Member No.: 5
Joined: 31-July 12
2382: Early July
Rain poured through the upper canopy of the jungle, down the trees, and spattered on the floor below. The precipitation pooled and spattered off of a grouping of slick black rocks and the jungle vibrated with life.
Until one of the rocks moved.
The Queen lifted up her head, the rain drizzling off the thick plating that protected the structures underneath. Her mandibles slid out of their protective sheath and she paused to feel the rain. She had been free for a matter of days and had felt rain on her skin plenty during that time, but there were moments that she paused to appreciate it.
Her appreciation was not sentimental. She did not love rain. She did not even like the rain, or the breezes that she allowed herself the time to pause and feel. She appreciated these aspects of the elements because it meant that she was no longer contained.
She stretched out her limbs, her long arms extending to their full length while the smaller arms along her chest moved in slow motion, gesturing without cause or reason. It felt good to stretch, to move her body. She flooded the channels that connected her to her children with this sensation, with the pleasure of freedom. She wanted her daughters to feel the rain on their skin as she did. She wanted them to appreciate a breeze that did not come from an air vent. She whipped her tail and transferred the sensation, the ability to move—all of this accompanied with a wave of invitation. Come to me.
Some of the drones that had been born into freedom responded to her quickly, pressing their bodies against hers, moving to support her even as she pulled herself to her feet. The were so young, but they were pure, born in the jungles away from the hands of the scientists. They had been cared for by her, by the drones that were able to escape with her… the first of her brood to be pure. Soon enough, they would be able to establish a proper hive, a true home. She would be able to rest her weight, and to give birth to her daughters in peace.
As it was, there were complications. It was not safe to nest, not while the humans were searching the jungles for her with their guns. She had seen them many times through her drones. She knew of the lethality of their weapons and she was beginning to know their faces. The drones would continue to attack and test the boundaries, and through this they would learn where it would be safe to nest. For now, she remained fugitive.
A low rumbling sound emitted from within her body and she reached down to paw a hand over one of her daughters. The drone rumbled in return and allowed the Queen to move her. Without a nest, and the ability to support an ovipositor, the Queen was often in a state of birthing pain. She had eggs to lay, she had to have her drones to build the hive. Lacking the ovipositor, she used the drones that she had already reared to receive the ovum, trusting that they would protect the underdeveloped egg until it was ready to be implanted on the ground. The altered process was painful and strengthened her desire to nest and no longer need to move. The drone understood what she needed and moved away from her hand, scrabbling its claws against her flesh to cut away the skin that was thickening and stretching, trying to form a new ovipositor.
The Queen’s screech of pain echoed through the trees.
An underdeveloped egg was pulled from her body after the flesh was scraped away. Normally, it would pass into the ovipositor where it would toughen and grow further until it was capable of surviving on its own. What the drone held in her hands was soft and almost translucent, the fetal facehugger a dark shadow inside. Her daughter stepped around her legs, bringing her this new egg to inspect. She felt the surface with one of her long fingers. It was, as expected, too soft and fragile to survive long. The facehugger inside wasn’t even moving yet. The Queen crouched down and the drone scrabbled up her body with the egg in hand, ducking beneath the curve of her carapace.
Underneath her carapace there was a small collection of these underdeveloped eggs, netted in place by a resin secretion. The drone pressed the egg gently in place and started to secure it down, her saliva flowing over its surface and the Queen’s skin and slowly hardening to form a bond. While she was there, she checked the other eggs. The Queen monitored her actions, her jaws working slowly in place while she experienced the world through the senses of her drone.
One of the eggs was mature enough. The facehugger inside was strong and healthy, shifting subtly in order to exercise its muscles in preparation for implantation. The drone cracked the resin around this egg and jumped off the Queen’s back with it. She landed gracefully and darted away, acting under the control of her mother. They had learned that the humans often did not think to look up when they moved through the trees.
The drone scrambled up a tree and secured the egg in the branches, next to a human host that had been taken from the residential area. These humans were easy to take in the night and made ideal hosts as they were often untrained in combat, putting up very little struggle. The human watched the drone securing the egg in place with wide, terrified eyes, not knowing what was going to happen but having enough wits to know that whatever it was would end in death.
The three corpses in the other trees had started to stink.
The Queen’s attention was brought to another drone. This daughter touched a hand to her own and shared with her images of dark tunnels under ground. There were images of equipment and humans… but there was something that particularly appealed to the Queen. It was a room that was being newly carved out in these underground tunnels, off to the side and hidden away from the trappings of humanity. There was only one entrance to this room, which could be easily guarded and even masked. Her long fingers stroked the head of the daughter that had brought these images to her, and she supplied a word. Mines.
More of the drones gathered around her, bringing her food and petting her sides. She had not only supplied them with a word, she had given a command. The eggs that were maturing on the back of her carapace now would be taken into the depths of the mines under the cover of darkness to seed the way. New daughters would be born in the grounds that would be their home and would begin the preparations for the coming of the Queen. One of the drones stimulated her in response to her plans even as she was being fed, and she felt a new egg lowering into her already raw birth canal. Soon enough, she would have a nest and she would not require their assistance in birth.
A home for her family.