“All-father, what brings you here today?” Omega asked as I appeared in the large chamber. It was heavily renovated from the last time I was here. Organic matter lined the wall, and spores rained from the ceiling in a constant drizzle. Crude houses made of flesh were erected all around the rest of the cave. Corrupted Orcs stood at various areas; many were still as a statue as they watched the area.
I looked over the room before I settled on the sight of the Hive Father here. However, instead of the large one-eyed monstrosity, it once was a being that looked much like my host form. It sat on a throne made of flesh that gleamed from the light sources that were installed all around the cave. Its hair was long and wavy and had a light green hue coming from it. Its face was pale with green undertones. It wore tentacles protectively around itself and stitching of tanned orc skin as clothing.
I had to stare at Omega for a moment as I tried to empty my mind. Is this how Malek felt when it comes to humanity and their worship. I coughed and cleared my throat. “Yes, uh, I actually swung by because I wanted to bring one of you with me. I am visiting other worlds, and I figured this would be a good opportunity to help expand your knowledge.”
Omega sat forward on its throne. The flesh emitted a soft wet sound as it was shifted. “So the All-Father demands a sacrifice.”
“No, no sacrifice is needed. Just a single life form to take with me; I can’t risk anyone knowing about you guys. Lest I invite destruction on myself.” That much was true. If anyone knew these beings existed, they would certainly try and kill me for the template.
Omega sat back and stared at me for a moment. “ I understand. We will welcome any form of knowledge we can get. The Orcs, while strong, lack intelligence. Thankfully we have subdued two other hive minds and brought them into the fold and have increased our intelligence exponentially.” I felt a pulse through the Hive Mind connection and took a second to really ponder on it. The voices seemed clearer. Last time I only really felt emotion and could see pictures and images. Now I heard full sentences and more life than the last time I was here. Everything I heard seemed to have individuality yet worked together as a whole.
I saw movement behind Omega, and then two large Ancient Ones appeared. One was a tall, lanky mass of green flesh. Its legs were long and easily passed four feet in length. Its upper body was stretched and pulsed in tandem with a heartbeat. Its arms were just as long and were thin with deadly claws at the end of it. Its skin was covered in a thin layer of mucus that clung to its flesh and made soft squishing noises with each movement. Instead of ahead, though, it had eyes that adored its body in separate areas that all blunk asynchronous of each other.
The next one was a large ball of matte brown flesh that had tentacles used as legs and a single large milky white eye that looked at me. “All-father, it is a pleasure to meet you finally. My name is Hive Lord Sigma.” The tall one crossed its long arm over its chest and gave some facsimile of a bow towards me.
“Likewise. My name is Hive Lord Theron.” The walking ball of flesh waved its tentacles in turn.
“Well, it's nice to meet you two as well. I am glad to see that the Hive is expanding.” It truly was. The last time I was here, Omega was struggling to keep everything together. I am glad to see that the leaders have turned their bodies into smaller representations of themselves; it would make dealing with them much easier.
A wall of flesh expanded from the ceiling and condensed down to form a pair of thrones for the other two Hive leaders to sit on. “So, about that. What did you have in mind? Did you want a smaller drone or something that contains more power?” Omega's deep voice boomed in my head as he asked his question.
I crossed my arms and thought it over for a moment. “I need something stronger than a drone. Where I am going, I need something that has more power. There is no telling what dangers it may face.”
The three Hive Lords conversed amongst themselves for a moment before Omega turned to face me again. “We will give you the stem cells to a special variant. Once it molds to you, it will access your network so that it won’t become feral.” Omega’s echoed in my head.
A mass of flesh fell from the ceiling, and the Hive Lords focused on it. I felt a flurry of activity through the Hivemind connection, and the mass of flesh jiggled and started to transform. It shrunk and imploded on itself, forming a small cube that sat no larger than my fist. Omega pushed itself off of the throne, which was filled by a weird suction sound. Its gait was long and jerky as if it was a machine that was still learning how to walk.
It approached the cube and went to a knee and collected it before offering it up to me. I still hated being treated like this, but I will live with it, for now, I suppose. I accepted the cube of flesh, and a string of notifications appeared.
|You have received stem cells from an unknown variant from Hive King Omega. Would you like to accept it into your own hive network?|
Ah, so he was a hive king. That would make sense, I suppose. I accepted it, and more notifications bombarded me.
Would you like to create a specimen?
I dismissed the notification and placed the cube in my inventory. “Thank you for your time, Omega. I appreciate it. Once I gather the knowledge, I will return this specimen to you.”
“No, that isn’t necessary, Father. That Variant is a part of your Hive now. There can be no greater honor.” Oh boy. More cult activities to contend with. I let out a mental sigh and nodded.
“I will be on my way then. Thank you once again, Omega.” I smiled at him and teleported to the Organic Assembly Room. Since I had this, I might as well craft a perfect specimen out of it. I was going against some of the heaviest hitters in my guild, so I might as well pull all the stops I can.
I walked over to the machine, pulled the cube from my inventory, and placed it on the platform underneath before returning to my chair.
|Stem Cells detected from race designation Ancient Ones. Connection confirmed to the Administrator. The change will be free of cost. Would you like to begin?|
I clicked yes, and the familiar screen appeared before me. This time, the cube sat in the middle of the screen and a number related to the cube's biomass. On a corner of the screen was a list of traits that I could choose from to give to the variant, which would cost biomass to create.
