No, no, no! I scuttle left, right, back, forward, my antennae twitch frantically searching for the rich dark warmth of the earth. Long, treacherous tunnels rebuff me as I gnash at their impenetrable walls, mandibles barred desperate to gain exit, but to no avail.
Where am I? There is light all about me. Sharp and yellow, like fire it chases me. This way? No. That way? All wrong!
This morning I marched my way past the workers. They, of course, scurried to the side. I am the new queen. All hail! Thoraxes lowered as I passed into the cool clear air. Water droplets clung to each blade of grass, and I stretched my wings, eager to catch the early morning wind. It was perfect; ready to carry me to the other side of the creek, where the canopy is broken and nectar drips from the golden grevillea. My gaster felt so heavy; I, the queen, with my pregnant treasure ready to begin my own colony.
But now, my wings have disappeared, abandoned in this endless maze, my thorax aches, and my legs grow weary. There is nowhere for me to lay, to fulfill my duty. I must … I must … I must … find somewhere for my precious children.
“Ari, where are you?”
“In the basement Mum, I’m doing my science assignment. Don’t know what I’m gonna write about though, I caught an ant but it’s not doing anything.”
“Maybe you just can’t see it, it’s a bit dark in there.”
“Na. I had a torch. It was movin’ heaps, and then I went to get my phone to record it, and when I came back it wasn’t doin’ anythin’.”
“Well, I’m sure you can catch another one. There’s always plenty of ants. Good to see you learning about the real world for a change. Nature is so good for you!”
“Yeah, guess so. What’s for lunch Mum? I’m starving.”
“I made sourdough. It’s still warm from the oven.”
“Yuss! You’re the best!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, and you’re my precious child. Hurry up before it gets cold!”
Eight eyes peer down the narrow tube of a magnifying display, blinking in disbelief as it watches lifeforms scurry from one level of a cube-like shelter to another, preparing yet another form of sustenance. Their food stores seemed already laden, yet the older lifeform has added to the store. Long digits tap at a display, recording every movement.
The data was significant. Excess production was possible; more proof the resources of this planet were abundantly fertile. Six months of careful observation had also revealed the lifeforms of the planet were plentiful, the planned extraction of a small number for further examination would not be noticed. The council would be pleased, all observations suggested this planet would be an effective new colony, just in time for the arrival of their precious offspring.