Negotiations on shaky vines

Chapter 45x- The leash of fear

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

CW: mentions of violence and drug abuse

Time to return to Centhia and see how Cleo’s actions affect the sector. Hope you enjoy!
--------------------A new bureaucracy: Centhia, Central bureaucracy HQ, 9:00 (CC +1d,22h)------------------
Laura walked apprehensively towards the building where she had worked for the last 6 years of her life. She was far from alone, streams of others were making their way into the central bureaucracy HQ. They had all heard of what had happened the day prior. Durkow Harold, one of the most senior, and in her option one of the worst, permanent secretaries had resigned. There had been the usual talk of ‘spending more time with his family’ and ‘grateful’ for the time he had spent there. Everyone knew what had actually happened, the president must have forced him to do it. 
Everything from his slurred speech to the fact an affini had helped him stand, was clear evidence of the president's handiwork. The following resignations had been a natural consequence, it was not the first time this had happened, and she doubted it would be the last. 
Laura, herself was relieved beyond words for what had happened. With the resignations, the president had proved that the assassination had been a ploy, that he held power, and that the affini were still allies. This meant that she and everyone else could no longer be considered traitors, she was safe….at least for now. 
She did think that it was a bit unfair, Durkow had often spoken of how assassinations and death was the most common form of resignation in the old days. That he should be let off the hook for so little made her a bit vindictive. 
Laura focused on the situation at hand, she had a new position and new orders. This grand reorganization effort was a huge change, but she just had to do her work and not bother with the rest. The elevator up to the main floor was filled, the eyes of the people she saw were much like her own, relieved and ready to get to work. 
Once the elevator opened the people dispersed in all directions to carry out their tasks. She could hear the familiar buzz of bureaucratic work fill the building. Laura began to walk in the direction of the office that belonged to the new grand permanent secretary of ‘resource allocation’ that she was now under. Suddenly she felt a vine poke her on the shoulder, she turned around and was met with the smile of Picea. 
The affini was beaming “welcome back Laura. How are you doing?” the affini still held a bit of apprehension despite its excitement. 
Laura sighed “I'm sorry for how I acted….i was just very frightened. You never lied, I was just duped.” It was almost embarrassing, how could she have reacted like that. 
Picea shook her head dismissively “you don’t have anything to say sorry for, it was very natural to be frightened. I hope the fact that you are here is a sign that you feel better.” You did not have to spend much time with an affini to learn they did not let you be responsible for your actions. 
Laura smiled a bit “it's good to know I’m fighting on the winning side, and meetings will be a bit more bearable without Durkow going off every chance he gets.” Picea let out a slight chuckle.
The affini came a bit closer. “Do you still want to visit my hab? I still have the food I know you like.” Damn the affini were relentless….though that did seem tempting. 
Laura tried not to blush “sure, I can come later today. For now, I have a rather important meeting, so if you let me pass..” Picea’s smile grew even wider, and she stepped aside. Just as Laura moved past her the affini gave her a pat on the head.
Laura blushed and decided to just walk away, she could learn the affini about proper office etiquette later. She made her way to the office at a brisk pace, trying to ignore the feelings that Picea awoke in her. 
When she finally got there she knocked on the door, she was 3 minutes late, damn Picea and her shenanigans. The man inside told her to enter, and she opened the door. Percy was sitting behind the desk putting away some paperwork. when she had gotten the message she had been surprised, Percy did not strike her as the obvious choice, but the president probably had his reasons.  
Percy waved her further inside and smiled “I’m so glad that you could come. Your new position as permanent secretary of health is quite a big task, are you sure you can handle it?” Laura had waited long for a promotion such as this. 
Her loyalty was rewarded “yes, I have ample plans when it comes to integrating the affini outreach centers and our own hospitals. Before we go into that, can I ask you a few questions?” part of her mind still required answers. 
Percy smiled cautiously “I think I know what the question is. Yes, he is alive and apparently heavily involved with how the affini are acting.” That was most of it but she still felt unsure, if that was true then why had the president been silent for so long. 
Perhaps there was something wrong. “Was he injured or something?” for a second Percyeyes seemed to be a bit unfocused. 
Then he snapped back to attention “yes, I talked to the president, and he was normal. Now, could we focus on the matter at hand?” There was not a hint of doubt or lies in the young man’s words. Laura knew she was far from the best but did consider herself quite skilled in recognizing deception. With her mind reassured of her immediate safety, she could focus on work once more.
