The Whispering Race

2021.12.01 21:29 ThreeDucksInAManSuit The Whispering Race

They shot the human first.
Not the most logical decision, but they have that effect on people, even hivers.
She went down quick, unable to get out so much as a whisper; the hivers would have cheered in relief if they hadn’t been busy going through everyone else in the room after dropping her.
Some of the other aliens had fast reaction times, concealed weapons that diplomats always carry but never admit to having flew from holsters to create a symphony of barks, blasts and other weird sounds from different technological bases.
The attackers mowed them down with disciplined bursts of fire, one by one. The few return shots that landed pinged harmlessly off the hiver’s armour.
Less than five seconds after interrupting the interspecies conference, the attackers were the only things in the room still conscious.
Briefly checking to make sure the sedative rounds hadn’t reacted poorly to any of the wildly varying biology, the diplomats were tossed over the black carapace armour the commandos wore and rushed out the door, they were in the room for a grand total of forty one seconds.
They would be gone from the building entirely less than two minutes later.

A peacebringer battleship hanging over a planet tends to fray the nerves of even the most disciplined population, and hiveworld Gordus was no different.
Eight kilometers long from end to end and packing enough firepower to evaporate oceans and liquefy continents, the apocalypse class battleship lived up to its name. It was more than just a war platform, it was a threat of biblical proportions in the form of a shadow in space hanging over your head at all times.
It had been anchored in high orbit due to the conference of species, but in the last few hours it had descended and started scanning the hive, and that was making some very important people very nervous.
More so because the peacebringers were outright refusing to tell anyone why.
In the captain’s ready room, polite enquiries from planetary heads of state were recorded and saved for her to view at some non-specified later time while authorities tried to convince their people that everything was under control and actually the giant world ending machine hanging over their heads was just about to leave at any moment now.
A lone human male approached the captain’s ready room, adjusting his tie.
He approached the bridge guard, a peacebringer who was fidgeting more than a sentinel probably should.
“I’m here to see cap-”
“Yes! She’s expecting you!”
The guard interrupted, unwilling to hear the human speak for longer than was necessary.
Captain Farah was sitting at the far end of a long conference table, surrounded by orderlies and crew peltering her with reports, the exact kind of chaos peacebringers tend to thrive in.
She took a dataslate from a nearby minion and scanned it for a few seconds, signing a different slate with her other hand.
“...tell him his request is denied. If he wishes to appeal, he can go through the official bridge channel to reach me.”
“Erm… but captain, you aren’t currently accepting any such messages.”
“Exactly, next.”
The human cleared his throat announcing himself.
Every eye in the room went first to his face, then immediately dropped to the badge at his lapel, the one denoting his training as a human specifically trained to safely speak to aliens.
“I understand you have a bit of a situation captain.”
Captain Farah waved a hand dismissively.
“Yes, yes, I don’t want to have to explain this again for every representative wanting to know where their ambassador has gone, I’ll hear your complaints about conference security after we’ve found them all, take a seat Mr…?”
“Ramsey.”
Said Ramsey.
“And I’m only hear to help.”
He took a seat, and began discussing how he was going to find his missing ambassador.

