About your Book:
A 12-year-old boy, Jason Anderson , finds himself kidnapped by giant alien wasps in a ship called SpaceHive, from which he wants to free himself by destroying the wasps and saving the world. However, the Black Wasp General Vard wants to stop him from this, and if he’s successful, will cause Jason to experience the end of the Earth as he knows it. Can Jason save Earth or will the vicious General Vard kill humanity and inhabit Earth?
Targeted Age Group: 11-18
Genre: young adult fantasy/sci-fi
The Book Excerpt:
Earth was in danger.
Jealous eyes gazed toward our Sun from a planet called Jive Hive in another star system, black compound eyes that peered without compassion as though we were flies caught on sticky paper ready for the fire.
The first of their suns was setting as blood-orange light spilled into the valley. Three female worker bees, two over seven feet tall and the other not quite five feet, sat under a purple-flowered tree, sorting through various blossoms, while other bees worked nearby.
“We can’t go on like this much longer,” Banter said. “There are too many of us. The hive has to find a new home. The Black Watch wasps, vicious as they are, know what they’re doing. They’ve been scanning the skies for hundreds of years and keeping a check on our population.”
She sat next to her cousins, Zibb and Bipp. They had worked all day collecting pollen for their hive. Now they rested and talked of the Imperative—to colonize. The whole Jive Hive planet was abuzz with the news.
“Yes,” Zibb agreed. “The queen said this one is a plum ripe for the picking and only eight light years away. We’ll be tired from the long sleep when we arrive. It’ll be a brand new adventure for us. A new Jive Hive.”
“Too bad there are beings there.” Banter selected a fresh flower and began culling its nectar.
“Too bad we have to kill them all,” Zibb said. “I’ve heard the new planet’s green and warm. The wasp scouts said that it’s abused by its inhabitants, though.”
“Their fault then and all the more reason to kill them. We must take it while we can.”
Zibb began grooming her cousin. “The migration will be an adventure to be endured before it’s ended. They say the trip will take eight years in suspended animation. Then, on arrival, our poor, wasted bodies must prepare for war.” She sighed.
“Or negotiation,” Banter offered. She picked up another flower.
“Negotiation with General Vard and his black wasps? Never!” Zibb shook her barbs in the air. “The Black Watch wouldn’t allow it. No, SpaceHive will deliver some of us to an early death once we’ve arrived on Earth. The humans are said to be a warlike race. I don’t think they’ll offer to share their planet. And our Black Watch sure won’t share it. Earth will be taken by force and the human survivors used for food for the wasps.”
Banter frowned. “I’ll be sad, Zibb, to leave this haven of flowers, honey and sparkling waters.”
“Me too. But it isn’t a haven for many of our friends to the west, east and north. They’re too crowded. Not enough to eat. Not like us, living close to the palace.”
“Living close to our queen Selera. And she, poor dear, is old and sluggish, and listens too much to that horrible wasp, General Vard.”
“The general says a new queen must travel with us to guide and reign over our species on the new soil.” Zibb glanced at her smaller cousin Bipp. “Well, our old queen’s endurance has seen her through the challenges of many rival daughter queens so far, lying now in tombs of wax with the queen’s spike driven through their bodies.”
To prepare the way, the royal jelly, culled from the milk glands of the nurse bees, would now be fed to the larva, who would then become a new queen.
The nurses often entertained the junior worker bees with a ditty.
Bzzzzz…ZAP! Honor the queen.
Bzzzzz…wake the hungry general.
Bzzzzz…he’s black and full of poison.
Bzzzzz…ZAP! Hear us scream.
The song made everyone uneasy but was a source of amusement to the old nurses. There were other verses too. The bees loved song and dance.
Young Bipp brushed her fuzzy body with a barbed digit. “How will we know when we’re leaving?”
“We won’t, until the general tells us,” Zibb said.
Bipp sighed. “Why can’t we dance like we used to?”
“We all love to dance.” Banter glanced at the hills where the Black Watch lived. “But there’s more serious business now, little Cousin. We’ll dance like nobody’s going to die. But it won’t be the joyful experience it always was for us.”
“What? Killing the people of Earth so we might populate their planet?” Bipp drummed her digits on her bulging yellow abdomen. “That seems like a happy occasion to the general.”
The bees had populated all the available planets in the star system, which lay on the edge of what Earth knew as the Milky Way. Now the Imperative rang out—colonize or perish in your own numbers and material wealth.
