The strip lights flash by as I'm wheeled down the labyrinthine corridors. The outward calm of the assembled doctors and nurses betrayed by the furtive glances and raised eyebrows. They know how bad it is, I know how bad it is, but no one has the balls to openly say it.
Rewind Seventy two hours and my day started off the same way it had for the past eighteen months. The alarm went off at 05:30, gently waking me with the dulcet tones of Andy Williams. I know it's the thirty-ninth century but I'm a sucker for classical music. I lay there and pondered what it must have been like having girls to watch go by, until the music faded out and the blinds opened.
Kubttod is a beautiful place, the second sun was just dipping behind the purple mountains as I showered, shaved, and pulled on my chemsuit. After a quick breakfast and a sneaky five minutes on the holosphere I was at my station for 07:00 sharp. Old Sanchez had worked the night shift; we talked shit for a while and he brought me up to speed on the progress report.
He had chewed one hundred and thirty kilometres in the first four hours, not too shabby even if I say so myself, but then he hit a pocket. So he backed up thirty and tried again. Hit another pocket before he even clocked fifty. He backed up again and he got a full sixty before having to stop again.
Three pockets all in one patch? That's unheard of; so Plant stopped production and the scanners came down. Six hours later and the scanning crew are ready to punch each other out; no one likes what they see. Some argue the equipment is going haywire, others say its reading right and are blaming the operators for misunderstanding the data. Only one of them was willing to admit it's wasn't three patches but one colossal one.
He was the first to toss the word "hive" out there, guess he'll go down in history one way or another.
Sanchez clocks out and goes back to his quarters and I take over the waiting around for the scanners to short their shit out. Eventually it is agreed we have one massive pocket, or "hive". Next thing I know they are looking for volunteers to "go and have a look."
No prizes for guessing who got that job.
I don't know how much longer for this life I am but I can tell you this, I'll never forget what I saw down there. They are so much more advanced than we thought. The noise was deafening as they all swarmed towards me, trying to protect the honey we have been plundering for years. After they pulled me out of that hellhole and rushed me here they pulled a bucket full of stingers out of me.
The venom might not be poisonous but I can feel the hive calling for me.