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Trace Finds Help

by ArctiWolf


I'm back with a new Trace update.

This is part two of mission A Background for Trace.

Trace, a newly-retired fire ant major, was making good time. He continued despite being saddened by the fact that all the locals were afraid of him. The former major had a leg up with his size advantage, venom, and ability to kill any one of them, but still. Trace often found it positive that he wouldn't have to slow down for others; although, he would have gladly done so.

The sun would be out for a while still, but Trace didn't want to slow down. Every minute was precious. However, this would be required in a few short moments. He was not oblivious to the fact that a medium-sized ladybug had lodged herself in his way. Trace knew ladybugs weren't stupid, they were actually extremely intelligent.

When Trace was just a young larva, a ladybug had made a nice stink near his home nest and disturbed the queen's pheromone control over her workers. It had injured his pheromone receptors somehow and allowed him to think freely most of the time. He owed his freedom, if not his life, to a ladybug.

He felt a bit sympathetic for the ladybug he was approaching. Trace could see in color, but ladybugs only see in black, greys, and white. Their sense of smell and touch tended to amend for that and made them formidable opponents. This one would have been no exception, but Trace wasn't interested in any fights. That wasn't his style anyway. He typically tried to negotiate and persuade before resorting to force.

When Trace reached the ladybug, she went into a defensive posture, as he had expected. He backed up two steps and went to walk around, but she blocked him. This happened several times until Trace sat down in defeat. This surprised the ladybug tremendously and she seemed to loosen up a little bit.

Trace asked her if he could walk by, but she said she required information about him and where he was going. Trace, wanting to not cause a fight and waste more time, consented; however, thinking it would be too embarrassing, he didn't tell her the entire story. He told her that his name was Trace and that he had gotten separated from his colony. The ladybug gave him a quizzical look. It was obvious that she found it rather unbelievable that he had gotten separated from his colony.

Trace ignored this and continued that he was just looking for shelter and saw a carpenter bee heading towards the fence not to long ago. The ladybug gave him a knowing look before telling him that he wasn't like the typical fire ants that roamed certain parts of the garden. Trace felt very much relieved by this.

The ladybug gave him directions and hastily added that her name was Poka. Trace gave a small nod and told her that he hoped that this first meeting would be the start of a great friendship. Poka agreed and sent him on his way.

With directions, it was easy to find the home of the carpenter bee. Well, there were technically two of them according to Poka, but Trace didn't really care. His jaws weren't serrated like regular worker ants so he hadn't been able to have food all day.

.

.

.

By the time Trace got to the fence post he felt almost utterly exhausted. He chastised himself for starting to give up hope and started making his way up the fence post. Trace almost fell off several times, the last one being particularly dangerous due to the amount of air between him and the ground. Then he saw the hole. He was almost there!

Trace heaved himself over the edge of the hole. Then he crawled into the hole a little bit to make sure he didn't fall. The next thing Tace knew the ground beneath him had disappeared and he was half sliding, half tumbling down a very steep slope. Then everything went black.

.

.

.

When Trace awoke, the space around him was almost completely dark. He could feel the stickiness of nectar around his jaw, a great thing for a bee to try and revive an ant with. Trace instinctively looked around for the giver of the kindness he had just received. He heard voices in the distance, an argument between the two individuals that lived there.

It did not surprise Trace that the argument revolved around him. He was pretty dangerous to most insects due to his size and venom, not to mention his intimidating jaws. Trace was starting to get the feeling that the bees felt like they had everything under control. Which was a good thing for him, it meant he could talk them down.

The buzzing grew closer and Trace shifted himself into a more comfortable upright position. It wasn't a threatening stance as he was on the ground and vulnerable. When the first carpenter bee arrived, he stated that his name was Doug in a rather raspy voice. Doug said he needed to ask some questions, to which Trace complied. When Doug asked why Trace was all alone, Trace replied that he had gotten separated from his colony.

Doug was apparently more gullible or just had more reasons to think that an ant would simply get stranded from his colony. Whatever the case, Trace was simply glad that Doug seemed less defensive. He also felt rather guilty that he was lying to everyone about why he didn't have a colony. A half-truth was just as bad as a lie, and Trace knew it would catch up to him sooner or later. He just hoped it would be later rather than sooner.