---------------------New narrative: Centhia, CPN broadcast station, 14:27 (CC +2d,3h,27min)----------------------
Alexandra looked over the final proposals for the new propaganda campaign. She and Salvia had gone over several dozens by now; these were the last designs left. The proposals all reminded her of the old propaganda, but with a softer and more hopeful message. Instead of ‘Do your duty!’ there was ‘help in the way that you know best’, instead of ‘Terra is the enemy, resist their attempts of enslavement’ there was ‘Terran rebels are dangerous to both you and themselves, contact your nearest outreach center if you see one’. They were still very different from regular affini propaganda that did not seem to ask for anything. These new ones were Centhian made but carried the alien touch, a mix of both worlds. 
Salvia picked up one of the proposals “I think I like this one, look at how cute you humans are depicted.” It was a poster about seeking help and protection from outreach centers in case of emergency, the humans being shielded behind an affini did look a bit cute. 
Alexandra nodded, it was an important message, and the fact that it specified that it was Terran rebels who stood behind the attacks would fit the narrative the president had outlined. 
Her mind returned to the meeting from yesterday, it was a bit blurry in her mind. All of it was clear until one point when they sat in the shuttle on the way to the affini ship. For a moment she thought about the 6 people that had been there….but there had only been 5 and a few affini. She swore she had seen one more person but each time she listed the names up she always came to 5. The meeting with the president was also a bit foggy, but that was probably due to the stress of the situation. 
Salvia looked at her, concerned “you have been looking at that one for a minute now. Is it that good or are you thinking of something?” Alexandra sighed, being such a high-rank official was tiring, that was probably it. 
She nodded “I am just surprised by all that happened yesterday, and the president was different from how I remembered. There was something about the way she acted…it was far better but wrong somehow.” A thought dropped into her mind “you haven’t drugged her or something?” 
Salvia chuckled “No, not at all. We would not do that in such a serious situation. I think perhaps you are a bit tired from work. All of these proposals seem fine, I can send them out for distribution while you go and get some sleep.” Salvia was probably right, there was probably nothing wrong with the president. 
And she was in fact getting very tired, she let out a yawn and stretched “alright but wake me in a few hours. After this, we need to set up new surveillance for the overnet.” Speaking of the overnet, the surveillance measures were a bit softer than what she had expected. It was very different from the surveillance that had occurred before, and for that she was grateful. Perhaps the affini had mellowed out the president, or perhaps the president had hardened the affini. Either way, she just hoped things would be stable again.
-----------------------1 doubting brother: Centhia, West New Gettysburg, 17:21 (CC +2d,6h,21min)--------------
Tidar looked on as Olan shouted over the masses “these new posters are just lies and manipulation! The same for the broadcast, just an affini hologram puppet show! Do not let yourself be fooled! The president called on us with action, not words!” The crowd hang on to his brother’s every last word and Olan seemed to relish every moment of it
Tidar decided that this would be the best time to slip away, if the last demonstrations were anything to go by this would not be done for some time. Time enough for him to disappear and then return without Olan noticing. He began to push himself out of the crowd and towards the nearest back alley, from there he could get out of the masses and towards where he needed to go. 
It was not that he did not support Olan, but if he was honest the protests scared him. Luckily none of the three that they had been in had turned violent, but it was only a matter of time. He felt a bit of shame, he was failing the president….if Olan was correct that was. Tidar wanted nothing more than to believe the broadcast, that the president was on the side of the affini. But his brother was so against the mere mention of such ideas that he had not even uttered the possibility. 
Olan was smart but also headstrong, when he got an idea he followed it, no matter the consequences. At least he was not drinking anymore. Tidar found the right street and made his way carefully keeping his distance from people, there was no knowing what they might do. It was not long until he made his way to the retrofitted building, it was obvious by the far friendlier façade and color. The outreach center stuck out like a cheerful thumb in a sea of concrete, Tidar smiled a bit at the sight. 
There was a line of people receiving food from the center, but he was here to enter the building itself, he made his way up the steps and walked in the open doors. Inside it looked much like the health clinic it had once been before the president had removed the LITZ corporation from the planet’s surface. The waiting room was decorated with friendly posters and lots of flowers, it was also relatively full. He waited in the short line in front of the reception, it was soon his turn. 
The affini behind it was intimidating just by its size alone, its friendly face and demeanor could only soften that somewhat. In the street, demeanor could change too fast to be trusted, and the capacity for violence was the only good indicator of danger. Despite his fear, he stepped forward, and the affini smiled “hi Tidar, spirea is ready to see you. The third door, down the hall on the left as usual.” Tidar gave a weak nod but felt a bit more shame, he really should have remembered the affini’s name if they remembered his. 
