The Last Hive Progenitor & A New Hope

After the Hive Progenitor sealed the memories Peter chose.

Peter’s mind was in disarray. 

Moments after the darkness enveloped his vision, he became aware of the whole process and entered a state where he could see pitch black even when closing both of his eyes.

He slowly began to feel his heart beating and his lungs breathing in and out.

Gradually, he became aware of more sensations: temperature, touch, and the entirety of his body.

He felt the comfort of laying down on a soft mattress.

Slowly, he opened his eyelids and was surprised.

At the same time, this was happening, from the Hive Progenitor’s perspective, darkness enveloped his vision, and Peter’s body began to glow brightly, outshining the background until the darkness took over completely.

The Hive Progenitor experienced something vastly different from Peter.

At this time, he was no longer the Hive Progenitor; Peter had successfully taken over the body. The former Progenitor slowly regained his vision and was surprised.

Like how a normal human body works, the nervous system consists of both involuntary and voluntary functions. The voluntary system is controlled by conscious awareness, such as breathing, blinking, balance, and movement.

In this body inhabited by two consciousnesses, Peter, as the major consciousness, became the primary controller, while the former Progenitor managed involuntary functions, like the heart, glands, organs, and internal and external sensors.

The former Progenitor became the master of the body while Peter became the master of the mind.

The most interesting part was that the former Progenitor knew the health and condition of the entire body.

He could sense the opening and closing of blood vessel valves, the flow of nutrients and proteins, the status of the immune system, and the activity of immune cells in the lymph nodes.

It was a new and rich experience for the former Progenitor, and he was glad to have these abilities now that he was no longer the mind of the Hive.

Maintaining the life of the Hive Progenitor was more important and valuable than the drones’ tasks in the hive.

‘This endeavor is worth it and vital for the prosperity of the hive now that I have someone who could change my fate,’ the former Progenitor thought.

He found himself lying inside a capsule fit for his size.

His body was positioned like a baby inside a mother’s womb.

Seeing his hands in front of him, he was relieved to still have human hands. He had expected to be transformed into an insect-like creature, similar to a bee or an ant.

Deep down, he felt a sense of relief. It was like having another chance at life as a human being.

After appreciating his new body, he fixed his gaze on the transparent glass cover of his capsule.

When he touched it with his right hand, it slowly vanished from the point of contact, stopping at the sides and creating a hole large enough for his body to pass through.

After waiting for it to ‘open’, he raised his upper body and checked his surroundings, as he was expecting, he was surrounded by stone walls, like inside a cave, which he heard from the former Hive Progenitor when they were talking earlier, after checking he stood up.

When he moved his feet outside the capsule and touched the ground, he felt it warm and smooth, like a heated carpet. He was amazed by this. In Peter’s life, he had always needed slippers around his house to avoid the cold floors.

The warm and smooth carpet, resembling sheep’s wool, amazed him with its cleanliness and purity.

As he stepped out of the capsule, he observed his surroundings, illuminated by glowing yellowish lamps in three corners. The fourth corner had two lamps, with a pedestal and a door in the center.

Once more, he looked at his body, but the combination of darkness and the yellow light from the lamp made it difficult to confirm his skin color. However, he suspected it was likely white; the light was sufficient to see the form of his new body.

It resembled a human body, with no visible external changes, so he thought this body was very similar to a human body on Earth.

Other than that, there was nothing else, except only his capsule, and a black ball the size of a basketball lying half of its body flat on the ground beside it.

Peter approached it and saw a few blinking lights.

Admiring the lights, he suddenly heard a voice in his head.

It resembled a man’s voice.

“That is the Nexus Node. I used it to store my knowledge base to survive after going outside my growth vat, and of course, for future use, but after you took over my body, it was erased, I also lost the connection to it since you are now the Hive Progenitor” said the former Progenitor in Peter’s head.

Peter was surprised to hear the former Hive Progenitor which is now inside his head. What’s more surprising was that the former Progenitor spoke with a single voice.

“Your voice,” Peter said.

