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The Great Galactic Filter

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When it happened, it was like a species-wide scream of panic and relief. A hundred years after colonizing the first earth-like planet, and we had encountered another galactic civilization, this one much larger than the simple, 2.5 planet wide Terran Alliance. Filled with satyr-like creatures with the biology of racy fanfiction, it came to every human’s relief that we were able to achieve peaceful coexistence with them. Soon, knowledge was exchanged, and humanity prospered, stretching out the colonization to the far reaches of the Milky Way.

Soon, the Fauns offered another gift; Gaia, filled with humans too poor to afford a ticket or get the education necessary for colonization, was sick to the bone. If willing, humans with  their remarkably similar biology could come to the Faun’s galaxy, known as Jovia, and if picked, be used as a substitute for another Faun when instinct took over. A human, not picked, would experience the same lifestyle of a middle-class human living the Milky Way. If picked, through a bi-annual event where a human sent a rag worn around their chest and under their armpits to be scented by young, child-bearing, inclined Faun to not only help them through mating cycles but also through times of distress, acting as a warm body but also as security blanket. The human’s lifestyle would be slightly upped, but they would receive the same education and attend the same classes as their non-Chosen peers.

However, if a human or Faun broke the law, after a number of warnings, depending on the severity of the crime, they would be sent to a Correctional facility, where unmated non-childbearing Fauns went to ride out their mating cycles. It is extremely effective.

 

He sighed, leaning back in his chair, eyes skimming over the glossy pamphlet one more time. Troy and his dad had recently come out of chronostasis and touchdown was in two earth hours. His mouth and ears ached with nano-tech implants called ‘Translators’, for the language of the Fauns was notoriously difficult for humans to learn naturally. He kinda hoped he wasn’t Chosen, because he had heard that the nasal and dick implants hurt a thousand times worse. He whined under his breath, bored to tears in the relative isolation of the ‘stasis chamber. He knew, intellectually, that the time was for the body to acclimatize to the tech implanted during the trip, as the pain hit like a brick, but he was booored.

The people he would be surrounded by everyday would no longer be human, rather creatures of Roman myth with noses like wolves and breeding cycles like cats. If he was lucky, none of the children would find his or his dad’s scent appealing, and they would live a rather normal life on one of the Faun colony planets. Maybe they would get lucky, like they had, winning the lottery for this year’s ship. Whelp, at least Troy could hope.

 

He was picked, almost immediately. Guess his scent was just that tantalizing. Who was he kidding? He was alone now, his dad unaware until he got home from the Orientation for human adults that he was gone. That was on purpose. He was alone, sniffing in the back of a transport van. A thousand times the pain was an under exaggeration, Troy marked it as a million times more. He couldn’t believe it, it was as if the universe had cursed him. Every time something even remotely good happened, something else yanked the rug out from under him.

The new nasal implants allowed him to scent the children he’d been delivered to, astonishing, really. The one with a male primary gender, who looked about ten, smelled like mint leaves, and the younger one, female primarily, had a peculiar maple syrup scent. Their father(?) had a scent like a cinnamon candy, vaguely pleasant at first, but now aggravating his nose and making him tear up. The other parent didn’t seem to be present, but he could smell a grape candy flavor saturated into the floorboards and furniture. Overwhelmed by the new sensory input, a stark contrast to the medical smelling van, the words of his hosts faded to the back of his mind, aided by the fuzzy feedback accompanied by Translation. Paying more attention, he noticed he could smell a faint lemony-sweet scent, quickly overwhelmed by a wheatgrass scent as the siblings started arguing. He supposed soon his nose would tune out the scents of the family, as the nose does with familiar scents. He was looking forward to it, especially for that now tabasco flavored scent.

“HEY! HEY! You are listening to us?” The older one, now mentally labeled as Trident, shouted at him.

“He I think is mute… or deaf! Whatever, it is not like he need all of his senses for what him we need for,” Maple Sap smiled salaciously. He felt his muscles lock into place at the reminder of his new position. Despite what he had read about humans his age (he’s not innocent, everyone’s allowed access to the internet) he didn’t feel particularly excited to find out what his dick went through all of that pain to get. Trident frowned at Maple Sap.

