The Overseers

“It’s going to be a busy day” Hector said to himself as he headed out of the colony. He has been working harder than ever. He has to, his tribe has lost their home and food reserve in the last conflict. Ever since then Hector was so angry at Overseers.

And there comes loud Marlin, his fellow colonist who is old and awfully loud.

“Hello Hector!” greeted Marlin.

“Good morning Marlin, where are you headed? Are you going for the food hunt again?” Hector asked.

“Well yes, we desperately need to stock our food reserve before winter and I want to do my part. Today I am planning to head off to the South, there is nothing left in the West anymore. So…so much has changed since last summer” Marlin responded as he turned pale saying these very words.

Hector knows the story of the West. It was once the homeland to his tribe when he grew up. It was so peaceful before a herd of Overseers drove them out. But he doesn’t want to get caught up in the past now, not when he has a busy day ahead of him.

“Stay safe Marlin, I wish you would get some rest” Hector bid goodbye to him and headed East.

Being the quickest and strongest among the colonists Hector moved so fast. His conversation with Marlin sparked up his anger and stirred his forgotten memories. He can’t help but to slip between the present and past.

Once the West was adored by trees that scaled up to the sky, wild flowers that scented the entire forest, rivers that sang lullaby all day. It was so magical and mysterious. The memory of playing hide and seek with his friends in those tall woods is still so fresh and vivid in his mind. Those were the days the colony had everything.

When the overseers stepped in, things turned ugly. They ripped off the forest, shrunken the rivers, uprooted the wild flowers. Hector grew up witnessing the destruction of his beautiful homeland. His tribe was often driven out and forced to move from one place to another to escape from Overseers. They eventually occupied the entire West leaving the forest in tatters.

“They destroyed a pristine forest to quench their greed. A greed of one has outweighed the needs of many. And the very greed shall destroy them one day”, his thoughts ran wild for a while and he is back to reality now.

“I need to focus to find food now, enough time wasted today on a painful memory” said Hector and started moving even faster. His movement became swift and eyes sharp as he headed East, ambitious to feed his colony.

***

It was noon now, back in the colony Aubrey was overseeing the movement of colonists. Her eyes glazed everywhere looking carefully for any trouble. She cannot be more careful! not after what happened to the colony last season.

After pondering into every corner she asked “Does the scouts have got any news today ?” to one of the councilmen.

“My queen, all the scouts have returned except Larry who went to the west” answered Ajax.

“West! Didn’t I say that every scout should return to the colony before mid-light everyday?”

“Larry is well aware of that and he always reaches the colony before mid-light. Shall we send a search party to look for him?” asked Ajax.

“Let’s wait for him a little longer, there must be a reason why Larry didn’t return yet. I want to meet him when he is back”, said Aubrey and moved back to her chambers.

Aubrey is concerned about Larry especially after knowing his scout location. Undiscovered things are most scary after all. But all she could do now is wait patiently for Larry to be back.

The sun has started to set, it’s almost evening now. The chilliness in the air grazed the queen’s chamber. All the scouts and hunters have returned to the colony. Aubrey is still in her deep thoughts. Then came Ajax, “Your highness Larry has returned and requested your presence”.

Aubrey stormed out of her chamber and paced towards Larry. “Why haven’t you returned before mid-light to the colony?”.

“Forgive me your highness, I saw two Overseers just outside our woods while scouting in the West.” said Larry in a distressed tone.

“Overseers!” Aubrey paused for a moment. She asked, “Did they have weapons and armour with them?”

“No, they didn’t have any. I observed them for a while. They pretty much kept to themselves and walked around the woods all the while. I didn’t see them doing anything odd or threatening”, said Larry.

Larry certainly seems puzzled by this so does Aubrey. She dismissed Larry and returned to her chambers.“What could Overseers possibly be doing near the woods ? Whether they are harmless adventurers who came to admire the beauty of the wild ? If so, why were they walking around the woods all the while, are they looking for something ? What could possibly be it ?”

Thoughts carried her away!

***

Deep in the woods night sets in fast. The chirps of insects and howling in the distance seemed to be the only things alive now. Every night the colonists gather around for food, it’s a one big family. Being one big family is the spirit of the colony which keeps it going despite the hardships.

