The last tree

The year is 4091 and there is only one tree left in the world. It’s your job to make sure nothing happens to it.

 

[The following is an excerpt of an incident report from Captain Gerund. From: July 18, 4091]

 

They should’ve gone extinct a few hundred years ago– four hundred by my estimates. According to the school textbooks multiple species contracted the blight at the same time and panic spread quickly among gen pop. People lost it– justifiably. The atmosphere’s makeup changed and these historically dense wooded areas just up and died. Wilted. Dead. Complete devastation. We tried to contain it with targeted burnings. It didn’t work. I’ve been to a few of the sites. The one’s that weren’t built over are just swaths of brown and ash.

 

I’ve also read that when the trees started to die, people went with them. I guess we were more connected to nature than we would’ve liked to admit. I think the total count is somewhere in the ballpark of two billion people– the green death.  

 

I mean, before the green death, the only other really big crisis we had to tackle was the rising sea levels in the 22nd century. And we did that with ease. We just built on top of the water. But, fuck. We need oxygen to breath. We easily terraformed before, but we couldn’t modify ourselves to breath carbon dioxide. Thankfully we were able to put global politics aside when every country sent their top minds to manufacture oxygen.

 

Some people complain that it isn’t natural. That, er, that humans fucked themselves on this one and that we all deserve to perish. You know what I say to that: Go right on ahead and perish yourself. That’d be alright by me. Others complain that we aren’t making enough advances to get off-world– that the future of humanity is in the stars. If you ask me, I’d say that everyone just needs to calm down and keep up with the O2 manufacturing, otherwise we’ll be done-zo.

 

Oh. Talk about alpha? Okay.

 

I’m not sure how I stumbled into my current gig. Though I’d consider myself pretty lucky. I don’t do much except watch the cameras and make sure that no loonies come and try to kill alpha one. I’m not really sure what ‘it’ is. Could be a maple or an oak. I don’t really care which, I just know that it’s goddamn beautiful. I can’t imagine seas of these all over. It must’ve been something special.
I’d only been here a few months but we’ve already had two attempts on the tree. One just had a hand saw– he was clearly hyped up on something. Two of my guys tackled him no problem. The second was fiendishly clever though. He hid in the ceiling of the bathroom for hours until we closed for the night. After he heard the final closing announcement he slipped out of his hiding space and made his way for alpha. He didn’t have anything conspicuous. Just a mallet and a piece of copper. By some strange stroke of luck I was running late that night to get out and I look over and see this fellah over by the base. I called out to him that we were closed and that if he could follow me so that we could lock up. That’s when he lunged for the base of the tree and pulled his hammer. Er, now I have strict shoot on sight order for situations like this– attacker in contact with alpha one and not heading orders. So I did what I’m paid to do– I shot him. In the back and neck. Four times. Here, and here. His blood is still on the tree as well as one of the slugs. But, I’ve been told alpha will be fine. And, I’m to receive a medal. Just seems weird though. These things used to be cut down all the time. Heh. Only now that it’s the last tree, I’m supposed to kill to protect it.  

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