We were planting poisonous trees. We had to turn the tide. The bloom was approaching faster than we had expected, and this was our latest attempt to bring it under control.

It was a few months since the latest project had started. The bloom was starting to make contact with some of our initial plantings. For the most part, results appeared satisfactory. The bloom had not been able to overwhelm any of our trees yet - not this latest round.

Whether our latest plantings would be overwhelmed or not, was something we were keeping careful watch over. All just data for our database, useful not only for dealing with this particular bloom, but there were also many potential learnings to be had for other growths we wanted to contain.

The bloom wouldn't reach our main tree mass until the next day, so we were preparing for a lot of potential data gathering in those hours. Maybe for most people, watching plants grow was like watching paint dry. But for us, it was more exciting than any athletic event, and perhaps as riveting as military conflict itself.

There was a lot at stake in those 30 hours or so. Maybe not the state of the world, but the future of the state of the world would hang in the balance, or at least have been hinted at in the data we would be gathering.

The bloom hadn't encountered these particular type of trees before, or so we thought. We had been tracking it for years. It had overrun other attempts to stop it in the past. But it was never considered a large threat, so when previous attempts failed, we didn't worry too much. It was always easy to slow down, even if we couldn't control it completely.

It still wasn't an emergency situation for us, but word from above said it would be worth some more effort to control it. The trees were meant to form a new front, blocking the escape of the bloom into the wider world.

We had used these types of trees many times before, but never on this particular bloom. The trees were transplanted from one of our specialized facilities. Looking green and idyllic from the outside, the environment inside was completely toxic for growth. It was specifically designed to engineer various plants for our own uses, as weapons against a threatening environment.

Our facilities produced some of the most poisonous plants we knew, for projects like stopping the bloom. New additions were coming into the facility all the time, just as more mature specimens graduated to use in the field.

When replanted in various specialized environments, these plants would begin to emit poison into the soil and water around them, killing or stunting the growth of more naturally occurring plant life. Our wall of trees was expected to act as a barrier against the bloom, beyond which it would not be able to grow. We had other backup plants we could still use, if need be, back at the facility.

The trees themselves were also a danger to us, but it was a danger we could more easily control. Their patterns of growth and reactions to environmental changes were studied extensively and well known to us, unlike the bloom which we were still struggling to keep up with, considering its speed of growth and change.

Our trees weren't even all that healthy. Their own toxins slowly killed them, but we expected them to kill other plants much more quickly. We could periodically boost our trees to keep them going, as long as we needed them, but when we no longer needed them, they were much easier to dispose of.

There was always a fear that plants from the facility would begin to run wild, so we did limit their use in the natural world. Only in scenarios of relatively greater significance, like control of the bloom, did we risk bringing out the poison.

Some were calling for a more heavy-handed approach, to increase the use of different types of toxic transplants by tenfold, to ensure the bloom could be completely neutralized. Increased toxins had their own risks of course. It was a tough balance to strike.

We did not know how much danger the bloom really represented. We were always operating on incomplete information. There were still others who saw nothing wrong with the bloom, asserting that it would be a good thing to simply let it run wild. We didn't want to risk that either. We wanted to set our own pace, to bring out just enough toxins to keep it in check, and to learn about our own abilities to contain it.

It had been decades. The bloom had always been evolving during that time, and our experiments on it were all going into our database. Perhaps the greatest fear was that it would mutate into a form that was too virulent to stop. That was one of the reasons those at the top were concerned about containment.

Other plantings were tried in years past, so there was some cause for concern. Back then, the bloom was also initially slowed by our countermeasures, but eventually the bloom would overwhelm them, and continue its march, usually adopting new methods of growth and transmission.

Our preparations were in place. It was only a matter of measurement at that point. I admit to joining the office pool and placing a bet on what would happen, but outside those brief moments of levity, we knew serious things were happening, things most people on the outside were completely unaware of, and protected from.

That was probably better for them. Keep them distracted with irrelevant dangers, threats we could control, while preventing panic over actual dangers, things we were still trying to figure out if they were an actual danger or not.

The Botanical Superbowl was coming the next day. We were excited and anxious, yet we couldn't tell anybody else, not even our families. If panic were a bloom, then we were the poisonous trees protecting the rest of society from it. It wasn't all that pleasant of a job, but we made the best of it.

Everybody wants to save the world.

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