When Tala had been a teenager, she had once gone to a party on the edge of the Mexican desert. She didn’t remember what the place was called, but she remembered the party because it was where she had been stung by a scorpion. The pain of that moment had started out agonizing and taken a full day to die down.
Now she felt like someone had made a knife entirely out of scorpion tails and jammed it into her breastbone.
Pieces of memory floated to the top of her swimming head. A burst open door, half a second of crablike aliens in combat gear pointing weapons into the conference room, herself being singled out and the very first shot catching her just below the throat.
She couldn't move her hands... she was tied up, leaned against a wall.
Cold seeped into her skin from the surrounding air, she wasn’t in the conference room any more.
Her head was swimming a little too much to make it entirely practical to scream her lungs out like she did that night so long ago, but it did take her a while to open her eyes.
Which was how she managed to overhear the voices.
They were speaking native hiver, which grated on her translator module.
“I am told you, don’t know what wrong with stupid alien!”
“So be of the checking you fuck! Die is bad to planning.”
The absurdity of the budget version live translation she was receiving almost broke through the nausea from whatever they had doped her with and made her chuckle, but she held it in.
“Ah, she’s awake.”
…Or at least she had thought she had held it in.
“Human weak, that one will be fine. Bring to base… and make sure security of gag.”
“Gag?”
There was a sharp static sound, the first thing Tala saw after prying opening protesting eyes was a bulky hiver holding an old fashioned communicator away from itself while it screeched in electronic rage.
“Fool is you! Be of getting gag now before she whispers you!”
The voice of the hiver on the other end of the communicator barked.
Somehow the fear made it through Tala’s translator, the hiver started to scramble.
Oh right, the whispers.
The hiver had found what looked to be a roll of adhesive tape. It was the only one in the room.
Uh…
Tala struggled to think of all the things she had been carefully trained not to say but her addled mind came up blank.
Frick, it was supposed to be easy! Just say whatever came to mi-
“We’ve… been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty.”
She got out before cackling with laughter.
Kidnapped by hivers right out of a diplomatic conference and she was quoting ancient memes. Dad always did say she was out of her mind.
“W-what?”
The communicator hit the metallic floor, the echo of its landing interrupting a drip of water from somewhere. Whatever hiver was at the other end of the channel was still trying to speak, but it was ignored.
The hiver was speaking basic, it sounded confused. Well, at least Tala had bought herself some time to think. She was supposed to be a godammned diplomat after all.
“How… how did you know about that?”
The hiver asked.
Wait, did that actually work?
A Trueman spin it was then.
“Did you enjoy your sucrystals this morning?”
The hiver reacted as if she had just jabbed a cattle prodder into that beak looking thing that might have been its mouth.
“...You’ve been spying on us. No. That’s impossible, our operation is secure, it’s… there’s just no way that…”
Tala mentally fist pumped. It was a stab in the dark, but not much of one. Sucrystals were a staple food for hivers.
“Yeah… about that.”
She took a deep breath.
“I hate to be the one to tell you this, but since I’m in danger now, it’s enough of an emergency for me to reveal it… the truth is…”
She quickly glanced side to side furtively, as if afraid to be overheard and leaned in.
The hiver leaned in too, in on the secret, enraptured, hypnotised.
“...the truth is that everyone has been spying on you. Not your organisation… you in particular.”
She murmured her words, letting her voice drop to a whisper.
The hiver didn’t even realise the danger it was in, they never could once they started listening.
“Do you believe in duty?”
She asked it.
“I… Yes”
“Do you have faith in the gangboss?”
“I do.”
“Are you proud of what you have accomplished?”
“I… I am!”
“Do you think everyone is like you? Everyone in the universe?”
“What? No! Of course not! They are all worms! They move as if already dead! Living for nothing! Only I have the will to make change! Only I can-”
“You’ve very interesting you know.”
“I uh… thank you?”
It seemed off balance. Hivers probably weren’t used to compliments.
“That’s why everyone wants to watch you.”
She whispered, living up to her species’ nickname.
“Since you were very young… everyone has been watching you. Watching your quest, watching you climb the ranks of your gang, watching you fight. We cheer when you win, we weep when you lose. But you don’t often lose do you?”
The hiver didn’t respond. It was unnaturally still.
“So we love to watch you. Us humans, the upper hivers… even your own people.”
Don’t lose nerve… don’t lose nerve.
Tala tilted her head slowly, watching the hiver turn to match her movements, probably without realising it.
In the distance, she was hearing the beat of approaching footsteps on hard metal. Judging from the dim light and the ceiling, she could guess she was somewhere in the depths of the hive, she must have been unconscious for a while. She wondered where the other diplomats were.
“Watching… me?”
Tala leaned in even closer, so did the hiver. She was more or less whispering directly into its face at this point.
“You haven’t seen the cameras? The secret walls that are just illusions, with recording crews behind them? You’ve never wondered at the odd behaviour of one of your hive mates? Almost like it was… an actor?”
The hiver gasped. It came out somewhat like a sob coming from the creature’s beak.
“My hivemates… aren’t real? They were acting? Then… then the lower section hive master, when it spoke to me, when it-”
“Gave you favour?”
Tala guessed, casting out her line again.
“...You knew?”
It asked, its own voice going quiet.
“They don't want me telling you this, but I saw it, we all did. It was a beautiful moment… even if the hive master was just pretending. Even if, like everything else in your life, it was just a lie…”
The footsteps reached a crescendo right as Tala hit the word ‘just’ and she barely managed to reach the end of ‘lie’ before the biggest hiver she had ever seen burst screaming through a bulkhead door at the end of a corridor in the corner of Tala’s vision, sprinted over to her and slapped something over her mouth, silencing her voice.
“Noooo! What did she say? No, don’t tell me that. Did you listen? Did she whisper to you?!”
Tala leaned back against the metal wall, thinking about what it must have looked like to the newcomer.
It had lost radio contact after learning that no one had gagged the human, then when it had sprinted to where she was being held what did it see? The human leaning in close to its hivemate… whispering.
“Tarraf? Tarraf talk to me!”
The hiver Tala had been whispering to, Tarraf, had been still as a statue, leaning in as if still listening. Its hivemate shook it from its revere.
“Alsalaf… You’re here.”
It said.
Alsalaf seemed to deflate.
“You’re… You’re OK. Thank the undergod. I reached you in time… You fool!”
Alsalaf was holding the smaller hiver in its claws, shaking it for emphasis.
“Have you never heard the stories? Why do you think they are called the whispering race?! Don’t you ever-”
“Lie.”
Said Tarraf.
“What?”
“It’s a lie… it’s all a lie.”
“No...”
Soft despair in Alsalaf's voice.
“Stop pretending Alsalaf… if that really is your name.”
“Please no.”
Tala was starting to feel genuinely guilty. The older hiver seemed truly distraught.
“Tarraf… you.”
“LET ME OUT!”
Tarraf broke free of its hivemate and ran for the opposite wall.
“It’s here isn’t it!? The fake wall! I know you’re there, I know you’re watching, do you hear me? Stop hiding! I will find you! I WILL GET OUT!”
Tarraf started smashing at the wall with its claws, cracking its own exoskeleton and spraying blue blood across the wall.
Two more hivers joined them in the room while Tala and Alsalaf watched the hiver fall deeper into the delusion Tala had painted for it.
“Boss, what…?”
“Tarraf is gone.”
Alsalaf grasped Tala by her jacket and hauled her over its shoulder in one movements. She landed on her stomach and gasped for air, winded.
“Tarraf was careless, now they have whispering madness… put them down, its the most merciful thing we can do.”
The clang of footsteps and the rising tones of the distant underhive around Tala were interrupted only once while she was carried through the labyrinth of the hive.
A single gunshot echoed throughout the metal walls.




This is set in the same universe as the second ever story I made on this subreddit.

Link to my Wiki
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