In Her Majesty's Forest Service

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In her majesty's forest service,

Green light filtered down through blue ice to a dim cavern. Uncontrolled water flowed. It flowed down from melting snow high on nearby mountain tops. It flowed under stone and sprung from the stone under the glacier cutting ice iresponsibly, weakening it, speeding the flow of the glacier down its slope.

One day, a drill root, seeking rock and rich sources of minerals, cut through the roof of the cavern and thus discovered it. It was shocked at the devastation. Pheromones traveled back up the root to the forest above. Alarm travelled through the forest across the surface of the glacier for many square miles.

In one tree, specialized feathery leaves brushed the noses of slumbering primates releasing stimulants into their slow breath. They woke, drowsily at first they crawled from the hollow trunk in which they had slept for a milenium. They chattered grumpily at each other and wondered why they had been awakened. They crept along branches, stretching their legs, working the blood into their digits so that they would be able to grip and climb.

One found a flower growing from the trunk of their tree and sniffed it. The bouquet it emitted spoke of the cavern and the ice creaking, of eventual colapse and the rending and crushing of trees. He cried out in alarm and called to the rest of his band. They all sniffed the flower and gossipped about what it meant. They detected and followed a trail of pheremones that led down the trunk and along roots.

Roots connected the trees together and ran over glacier ice. They followed the trail through the forest along this root network to where the drill root emerged from one of the great trees. One of them was chosen and she climbed down the drill root through the shaft it had melted through the ice until she hung from the ceiling of the cavern.

By this point, her eyes had switched to infrared. She could see the warm water flowing through the cold ice and over cold rock. She assessed the situation and memorized it and climbed back up to her mates. Once she had rejoined them, she described the situtation in detail. They thought about what must be done. They discussed it and debated it. After hours of lively discourse, they decided.

One wise and older female climbed onto a chemosensitive bole in a nearby root and carefully mixed pheremones in her bladder and then released them onto the bole. The bole read the pheremone message and knew what the band needed to fix the problem. Signal chemicals coursed through root, trunk and branch; resources were located and growth began.

The primate troup sniffed again and found a trail that was being layed to guide them. Once again they were walking and climbing through the network that coated the surface of the great glacier following the path that the forest layed for them. The trails led them to stores of seeds. By the time they reached the seeds, they had been soaked with clean fresh sap after being kept dry for thousands of years. They swallowed the swollen and still swelling seeds, chewing only a few. Then they made their way back to the drill root and climbed down it.

The bottom of the drill root had changed. It had thickened and many large soft galls had formed in it. They were large enough for the primates to climb into them. There was one for every pair. Over the next day, the seeds made their way through the digestive systems of the primates. At the same time, the primates mated in order to renew their numbers. Not every individual had made it through the long slumber alive.

When the seeds emerged from the primates and landed on the floor of the galls, they had gained much from their journey through warm wet entrails. They gained more still from the floors of the galls as the forest sent nutrients and minerals to them through the drill root. The primates watched and cheered as the seeds sprouted and sent forth long buds thruming with life.

Powered by the whole forest, the buds grew at an almost visible rate. Two different kinds of seeds were visible in the mix. One kind grew strong leafless branches that formed a honeycomb like grid that spread and interlocked throughout the cavern supporting its roof more powerfully than solid ice would have. A second kind grew massive mop like root clumps spreading along the floor of the cave. In the other direction, the fiberous root clumps grew thick conducting trunks winding up the drill root to the surface. There they connected to the forest root network and supplied it with fresh water soaked from the raging stream.

After a few dozen days the honeycomb dried, senessed and hardened becoming a solid support structure. As it did, it produced a large crop of its seeds much of which the primates ate. But, as the stream dwindled and dried up, now entirely coursing up through the mop root trees to nourish the forest above, the primates gathered the last of the seeds into bundles and climbed back up the drill root and among the mop root trunks.

They followed another chemical trail, supplied by the forest mind, to new fresh hollow branches where they deposited the seeds ready to grown more honeycomb branches for the next disaster.

Finally they strolled back to their own home tree and breathed deeply of the heady floral vapours that now filled it. They returned to sleep, to hibernate, until the forest needed their inteligence and movement again. A few months later a few of them woke to give birth and raise their infants for a couple of years, teaching them the ways of their kind. Then all the generations gathered together and returned to their slumber and dreamed.

Most of their dreams were pleasant but species memories ran deep in their minds and some of them drempt of the evil times of their ancestors. One even drempt clearly of living in Hong Kong worrying about something called money instead of Life.

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