The reporter stood on the edge of a beautiful bluff. Out in the distance, small, white-topped, rocky islands dotted the grey sea.
The wind tossed her dark hair, but her eyes stayed locked on the camera. “Scientists are at a loss,” she said into the microphone.
“While there are many theories as to what’s causing the phenomena, no definitive explanation has been found, with no sign of one to come.”
The cameraman zoomed in on the reporter as he walked forward and then panned down over the cliff edge: The beach was a writhing black mass.
“All along the west coasts of North and South America, billions—if not trillions—of insects of all variety have massed on the beaches.
“It is believed that literally every insect is attempting to reach the western shores, and the consequences have been devastating.”
Orbiting above, Queen Mantis shifted awareness from one part of her compound eyes to another, scanning the hundreds of monitors before her.
Each showed scenes of mass chaos. Great hurricanes of winged insects tore through thousands of acres of farmland, turning it into wasteland.
Colossal torrents of beetles, spiders, and ants gushed through city squares, causing mass hysteria and panicked violence.
All over the Earth, the insekt hordes, so long alone, were straining to be near their Queen. The brood ship was terribly close.
Mantis looked down: An underling was scuttling around her legs, dripping yellow pheromone—another update from the bridge.
They were mere hours away from the coordinates Mila had provided. Sensors had detected an undersea fortress deep in the Tian Shan mountains.
Mantis also knew there was activity inside it, but that was all the Hive Mind saw. The Queen’s mandibles twitched as she thought of Mila.
Mantis did not completely trust the meat thing, of course, stinking of self-preservation as Mila did. Still, there was opportunity.
Ultimately, Mantis understood it did not matter whether it was or wasn’t the Order’s stronghold. The Earth would fall. As would Cthulu.
The Hive was inevitability itself, like a biological black hole. The Green Mother saw a pretarsus stomping on a face . . . forever.
Back on Earth, the news crew finished shooting. The cameraman took a last look over the cliff edge, then turned to the reporter.
He frowned. “I worked Darfur and Afghanistan, and this is the worst thing I ever saw. Maybe those doomsday cults are right.”
“Some of them are,” the reporter said She stepped toward the cameraman, then smiled as she stepped closer again. “Mine is.”
“For Cthulu!” She lunged forward. The cameraman reeled back, stepped over the edge of the cliff, and they both fell into the swarm below.