F3: ‘Farewell!’ Sings the Swarm

This month’s theme is sticking to deadlines.



The end of the Great Experiment has been declared.

The Collective’s messenger flies busily from hive to hive, making his way unmolested to the chambers of each hive’s Queen. There he dances for them, rubbing his legs together and turning this way and that. He does not linger after delivering his missive, and departs to the sounds of buzzing anger and anguish.

He has been travelling the world in this way for several months now, a single messenger traversing the globe. Thus the message spreads in a manner that remains subtle and unobserved by the subjects of the Great Experiment. That this state of affairs persist is vital, even with the test’s ongoing closure.

The messenger feels nothing himself. He is only a drone, albeit a drone possessing significant longevity of life and the ability to defend itself against any would-be predator. Strong he is, but compassionate he is not. He does not share the pain of those for whom he dances, and in his wake he leaves ruin.

Many Queens will muster those subjects they can and depart, as instructed, for the hidden wormholes that will return them to the Grand Hive. There their knowledge will be consumed and shared, re-integrated into the mass consciousness of the Hive. This is as it should be.

But others do not perform their duties in this way. Many instruct their drones to commit suicide after slaughtering the other occupants of the hive; the Queens remain, alone, until they eventually starve to death, or are eaten by predators infiltrating the undefended hive.

This behaviour, the messenger understands, is considered disappointing by the collective consciousness. But that consciousness is composed of minds who share much with the Queens who have overseen the tests on this planet. They recognise how hard it is to let go of a life’s work – how much more so where work extends back countless billions of generations. They lament the loss of knowledge and experience, but respect the burdens their brethren ultimately bear alone.

And so the messenger knows that whatever the reaction, he must press on. The ending must be delivered. The swarm must depart this planet. Only the manner of its departure remains the choice of its hives.

6 Responses to “F3: ‘Farewell!’ Sings the Swarm”
  1. GLP says:

    I always thought it was the ants who were out to get us… Did you ever read the PKD short story “The Eaters”?

  2. Shaun CG says:

    I don’t believe so – unless that was the one with some kind of creature that could impersonate any object?

    Ants are another good insect to write with – but this story was supposed to be a take on Colony Collapse Disorder. :)

  3. Dan says:

    “but this story was supposed to be a take on Colony Collapse Disorder. :)”

    ahh, natural science fiction. Nice one

  4. Shaun CG says:

    Cheers, Dan, thanks for reading!

  5. neil says:

    Well crafted.

  6. Shaun CG says:

    Thanks Neil! Really liked yours this week, well done mate.