“I am no longer the Hive Progenitor and I lost that right when you succeeded me in this body. In the future, when you create drones, you should be able to speak as one, simultaneously and in unity,” the former Progenitor said.

“Are you now a voice inside my head? Like the system in the movies?” Peter asked.

“I am more than a voice inside your head. Unlike a system, I am another consciousness inside your head. My functions may be limited compared to those powerful beings, but I assure you that I will provide my very best capabilities to assist you, Hive Progenitor.

I have been given a very important function: to ensure your life and health and give you the power to control your body in ways not previously possible, even for me and surely not for your body in our previous forms,” the former Progenitor replied.

“Monitoring your heart, breathing, body nutrients, and conditions, and manipulating them, is just one of my capabilities as the one maintaining your health and body.

The systems you know may have vast knowledge compared to my current self, but I can fill that gap based on my current functions,” the former Progenitor added.

“I agree, unlike those systems, you are more than enough,” Peter replied.

“So.. umm… voice? What is your name? I feel troubled calling you that way” Peter asked.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t have a name like yours. In the hive, we are identified based on our role or function. In my case, the Hive Progenitor,” the former Progenitor said.

“I can’t keep calling you ‘former Hive Progenitor’; it sounds arrogant and cumbersome in my opinion that is. I think changing or shortening it would be better,” Peter said.

“I don’t know much about naming myself like yours. Since you came in that kind of a world, why don’t you give me a name?” the former Progenitor said.

‘Naming someone is not that easy, especially if the person might not like it’ Peter thought.

‘I think it is best to name him based on what he said, according to him he names things based on their role or functions… Rafael? No, he might say that that should be my name based on our situation… Aether? It refers to an ethereal being in another realm, an overseer… wait, how do I know what it means in detail? … Is this one of a Progenitor’s power?’ Peter thought.

The former Progenitor did tell Peter when they first met, that he would have a perfect memory and would easily learn things fast when he became the Hive Progenitor.

After deciding and calming down. Peter said.

“Umm… Voice? How about Aether? It suits you entirely as someone on another realm and an observer or overseer” Peter reluctantly said.

“Aether…” the former Progenitor said. Then a few moments of silence followed.

“I like it. Aether, the observer and transcending other realms. It really suits me as someone inside your head, observing your actions, as well as keeping your body safe, it fits my name,” Aether enthusiastically said.

“Aether it is,” Peter added.

Peter was relieved after hearing Aether enthusiastically say he liked his name.

After giving the former Hive Progenitor a name, he also thought of giving himself a name.

He reasons that since it is a new life and a new beginning for him, he should start anew, leaving his previous life behind and giving this new life a new meaning.

‘Goodbye Previous World! Hello New World’ he thought enthusiastically.

As the two progenitors are enjoying their new selves. Peter spoke.

“Aether, starting today call me Lairay, you don’t have to call me Hive Progenitor when it’s just the two of us,” Peter said.

“Understood Hive Progenitor Lairay,” Aether acknowledged Lairay.

After talking about their names, they both decided to check the situation of the hive.

Aether informed Lairay about the pedestal in the center of the two lamps.

When approaching it Lairay carefully observed the top of the pedestal, he could see a few glowing green lights forming a shape with thin lines.

As he puts one of his hands near the top of it, it slowly brightens as the hand gets closer, upon touching it, the light grows brighter as fully as it can, but soon it starts to weaken as the door mechanism has been triggered.

The door split into two and opened sideways.

As the door was opening, Lairay could see that the door was thick and a wall of rocks piled together could be seen in front of the door, mid-way the door stopped. Aether said

“The power didn’t last long. We are fortunate it was able to open the door just enough for us to go out”

Lairay was surprised when he heard Aether say that ‘if the door weren’t able to open widely enough, we could be stuck inside’ he unbelievably agreed.

“What about the wall in front of the door? How are we gonna go out?” Lairay asked.

“You will have to push the centermost rock and the wall will crumble outward by itself,” Aether replied.

The center rock was too high for Lairay to reach. So he decided to push his growth vat in front of the door and use it to reach the rock in the center.