“The people of the green planet Earth will die,” Banter said. “Nothing can save them. We have the war machine, SpaceHive and the deadly general. But some of us will die too, Bipp.”
Banter stamped her foot and burst into an ancient nursery rhyme. “Bzzzzz…zap! Honor the old queen. Bzzzzz…zap! Long live the new!”
Bipp shook the gourds while Zibb played a fiddle fashioned from hard red wood and animal gut. Their old father drones built the fires. Their cousins and friends drummed on barrels and animal hides. All danced, whirled, flew and sang in high voices of ancient legends and science.
A drone huddled near a fire. “What legends are those you sing of?”
“Black poison and old science made new.” Zibb stirred the flames as she pursed the black slit of her mouth. “General Vard doesn’t approve of our emotional songs. But the old queen listens.”
“Ah, the general.” The drone cast a frightened glance up at the three orange moons. “Is that a shadow I see wheeling past the crescent of a moon?”
“No, it’s nothing,” Zibb said.
“I’m superstitious,” the drone said, “though I don’t believe in a god.”
“What do you believe?”
“I believe in the necessity of the Black Watch and SpaceHive. I believe my body will rot in the general’s larder if I disobey.”
“The general calls this ‘Ground Hundred,'” Zibb said. “I wonder what he means by that.”
Banter played with a dark blossom. “He’s been listening to old radio broadcasts from Earth.”
“We don’t have anything to say about the move.” The drone turned away. “It’s a military operation.”
Migration to Earth was now a fact, issued directly from the queen, who got it from the general.
Standing over seven feet tall and winged, Zibb was an intelligent being, soft, pleasantly rounded and covered with orange fuzz. She had a pretty face dominated by huge black compound eyes, small ears, mouth and antennae, which she was cleaning. She used the necessary hygiene as an excuse to rest and ponder. The Imperative was something new to think about.
“The first moon’s going down,” Bipp observed. “Let’s build up the fire, Cousin Zibb. Like we always do. I don’t want to dance and sing anymore. But let’s huddle closer with our family and friends.”
At first the Jive Hive had been ripe with nectar, pollen, fruit, trees and flowers. Rivers and brooks cascaded from springs high in the mountains. Now most of the planet’s wealth was depleted. The rivers and brooks had dried up and nothing grew in the barren wastelands. No enemies existed except the pressure of population itself.
“We’re lucky to live near the palace.” Zibb crumpled the flower and threw it to the ground. “If Queen Selera weren’t in our area and the general any farther away, we’d be starving too.”
“Yes,” Banter said. “They only allow us to gather the abundance and take what they don’t want.”
“But there’s lots here for all of us,” Bipp objected. “Why must we leave?”
“You don’t understand, little Cousin. You haven’t lived long enough to know about the other side of Jive Hive. The side where the wasps kill for a piece of rotting fruit. Thousands in less abundant areas are beginning to starve.”
“Well, we’d give food to them.”
“Not if you were starving. There are bloated bees all over the deserts of the west. Bees that have to compete to eat and drink.” Zibb began to hum. “We’re lucky here. The queen’s closeness protects us. We’re the special keepers of the palace. And the others? They don’t come around here very often. They’d be spiked to death if they did, because we don’t have room for them, Bipp.”
“I see,” Bipp said.
“The queen knows the Black Watch guards SpaceHive, a ship so powerful and huge it can carry half a planet through space to our new home, and bring us safely to foreign soil. We need the Black Watch wasps. And their technology. They’re more than warriors—they’re engineers and pilots.”
Bipp’s eyes widened.
“Nothing will defeat us,” Zibb hissed. “We’ll take them by surprise. Earth is doomed.”
“Yes,” a nurse matriarch spoke up. “They won’t know what happened. We’ll destroy them so fast. From deep space and their own fields and valleys, we’ll sting them to death. We’ll burn them.”
Bipp laughed. “We have the machines.”
“We have the wasps,” Zibb said. “Black and frightful, they loom over us like giants. The Eternity Drive still exists from old times, hidden in the Hollow Hills near the Black Watch and guarded by the sergeants-at-arms. Their body fuzz is tipped with poison and their spikes are instant and deadly.” She finished cleaning her antennae and turned to Banter, who was snoring by the fire. “Yes, the humans don’t stand a chance.”
The second of the orange moons set. Putrid light dripped like blood onto the valley.