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Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:42 am
HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm baaack for another review!!

First Impression: Well, this was a another lovely story here in what I've come to call the insectoverse at this point..xD...there's so many now. I'd say another lovely addition to this backstory saga of sorts...well ya know the drill..more details below. :D

Anyway let's get right to it,

Trace, a newly-retired fire ant major, was making good time. He continued despite being saddened by the fact that all the locals were afraid of him. The former major had a leg up with his size advantage, venom, and ability to kill any one of them, but still. Trace often found it positive that he wouldn't have to slow down for others; although, he would have gladly done so.


Hmm, well looks like Trace is going through some pretty confusing thoughts there, on one hand he loves the ability to navigate but also doesn't like how everything is afraid of him there.

The sun would be out for a while still, but Trace didn't want to slow down. Every minute was precious. However, this would be required in a few short moments. He was not oblivious to the fact that a medium-sized ladybug had lodged herself in his way. Trace knew ladybugs weren't stupid, they were actually extremely intelligent.


Hmm..oooh...could this be the ladybug that we already know...we certainly have met a ladybug before...

When Trace was just a young larva, a ladybug had made a nice stink near his home nest and disturbed the queen's pheromone control over her workers. It had injured his pheromone receptors somehow and allowed him to think freely most of the time. He owed his freedom, if not his life, to a ladybug.


Oooh...well, that's a lovely bit of backstory there...I love how beautifully that manages to tie that up there. I didn't even realize that could be a potential loose end there...but you managed to capture that really nicely here.

He felt a bit sympathetic for the ladybug he was approaching. Trace could see in color, but ladybugs only see in black, greys, and white. Their sense of smell and touch tended to amend for that and made them formidable opponents. This one would have been no exception, but Trace wasn't interested in any fights. That wasn't his style anyway. He typically tried to negotiate and persuade before resorting to force.


Hmm, that seems like a pretty good policy to have in general there...Trace's character has always been super likeable but I'm glad we're seeing even more of it in this little bit of backstory here.

When Trace reached the ladybug, she went into a defensive posture, as he had expected. He backed up two steps and went to walk around, but she blocked him. This happened several times until Trace sat down in defeat. This surprised the ladybug tremendously and she seemed to loosen up a little bit.


Okayy...well that was a fun scene to imagine there...Trace just trying to mind his own business, the ladybug thinking Trace was going to attack, its almost comical there, cause it looks like both of them there wanted to avoid potential conflict but couldn't move past until Trace finally just gave in and sat down.

Trace asked her if he could walk by, but she said she required information about him and where he was going. Trace, wanting to not cause a fight and waste more time, consented; however, thinking it would be too embarrassing, he didn't tell her the entire story. He told her that his name was Trace and that he had gotten separated from his colony. The ladybug gave him a quizzical look. It was obvious that she found it rather unbelievable that he had gotten separated from his colony.


Well...that goes to show how rare a situation like that one might be...and well, it definitely is understandable to see how Trace might be a bit embarrassed to admit that to everyone there.

Trace ignored this and continued that he was just looking for shelter and saw a carpenter bee heading towards the fence not to long ago. The ladybug gave him a knowing look before telling him that he wasn't like the typical fire ants that roamed certain parts of the garden. Trace felt very much relieved by this.


Okay...I have a feeling that particular carpenter bee too, this is all slowly starting to come together nicely with connecting towards the original stories here. :D I just really love the worldbuilding here in these stories. You've managed to create a wonderful world out of just this garden.

The ladybug gave him directions and hastily added that her name was Poka. Trace gave a small nod and told her that he hoped that this first meeting would be the start of a great friendship. Poka agreed and sent him on his way.

With directions, it was easy to find the home of the carpenter bee. Well, there were technically two of them according to Poka, but Trace didn't really care. His jaws weren't serrated like regular worker ants so he hadn't been able to have food all day.


Ooooh....it is indeed Poka...woohoo...we're having everything connect up nicely here...and I suppose its Doug that we're talking about here as the carpenter bee, this should be a lovely little first meeting here.

By the time Trace got to the fence post he felt almost utterly exhausted. He chastised himself for starting to give up hope and started making his way up the fence post. Trace almost fell off several times, the last one being particularly dangerous due to the amount of air between him and the ground. Then he saw the hole. He was almost there!


