So…Here is a story inspired by that terrifying Ant Encounter last night (Inspiration comes from the strangest places and when you least expect it) The Animals in this story are not Humanimals…They are kind of similar to TMNT Mutants as they were brought about by toxic waste (The plot of their origin is kind of more similar to Toxic Avenger but anyway, this was actually based on a plot idea I had many years ago when I was middle school age, I had an idea for an environmental story about Ants keeping all the other animals in a concentration camp on a dying Earth, I never wrote anything down back then but then last year, as I was searching for something else entirely on YouTube I find a Trailer for new series of children's fantasy novels by one Mr. Eliot Schrefer called The Lost Rainforest starring a five man band of animals Native to the South American rain forest and the Trailer introduces the villain as 'The Ant Queen' who wishes to kill all the other animals so Ants could rule and immediately I felt Déjà vu, like so many concepts I put in my stories end in things I see later, the Aves being an Alien Race that is bonded permanently to the first ones they mate with being in, James Cameron's Avatar, and the idea of Belladonna, while her body was doomed by a genetic disorder but her mind could be saved by being transferred to a Humanimal body (Albeit an embryo in Belladonna's story not a full grown adult) being the plot for Selfless (Minus the Humanimal part) I feel like my imagination is the equivalent of a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters. But anyway I hope you like this encore,
In another dimension with an Earth similar to ours in some ways but different in so many others, a world where the toxic waste humans left caused animals to mutate human-like levels of intelligence and varying levels of other human-like traits like hands with opposable thumbs, bipedalism and vocal cords capable of utterances like human speech, with these new abilities the animals rose up against their human oppressors and destroyed them!
After the last human was slain, it seemed like a new era of peace and prosperity for the animals, or it would have been if it wasn't for the Ants. The Ants hated the other animals but they hated the vertebrates most of all and because of this particular hatred for animals with backbones, the ants struck a deal with the other insects, the other insect species would be vassals to the Ants and they would enslave all the vertebrates! Of course for the Ants this was meant to be a temporary alliance, soon the Ants would have all other species under their tiny exoskelontoned heels! (Wait, do Ants have heels? Hmmmm) See the Ants' strength lay in their hive minds, greater than the Bees and Wasps and rivaled only by the Termites, after gaining human-like intelligence these hive minds developed immense psychic strength! Their ability for a million bodies to act with one mind was something none of the other animals had any defense against…
The vertebrates never stood a chance, they were quickly enslaved in various 'Queendoms' ruled by a single Ant Queen (But all Ant Queens secretly worked in concert for the advancement of all Ant Kind) with various other insects as the overseers, their tiny bodies augmented with strange and terrifying weapons the Ants had crafted for Them.
(Heh, heh 'Them' classic movie reference)
For many years the vertebrates toiled, laboring in fields and orchards to grow crops for the Insect Overlords and of course the Ants wanted more than just vegetation, certain vertebrates were chosen to be set aside to be fed and grow fat and they became the meat for the Ants' meals!
Of course this wasn't Animal Farm, the vertebrates weren't as naïve as the common animals but also the Ants weren't as tactful as the swine, the Ants were so confident in their own abilities and that their own alliance with the other insects was enough that they felt no need to utilize the 'slow boil' method and to lie to the vertebrates about what they were doing simply were like 'We're taking over and you just have to deal with it' Also so great was their hatred of the vertebrates that they wanted the backboned animals to be terrified and to have no hope, little did they know this would spell their downfall for prey evolves in response to its predator.
Because the Ants were telepaths and were able to hear the waking thoughts of other animals, which was handy for quashing any rebellion before it could begin, in response the vertebrates developed the ability to share each other's dreams by sleeping with their heads touching, for no telepath can penetrate the chaos that is the sleeping mind, thus the vertebrates were able to communicate in their dreams and the insects didn't suspect a thing!
Our story truly begins in the Queendom of Ant-Queen A-66 (Ants prefer numbers over names, what did you think she would be Marie Ant-toinette, heh heh I'll show myself out) Anyway A-66's territory was the former human metropolis of New York City, the entire Manhattan island had become one giant Ant Hive, with enormous vines keeping the giant skyscrapers in place. The other boroughs of New York were converted to farms/slave compounds for the other animals.
Because of the multiple zoos in New York at the time of the Animal Uprising, just about any animal you could think of could be found in A-66's Queendom.
The Vertebrate Elders of every Queendom had been trying to find a way they could defeat the Ants, the Elders had been searching their dreams for years, finally they came to a terrible conclusion,
"The only Animal that can defeat the Ants is a Human Being." The Vertebrate Elders of every Queendom communicated to their followers in their Dreams. "Only a Human is smart enough to outwit the Ants."
The younger vertebrates then lamented they were truly doomed, for the last human had been slain years ago by their ancestors.
"On this world yes…" Said the Elders "…But we have scanned the cosmos in our dreams and we have learned there is more than one world with creatures like us including humans…"
In New York City, in a building dedicated to science experiments was an experimental portal to other dimensions, they needed some brave young vertebrate to travel through the portal, find some humans and bring them back to this world to defeat those ants! But who among them was brave enough for such a task?
Unfortunately for the vertebrates the question boiled down to not 'Who was brave enough' but 'Who could even have the access to the portal?' So for the vertebrates of A-66's Queendom their hope lay in some young vertebrates who served the Ants of the Science Building.
As the Ants' society developed and they began re-activating the technology of man, they soon realized they need slaves for more than just farming food, they needed slaves to cook, clean the Ants' houses and to serve food and drinks to the Ants
(Fortunately there were no 'sex slaves' or anything erotic like dancing girls, not only because the vertebrates would crush the still tiny Ants, but the Ants found the vertebrates so disgusting they would never dream of mating with them!)
So it boiled down to the vertebrates who served the Ants of the science building, there were different slaves for both the day shift and the night shift, nocturnal animals would replace the diurnal ones as they returned to the slave compounds to sleep, at dawn the nocturnal animals would to the compounds to sleep.
One who took the night shift was Ellie, a tiny Barbados Thread Snake 'The Subtlest Beast in the Field' she had devised a way to disguise her scent from the Ants by rubbing vinegar all over her body, she was also able to disguise her thoughts from the Ants telepathy by the Art of the 'Death Trance' a serpentine craft her Grandmother taught her. Ellie was sure she would be able to find the portal and bring back some humans to fight those Ants!
One night after serving the Ants their supper, Ellie stripped off her white tunic while in the pantry, doused her body with vinegar and slipped to a part of the building that had been sealed off…
While the Ant Queen in The Lost Rainforest is much larger than her subjects (She's described as being as large as a buffalo) Time will tell if the Ant Queens are any larger than normal, Also while thinking of what species the protagonist would be, in the end the only logical conclusion I could come to was Snake, I think one of my influences was that Animorphs game boy game that was terrible Pokémon rip off and I could never beat the first level in that first level it is required you become a Snake to be able to slip through a crack in the wall to enter the zoo, also I had to think of some way around the Ants' telepathy and a Snake seemed a natural fit, as the mythological symbolism of Snakes and immortality, the belief that Snakes never died and when they shed their skin it was a new snake being born.