Negotiations on shaky vines

Chapter 4- The treaty (rewritten)

by Exhausted_ambition

Tags: #dom:female #f/f #hypnosis #petplay #pov:bottom #scifi #anxiety #CW:dubious_consent #cw:violence #dom:internalized_imperialism #dom:plant #drug_play #Human_Domestication_Guide #ownership_dynamics #sensation_play #sub:capitalism #sub:female #trans_egg #transgender_characters

Here is the fourth chapter. Congratulation with international Labor Day! (Even tough this is a bit late). I have had a lot of fun writing (more than I expected) and I hope you have fun reading. Comments are wonderful so leave one if you want to feed my obsession with writing this story.

On the way back to their quarters Mertha felt the life drain from her flowers. ‘A simple mission where she could observe some sophonts in their natural pre-affini state’ that is what she had thought. The natural pre-affini state was terrifying beyond belief. Part of her didn’t want to trust the president, they looked stressed. Perhaps the weight of the position was getting to it?

There was another possibility, she felt bad for thinking about it. In all her studies of Terran history, the concept of truth or lies were not overly distinct. There was a real possibility that the President was lying to them, but why? Mertha looked over at Serla who seemed just as lost in thought as her. If anyone knew what the human was thinking it would be Serla, Mertha just hoped she would have some good answers.

They both entered the hab they had been given, where Elrax was petting Darla with one set of vines while dismantling some Terran tech with another set. He looked up “So how did dinner go, have a nice chat with that cute sophont?”. His voice faltered as he saw the state of his companions “ah…I’ll take that as a no.”

Mertha and Serla sat down, they needed to come to a conclusion quite quickly. Mertha started to explain the situation “the good news is that the president is not hostile to us, and wanted to cooperate if possible.” She felt like it was important to state, the president could be sincerely telling the truth. Elrax waited for the next part “the bad news is that he claims there is enough instability on the planet to kill a great deal of humans in a short amount of time.” 

Elrax eyes shot up in shock “the planet’s crust seemed to be fine from preliminary scans, is there some risk of earthquake?” Right, instability could mean a great deal of things. 

Mertha tried again “political instability, there are apparently a lot of factions and groups that don’t listen to the central government. The planet has apparently a long history of violent power struggle. The president claims that these groups might wage war on each other if he can’t secure stability.” 

Elrax eyes dimmed a bit as the old affini realized that technology might not be a clean and safe solution in this case. He sighed so his leaves shook “so how do we avoid that from happening, help the president? What does he want?”

Mertha forced herself to think about the situation calmly. What had the president actually asked for, independence. It might not be as overt as the Terran ferals, but the goal was the same, human independence. Independence to keep hurting each other and themselves, that was a high price. One she was sure the armada council would not be happy to pay, they needed more information. 
Mertha looked over at Serla who had picked up the sleeping floret “He wanted for us to sign a treaty to accept this sector as an independent nation, one at peace with the affini compact. Serla, did you notice anything unusual about him? Do you think he might be lying?” 

Serla sat down in one of the chairs, it was far too small “well he seemed a bit…uncanny. Some of the movements were too stiff or unnatural. I don’t think he even noticed he was eating, and his eyes were too focused even when he seemed distressed. The poor sophont is clearly under a lot of pressure and seems very overworked. So that might explain it…I would not go as far to say that we should trust his words, but I can’t claim with certainty that he is lying.”

Dirt. They needed information, but they had very little of this sector or planet. Wait a minute…. Humans stored all their information on those primitive computer systems of theirs. If they could get into those they might be able to find information that proved or disproved the presidents’ claims. 

Luckily, they had a technological specialist with them. Elrax could break into the humans most encoded database in a second. She turned around “Elrax, do you think you could get some information from the human computer systems? They probably have a lot of information there that could prove useful. But it is important that we are not detected, that might make them angry.”

Elrax smiled “That won’t be a problem at all. these human encodings are quite cute, but not very secure.” The gray affini got to work with his data pad. Mertha sat down and tried to think about the human conflicts she had read about. Most of them were from long ago, before humanity began to colonize. Also, this was a huge planet, if the factions on it could be considered to have the strengths of an old Terran nation state then things could get very ugly indeed. She tried not to think about it, they would not allow that to happen. 

Elrax shuffled a bit “I think I found something. The local database is enormous, by human standards. I found an archive pertaining to ‘interplanetary conflict’.” The gray affini looked at the files with shock.
“Show me” Mertha grabbed the data pad and looked through the documents. Apparently, this was the private database of Hendrik Hansen. It was filled with an extensive list of folders on different corporations, ‘families’,  political groups and dissidents. Each folder contained a detailed description of the group’s power, influence, and quantity of weapons available…Fire! That was a lot of weapons. 

