Author: W.F. Peate

A child’s doll sat in the deserted street pockmarked with missile craters. Little orphan Tara tugged away from our hands and reached for the doll.
“Booby trap,” shouted a military man. Quick as a cobra he pushed me, Tara and my grandfather behind him so he could take the force of the blast.
The bomb-doll burned a blinding red then fizzled. A dud.
“You would have given your life to save us?”
Military Man stuck out his hand. “I’m Colonel John Carter. I’m looking for the Honey Bee Museum for help. A swarm of bees took over our vehicle. My soldiers are fearless, but no one will come near a bee.”
“My granddaughter Dejah and I converted the museum into a shelter for war refugees who have been made homeless by this horrible invasion.”
Tara ran inside the museum where women and men shouldered bundles. Their eyes were dazed and minds in shatters from the ruin and struggle. Deafened half paralyzed wounded were bandaged like mummies.
Carter led us to his olive drab vehicle which had a buzzing black beard of bees.
Gramps danced a bee-waggle and the bees rumbled away like dump trucks.
Carter did a double take, “You talk to bees and they follow directions?”
Gramps explained, “Karl von Frisch got the Nobel prize for translating bee talk, the waggle dance, that bees used to communicate. My granddaughter Dejah and I trained bees to listen to humans doing the waggle dance. Just like sheepherders trained dogs to herd sheep by following human whistling.”
I said, “I used AI to record bee communication. Gramps and I created a Bee-to-English Dictionary using a time share on the college’s quantum computer.”
“I thought bees were dumb bugs.”
Gramps snorted. “One bee brain is the size of a grain of sand, but honeybees live in a super-organism. Their brains together make them sentient geniuses. Bees use consensus to choose a new home or get rid of bad queens.”
Carter held up his smart phone. “A smart bee?”
Gramps laughed. “We’re changing the future so bees and humans work more closely just like bees and flowers collaborate.”
“We’re spending billions. Losing thousands of soldiers,” said Carter with a grim tone. “I need a flying assassin to kill Sledgehammer, the dictator that caused this war. A weapon that can’t be discovered by metal detector or radar.”
“Bees,” Gramps and I said in unison.
We agreed to work with Carter. I clicked on an image of Sledgehammer on a computer screen I’d installed at the hive entrance.
The bees buzzed at him like mini-jack hammers. “Bees recognize human faces. I’ve used sugar water to train them to recognize Sledgehammer as an intruder. Bees kill intruders by making a bee-ball around the intruders nostrils and mouth that cuts off oxygen.”
The next day Carter got me a second floor hotel room above the parade for Sledgehammer and world leaders who were attending a summit meeting.
I released the bees. They flew inside Sledgehammer’s sleek black limousine. The limo swerved and crashed.
The next morning Carter pounded on my door. “Read this. ‘After the first death, three more world leaders died at the summit.’” His voice rose. “This one says ‘Autopsy shows dead bees in windpipe of the prime minister.’”
“Isn’t the prime minister a wife beater?”
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“Who were the other two who died?”
“Evil dictators who should be in prison.”
The bees were getting rid of bad queens — bad humans. Bees were improving humans. And I thought we were improving them.