The Insect Civilization-Cycle One

From: Cheryl Baumgartner(C Baumgartner, Posted Date: Sep 10th, 2011

                The Alpha male was growing old, soon he would no longer be.  He did not know why he had been so driven to study these Humans as they called themselves.  But they had bred like vermin and now infested every known area.  Their strange above ground burrows called ‘villages’ were everywhere.  The Alpha knew it was time to choose one to carry the knowledge he had gathered.  He called to his successor passing on all that he knew.  When the last bit of knowledge was passed, the old Alpha no longer was.

                The new Alpha accepted the knowledge along with another thought.  The human infestation had to be eliminated.  The population was out of control.  Like locusts these humans would strip this world of every resource and then die out anyway.  It was the logical conclusion.  But it was not logical to allow them to destroy the planet first.  The new Alpha needed to know how to exterminate them.  He sent out a group of adult nymphs to acquire one of them.


 

                Torq fed more wood on the fire before sitting down and savoring the news his mother had brought to him.  Although it was not necessary, the story of Kai’s humiliation had spread through the village like a wildfire.  Serves him right, Torq thought.  Maybe he’ll figure out that he is not wanted here, that he is nobody.

                Torq hated Kai and had since they were children.  The defiance of a six year old Kai had fostered a burning hatred in Torq and a need to constantly humiliate the younger child.   That hatred had grown over the years to include jealousy also.  Both Torq and his mother had done everything humanly possible to destroy Kai who somehow managed to still find support in distant corners of the village.  Kai refused to stay in his place. 

Kai had aspirations beyond what Torq was ready to allow, the problem was not in having those aspirations, but in acting on them.  Kai did not acknowledge the greater status of others.  Kai did not grasp the fact that his place in the village was at the bottom. 

Torq had offered for Lynna several years ago, but Lynna would not even acknowledge Torq’s effort.  She made it clear that her favor was toward Kai.  Moira had been very clear after Lynna’s last defense of Kai, that should she will it so, Damon’s status in the village would be destroyed.  Perhaps Damon had made it clear to Kai that he was not a part of this village by publicly humiliating Kai when he rejected him as a suitable mate for Lynna’s hand.

                Those who had been present were afraid of Kai, they said that they saw something change in him.  That he had looked at them with eyes full of pain and the promise of death. 

                Torq was pulled from his thoughts by a whimper and then a startled scream. Looking up he saw a village child running toward him.  Torq stood.  Every adult was responsible for protecting village children from serious harm.  No child should be about by themselves at this late hour.

                “Come here little one.” Torq said.  Expecting nothing more than a parent intent upon disciplining their child for being outside in the wee hours of the morning, he was not prepared for them, insects in the village.   “To the fire!” He shouted at the small girl child. 

Drawing his dagger, he turned to draw closer to the fire.  Not just for protection but to reach the large gong that hung there for use as an alarm.  Torq felt pain in his left leg as he fell to the ground.  He rolled over and drove his daggar into the insect’s body hoping it would let go.  Torq drew his arm back to strike again and felt the pain of an insect grabbing onto it.  More insects were biting into him.  Looking up he saw the jaws closing in over his head and then nothing.

The child’s scream had been heard.  Several villagers opened doors and screamed in shock as they watched the insects tearing apart Torq’s body.

 

 

The new Alpha was processing the information he had received from the group that had gone to the nearest human burrow.  The humans were easy to kill.  Their bodies were soft, easily bitten through by mandibles.  The human hatchlings were even easier to kill unable to do more than bat weakly at the insects exoskeleton, but the adults were able to cause some slight pain.  They were equipped with some form of hidden weaponry in the secondary appendages that they called arms but it was an ineffective defense.

The Alpha was ordering them to leave the human hatchling’s carcass and return to the burrow when it suddenly registered pain and death.  The Alpha realized that this was being caused by a single adult male human.   This human was able to kill them, and do it from a distance.   The human was safely out of reach but hurting them and killing them.  The Alpha reminded the sentries of their duty, to protect the burrow.  The Alpha suffered the pain of the human’s butchery, staying in contact with his sentries until the last one was dead.

