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Trace and Greg

by ArctiWolf


It had been a little while since Trace had initially shown up on Doug's front door. Since then he had almost become one of the family. He had adjusted well to this life. At first, he treated their requests like taking orders from a superior. Always coming to attention at the slightest demand.

Over time Trace had learned how to treat others more like equals. It was a bit of an odd feeling. Even in his squadron days, Trace had always been a superior officer or a subordinate. The whole idea of being on the same level as someone was still new to him. However, Trace did find that his personality was more geared toward same rank interactions.

Doug and Clover had been slowly preparing Trace to go out in search of his colony. Trace always felt nagging guilt during those times. He still did not have the courage to tell Doug the truth about how he was not truly a lost ant. Trace had no idea what Doug would think of him after discovering the truth.

So Trace went along with it, what else could he do? Telling Doug the truth would be an immense break of trust and Trace's biggest fear was letting Doug down. He couldn't bear the thought of making a permanent rift between them. Doug was his first real friend and though Trace enjoyed Clover's company it just wasn't the same.

Even as Trace was thinking these thoughts, Clover was making preparations for his leave. He wanted to tell them everything, but what if they made him leave anyway? This made Trace feel more depressed than ever and he resigned himself to the fact that he was leaving no matter what. It was just best to leave them without betraying their trust.

.

.

.

Everything happened so quickly, the goodbyes, the promises to return in the future. Trace didn't truly come back to his senses until he was halfway down the fence post with his pack of nectar-covered sun-dried leaf pieces. By the time he had made it to the ground, regret hit him like a raindrop, hard, fast, and cold. There was nothing he could do to change it now.

Trace had decided from the very beginning that if he left Doug's place he would head for the humans' shelter. He had heard from sugar ants that there were lots to be had there. It wasn't like he could stay in the garden, not without staying away for quite some time anyway. The locals would ask too many questions.

A plan was already forming in Trace's mind as he walked. He would cross the garden, take a rarely used ant tunnel to go underneath the Rocky Desert, and reach the humans' shelter by nightfall. He was unsure of what he would do after that. But it didn't matter, he'd figure it out when he got there.

.

.

.

The trek to the humans' shelter had been uneventful and rather boring, much to Trace's disappointment. Humans' on the other hand were never boring though, and he had heard that many species of insects secretly lived in their shelters. After snacking on a small nectar-covered leaf piece, Trace proceeded to climb up to a cracked window and crawl through it.

He landed on cold slick stone and nearly fell into a nice big puddle next to it. Walking on the surface was like walking on ice and he nearly fell over the edge multiple times. Thankfully he soon found a stick angled against the surface he was walking on and was able to climb down it. Trace found it quite odd that it had grass attached to the end of it.

The ground below was not as slick and had seams that ran in straight lines. Finally, Trace made it around a corner and found something very familiar looking ahead of him. It looked similar to grass but wasn't. Its texture was completely different and none of it looked edible.

Trace wandered around aimlessly, he had all night to figure out where to hide for the day. It was very tempting to hide behind a table leg and catch a nice nap. He took stalk of his surroundings first though. There was a big rectangle that left a crack underneath it, there was a table beside it. Trace also noticed that there was a dent in the wall where the table leg stood.

It was just big enough for him and very protected. Trace couldn't help but try the spot and found it very comfy. He decided to take a short rest there unsure of when he would be able to catch another. This was foreign territory, he needed to scope it out, but a little rest wouldn't hurt anything. Trace's antennae kept drifting down, closer and closer to his face until they were completely still.

.

.

.

When Trace woke up he was unsure of how much time had passed and had to peek out of his little crevice and look at the window. He was shocked to find out that it was moon high. Trace incredulously thought to himself how that was probably the longest nap he had ever had in his life! It did help that he hadn't been able to catch a nap all day.

Trace stretched and pulled his pack together. It had taken him a while just to learn how to sleep for the last few hours of the night. Only queen ants slept for long periods and even those lasted only 6 minutes. Trace took on some worker ant habits and was used to only taking 1-minute naps. He hadn't run on a day-night cycle and instead took 250 of those 1-minute naps over the course of 24 hours.

