Hot domineering plant people! Experts at shapeshifting, biotech, biochem, space travel & combat, and generally most things. Very overpowered. Composed of vines and other plant materials. Functionally age-immortal. Can be killed, though it’s quite hard.
Life cycle is → Zeroth Bloom; pre-sentient form, eventually grows into the First Bloom. Spends between 40-80 terran years as an adolescent, before being considered an adult in the eyes of the affini. Each bloom tends to last between 100-300 years before the affini in question needs to “rebloom” to deal with built up damage and such. Can bloom earlier if severely damaged. They require nutrients of some sort to rebloom properly.
Affini in Terran Space are generally named “<Given/Chosen name> <surname>, <nth> Bloom”, such as “Akash Nele, Third Bloom”. Affini often adapt their names & presentations depending on which species' space they're in.
Somewhere in the Triangulum galaxy, In affini prehistory, they evolved on some very low gravity environment (around a third of a g, maybe less?), hence the prehensile vines. Their reproductive cycle involved catching local life (beeple!), getting them covered in their pollen, and then letting them go again. Over the ages this ended up being how their earliest attempts to control their own reproduction went.
They'd cover some creature in pollen (see Beeple), then give that to their partners who would do the same to their own 'pets', get them high in a way that makes them wanna be physically close with each other, and then after the pollen has been mixed around, retrieve some. This leads directly into how they developed their cultural obsession with pets (tho in modernity, they only sometimes use pets for this purpose, there are easier ways now & they don't reproduce as much as they once did, being effectively immortal)
Have a natural rhythm in their internal circulation, movements, etc, which is at least mildly hypnotic & calming to many species, including terrans. This affect is amplified as the subject gets closer to the affini in question. This rhythm can be suppressed with effort. Part of the function of the Haustoric Implant is to attune the subject to their owner's rhythm, enhancing the natural effect immensely.
Affini eyes resemble hammered metal in texture, and glow in varying intensities and colors. Some colors often (but not always!) correlate with broad emotions; red for aggression, gold for extremely satisfied, green for happy, blue for calm, etc etc. Colors can ‘ripple’ across the surface almost like reflections, or appear in splotchy patches. See this demo as an example:
Lower population estimates are at 10^20 across the universe; likely closer to 10^22
Has been a spacefaring species for somewhere between 50k & 100k years, prolly around 80k
(maybe) Tried ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence once or twice, but it was lonely & boring so they’re sticking around to uplift & domesticate the universe. Will ascend with the universe in tow to escape heat death!