Oooh, ahh once again we get to see how things that we as humans barely even think about could actually be seen on the side of the ants there...hmm....I know I've said this hundreds of times before, but I have to say it again, I really love the way you've built up this story here. :D

Trace heaved himself over the edge of the hole. Then he crawled into the hole a little bit to make sure he didn't fall. The next thing Tace knew the ground beneath him had disappeared and he was half sliding, half tumbling down a very steep slope. Then everything went black.


Oh dear...that must have hurt there...

When Trace awoke, the space around him was almost completely dark. He could feel the stickiness of nectar around his jaw, a great thing for a bee to try and revive an ant with. Trace instinctively looked around for the giver of the kindness he had just received. He heard voices in the distance, an argument between the two individuals that lived there.


Well, that's probably to be expected there...I assume that its one bee helping Trace out and the other one arguing about why that's a terrible idea...at any rate, this is a pretty neat transition here between the fade to black and this.

It did not surprise Trace that the argument revolved around him. He was pretty dangerous to most insects due to his size and venom, not to mention his intimidating jaws. Trace was starting to get the feeling that the bees felt like they had everything under control. Which was a good thing for him, it meant he could talk them down.


Hm, well, he's going to have every single bit of negotiating experience and knowledge that he has on surviving this situation here.

The buzzing grew closer and Trace shifted himself into a more comfortable upright position. It wasn't a threatening stance as he was on the ground and vulnerable. When the first carpenter bee arrived, he stated that his name was Doug in a rather raspy voice. Doug said he needed to ask some questions, to which Trace complied. When Doug asked why Trace was all alone, Trace replied that he had gotten separated from his colony.


Ooooh....ol' Doug it is...its so awesome to see these relationships as they from, Trace's backstory really manages to link all of this stuff together really well here. I'm really loving this series of shorts so far.

Doug was apparently more gullible or just had more reasons to think that an ant would simply get stranded from his colony. Whatever the case, Trace was simply glad that Doug seemed less defensive. He also felt rather guilty that he was lying to everyone about why he didn't have a colony. A half-truth was just as bad as a lie, and Trace knew it would catch up to him sooner or later. He just hoped it would be later rather than sooner.


Oooh, and that's a fun way to end that. A bit of a moral dilemma like that can always make things pretty interesting especially when in this case it makes perfect sense for Trace to act like this despite knowing this is something wrong that can come back to haunt him later.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, another lovely story here, pretty neat spot to end on too, I'm excited to see how this concludes over in the next story to come. This is really starting to come together nicely. :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:00 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi ArctiWolf,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

Let's start right away, I like that you keep your style of limiting the story to as little dialogue as possible, or as in this case, none at all. This again gives the text that feeling of being a parable or a fairy tale, which is very appropriate for the writing style and I like it.

I also like that you get some new information in this chapter about Trace, but also about Poka, who has already been in Greg's story. It's a great connection you make here. It also gives more depth to the world you create.

You continue to keep this unassuming and naïve world together and connect it well to various situations that readers can relate to. I think what I like most about your stories is that they can teach the reader something indirectly.

What I would like to say as a short criticism here is that the story is a bit lacking in plot. It looks more like an in-between chapter, one stage to the next where it continues, but from a plot point of view, I felt like you could have easily added some more points in there. Nevertheless, I found the story very refreshing and also funny in a way.

Some points I noticed while reading:

You wrote a good introduction in terms of context, but there are still some things you could change there. From the sound of it, it's a bit bumpy to read and a quick rewrite would improve that. :D

Trace was familiar with ladybugs, one had made a nice stink near his home nest and disturbed the queen's pheromone control over her workers when he was just a larva.

You create with the first half here a repetition of the previous section, where I'm not sure it's necessary to write here again that Trace knows about ladybugs. But it's a good situation to bring in here, and give a little background info of Trace's childhood.

That wasn't his style anyway. He typically tried to negotiate and persuade before resorting to force.

I like how you reaffirm here that Trace is, despite everything, a human major. (or is it a bug-ish major in the context here? :D) I really like Trace because he´s so well written in these points, without sounding too much of being a hero.

In summary, it was a great story. I think Trace as a character is very well developed and you always add new information as well to make it refreshing and entertaining.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




ArctiWolf says...