He walked down the corridor and stopped in front of the third door, he was a bit apprehensive. He did not want to betray the president but at the same time….he knocked on the door. The door opened almost instantly “come in Tidar, I’m very glad you could make it for today’s session.” Spirea’s voice was as always welcoming and calm. 
Tidar entered the alien therapist’s office, why was he here if he was supposed to hate the affini? The green- and red-leafed affini gestured towards a seat “come and sit, do you want some tea or snacks?” Tidar made his feet move and he sat down.
He felt safer as soon as he was in the cushy chair. “I…can take some tea…thanks.” The affini smiled and poured him some warm tea from an old-looking kettle. He took a sip and felt a bit more at ease.
Spirea smiled and took up a notebook “so how are things going, are the xenodrugs working well?” Tidar smiled a bit, the first time he had come here he was so scared and so very desperate.
Now he was only very scared. “I feel no withdrawal symptoms anymore, no nightmares either.” Perhaps he should hate the affini, but he owed them so much. Just like the president they had offered so much and asked for practically nothing in return, for the affini it had been literally nothing.
Spirea’s smile grew wider, revealing a few needle-sharp thorns “so the class-B is working as well, that is wonderful to hear. How are things? Is there something you wanted to discuss in this session?” Tidar swallowed, was he really going to confess….he just needed someone to talk to, and Spirea was all that he had. 
Tidar made sure to breathe slowly like she had taught him “ever since things…turned chaotic…me and my brother have been….organizing protests…anti-affini protests.” He looked up at Spirea, she looked a bit surprised. Was this when he was going to get arrested? or was he betraying the man who had saved his life to the aliens?
Spirea looked….concerned “oh, why have you been doing that?” There was no anger or threat in her voice, just concern. 
Tidar was a bit befuddled. “I…me and my brother owe so much to the president and when we saw the picture…we had to assume that you were the…enemy.” The affini nodded understandingly.
Their eyes met, and the magnificent emerald-colored orbs shone lightly “I can understand that you would assume that. But the president supports this alliance and what we are doing here, why else would he have invited us?” Trivar could almost hear his brother shout the answer in his ear.
He swallowed again “maybe he supported you….but you betrayed him?” Why was he accusing the person that had helped so much? Perhaps because he wanted her to disprove him, perhaps that was why he was here in the first place. 
Spirea smiled a bit playfully “what part of either the president or us would make you think that?” …..He suddenly felt a bit silly. The president was amazing, there was no way he would be manipulated and nothing about the affini made him think they would betray anyone.  
He was still scared “even if I believe you…I don’t think I can convince my brother. I don’t want to go against Olan…are you going to arrest him? he is only doing it because he thinks it’s right.” The last thing he wanted to do was betray his brother. 
Spirea shook her head “no, we are not going to arrest him. But these protests are dangerous, even if his intentions are in the right place. Perhaps you could help us watch over him?” hold on….
Tidar was suddenly very nervous “you want me to spy on him?” There was no way….
The affini shook her head again “no, not at all. But if you think that he is going to do something dangerous, or the situation gets out of control; give me a message and we can help make sure he and others are safe. Neither we nor your president wants him to get hurt.” That made sense, they just wanted to make sure he and Olan were safe.
There was one problem “how do I send you a message, the net is down.” 
Spirea took out a data pad and turned it on “no, it just got put online again. Here is my username, just send me a message and we will help.” Tidar made sure to memorize the name in case he needed it. 
He suddenly remembered he was probably late. “I need to go before he notices I am gone…thanks for the talk.” The affini just smiled and stood up.
She ruffled his hair “nothing to be thankful for, I love making sure you cuties are okay. And you are a very good boy. See you soon.” he blushed and then made for the door. As soon as he was out of the building he moved into a light jog. He was still afraid that things might go wrong, and the increasing volume of the crowd did not lessen that. But at least he had the president and the affini to help him. 
---------------------The formation, reformed: Centhia, North New Bergen, 18:05 (CC +2d,7h,5min)--------------
Oldrem had not been too optimistic about his chances after the fiasco that was the first day of the so-called ‘Centhia catastrophe’. People who called it that had never seen a true catastrophe, he had. The garrison rebellion of 54 had done massive damage, and it was only a coincidence that he had survived and been on the winning side. Still, there was plenty of time for this crisis to develop into a true nightmare. 
