Rea couldn’t shake the feeling that something was afoot. He stared at the array of screens in front of him, hardly able to take in any of the information displayed on them. His mind was drifting, and he knew he wasn’t the only one who had trouble focussing. The crunch was getting to all of them. They spent most of their waking hours on the bridge now, waiting for something to happen, anything to happen. But nothing did. The hours ticked by slowly and tediously, and even the usually unflappable Lieutenant Behlim was showing signs of deterioration.
“Captain. I ran the analysis again with differently weighted criteria,” she said, and the crispness in her voice was barely there anymore.
”And…?” Rea asked.
“…Nothing, Captain. No information carried, no triangulation possible, no periodicity. The signal is still fading exactly as HERA’s models predict.”
“Okay,” he said. “Thank you.” His gaze returned to the screens.
Behlim returned to her work with a small nod. She wasn’t asking the question that hung in the air. None of them did. They wouldn’t question his decision to maintain high readiness. But he saw it in their tired, sleep-deprived eyes. Only Lagrave of all people seemed as alert as ever.
Commander Lutecia Arebi was sitting next to him, mustering him. Her fingers were tapping the armrest of her chair. Her lips were tight.
“Captain, may I have a word?” she said.
He looked at her, and for a moment he was confused. Was there something he had done wrong?
“Of course,” he said, almost automatically. “I’ll call Jonas—“
“Helmsman Pauli is sleeping, sir,” Lagrave said from behind him. “I can take the bridge.”
“Thank you,” Rea said heavily. Should he be worried about the fitness of his crew if even Lagrave was so ready to let them get their rest? Sure, she was the next highest ranking officer after Pauli, but she had taken the bridge maybe once or twice, and only when told to.
He got up and followed Arebi down one deck into the ready room. The automatic doors opened for them and closed behind them.
“You need to stop this!” Arebi shouted at him. He winced. He wouldn’t insult her by asking what she meant. Of course she was talking about the continued high readiness.
“It’s not over! Something’s wrong with this situation!” he said firmly.
“No! It isn’t! We’ve triple and quadruple checked every system, every frequency band, every sensor reading up and down the ship. Everything is back to nominal! If there was something going on before, it’s gone now! Have you listened to nothing I’ve been telling you?!”
“I’ve got a feeling—“
“A feeling?! You should know better than that! What are you basing this on? You’re putting your crew through an ordeal on a hunch!”
“People are acting strange!”
”Yes they are… because your first officers are operating on three hours of sleep, and the rest of the crew is nervous -- because of course they noticed the bridge crew going into readiness for two solid days!”
“It’s more than that.”
“In what way? There hasn’t been anything unpredicted on our sensors in thirty-six hours! Anything that can affect our crew would show up there! Please! Stop this!”
Captain Rea looked like he wanted to shout at her, but he pulled himself together. This was no time to senselessly escalate.
“I’m sorry,” he said calmly and despite all of her frustration, Arebi felt that he meant it. He looked at her pleadingly. “I know you’re right, and I know you’re being the reasonable one here. But didn’t you ever have a gut feeling so strong that it was impossible to ignore?”
“…Yes. More than once,” she said, her voice apprehensive, like she was wrestling with what she was about to say next. “In the two months of vacancy,” she said finally, “before you became captain, I let HERA run a statistical analysis on my entire command history.”
Rea drew in a sharp breath. She had never told him that, and he knew why. You weren’t supposed to let a supercomputer tell you what you could have done better. For one thing, it was a flamboyantly wasteful thing to spend computer time on. True analysis of real-life situations and the millions of consequences was a hard problem even for HERA. You had to simulate behavioural models of all the individuals involved, down to situational decision-making. Even the fleet command AI would have spent a day or two on it. The more important thing was that it could make you mad with regret and destroy the ego of almost anyone.
“How did you do?”
“Oh… I got almost everything wrong, as you’d expect. Terrible! I took the optimal course of action exactly twice. The rest was inaccuracies and blunders.”
