Orders From The Lowerarchy

By James Walker


The Impudite snarled at his visitor: "What sort of stupid half-wit would think that zombifying plants is a good idea? It's completely pointless! They can't do anything, they can't even fulfill their Need..."

'Prince Saminga thinks it's a good idea.'

"Oh. I see...well, it would certainly annoy Novalis; increase our theoretical understanding of Necromancy; And, umm, well..."

'Open the possibility of new hosts for our Shedim and allow our Takers to quite literally farm the planet for essence...' his visitor, a well dressed Balseraph, supplied. 'Our dread Prince thought that Venus Fly-traps would be an excellent choice, since they could feed themselves...'

The Impudite sneered. On days like this, he sometimes wished he hadn't used an assault rifle on that brat pack. Not something a Mercurian of Flowers could expect to get away with. But after what they'd done to the girl - he still enjoyed a special thrill when killing Andrealphans. He started to dismantle the Liars' delusions.

"A zombi Needs to feed 3 times a day, yes? A carnivorous plant gets by feeding about once a month. Further, they do this by attracting their prey with a selection of scents & odours, which a zombified version won't produce. Granted, on our experimental subjects we can spray - carefully - a replacement perfume onto the jaws. Given that the Death Lord wants fly-traps used, we'll have to include some in the tests; there are more useful ones around though. The ideal for our purposes is the flowers that attract flies by smelling of rotten meat - we can set a couple of zombis the task of smearing gore from their open wounds on the flowers."

'This sounds promising...'

"It does, does it? And how are we supposed to up their feeding rate sufficiently for them to survive? We have to multiply that rate by a factor of one hundred, remember. Sure, we can plant them in bins full of dead insects, but they'll only be able to eat one every few days. And if they don't destroy the insect, that ability will dry up. We'll need vast supplies of insects - assuming that the plant Needs insects - AND ensure that those insects get eaten. That'll be tricky given that the jaws of the plant will close for a few hours while it digest the insect - assuming that they still CAN digest the insect."

'Digestion should not be a problem - remember that humans cease to produce gastric juices when zombified yet can continue feeding their Needs. As for supplying insects, surely beehives and such can be bought?'

"Yes, although - actually that might be an advantage. If we seal a beehive for a few days, when it's opened they'll be more desperately searching for food. Yes, that might work - at least in a greenhouse. Of course, that still leaves the biggest problem of all."

'Which is?'

"Forces. Trees usually have a Corporeal Force or three, but carnivorous plants are usually very small. I don't recall ever hearing of one with a single Force."

The Balseraph considered this. 'Do any of them have rudimentary Perception?'

"Yes, they need it to know be able to respond to the insects when they arrive. But it's very basic; Not much greater than your ability to feel the sun on your skin. And all plants can do that."

'It is occasionally possible to create an extra Force in a zombi; generally when the subject was part way towards both additional Corporeal and Celestial Forces. We frequently use the technique when zombifying children. It rarely works on adults, as exceeding their potential Forces usually causes the zombi to unravel.'

"It has occurred to you that a small plant has NO potential Forces, I trust?"

'Yes. I am hoping that the complete absence will mean that no maximum exists.'

The Impudite shook his head in disbelief. Only a Liar...and yet, it would be nice to tend a garden again. Ridiculous, impractical, probably impossible, but..where had he left his gardening tools? He would need those.

"Let's get to work."


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