect soldier, realized this growing flaw in his defenses and shut all of that down quickly. His spine straightened and he stood at attention, flashing a quick salute out of habit. “Ma’am. It’s an honor.”

The affini emitted a high, whirling laugh and used the pale vine to poke him playfully on the nose. “None of that! Maybe if you become mine for real. But the last thing we need is to further confuse our situation. I’m Serafa Plumula, Fifth Bloom. You can call me Sera.”

He forced his body to relax, and it did not like that. “Lance Corporal— Stars, I suppose that’s not the case any longer. Jacob Luna. Most people just call me Jake.”

Sera wriggled her face into the vague shape of a smile, her whole form wriggling as another laugh bubbled up. “Jake and Sera then. Co-workers. Two ducks in a row.”

“Two peas in a pod,” he said, swiftly correcting her.

“Oh! A plant-based expression. Well that’s much easier to remember!” She pulled aside one of her chest-plates and rooted around within her cavity, retrieving a data pad. She tapped away, presumably making a hasty note.

Jake cleared his throat softly. “They told me you were a researcher. This… isn’t quite what I’d expected…”

Another door at the other end of the room parted as a second affini entered, trailed by a young terran. “If it is any consolation, Serafa is an oddity to our kind as well. I’ve known her for two and a half blooms and she continues to… elude me.”

This affini’s movements were much more stately, seeming to have far greater control over her bipedal form. She looked closer to the ones Jake had met before. Her plants were smaller and tighter, more bush-like with pointed tea leaves. Her wood was a rich mahogany, and the flowers a uniform pink that brought to mind sakura blossoms.

The girl was short and curvy with a mane of bright red hair. There was an obvious bounce in her step. Unlike Jake, she was quite clearly excited about this entire situation. She wore a vibrant affini dress with the trademark geometric patterns in several shades of pink that closely matched the flowers of her affini partner. The automatic part of his brain that needed things quickly assessed and codified flashed the phrase ‘gone native’. “I like her!”

“Of course you do, little one. I think someone with a nasty sense of humor went to great lengths to mis-match us on purpose.” The alien reached out, patting her on the head before turning to look back at Jake. “Camilis Pruntio, Sixth Bloom. And this adorable bundle of energy is Ophelia Merrill.”

Ophelia gave an indignant huff and crossed her arms dramatically. “I can introduce myself, Cam!” Her pout didn’t last for long and she eventually crossed the rest of the distance to offer her hand. “My dad is a huge fan. Won’t stop asking me to get your autograph. And I am in no way bitter that he has never once asked me for mine!”

Bewildered and leagues out of his depth, Jake took the offered hand with a wry smile. “My sister has been making the exact same demands.”

“Ah, we’re already getting along, wonderful. Like four ducks in a row,” Camilis said, clapping her hands together.

Sera eagerly turned her tablet around to show the notes she’d been taking. “It’s actually ‘peas in a pod’! Isn’t that precious?”

“Incredibly cute. I quite like that.”

Jake shared another smile with Ophelia, more nervous this time. It was going to be a long, confusing three months.



Serafa Plumula, Fifth Bloom, was having difficulty deciding if she was elated or disappointed. Entertained, most assuredly. After all, who wouldn’t be at least a little amused at the prospect of living with a pair of charming little terrans, not to mention a long-time associate like dear, sweet Camilis! And she’d never been involved in propaganda before! That was quite thrilling.

And yet…

This entire thing was a mockery. The two affini would only ever be occasional, pretend owners for their wards. Once every few daily cycles they would be permitted to put on a performance for the benefit of all the other darling terrans out there. And that was wonderful! With any luck, they would be able to convince millions of them to willingly engage with affini culture — and hopefully produce a wave of new florets.

And yet…

And yet…

And yet…

“Sera?”

She was pulled from her dramatic wallowing by little Ophelia’s voice. She glanced around, as if suddenly remembering what she was doing. She was seated at their table in the communal dining area. She and Camilis were enjoying some simple nutrient water, their vines mingling together in a big wide bowl. Meanwhile, Jake and Ophelia were marveling at all the amenities in their new home — presently, the compiler was the main source of their wonder. They had taken turns making progressively more ridiculous requests, snacking on the products, and then watching with just as much awe as the empty dishes were broken back down.

Once they had grown tired of that game, they settled on some regular dishes and joined the affini at the table. Jacob was absolutely demolishing a plate of steak and potatoes while Ophelia enjoyed something called ‘peet’zuh’.

“Sorry, darling, I was miles away. What did you need?”