“Who here wants to hear some stories?” asked Marlin. Being the oldest among colonists, he has seen the highs and lows of the colony. The little ones in the colony gathered around Marlin to listen to his story.

Loud Marlin was louder than ever now, he just loved telling stories.

“Back when this earth was a paradise, we were spread across the earth. Those were the days, you will only see trees for miles and miles in the forest, you will find water in the river in all seasons, first light will always magical and in the night, sky will be adored by the stars”

“I still remember the day when I got lost amid mist in the woods when I was little. I got distracted by wild flowers that bloomed every morning and that day they had tiny dew all over them. I kept touching the dew on those flowers all along my way and lost the trail of my elders. They couldn’t find me in the mist until mid-light. I enjoyed my moments with pristine forest so much, I was not scared at all.”

“It was a time when everyone had everything. Everyone lived their life to the fullest and embraced the differences with each other. There is a saying: Every life on earth is intertwined to each other. We all had a purpose on this earth. For a long time everyone lived up to their purpose, even the Overseers.”

“The world was perfect until greed poisoned Overseers, they changed their ways. They forgot the fact that we all are in this together. Food and shelter wasn’t enough for them, they wanted it all”

“Very soon strange smoke started covering the sky and skies didn’t open up anymore. Trees which stood for ages got cut off. They started killing everything that moved. They celebrated while the forest burned.”

“They are clever enough to build skyscapes, yet they don’t understand the most important thing. We are all here to coexist and cannot outlive each other. They are digging their own grave by killing us all.”

“They destroyed every colony I have lived in. Killed my friends right before my very eyes and reduced them to ashes. Their last attack on our colony was one of the worst I have witnessed. They have wiped out almost half of our colony”, Marlin continued to ramble about Overseers.
Back in the queen’s chambers Aubrey was listening to every word of Marlin. She remembers the last attack very much. The Overseers came out of nowhere with fire that engulfed the colony in a matter of seconds. The cries of fellow colonists, the fire, young and elderly reduced to ashes. The gruel images of the last attack flashed right before her eyes.

Aubrey’s decision to flee has saved half of the colony. They have fought the Overseers many times in the past. But Overseers were clothed in special armour and colonists just couldn’t touch them last time.

She knows if the colony comes in contact with Overseers again that will be the end of all. After all that’s the reason she decided to build this colony deep in the woods.

Yet here they are again near the woods. But Overseers usually show up in a group and that puzzled Aubrey very much. She knew it must be investigated, so she decided to take the councilmen, scouts and hunters there by first light and observe the Overseers herself. But now she has a long night ahead of herselves.

***

It’s a new day. Sunlight started peeking into the woods, wind was warm and life around the forest lit up. Everything seems quite usual in the woods except in the colony.

Aubrey paced down the halls from the chamber and the councilmen awaiting her in the hall prepared for the trip. She was accompanied by five councilmen, five of their best scouts including Larry and five best hunters including Hector.

Larry led the colonists to the place in the west where he spotted Overseers yesterday.

Everyone in the pack was quite nervous about Overseers. And the wise Marlin imparts wisdom to Aubrey even now.

“My queen, we must observe them and try to understand their intention. Let’s not do anything in haste”.

Aubrey nodded, she was awfully silent. Marlin knows her of a brave, hard headed queen not like this. They were almost near the spot, the pack picked up some speed.

Larry alerted everyone “This is the spot, this is where I saw the Overseers yesterday.”

All along, Aubrey wished Overseers shouldn’t be there and all they feared was for nothing.

But the worst fear comes true most of the time. The two Overseers were there, right where Larry spotted them yesterday. Colonists decided to observe them from the trees in the woods. Aubrey’s heart was pounding, every colonists looking upto Aubrey now for their next move.
“They are moving around the same way they did yesterday except they were bare handed” whispered Larry.

“They cannot be adventurers and they are not here to admire the wild,” said Marlin.

Aubrey was still silent, she didn’t utter a word.

Hector was fuming to see the Overseers so close to the woods. He was trying to fight his anger toward Overseers. He was frustrated to know even after years of running they are here again to hold the colonists in their iron fists.