 

 

Kai cautiously worked his way through the narrow tunnel.  Lynna had taken to calling him an ‘addle-pated son of a gort’ and he privately agreed with her.  Why would any sane man continuously search out insect burrows?  And having found one, what would possess him to wriggle his way through a foul concoction of slime and insect feces just to kill a handful of adults and hatchlings? 

Kai understood the insanity of what he was doing but was incapable of NOT doing it.  It was as if he was addicted to killing insects.  It was a driving need he could not over come.  Ever since the day of Torq’s death, he had been driven to kill as many as he could.

Kai could feel the heat from the fire getting closer. The ceiling of the tunnel suddenly became that of a cave, allowing Kai to get to his feet and sprint for the entrance.  Finding a large rock, he took shelter watching the cave to see if any of the insects escaped.  It soon became apparent that nothing had survived.  Kai slung his bow across his back and headed home to face Lynna and whatever weapon of choice she chose tonight.  Kai prayed it would be the broom and not another cookpot.

 

 

The Alpha was furious.  Another burrow destroyed.  Hundreds of hatchlings lost all due to this human that was called Kai.  Other humans were now emulating him.  More and more burrows being destroyed every day.  The most logical course was to kill the Kai-human , then he could concentrate on exterminating the rest of the human vermin.  The Alpha sent out a new order to the sentries.  Find out which village the Kai-human belonged to and destroy it. 

 

 

Finding the Kai-human was proving to be difficult.  His trace was turning up in village after village as if he belonged to every one of the human burrows.  It had taken years but the Alpha now knew where this Kai-human’s home was.  The order was given to destroy the village the humans called Duha’naur. 

The sentries were in place.  The alpha had opened himself to knowing what they knew.  The humans were there but the sentries only observed females, hatchlings, younglings and old ones.  The Kai-human was not among them.  The Alpha thought on it.  Although the objective was to eliminate the threat of the Kai-human, females were also a threat as they produced the hatchlings.  The sentries had noted that many of the females were carrying hatchlings, pregnant.  The Alpha ordered them to proceed, killing females would not eliminate the Kai-human but it would prevent them from bringing forth new hatchlings to follow in the Kai-human’s wake.

 

 

Lynna was more than ready for the birth of this child.  Her patience was thin right now and Kai wasn’t helping.  She understood his concern but it did not make it any easier bear.  She was actually glad that Kai had decided to take the men on a hunt.  Bann had tried to tell Kai that everything would be fine but Kai still worried.  Bann had explained the struggles Irina had gone through, the miscarriages and the difficult birth, struggles he assured Lynna she would not bear.  The goddess had assured him that Kai would sire many healthy children.  Lynna said a quick prayer that Bann’s ‘goddess’ was right.

The quiet of the village was suddenly shattered by screams.  Shouts of “Insects!” as women and children ran toward the square.  Bann was approaching, bow in hand and quiver slung over his shoulder.

“Come Lynna, we must get you to safety.  Insects are in the village they are targeting the children.” Bann said taking her arm and directing her toward the meeting house.

Several of the villages older men were also urging the children and pregnant women toward the shelter of the village’s strongest building.

“Denon,  get these women and children into a strong building now.” The old man fired another arrow.  “I will hold the insects as long as I can.”

“But” the young man started to reply.

“No buts Denon, now.”  Bann grabbed Lynna and gave her a hug. “Take care of my son.  Tell him that I do not have long left to me.  I choose to die as an honorable man.”

“Bann…”

“Go my daughter.  She has kept her promise to me.  Now I ask you to keep a promise to me.  Care for my son.”

“Come we must go now.” Denon urged.

 

The Alpha was not expecting the brutality of the villagers.  Old men, women and even the younglings were fighting and killing the sentries.  It should not have been possible, but it was happening.  These humans fragile as they were, were repelling an organized extermination effort with no small measure of success and the Kai-human was nowhere to be found.  The losses were mounting with few dead humans to show for it.  It was not logical to continue.  The Alpha ordered the sentries to abandon the effort and return to the burrow to protect the hatchlings.  Destruction of this village would have to wait.