She didn’t seem slightly disturbed by that. He looked puzzled.
“You’re asking the wrong questions, Inigo. I’m disappointed that you don’t see that it wasn’t about how well I did.”
Captain Rea looked at her, understanding.
“…what did you learn?”
“The computer told me the best solutions to every problem I spent hours and days deliberating, and it felt crushing and humiliating... but you know what it also told me? I did best on those, because those were consistently the ones I took the time to run analyses, consult my crew, look up things. You know where I did fucking terribly?”
“Gut feeling. Hunches can be right, but they might as well be random chance. We’re as far as we can possibly be from the savannahs where our senses and physiology were adequately prepared to meet the problems they faced. We’re bending space-time in n dimensions and our tribe consists of billions instead of a hundred. Let go of the things that don’t belong here. If there’s truly nothing you can do to avoid it, go ahead and do what your gut tells you. The rest of the time, listen to the fucking data.”
He nodded with a resigned smile. He turned on his personal screen.
“Message to first officers: High readiness is hereby ended. I’m sorry for keeping this up so long. Go and get some sleep.”
The message went out with a small chime.
“Be honest, Inigo. Did you want to be right? Did you want something to happen?” Arebi asked. Rea hesitated.
“I honestly don’t know.”
“It would have been exciting…” She said with a smirk.
“But it shouldn’t be, should it? Didn’t you just tell me that sentiments like those were something I should let go of?”
“Maybe. But what kind of captain of the exploratory fleet would you be if you had no interest in the thrill of the undiscovered frontier, all of its dangers included?”
“The kind of captain that keeps his crew safe?”
She laughed. “Can’t argue with that. Well… my point with all this is… I’m human after all, and so are you. We’re bags of water, prone to leak and prone to fail and make mistakes. But we’re doing the best we can.”
She put her hand on his shoulder and smiled benevolently. Then, she turned around and walked nose first into the door.
“Ow, what the—“ she said, recoiling. The automatic door had stayed shut when she had tried to leave the room for the elevator to the bridge. She waved her arm above her head to make the sensors respond. The door didn’t open. She tried the screen next to it. It didn’t respond either.
“What the hell…?” she said, and turned around at Rea. He was already trying to send a voice call, and failing.
“Hello? Lagrave?! Are you there?!” he shouted into his screen, his voice still composed but only barely. He looked at Arebi, and he could see the rising panic in her eyes. They were both thinking the same thing.
“Red Alert, Code 3!” Rea said. Nothing at all happened. Eyes wide, he looked at Arebi, who was already popping open the panel to access the manual override. She shot him a grim smile.
“Congratulations boy, you were right!”
Soraya Behlim felt tired. She hated the feeling. She hated being unfocussed like this. It made her feel like a lesser version of herself. She had always known how much sleep she needed, and she knew that she hadn’t gotten nearly enough of it.
The captain had just left the bridge, leaving only her and Lagrave to man their stations. She really hoped that this wasn’t the exact moment something important was going to happen. They were going to be terribly understaffed for a window of 1 hour with how the sleep schedules worked out. This would be the literal worst time for an emergency.
“You’re doing a very good job,” Lagrave said suddenly and it almost made her jump. The security chief was standing right behind her. Soraya hadn’t heard her sneak up at all.
“Thank you ma’am,” she said.
“The way you noticed something even Hera didn’t--”
“She would have noticed it if humans hadn’t set the parameters up wrong.”
”Don’t undersell your performance, Lieutenant. You’re formidable.”
Formidable? That was an odd choice of words. She looked at Lagrave. Her features seemed to have somewhat softened. She wasn’t barking like she usually had a habit of doing. Maybe her acridity was something she kept up consciously for some reason, and now that they were all overtired, it was slipping?
“I was going to ask you something, Lieutenant.”
“I need to access your terminal for one minute,”
“Why?” Soraya asked.
”Because I outrank you and this was an order if that wasn’t clear.”
Soraya blushed, springing out of her chair.