Jake finished chewing through his hunk of steak and glanced between them. “Camilis was telling us about her work as a… xenopsychologist,” he explained, slightly stumbling over the word. “What about you?”

She emitted a high-pitched tremor of amusement. “Xenosociologist. Camilis’ research is all about individuals from other species, how their minds work. And I look at the bigger pitcher — all your adorable little habits and rituals. But I’m especially fascinated by the ways you all stay entertained. It’s been ages since we’ve met a race with such vast options available!”

“Bigger ‘picture’,” Jake gently corrected, as was quickly becoming normal for him. It was quite helpful, since it would be terribly embarrassing for someone in her position to get these things wrong. If she couldn’t even master their wonderful turns of phrase, how could she ever truly wrap her tendrils around their culture?

Dutifully, she retrieved her tablet to make a note about this. “Picture. Incredible. I’ve learned so much already!”

“Wait wait wait, hold on,” Ophie cut in. She gestured with her slice of peet’zuh in Sera’s direction. “You… study pop culture?”

“Someone has to,” Camilis pointed out dryly. “And while I’m loathe to admit it, her work is quite vital when it comes to you terrans. For all your culture’s faults, it was an intensely important part of both your present and your past. It even bleeds into my own research. Much to my dismay, we’ll have to… guh, compare notes…”

Inside the bowl, Sera teasingly wrapped her tiny vines around some of Cam’s, and she was filled with delight that her friend only put up the vague appearance of resistance before allowing her to gain a proper hold. She liked to posture and strut about with such self-importance, but Sera knew the truth. She was a sentimental softy, just like any person.

And yet…

While she suggestively rubbed her tendrils up against the other affini’s, she let her gaze drift back over toward the two little terrans. Not really their pets, only co-workers. And that was a frigid shame. Ophelia was a prime candidate — lively and enthusiastic, and already well-known for being fond of inferior terran drugs. Even with these strangers, she was affectionate and open and unafraid.

And then there was her own flauxret. Jake. The boy was like a little lock-box. He gave nothing away. He obviously prided himself in being fully and completely in control of his mind and body at all times. His posture was even more rigid and precise than Cam’s, and his expressions were often inscrutable. It would have been so easy to press a flower to his nose, or jab a needle in his neck, and then open him up for the world to see. With a twitch, she could make every single thought and secret spill out of him. And once she had those, she knew that she could put him back together until he was utterly perfect.

But she also knew without asking that he would never ‘allow’ it. That didn’t feel like the right word, but it was the only one she could think to use. Terrans wouldn’t really ‘allow’ anything anymore. Rather, an intricate web of standards and practices prevented affini from doing anything against a sophont’s wishes. Obviously, those social mores were loosened or outright ignored in situations with little ones that were a danger to themselves or others. But Jake was obedient — aggressively so.

Which only froze her that much more. Both of them were perfect, and they were effectively off-limits. The web of sociological rules only got more complicated with this ‘acting’ thing. So long as Jake and Ophelia were playing the part of their pets for the sake of the drone cameras, they were in a kind of legal limbo. The two terrans were wards during the course of their performance. Only at the end of those three months would they officially become sophonts. And from there, they could choose what their lives would look like.

By that time, who knew how many fans they would accrue among affini and other sophonts alike. If either of them actually did choose adoption, the list of candidates for ownership would be miles long.

This was torture.

And yet…

…some part of Sera relished the exquisite pain this was bound to cause. What could be more delicious than to stay locked together with such enticing forbidden fruit? Oh yes, she would love hating every moment of it.

Without warning, she was once again pulled from her thoughts as Ophie popped up from her chair and gathered up all of their dishes, carting them back to the compiler to be cleaned up. After punching the button on the controls, she spun around and clapped her hands together excitedly. “Alright! Who’s ready for rehearsal?”



“Oh we are so completely fucked…” Ophie said.

Cam gave a serious nod. “I would not go that far. But it is clear we have a very long road ahead of us.”

The pair were currently standing in the middle of the main lounge of their collective hab. They acted as the test audience, while Sera reclined on the couch with Jake in her lap. It was not that he was being actively resistant. He seemed to be giving an honest attempt at cuddling. But it was clearly not his piano — no, what was it, forte? His legs were draped across her own lower limbs, arms around her torso, head resting lightly on her chest plate. The positioning was all correct.

It was simply every other aspect of it that was completely wrong. He was too stiff, his grip too tight. Every time Sera planted a hand against his head and stroked his buzzed hair, he practically flinched.

“I’m cuddling! This is cuddling.” His protests only made him that much more adorable. She gave his head another pat, and he actually did seem to finally accept it for once without so much nervous avoidance. But even still, Sera had to admit that this was not really ideal.

