Rogue Queen

by L. Sprague de Camp
Release date: 1951
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction

"When the Rogue Queen wears a crown of light the Golden Couch shall be overthrown; when the gods descend from heaven's height shall the seed be sown."

Worker Iroedh was confused. Though she was a lover of antiquity, she really could put no faith in the Oracle's prophecy. It was true that strange beings, Terrans, had come from beyond the heavens. But these "men" were no gods. Had not she seen them making fools of themselves over a silly thing called "love"? Was this the action of gods?

Certainly no god of the Avtini would carry on like this. Avtini gods would "love" only a Community, with its self-respecting groups of workers and drones and its highly productive Queen.

And as for Queens, no Avtini Queen would go rogue. Only a few mad drones had ever been known to desert the Community. And their lives were the price of this antisocial action.

No, Iroedh could not understand the prophecy and so it must be false. But Iroedh was soon to learn that prophecy has a way of coming true, and that even the most unassuming, antiquarian Worker might be born to rule.

(updated 2017-01-19)

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