The History of the Antiens and Antae




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A Study of Hive Races:

The Antae.
Once upon a time
On the edge of the galaxy, threatening to spin out of control was a huge planet. Many times the size of earth, it even dwarfed the earth’s sun. Its gravity was weak so it threatened to spin off wildly out of the galaxy at any time. The planet had an atmosphere and was warmed by a nearby sun; if it wasn’t for a dense gravity well, the story of the Antiens and Antae would have been woefully short. As it was, this complex relationship of one planet, a sun and a gravity well proved a potent recipe for a life form that would have been impossible on Earth. You see, the Antiens and Antae are insects, not the little kind you and I are used to but fully grown, larger than your average human kind of insect. Sure, we’ve seen movies of this kind of thing, but any scientist knows that exoskeletons like that just aren’t possible on Earth. Gravity would crush them; their joints would scrape together and crumple under the strain. These ant-like races actually sprang from the same primordial ooze. This is the story of how they evolved separately and how they became reunited.

Rise of the Antae
Long ago, this planet, being in a unique position to surprisingly maintain an atmosphere, attracted the attention of a highly curious and technological race, the Rikti. Even so, it was many years before they could access the planet’s surface, its position being what it was. There, they discovered the Antae. Little more than tiny insects then, the Antae were actually given the name by the Rikti. Along with the Antae, the Rikti took larger mammals and other life forms that had qualities or traits they found useful, but this story is not about them. The Rikti were and are a highly scientific race, not at all afraid of genetically manipulating themselves. After study, they saw great potential in the Antae and manipulated Antaean DNA to increase the rate of their evolution. What should have taken millions of years, took thousands instead. In just a few Rikti lifetimes came the Antae very much like you see before you. The Antae have not been idle during this time. The Rikti visited many planets while the Antae evolved. Sometimes, Antae escaped, like insects do and populated those worlds. It is interesting to note that if the Rikti ever practiced colonization rather than domination, they may have realized the threat that was growing. For, when they felt the Antae were evolved enough to take what they wanted from them for their own genetic makeup, they exterminated the Antae specimens. Since the Rikti lived largely on their ships and rarely on planets any longer, the surviving Antae were left behind, undiscovered.
By virtue of enhanced genetics and evolution, the Antae were able to grow to a remarkable size despite planets with much stronger gravity. Their growth acceleration peaked at a point that placed them at roughly human size which seems to be the galactic norm for most dominant planetary species. Their captive evolution spent surrounded by technology ingrained that aptitude into them.
The Rikti gave the Antae a remarkable gift that spurred their social advancement. They gave them Eyes. That single gift was perhaps the most important one that made the Antae such a threat to the Rikti today. You see, the Antae, much unlike ants, originally had no eyes. They communicated by pheromones and vibrations. Eyes made them need to process more information, this created larger brains and that gave rise to thought. So, they began to think. They developed a language so they could share those thoughts, then their forelegs developed segmented sections and they began to walk upright to see more of the world. After they learned to manipulate hand held tools, they wrote. A heavily modified instinct for technology paved the way for greater development. The most advanced Antae rose from one world in particular that was rich in silica and metals. It was a world that the Rikti spent quite a long time on to mine. It was in this world that the Rikti left a single forgotten ship. Once the Antae were advanced enough to understand the technology aboard, their technology grew at an alarming pace.
With the continued growth of their species came the revolution of a technological age. Advancements in fertility understanding allowed researchers to crossbreed multiple traits, creating specialized castes. A more advanced brain led to greater individualism allowing even the lowest drone to rise in status. With a revitalized social structure came new types of colony personalities, which gave individual members a great amount of free will. These advancements allowed for workers to achieve great things for their colony, and to realize that their achievements meant something.
Soon, the “Hive Mind” began to be a shrinking concept and Hive Queens sensed their diminishing hold on their colonies. Since identifying female eggs was no longer a problem, the Queens were able to control the growth of new colonies as they saw fit without surrendering to natural selection. Queens destroyed female eggs by the thousands before the eggs even became a threat. Adopting this new tactic smartly put the Queens back in control.
With few new Queens taking up command in new colonies, a large amount of stability was brought into the hives. With many of these Hive Queens serving the Elder Queen, there was a general sense of accomplishment for workers, and expansion proceeded.

