ANTS! – Part 8: Why the Bees Ruled the Skies

Their secret was in their sauce.

Honey.

The biggest baddest murder wasp was still no match for an unrelenting mutated ant colony of nearly any tribe. The show of force was staggering. From bottomless tunnels, the ant-formations raided the vulnerable nests of wasps and hornets. I recall a time during the war, I found a hornet the size of my thumb. Surely it wasn’t really that large. I polished the marble and granite monument as I did every day; I observed it slowly dying as a swarm of fire ants dissected it. I initially observed out of fascination at the size of the yellow beast. As my routine around the cenotaph carried; the swarm of ants grew larger. They were so small in comparison but their numbers, my goodness. Piece by piece and in single-file they carried the bits of the dying ant back to their home.

This efficient productive ant-instinct didn’t change when they did. While the adult hornets could escape upward and attack downward before pulling away; the ants raided their nests and ate their young. Many species of hornet lay eggs in their prey; a stinky treat for a merciless hunter ant.

The bees too, grew larger. Meanwhile the honey made by the bees; as delicious and enticing as it was; caused the ants to stick to themselves and die. They very quickly learned to avoid bees. The heightened instincts caused by the mutations allowed them to sniff out and avoid bee hives altogether. As the ants grew larger; their instinct to avoid the pollinators remained.

There was a pocket of humans in the New-Northern Territory that learned this in time to build apiaries to surround their village. As the endless summer turned into an even longer winter; so too did the bee-village fall.

The bee species, though, thrived globally.

ANTS! – Part 2

Agriculture is a cultural development that transformed the way that humanity evolved. These creatures, these ants, they farm too. We thought nothing of it decades ago when it was aphids balled up in the leaves of our apple trees; but now it’s us.

The ant overlords have discovered how to make use of us; industrially. Our usefulness is only as valuable as our compliance. These ants have no soul that is fathomable to human beings. The ant-soul is dark and mechanical – powering black-iron suits of capitalism that tower over those with the knowledge and aptitude to complete the tasks that stockpile resources for the ant colony.

This is what an alien invasion looked like to many science fiction writers of centuries past. Insect-like overlords that used coordinated power and influence over land and resources to ensure their own prosperity while securing the bondage of their servants through acts of treachery.

Bastards!

One day we’ll figure out a weakness; a way to stop them.

But that day isn’t today.

Many humans live in the wild; outside the farms; many live like us. They breed us like cattle. The scariest part about the whole situation is that it took not a spoken word. Billions of our human screams reacted to with silence from the beasts. At first, they herded us around the plains; eating us as they got hungry; encircling us in a ringed prison of insect legs and jaws.

Quickly we learned to please the ant overlords and avoid death. We hit fields of sugar cane and corn; and they stopped. They were drawn to the sweet glucose in the juices of these plants. We could also subsist off of such crops.

Our symbiotic relationship developed to the point that the ants showed up regularly to collect a tax – in the form of agricultural goods, from all of us.

Sometimes they eat us; or crush us; or kill us unknowingly; but these beasts leave us alone if we live only with-on our hills – laboring only for what they need from our environment in order to keep them from eating us.

The ancestors told stories of a world in which the ants were small and we were big.

Such a life, I cannot fathom. 

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PART 4

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