Ophie gave a little shrug as she continued to study them. “I mean, you guys have all those fancy drugs. Gotta be something to loosen him up a little!”

Jake finally gave up on his feeble attempts and sat more upright — though at least he remained on her lap. “Sounds unwise. This is propaganda. That sends the message we have to be konked out of our gourds to be pets.” Sera wasn’t sure what pumpkins had to do with this but decided to save that question for later.

“Okay, but you’ve seen florets. It’s pretty fucking common.”

“Maybe so, but optics are important. The Accord was brought to heel in the blink of an eye, relatively speaking. Egos are bruised, spirits are fading, and our morale needs a serious boost. Terrans need to see that there’s life after surrender — not coerced with drugs but willingly chosen with clear heads.”

Sera shared a look with Cam. That was the first time they’d heard Jake say more than a few words in one go. It was well-articulated, and he’d clearly been putting a lot of thought into this.

“Damn, you make a good point…”

“I’ve had to make a lot of speeches to tired soldiers,” Jack said, looking distant for just a moment before snapping back to reality. “I suppose I’m just seeing this as my final speech.”

Ophelia looked a bit disappointed suddenly. “No drugs, huh?”

For a moment, he just studied her. Even if it was difficult to tell what was going on in that head of his at any given moment, you could always see his brain working overtime. After several seconds, he spoke again, choosing his words carefully. “There can’t be any obvious tampering for the first two weeks’ recordings. Still… I can’t rightly say I care what you get up to in your free time. I’m sure at least one of our caretakers is chomping at the bit to melt your brain, if that’s what you’re into.”

“Which it is!” Ophie looked expectantly between the two affini, then suddenly shook her head almost violently and threw her hands up. “Okay, but! Getting distracted! That puts us right back to square one. You’re awkward, soldier boy. How else can we loosen you up? What did you do to relax before all this?”

Jake got another distant look, and then his posture became even more rigid. “Was never much good at relaxing.”

Ophelia massaged her face with her hands, groaning dramatically. “This explains literally everything about you…”

Once again, Sera looked over at Cam, and this time neither of them could hold back. Sera burst out in bright, high laughter while the other affini emitted a series of low, staccato grunts. This went on for several seconds while their poor wards looked between them helplessly.

“Can one of you please tell me what is so funny about this?” Ophelia stamped her foot, which only made her frustrations that much cuter.

“Sorry, little one,” Sera managed through fading laughter. “This is fascinating to watch. I’m afraid we’re both just enamored with this entire scene. On every level — psychologically, sociologically, affectionately. It’s delightful.”

Apparently that answer was not good enough. Muttering a string of colorful curses, Ophelia stormed her way over to the couch, awkwardly clambering her way up on top of it. She grabbed Jake’s hand and hauled him off Sera’s lap. She might have been disappointed if the entire display weren’t so comical. Still grumbling, Ophie guided him to the ground before once again taking his hand firmly and dragging him away toward her private room. “We need a minute. Just us terrans!”

The moment they were gone, shut away in their privacy, Sera and Cam broke out in a renewed fit of laughter. Camilis shuffled over to the couch to join her, collapsing onto it. They let their amusement run its course before giving one another a weary look. “Just what have we signed up for?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea, but I am so excited to find out.” Sera let her gaze travel from her companion to the shut door across the lounge, letting out a high tremolo, unaware she had even done so. “Aren’t they fascinating? It’s all such a shame.”

“Oh? What’s a shame about it?”

Eventually she turned back to Cam while giving one last gesture toward Ophelia’s door. “Well. We’re stuck with those two, and we can have all sorts of fun together. But the bureaucrats made it clear, we can’t officially claim them until this ridiculous charade is finished.”

Cam looked toward her almost pityingly. “Sera. You and I have been through our fair share of blooms. We have both had florets in the past — even if lately we have let our work come first. So you know full well that the official claim to a sophont is legally distinct from nearly everything else. We are prevented from traditionally claiming them. We cannot give them implants. But with the rules so clearly defined, that still gives us plenty of room to explore.”

Absolutely shocked, Sera could only emit a high gasp. “Camilis Pruntio, Sixth Bloom! Who would have ever guessed you could be so devious!” She gave her a light, playful slap on the arm.

“Can you honestly tell me the same thoughts have not crossed your mind?” It had been ages since Cam looked this engaged. It was so delightful to see. And in truth, Sera was feeling just as alive.

These challenges were not obstacles. They were puzzles. Sera could not legally make any claims to Jake.

And yet…

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