Rebel Commander Vladimir was sitting in his office when 3 of his troops burst through the door. “We have found an Affini. May we burn her” they exclaimed as one. Now you may think most rebel commanders would be overjoyed at this, but Vladimir was smarter than your average grunt. He’d seen videos of what the Affini were capable of and there was no way these three would be able to capture one. “How do you know it is an Affini?" He asked, truthfully expecting it to actually be a Ficus. “It looks like one” claimed the lead soldier, which did nothing to dissuade his earlier thought. “Very well, let us go and see to put the matter to rest.” Vladimir proclaimed.
Walking to their nearby storage room, the only room reasonably big enough to store an actual Affini, Vladimir entered and finally caught sight of this so-called alien. At a stunning 9 feet tall, face of bark and leaf, limbs of vine and flower, he certainly had to admit it was an impressive Ficus. “Hello darling petal, are you the commander these three went to get?” It even talked, but alas there was no way these three had brought down an Affini, so something else must be afoot. Ignoring the oddly shaped but ultimately regular Ficus, he turned back to his troops. “What makes you think this is an Affini?” The quiet one in the back spoke up “She turned me into a floret!” Now this was a serious matter, basically an enemy spy within the ranks. “Turn around and let's check for the scar to see” Vladimir claimed and pulled the soldier closer to tug down his collar. Not a mark anywhere around his neck. “I got better?” he sheepishly claimed when asked to clarify.
“She’s still an Affini, burn her!” came the cry from the other two. Truth be told, during this whole back and forth, Vladimir had begun to find the Ficus very calming. Just being near it was relaxing and with all he had to put up with he’d rather not burn down one of the few things he had found that would ease his tensions. How to keep these three from burning this perfectly normal Ficus though. While he was deep in thought, said Ficus leaned over and gently rubbed his shoulders and whispered, “Take your time little petal, everything will turn out okay.” Finally resolving himself, Vladimir looked at the three before addressing them. “We must be assured this is an Affini before we burn it or else the smoke may attract attention to our hideout. Tell me men, what else is made of vines and wood?” “Other Affini!” came the first cry, followed by Vladimir asking “Yes, but what other things?” “A wooden swing!” “A wicker basket!” “A rocking chair!” “A bird's nest!” “A trellis!” “A wreath!” came the cries from all three. “Ah but what do those all start as? Question Vladimir to his troops. It took a moment, but they finally exclaimed together “A plant.” Vladimir followed up with “So that would mean that an Affini is a…” “Plant” “Very good you three, and what are plants most known for?” Vladimir said, leading them down his carefully thought-out path. After some minutes of thinking and a small discussion among the three, the leader turned to him and replied, “They grow from sun and water.” "Correct! Vladimir excalimed "So if we take this supposed Affini outside and pour some water on it…” Thinking quickly the quiet one responded, “Then if it really is an Affini, it’ll grow right in front of us.” “Precisely! Now how did you get this in here so we can get it back out?” Vladimir asked. Before his men could respond the polite Ficus had cleared her throat, “Don’t worry little one, I’ll walk myself out there if you just lead the way.” That would certainly be convenient, so as Vladimir led the Ficus outside, he directed one of the men to fetch a bucket of water. Once the water was brought back and the Ficus firmly in the sun, Vladimir proceeded to pour the bucket out at its base. After nothing happened, Vladimir turned back to his men, “Did it grow?” “No” “and if it didn’t grow then can it be a plant? “No” “And if it isn’t a plant then is it an Affini? “No” they replied dejectedly. Seeing their downtrodden state, Vladimir responded “Don’t feel down men, it does seem very close in resemblance, and you did good to bring it back here to check with me. You all did very good work and now you know how to check for next time.” They appeared a little more upbeat at that. That matter settled, the three went back to their duties and Vladimir turned back to the Ficus. “If I could trouble you to follow me again, I’d very much like to get you in my office. This is a first for me, but I really do find having a Ficus around so very relaxing.” Smiling down at him, the Ficus in question simply wrapped him up and pulled him close, “I’ll do one better and walk you to our office sweet little petal.” Really what a polite Ficus his men had stumbled upon.