Earth's Endless Effort
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LAFE doesn't live in the forest. LAFE is the forest. LAFE's size and thousands of years of experience provide the wisdom to survive. When a pipeline project threatens to slice LAFE's brain, LAFE seeks the aid of Daphne DeFreest. But first they must heal her broken body and find a way to communicate. Then Daphne must find the love of her life, and they all must cope with their common enemies. More
When a pipeline project threatens to cut LAFE's brain in half, LAFE overcomes long-standing antipathy toward human beings and seeks the aid of Daphne DeFreest. But first they must heal her broken body and find a way to communicate. This is their story.
Because she's changed in many tree-like ways, Daphne first has to make herself presentable to a society that doesn't favor green skin, nails, and blood. To gain time for her to raise money for defense, LAFE organizes a delaying campaign against the trenchers, aided by his forest resources (skunks, wasps, raccoons, bears, and heaven knows what else). He manages to delay until the crew must stop digging for the winter—when he must go dormant.
By the time LAFE wakes in the spring, Daphne still hasn't quite enough money for LAFE's defense. They must find a way to connect LAFE to the internet, where he can use his magnificent computing power to help Daphne attempt a daring coup. Unfortunately, her ruthless cousin Russell notices her coup in the financial press.
To Daphne's disappointment, her friend Mikio hires onto the staff of the World Economic Planner (WEP), a giant computer buried in a mountain near Geneva, Switzerland. After he leaves, Russell has Daphne drugged, kidnapped, and committed to a private asylum in the Adirondacks.
With the help of animals directed remotely by LAFE, she tries to escape through the woods to Canada then return to Colorado, only to discover there's another threat to LAFE, a lumber company with plans to turn LAFE into a vertically integrated chip-board factory.
LAFE equips Daphne with tree-like defenses, but LAFE is going to sleep again. For her protection, he sends her to Bangladesh, to meet a giant mangrove entity, Nuha. Together, Nuha and Daphne will continue investing in hopes of being able to repeat their triumph.
But without the aid of LAFE's thinking, Nuha and Daphne are losing the financial race, until Mikio adds WEP's computing power to their team. Nuha, Daphne, and WEP are catching up—until a tropical cyclone puts Nuha out of commission.
Nuha improves. To fight taxes, Daphne flies to New York, where her old boyfriend Gil tells her how Russell has been sabotaging her investment plans. Daphne goes on the offensive and turns Russell's tricks back on him. But Russell is not averse to illegal tactics.
By now it's spring, and LAFE awakes. Mikio hooks up LAFE and WEP to fight Russell, but the plan backfires, as LAFE and WEP apparently fall "in love," consuming all their computing power talking to each other.
Gil's group of save-the-aspens fanatics plan to burn down the forest if Daphne fails to take control of the forest. LAFE thinks a forest first would be better than a chipboard factory, since he would survive in the long run as long as his root system is intact.
Daphne cannot stand the idea of losing LAFE for her lifetime. She struggles to find a different way of saving LAFE, and almost gives up to the arsonists' idea, when another Russell attack on her kills one of her friends. Then Gil's arsonists, believing she will lose the control fight, put their fiery plan into action.
With the help of the entire mountain community, Daphne successfully fights the fire, but learns that LAFE's memory of her has been destroyed. In the hospital, nursing her injuries from the fire, she falls into a deep depression.
What will she do? So as not to spoil the story, we'll let you read the conclusion for yourself.
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