“My queen we should kill them, we should not allow them to set foot into the woods”

“Hector! fighting off the Overseers? That is insane, we don’t stand a chance against them. If we attack, we are inviting trouble to ourselves. Their fellow kind won’t be far behind and will come after us.” said Marlin, wise as ever with his words.

“We have been moving ever since I was born Marlin. It’s time we put a stop to all this” Hector added. His anger got the best out of him.

Aubrey still stood motionless glaring at the overseers and did not utter a single word.

Marlin grows desperate trying to get Aubrey to his side “My queen I understand Hector is angry but if we do this they know we are here and they will certainly come with their pack and tear off the colony once and for all”.

Hector grew impatient and said “They will come for us Marlin, sooner or later and it’s time…”

“Back off Hector too many of us have died already and we cannot afford to lose anymore,” Aubrey broke her silence by saying this. Her commanding tone remained the pack who is in charge.

Hector nodded, stepped back and fell in line with the rest.

After a brief moment of silence Aubrey commanded, “It’s time, we should move our colony to the mountains”

“Scouts and hunters go to the northern mountains, find a place to set up our colony and return before the first light from now”

“Rest of us, come with me, let’s prepare the colonists to move”.
The pack splitted headed off to two different destinations with two different purposes. Aubrey’s pack soon disappeared into the woods.

Scouts and Hunters started their journey towards the Northern mountains. It’s mid day now. They have got only only a few hours of daylight left to search for a place.

***

Hector’s mind was set on something else. The rage and anger built up all these years ran past his mind. Wise words from Marlin and Aubrey’s command didn’t make much sense to his blinded mind and he stopped.

“What’s wrong Hector? Why did you stop ?” asked Jade.

“How many of our own kind does the overseers killed in all these years?”

“All we ever did was run and hide. We gotta avenge them for this”, said Hector.

“Are you mad? The queen ordered us to go and scout” replied Larry.

“We will Larry, We will. But before that we have a lesson to teach on behalf of our fallen martyrs. I am gonna need your help for that”, said Hector sowing the seeds of vengeance into the pack.

“If we kill them, their people will come after us and how are you planning to fight them?” asked Jade.

“We will be long gone into the mountains by then, they cannot come after us there. This is our best chance to draw some blood. It’s now or never”

Hector swayed the pack with his words. After all, the colonists were angry at the Overseers and he played it right to get them to join him.

The purpose changed – the vengeance of one outweighed the need of a colony. The pack decided to follow Hector to attack the Overseers despite their hesitation.

“Let’s go” said Hector leading them right towards the direction of Overseers.

Hector had his weapon ready, he bore the mark of the hunter. As he inched closer to the Overseers, his mind recalled the visions of pain and suffering from all these years. It forged his anger.

“Don’t hold back now, attack them with everything you have” with an intense scream Hector charged into the overseers. The attack was swift and the Overseers were totally caught off guard.

Panic grips them as they start running. They are not tough without the armour and fancy weapons. The pack were not looking to hurt overseers; they wanted more. The screams , the fire, the ashes, the moans flashed in Hector’s mind as he delivered deadly blows over and over again.

A loud thud, one of the Overseer collapsed as other one ran into the distant trees. Colonists pursued him right into the woods.

The shades of the tall grown trees blankets the whole place with darkness. The pack couldn’t see what’s in front of them after a few feet. Overseer is smart enough to blanket himself in the trees.

It’s appeared that he has vanished all of a sudden. Hector signaled the colonists to head out in different directions looking for him. The taste of first kill has clouded his senses.

***

Back in the colony Aubrey has set the plan in motion. There isn’t enough time to gather the council and discuss. With great despair and pain Aubrey runs the drill to move the colony. She mastered to mask her pain and grief, colonists still saw her as the hard edged queen.

It’s well past noon now, Colonists have only a few hours left until they plunge into total darkness in the woods. It will not help with their preparation. The councilmen pushed their colonists and the situation is chaotic. Retrieving the food they have gathered for this winter held top priority. They knew they would starve to death if not for this food knowing it’s hard to find food in the mountains. Survival in the mountains will be tough but they will live.