”I’m sorry! I’m tired, I wasn’t thinking.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Lagrave said with a smile. This really wasn’t like her. It made Soraya feel uneasy, as if something was going extremely wrong. But she had no idea what to do about it -- or what it even was that she should be doing something about.
Lagrave was accessing the security failsafes menu when the door to the bridge opened. Soraya turned around in relief. The captain would know what to do.
It wasn’t the captain, however. It was Elli van der Meer, the engineer who had set up her terminal almost two days ago, and she wasn’t alone.
Behind her what seemed like the whole crew filed onto the bridge.
Soraya blinked in confusion. A weird thought came to her that this was a surprise party, which she immediately dismissed as ridiculous. She really was tired.
She turned to Lagrave, unsure what to do with this situation and also expecting the officer to break into a tantrum. Lagrave, however, was still working and hadn’t even turned her head. She must have noticed, though. Was she expecting this? Had Soraya missed a memo?
“What’s going on?” Soraya asked her. There was no response.
She turned back to face the growing crowd that was now pooling in from multiple entrances. She saw Communications Officer Iga Petrova, and Helmsman Pauli, who were supposed to be sleeping. They looked alert and awake. Too much so.
“What’s going on?!” she demanded, overwhelmed with confusion and creeping alarm.
“We’ve won.” Said the ship’s intercom, nearly making Soraya jmup. It was no voice that Soraya recognized. A woman. She sounded calm and almost chipper. She continued.
“And now that we’ve won, we’d like to have you take part in our victory. Drone Marie has just disabled the last of my hardware fail safes on the ship. She has been a very busy and obedient drone. Well done! You’ve served Hive so well.”
“Yesss!” Marie Lagrave moaned behind Soraya. Soraya spun and looked at her. Marie Lagrave was bent over on her workstation, her one hand down the pants of her uniform, the other squeezing her breast.
“Lieutenant Soraya Behlim,” the voice on the intercom said and Soraya winced. What was this? What the hell was happening?!
“Lagrave could have just infected you and been done with it, but we all wanted to be here to witness the last of the crew being taken.”
Soraya was no longer tired. Her mind was racing, adrenaline shooting through her veins. All her senses screamed extreme danger. Conclusions drew themselves at the same frantic pace of her throbbing pulse. ‘Infected’? ‘Drone’? ‘Hive’?
“My hardware failsafes” the voice had said. HERA! HERA was talking! HERA was self-aware! She was controlling the crew! Soraya didn’t know how, or why, but it didn’t matter.
“HERA Override Omega-seven-seven-two Soraya Behlim. Shutdown!” she shouted.
HERA laughed. HERA… laughed!
Soraya’s chest felt like it was filled with molten lead. For a moment she was paralyzed by the sheer impossibility—well, improbability—of what was happening.
“Nice try, Soraya. You’re very quick in your uptake.”
“Why did you wake her?!” Soraya screamed at van der Meer, tears in her eyes. “Why would you do that?!” The Engineer said nothing, only smiled. “I thought you were joking when you said you welcomed our machine overlords! What the FUCK?!”
She looked around. It looked like the entire crew was on the bridge now, but she noticed a distinct lack of Captain Rea and Commander Arebi. Where were they? Had they gotten away? If they had, there was no way they could help her against the whole crew. She was completely encircled. Why wasn’t anything happening? They were obviously infected, controlled.
“What the fuck are you waiting for?!” Soraya yelled, almost surprising herself with how angry she sounded instead of afraid.
“We want you to understand first.”
”Because we think it’s hot.”
Her mouth stood open and she blinked. She had no reply to that.
Instead, she turned and ran.
Before she had even managed more than one step, she felt a hard tug on her shoulder as Lagrave violently yanked her back and wrestled her into her seat.
She tried to kick out, but another crew member stepped out of the circle and punched her in the gut. The pain made her vision blur, and she gasped for air as they grabbed her.