Surely enough, he didn’t exert much force on the rock and the wall fell outward.

This chamber room he was in was hidden by a wall of rocks.

‘This must have been what Aether said, his special measures when hiding the last Hive Progenitor’ Lairay thought.

After the rock wall fell, a hallway appeared. It was made out of rocks and no decorations at all. Even the ground was just a pile of rocks.

‘The hive must have seen no need for decorations, this cave system just looks like a normal cave made out of rocks, and there isn’t much light from the lamps, if I’d be playing a game this would be a dungeon’ Lairay thought.

Lairay was horrified by the darkness, he couldn’t help himself calling this cave haunted due to the lamp’s weak light.

Lairay put his head forward while hiding his body, he looked to his right side first and saw nothing, after that he looked to his left and was shocked.

What appeared in front of him was a bunch of corpses, their bodies looked like they were defending the path further.

The corpses were a few distances away from the door; they were left out in plain sight, and the lamp’s light was enough to distinguish the corpses.

The corpses no longer have the rotting smell. Instead, their bodies were perfectly preserved, and this pristine environment of the cave lacked the ecosystem to decompose the bodies.

‘Even though the hive showed no appreciation for beauty, the Hive Mind, however, should have practiced a clean and organized environment for this to happen’ Lairay concluded

As Lairay saw these bodies, Aether spoke.

“Those were the hive’s drones, the current Hive Progenitor at the time used them to lure the enemies away from your chamber and avoid suspicion to the wall,” Aether said.

After checking the hallway, Lairay decided to approach the closest corpse since there was currently no danger in the hallway.

As he approaches the corpse, he starts feeling uneasy and experiences a mix of sad emotions.

As someone who was a former human, his emotions remained intact.

Aether was expecting this scene, as a hive mind there are no other individuals in the hive other than the Hive Progenitor who have the consciousness, having the drones around him was enough to fill that hole.

The death of a single drone is a huge pain. But the death of more drones is greater than what words could describe. It was pure agony for the Hive Mind.

Aether only received a portion of the consciousness from the previous Hive Progenitor so he could not entirely comprehend this nightmare.

But for Lairay, as the current Hive Progenitor, and as a former Human, he could feel it.

Aether decided not to interrupt Lairay. Even for him, it was as well painful.

This was a shock for Lairay, he had never seen someone treated like this. All these corpses were in an awkward position, and yellow blood was scattered around their body, although the blood looked dry, if you touched it, it was still wet.

A few moments later, Aether interrupted and told Lairay to calm down.

As Lairay returned to himself.

He tried to inspect the corpse while trying to control his emotions.

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The drones are wearing leather sandals and a black tunic at knee length, belted by another white garment, he also notices that they have a hairless long tail and sharp pointy ears.

Looking at the other drones all of them are wearing black tunics.

He touched his right ear with his right hand, surely enough he still had his human ears.

He then touched his back where the tail he saw should grow, but there was none.

Aether told Lairay that after his soul went into this body, the pointy ears turned round and the tail disappeared.

This was his first time seeing a drone that had no pointy ears and no tails.

Aether added that the disappearance of the tail does not have much of a disadvantage.

Aether then said that his ears were the real problem, although they are unique, his round ears have decreased his hearing, compared to having pointing ears which is helpful to avoid and locate predators effectively.

Lairay couldn’t help but feel helpless.

“Do I have other unique features other than the ears and tail?” Lairay asked Aether.

For Aether, he didn’t have the chance to tell Lairay earlier how much this body could do, even for him he doesn’t understand much of this new body, since his focus was to get outside of the chamber and figure out the situation of the hive. He was so focused on some things that he was not able to deeply explore this whole new body.

Now that he had a chance.

After a brief moment of silence…

“After deeply exploring this body there are two surprising differences that set you apart from the previous Hive Progenitors,” Aether said.

There is this organ that allows him to create and manipulate DNA, and a new gland on his hands allows him to excrete those… (Author’s note: Please read the SGM Organ and CLG in the auxiliary chapter, it is very detailed and I can’t put them here since they are long.)