***

Back in the West, Hector and his fellow colonists had been searching for the missing one long time now. And it looks like he outsmarted the colonists. Fear has started to strike in their hearts. What if the Overseer goes back and brings their troop with them before the colonists make the move? They were too scared to think.

With only hours of daylight left, the pack decided to go to the mountains. With nearly impossible task ahead, scouts started moving as fast as they could. The sun started setting in the west and daylight started fading away slowly right before their eyes. And even the forest settles in to embrace the end of day and the air grows colder with every minute.

Hector moved without any guilt for swaying the pack to swing for his desire and there is no exchange of words yet everyone knows it was a mistake in their hearts.

Jade breaks the silence ” We should have listened to Marlin and Aubrey, it was stupid of us to attack overseers”.

“It’s not the time Jade, Just follow me, let’s go find a place” said Hector yet proud and victorious of his foolish deed.

“It’s your fault Hector, you are the reason behind this mess” Jade responded.

“We fought back, we should have done this a long time ago. If only Aubrey got the guts to call an attack on them, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“We can now fight about this or find a place and return to ort colony before first light” said Hector without a hint of guilt in words.

Left with no choice the pack started pushing to move faster and head to the mountains.

***

Council meeting is underway back in the colony. The daylight has faded away in the woods, little that the colonists can do for the preparation now. Aubrey decided to gather the council and get everyone on board with her decision to move. She gathered all the councilmen in the hall.

“My queen it’s been the third time in the past eight seasons we are moving our colony”

“Shouldn’t we wait and watch the movement of Overseers carefully instead of moving again?” asked one of the council members.

“This is the closest we have seen Overseers in two seasons. I can sense they are here with a purpose and sooner or later they will find us, they always do. If they find out we don’t stand a chance to survive another attack” said Aubrey .

“We move from here to the mountains, then what? How can we know for sure overseers won’t find us there” asked another councilman.

There was a moment of pause in the council. Aubrey has little planned after moving to the mountains. The horrifying past clouded her thinking yet from her instinct she knows they need to move and move quick to escape from overseers.

“We will go to the mountains and set up a temporary colony and stay till winter. Then we move further into the mountains, set up our permanent colony there. Oversees have no access to mountains and they hardly showed any interest in the mountains till now”

“We have the chance to group with other colonies like us in the mountains. We will be safe there finally from Overseers. Let them have this forest”

“For now we focus on getting the colony ready and move by first light. The scouts will guide us to our new home” said Aubrey.

“We are not going to die anymore, we go to the mountains and we vanish from overseers’ prying eyes forever”, she added..

The councilmen looked upon each other’s face. No words exchanged for a while.
Marlin decided to back Aubrey’s decision. “My fellow councilmen every time, we wait until the Overseer shows up right before our doorstep to act. We did that mistake too many times. its no longer a mistake, its an act of foolishness.”

“Overseers are fond of forest and its trees. They have laid their eyes on our woods now. It’s only a matter of time they come knocking at our doorsteps.”

“My queen I can tell you, you have made the right decision. We will survive and get out of their hands forever” said Marlin.

Words of affirmation from Aubrey and Marlin convinced the council to agree to her decision. They don’t have any choice left. It was an unusual council after all. Aubrey made the decision beforehand to the council which is odd, where in the past decisions of such gravity will be decided only in the council.

“Council dismissed, now go get some sleep.” said Aubrey. She is determined to keep the colonists safe no matter what it takes.

She turned to Marlin and said “Thank you for always being a wise counselor to our colony.”

“My queen, it’s my pleasure, you made the right decision. Hope the scout team will be back tomorrow by first light., said Marlin.

“I believe so.”

“But Hector’s words did bother me; he was so furious with Overseers and wanted to attack them so badly. Hope he didn’t do something foolish”, said Aubrey expressing her concern for Hector.

“Hector is angry and young but he would not dare to disrespect your orders. They will be soon back my Queen. Get some sleep” saying that Marlin dismissed himself and went his way. Aubrey returned to her chambers hoping tomorrow will be better.

***

In the mountains, the pack has settled for the night. They got a place to set up the colony.

“It’s not the best one, but it will do. It’s overlooking the hill the entire valley is visible and the stones above protect us from the weather.” said Hector.