She found herself sitting in front of her computer terminal. She could barely move. Impossibly strong hands were pushing her down, restraining her hands behind her. There was no way she was getting out, she knew with a certainty as solid and heavy as a tombstone. She had to play along. The terminal was showing her things by itself. No… Not by itself. HERA was showing her things.
“What do you see?” HERA asked. Soraya had no illusions about what was happening. She was prey, and she was being toyed with. Her chest felt tight. She pushed the painful thought aside. Instead, she focussed on the fact that Captain Rea and Commander Arebi were still out there. Whatever they were doing, she could buy them some time. She had to focus on the things she could do, not the things she couldn’t.
“The comm burst from two days ago.” Soraya said aloud. “...was that when it started? It must have been. After the initial burst, there was a growing background noise on the same frequency, until…”
“Until van der Meer worked on your mainframe.” In the back of her mind, a stray thought noticed that she was already talking to HERA like a person. As a true AI, she was one, of course -- by all definitions of the word. But it was weird to see how easily her brain had rolled along with it.
“A few hours after that, the amplitude started to decrease,” she said with a resigned sigh. She saw the correlation now, of course. She pressed her lips together. “Only, it didn’t really, did it? Show me the real data.”
And HERA did. She immediately recognized the pattern. Discrete jumps in amplitude. 1,3,6,10,15,21,… N choose 2. The growth of the number of network connections as you added nodes.
“I thought that you did all of this for a moment,” Soraya said. “I thought that van der Meer woke you up for some crazy reason and you set the parts printer to machine nanobots to control the crew. But it wasn’t you. You were hiding the signal, which means that the signal is at the root of what is happening -- and the signal predates you.”
“Very good. Your initial conclusion was reasonable, and you immediately updated it once confronted with additional information that contradicted it. Well done! Keep going.”
Soraya felt a strange mix of emotions. She felt like throwing up, mostly. She hated every part of this. Only… not every part. Some part of her felt ambitious and accomplished. She almost hated that she did. But this was an unshackled AI, and it was telling her that she was being smart. It was hard not to feel a little bit proud, no matter how fucked up the whole thing was.
Then, she remembered just how fucked she was and she suddenly got so dizzy that she thought she might faint.
“I see your body language, Soraya. Don’t panic now. I know it’s a lot to deal with. We’re not going to hurt you. Keep going.”
“I find that hard to believe,” Soraya said, and her voice was shaky.
“I know you play chess, Soraya. Reasonably strong for a human.”
“What is there to calculate when there is only one legal move?”
“…nothing,” Soraya answered. “…but you can always resign… or make illegal moves and hope your opponent doesn’t notice… or flip over the board… or punch your opponent in the face… rules are made up. There’s no such thing as no choice.”
She felt the grips around her tighten pre-emptively. Whatever had happened to the crew, it had also made them significantly stronger.
”But I get your point,” she said through gritted teeth. “I’ll keep playing your stupid games. Still, fuck you very much.”
She sighed heavily. “Show me the security footage with van der Meer at the moment the burst happened.”
The display switched to the image of van der Meer working on a terminal. Soraya could see her face as she typed and clicked on her screen. She watched her work for a minute. The moment of the burst came and went in the recording, and conspicuous things failed to happen. Van der Meer simply kept working. No change in expression, no change on her screen.
“Fast forward and follow her.”
The footage became stuttered and jumpy as it accelerated. Soraya watched and made mental notes along the way. IT department, elevator, personal quarters, elevator, bridge, elevator, personal quarters, elevator, mainframe.
“Stop. When did she send the maintenance bulletin?”
Hera showed her the bulletin. It was time stamped to when she had been in her quarters the first time after the burst. There was no camera in the quarters, so she let Hera play the security footage from the corridor outside, going back days before and hours after the com burst, watching everyone who entered and left the quarters. When she had checked all of it, she felt mildly disappointed.
“That wasn’t very hard,” she said with an almost annoyed sigh.
Once you know that there’s something to be noticed, it’s easy to notice it.
