A Rachni queen remembers, and is preparing for what is to come.
It is rare that I have seen the orange sky of Tral, it has been at least 500 years since my last visit. I don't go to the surface. No need. Everything I have is here, with my attendants. Now though, I feel compelled to move. As I do, I hear the sound of workers, moving from place to place. It feels strangely empty despite the commotion.
Things aren't in harmony but my antennae twitch with anticipation; something is tugging at my mind, a voice other than one of my attendants, other than the background chatter of the workers. It is drawing me upwards away from the comfort of my lair. My legs move slowly, my right back tarsus and swollen abdomen drag along the ground. It's been a while since I moved.
The journey takes time, past the nursery, past the machinery of the upper tiers, past the learned workers of the 3rd tier, the soldiers and brood warriors of the 2nd tier. I reach the final tier and watch as the ships worker mechanics move deftly to repair, refuel, reload. There is so much movement; it is nothing but a blur. Even the songs are absent. I hear, it is not a sound that permeates my carapace but a shrill urgency dominating all my senses. Where is the surface?
It is two thousand years later; I am but an egg but I sense a shadow. It is like our ships, but it is different, it looks like one of us made metal, able to fly. It sings to me. I shiver with pleasure. It makes me remember all that has come before, our home world and our extinction, and I weep at the memory. Yet you live, the voice says. I plead, please show me the way. Where is the surface?
I am transferred, no longer on Tral, nor have I returned to my lair. I am surrounded by glass, I feel nauseous and yet there is still the tugging at my mind, this time there is no pleasure, no song to reverberate through my body, all my senses are screaming. My workers and attendants do my bidding but it is not my bidding, there is distance and I cannot sing to them, they will be afraid. Alien voices are speaking. They are like no other voice I have heard before. An asari is here as well and I feel the heat of pain when I resist the urge to listen, when I shriek no, and when I cry. I relent to the shadow, for it has returned. There is noise and light and later there are more alien voices, krogan and the new ones whose race I do not know, I feel confusion. Fear constricts my spiracles, I cannot breathe and I feel all six of my legs will collapse. Where is the surface?
The light and noise cease and the tugging at my mind is gone. I am shaken, my attendants are gone and I am alone. One alien voice speaks, from the race I do not recognise, it questions me. Unlike the others though it is calm, peaceful, I have no more pain. I say that I do not know of the wars, I have the song of my mothers in my mind but I am new from the egg. I beg the alien to release me and that I and my future progeny will do no harm. There are angry voices, the krogan, another from the kind race also, but more like the others who came before. My fear rises again, but when my senses remain free from further assault I realise that my mind is my own. The kind race one is compassionate and liberates me. I flee. Where is the surface?
I am no longer on Tral, but another world. Under my feet as I move through the hive I feel the hum of the soldiers and warriors, of the mechanic workers now building new ships. The nursery is full of new eggs and young. The learned workers of the 3rd tier are preparing us for battle, teaching us how to withstand the voice. We have despatched the emissary to the kind ones, they must know what we plan and know that our song is not sullied. I hear, see, smell, feel and taste everything, my mind unburdened. I sing for all, for my children, and for the aliens, so that their senses shall never be dulled by the voice of another. The sun beats down on me and I am warm. I have reached the surface.