“We picked the first spot that we saw that’s not scouting. We didn’t scout enough because we were playing your game of revenge Hector”, replied Jade still getting back at Hector.

Hector is furious now “I fought for the lives we have lost”

“What about the lives we have at hand?” Jade locking eyes with Hector. It was intense and colonists had to intervene to resolve the situation.

“Whatever we have done is done now, let’s focus on starting early from here to reach our colony before first light. We have to get some rest for tomorrow” said Larry intervening between both.

The day ends here.

Stars took over the skies, woods stood still. Nothing could be heard except for the whistling of the winds. The cold winds left the colonists awake. Hector couldn’t stop thinking of the day’s events, there lies a tiny regret for his actions in his heart.

“How did the Overseer escape? Will they come back with their pack? Can the colony survive another attack?” It’s too late to have these questions linger in his mind. He knows his mistake is beyond repair and can only run from it. He knows this spot isn’t a suitable place for the colony and Aubrey will not be pleased with that. He could do little to nothing except reach the colony by first light. While pondering over this, his eyes finally rested and the light fades away.

Everyone fell asleep except Jade. The very thought of an escaped Overseer kept him awake. He couldn’t sleep not after the mess he took part of. He was a sincere and brave scout. He stood up against Hector even when no one did. He knew he should have stopped Hector from attacking the Overseer but it’s too late now.

He knew reaching the colony by first light may not be enough. There are a multitude of things that could go wrong before that. He decided to start from the mountains without the pack, he was not ready to convince the pack to start early. He stood awake waiting for the venus to show up in the sky.

Travelling before dawn in the forest will be the most riskiest thing anyone can ever do. But Jade is willing to take that risk, he wanted to alert his colony about the events and get them to move. He stood there for hours looking at the sky desperately waiting for Venus to show up….

Jade waited for hours withstanding the cold winds. Venus is finally up, there is some light now. Will it be enough? Jade is about to find out. He looked at the stars and wished for his safe return to the colony. And he finally headed out to embark on this treacherous journey for his colony.

***

The dawn is there.

Aubrey pacing back and forth outside her chambers. The tension is palpable as the colonists have started their final preparations for the move. Aubrey called up the guards “Any signs of the scouts? ”

“No my queen” responded the guard.

With only hours away from first light, Aubrey grew impatient by each minute and called out “Get me Marlin” to the guards.

She started pacing to the highest point in the colony and looked at the horizon. It was a beautiful morning but little did she cared for the beauty of the forest now. Her eyes are sharp and fixated looking for any signs of colonists.

“My queen, you asked for me?” Marlin with an unusually low voice.

“It’s almost dawn, the first light is approaching soon. Are we ready to move?”, asked Aubrey

“My queen, the colonists are ready, it’s up to the scouts now”, replied Marlin.

Dawn is there Aubrey’s eyes glancing over the northern horizon. For every dawn that brings a sense of peace in the forest this was nothing like it. The rays of sun started peeking into the woods from East.

“They are not here yet, perhaps we should send someone to look for them?” said Aubrey.

“My queen, shall we give them some more time and I am sure they must be on their way. This might be a good time to address our colonists. They are in distress after our decision to move. Perhaps you can speak to them to lift up their morale” advised Marlin.

“Gather the colonists outside the hall for me Marlin”, said Aubrey still having her eyes fixated over the Horizon.

Aubrey knows the colony is not happy with the decision and they pretty much want to fight the overseers like Hector does. Why wouldn’t they be! It was overseers who scorched and killed the friends and family of colonists and they did not forget that.

As she walked towards the group, she wondered what she was going to tell them.

“Should I say we move away from Overseers and they shall not see any more death? But that’s the same thing the colonists were hearing ever since they started moving and only it got worse and worse every time”

She felt choked and struggled to come up with consolation for colonists. In fact she is struggling to console herself. She reached the great hall where the eyes of every colonists eagerly looked up to their Queen.

She stood there looking at the weary colonists who want to live their life peacefully.

“My brothers and sisters”. ” It’s…. It’s been…. ” Aubery stammered.

“Well life it… It hasn’t been easy for any of us for the past few seasons.”

“Life wasn’t made easy for us.”

“Our forefathers always said we play an integral part for existence of life in this earth”

“But here we are fighting for our own existence.”