Aether explained the two new abilities of Lairay in detail.

Lairay was amazed and full of energy. 

Imagine having this superpower.

Although Lairay won’t be able to directly control his SGM Organ since he needs deep concentration and knowledge in genetics, Aether assures him that he will assist him and help him create and manipulate the DNA he desires. 

Despite being unable to control SGM, he can however control his CLG by will.

As Lairay wanted to do it, Aether advised him not to do it for now since he would require nutrients to produce the ‘Blue Tear’, which will make you hungry later, he really, really wanted to try it but he couldn’t help it.

He understood Aether so he decided to try it after he found some food.

Besides, the situation they are in requires them to find out more about the hive.

Aether told Lairay not to head in the direction where he found the bodies of the corpses. He also added that the hallway leads to the deepest part of the hive and the increasing corpses of the drone would overwhelm him as they were protecting the Hive Progenitor as the last resort.

Lairay acknowledged he wanted to at least give the drones a proper burial but Aether proposed that he can do it later when they feel safe and secured.

Lairay headed in the opposite direction.

After walking for a few minutes, he can’t help but feel cold as his body is naked and asks Aether where he can find clothes to wear.

Aether replied that most of the clothes of his size were in the nursery near the Hive Progenitor’s nest.

He should also be able to get clothes on the way, but they were for adult drones and would be big for his size.

While walking cautiously and having to witness a few groups of corpses lying around, Lairay finally arrived near the center of the hive, with numerous chambers, the only thing he saw inside was broken nodes and their connections, broken furniture, and other unknown fragments as if a tornado had gone by inside the chambers.

When having to discover the barracks chamber of the hive.

Aether told Lairay that there should be clothes in the cabinets beside the beds.

Each bed has its own cabinet, and all of them were opened.

Lairay speculated that the enemy must have left no stone unturned.

When looking at the barracks carefully it was like a military barracks on Earth, everything is organized and neat.

When approaching the nearest cabinet it contained 5 tunics of the same color, a white garment, and at the bottom of the cabinet was a pair of leather sandals, he also saw a few purple garments. 

Lairay asked Aether and said that they were recently made before the enemies appeared.

The clothes size is too big for Lairay’s 10-year-old body, so he opened the other cabinets, with each cabinet having varying sizes he could only find adult-size tunics and sandals, the same number and color as in each of the cabinets.

After searching the whole barracks and the nearby barracks chamber as well.

He had no choice but to wear the smallest of the sizes he could find and that one purple garment as his belt.

The tunic was enough to fit for it not to fall, the problem was it might trip him when he walked.

He had no choice but to keep one of his hands to raise the garment below, preventing him from tripping.

After walking for a few distance, he finally reached a destroyed door leading to the Hive Progenitor’s nest. 

The door was half closed, the other part of it was destroyed.

Fragments of the door were scattered in the hallway outside the Hive Progenitors Nest.

Upon entering the chamber, Lairay was stunned, the chamber was huge, it was like a stadium.

Most of the space was occupied by nodes and supported by thick columns, but upon careful observation, it was a mess, liquids from the nexus nodes made pools of them, and other damaged nodes were found, all the nodes from small to largest encircles the center which was a raised round stage. 

Aether said, “The stage was where the Hive Progenitor would stand and get connected with the whole hive, particularly with the Nexus Nodes which would extend the Hive Progenitor’s domain and dominion over the hive.

 Right now you can’t do it. The nodes are broken and the connections throughout the hive seem to have been damaged by the enemies.”

Lairay understood he walked around, avoiding the stage.

All of the nodes if not damaged, died, due to the connections having to be torn apart from other nodes, and perished from lack of nutrients.

Going around the stage, there was a huge door similar to the chamber he came from, but this was big.

The door was open.

At the door, there were a lot of corpses, both inside and outside of the chamber. They are the warrior drones holding back the last line, though they were heavily armored, it didn’t stop their enemies’ attacks. It was as if their enemies were able to discern how to cut and pierce their armor as if they were butter.