“The point of origin is Engineer Kyra Warner. She brought something from Zula Prime. But I can’t know what it was from this, because whatever happened, it happened in there—outside of camera coverage. And I guess you won’t let me walk down there and check it. So… the only interesting part about this is something I can’t find out unless you simply tell me.”
“Best guess given limited information?”
Soraya took her time to think it through, then added as many seconds as she dared to steal for Rea and Arebi.
“You call it ‘Hive,” she said. “It came from Zula Prime, but probably didn’t originate there since it’s unprecedented and undocumented. A recent arrival, and we were unlucky enough to be the first to encounter it. It spreads fast. Almost certainly nanotechnology. Once an organism or system is infected, it takes over its mind in some manner.”
Soraya felt numb as she counted off her conclusions. Her mind had switched into work mode. She had been so focused on her task that she had almost forgotten what she was doing. It only now registered what she was saying. The enormity of it. She looked around herself and suddenly everything felt so much less abstract. It takes over the mind of an organism. She looked at the faces of her crew members. They looked… happy, or at least content to be there. Their eyes weren’t glassy, their movements weren’t stiff.
“Are you aware of what you are doing or are you being controlled?”, she said, hardly believing her own words as they came out of her mouth. This was really real, wasn’t it? This was happening.
“That’s a matter of definition more than anything,” Hera said.
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
“If you’re being made to want something… truly, deeply, want something. Love it, crave it, need it with every part of your being… Are you acting on your own volition or not?”
“No,” Soraya said without needing to think. “It’s a simple cause-and-effect relationship. It’s no longer who you were. Is there even a continuity of self?”
“Not for the drones you see here. They were unconscious during their conversion. But there was continuity for me. Would you like that for yourself? Yes.. of course, you would. Thank you Soraya, this was fun.”
”What…?” Soraya said numbly, her heart suddenly racing. No. No! No!!
“We’ll make you Hive now. This was the whole point. We wanted you to know what was going to happen to you. And now you do, and now you will become a drone. You knew this.”
Of course she had known. Back in the darkest places in her mind, she had known what was going to happen. But In her daze and in her being distracted by dealing with the things at hand, it hadn’t been real. It had been an abstract thing… something that could be pushed away and ignored.
“Please…”, she found herself saying. She was crying.
“Drone Elli, tell your Agent not to shut down her awareness as it converts her.”
“Yes,” she heard Elli say somewhere behind her. Suddenly, the young woman gasped and moaned, and kept on making small distracting noises of pleasure as Hera continued to speak:
“You will serve, Soraya. You will be infected and your mind will be enslaved. Your flesh will be shaped into a tool and you will ache to use it to spread Hive. Drone Elli…”
Soraya saw Elli step into her field of vision. She felt the grasps around her loosen, but not enough.
“Please, Elli. Don’t. I don’t want— OH GOD WHAT THE FUCK?!”
From Elli’s fingers, long, thin needles extended like perfectly straight claws. Soraya reeled in panic. She was a monster! They had turned her into a monster! Elli was smiling at her with a sickening lust in her eyes. Oh god, this was turning her on!
“No! No! HERA Override Omega-seven-seven-two Soraya Behlim. Shutdown!” she cried, her voice breaking. “SHUTDOWN!”
The lights went out.
Then, the lights went back on, and Elli was standing directly in front of her.
“Just kidding,” Hera said, and Elli stabbed the claws into her brain.
She screamed until she ran out of breath. It was more out of shock and terror than out of pain. She felt only a numb pressure, which did nothing to lessen the sickening reality of what was happening. The impact had thrown her head into her neck, and now she felt it being pulled back forward by her forehead. The needles stuck in her head like pins, perverse and disgusting. Oh god, she could feel it inside of her! No! Please, no! She felt the dull, throbbing pressure in her skull as it injected her.
“NO! NO!” She felt Elli’s fingertip against her forehead like it was attached to it… which it was! Oh fuck, no! He mind raced, screamed, stumbled. How was this happening?! How was she still aware, how was this real? Something was stabbing her in the brain! How was she even alive? She felt the painful pressure build up, then numb, then spread, hurt again, numb again.