“The greed of the Overseers have pushed us this far”.

“They poisoned us, raided our foods, destroyed our homes, split our colonies, drove us out, reduced our population to half”

“I can’t tell they are smart or dumb anymore. With all the fancy weapons, indestructible armor, they are making marvels yet they cannot understand the coexistence of life”

“Their existence depends on our survival.”

“They are digging their own grave by killing us”

“Now they are back to finish their job I suppose.”

“I don’t know what you heard, we spotted two Overseers two days ago and I wished they came to listen to the forest but they were back again yesterday with their fancy toys. We cannot ignore that”

“I can still hear the wailing and cries of our brothers and sisters we lost from the attack every single day”

“I cannot sit and watch that happen again. We waited too long to find out the intention of those overseers last time and am not making the mistake again”

“We are not making the mistake again”

“I know many of you wants to fight the overseers, fill this forest with the wail and grief just like how they did to our family”

“But then what! They will find us quickly than ever and destroy the rest of us. Nothing can fill their greed and they need everything”.

“I can’t watch anymore of you die. The council has decided to move the colony into the mountains, the only place that’s out of their reach.”

“Finding food won’t be easy there but we will be safe there. Wish we had made this decision a long time ago. It would have spared the lives of our beloved martyrs. Martyrs who shed blood and sweat to build our colony and all we could do in return was to watch them as they turn into ashes ”

Aubrey was moved to tears . This is the only time colonists witnessed their queen in tears.

Collecting herself she added “There in the distant North lies our redemption, we will get there and be free forever”. She lifted up the morale of the colonists. They knew their queen would lead them to salvation.

“Let’s spread out and make ourselves ready to move” said Aubrey.

The colonists spread out. Some of the Councilmen moved out of the hall to gather the colonists into different groups to lead them with ease when they move out.

Aubrey couldn’t stop worrying about the scouts. Something within her doesn’t feel right. She was looking at her throne in the great hall for a while. The councilmen stood beside her in the hall seems to be distressed and were speaking amongst themselves

“Did the scouts show up? ” Aubrey asked one of the councilmen.

“Yes my queen” replied a councilman with a sense of caution in his voice. Aubrey turned around and looked at the councilman puzzled.

“Jade just arrived and…..and looks like Hector provoked the scouts to attack the Overseers and one of them escaped”

Aubrey’s heart dropped, now she knows why she had a bad feeling about this. Jade stepped into the hall in front of Aubrey with shame and disappointment.

“Hector that fool! Why has nobody tried to stop him? Didn’t I give you the order not to attack and you disobeyed me ?”

Jade, ashamed of his actions and fellow scouts replied “My queen, we shall be held responsible for our actions, but we should move now. Overseers are not known for being slow”.

Aubrey knew now it’s not the time for punishment or regret. Now is not the time at all.

“Set the colonists in motion, we are moving out. Jade, you go ahead of the councilmen, show them the way” commanded Aubrey. Saying this she turned back to look at her throne for one final time.

Jade was quick enough to disappear from Aubrey’s sight. The councilmen exited the hall quickly to join the colonists in the front. Jade stood there besides the councilmen prepared to lead the way.

“Settle down my brothers and sisters. The Queen has given the word to move. Prepare yourselves, Let’s move” commanded one of the councilmen.

Everyone started heading towards the colony gate. Hector and the scout party arrived at the gate. Jade and Hector looked at each other, the pack realised the situation in the colony. Marlin was right there in the front leading the colonists.

He moved close to Hector and whispered “The queen is aware of your treachery and everyone of you shall pay for your mistakes. You all should be ashamed of your actions and …. ”

Suddenly there was a movement back in the colonists group, the groups split wide open and amongst in the middle, Aubrey pacing towards the front. She was furious, her stance said it all. There was nothing but a dead silence. She stood before the colony and stared at the scout party with disgust and didn’t utter a word. She didn’t want to set panic among the colonists. The entire colony is all set to move now, their eyes set on the Northern mountains

***

All of a sudden there was a noise outside the colony, a noise that sent chills through the colonists. Every one of them were puzzled about what that might be. There are footsteps but they know it doesn’t belong to any animal. They were hearing multiple loud thuds as if something was hitting the forest floor.