Things were different now and Trace had to force himself to adjust to the new sleep schedule. The fact that some insects slept at night was still a revolutionary concept to him and he wasn't sure if he would ever adjust.

Trace took a moment to take in his surroundings and was glad he did. Not far away from the door was a spider two of them actually. The one closest to him was a male jumping spider about his size. In a fight, Trace would have won easily. The other spider, however, was at least three times his size in the abdomen, and Trace's only chance would have been if his squad was backing him.

Choosing between fighting and keeping cover, Trace thought that keeping cover was the most logical solution. He couldn't take on two opponents and even if the jumping spider had been on Trace's side it looked rather defenseless. The bigger spider laughed and Trace noticed a look of fearful recognition in the smaller spider's eyes. Anger bubbled up in Trace, the spider furthest away from him was the resident bully and Trace couldn't stand bullies.

The thing that angered Trace the most was that even if he was added to the equation he would be of no help. The jumping spider raced under the crack in the door with the larger spider hot in pursuit. With the two spiders out of the way, Trace decided to head for the top floor. He'd heard most insects lived there.

.

.

.

After making his way into the attic, Trace walked straight into a spider's web. He'd always hatted the webs spiders wove, they were practically invisible and very sticky. At least the spider wasn't home yet. Trace struggled, which only got him more entangled. Frustrated, he tried to cut himself loose, which only got his jaws stuck to the web.

Trace jumped as an unfamiliar voice cried with horror. He could hear it fretting as it freed him. Trace was surprised once more as he recognized it was the jumping spider from earlier. The poor spider told Trace his name was Greg and incessantly fretted over him until Trace forced him to stop. He was fine and would just have to take some me time to get all the sticky off.

Greg stared at Trace a little while longer like he didn't really believe Trace was okay, before going up into his web. Trace on the other hand retreated to a corner behind Greg's web to start cleaning himself off. Trace decided that Greg wasn't too bad, after all, he had freed Trace and managed to get himself out of quite a pickle. It was final, Trace was going to stick around for a bit.


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Fri Jun 25, 2021 11:20 am
KateHardy wrote a review...



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

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Ahh...well, so we come to the end of Trace's backstory...this was certainly a pretty fun read here as well, it managed to explain all those little loose ends from earlier...all in all, this has been a really fun series of stories here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

It had been a little while since Trace had initially shown up on Doug's front door. Since then he had almost become one of the family. He had adjusted well to this life. At first, he treated their requests like taking orders from a superior. Always coming to attention at the slightest demand.


Okayy...looks like we have a bit of a timeskip here to him having managed to get use to living with the bees. This should certainly be interesting to see how he goes from here to living with Greg.

Over time Trace had learned how to treat others more like equals. It was a bit of an odd feeling. Even in his squadron days, Trace had always been a superior officer or a subordinate. The whole idea of being on the same level as someone was still new to him. However, Trace did find that his personality was more geared toward same rank interactions.


Oooh, that's a really interesting detail again from his backstory, as a soldier he certainly would've only been exposed to that sort of interaction through his life so him learning to be with people are his equals is a nice touch here.

Doug and Clover had been slowly preparing Trace to go out in search of his colony. Trace always felt nagging guilt during those times. He still did not have the courage to tell Doug the truth about how he was not truly a lost ant. Trace had no idea what Doug would think of him after discovering the truth.


Oh wow, that has definitely progressed quite a bit there....with the bees actually preparing an expedition to get him back home, one hand it shows how helpful those two are...and on the other it looks like Trace is going to find himself in a tight spot because of that lie pretty soon now.

So Trace went along with it, what else could he do? Telling Doug the truth would be an immense break of trust and Trace's biggest fear was letting Doug down. He couldn't bear the thought of making a permanent rift between them. Doug was his first real friend and though Trace enjoyed Clover's company it just wasn't the same.


Well, this does a wonderful job showing the friendship between the two of them as it develops here, it looks like the two of them are already pretty good friends here.