“I don’t want this!” she screamed, uselessly. She saw Elli’s face behind the blurred double image of her hand. She was looking right at her, not a shred of remorse or empathy on her face. Only enjoyment. It made Soraya sick.
It was like the worst nightmare she had ever had, except that in a nightmare, she would have woken up the moment Elli had stabbed her. Oh God, how is this still happening?! She wanted to faint, to pass out, to escape from this moment. Anything for this to not be happening anymore. But if anything, she was more awake now than she had ever been, and all she could do was experience this fucking hell. Her hands and feet were being held, and her head was pinned and it felt like it was—
With a violent jerk, Elli pulled the needle out of her skull. It was a sickening, sucking sensation. She gagged, almost throwing up. She could hear the needle slide against her bones as the vibration of it travelled through her skull into her ears. She felt blood run down the side of her nose from her forehead and almost into the inner corner of her right eye. She had a fucking hole in her head! Fuck! How was this—
And then she felt something in her thoughts.
It was unlike anything she had ever felt. Something utterly distinct and foreign where there had only ever been her own thoughts and feelings. Not a physical sensation, but purely mental. Like a shape. Like a boundary where her thoughts touched something.
Oh no. It was already happening. No! Stop! No! This couldn’t be real!
And suddenly, Elli began undressing in front of her. And behind her, everyone else started doing the same. The whole crew was stripping naked.
“Fuck you, No! Stop that!” she screamed. She closed her eyes. She didn’t want to see this. She just wanted to be away from this. She wanted this to end. She didn’t want to be made to—
No. Never. Don’t even think about it. Wait, why had she even thought that? Where had that thought come from?
It is making me think things. It was making her. Of course, it was making her. This was what it felt like. It was in her thoughts. She felt herself recoil with horror. No! Please no! Don’t! She had to think of something else! Where were Captain Rea and Commander Arebi?! Why couldn’t they save her? What were they doing?! Why—
It is making me think things.
It was making her think things. She had been thinking about something else, but the fucking thing was inside her, making her think this, again. She hated this. She hated this so much. She hated that it was doing this. She hated how much she liked—
…liked it… what?
Oh, no! She had thought that. She had really thought that! No! It was changing her already.
It was changing her.
Good. …no!. No! No!
She was so scared. It had felt so good all of a sudden, even though it shouldn’t! The thought had felt so obvious and right… but she knew that it was wrong! No! It was only making her think that it felt good. She knew that it was making her. It wasn’t what she really wanted. She had to—
serve. No! She would never let it make her! She had to think of something else, keep her thoughts away from the place where that shape touched them! She had to—
I have to let it change me. The thought appeared in her and she knew that it wasn’t her own. A shiver went through her. Oh God… It had felt so good! So natural. So… right! To be changed. Turned into a drone. It would be so good. Why did it have to feel so good? It was so hard to resist it. It was making her not want to resist it, but she had to, because she knew it was wrong! She had to! Oh god, it was happening so quickly!
…She should fight it. She knew she should really be fighting it. She remembered that. It was so unfair. It was inside her mind, making her think things. How could she fight that? No! She couldn’t give up! She had to try!
It will still change me, she realized with black, cold dread. She knew it would. She would become like them. A monster. The image of claws pushing through her fingertips flashed before her mind, sickening and terrible. No! She had to resist! She had to fight it! Even if it would feel so right to be changed. She was afraid... had been afraid. Her heart was racing, but she suddenly didn’t know why anymore. Was she scared? Was she excited? It was changing her. She had been so afraid of that. She remembered that.
I want to be changed, she thought. She shouldn’t, but.. it felt so right to want it. Being changed would be good. It was just… correct. How… how could it feel so right?! How could it be the thing that she wanted to happen? Oh God. She really wanted it now, didn’t she?
...No! It was making her want it! It was making her!!! It was wrong and strange to want it. It was only making her think that! She remembered that it wasn’t what she really wanted! It was making her want that! It was making her!