 

 

                Once again an Alpha reached the end of its time.  They were no closer to exterminating the humans than they were 70 years ago when the old Alpha had ascended.  The Kai-human was no longer an annoyance, he was a force to be feared.  The name Kai had become synonymous with the concept of death for the insects.  The humans now invoked his name as they wantonly slaughtered the insects.

                The new Alpha was more calculating.  Listening to human conversations, learning all that it could in an effort to destroy the Kai-human.  It had learned much.

                The Kai-human’s mate had produced seven hatchlings all but one followed in their sire’s wake leading other humans in the butchery started by their sire.  No matter how many humans the insects killed more would take their place.

The Alpha knew the Kai-Human was there among the humans gathered by the body of water they called Taub River.  Two of his hatchlings were also there.  The Alpha had marked them, a male and a female.  The Alpha ordered only one objective this day, to kill the hatchlings of the Kai-human.  The hatchlings must be separated from their sire and killed no matter the cost.

 

Aranna knelt beside the fallen warrior.  Kai took a position to her left while Damon protected her from the right.  It only took a moment for Aranna to know that the man was beyond help.  His feet were firmly on the path to the Dream Zone.  Damon’s scream drew their attention.

The insect’s mandibles were firmly closed on Damon’s leg as it dragged him along the ground.  Kai moved so fast it was as if he simply willed himself from his daughter’s side to his son’s.  The blade of the sword drove into the insect’s head spitting the monster’s brain.  In shock the mandibles closed completely severing the limb.

“Damon!” Aranna screamed. She ran to her brother’s side quickly wrapping a tourniquet around the stump to slow the bleeding.

Denon quickly came to her back standing over her until other warriors could come to her aid.  Kai was like a madman as he fought in a sea of insects.  Denon looked down, seeing the severed limb brought back memories of Torq’s mangled body laying in the village square.  Denon felt a rage like he had never known fill him with hatred.  He would repay these insects, Kill as many of them as he could he thought.  Denon plunged a spear into the closest insect pinning it to the ground.

Aranna and a small group of warriors dragged Damon to safety.  Aranna quickly cauterized the wound to stop the bleeding.  She spared a glance toward the battle.  She could not see her father but the warriors that she could see were butchering the insects.  There was nothing methodical or organized in their attack.  It was frenzied.  Insects lay dying from vicious wounds, forgotten and left to suffer.

 

 

The Alpha continued to urge his sentries on to meet the objective.  They were failing.  One of the hatchlings had been injured and the two were together but there was no way to reach them through the hundreds of humans who stood between them. 

The Kai-human was separated from his hatchlings, but he was untouchable.  The Alpha did not understand why.  It should have been easy to kill him now.  The Alpha felt something, something alien.  It was the touch of the other, the disorganized one.

“My child is not so easily killed.” A voice whispered through the Alpha’s mind.  “His fury is my fury.  It is what you reap for daring to attack what belongs to me.”

For the first time the Alpha felt fear.  He called to the insects to retreat.  Although the insects attempted to escape, the humans would not be denied their vengeance for the human deaths the insects had caused.  The massacre would be permanently implanted in the insect psyche.

 

 

The Alpha was waiting to die.  Only a few insects remained, caged and enslaved by the humans.  Their hatchlings brutally killed at birth, and only three females remaining to breed.  It was the Kai-human that came to kill the hatchlings. 

The Alpha both hated and feared the Kai-human.  The Kai-human stunk of the alien one.  Once again the females had bred and the burrow was full of hatchlings.  The Kai-human would soon come.  Even as old as the Kai-human had become, he still came.  The Alpha did not think the Kai-human would ever cease to be.

The Alpha felt the vibrations announcing the arrival of the humans.  The Alpha recognized the Hir-human, but not the other vermin that entered the burrow.  The Kai-human was not with them.  The humans set about their slaughter while the insects were kept back, unable to prevent the deaths of the helpless hatchlings.  The Alpha listened to the human’s words and learned why the Kai-human had not come.  The Kai-human was finally dead.