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July 4, 2003
They were conifers, for the most part. The conifers General Sierra had known in his youth, in cities nearer the coast, had been very tall and very straight, with evenly spaced branches, as if they’d been designed by a team of army engineers. These ones were twisted and spindly, with branches coming out at erratic intervals. The only thing they shared was their colour; a handsome shade of deep, dark green.

Every so often, however, he would come across one quite unlike the others. This species was only a little taller than him, growing in a neat, compact, conical shape.