Above the mountains, above the inland sea, above the monastery and the K-7 and the terrified monks, a massive spacecraft loomed.
Inside, the Green Mother considered the intelligence she’d received and what she knew of the Earth below, knowledge embedded in Insekt DNA.
The coordinates sent by the meat creature Mila were unexpected: The Order’s headquarters was at one of the ancient Mantis landing pads.
Here, millennia ago, Insekts had fought humans who worshipped one of the Elder Gods. Their leaders called themselves the Order.
Indeed, the Order were here now; their Ixion aircraft sat, small and insignificant, at one end of the Mantis landing pad. This was good.
The Green Mother’s antenna twitched: The meat creature was dead. So be it. Below, many humans appeared to be dead or dying.
Mantis was not concerned with the reason for this. Humans killing humans was to be expected: It was their nature.
A large structure was on the lake’s surface; this was unexpected. Mantis commanded flying Insekts to leave the ship and reconnoiter.
The swarm departed. Almost immediately, she received their knowledge: There appeared to be no danger from the humans’ structures.
There were relatively few humans here. There were a few other creatures—goat, dog, tiger, bears, medium-sized toothed Arctic whales.
But beasts had never posed a threat to the Insekt invaders. In fact, beasts killed humans: This was good.
Beasts killed humans; humans killed beasts; humans killed humans. Soon there would be very few humans left to oppose Mantis in any way.
The Green Mother looked at the Mantis landing pad on the great plateau. It would be easy to set down directly on top of the Order’s jet.
Doing so would crush the Ixion like a bug. The Green Mother saw no irony in this. Insekts did not experience such thought processes.
Below, the humans appeared to have turned on each other. Two beasts stood and watched as the meat creatures began beating their own kind.
She decided not to land yet, but to hover overhead until the humans had finished destroying themselves.
Then her scouts could determine if any members of the Order remained alive. If so, Mantis would kill them.
Without the Order’s interference, Mantis would proceed to enslave the earth again. Again, Insekts would take their rightful place.
The Green Mother clicked her mandibles with pleasure at the thought, and a small beetle hurried forward to be eaten by its Queen.
In his hiding place in a deep crevice in the rocky wall at the edge of the plateau, Antonosky welcomed the arrival of the Mantis mothership.
“Perhaps the Plan was working after all!” the doctor thought. “She should have kept the dog,” Stalin said aloud.