Nothing can conquer the indestructible, except a little heart....
No one noticed.
Winters had been growing milder and shorter for decades, until the ice and the snow thinned into a cloudy and cool damp drizzle.
No one noticed that the summer season commenced earlier in the year, grew hotter at its peak, and lasted longer than the year before, pushing spring and autumn into smaller spans, until now, they were only 23 days in duration and shrinking.
No one noticed that fruits and vegetables were no longer “seasonal”, growing year-round in warm climates around the world.
No one noticed that the insects, reptiles and animals were becoming larger each year, feasting on the abundance of flora and fauna that now thrived in every habitat.
No one noticed when the interbreeding started. Species that had evolved over millions of years had dissolved into a “loosely “defined class and order.
Mammals mated with reptiles. Mutations occurred over time. Hybrids developed and spawned. Warm- and cold-blooded animals merged into one. Fish became amphibious possessing both lungs and gills, fins and feet. Snakes grew as large as trains. Soon, the animals became smarter and stronger, proactive in attacking and overpowering the smaller and weaker creatures. It was inevitable that the humans and half humans would be next on the list of prey .
No one noticed as civilization dissolved into a massive breeding ground, one generation of hybrid human mutants devolving into the next. Humans realized too late that they had defiled the very essence of what made them human, of what made them superior to all other species on earth. The Humans lost their grasp on the reign on planet earth. Their selfishness had turned society into slavery.
Survival was now predicated on the entire earth and its inhabitants working towards the benefit of a whole.
And that was when the Queen noticed.
The Queen was the last in the formidable line of hybrid royalty. She was descended from the scientific geniuses at the Love Laboratory. She was the product of extremely intelligent humans, who had deliberately isolated the dominant traits of each species. She had been carefully and purposefully created to combine the best qualities and retain the human conscious mind. She was intelligent, filled with the infinite knowledge of superior beings . She was strong and agressive , her blood infused with additional male hormones from birth to adulthood. She had been created to survive the destruction and rebuild the world. Her time had come.
The Queen was in the tower of the Love Laboratory building when she glanced out to watch a parade of massive ants walk through the barren land below. Each ant was three feet long and two feet high. They walked in straight lines, purposeful and driven. From up here they look like dogs she thought. Then she smiled, they might be dangerous, if they only had a brain. They had remained foragers, without a queen to guide them or command them or spawn them. She had seen to that. They served her now.
The Queen had eliminated all other queens from the insect world. Afterwards, she had eliminated all the “leaders of the pack”. No more rams. No more stags. No more wolves.
The male lions were the last to go, out of respect for the former “king” of the jungle. There was no room for kings.
The new world was hers and hers alone .
The Queen had a female torso. On human hand on her right slender arm, one scorpion pincer on the left. She wore a heart shaped pendant around her neck. The heart was a remainder of Love Laboratory, her creators. Her lower body had eight legs, encased in a hard exoskeleton. She had a tail with a venomous stinger. The poison projectile could reach a mile and would instantly kill anything in its path. It had been chemically modified to be the most corrosive substance on earth. The Queen was immune to the poison. She was virtually indestructible; she was, however, mortal.
The Love Laboratory still operated under the Queen’s strict control.
The human scientists that had been cloistered for years to create her, had long since died. Their genetic information was frozen and stored for later use and they had been replaced by robots and computers. Each one equipped with the knowledge, notes and information the former scientists had bequeathed to the lab.
On the bottom floors of the building, robotic computer scientists were working at creating an heir for the Queen.
Due to the constant warm tropical climate, the Queen was in a constant birthing cycle, however all her offspring had been scorpions. The parthenogenesis which allowed her to spawn without a male partner was paramount in her creation, however, it appeared that her modified genes were non-replicable.
Once she had given birth to a human girl among the plethora of scorpions that were birthed . The Queen had decided not to eat her but banished her from the tower. The staff at Love Laboratory had named her Abby and kept her in the lower level of the building that had once been an employee cafeteria. The human scientists raised her as combined project, each contributing his or her own specialty of science and knowledge. Each taught her valuable skills and talents that would make her more pleasing to the Queen and more productive to the new world .
They tried to make her life as comfortable as possible, before the earth became an almost constant summer . Before the animals and insects grew to massive sizes and took over the planet . Before humans dissolved into a dwindling, then endangered, then extinct species .
The last human scientist died when Abby was 13 and the robotic computers that replaced them were programmed to care for Abby and ensure that she was educted and fed and healthy . The robots created an efficient schedule to ensure she would be productive and all her needs would be met . They monitored her health and her location. Abby was raised to absorb knowledge, think logically and never venture beyond the two lower floors.
Whenever Abby was brought to the Queen, she trembled in fear. The Queen was over 6 feet tall. Her black exoskeleton was shiny and intimidating. Her human skin was pale; Her eyes were piercing and her voice magnetic.
The Queen always looked at Abby with disdain and said “later for you “, dismissing her back to the lower level.
Every day, Abby placed her wrist in the diagnostics monitor that hung in her bathroom. The machine lit up and beeped to indicate it had performed its function. Temperature, blood pressure , height, weight were recorded.
Today, the machine beeped three times and the monitor became white .
“parthenogenesis “the computer said.
“What?” Abby replied.
“You are pregnant “
A notification from the diagnostics machine was sent directly to the Queen who demanded to know everything that occurred in the lab.
Abby was summoned to the Queen immediately.
The Queen looked at Abby and said “you will produce an heir. It MUST be female. If it is not a clone , neither of you will survive the new world".
Abby endured her pregnancy with fear and dread. The weight of the world literally on her shoulders.
f She went into labor explosively, the pain gripping her like an invisible, internal vise.
Afterwards, Abby could only gasp, “Is it a girl”?
She was covered in sweat, her lips cracked from labor screams, her body still hemorrhaging blood.
She tried to sit up in bed, her legs still strapped in the stirrups hindering her movement.
“IS IT A GIRL?” She desperately repeated louder and with all her strength.
The robotic doctor, continued to mark the charts and make entries into the computer, ignoring her.
“please” she breathed, “please… “
The doctor looked at her and then to one of the two computerized nurses who had remained in the room during the delivery.
The nurse placed the wrapped bundle in Abby’s arms. It was small, sleeping, perfect.
The robotic doctor spoke,
“You know IT is not; and IT never will be “
The nurse removed the bundle from Abby’s arms.
“No,” Abby screamed weakly.
The bundle was delivered upstairs where the Queen was impatiently waiting.
She cut the fabric of the bundle with her pincer hand.
The bottom half of the baby was a white exoskeleton with eight legs.
She had a small fist and a small pincer.
The Queen was stunned, yet extremely pleased. She had been created with a statistical mind and she had known that the odds of this birth, this baby scorpion birth from a human child that itself was an anomaly was in the millionth percentage of occurrence.
Religion, faith and clergy had begun to disappear centuries before the cataclysmic events that destroyed humans occurred. Miracles did not exist.
The Queen smiled and held the clone of herself as gently as she could. She inspected her . The infant's legs had not hardened and become solid yet. She might be unable to walk . Her stinger had not fully developed and was probably empty, the Queen thought.
The baby opened her eyes and looked at the Queen. The baby's eyes were piercing black.
The baby let out a loud cry as if to make her presence known and the heart pendant, that hung around the Queen’s neck , suddenly, began to glow…