This is the door heading toward the exit of the cave where the enemy entered.

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The Hive Progenitor retreated as deep as he could when the defense line outside the cave fell.

Most of the drones on the ground are equipped with swords, spears, and shields, they must have fought valiantly for their nest.

Only their bodies were found. No sign of the enemy, however, except for the yellow blood which supposedly originated from the drone’s body, was the blood of another color, different from the drone’s, this blood was blue and of the same color as each other, but no sign of the bodies where they apparently originated.

Lairay speculated that the enemy must have gathered their fallen comrades when they retreated.

Compared to the deepest of the hive’s caves, where supposedly unarmed drones unfit to fight and a few warriors defending the last chambers where the Hive Progenitor and a few important drones should have escaped, this scene should not be compared there.

A few moments after observing, Aether directed Lairay to the door on the other side of the chambers where a new hallway should lead to the nursery of the hive.

Lairay was relieved that there were no young drones inside, they were empty.

“The Hive Progenitor took them with him when he retreated in case he was able to survive with the remaining drones,” Aether said. 

Lairay didn’t respond, for him, it was enough that there were no young drones left behind.

This hive collective* may be alien to him, but when knowing the ins and outs of this hive. He understood that they were also trying to live life, if not survive in this world.

They were like the human society on Earth but on another level.

After searching the ransacked chambers, Lairay was able to obtain fitting clothes and sandals, surprisingly and unbelievably, it is also black and the white garment used as a belt just added to it.

Lairay paused for a moment and couldn’t help to complain internally in his head to Aether for having the same color of tunics in the hive, he accepted partially because they were cool but still, all black?

Aether reasoned, that the sheep that the hive farms to collect the wool from, were all black, and white sheep are rare in the land, the hive only recently tried to change the color, and the result was the purple garment Lairay is now wearing, which was produced either from plants, insects, and some sea creatures that live on the rocky areas and shallow waters. After that, the invaders came and the process of changing to other colors stopped.

Lairay understood and quietly cursed the invaders.

After wearing the tunic and the sandals, he changed his belt to white because it was small and fit his body perfectly, then he went back to the nest and went out the front door. Different from the two doors he came from.

“Beyond this door is a complex system, and hallways will lead to dead ends, this section of the hive is where the majority of our chambers are located, storage, blacksmith, refinery, kitchen, dining, and empty rooms where drones will rest when on standby, etc. I won’t dismiss your thought that this is a maze, for someone to enter our hive uninvited they would be lost in the hallways and that is the hive’s intention.” Aether said.

Lairay then had a thought when he heard him about preventing someone from easily reaching the nest.

While walking toward the direction Aether told him to go for them to reach the exit. Lairay asked Aether.

“Aether, which species have the hive been able to make contact with? Have you met anyone that looks similar to me?” Lairay asked Aether in his head.

“Except for the animals the hive farms, hunts, and other wild animals, there has been no contact with anyone the hive could communicate with its level, or someone that looks similar to you,” Aether replied.

“This land we are in is surrounded by water too salty to drink and other lands far away were seen from the top of the mountain in the west, no one except for the birds was seen entering this land and we never dared to cross the harsh waters.

I also speculate that this is the largest land we have seen so far.” Aether added.

After navigating the numerous chambers, haunted hallways, the corpses of warrior drones, and the chaotic mess inside the hive. 

A chamber consisting of a few staircases was heading below. A light forming a shape from the form of the door can be seen from the top, entering from another room.

Both of the doors were forcefully destroyed and fell inward. 

Cracks and broken parts of the door can be seen from the top when they fall on the ground.

The beating and pressure the enemy used to open the doors made them collapse.

Only the arc which has allowed the light to enter remained and took its shape.

After Lairay reaches the bottom of the staircases, the source of the light can be seen coming from another broken door.

This time it should be the outside world.

As Lairay was walking toward the door, the dust could be seen floating around the light.

Drifting in and out as if playing with it.

Lairay didn’t let them bother him and continued walking while focusing on the source of the light from another chamber.