Even as Trace was thinking these thoughts, Clover was making preparations for his leave. He wanted to tell them everything, but what if they made him leave anyway? This made Trace feel more depressed than ever and he resigned himself to the fact that he was leaving no matter what. It was just best to leave them without betraying their trust.


Well this is heading towards a very intriguing scene here...I have a feeling this is how he ends up having to leave and then runs into Greg.

Everything happened so quickly, the goodbyes, the promises to return in the future. Trace didn't truly come back to his senses until he was halfway down the fence post with his pack of nectar-covered sun-dried leaf pieces. By the time he had made it to the ground, regret hit him like a raindrop, hard, fast, and cold. There was nothing he could do to change it now.


Aww...well...the poor guy has to carry through with his plan there....well, I suppose now along this journey somewhere he's going to end up running into Greg....hmm...should be interesting to see if Trace tells Greg the truth here.

Trace had decided from the very beginning that if he left Doug's place he would head for the humans' shelter. He had heard from sugar ants that there were lots to be had there. It wasn't like he could stay in the garden, not without staying away for quite some time anyway. The locals would ask too many questions.


Oooh, so there we go, he's off towards the place where Trace resides...also I love the concept of him going to what is essentially something like another country in the insect world to lay low and let things die down for him...its a wonderful concept.

A plan was already forming in Trace's mind as he walked. He would cross the garden, take a rarely used ant tunnel to go underneath the Rocky Desert, and reach the humans' shelter by nightfall. Trace was unsure of what he would do after that. But it didn't matter, he'd figure it out when he got there.


Ahh, well, that's about the best plan you can come up with in a situation as uncertain as things are for Trace at the moment.

The trek to the humans' shelter had been uneventful and rather boring, much to Trace's disappointment. Humans' on the other hand were never boring though, and he had heard that many species of insects secretly lived in their shelters. After snacking on a small nectar-covered leaf piece, Trace proceeded to climb up to a cracked window and crawl through it.


Well, that's a first, the epic journey away from his new shelter ends up being a boring one..xD...I was expecting some excitement, but on the other hand I do love how this shows he picked his route pretty darn well there.

He landed on cold slick stone and nearly fell into a nice big puddle next to it. Walking on the surface was like walking on ice and he nearly fell over the edge multiple times. Thankfully he soon found a stick angled against the surface he was walking on and was able to climb down it. Trace found it quite odd that it had grass attached to the end of it.


Oooh, well there's a little challenge that our ant friend had to overcome...I do love how he's reacting to seeing all these new things.

The ground below was not as slick and had seams that ran in straight lines. Finally, Trace made it around a corner and found something very familiar looking ahead of him. It looked similar to grass but wasn't. Its texture was completely different and none of it looked edible.


AHh...this description continues to be amazing, how you showcase this typical things that we human run into everyday as these brand new massive territories for Trace here.

Trace wandered around aimlessly, he had all night to figure out where to hide for the day. It was very tempting to hide behind a table leg and catch a nice nap. Trace took stalk of his surroundings first though. There was a big rectangle that left a crack underneath it, there was a table beside it. Trace also noticed that there was a dent in the wall where the table leg stood.

It was just big enough for him and very protected. Trace couldn't help but try the spot and found it very comfy. He decided to take a short rest there unsure of when he would be able to catch another. This was foreign territory, he needed to scope it out, but a little rest wouldn't hurt anything. Trace's antennae kept drifting down, closer and closer to his face until they were completely still.


Hmm...well hopefully nothing bad happens to him as he lies down to take a rest there...I love how he manages to take a look around like the proper soldier that he is but eventually has to get some rest after what must have been a pretty long journey for an ant to be making.

When Trace woke up he was unsure of how much time had passed and had to peek out of his little crevice and look at the window. He was shocked to find out that it was moon high. Trace incredulously thought to himself how that was probably the longest nap he had ever had in his life! It did help that he hadn't been able to catch a nap all day.


Hmm....well I've never thought of ants actually sleeping so, well this should be some interesting information here to see how him sleeping what could've only been a few hours as the longest nap he's ever taken.

