Cooper’s Press, Smashwords Edition, April 2010

Chapter One: University Lab

Through the office window the sky was starting to lighten and the morning chatter of birds was being joined by the occasional sound of a distant car. The world outside was starting to wake.

Juliet put down her book and lent back in her chair. Suddenly she realised just how tired—tired and hungry—she really was; she had been at her desk for seven straight hours. Not that she was in the habit of working right through the night. Significant though she considered her work to be in the scientific sense, trying to decipher the way in which ants communicate with one another was hardly a matter of life and death. The times when she did work late into the night, as now, it was more a question of becoming completely engrossed in what she was doing rather than any sense of urgency.

Yesterday evening a courier had delivered her a paper written in the mid-sixties by a Professor Makel. He had been doing field research in Namibia that paralleled Juliet’s own efforts, and he had expressed some interesting and very unorthodox views.

Accepted theory was that ants used pheromones, and this was really incontestable, as the evidence was overwhelming and the mechanisms well understood. However, Makel thought that this was only a part of the story and believed he had evidence that proved ants had the ability to communicate when the use of pheromones was blocked. The experimentation he had conducted to support this seemed convincing, but he offered no theories as to how this might be taking place.

Juliet’s own research was based on exactly this assumption, as she also had long felt that there was something else to discover in this area. The existing theory just didn’t cover all the observable behaviour.

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