At least the people upstairs were getting things done and to impressive effect. The president must have done something at least because more and more of his junior officers were returning to work. He did not care if it was by crook or hook as long as it meant he had more soldiers against the increasingly angry protestors or emboldened families.  
There was a knock on his office door “come in.” The door opened slowly and Philp, the first to break rank, entered. He was wearing his uniform, the badge had been carefully sewn back on. This he had not expected “you came back, why?” it might not be his business, but he still wanted to know. 
Philip was quiet for a moment before answering “I got a….visit, they convinced me to come back.” Oldrem felt a shiver down his back, that could only mean one thing. The shadow division was stalking across the planet, ‘convincing’ the enemies of the republic. He was impressed by Philip’s perseverance, not many could speak after such a visit, and the man must be braver than he first anticipated. 
Philp changed the subject, it was understandable “I also heard we are no longer defenseless. Sleeping gas is it?” That was the second major improvement, now they stood a chance against large numbers of enemies, even if it did mean they had to wear gas masks. 

He chuckled “yes, it is quite effective, you will see soon enough. The president has commanded that I give you people one more chance but understand that this is the last one.” Philip saluted, it was not a very good salute.
The young man left the room, and Oldrem felt better about his chances now. The more who returned the more pressure it would be on the remaining holdouts. Soon he would be commanding a whole platoon once more. There was a call, a group of family goons was attacking a nearby district. He stood up and made sure his uniform was straight. He might not make it, that fear would never leave until, and if he retired. But he had a duty to the republic and his president, time to beat back the dark. 
-----------------------The new offense: Centhia, {location redacted}, 21:22 (CC +2d,10h,22min)-------------------
The feelings around the old round table were muted, the three people knew that their momentum had been slowed down. Already the government had begun to regain its footing and their operations to release the mercenaries had mostly been a failure. Frustration was beginning to form, and frustration would tear the alliance they had apart, it was time for more drastic actions. 
Julius Therador the 3rd would not fall so easily, not when they had possessed so many advantages against the president and the alien foe. He folded his hands “it is time for us to ready the assault, each day we lose more momentum and ground. We must draw our blades and go to war, once their lights go out we will secure a deadly advantage.” The CEO and vengeful admiral looked thoughtful. 
Celin smiled, it was time to go all in “I agree, I will ready our forces and have the equipment delivered. Once we strike they will not know what hit them.” The market would either surge or it would collapse, at least that remained the same. 
Admiral Victorian felt more unsure, if this failed then pushing the aliens of Centhia could prove impossible. But a soldier of Terra was never afraid “I concur, but we still have a problem. The president lives, each breath he takes he works against us.” 
Celin tapped the table “I think I can solve that problem, I will send our most skilled liquidator and try to eliminate this pest once and for all. It is the same unit that killed the grand secretary and managed to escape.” It was also one of the last unit’s left that they had contact with, but that her allies did not need to know.
Victorian frowned “how will it ever reach the ship, it is impossible. I say we rather try to lure him down to the surface.” He also wanted the pleasure of ordering the killing himself, what satisfaction did those emotionless units of augmented flesh and machine know about revenge.
Celin showed one of her cards “based on stolen OCNI design, NISSAN developed a stealth shuttle over the last 3 years. It was ready for field tests but never got beyond the prototype stage due to the current situation. The liquidator will secure the vessel and sneak into the affini ship there it will kill the president. Either way we have nothing to lose by trying.” And if they should succeed….then true chaos would reign the sector. 
The remnants of the old order then laid the plans for their gambit. The streets of Centhia would run red with blood, the planet would go dark, and the people would know true fear. Even as they planned all 3 felt the fear of failure, the president’s noose around their neck was tightening. 
-------------------Shadows in the dark: Centhia, North New Bergen, 23:14 (CC +2d,12h,14min)-------------------
Unit W-14 moved with perfect silence through the crowded streets. It was aware of every subject and made sure to move with the lack of light that they formed to not be observed. This area was uncontrolled, unstable, and dangerous. It had to remain careful as it searched for its objective. 
A low percentage of subjects were obeying the curfew, this made the streets congested with subjects. It calculated that its protocol would be best followed if it moved up to the top plane of the structures it was traversing. Each of its appendages found their marks and it ascended up while using a dysfunctional water pipe as cover. 
