Week 85

Time passed differently for the Insekt Hive. Unencumbered by concern for individuals, Hive plans coalesced like dust condensing into stars.

Without fear or pride, they never rushed and never faltered. They moved across galaxies as a glacier relentlessly pulverizes a landscape.

Their countless spacecraft traversed the Universe at deliberate speed while generations of drones, and even Queens, lived and died.

When a ship reached a planet suitable for colonization, the Hive swarmed it, attacking relentlessly until all was destroyed or consumed.

Defeats were rare, and temporary. For millennia, Earth had stood defiant—but the Hive always reclaimed incompletely harvested worlds.

Aboard her brood ship, Queen Mantis stood unmoving, eyes unfocused as her awareness crept through the Hive mind’s many chambers.

She had been watching the mantis shrimp kaiju as it attacked Putin’s Fortress of Oppulance, but Snowy’s fatal blow had severed her link.

The Queen’s head twitched to the side, and her abdomen slowly sank toward the ground. Her awareness had resettled in her body.

The kaiju’s death had been expected, and did not displease her. It had only been sent as a probe to test the Putin Pals’ weaknesses.

The animal agents fought well, and Mantis would have to dispose of them before capturing Putin. They were expendable—he was not.

Without moving her head, Mantis shifted her focus across her compound eye to gaze out the window into space. The ship was passing Saturn.

The countless spinning ice shards and rock fragments that formed the gas giant’s rings were like the myriad Insekts comprised by the Hive.

Soon the invasion would begin. The Earth would be back inside the Hive, the Order destroyed, and Putin returned to his home.

Then Queen Mantis would be prepared to confront her rightful enemy. In all the Universe, only one force truly threatened the Hive: Cthulu.

The Old God’s hunger was as great and terrible as that of the Hive. Long ago, Insekt scouts had been present for one of Cthulu’s feasts.

The little bugs had watched as Cthulu bled a solar system dry, devouring the many creatures living on its planets.

Sinking into the Hive’s ancient collective memory, Mantis watched the slaughter and heard the cries of anguish. She felt Cthulu’s sadism.

The Hive had no hatred for Cthulu, but it was a competitor and had to die. The Queen cocked her head as she thought.

Insekt soldiers would swarm the corpse-city R’leh, tearing apart its perverted geometry, exposing Cthulu’s slumbering form.

Then the Green Weapon would arrive to destroy the monster, dying so the Hive might live: A good plan. Mantis nodded, and called for a snack.

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