DAY TWO: OTHERWORLDLY

Bakugou Katsuki had read all the manuals for 'human interactions'. He'd heard it all, he and his crew had done their research. He was not a stupid or lacking captain, and being one of the few ships that had agreed to take in human crewmates, he was going to be informed.

He'd read all the various ways humans were strange, how they had different needs, how their greatest strength seemed to be their ability to adapt. He'd made sure his crew had been briefed on it, and asked opinions on joining up to be one of the crews of the Federation who allowed humans to join.

His crew had agreed excitedly, and even Bakugou could admit that he was...curious about humans. He'd always favored strength, and his crew had taught him that there were different kinds of strength. He'd heard stories that made him think humans could teach him more.

So he was here, waiting to meet the two humans who had been accepted in the Federation Integration Program, which would allow them the join alien crews, and work with them.

It was a male and female set, though he had been informed they were not mates, though they considered each other family. Katsuki supposed it was that famous human 'pack bonding instinct'.

He'd figure it out, at any rate.

Maybe.

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Ochako scanned her new crewmates. She and Izuku had signed up to be a set of humans that went out with an alien crew. Deku- Izuku had earned the nickname from one of the more...rude, aliens that had been in their squad, but he'd turned it into a well respected name anyway- had wanted to join an alien crew to learn more about the different cultures.

Ochako had gone with him, partly because he was like her brother, and she wouldn't let him go alone, and partly because she was also curious. They were paying well for the humans that joined up with the program too, and Ochako had learned in childhood never to turn down good money if she was willing to do the job.

That she would get to travel into the deeper reaches of space, interact with different species, and see what the universe could offer.

She was ecstatic when Deku and herself had passed the exams and psych evals and personality tests that were held to thin the ranks of those who would join in on the program. It was an honor that most would never get to see.

Ochako was pleased she had gotten onto a ship with such a close crew. The captain- Bakugou Katsuki, the closest he could translate his own name in a language she understood, as it had been explained- was gruff but...fair. He took care of his own.

It had taken her- and Deku- a bit to adjust to how...grumpy he seemed. He was from a planet that had been home to a species that were essentially fire spirits. The plains of his home- as he had explained, referencing her human world's weather and geography as a way for her to understand- were like volcanic rock, lava and fire spewing from the places the rock broke or cracked. His home had been like a large volcano, active and flowing over the surface of his home, creating mountains and valleys and plains from where the magma had shaped the earth. The sky was as red as cherries, clouds like ash and smoke.

He'd never seen plant life before he'd joined the federation, the oppressive heat of his home too much for plant life to do very well, aside from the constant flow of lava and magma on the ground.

Bakugou Katsuki was mostly human shaped, but he had traits that Ochako would call draconic, as those from his planet shared. Hard heat impervious scales that crawled over his skin, claws that he could dig into the rock that shaped most of his home. A second eyelid that helped keep ash out of his eyes as well as see through it. He was taller than her by only a few inches, but he was...dense with muscle.

She'd found out later that he could manifest wings like a dragon, meant to help his people travel over the 'seas' of dangerous molten rock. His people had lived in the mountains above the constant danger of the unpredictable explosions and eruptions of his planet.

Perhaps the most unexpected thing for Ochako was the ability Katsuki had to channel fire with his hands. He'd called his people a flame spirit, a flame elemental yes, but until she'd seen the captain causing explosion with his ability she had assumed it was from his dragonic features and ability to survive his home, not an actual ability to manipulate flames.

She was fascinated.

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Katsuki found working with humans to be...fun.

Not that he'd say it out loud, but it was. The handbook had mentioned things, had told how adaptable they were, how they would pack-bond with literally anything, how they liked positive touch, and sharing in positive touch, how they were curious, like children discovering how to fly, and wanting to test it.

But it had not prepared himself or his crew for the reality of it.

Humans were everything that handbook had warned and more.

They also were going to give him a heart attack.

They had the strangest of habits, where they liked to poke things that would fucking kill them and then just...somehow not die?

And then there was the whole...pack bonding thing.

Like- he'd known humans did it, they were a very social creature, and he had read how they'd die if they didn't get that human social interaction, how those that were denied such tended to be...broken in some way.

But still-

The woman of the set had been fascinated with his differences, and had this...habit of touching him. She ran her hands over his wings and over scales, and she like to tug the loose and irritating scales free, oiled his wings, and grabbed his hands to look at his claws.

He...hadn't realized at first that he was being claimed as pack by her.

The male- Deku, one that wanted to work as a healer and was endlessly curious about his crew and the differences between them, also tended to brush against the crew. Absently patting shoulders, bumping into them, leaning on them…

The signs were all there of course, but it was not until the ship had been attacked and boarded that Katsuki really, truly understood that these humans had claimed them.

Not until the crew had been rounded up, forced to the control room, and tied up. Katsuki had scanned the group, but been unable to find his humans.

He had been relieved at first. Pleased that the very squishy and vulnerable humans on his ship would not be subjected to whatever their attackers could come up with.

He'd snarled at their attackers, lashed out, fought and bled for it. He'd kept their attention on himself, shielded those that called him Captain as much as he could.

He'd been sneering at the other crew's captain, blood dripping from his mouth, coating his teeth and making the sneer look more deadly when the power of his ship had shut down.

The lights had gone off, the engines slowing, and Katsuki had stilled, even as the Captain had yelled at his crew, snarling about what they had done.

Katsuki had known even before the screams started, that his humans had been responsible.

Ochako had been vicious and furious to his eyes, Deku focused and quiet in his anger beside her. But Katsuki hadn't been able to tear his eyes away from the woman who had wormed her way into life. It had been a slow process, her spending her free time with him, earning the right to help him groom his scales and wings.

Watching her drop from the ceiling, lips pulled back, and brown eyes burning like his heart-fire, as she aimed and shot his attackers…

He wondered in the back of his head if she knew what it meant on his planet to interfere and attack another person's enemies like this. His planet had valued strength, for another person to step in on a person's behalf…

It was the right of only parents or mates- a declaration of interest, if the two people were not yet mated.

He thought he might have hit his head harder than he thought, when the thought appealed to him.