My mother was a queen and I am a queen. I was nurtured in a queen’s chamber. Catered to. Cleansed. Fed a steady diet of royal jelly. One of my sisters was born in a royal chamber, too. Our destiny was to meet. Oh, yes. We met. And she is no more. Her will was weak. Her body snapped under mine. The battle was ghastly and short. Only my mother the queen now stands in the way of my destiny. I seek her out. She knows why I have come. I place my young, fertile body against the aging brittle shell of hers. There is room for only one of us. She tests my will and I hurl her down. I would do what is needed but allow her to choose exile. She signals her followers. They leave in tens, in thousands. I will never see her again. The past is gone. There is only the future.
The scent of my pheromones becomes the new tone key of the hive. It is my colony. My entourage will anticipate and attend to my every need. My sole purpose will be to become an object of desire. There will be an evening, warm and gentle, when I will make my virgin flight into the world. The air will be dizzy with fragrance, none more erotic than my own. He will find me. He will be drawn to me out of the air. He will descend upon me in flight. When I have taken from him every cell he has to give he will fall away and I will be taken by another. He will encircle me, beating his frantic wings. He must have me. Yes, I will say to him, yes and yes. And when he is done there is another who must have me or die. And he will have me or die. A dozen males will have me. And when I return to the colony the future is within me. I will never again return to the outside.
I will lay eggs. Filling every chamber with my legacy. My genes. My pitch. Legions of incomplete females and stingerless males. From the moment they break through the wax, their lives will be a succession of services to me all the days of their lives. They will clean the nursery. They will tend the brood. They will construct new comb to store honey for the winter. Their wings will beat in unison and keep the colony at perfect temperature. They will search for nectar and pollen that will feed us. They will explore for miles. They will return with unerring accuracy. They will ride on currents of light and fluctuations of heat and magnetism, scent and ultra violet. They will guard against invaders. They will fight for me to the death. Tens of thousands may die that I shall live. So it must be. I am the future. I am the life. I am the heartbeat. I am the essence. I will lay two hundred thousand eggs this summer and the next and the next. Among them shall be the one who will be destined to supplant me. If she lives.
The queen is dead. Long live the queen.
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