The Whisper of Damkina Part Sixty

November 26th, 2015  |  Published in Whisper of Damkina  |  5 Comments

First | Previous | Index | Next

A/N: Sorry  this  is late this week.

“These stories are very disturbing,” Prima said after she had read through a few from Amanpreet’s books. “The callous casualness of the way they treated their subjects. I know they are horrible but you think they’d treat their own kin with more respect. I didn’t think I could detest them more than I already did, but this does that. I mean I can understand why they were doing the experiments given the genetic number that has apparently been done on them but the sheer cruelty of this was completely unnecessary.”

“It certainly doesn’t fill me with much hope that they’ll respond to a peaceful overture, even from humanity,” Amanpreet agreed. “But I think we’ll have to try.”

“Of course we will,” Prima said. “War should always be avoided if possible. I hope it works.”

“You’re very forgiving,” Amanpreet said.

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with it,” Prima said. “War is dangerous and we might lose again. We can’t afford to lose again. Peace might mean leaving them alone regardless of what they deserve but it’s safer.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that,” Umi said. “They may be longer lived relatives of humans but they are much more fragile in other ways. Humans are scarily tough, comes from evolving a pursuit predator.” She made a thoughtful whistle. “They must have been engineered to be fragile as well as the toughness comes from earlier in the evolutionary line.”

“We’re really not that tough,” Amanpreet said. “It’s not like we regrow limbs or similar.” She gave Uni a meaningful look since the Mez did.

“Humans! Always focused on the thing they don’t have.” Umi squeaked in the Mez equivalent of laughter. “You forget that your species routinely survives wounds that would kill us without the chance to regrow anything. The main reason you don’t realise how tough you are is that you got so good at making weapons that are lethal for your kind. You’d walk all over us if it ever came to a war because our weapons wouldn’t scratch you.”

“And you’re good at making armor to resist even those weapons,” Prima agreed. “I hope the enemy didn’t steal any of your weapon designs while they were experimenting on you.”

“We didn’t really have any space weapons back then,” Amanpreet said. “Though yeah, some of the weapons we did have were nasty enough I suppose.” She chewed her lip. “Yeah, I hope they didn’t too.”

“I don’t think I want to read any more of these stories. They aren’t nice at all.” She pulled on Amanpreet’s hand. “Let’s go down to the planet and meet the rest of my hive. They all want to meet you.”
***
The domes in which the eggs had been hatched were a few kilometers from the excavation site and had been filled with a set of buildings obvious based on the ones in the underground city. Prima grabbed Amanpreet’s hand again and dragged her towards one of the central domes. “Everyone is still in the nursery.”

“I’ve been wondering how your species blended eusociality and individual intelligence,” Niobe said.

“Not easily,” Prima admitted. “We’re an evolutionary fluke really. We were eusocial before we developed individual intelligence and initially it would crop up from time to time and generally cause a hive to fall apart or sometimes just not work as well but then a plague swept through the hives and the genes that allowed individual intelligence were linked to those that cause immunity. It took centuries for our ancestors to find a way through a biology that requires hive behaviour to survive and minds that think for themselves but we made it, mainly because we still have our collective mind as well, and we know when to sublimate one to the other depending on the circumstances.” She paused as the dome airlock refilled. “It’s really strange though because we remember what it was like when our only intelligence was collective. The hive’s memory is wired into us.” The door slid open and she dragged them into the dome. “Here we are.” She led them to a the only building in the dome, a prefabricated emulation of the central building of the underground city, and ushered them inside.

Almost immediately they were mobbed by a dozen Talisians all of whom seemed excited to see them. Prima calmed them down and organised them into groups.

“These are the core of my new hive,” she said. “We’ll hatch more as we need them. Everyone this is Amanpreet and Niobe.” She gestured the first group of three who looked similar to her but smaller. “These are my worker sisters. They’ll care for the eggs, the health of the hive and look after me on those occasions when I’m too egg heavy to move. If anything happens to me one of them will spontaneously transform into a queen in my place, or if I live long enough to want to retire we’ll trigger the transformation artificially instead. Our inventors and scientists also mostly come from this caste though that’s more cultural than biological and there have been great scientists from all castes.” She turned to another group of three, which even though still small were taller and heavier set. “These are warrior caste and will form my honour guard. Our best engineers tended to come from this caste but again that’s cultural.”

“Ironically for all we were warriors and defenders of the hive we proved pretty awful soldiers in a war in space,” one of them said. “The workers proved better pilots and the builders better gunners. We’re the most useless of castes.”

Prima made a noise that Amanpreet interpreted as a tut. “You are not useless. It was just a different situation to that nature designed you for. When it came to hand to hand fighting you were great.” She turned to the next group. “These are our builders. They actually excrete our main building materials.”

“Are they culturally your best architects?” Niobe asked.

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you?” one of them said. “But along with art that’s the diplomats. We were writers and philosophers.” He gestured to the final group. They were the tallest but also the thinnest of the groups. “They are the diplomats and also the breeding males. When they are mature and the other queens have hatched they’ll go to new hives both as representatives of this hive and mates for the queens. It keeps our genetics diverse.”

“We’re not a fully functioning hive yet,” Prima said. “But we’re getting there. Individual intelligence also helps with surviving when the hive is incomplete.” She looked back at the others. “You’re going to need to choose names to interact with our allies. Think about names you like.”

First | Previous | Index | Next

5 Responses to “The Whisper of Damkina Part Sixty”

  1. mjkj says:

    Wow, society minimized 😛

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Yeah, it’s very much a seed of a society. Getting back on your feet after being wiped out is a long term plan. 😀

  2. torvawk says:

    Wait,

    not complete but what will make them complete? how can you stop? where is the rest? arrg

Leave a Reply to Rebecca Sutton