The Colony part 6

The thunder came from a different chamber in the mound, but it sounded like it was coming closer.  Nauqenet didn’t want to be caught, so she flew as quickly as she could toward the smell of food, which was coming from yet another chamber.  Nauqenet envisioned the dwelling to be the home of really huge ants.  She made it to a wall when a gigantic being with a pink exoskeleton wrapped in multicolored sheets of cloth came into view.


At least that’s how it sounded to the young ant queen.  It shook her antennae horribly.  She crawled as quickly as she could through a large rectangular crack in the wall that nearly reached to the ceiling.  On a huge, four-legged, wooden platform there sat the largest collection of food Nauqenet had ever seen.  There were no giant pink monsters in sight, so she flew quickly to the corpse of a bird that had been cooked somehow, pulled off a piece twice as large as she was, and began to eat.

As she ate, Nauqenet looked around the room, and she froze when her eyes reached the floor near a rectangular crack in the wall that led back outside.  Next to the rectangle was a vaguely elliptical pair of objects with a strangely uniform pattern on one side that she knew she had seen before.  As she looked at it, her head tingled before a torrent of memories came exploding to the surface from wherever they had been hiding.

When Queen Blix examined the larva she requested to be brought to her and raised to be a queen, she had switched minds with it just as she had done with Ninn.  Nauqenet was Blix.  Putting her memories into such an underdeveloped brain must have caused them to get lost.  She was lucky they weren’t lost for good.  The memories, having previously occupied a gallon jug, could have easily just flowed over the edges into oblivion when they were poured into an eight ounce glass.

The human from before lives here! she thought.  It looks like he’s not the only human who lives here though.  I’d better hide.  This food is probably for them.

Blix II flew up to the ceiling and looked down at the table, anticipating the arrival of the human family.  She had never seen one before.  As she waited, she realized that she was free.  It was such a wonderful feeling, especially since she knew that her children were well taken care of by the blind instincts in her old brain directed by the mind of a larva.  She was starting over and living an adventure no other ant had ever even imagined.  She was a pioneer.

The human family entered the room after a little while.  The man who avoided stepping on her was there along with another human nearly his size, and there were also two much smaller humans who could have been larvae except that they looked like smaller versions of the adults.  Maybe they were just small adults.  The thunderous noises they made came from their mouths, and everyone made a horrible racket.  Blix II had to set her antennae down against her head to keep the vibrations from hurting her.  She named the largest human Klogg, the slightly smaller one Noot, and the two larvae Srid and Ipsy.

From the racket, it seemed like they were all fighting, but nobody struck out with their awkwardly long limbs or bit each other with their inset mandibles.  Their everyday communication simply consisted of violent noise.  Their faces changed shape often due to the fact that their exoskeletons were soft and moist.  Blix II concluded that they wore coverings over them for the protection that their exoskeletons lacked, and their bodies kept their forms due to some bony internal structure.  What they lacked in protection they made up for in flexibility.

The free queen watched the humans with intense fascination, hoping she would remember all the details while wishing she could record them somehow.


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