The Hive

The Hive

The Hive was one of the first alternates found when the Fringepaths were first encountered, and it might have been the last, if not for a bit of luck and fast reactions. Stepping through the platform ring dumps the traveller in a portion of a vast insect hive, with passages easily large enough for a normal human to walk in. The walls are made of processed organic matter as strong as pine or oak. The inhabitants consist of multiple species of giant insects, ranging in size (as adults) from 1’ long to 10’ long, and generally resembling highly variant species of bees, wasps, and ants.

The inhabitants are organized and seem capable of communicating rapidly by both vibration and released scent. Intruders in the hive quickly find themselves surrounded. The “warriors” of the hive, while not bullet-proof by any means, are highly resistant to pain and slow to die when injured or wounded, and possess claws, poison stings, and spraying acid weapons which are all quite effective even against prepared human explorers, especially due to their seemingly unlimited numbers.

The very limited investigation that’s been performed since the Hive was first discovered shows no obvious indications the inhabitants are sapient, and their level of organization and cooperation, while impressive, is on-par with that of the most advanced social insects known on Core Earth. A plan has been proposed to capture several samples alive, bring them to Core Earth, and try to discover which insecticides may be most effective, in order to be able to explore with more safety, but this is considered low priority. It is unknown if the entire world is the hive (unlikely, as the substance used to build it seems to be made from dozens of species of plants that have been transformed by the insects via ingestion and regurgitation, so there must be an “outside”, and an ecologically rich one), or even what kind of world is outside of it. Studies of the dead specimens brought back do not reveal the kind of adaptations that would allow insects of this size to live, but the explorers on the world reported no unusual gravity or atmospheric density, leaving another mystery.

The Hive

Fringeworlds LizardSF