Who am I? Queen Blix wondered.
Suddenly, the chamber where she gave birth to her children seemed to be shrinking on her. It was dark, and her eyes hungered for light. It was cold, and her body hungered for warmth.
“Scout 111548!” she called, sensing the presence of that particular scout nearby. She knew all of her children as well as a mother should. The scout entered without delay. “I need to get out of here,” she told the scout. “Get a digging team to widen the tunnel so I can get through.”
“Your majesty, I would do anything you asked except for that,” Scout 111548 replied. “The colony needs you where you are.”
No drone had ever refused to follow an order before. Queen Blix was truly taken aback.
“You don’t understand,” she said. “I have to get out of here. I’m not leaving the colony. I just need to see the sun again. I need to be outside for a little while.
“I’m truly sorry, my queen, but I cannot obey. You have to stay here.”
Blix couldn’t believe it. She had lived her whole life thinking she was in charge, but she was a prisoner all along – a prisoner of her role in society as dictated by nature. She didn’t want to do it any more. She wanted out.
“I am your mother!” she shouted. “You will do as I say! Dig me out right now!”
“We need you too much,” replied 111548. She would have left, but she had not been ordered to leave, so she stayed.
The queen’s resentment of her children’s mindless acceptance of their lots in life resurfaced. They all thought the same way. They were all like the same ant. Why was she different then? She was even different from the other queens, who were content to sit in a dark room giving birth, forgetting the adventures they had while they searched for a mate so they could start a colony. Had they even been paying attention during that time? Were the wonders of the world lost on all other ants? Was the desire for freedom unique to Blix?
Blix dismissed Scout 111548 and thought for a long time about a possible solution to her problem. Three sets of new children were added to the colony’s population before she had an idea. She called in a nearby drone and told her to pay special attention to one particular larva. After she examined it for a few seconds, the drone took it away and relayed the queen’s orders to the ants in charge of feeding the young. The drones didn’t realize that when an ant grows up having been fed well enough, it becomes a queen capable of reproduction and, more importantly, flight.