The design itself would also cost biomass as well. So I should stick to something small and nimble and put points into maximum survivability and damage? I looked through the templates I had and thought over my choices. But what do I want to make this variant based around? So many choices.
This time I will design it around a female drow mostly since females were the dominant gender in their society. I also needed more species representation on my planets, even if this variant wasn’t quite a specific species. I brought the template from the drow over to the background and started to mold it to around four feet in height, which consumed a fair portion of the biomass that I had. I then started to work on all of the smaller details afterward.
I crafted a soft wave of hair that came down to her shoulders. However, I could not change the color of the hair from the soft green that permeated it. I kept a soft facial structure, brought the body into proportion, and clothed her in some decent clothing to protect against the elements. I also added a small cloak for her to wear when she needs it. I made the eyes a soft grey and gave her a button nose. I sculpted her face into a heart shape and reduced the prominent chin that came with the Drow species. Her skin was a little lighter than the other drow, yet there were faint green undertones that could be detected if you looked hard enough. I looked it over once more and confirmed it before I went to the traits sections.
Listed on the corner were hundreds of traits that I could choose from to add to the variant, along with ones I could remove if I needed to. Let's see here, I quickly scrolled through the list and decided to remove spore production. I didn’t feel like creating a hive everywhere we walked. That and I wanted to keep knowledge of the Ancient Ones limited, at least for the time being.
Increased stamina regeneration
Increased health regeneration
These were the remaining traits left on this variant. Removing spore production increased my depleted biomass stores. Now let's cycle through the list and see what I wanted to add-in.
After what felt like ages of cycling through traits, I finally managed to find all the ones that seemed to fit.
Bodily weapons 1
Bodily weapons 2
Bodily weapons 3
Bodily weapons 4
Resilience to physical damage
Resilience to Arance damage
Resilience to Mental damage
That was all the traits I managed to get before I ran out of biomass to use. I looked it over once more and confirmed it, and a final screen popped up.
|Would you like to name your first hive born?|
More like the only hive born. I took away the ability to reproduce, so only this one will exist. If I need more, I will get the resources from Omega. But what would a good name be? I looked over the drow, and a name came to mind. Chloe. It was a cute little name, and it seemed like it would fit her. I typed it in and confirmed the choice, and the machine whirled to life a split second later. While I watched the machine come to life, an idea came to mind. What if I infused creation mana with the stem cells while they were forming?
I opened up my interface and moved some creation points from everyone's budget and transformed it into pure mana, and sent it to the stem cells as they were starting to form. The mana infused itself with the cells since I sent it without any real purpose, causing them to shine with a golden hue as they started to form and shape that foundation of the future body. Now it was just time to sit back and wait.
Once the body formed, Chloe looked up at me, and I felt a probe in my thoughts. Shit, I forgot that the species shares intelligence. I quickly sectioned off major parts of my memory that weren’t relevant to her immediate growth. I didn’t want her to learn about anything that could boost the species up to the industrial revolution. Granted, there was a lot I could have learned on earth if I had taken the time to pay attention in class, but I was afraid anything could boost them, and I was not ready to fight anyone far stronger than me just yet.
I left simple things unblocked like language, and etiquette that I knew for her, so she could quickly learn how to speak and act. While she was doing that, I opened up the next set of notifications that appeared on my menu.
Hive God: Congratulations, as a deity of the Ancient Ones, you have made your first hive. With this title, you can bestow skills or other titles to the hirelings you create.
Creator of the Divine: You have infused creation mana with a lifeform, bringing it to a divine level. This title serves no real purpose.
Well, that was something I suppose. I looked over the titles I could bestow upon my having if I decided I wanted to do something like that.
Divine Praetorian: The pinnacle of what a Praetorian strives to be. While a Praetorian strives to protect the hive leader with its life, it is still only mortal. The Divine Praetorian is granted immortality and strength to help it protect its hive god. Only one may be alive at any given time. The rest that are born can only receive the title of Royal Praetorian.
Royal Praetorian: A guard to only the highest levels of the Hive. Takes a significant amount of Biomass to be created. Is stronger and faster than the other variants of its kind.
Praetorian: A guard to a Hive Leader. It is stronger than the rest of its hive, excluding that of the Hive father, and can act as a focal point of the other Ancient Ones.
Hive King: An Ancient One has combined multiple Hive Lords and assimilated them into its hive network. It is a focal point of the entire hive, and killing one will cause disarray unless other Hive Lords or Fathers are present.
Hive Lord: An Ancient one that has defeated another Hive father and assimilated it into its hive. Acts as a focal point for its hive.
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Well, that was a lot to take in. However, I don’t feel like dealing with more of them for now, so I passed the title of Divine Praetorian to Chloe and confirmed my choice. I will look through the rest later when I have time.
I felt the mental probe come to an end, and Chloe opened her mouth to speak. “F..father” Her words were jumbled and sounded horse. Which was to be expected since this was her time actually speaking.
“Call me Kairos, please enough people call me Father already,” I replied in kind and oversaw her.
She tilted her head and sounded the words out carefully. “Kairos.”
“Yes, Kairos,” I replied to her kindly like I would a child, trying to encourage her.
“Her eyebrows crunched, and she thought it over. This was going to be an experience; I thought to myself as I observed her.