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Final Warnings in Open Fields

Xander lives with their family in Washington state. They are an avid writer, compulsive reader, rabid chocoholic, and fumbling greeting card artist. Their work has appeared in such venues as Daily Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe, Cast of Wonders, Crossed Genres, and Pseudopod. You can find them on Twitter @WriterOdell.
1. Plants want you dead. Don't waste time wondering why they turned against us. It is what it is.
2. There are no more herbicides. Fire has failed us against living plants. You are gardeners now, our first and only line of defense.
3. Make certain your suits are fastened and taped, leaving no possible point of entry. Be certain your head pieces are secured. Inspect your teammates' gear. Your lives depend on it.
4. Seeds travel on the wind and in animal droppings. Dig up any shoot you see, no matter how small, and take it to the firepits. Sift the soil to make certain you get every root.
5. The spade, hoe, axe, and saw are your weapons of war. Use them. Under no circumstances are you to touch a plant, not even the slightest brush against a withered weed, until it has been uprooted and left undisturbed for 24 hours.
Flowers are the most insidious, trees the most dangerous.
6. Protect the salters at all costs.
7. No matter how hungry, resist the urge to knock down fruit or dig up root vegetables. The plants recognize our hunger and want nothing more than to lure you close with a ripe apple or knobby potato.
8. Burn every bee or wasp nest you find.
9. Your gun is for your teammates if the plants get through their suits. We have limited ammunition. Make it a clean kill, they would do the same for you. Take their bodies to the firepits. You can mourn later.
10. No blade of grass. Never forget that.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, June 3rd, 2021


This story came to me during a brief walk on a bright, Spring afternoon. My hand brushed a feathery, delicate flower and my mind wandered to how easily I would have died if the plant decided it wanted me dead. It was only a small step from there to chronicling humanity's struggles in a war it wasn't certain it could win.

- Xander Odell
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