Today we catch our darling STEM touring the halls of The Colony. Not hers of course, but one of five. This particular tour is her invitation. Sixteen and ready to choose-will it be genetics?
She follows a hive injector marveling at what the introduction of honey bee had done to her eyes. It wasn’t new-oh no she’s seen this before. Every Colony has them, secretaries, created right here.
Her eyes are wide-it’s beautiful!
“STEM” the young girl interrupts adjusting her glasses as she moves to the left of her guide, eyes fixed.
The injector knows what she’s looking at-they all look! Who wouldn’t?
“Ah, yes, STEM,” she smiles. Her eyes all a flutter as she nods politely ,“So. STEM,” extending her arm she beckons forward, “as you can see our facilities are up to date with all Colony upgrades coming to us prior to any other location. I’m sure you are aware that this location is responsible for all Adapted like myself.”
Delicate, almost impossibly thin hands touch her chest as she fully faces her guest. To her displeasure the child is still fixated on her eyes, like all Honey Bee Adapted her eyes had grown and split forming into compound structures, unlike other Adapted they retained their color. Blue. Soft, ice blue-now in compound! Everybody stares.
“STEM, if I could redirect your attention to the workstations behind us you may-”
Moving closer to the guides face, uncomfortably so, the curious teen pushes her round glasses up pointed nose, examining.
“No, I’m not interested in anything behind you,” her face is dangerously close to the Injector’s right eye, “You’ve got to tell me about this. I’m curious. Have-”
“Miss!” she stamps her sensibly heeled foot almost losing her manners, “You are here to examine the facilities-not my eyes! And I would kindly ask you to respect my personal space,” her voice has its usual ever present tremble, but her annoyance is clear.
STEM shrugs taking a step back, “Look we wouldn’t be having this discussion if you’d show me something good. I really don’t want to see the Ticket masters, or the Adapters-everyone has seen the footage. Show me the labs.”
Our fiery colonist sighs. STEM knows where she’ll end up and it has way more explosions. She’s only really here because they told her to visit at least three facilities.
The Honey Bee is displeased-this is her favorite part! But this is not her tour and customer service is a must.
“Very well, follow me.”
STEM follows her down deeper into The Colony the glass elevator doors revealing floors of animal enclosures which the Injector explains is for breeding and conservation. Some of the species: spectacular colors, others hidden in exotic plants-wonders rarely seen outside these walls. The only perk it’d seem of choosing this life.
“You wanted something good, correct? Well this is something magical.”
The doors split open revealing not an animal enclosure, but what looked like a storage room. Grey and almost industrial looking. STEM is not pleased and it’s noticeable in her frown.
“Well don’t just stand there looking sour, come out and see,” she extends her arms, smiles wide, “This is where teddy bears come from!” her giggle is a vibrating buzz.
Round lenses gleam, “Teddy bears, you say?“
Inside the room she finds the walls are lined with metal boxes, each square numbered with rectangular slits at the top.
“Yes, those cute, cuddly companions introduced to us long, long ago by a dead president-created right here! Just open that slot.”
She’s standing next to STEM now almost to her shoulder.
“Just grab the tab and turn it to the left. I suggest 253-she’s the cutest!”
Taking one step forward and then another she inhales, deeply, slender fingers taking hold of the tab. She exhales, something doesn’t feel right. Sliding the tab with a shh and locking it into place with a clank she sees it, the teddy bear.
nose wiggles sniffing the fresh air.
STEM inhales sharply slamming the slot shut. The action elicits a wave of pathetic adorable moans originating from center, but fillingp the room in an instant. She jumps back bumping into the bee.
“Cute, huh?” she’s smiling, but our little lady is just frustrated.
“That’s a live bear? Like from before? In a box? You put a bear in a box?” STEM can’t help herself.
“Me? Oh no, I’m just a worker. No, but the toy makers do-that’s what we call them internally. Selective breeders handle the bears and when these little guys are ready-well they are just the most loving creatures.”
Our girl hates pointlessness.
“I’m done here,” Throwing her hands up she heads towards the elevator mumbling, “goddamned bears in boxes.“