Major is an ant size and a human rank. Double meanings are awesome.



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Wed Jun 23, 2021 1:59 am
MayCupcake wrote a review...



Hey, ArctiWolf!
Here's a review for you today!

Trace, a now-retired fire ant major, was making good time. Though it made him sad that all the locals were afraid of him. It made sense with his size advantage and venom he could kill any one of them, but still. Trace supposed the upside to that was that he didn't have to slow down for them. Although he would have gladly done so.


1) I liked what you established in this first paragraph, but it was a little rough to read with the dependent clauses standing alone. -->
Trace, a newly-retired fire ant major, was making good time. He continued despite being saddened by the fact that all the locals were afraid of him. The former major had a leg up with his size advantage, venom, and ability to kill any one of them, but still. Trace often found it positive that he wouldn't have to slow down for others; although, he would have gladly done so.

Trace was familiar with ladybugs, one had made a nice stink near his home nest and disturbed the queen's pheromone control over her workers when he was just a larva. It had injured his pheromone receptors somehow and allowed him to think freely most of the time. He owed his freedom, if not his life, to a ladybug.


2) I thought this quick look into Trace's backstory was interesting. He's able to think independently, but in a sort of glitchy kind of way in and out of the colony's group think (and all thanks to a smelly ladybug! lol).

When Trace reached the ladybug(,) she went into a defensive posture as he had expected.


3) Just a quick fix! I moved the comma from before "as" to after "ladybug" due to the dependent clause at the beginning of the sentence.

Trace, not wanting to cause a fight and waste more time consented but didn't tell her the entire story, thinking it to be too embarrassing.


4) I placed a comma at the end of "consented" and replaced the "but" with a semicolon and "however,". I did this because the sentence felt a little long with all the ideas trying to be expressed. I also moved the participle phrase, since in your sentence it was modifying "story" and stories don't think lol. -->
Trace, wanting to not cause a fight and waste more time, consented; however, thinking it would be too embarrassing, he didn't tell her the entire story.

Trace ignored this and continued that he was just looking for shelter and had seen a carpenter bee head towards the fence. The ladybug gave him a knowing look before telling him that he wasn't like the typical fire ants that roamed certain parts of the garden. Trace felt very much relieved by this.


5) I feel like the story could benefit from some dialogue here and there to give more life and a little less telling the reader!

The ladybug gave him directions and hastily added that her name was Poka.


Aww, such a cute name. Poka, like polka-dot O. O I don't think I've ever heard that name for a ladybug and it's perfect!

Anyways, nice short story and I enjoyed reading! Take what you will from this and keep on writing!




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Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:32 am
chikara wrote a review...



Hey there ArctiWolf!

Since I didn't read the first part of this mentioned in the beginning, please take anything I say about plotline and pacing with a grain of salt. I'm going into this blind, so the first thing I assume is that I have missed some kind of essential information.

With that said, let's get into the review! I'll be using the story template.

My first impression is that this is a cute lil story. Trace is an interesting character because he represents a gentle giant type of trope, because everyone is afraid of him. It bothers him, of course, but he still tries to be kind to everyone. That's a cool perspective to write from someone who is usually seen as the bad guy because of something uncontrollable like species, even when they are one of the nicest people around.

Trace is really a figure of innocence, I think. The fact he cares about the ladybugs and other people so much is endearing. It also creates a feeling where you want good things to happen for him while still maintaining a thought of "what's his fatal flaw," which is a pretty important thing for balancing good and evil essentially when making a character. Now, finding that flaw for him is kind of hard because of what is placed onto him.

Maybe that overpowering innocence is his flaw? It can damage him because of how much he trusts people he doesn't know. It can affect other people around him if his actions are too welcoming to someone who is arguably a bad person. It can change his own view of the world if someone so terrible were to hurt his feelings. All of these are situations that can happen with someone like him to maintain some relatability.

Maybe he has another type of flaw? He was shown to lie to people and not care about how it could be drawn back to him, which is weird to me. That's a pretty major event to happen here, especially with that small yet very important change in his overall character. As he saw someone who acted in a similar manner to him before, an unexpected shift kind of happened and I'm not really sure if you meant for it to occur quickly like this.

Overall, like I said before, cute story!

Cheers!





Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
— G.K. Chesterton