The drone that I had yet to name had circled around the small hatchery space several times in confusion, their face scrunched up in a mixture of annoyance and frustration. A few eggs had come close to hatching, though it was only a matter of time before they fully gathered the strength to break through their cocoon. As this was happening, I was observing the single white drone that had hatched with curiosity. Perhaps this one was supposed to be the Caretaker advisor? That would explain why it was pacing around so much and its frustration with what was going on right now... or it could just mean that the drone thought that being a Caretaker was it's purpose. Regardless, seeing my drone so agitated was upsetting me. While they were distracted I maneuvered myself around the edge of the hatchery to stand alongside them, causing the drone to be startled.
"M-my queen! I apologize, I didn't know you were walking this way." They blurted, moving away from me and bowing. Their head was nearly to the ground; horn level with the floor and their eyes closed tightly shut. Were they afraid of me?
"What is wrong, drone?" I asked as softly as I could, using my hoof to lift their head from the ground in order to look into their eyes. "Why do you behave this way?"
The drone tried to avert their eyes from my own, replying in a wavering chitter. "T-there are patches in my mind... things that I should know, but can't remember." They grew more frightened as their eyes focused on me. "I-I don't want to be drained! I can still be useful!"
I lowered my hoof to release them while I thought. Drained? I had seen Queen Chrysalis do that to injured drones in the tunnels, though it occurred to me that it also might be a reason I had never seen a drone with a white carapace. Maybe they were drained as soon as they hatched to save the love for a drone that would know its purpose from the start? I frowned at the thought of doing that to my own drones. There was no need! My friends had always provided more than enough love for myself; enough love to create a hive. I wouldn't need to drain any of my drones, white carapace and faulty memory or not. I pulled the drone closer to me in a hug, causing it to chirp uncomfortably.
"M-my queen?" It asked uncertainly, wiggling in my hold.
"Yes?" I replied, redoubling my hugging efforts. Maybe I was doing it wrong?
"One of the eggs is hatching... and you're crushing me..." It squeaked, and I hastily set it down, brushing off its shell.
"Ah... right. Thank you for letting me know." I replied awkwardly. I would probably have to let me drones know what a hug was before I gave them any. I certainly didn't know anything about them before coming to Earth.
After the momentary awkwardness had been replaced with the anticipation of seeing another egg beginning to hatch, myself and the drone eagerly awaited the changeling we would meet as the small horn of a drone broke through the top of their cocoon. A more standard changeling with a dark grey carapace greeted me, their eyes mirroring my own coloration with a blueish-purple glow. Still not as defined as a Queen's, but that was expected anyway. Their shell was still blue with a white stripe down the center, and they had my own version of wings instead of the holed ones of Chrysalis' hive.
"Queen!" It chirped excitedly, flinging the top of the shell from its head. It then looked to my side and spotted the White changeling. "And... defective?" A look of confusion spread on its face before it looked at its own body in a panic. Seeing it was darkly colored, the drone sighed in relief. Then, it observed the white drone and its proximity to me before it became even more confused. "Why the defective alive?"
The white drone and I shared a look of concern. It motioned for me to lean down and whispered into my ear. "Are you sure I'm the defective one?"
My head raised again and I addressed the newly hatched drone. "What is your role, drone?"
Said drone quickly toppled out of their cocoon and landed on the floor face-first. Before I had a chance to smile, they had righted their stance and stood proudly in front of me. "I am Hive Adviser! I advise on hive!"
I bit my lip. "Ah-huh..."
The adviser then looked to the floor that I had coated in dirsime, and then immediately to the ceiling. "No no-no!" It complained. Completely forgetting that I was present, the Hive adviser began surveying the room making chittering and chirping noises of agitation. "No, not cave! Not underground! All wrong, wrong!"
I tilted my head in confusion, noticing the white drone doing the same.
"Queen!" The adviser shouted from across the chamber, causing a mild echo. "We build outside! Open air! No ventilation here; very hot! Hot is bad for mountain!"
"Oh." I blurted quietly. That would probably help with the issues my friends were having with me... melting everything. Though that brought up another issue. "We can't build outside, Adviser." I called back.
"What!?" They shouted, using their wings to zip over and land directly in front of me. "Why no outside?"
"Ah... danger?" I replied uncertainly. The directness of their speech was throwing me off.
The Hive Adviser then whipped around in search of something and grumbled. "Where Warrior?" It asked, before looking at me, and then the white drone. Pointing, it asked. "They warrior adviser?"
The white drone and I looked to another, shrugging in unison. "I have no idea." The white drone replied.
The Hive Adviser buzzed in annoyance. "Great."
Our attentions were taken by the sounds of another cocoon hatching, and the three of us moved quickly to the edge of the hatchery once more. One of the larger cocoons was hatching now! After a moment, a slightly larger and armored horn pierced its way through the cocoon.
"Ah, that warrior adviser!" The Hive Adviser cheered. "Please no defect!" it added with concern.
