Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ants Marching

Some of the gray-suited and nondescript workers in the office buildings of the City aren’t as bland as they seem. Some of them, tireless behind typewriters or stacks of papers, aren’t just inhuman in their work ethic--but plain inhuman.

These insectoid ultraterrestrials in human disguise are called formians for their resemblance in appearance and social structure to terrestrial ants. Born from flaws of chaos amid the reality mechanisms of Machina, the formians live much like earthly ants on their home plane. Tunneling through the astral understructure, the foraging scouts of the formians found the Prime Material Plane and soon the nuptial flights followed.  Colonies were formed.

The ordered layout of modern buildings appealed to them. Their antennae attuned to the the frequencies of the eikone Management, the formians easily adapted to bureaucracy and regimentedness of office work. Their forms changed to accomodate to their new surroundings; only these with magical sight can perceive them as anything other than somewhat odd humans. Those in close proximity for extended periods, may notice a faint but distinct, vinegary smell.

The formians live in the etheric space coincident and between buildings. Generally, they are not threats to their human co-workers--except that their increasing numbers take more and more jobs, until whole offices are staffed by formians. One should be extremely careful in the basements or boiler rooms of such buildings. Formians will react violently if they feel improper deference is shown their queen, even inadvertently.

Art by Jason Godbout.

16 comments:

Beedo said...

They Live! This is fantastically weird and creepy.

Jasper Polane said...

I always liked formians. I love your creepy take on them.

The Happy Whisk said...

Another good post, you writer, you. And I like that you gave me a smell.

Well done. Hope you have a groovy day. I'm on a light work week so it's coupons and the couch for me.

Cheers and boogie boogie.

The Angry Lurker said...

Nice one but I think I've met some.....

garrisonjames said...

Nice! Definitely need Roddy Piper to show up now. These guys make great middle managers. Um yeah. You need to fill out the yellow form...

Sean Robson said...

Inspired! I love the idea of formian office workers with their antennae tuned to the eikones. Now we just need some special sunglasses to see them as they really are.

And bubble-gum. Don't forget the bubble-gum.

Trey said...

Thanks guys. It's funny, but I didn't think about They Live! until Beedo mentioned it. The primary inspiration was a NPR story I heard months back about ants forming larger than previously seen colonies within the structure of skyscrapers. Combined that with the formians, and I got this.

Harald said...

I bloody knew it! I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few colonies hidden in government bureaucracy even on our own plane.

Trey said...

I could believe I work with some of them.

Anathemata said...

Amazing work. I think I'll rip this one off and have a few government bureaucracies on my planet Varth run entirely by bugmen. Forms-in-triplicate never seemed so sinister.

Trey said...

Rip away. :)

The Grumpy Celt said...

They remind me of the beetle people from novel Perdido Street Station. But that might just be the image.

Trey said...

The picture does look a bit Khepra-like--except they all have female bodies.

Justin S. Davis said...

So, have more militant formians taken over the military...?

Trey said...

Ooh. Goood though, Justin!

Needles said...

Very Kafka man! Very nicely done!