• Published 17th Jul 2017
  • 3,938 Views, 829 Comments

An Exercise In Management - Nameless Narrator



A simple drone "accidentally" failed to leave the Badlands hive for the invasion to Canterlot. He was only two weeks old, one of the clutch specifically created to break through the protective shield. Now starving, he's just trying to survive.

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2: Onwards to the closest tunnel instead!

“Ow ow ow ow ow-”

Limping across the rocky floors of the changeling hive isn’t fun.

“-ow ow ow ow ow.”

My growling stomach isn’t helping.

“I could have been ammo, it’s not the best, but it’s still a career. Maybe I would have hit some soft part of that shield, crashed through, and landed on a pony, but nooooo. Some asshole warrior just HAD to close his eyes for a second while flying and now this.”

“Damn, what’s with my hoof? I wish I had some connection to the hive mind. Knowledge of basic medicine would come in handy right now.”

“Huh, it’s reeeeeally quiet. It’s never been this quiet. Am I really completely alone?”

The only light in here is some bioluminescent green goop on the walls. I think we make it… somehow. That’s one bad thing about reliance on the hive mind - I can’t recall anything important now that I really need it.

“Hmph, the skylights are too high to reach without wings. Come to think of it, I’ve never gone outside via the main entrance. Wait, why do we even have a ground entrance when we can fly? I mean, this way it can be easily used by ponies trying to infiltrate the hive for some strange reason.”

“On the other hoof, why would anyone want to come here anyway…? There’s nothing interesting around. I guess we’re not great at building design either. Anyway, which tunnel to take, the dingy dark one or one of the other ten dingy dark ones?”

“The dark and dingy one it is.”

Several caverns later, there’s a changeling silhouette sitting by a glowy blob at the entrance of yet another tunnel. Shockingly, a dingy and dark one.

“...old chitin husk maybe?”

It turns around, revealing itself not only as alive, but as a drone.

“Oh, hello!”

“Uhh, hi. What are you doing here? I thought everyone flew off.”

“My wings don’t work properly for some reason, so when everyone else left I stayed here. I tried waving my forelegs really hard, but I couldn’t fly. I think it’s because of all the holes.”

“You don’t have wings.”

“Oh, that would make sense.”

“You’re… not bothered by that?”

“Not really. I was a bit when it all went quiet, but I wasn’t scared at all because the queen told me to be a strong and brave drone so that I don’t go splat against the shield too easily.”

“So you’ve been just sitting here for last half an hour?”

“I didn’t want to wander around because I was really hungry.”

“That makes two of us. Hey, what’s your number?”

“Uhh, a lot? It started with three and there were a bunch of other numbers after it.”

The drone waves its hoof five times.

“Three and five more? Great, I outrank you!”

“Cool!”

“Wait, really? You’re not like mad because you can’t order me to transfer what little love I have stored to you?”

“We can do that?”

“How old are you?”

“Three days. the others told me I was really important because I would be in the first wave when the invasion comes.”

“...note to self - bash the nearest high-tier changeling’s head with a rock...”

“I can’t hear you too well if you mutter to yourself like that. My ears kind of ring since a warrior smacked me for not flying up fast enough.”

“But… you don’t have wings.”

“Well that answers why I didn’t fly up fast enough.”

“And he hit you even when he knew that.”

“Yeah, he even had an old pony spear. It was all rusty and jagged. A piece of it broke off when it hit my head. I still have it. It’s so cool!”

The drone reverently presents a short, rotting stick.

“It’s all mine, but… you can have it since you’re a lower number. Those are the rules, right? Uhh, can I at least look at it sometimes? I mean, it was something that was mine at some point. That counts for something.”

“You’ve never owned anything, did you? Come to think of it, neither did-”

“I used to have a really round rock, but I traded it with another drone for a piece of shiny goop when I was sent down to the hatchery to bring some eggs. It melted yesterday.”

“Uhm, well, I… you know what? You can keep the stick- spear bit. It’s yours. If anyone tries to take it away by force, poke them with it.”

“THANK YOU!”

So happy because I didn’t take away its broken stick. If it- he, let's say the drone is a he despite the lack of any characteristics, ever pokes anyone with it, it’ll just crumble anyway.

“I just can’t say no to the lifeless blue puppy eyes. Wait, give me the sti- spear for a moment. I promise I’ll give it back.”

With the bit of wood reluctantly handed to me, I scoop some glowing goo off the wall and give it back to the drone.

“Now you have a glowy spear bit.”

“OH MY GOSH! You are the best, boss!”

“Boss?”

“You’re a lower number, and there’s no one else around, so you’re in charge. If you want me to sit here I’ll sit as hard as I can.”

Yes, you can sit here until your love runs out and you leave nothing but a chitin shell. I’m pretty sure no one will care even if they return.

“You know… my foreleg is hurt, so if you want you can come with me and cast some light on the floor.”

“How do I do that? No one taught me how to magic.”

Not the smartest one, but neither am I. I doubt the higher-ups needed us to be.

“Just shove that wood in some empty hole-”

Nom!

“-not your mouth, leg hole. Good, that’ll do. Now you won’t drop it again if you need to talk and walk at the same time.”

“You’re a genius! Makes sense you got into the high ranks.”

“Alright, now walk in front of me so that I can limp at least a bit safely.”

“Alright, boss.”

My stomach growls louder.

“Damn it, it hurts even worse than before.”

“Are you okay, boss?”

“...weak...”

*Thud!*

“Boss? Boss! BOSS!”

Why does the rocky ground feel so soft now?

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