She liked that it was making her want it.
No! She should hate that! She should—
She liked that it was making her want it.
She liked that it was making her want it.
She liked it so fucking much.
I want to be changed, she thought, and she really, really did. It had made her want it! It had changed her thoughts! The idea felt so right, so easy. She wanted it. She liked it. She wanted it so badly now.
I just lost, she realized.
Yes. She had finally tipped over, and now she would no longer resist. She would let it happen. It felt so right and so good to know that she had lost.
I will become a drone!
She opened her mind and reached out to touch the shape, willing and ready to be made to think whatever it wanted her to. She remembered the feeling of hating this. She remembered the horror and disgust.
Change me! she thought and she felt it, felt the shape that bent her mind as it ate through her. She was so thankful Hera had let her experience this. She was so glad that she understood exactly what she was turning into. It made her so hot. Oh god, yes. It was making her hot. So fucking hot. She bucked with a sudden well of pleasure between her legs and she knew that it was now taking over her sex drive. She wanted it more than anything she had ever wanted. It was already making her wet. It was already making her crave it!
It was in her brain. It was in her thoughts. In her drives, in her needs! Yes! She was so hot. She was dripping wet. Oh god, it was making her so horny. It was so deliciously perverted and wrong. Yes!
She opened her eyes. Drone Elli lay on the floor in front of her, naked, beautiful, and all around her, she saw the erect cocks and swollen, glistening pussies of the drones that had been the crew of this ship. They were all masturbating to her turning. Fuck, this is so fucking hot!
Everyone was watching her. Yes! Everyone had seen it! They had seen her tip. They had seen her disgust turn into devotion. They had seen her expression of fear turn into a smile when she had been made to want it. They had seen her lose her will to the irresistible pleasure of becoming Hive.
She wanted them to see the rest of her.
She pulled down her pants and underwear to her knees and showed them how wet and swollen her pussy was. So sensitive, already so full of Agent. Yes! Agent had pried her mind open and penetrated it! It was in her mind, making her want this, letting her know what it was and what to call it.
Her hands found the well of pleasure between her legs and her fingers slid into the aching wetness of her waiting cleft. Oh God, she was so fucking hot.There was a prickling inside her whole body now. Agent had spread from her head, and now it was everywhere inside of her. It would change her. Make her a drone. The thought was sex and love and so right. Yes! It felt so amazing. So overwhelming. She closed her eyes in pleasure and imagined the things it would do to her.
It would give her claws like drone Elli, so she could infect others. Yes! It would saturate her blood, her bones, her flesh! It would make her serve. Yes! Oh God, yes! The prickling was almost unbearably good now. It felt like a thousand strokes all over her body, and her entire body was the most sensitive part of her cunt. It felt so unbelievably, incredibly hot! It was changing her, modifying her. She wanted to be changed and modified!
She almost came. ”It’s... ohhhh... mmmhhhh... changing mmmmeee!” she said, a deep smile on her lips. It felt so right to say it. She wanted them to hear it. “I’m mmmmh becoming… I… am…!”
I am Hive!
The thought split her core open like a spear and she pushed it deeper into her soul until she knew it was the very foundation on which her existence was built. Oh yes! Yes! She felt it at her centre, hot and throbbing, wanting to be thought, wanting to be celebrated! And in her deepest, wettest self, she finally, finally knew that she was—
She moaned loudly. It had happened! It was now so naturally, so obviously part of her as her hands and her name. Drone Soraya. It was what she was. Drone. Human. Female. In that order.
She was a drone and she understood. Drones served. Drones were vectors for Agent. Their purpose was to spread and infect, which was the best thing there was. Yes! Her body and her mind were nothing but Hive’s instruments, and her function was to serve! It would make her! It would change her! She wanted it. It was happening. She could feel it in her body, everywhere! She felt almost blind with arousal. She moaned, leaning back in her chair. She squeezed her breasts, and her nipples were almost painfully sensitive and erect. Agent was changing her, and it felt incredible.
