It was rare for the three of them to be seen anywhere, much less at our monthly meeting at the Department of Health. Maybe there was an outbreak of some new disease.
“We have a priority matter to discuss today, so we’ll skip the reports from each division.” Kaneko said, sounding more nervous than usual. “One week ago, six members of the Spider Wasp colony, who the researchers at the Lotus Farms rely on for sample collection, were attacked by an unknown party. Two of the six have perished from the poison arrows.”
People began to mutter. Not because they thought this was some huge event. They were wondering why the deaths of a few queerats was the most important topic in the meeting.
“At present, none of the exosp…queerats have been given permission to wage war, and there are no applications pending review. So this attack was a flagrant disregard for the law and grounds for disciplinary action. Two representatives from the exospecies are waiting in another room to give testimony so we can decide on the proper punishment. Before that, it will help if everyone is familiarized with the current power balance of the exospecies. Saki Watanabe, if you please.”
“Yes.” I stood up a little tensely. I went over to the whiteboard and turned to bow to the room. This was originally Mr. Watabiki’s job, but I knew more about the queerats than anyone else at the moment. “After a number of shifts in the last ten years, the various exospecies colonies in the Kanto area have settled into two factions of roughly equal power.” I drew a line down the whiteboard with my cantus and created a rough chart. Even though I was writing with cantus, my handwriting unfortunately still looked like chicken scratch.
“The first is the Giant Hornet faction. The Giant Hornets themselves have about a hundred thousand soldiers. The colonies under them are the Paper Wasp, Spider Wasp, Wood Ant, Ground Beetle, Tiger Beetle, Carrion Beetle, Praying Mantis, Dragonfly, Giant Stag Beetle, Diving Beetle, Cricket, Cone-headed Katydid, and Cave Cricket colonies. Altogether, they have about five hundred thousand warriors. They have proven extremely loyal to humans and are entrusted with important physical labor.”
“May I ask a question?” Shisei Kaburagi raised a hand. Although his hairline had begun to recede a little, he still looked as imposing as ever in his black sunglasses.