“Have you heard from your bee?”
“No, sire, but the hive is buzzing. No doubt the little worker bees will have some information to share soon.”
“Be sure it is so.”
The Emperex left the small room, their cloak floating behind them dramatically. If the Queen Bee hadn’t known it was an artificial flourish, she may have been mildly impressed with their flair. As it stood, however, she was the one who created the mechanism.
The Queen Bee waited a few minutes until the emperex was liked in another wing of the royal district of the ship before she left. Her gait was slow and deliberate, but silent. As she walked she scrolled through communications in her cortical implant, looking for word back from her missing bee. The assassin had been sent nearly a shipboard month previously to take out the leader of a free-trade association that stifled new enterprises. She hadn’t heard back, and neither had any of her hives or queens that she’d placed all over the galaxy. She grumbled. The old superstition came to mind, that a bee could only sting once before it died. She hadn’t sent one of her own to kill in decades for precisely this reason. She usually pollinated dissent, instead. The emperex was clear, this time. Death. Directly. They wanted it tied back to the empire. Well, and it would be, especially if her bee’s body was found. At the cost of her reputation, though.