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.

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.


Submitted: July 09, 2015

© Copyright 2020 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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Comments

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Whiskey Charlie

Sigh! Society can protect itself against almost anything except the lone nut case.

Thu, July 9th, 2015 2:35am

Author
Reply

Ain't technology great!

Thu, July 9th, 2015 2:15am

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Criss Sole

Wow... Ginger is quite a master mind. I would say evil mastermind, but her intentions are actually good in a way. Humans do tend to take things for granted and are slowly destroying the planet. No honey bees? No problem. Just come up with other things to use instead when the issues should be focused on, not ignored. I guess they'll get what's coming to them. Knowledge is power.

Mon, July 13th, 2015 6:34am

Author
Reply

Yes, we will get what we have coming to us. Which makes it that much more important for us to have fun now.

Mon, July 13th, 2015 4:42am

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Jay Rose

Wonderful piece. I can relate to Ginger - humans really do need a huge attitude fix before we destroy everything. Unlike literally every other creature on this planet we don't work with nature, but against it.
Anywho, well done!

Tue, January 23rd, 2018 11:04pm

Author
Reply

Thanks! Most people groan when I discuss the human impact on the planet. Glad to see other people agree. When the time comes, I'll send you an invite to the island.

Wed, January 24th, 2018 3:07am

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Derina Penn

As a Biologist, any imbalance of the nature is a concern. Honey bees are getting extinct due to humen's stupidity and uncaring. This story was written with intention to rise the awareness of the situation, that is for sure. Unfortunately, Honey Bees is not the only specie that is getting endangered. Human being will soon to be the one too. I can even imagine when we do move to another island or planet in a distant or near future, we will kill those places too, if we are still as stupid and uncaring as now.

Fri, May 17th, 2019 1:47pm

Author
Reply

I've had the same thoughts. My hope for the human race is that we develop wisdom (as a group, not just some individuals) that understands our role in our ecosystem, before we develop the technology to travel to distant places and do as you suggest. We are probably not far away from the ability to do that on Mars. Mostly I write for fun but I try to put my thoughts in the stories.

Fri, May 17th, 2019 9:06am

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CatWriter

Amazing story!

Sun, August 25th, 2019 8:06am

Author
Reply

Thanks for reading.

Mon, August 26th, 2019 3:33am

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