Each folder also had a contingency plan if the group was to rebel. The contingency plans were detailed and mostly focused on avoiding direct confrontation. Sieges of corporation buildings, cut off supplies to city districts, infiltration. There was also a predictive calculation of the lives 
lost and the cost of the property that would be destroyed. Mertha could not truly care about the ‘property damage’ but the death tolls were high, very high.

For a horrifying moment Mertha imagined what would happen if several of these groups attacked at the same time. Her flowers wilted “He was right…We need to contact the captain and armada council, immediately!” Mertha handed Serla the data pad. 

The affini looked at the documents before deflating slightly. “I agree, I don’t know if we can accept letting them have independence for eternity, but we also can’t allow this to happen.” 
Mertha took up her data pad and sent a request for transmission. She was only two blooms old, those in the council had far more years under their roots. They were also experienced with domestication warfare, they would have the answers.
Henrik looked over his bookshelves and the desk filled with books and documents. Paper was generally looked down upon. It could not be as easily written, edited, copied, or stored as the code that filled the veins of his bureaucracy. 

He admitted there was something sentimental with the look of a paper form, filled to completion and neatly fixed together with its companions in a work of art. When it came to practicality however paper had only one central advantage that code could never beat. No one, not even the affini could hack his paper books, notes and documents.  
Of course, he expected they would find their way into his database. The affini had displayed knowledge of Terran fleets to such an extent that to think they could not crack the best Terran encryption was foolish. The affini would not respect their privacy either, it was an invasion after all. So, he had prepared for this eventuality and turned it into an advantage. The only thing the plants would find in his database was what he wanted them to find.
Documents handcrafted to make sure they proved the instability of the planet, and most importantly the risk to human life. Holding the population of Centhia as hostages was the only thing that kept him out of their clutching vines. 

If one was to cross reference with the database of the bureaucracy they would not find an issue. Centhia was a powder keg, but one he could rule. His supposed strategies for dealing with any rebels were constructed to give him the appearance of a benevolent ruler. The death tolls constructed so the affini would be too cautious. 

He had been tempted to also add a strategy for the negotiations. It was tempting to fool them into the exact thinking he wanted. In the end he had decided to not do such a thing. Such overthinking had thrown so many players into the abyss, he had no intentions of following them. He could best these plants in negotiations without it.

He looked at the old clock on the wall, it was only a matter of waiting until the affini agreed. Or at least that’s what he hoped. If they didn't do well then, it would be time to abandon ship. Hendrik wondered how long he would be able to survive when not in power, his pulse raised. With the number of enemies he had accrued, not long. 

Perhaps it would be better to travel into affini space, they would not kill him. But when the affini realized what he had done….He was trapped here. He might be at the height of his power, but one stubble and The Game would claim him just the same. 

Then he would have to work more to ensure that did not happen. The affini were out of his control for the moment. For now, he needed to plan how to deal with his internal opponents if a treaty was struck. 

The corps probably already knew what was happening but could be convinced that cooperation with the affini would prove profitable. A fictional trade deal here, promises of infinite growth there, as long as he did not give them too much time to doubt they could be handled.
The Terran refugees would be trickier, they could not be kept out of the loop forever. He would have to make some concessions. Perhaps some more ship weapons or allowing them to restock from the garrison armory. 
The colonies would not have time to react to what was happening so at least that was not a problem. Additionally, none of them would even consider rebelling so soon after Cebrex V's little temper tantrum had been crushed.

The families were enigmatic, again caution would be best. He could send a few informants to inform them, a token of goodwill. Plus, the families had always been reactive in nature, and their reaction to a possible affini invasion would not be constructive.  

After they were all placated, he could move on to the second round of negotiations. It would be even more risky than the first. However, the prize that awaited him if he should succeed was unmatched. Hendrik continued to work

“Can we even believe these documents, the humans could just be paranoid.”

“Can we take the risk is the real question, this is to many deaths to be acceptable”

“If we strike now I am certain that we could have the planet pacified within hours, I don’t see what makes this one so special”

“We first need to Domesticate the planets that have surrendered to the treaty, we can’t spare the ships for such a large planet” 

“Reinforcements are too far away at the moment, I say that we sign this treaty to gain some time. Then once the reinforcements are here we invade.”

