The Last Honey Bee

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
It’s not the bees you have to worry about.

Submitted: July 08, 2015

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Submitted: July 08, 2015

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Ginger stood up carefully after pulling the weeds away from the flower stems.  Her new neighbors tell her she is a beautiful woman.  She is 86.  Ginger knows things.

Start with a successful athlete for a father.  Throw in a mother who ran her family business at a time when women weren’t allowed to vote.  The best education topped off with a PhD and a career on the leading edge of genetic engineering.  Not to mention being a self-taught computer programmer and data modeler.  Ginger did it all during her career, then retired young and dropped out of sight.  All part of her plan.

She was aware of the impact humans were having on the planet long before the honey bees started dying.  That was just the last straw.  The last thing that convinced her to act on the thoughts she’d been having since she was a teenager.

There are only a few functioning hives left.  Kept alive by old, stubborn people like Ginger. 

There was quite a stir in the scientific community when the bees started dying.  They called it Colony Collapse Disorder.  Environmentalists predicted the end of civilization as we know it.  The general public yawned.  For a while, they were mildly concerned about bees.

The potential disaster was averted when some smart people found that other insects could be used to pollinate crops.  Other smart people came up with ingenious non-insect alternatives.  We quit pretending to care about bees when we realized we had options.  Ginger didn’t quit caring.

Most people care only about themselves.  At least, they think they do.  Few are capable of acting in their own long term interests.  Ginger spent a lifetime learning that her planet is a single, integrated, living entity.  She understands the role humans play.  We are unnecessary, and we are parasites.

That fact would become obvious to the majority of the human race, soon enough.  Or at least, in thirty years.  That is when the internal clock in the virus Ginger carefully modified will kick in.  Thirty years, so there will be plenty of time for it to spread, undetected, to every human on the planet.

No one will notice at first.  They won’t get sick or die. But it won’t take too long to figure out they are all sterile.

It won’t take them long to figure out that the human race’s days are numbered.

Most of the human race, anyway.  Not the part Ginger was taking care of.  The people who had been given the vaccine before the virus was released.

Ginger spent half of her life looking for the right spot.  An island in the Pacific, the remnants of a volcano.  During World War II, the Japanese had dug miles of tunnels through the hills.  Then abandoned the island to reinforce the troops at Iwo Jima.  No shots were fired in anger here during the war.  Hardly anyone knew the island existed.

She knew the natives alone did not have the genetic diversity to ensure the long term success of her project.  A lifetime of teaching had allowed Ginger to meet thousands of young people.  She became adept at identifying those who would see things the way she did.  The tunnels the Japanese abandoned had been converted to living space and storage.

Ginger took a break from the flowers, long enough to watch some children play.  Dark, light, tall, short, with many accents.  She knows she will not live long enough to see her plan carried out.  She will not see the honey bees buzzing around the beautiful flowers in a noisy brown mass.  The way she remembered her youth.

There is much still to be done.  The rest of the work will fall to other people.  Ginger bent down and resumed weeding.


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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