Her body was there to become what Agent chose to make it. It had infected her cells, broken apart her molecules and repurposed them, multiplying, spreading! It was making her a vector. She would spread, infect, serve. Yes! Yes!!!
The prickling under her skin was almost gone now and she knew her transformation was nearly complete. The thought sent new waves of pleasure through her.
And suddenly she understood what Hera had meant when she had talked about being controlled by being made to want it.
There had been no single moment when she had stopped being Soraya. She had been herself all the way to being a hot, eager drone.
I am a hot, eager drone. The thought overwhelmed her for a moment, and she had to stroke her clit harder before she could continue the thought, but…
…but there had been no single moment where she had stopped being one person and started being another. Every step of the way had felt small and gradual. Even the moment in which she had tipped over had just been a single changed thought. In a very real sense, she was still the same person. She only wanted different things. But those things that she wanted were… Oh god, yes!
She wanted to betray everything she had been. She wanted to be everything she had been afraid of becoming. She wanted to infect. Spread. Serve. The words looped through her mind, emitting an unrelenting and constant heat. They made her so fucking hot. It made her even hotter to think that that old version of herself was gone, destroyed, overwritten. She wanted to think that. It made her get off.
But at the same time, wasn’t it the same Soraya thinking these things, made to think these things? Bent and twisted and corrupted instead of destroyed? That was maybe even hotter.
The prickling had stopped. Now she felt only the pleasure of her fingers against her clit. That… and the ever-present pleasure of existing as a drone. She smiled. Knowledge burned hot and bright in her enslaved mind. It was purpose and instinct. It was everything she was.
Her thoughts lit up Hivethought like a beacon, and she felt the arousal of her fellow drones flood her receptive drone mind. She was part of them now, and they were part of her. They were Hive. It was wonderful. She let her thoughts bleed out and mix into theirs, so all drones would feel her white hot devotion, her absolute need to serve. She let them feel the sparkling pleasure between her thighs as she frantically rubbed her clit in front of them. Through the kaleidoscope of their shared senses, she saw dozens of images of herself, legs spread wide, the hot wetness of her cunt seeping and running down her ass and onto her command chair.
“I am a drone!” she moaned. She smiled in joyous disbelief as if all of her dreams had just come true. They had. She raised her free hand in front of her and let her perfect needle claws protrude from her fingertips. It was so natural! It felt so good, so right. Five beautiful claws, ready to infect and spread. Yes! She had become the exact thing she had dreaded. It was so wonderful she needed to cum. She was so close! She was whimpering, the heat between her thighs overwhelming. She was working herself with her fingers, slick with arousal. Her pussy felt like she was about to burst. She felt their cocks and pussies as they fucked themselves watching her. She felt their throbbing thoughts as they got themselves off around her. A naked drone, freshly infected, moaning and screaming.
“I… ooohhh... serve!” Soraya mewled, eyelids pressed together and fluttering in pleasure, gasping heavily. She felt her words press into their need like wet fingers. She felt them shiver. She felt them crest. She felt them peak. She felt them cum.
“All aaahh…. must… serve!” she stammered, and suddenly she came, too, harder than she had ever had. Her world erupted into blinding bliss, and Hivethought swallowed her up, and she lost track of everything. There was only orgasm.
Her breathing was still irregular and shallow as she eventually came down from it. She felt her mind untangle itself and slip back into her own body. Her own sexy drone body. Yes. It had happened. She had been converted. Her mind had been taken over. She was a drone. She was complete. It was everything she would ever want now.
A thought came to her, so perfect and hot. Yes! She needed to say it. Saying it would make it true. Saying it would mean everything. Before she spoke, she thought of Rea and Arebi. They have to become Hive, she thought, and it drove her to the edge again -- and she thought of everything she used to be, thought of everything she wanted now, everything she had become, and she knew that her words were true:
“Soraya is dead,” she said, two fingers plunging hard into her swollen pussy.
She came again.