Trace stretched and pulled his pack together. It had taken him a while just to learn how to sleep for the last few hours of the night. Only queen ants slept for long periods and even those lasted only 6 minutes. Trace took on some worker ant habits and was used to only taking 1-minute naps. He hadn't run on a day-night cycle and instead took 250 of those 1-minute naps over the course of 24 hours.


Oooh...well that is some really awesome information, I've no idea if this is actually true or something you've made up but uhh...well it sounds legit to me..xD

Things were different now and Trace had to force himself to adjust to the new sleep schedule. The fact that some insects slept at night was still a revolutionary concept to Trace and he wasn't sure if he would ever adjust.


Well...sleeping at normal human times is certainly a revolutionary concept...

Trace took a moment to take in his surroundings and was glad he did. Not far away from the door was a spider two of them actually. The one closest to him was a male jumping spider about his size. In a fight, Trace would have won easily. The other spider, however, was at least three times his size in the abdomen, and Trace's only chance would have been if his squad was backing him.


Oh dear...well, that must be a scary sight for the poor thing there...just two massive spiders right in front of his temporary hidey hole in a very strange place he's never been to.

Choosing between fighting and keeping cover, Trace thought that keeping cover was the most logical solution. He couldn't take on two opponents and even if the jumping spider had been on Trace's side it looked rather defenseless. The bigger spider laughed and Trace noticed a look of fearful recognition in the smaller spider's eyes. Anger bubbled up in Trace, the spider furthest away from him was the resident bully and Trace couldn't stand bullies.


Oooh...Trace going with the smartest option there although I have a feeling that the fact that Trace is reacting the way he is with the talk of bullies suggests Trace is about to do something here besides hiding away.

The thing that angered Trace the most was that even if he was added to the equation he would be of no help. The jumping spider raced under the crack in the door with the larger spider hot in pursuit. With the two spiders out of the way, Trace decided to head for the top floor. He'd heard most insects lived there.


Hmm, well, he survived that situation and he's off for potentially safe spots there...let's see how that works out for him.

After making his way into the attic Trace walked straight into a spider's web. He'd always hatted the webs spiders wove, they were practically invisible and very sticky. At least the spider wasn't home yet. Trace struggled, which only got him more entangled. Frustrated, he tried to cut himself loose, which only got his jaws stuck to the web.


Oh dear...that's a big nope there...getting out of a spider's web when you're the size of Trace is going to be pretty much impossible, after all the spiders do pretty much design it that way.

Trace jumped as an unfamiliar voice cried with horror. He could hear it fretting as it freed him. Trace was surprised once more as he recognized it was the jumping spider from earlier. The poor spider told Trace his name was Greg and incessantly fretted over him until Trace forced him to stop. He was fine and would just have to take some me time to get all the sticky off.


Oooh, alright, Greg seems to immediately try and help Trace with no hesitation whatsoever there...well that certainly tells you a lot about the sort of character that Greg is here.

Greg stared at Trace a little while longer like he didn't really believe Trace was okay, before going up into his web. Trace on the other hand retreated to a corner behind Greg's web to start cleaning himself off. Trace decided that Greg wasn't too bad, after all, he had freed Trace and managed to get himself out of quite a pickle. It was final, Trace was going to stick around for a bit.


And that was the start of a beautiful friendship....:D

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, well, a pretty decent end to this backstory here, although I do wonder if Trace ever did get around to revealing the truth to Doug between what happens here and the part where the Greg and Trace go back over there...I was hoping there's be more of a resolution to that here but now I wonder if that is still to come. :D

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

Stay Safe
Harry




ArctiWolf says...


Those ants' sleep facts are all legit. They just take shifts so it looks like they're always awake.



KateHardy says...


Oooh...that's so cool. :D



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Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:10 am
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi ArctiWolf,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

I'm glad to read the continuation of my favourite ant. (I never thought I would write this :D). Hm, I have the impression that this text is different from your previous ones. You spent the first half dealing heavily with Trace and his emotional world. I didn't think we could see that deep into his head. I like this step you're taking. It works positively for his character and also the lack of gaps and secrets in his past. I would say right now that Trace has a much bigger and more interesting personality than Greg.