The new protocols were to make the unit's continued existence a top priority, risk taken was to be minimized at all costs. There was no risk up here and it still wanted to complete its objective as the handler had ordered. It moved across the top plane of the structures and turned its hearing enchantment to maximum range. It stood in silence for a while, absorbing all the noise it could and sorting it. 93% was irrelevant subject noise, 6% was weather and wind, 0.8% was the creaking of the buildings, 0,2% was a hushed conversation in a habitation structure 15 minutes movement away. 
It moved towards its query and soon made it to the structure, infiltrating the building would pose a risk. Not enough risk that it would avoid it before, but it had a new protocol, it followed its protocols. It leaned its ear against the wall and began to listen for the sound that met its objective. It took time, valuable intel could have been lost in that time but soon it heard it all and focused on the 21st floor.
“Rat nest: rot-fish will move up to 3rd Shivar Street and prepare to strike. Don’t do anything until you get your signal, got it?” low-level commander of family power structure had been identified. 
“Yeah I get it, but when are we getting those cluster bombs? We won’t make a dent without them.” Leader of family platoon identified, discussing lack of high-grade explosive devices. 
“We will get them when the corp assholes deliver them, I don’t know more than that, okay? Now stop whining.” Delivery of high-grade explosives to be done by capitalist subjects. Morale in enemy command structure at medium level. 
It had collected enough intel and its visor showed that a depressurized atmosphere would soon lead to rainfall. Rain would hamper the effectiveness of its camouflage and increase risk, following it the protocol unit W-14 moved to a safe spot and turned to low energy standby mode. It felt proud, the handler had requested intel and it had found that. 
--------------------------Terra’s retreat: Cebrex V, low orbit , 00:55 (CC +2d,13h,55min)-------------------------
Grand admiral Sendar was feeling a mix of frustration and satisfaction. He had just gotten reports that confirmed the president of this star-forsaken republic was still alive. He should have killed him in that office and be done with that. Instead, the president had tricked him, there had never been any microbombs in the fuel. The engineer that told him that would never tell anyone else, on the fact that he had been thrown out of the nearest airlock. 
The satisfaction came from the guns of his ship that pounded the planet below into ashes. The president wanted to keep living, well then he would see his people suffer. There was a ‘pling’ from the screen attached to the captain’s chair, his chair. He read the message with some hesitation, another affini vessel had just entered Centhian space, only to jump away again. He cursed loudly, they could no longer remain here. 
The escape from Centhia had lost him 11 good ships, a terrible cost for such a minor victory. He had gotten reports an hour earlier that the first affini vessel had attacked the force bombarding Rembian III. They were no doubt the next target, the planet had been softened enough by now, time to raid it for what remained. 
He spoke into the microphone “This is Grand admiral Sendar to all Terran resistance forces, prepare your jump drives and prepare to leave orbit. All ships with enough manpower are to send soldiers down the planet to collect recruits and resources, as well as kill weeds and collaborators.” He felt his nerves pulse in his head, how much time did they have?
A part of him was tempted to collect the fleet and fight the affini head-on, but that had proved inefficient before. This might be one of the greatest navies that Terra had ever seen but it still could not compare with affini ships. The strategy of dispersal would eventually make the weeds lose morale and stomach, it was the best course of action. 
The guns had gone silent, and he saw from the bridge the hundreds of small metal shuttles that made their way to the surface. When they had lured the plants away they could come and collect the men and spoils. Then a part of space seemed to ripple while light bent around the massive area of the void, a second later an affini warship appeared. It was not near the size of the ship that had chased them from Centhia, but it still dwarfed all their ship, it was an affini hunter ship.
It immediately opened fire and the blue beams of light struck two vessels, leaving them dark and defenseless. He felt fear “ALL SHIPS WARP AWAY NOW!” by the time he was done shouting another 3 ships had been disabled. 
He could feel his ship tremble as the warp drive went into effect, a beam of blue light streaked towards them….and then he felt the familiar kick in his lungs as the ‘indomitable II’ jumped away. Sendar felt his senses return as he saw the backside of the moon they had chosen for their hiding place. He waited as more and more ships jumped into formation.
All in all, 7 ships out of the 36 that had orbited the planet did not appear. He cursed “helmsman, split the remaining ships and prepare to jump as soon as possible. We need to stay one step ahead of these weeds. An opportunity to avenge Terra will soon present itself.” The grand admiral was uncertain about those last words, would they really have that chance? He crushed the doubt and fear. There was no way in hell he was going down before Centhia was reduced to rubble, that he swore.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter and have a wonderful day!

Show the comments section (3 comments)

Back to top

Register / Log In