The Fall
After the Age of Technology, the Age of the Queen began. Now, in full control of their Hives once again and having set edicts in place for controlled growth of new colonies, the Queens began exerting terrible pressure on their colony members to conform or be destroyed. Soon, society began to crumble as malcontents split from their hives. Many rogue factions developed and several million Antae fled their oppressive Queens in disgust and wrath. Not in the least discouraged, the Queens began to take steps much like the Rikti, demanding genetic manipulation of new eggs to create more drones that would follow their commands more readily. Outraged, many Antae banded together to fight the manipulative Queens. Riots led to skirmishes, skirmishes to wars. Three large factions developed, none of them controlled by Queens. The three factions held wildly different beliefs. The militant faction Shadow Warriors felt that Queens should be enslaved and forced to do as the Hive demanded for a change. After centuries of servitude, they felt justified. The Ancients felt that the Antae should return to the old ways but do so in a civilized fashion. They did little more than hide out or meet in secret to shake their heads about hive life. The Green Water Brood felt that the Rikti were to blame and they would one day return and kill them all, if they hadn’t managed to kill themselves in the meantime. This last faction saw a greater purpose in Unity and was the least threatening to hive life and the Queens themselves.
Earth’s World Wars only lasted a few years. The internal wars of the Antae lasted thousands. Great weapons were developed; great ships were built and great numbers of Antaeans fled the destructive wrath of their own race. The Antae of this scarred world ventured out into the sea of stars, fighting each other all they way. Soon they encountered other Antaean colonies and those too joined the wars drawn to the philosophy of one faction or another. It was then that the Antae began to experiment on themselves, adding metal and machine to flesh to enhance their abilities, augmenting and enhancing what nature was proving too slow to do. Antaean physiology proved remarkably adaptable to technological grafting which is exactly what the Rikti saw in them centuries ago. Mutations ran rampant as more and more Antae experimented with their genetic structure. So like the Rikti, the Antae became. So like the beings they despised. Hate, arrogance and intolerance became strong traits of the Antae, though not all Hives shared those traits in common. Peaceful hives existed, but they often fled to lonely, distant planets or hid away beneath the soil, maintaining stronger ties to nature.
Even so, Antae progression came to a stand still as one hive exterminated another, undermined by the Shadow Warriors, Ancients and Green Pool Brood. The Antae almost wiped themselves out. For millennia, nothing changed.
What ensured their survival was a strong genetic memory. Their genetic memory wasn’t just on an unconscious level like humans, but a clear knowledge. They even retained memories of strong singular events in many of their ancestor’s lives. Antae instinctively hated the Rikti whose cold experiments, dissection and manipulation were heavily imprinted in them. No memory of the Rikti was ever a good one. This affected the Antae for a lasting time and perhaps it was that fear that drove them toward hostility. Eventually, the Antae fused so much of their flesh to metal that their genetic memories dimmed and that fear subsided. Even the memory of the Rikti began to fade over the centuries, only words and pictures in historical data left to remind them. The Rikti have never been seen again.