As soon as Lairay is able to traverse the ark, from which the two mighty doors stood, he finally reaches the last chamber and the entrance to the hive, unlike the Progenitor’s Nest, this chamber is also big and elongated inward.

Just after admiring the vastness of this chamber, he was unimpressed, compared to the Progenitor’s Nest, this was a bit small, but the length, he admits, if there were paintings on the ceiling, he would think he is entering a museum.

When his eyes adjusted from the light coming outside.

He was aghast.

This chamber is full of bodies of warrior drones lying on the ground. Unlike the others inside, this showed a fierce fight of a group of people fighting a beast.

Traces of blood can be seen on the ground, walls, and even some on the ceiling.

Bodies were thrown around the chamber. Their armor was no different from the others inside the cave.

Still, there was no body belonging to their enemies.

But not all were in vain, traces of blood from the enemy can be seen as well, and the suffering was not one-sided. 

It can be said that the blood from their side was more, than the blood originating from the hive’s side. 

Lairay was unable to move when he saw this scene.

Surprisingly, the drones’ corpses’ were also preserved despite being close to the exit. It seemed that the outside world did not dare enter this sacred place.

He is in a state of shock, his emotions which he had bottled up ever since he saw the corpses in front of his chamber, overflowed.

For him this was unbearable.

They may be of the previous Hive Progenitor’s drones, but for him, he still felt that it was also his.

Despite this, he never cried, but his emotions made him unable to move, staring at the corpses around him.

He didn’t know what to do in this situation.

Aether was not spared, this was his first time witnessing another being mourning someone else’s death.

For Aether, this is also painful, for the entire lifespan of his consciousness, he was the only one to ever mourn his drones, feeling Lairay’s state was his first time seeing it from this perspective, he understood what caused this, but was curious in the end.

Aether didn’t completely feel what Lairay was feeling, except for knowing the pain was there in Lairay’s head.

The portion of consciousness he received from the former Hive Progenitor was not enough, but enough to be able to hold himself.

In a Hive Mind, whenever a drone dies, the entire hive will mourn this drone and be given a proper burial.

When the drone’s brain completely dies, the Balmoral Organ sitting on top of the drone’s brain should be the last to perish, this will tear apart the strand or connection of the drone and send a huge ripple throughout the Mind.

(Author’s note: If you want to know more about the ‘Balmoral Organ’ you can look it up in the Auxiliary Chapter – The Hive World Compendium.)

A huge wave that will disrupt the Hive Progenitor’s consciousness giving him a sense of pain — a headache. The pain could be described as being hammered with a nail.

But in this invasion. Just imagining the pain that could affect the Hive Progenitor was immense, words are not enough to describe the pain.

This wave was like a tsunami for the Hive Mind, informing them that a drone had passed away.

After a few moments of silence, Aether finally broke the ice.

“We can mourn them later and give them a proper burial, the exit is right in front of us, we should ensure our safety first then decide our next course of action, their fate rests on your shoulders,” Aether said in a comforting voice.

Lairay slowly calmed down and nodded but never replied.

Instead, he slowly walked toward the destroyed entrance while avoiding the corpses of the fallen drones.

While Lairay is getting close to the huge doorway, the light brightens.

His eyes couldn’t adjust in time, the light was blinding so he covered his eyes.

As soon as he stepped into the middle of the doorway, his eyes were able to adjust to the light, and the first thing he saw was the soil.

After slowly removing his hand from his face. He was amazed.

A few distances away from the hive were a few trees encircling the cave’s entrance.

The grass avoided the entrance but covered the whole field.

A wall of huge rocks encircling the entrance can be seen just after the few trees. They were separated from each other a meter apart.

It seemed to act as a divider from the territory of the hive to the outside world while still allowing other animals to enter. Beyond the walls, just a few distances apart was a forest, encircling the cave.

Lairay was amazed when he saw this view. He stepped out of the cave and felt the warm touch of the sun.

What he felt earlier was slowly being replaced by the breathtaking view of this place.

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