The colonists were too scared to move including the hard headed Aubrey. Sound of thud multiplies with every second. They were so coordinated and in rhythm. What started as a strange noise now becomes familiar.

“Overseers!” exclaimed Aubrey.

A blinding smoke engulfed the colony in no time. The very smoke that put half of the colonies to sleep before they scorched to death with fire last time.

“They found us, out of the colony now. Head to the northern mountains” Aubrey commanded while she moved swiftly outside the colony.

Colonists stood in the front, managed to move outside the colony following Aubrey, scout party and councilmen. Commotion set inside the colony and the colonists who were in the back toxicated by the smoke and fell right where they stood.

Outside there were dozens of Overseers dressed up in Armour with their weapon in hand. They have surrounded the colony. The colonists started moving as fast as they could in different directions.

One of the Overseer in the group pointed his weapon at a group of colonists, held a vice grip and fired it. The fire came out at a demonic speed and threw a group of colonists to the ground. Down goes Jade along with the group.

Every other Overseer followed their leader and did the same. All of a sudden fire was everywhere, they were scorching every colonists they set eyes on. Foolish Hector and a bunch of colonists managed to evade the fire, but they didn’t evade to flee but to attack.

Little could Hector do with his attacks for the armour protected overseers so well. The angry fool died at their hands in no time. Squashed and put down to earth. His followers met the same fate.

Aubrey couldn’t move, she was shattered to witness this all over again. The screams, wails and the fire is so familiar. She is so broken to move. She stood still and watched her fellow colonists dying breath.

“My queen, my queen we should flee now. It’s too dangerous to be here” said the faithful Marlin refusing to leave the queen’s side still doing his best to part Aubrey with wisdom.

“I failed you, I failed every last one of us. This is it! it’s over Marlin, there is nowhere to run anymore”.

She didn’t move, she stood still. The leader of the Overseer saw Aubrey. While every colonists ran away to evade, he was surprised to see the way she stood still. He knows there is something special about her. Pointed his weapon on to her, ready to spit fire.

Aubrey knew the end had come. She knew any moment now fire from the weapon will reduce her to ashes. With a gushing sound a huge ball of flame approached her, she could feel the heat of the flame on her skin. As the flame approached to consume her…

“You have dug your own grave” said Aubrey the Queen bee.

She is down. Her consciousness fades away. With moments away from her last breath, she saw Marlin lying dead beside her. He never left her side.

Lights faded, so did everything else!

***

“Let’s light up the hive boys, that will finish the job” said colonel McDowell. A gush of fire the hive is down to ground in seconds.

McDowell took off his helmet and called out his troops, “Alright gather on me”

“We did a fine job. There won’t be a problem anymore for Smith’s men to work here. Sean, you call the boss and tell him bees won’t be his problem anymore. Rest, check for any naked flames around here and put it out”.

“These trees are a gold mine, we don’t want to set them on fire”. After a brief check for fire the soldiers returned to their truck celebrating their meaningless victory.

““Everyone turn ON the safeties in your flamethrower and set them in the back of this truck. we got a few more animal control to do in Sector B after lunch.”

“Don’t damage your suits, it takes forever to get it replaced” said McDowell.

The soldiers stripped off their suits to load them in the truck. One of the soldiers said “These suits are bloody heavy man, besides I am swimming in my own sweat now” throwing his suit in the back of the truck.

McDowell saw this and approached him calm and poised, “You prefer to die than sweating soldier? These are some mean African Bees. The pain of their sting will be unbearable. If they sting you enough, you will be dead in minutes. Took out one of our surveyors yesterday. Poor bastard didn’t see it coming”

“So stop whining and get into our ride”

“Sorry sir” the soldier responded and got into the Humvee.

“Everyone what are you looking at ?, To the ride now”, commanded McDowell.

Soldiers hurried to the Humvee, their hard boots worked a loud thud every time a soldier boarded.

“Lock and load boys” said McDowell while getting comfortable in the passenger seat.

A quick whip to the keys, Humvee roared spewing smoke over the wildflowers.

“Let’s go boys, forest is open for business”

[ Everyone chuckles ]…..

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