“That will tarnish how the humans look at us, they are already scared. If they see that negotiations with us can be broken that callously. I can only imagine that more will fight instead of trusting us.”

Mertha was never one for protracted meetings and this one had been going in circles for a few hours now. She decided to tune out to save her sanity while the admirals continued to bicker. 
Finally, the admiral from the Agraria spoke “all right, I think I have a solution. Firstly, Mertha you will sign this treaty with the ‘republic’. The Agraria will move to secure core planets that are closest to Centhia. In case of emergency, we will be able to make a few jumps and secure the planet. Mertha, tell the president that we want the possibility to intervene on the planet if large scale violence starts. We also need to help the most vulnerable sophonts in the meantime, offer aid and continue to work with the president. Once the reinforcements arrive we will reevaluate the position of Centhian independence. Is this satisfactory for everyone?” A general murmur of agreement sounded across the other channels. 

Mertha wondered when she had been selected to lead the delegation, still she could not fail. A few more clarifying questions later and the meeting was adjourned. Mertha told Elrax and Serla and prepared what she needed to say. She opened the door and found a guard only a few meters away “hi there little one, I would like to talk to your president. Could you show me the way?” 

The guard snapped to attention “yes, mam! One moment” the guard took up a device and clicked a few buttons, a second later the device made a small beep. The guard put the device away “follow me mam!” 
The walk was only 5 minutes before they were at the end of the corridor. The guard outside seemed familiar. Ah it must be the one that guarded Henrik when they landed. The guard that had led her here, backed off and walked away. 

The large guard stepped forward “The president has ordered that you may not enter for the next 3 minutes” the voice of the guard was surprisingly soft. They were probably adorable underneath all the armor, it was a crime of the universe that these sophonts needed such protection.
“Come in” the voice of Hendrik was clear but slightly shaking. The poor sophont was probably extremely nervous. That such a cute human held all this responsible was a tragedy. For a moment Mertha was ashamed of the frustration with responsibility she had felt. The affini were supposed to protect these sophonts against the universe and themselves. If one of the humans took such responsibility, while she shirked it she would betray that mission.
The guard opened the door and led her inside. Mertha made an effort to show as much confidence as possible. Perhaps that would calm the president. A part of her was happy that the president had been speaking the truth. The reality was horrid but at least he was trying to cooperate with them. 

The office was large and mostly empty. There were a few bookshelves filled with documents and books. The large desk at the end of the room was also covered with documents, the president had begun to clear them away. 

There was a large window behind the desk, it had a beautiful and impressive view of the city below. The dim sun that streaked into the room created a warm atmosphere.
The president looked normal but a slight fidgeting with a pen betrayed his mood. She walked through the room and sat down in her own vines that formed a makeshift chair.
Fishing out the agreement from her chest area, she put it on the table. Mertha wanted to dispel the humans fear as soon as possible “The affini compact has decided to sign the agreement and respect your independence.”
Henrik smiled in visible relief for the first time since they had met.  It was a very cute expression “Excellent, that is excellent! Does the compact have any conditions or terms?” right, she still needed to convince him that this would be necessary 

She smiled as confidently as possible “we only have one condition. if there should arise a situation where large-scale violence starts the compact would have the right to interfere”. The president looked thoughtful. Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes. She met the presidents ‘eyes, for a moment she considered convincing him another way. No, using hypnotics would be a serious breach of trust. 

The president looked like he had come to a conclusion, and he smiled once again. “That is certainly acceptable.” Thank the Everbloom. “Should we sign now? The earlier the better.”
She was almost surprised how easy it had been “y..yes that would probably be for the best.”

The president first used his pen to quickly write in the new condition on the contract and then signed. Despite human libs being clumsier than vines in her experience, Henrik’s writing was startlingly fast. 

handed her a wooden pen, it was well weighted and finely decorated with carvings. 
Mertha used the pen in a swift and fluid motion to sign the agreement. She handed the president the document. 