The Antien
In the beginning…
The Antiens were much like earth ants. Two important differences set them apart. They were not only blind, they had no eyes at all and the fact that females were very rare. Females were always Queens and they never lost their wings. Antien colonies lived and died by their Queens. A Queen was the only Antien that could lay eggs and the only Antien that had wings. Their lives were much like any insect on earth, a brutal bid for survival from the moment they are born fighting elements and predators alike. One thing in particular set the Antiens above many other life forms on their planet; they already had a strong genetic memory. This genetic memory allowed them to learn quickly and avoid many mistakes their predecessors made. Every Antien that died contributed information that following generations built upon. They learned the best places to build safe colonies, the best way to avoid or destroy predators and the most efficient food sources. Genetic memory also affected their evolution as newer generations were born larger, stronger and more heavily armored or protected by more and more potent biological defenses.
Eventually, the eyeless Antiens developed greater telepathic powers and communication began to be more complex. Instead of projecting a smooth thrumming vibration and a certain pheromone for a good food source, for example, they communicated type of food, amount of supply and nearby risks. Over ages, they even began to interpret their environment through a highly developed kind of telepathic radar augmented by a strong sense of smell and sonic sensory by virtue of incredible antennae. They remained unable to see the normal light spectrum. Their evolution included greater gifts than sight. They gained a higher sensitivity to other forms of life on a psychic scale and fostered a greater appreciation for the balance of nature so that they took care to avoid disrupting certain harmonic vibrations. In time, they learned to identify each other by a complex “signature” of pheromones and psionic vibration variants. At last, the Antiens began to recognize individuality. Rather than seek individual gains, they remained content to know of their existence and to improve the life of the colony overall. The Antiens quietly transformed from mindless insects to self aware beings and without even realizing it, they too gave birth to an Age. They slipped into an Age of Communion.
They did not remember the Rikti for they were little more than mindless insects at the time. They had no need for technology. They lived and evolved above and below ground, growing slowly in size as they grew more plentiful and overcame more of their predators.
Do not assume they were a peaceful race. Antiens have always had a troubled history. Hives had a population limit; it was part of their genetics. The amount of influence a Queen could maintain depended largely on her health. Chemically speaking, a larger Queen could control more Antiens and therefore, exert a greater influence over her environment. When she laid eggs, workers took them away and carefully tended them in cells. When the pupae emerged, they were soon maintaining the Hive as actively as any adult. If the egg hatched into a rare female, then there was trouble. Females were always Queens and always winged. When a Queen of a Hive felt the psychic presence of another female, she became hostile and attempted to kill the female. Workers became confused and some tried to carry the female to safety, fleeing the Hive. Other drones attacked the fleeing workers. Some joined the fleeing Queen in the fight, others fought to maintain order and some simply became enraged and attacked everything within sight. This disharmony spread like wildfire and soon the entire Hive was thrown into chaos.
A biting, stinging colony of several hundred thousand enraged Antiens was fearsome to behold. When they were just tiny insects, it was horrifying, imagine them as they are present day! This instinct held true for most of their evolution, even as they began to walk upright.
For the next 1500 years. The Antiens grew in both the size of their colony, and the strength of their beliefs. Growing mentally and physically stronger, they began to overcome their predators more and more. They began to have several mutations among their race, these mutations were actually fostered and encouraged for as they evolved, they brought a greater strength to the Hive. These mutants were not sickly specimens and they filled missing gaps in advanced Antien society. They formed entirely new castes.
Eventually, the Antiens found themselves at the top of the food chain. During this age, the most remarkable thing happened. Queens began to communicate with each other. While they were still extremely jealous and killed any emerging potential Queens within their hives, established Queens recognized that cooperation would benefit all colonies. Helping them remain strong during times of difficulties, as they could share advancements in science and increase their survivability. When these enlightened colonies matured, many changes to their structure and system occurred.

Rise of the Antien
This brings us to the Age of Change. While Hive structure remained intact, the Antiens themselves did not. Thousands of years of fighting larger or deadlier predators forced them to develop strong toxins and armors just to survive. Chemical changes within the Antiens opened entirely new ways to protect their Hives. Greater telepathic abilities encouraged the growth of their minds and with this greater understanding of life, they began to study science. They made great discoveries in chemistry and biology, all the while storing this information genetically so each new generation knew what the previous generation had already learned. All the while, they encouraged growth and life and attuned themselves to the harmony of the world without delving into artificial experiments or creating artificial tools or environments. They learned naturally. Hundreds of centuries passed and their genetic memory neared its limits. They learned to structure their learning, to divide into specific Antien castes that devoted themselves to specialized roles. They developed biological pools that stored vast amounts of genetic memory, like data banks that were easily accessible by any Antien regardless of its caste. Crystals were grown to serve as more permanent but limited stores of knowledge. As centuries passed within this age, their planet slowly spun closer and closer to its gravity well. As the Antiens became heavier, they became stronger and over generations, their exoskeletons slowly adapted to the change so that eventually they had the strength to walk on a planet such as Earth. It was only when the planet itself began to change with the growing stress that the Antiens began to look beyond Hive life. It was only then that they began to look beyond the sky.

Reunited at last
In the coming Age of Wings, Antien society began to settle into an established way of life. Queens still killed females that emerged, but it was an accepted tradition of life and it became a celebrated sport. Rules were developed and boundaries established. Any “teams” that escaped with a living Queen were free to establish a new colony with full support of the Hive network. Queens that proved to be sterile were accepted back into the Hive, but her supporters were not.
Some few males were born with wings now and this specialized Antien was held in high regard and selected to serve his Queen in honored roles. Antien science became far more advanced in chemistry and biology than even the Rikti. Without a single tool they had conquered their home and established a society devoid of crime. Control of their internal energy was so complete that they could produce astonishing displays of electrical bursts, acidic sprays or toxic fumes, even telepathic bursts to confuse, knock out or even destroy an enemy. With winged Antiens exploring greater areas, they fought for more territory, facing savage beasts and fearsome winged predators previously unknown. In the age of wings, they conquered the skies. As luck would have it, it was within this age that they were reunited with the Antae. When a Queen picked up a distant, almost familiar “signature”, a nearby Foci Threen was sent to investigate. Even as Antae from the Green Water Brood landed, the entire society of Antiens became aware of their existence.

~Antien Swarm Drone

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