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Colony Collapse Disorder
Honey surveyed the greenhouse, admiring the sunlight glancing through the windows and illuminating the plants. One of the workers stood at her side. “Does it look good, Captain?”
Honey, still looking at the plants, said, “Where the hell are the beehives?”
The worker tugged at the color of his white buttoned up shirt. “I don’t really know…”
Honey turned to face him, her arms crossed. The worker paled as Honey glared. “I mean, I’ll get right on it!” the worker corrected, and then rushed off, relieved to get away from his irate captain.
Honey sighed, frustrated. “What does he think the point of flowers are if they can’t flower?” She turned from the green house and walked off after the worker, wiping the sweat off her hands on her military issue pants. She wore a tank top instead of the full uniform, though. Some things were ugly enough to break regulations for.
A different worker rushed past, pushing a cart stacked high with sealed up beehives, trying very hard not to make eye contact with Honey. Honey smiled tightly, and then turned left into the command room.
The command room was hexagonal and filled to the brim with computers and incompetent officers. They all quickly jumped to attention as Honey entered, saluting her and then going back to work.
A tall, lanky lieutenant loped over to her. “Ma’am, the barracks have been built.”
Honey appraised the man. “Alright. Is that the last building?” She pushed back her blonde hair, the source of her nickname, and sat down in front of a wall to wall T.V. screen.
The lieutenant sat down at his station and said, “According to the blueprints, yeah. We’ve emptied the space ship of all supplies.”
“Well then, right now is history, men.” A couple of the officers turned to look at her. “As of right now, we have officially built the first human colony of an alien planet.” Honey clapped, slowly, sarcastically, and then turned to watch the T.V. screen.
The screen showed in one half, a real time video feed of the colony, and on the other half, messages sent by the workers and sub-officers scattered about the buildings.
A week later, Honey was back at the greenhouse. The same worker was next to her, his shirt slightly dirtier than last time. “What’s your name, private?” Honey asked.
“Daniel, Ma’am.” The worker shifted uncomfortably under Honey’s gaze.
“So I can tell NASA that Daniel is responsible for the disappearance of half of our bees.”
Daniel’s eyes widened, and his face started to match his shirt. Pale and dirty. “No, please. It’s a common phenomenon. It’s-”
“Losing fifty percent of all of our bees is common?” Honey asked.
“It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s common back on earth. All the workers in a colony vanish, leaving behind the queen and their crop of honey. It’s suspected to be caused by pesticides.” Daniel said in a rush, trying desperately to calm Honey.
Honey was not an easy person to calm though. “You see, Daniel, I know the importance of bees. I am a big believer in bees. I love bees. You know what my nickname is, right?”
Honey’s nickname was a ways above Daniel’s pay grade, but knew she was a popular topic of conversation among the men in the colony, and she wasn’t surprised when he answered, “Honey.” He looked down at his feet sheepishly.
“Yes. My name is Honey. It’s a bee joke. And bees are vital to our survival. Without them, our plants do not give food. Without food, we die. And I don’t think we have enough bees right now to pollinate every flower.” She grabbed Daniels shirt and pulled him close. “So you had better find your bees or start pollinating by hand, understand?”
She turned and walked briskly back to the command center, not waiting to hear Daniel stammer that he understood.
It took three days for another problem to rear its head, but this time instead of something residual from earth, it was in the form of an alien. An alarm blared as Honey threw on a T-Shirt and dashed out of bed.
She screeched around the corner and threw herself into her chair in the center of the command room. “What is going on?” she demanded.
An enormously buff general saluted her. “Ma’am, it appears we are under attack.” He snapped his fingers, and the screen flickered to life, revealing live footage of a large, bulbous apparatus spraying the colony compound with a clear liquid.
“What the hell is that?” Honey was practically shouting.
“We think it is a drone of some sort. Some alien technology. We analyzed the material it’s spraying, too.”
“And?” Honey cried impatiently.
“Well, it’s odd. It’s like an advance version of a pesticide.”
“Sooo, what does that mean?”
The general flicked his wrist, and the screen changed to show a map of the world, with a red dot where the colony was. “This map shows the trees to be arranged in perfect, uniform lines. Also, there are no oceans here, as you know, only shallow rectangular seas. The seas have grasses growing in them similar to rice.”
“Get to the point.”
“We think the whole planet is a farm for some advanced race. The drone has deemed us a pest, and is spraying use with pesticides.”
Honey rested her head on her hand, thinking for a moment. She straightened and looked at the general. “If that thing is not crashing and burning within a minute, your career will be instead.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” the general replied, shrugging off the threat. Addressing the whole room, he boomed, “Fire the surface-to-air missiles! This is a military colony and I expect us to act like it! I want every shot to hit that drone!”
The officers went into a crazy spurt of activity, shouting and yelling, calling commands into phones, bustling madly about. The screen showed three turrets popping out of the ground and opening fire. Red streaks shot through the air and crashed into the drone, one after another. The drone managed to take several shots before it exploded in a shower of flame. The pesticide it had been carrying flew through the air and splattered the various buildings of the compound.
“Are you sure that was wise, Ma’am,” the general asked.
“Everything I do is carefully weighed and considered. That thing was ugly looking, and I decided I would rather have it gone and a galactic war, than it there and galactic peace.”
The general arched an eyebrow and said, “The same policy you use with your uniform?”
“Uniforms are ugly, too.”
The general nodded. “I see.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
A man in a well-tailored suit walked smartly into the NASA briefing room. His face was worried looking. “Well?” asked one of the men sitting at the long, mahogany table.
The man, the card on the lanyard her wore said his name was Adam, sat down and said, “I’ve received a report that our colony on Herbert’s Goldilocks has vanished.”
There was an immediate uproar. “What?”
“Are you sure?”
“Quiet!” Adam said, loudly. “I’m very sure. Several reports have confirmed this. However, there is one woman still left on the colony. Admiral Joan, or Honey, is still there apparently.”
One of the other men in the room looked up, suddenly. “You would call the Admiral a queen of sorts, wouldn’t you?”
“Well, yes, I suppose so. I don’t see how that matters…” Adam trailed off uncertainly.
“I’m a beekeeper, you see. A simple hobby. But I’ve had this problem with my own colonies this past few years. And I think I know what happened.”