The president sounded positively excited “Perfect, I will have this announced through the entire republic as soon as possible. This is a defining moment in the relations between our nations.” For a second Hendrik seemed to relax before the president straightened up and returned to his usual self.
Mertha wanted to let the human rest but had one more task “Before I leave, I have one more request.” She had almost forgotten in the excitement and relief. The president nodded “Our delegation would like to remain to find ways that we can provide aid. Your current society still harms many humans.” She hoped she had not pushed too far. 
The president looked calm “I would like nothing better, for now I have work to do. We can meet tomorrow during lunch. I would gladly discuss further agreements between our peoples.'' Perhaps she had the talent for being a diplomat after all.
As she walked back to the chambers she almost beamed with energy. Not only had it gone well but the humans were happy to accept assistance. Hendrik was far from the ferals she had met on the Agraria. This could go well, they had a lot of work to do. In a moment of weakness, she allowed herself to pet one of the guards that had escorted her as she stepped inside. 
Hendrik tried to stifle his excitement, this was a triumph! The affini agreed to leave them alone. He was safe for now. Not only that but they had also offered aid, he had a list of proposals already. Affini technology would be the key to winning The Game, permanently. 
The affini were practically throwing themselves at the opportunity to help him cement his power. 

For a second, he imagined his future empire, built on affini technology with all power concentrated in his hands. With the most expensive and advanced medical technology he could expect to live until he was 150 or perhaps even older. But with affini technology, he was not naïve to think they could offer immortality. 400 years would certainly not hurt.
He snapped himself out of it.  The most dangerous part of his plans had still not been secured and a lot could go wrong. He begun to make calls, he had more work to do
Hendrik ended his presentation “In conclusion, cooperation with the affini will provide bountiful opportunities for new investment, profit and expansion.” The representatives from each of the big 5 had their eyes on him.
ERLI, the mining corporation that controlled over half of the asteroid mining operations in the sector. ‘NISSAN’, the producers of ships and hyperdrives that kept the trade moving. ‘Hasu&son’ were major producers of the fuel that kept the factories humming and the generators turning. ‘LITZ’ were the largest providers of healthcare in the sector. And lastly ‘Fireside security’ that almost held a monopoly on weapon production and “home” defense services.
These executives and CEOs could make Hendrik frustrated and unregulated on the worst of days. This however was a productive day and one by one the corps that owned the sector agreed with his strategy of cooperation. He ended the meeting and walked out as the vultures began to discuss potential profit. 
With an unusually silent Nora behind him he made his way to the next meeting. A selection of the most important Terran admirals had been contacted to represent the refugees. Admirals were the worst, brutish military men with too much unearned confidence. 

As soon as he entered, he knew that this would be a less productive meeting. The suspicious eyes of the admirals followed him as he sat down.
“So are we bowing down to the plants now!” one of the admirals almost shouted from across the table. The shouter was the youngest of them, probably only a few years older than himself. Military men respected strength but only the barbaric and simple-minded one that they practiced.
He needed to project the strength and confidence they respected. “I have made sure that we will remain independent. Is either this or an affini armada bearing down on us.” He needed to be firm if he was to make any ground.
An older admiral indignantly sat up in his chair “If they do send an armada, we would crush them. This is one of the largest gatherings of Terran warships in history! Do you doubt our capabilities?” the admiral spoke with arrogance that could only be sustained with age.
He would need to plie them a bit “Having you here is sure to strengthen our position, but a full out war will not go in our favor. We could not save Terra and I doubt we could stand against them for more than a few years.” Years? perhaps a day or two. The flattery seemed to have the intended effect as tensions cooled down.
He managed to steer the conversation for around 40 minutes. Then came the question, he really had hoped they wouldn’t have asked. “How did you get them to agree with the treaty in the first place? it’s not like they respected the Terran accord” the admiral was in his mid-40s and had the eyes of a seasoned career man, probably educated at the academy on terra.
He could not tell the truth. The implication that the affini cared about human lives would go against the Terran refugees’ delusion that the affini were evil monsters. A delusion they could not abandon unless their whole cause for freedom was made worthless. Unlike him they were not here for power, The game. Instead, it was for some vision of nationalism and the greater good. He needed to appeal to their ego. 
Luckily he had a lot of that to appeal to “It was difficult, but apparently they are having larger problems than they thought with Terran freedom fighters across the other sectors. They consider us a non-threat. By the time that they realize their mistake, and we have grown in power it will be too late” some of the admirals looked excited, some thoughtful but on the whole they looked convinced of his lie.
By the time the meeting was over Hendrik was sure that he would make sure all those men spent the rest of their lives in jail. Or perhaps even better send them over to the affini, a fitting fate.

It was late, and he needed to rest for tomorrow…or perhaps not. If the affini agreed to his proposals it would be best to have all the plans ready in advance. A few more hours in the office couldn’t hurt. He was soon there, his grip on the sector would be unbreakable!

Just like Henrik I am working to late. Writing until 2:30 am is probably not the best idea but until an affini comes down and stop me I will continue. Se you in the next chapter when that gets released. now i go to sleep 😪

Sophonts of the world unite!

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