You also manage to build up a clear difference to Greg and his adventures. You manage to make these two characters so different that even personification is difficult (which is good) and you build that differently in your writing. That self-reflection Trace had in the first half was unexpected and good. It gives a perfect balance to the many moments where Trace is alone and on the move.

I also love how Trace's route is now moving towards the house and he meets Greg after leaving with Doug. I like that change because in a way it also represents his seclusion. In summary, I can really say that you positively surprised me with this part! :D

From a technical point of view, there's not much to say. I would just try, especially in moments where Trace is alone, not to use his name all the time, since he is alone, or try to write these sentences a bit more dynamically (maybe with a passive voice), so that the repeated sentence structure is not always readable.

Other points that struck me:

Since then he had almost become one of the family. He had adjusted well to this life. At first, he treated their requests like taking orders from a superior. Always coming to attention at the slightest demand.
Over time Trace had learned how to treat others more like equals.

I like how you start the section with one sentence and then go into more detail about how Trace came to look at his friends/family today. That's a good approach!

However, Trace did find that his personality was more geared towards same rank interactions.

I find this kind of self-reflection well described. It has a neutral effect on the reader and he can form his own opinion whether this is good or bad.

So Trace went along with it, what else could he do? Telling Doug the truth would be an immense break of trust and Trace's biggest fear was letting Doug down.

This feeling is understandable. This conflict that Trace has, you have staged well here.

By the time he had made it to the ground, regret hit him like a raindrop, hard, fast, and cold.

A really great description!

He hadn't run on a day-night cycle and instead took 250 of those 1-minute naps over the course of 24 hours.

If this is really the case with ants, I am amazed.

After making his way into the attic Trace walked straight into a spider's web.

There is a comma after "into the attic".

It was final, Trace was going to stick around for a bit.

I like the way you finish your story here.

Overall it was a nice story with a great dynamic between the inside world and the outside world of Trace.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




ArctiWolf says...


Ants actually run exactly the way I described. As I learn more about certain insects behaviors I am able to flesh them out more.



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Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:53 pm
dissonance wrote a review...



Ah I'm back for this!

There's an interesting dynamic happening between Trace and Doug I think. The sentence " At first, he treated their requests like taking orders from a superior" is really drawing me in because that kind of power imbalance is something that could change a lot of the plot for better or for worse depending on how you write it. I'm not a fan of relationships between characters being like that unless it's a work setting with a mean boss or something like that, but I do see why that would be how the characters would act.

Then, the dynamic kind of shifts into another kind of respect. Both kinds really fit the personality we met in Trace from the last review I did for you, because I mentioned there that he acted as a figure of empathy and general kindness. I could bring that into the relationship with Doug that is happening as well, as both of them could be seen as someone who cares for others and whatever their situation is.

You can see it in the sentence of "Everything happened so quickly, the goodbyes, the promises to return in the future" because of the last part. The amount of time that has passed isn't much, but it has been enough for a friendship or sorts to form. I say "or sorts" because I'm not exactly sure of what would be considered a friendship based on trust or a friendship based on the basic needs Trace has.

Now, let's not forget the actual conflict of what happened last time we met these characters and the situations that sprouted from everything there.

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.


I wish there was more about all of this because of how you worded it before. Even though that was a separate story with another type of plot, this is the same universe with the same characters. I don't believe anyone's motives have changed since then because the time this takes place matches the previous story quite well. The only major conflict here is a spiderweb, which is interesting, but it forgets everything that has already happened before and I'm sure Trace wouldn't have forgotten that.

That's all I have to say about this! Great work!

Cheers!




ArctiWolf says...


Oh, Trace hasn't forgotten and neither have I. All will be revealed soon enough



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Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:11 pm
ArctiWolf says...






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Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:11 pm
ArctiWolf says...







Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.
— Leonardo da Vinci