“Rude be not to M̵͍̥̣͐̒̄̇ì̵͇̯̳̩͝ͅs̵̞͈̽͆t̶͙̒e̶̢̞̦͈̹͇̾̋̈́̌̚r̶̻̞̩̟̋ ̸̯̗̩̌͠C̶̦͕̟̩̖̾̈́̔ͅạ̶̣̘̥̈́͛͜m̸͖͕͆͊͊p̵̫͈̑͜͠͝f̷̱́͛i̷̦͓̓̈ṛ̵̢̱̞͇͇͗ę̸͉̯̀̇͘. It must be jarring for him to suddenly have thrust into a new environment.” Distantly, Troy thought that Trident was a big brother archetype if there ever was one. Also, s’mores and hot dogs is not the worst scent he could have, but at least it was something connecting him to earth and to his father, who used to take him on camping trips in national parks.

“Thrust,” Maple Sap laughed. Looks like kid humor carries over civilizations.

“Now, now, kids, why show not your Companion to his new quarters,” says Red Hots. Companion. Troy snorts. More like a service dog belonging to someone with a bestaility promblem.

“Look, he is understanding you!” Maple Sap says.

“He thinking could be of things other,” Says Trident. He grabs Troy’s arm and starts dragging him past the others and up a spiral staircase. Maple Sap jogs after them. He refused to be cooperative, forcing Trident to literally drag Troy up each step by his arms, muttering indistinctly at him.

“Come on, come on, F̸̢̤̟͔̈͛̂̓͂̂̈́U̷̳̞̞͙̩̱͇̅̌̋͜Ċ̶̤̖̅Ḳ̶̻͈̱̳̲̄͘.” Trident shouts at Troy. He pillows his hands under his head as Trident dropped Troy’s arms.

“Huh, looks like cusses don’t translate well,” he muttered. Trident shrieks in surprise.

“You is understanding of me! WALK. UP. STAIRS.” He screams. Maple Sap chuckles at him.

“Why speak do you weird?” She asks Troy, making a face.

“Your grammar ain’t too peachy either,” Troy frowned.

“Get up,” said Trident.

“Peach… is a fruit,” She said,  expression guarded.

“Your language must be incredibly flat if y’all don’t have turns of phrases,” He said, wondering if this race spoke like Vulcans from Star Trek. “It’s probably jus’ lost in translation.”

“Translators lose do not meanings… whatever,” she sighed. “You just as well mute.”

“UP!” screamed Trident, tired of being ignored.

The room he would be living in was apparently Trident’s former walk-in closet. It reminded him of the stasis chamber. It might even be one. It was connected to the bedrooms, an uncomfortable reminder of his new status.

“The doctors predicted my cycle that first. It will soon be. Be prepared,” Trident said tersely, irritated that he had to sling Troy over his shoulder and carry Troy up the stairs like a sack of potatoes.” Troy stiffened. He had almost forgotten his true purpose here.

“Alright. Uh, can I go to sleep?” The cot was in the middle of the small room, with a nice door leading to Trident’s room and a slapstick-door that smelled strongly of wood chips and fresh paint that led to Maple Sap’s room everything was bare and smelled like isopropyl alcohol. In the corner of the room, there was a small toilet. There was a thin sheet in a heap on the bare mattress. There was a flash of metal, highlighted by the single, bare fluorescent light fighted to the middle of the ceiling. Bending down, Troy tugged it out from under the cot. Picking it up, he felt the blood drain from his face. It was a handcuff with a long, sturdy cable connecting it to the floor.

“That is for if try you to escape… and for cycles,” Trident spoke into his ear. Troy scrambled backwards, back hitting the wall. He didn’t know when Trident had got that close. Trembling, troy noticed that Trident was holding something attached to a necklace. A key . He was probably blending into the walls now. Trident laughed, a scratchy, low chuckle, going from a child to a predator in a second.

“Now sleep. We have to get you early to school for the orientation!” Trident stood up, smiling too wide. He strode out of the room without a backwards glance, locking the door behind him. Maple Sap took that as her cue to leave, shutting and locking the door locking almost cheerful.

I have no allies. No one. Right now. It said on the pamphlet I would be going to the same schools as other humans. Maybe that means there will be free humans there that can contact my dad. Maybe there’s a resistance movement. There’s always a resistance with things like this in books. Maybe I can learn about the tech. That would be cool. I’ll like, fuck up the implants or sum shit. Teach Trident and Maple Sap a lesson. Troy thought. I wanna live with my dad. Not like this. I wanna go home.