I really need to name these drones, I thought Idly. I can see why ponies and humans are so concerned with names now. It makes everything so much simpler to understand.
To my surprise, the top of the cocoon flew away into the air before cracking on the ground some distance away. The drone that had emerged from the goopy insides was heavily armored, looking somewhat close to myself when I had been a proto-queen, minus the regality and... well, ferocity of my previous appearance. Now they looked like a standard drone, albeit larger and with heavier armoring. Their carapace was black instead of the dark grey that my Hive Adviser was given.
"My Queen." The drone buzzed in a deeper register. "I am ready to serve."
"Well, they're very serious." The white drone muttered. This drew a thought of curiosity from me, as they were starting to remind me of my friends. Maybe they were a Human Adviser?
"You! Warrior Adviser, I-" The Hive Adviser blurted out before being interrupted by the Warrior.
"You will speak when the Queen allows it, Adviser." They warned, shooting the other drone a harsh look. The Hive adviser backed away, their wings slightly chittering. The Warrior then looked to me a second time before finally noticing the white drone. "A defective!" They shouted, dropping down and looking ready to pounce.
I moved in front of the white drone just as they moved behind me for shelter. "Stand down, Warrior!" I shouted at them, giving them a mild shock. "Do you not remember what I told all of you as grubs?"
The warrior backed away for a moment, apparently lost in thought. They blinked several times, scratching their head with a hoof. "I..." It muttered.
"All changelings must work together for the good of the hive." I re-stated, hoping to rekindle the memory. "No changeling should look down on another because of their station. If we don't all work together, we will only die alone."
The warrior was struggling for a moment, but soon bowed their head. "Yes, my queen. I apologize for my outburst." they then looked towards the white changeling and asked, "What of the defective?"
"All changelings." I replied sternly.
"Y-yes, my Queen." The warrior bowed.
"Warrior Adviser?" The Hive adviser requested. "Queen need help. Area dangerous, though not know why. Must build outside- open air. No build if danger. You fix danger, yes?"
It took a moment for the warrior to process what the Hive Adviser was even trying to say, though the message was eventually understood. "I will... look into that. As soon as the rest of the warriors hatch, that is."
"Yes!" the Hive Adviser replied. "You make safe, we build hive!" they paused shortly after their finished thought, and looked towards the hatchery again. "Where infiltrator?"
The two drones then looked to the white drone, which also drew my attention. Nervous, the white drone backed away from the group. "I-I don't know!" They replied defensively.
The warrior's eye twitched for a moment before sharing a look of annoyance with the hive adviser.
"This is going to get very confusing, very quickly." I stated, drawing their attentions.
"What do you refer to, my Queen?" The warrior asked.
"What wrong?" asked the Hive adviser in simpler wording.
"I can't continue to call all of you 'The Hive Adviser' or "the Warrior Adviser' in my head all day long. I'm going to be in charge of perhaps thousands of drones, all with different personalities and roles within the hive. At the very least I can give names to my advisers; maybe the other drones can give themselves names..." I hummed in thought.
"Y-you name us?" The hive adviser chittered excitedly, looking to the warrior adviser with a smile.
"Do you know what that implies, my Queen?" The warrior asked before being nudged harshly by the Hive adviser.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"N-nothing." The warrior blurted at a poor attempt in lying. At the moment, however, I was more concerned with what to even call them. Maybe my friends would have a better understanding of how to name my changelings? They had given me a name after all, why not my drones as well?
A loud cracking sound came from the hatchery once again, drawing me from my thoughts towards it.
"Again? More adviser?" the hive adviser announced in surprise. "So many!"
The four of us gathered around the outer edge to see where the noise was coming from, and I soon spotted a cocoon towards the bottom of the hatchery with a glowing horn sticking through it. The top lifted off and was set neatly aside, allowing the drone to pull their body to the edge of the cocoon and heave themself out.
"I h-hate goo." They complained, shivering on the ground.
"Eh... maybe not adviser." The Hive Adviser quietly added.
The drone looked around for a bit until it spotted me and flipped itself over quite nimbly. "My queen!" The drone replied in a higher register of chittering. Their carapace was a dark grey, similar to the Hive Adviser, so I knew they weren't 'defective'.
"What is your role, drone?" I asked, my other advisers at my side and the white drone staying behind me, perhaps out of sight.
"I am the Infiltration Adviser, my Queen. Ready to serve!" They chittered happily.
"That explain that, but not defective." the Hive adviser hummed. "We have Hive, Warrior, Infiltrator... oh." They then shared a look with the Warrior adviser as the thought dawned on them as well.
"Whats going on?" The Infiltrator Adviser wondered aloud, flying next to us. "What's wrong?"
The warrior and hive adviser pointed behind me, and I moved to the side to see what was wrong. They were pointing at the white drone.
"A defective?" The infiltrator asked in confusion.
"No, worse." The hive adviser stated.
"A defective Caretaker Adviser." The warrior finished.
Well, that confirms my suspicions at least.