Give and Take

The trees took.

That sentence is short, but it means something. Used to mean one thing, now it means more. When we got here, we transplanted lots of vegetation, of course. Tried to see what the soil in our arboretum could maintain, what benefits there’d be. That’s part of why we were here.

The trees took.

Now it makes sense, right? They did just fine. Roots caught in the soil, went deep. Deeper than we expected, really. Once they were planted they weren’t going anywhere, that’s for sure. Not again.

We took the trees. Took a lot of things from Beta Colony. They were dead so it didn’t matter to them. Those we found were dead, anyway. What use did they have for trees and toolboxes and whatnot? Maybe we should have looked longer for survivors, yeah, but we didn’t know what had happened then. Just the distress signal, and then nothing. So we took. We took a lot of things. Including the trees.

Our soil always was better than Beta’s anyway. Maybe we cared for it better, or maybe the moon we orbit is just better than theirs. I don’t know. But their trees liked it better here. Their roots were shallow there, and here they were deep.

Didn’t have any botanists on the rescue mission of course. We were going there to rescue people, not plants. That was the idea. And they were just trees. Looked just like ours. Close enough, anyway. Didn’t end up bringing any people back, so we loaded up with other things.

All that greenery, it’s hard to come by out here. Necessary. We couldn’t just leave it there. Nobody would have wanted that.

But the trees took. Their roots went down through the arboretum soil, all the way down. Through the deck flooring and into the wiring. Don’t know how. Shouldn’t be possible. Those Beta bastards… maybe they did something to the trees, something funny.

Well, nobody’s laughing now. They’re sucking up energy like you wouldn’t believe. Two engineers have been strangled by vines, and the botanists who’re supposed to be working on finding a way to get rid of them are practically worshipping the damned things now. Can’t get rid of ‘em. Chopping them down doesn’t work – the entire greenway is sealed off.

There’s ruins, down on Beta’s moon. They had archeologists and all. We don’t. Maybe they found the seeds for their trees, or found something else. Something that changed the trees into whatever the hell they are now. Killing machines. Energy sinks. Whatever. I don’t know. It’s a theory, but it’s the only one I’ve got.

Problem is, we didn’t stick around long enough to find out what else they took from their moon. We brought back more than just the trees. I wonder what else took, what else has got its roots so deep into us we’ll never move it, never get loose. Probably doesn’t matter much. The trees are enough.

We took the trees. Now they’re returning the favor.

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