Scent as Data in a Beehive

To shield her antennae from the many bruising signals in the air, she walked with her head low. Air currents and electrical pulses from thousands of bees rippled against her, but Flora ignored them all. The pulsing track alone held her focus, clear and simple across the perilously busy lobby, where she had to slow down because of the tempest of data underfoot.

A rush of workers came through in a tumult of scent and Flora lifted her head—then the rhythm of the foot-current drew her on. She trudged past the doorway of a great hall from which came the cheering of many voices, and some vast, foreign scent blew through the air, but the stimulation was too much and she shrank low to the ground to keep going.

She found herself walking in a group of bees who were also carrying pungent loads, and realized one was speaking to her, trying to stop her. Flora looked dully into the dark face of a sanitation worker urgently trying to guide her through a doorway. Flora stepped through and found a clear space on the floor. The simple scent tiles prompted her to lay down the dead Clover’s body, and immediately another worker took it away. Hands pushed her back out into the corridor, where she joined another stream of sanitation workers. They marched in silence with their dark heads lowered, their aspect no longer dirty and vile, their scent a comfort.

There were no chiming bells to mark time in Sanitation, only the differences in the smell of the dirt they cleaned, and the very basic food they ate. There was no chatter or gossip because none of the cleaners could speak, so they derived companionship from laboring together and pressing close to share their scent.

Like the rest of her kin-sisters, Flora worked in a dull haze, interspersed with pauses for Devotion. When the fragrance of the Queen’s Love rose through the vibrating comb, the sanitation workers stopped wherever they were and cried out in slurred reverence, and Flora felt a moment of blissful relief from the constant pain in her head. Then they all went back to work, and her consciousness shrank back down to whatever task was at hand.


Folksonomies: data information communication

/law, govt and politics/legal issues/civil rights (0.501873)
/business and industrial/agriculture and forestry/crops and seed (0.350754)
/style and fashion/beauty/perfume (0.236346)

simple scent tiles (0.948848 (negative:-0.303010)), perilously busy lobby (0.845139 (negative:-0.412288)), Flora (0.808198 (negative:-0.206137)), sanitation workers (0.801778 (negative:-0.427488)), sanitation worker (0.653685 (negative:-0.807315)), bruising signals (0.648877 (negative:-0.299171)), electrical pulses (0.623418 (negative:-0.409796)), Air currents (0.609396 (negative:-0.409796)), pungent loads (0.608664 (neutral:0.000000)), data underfoot (0.598897 (negative:-0.724823)), great hall (0.585830 (positive:0.229518)), blissful relief (0.575640 (negative:-0.434687)), dead Clover (0.574625 (negative:-0.303010)), dull haze (0.573645 (negative:-0.536772)), clear space (0.572101 (positive:0.342594)), Queen’s Love (0.563385 (positive:0.260012)), dark face (0.560321 (negative:-0.807315)), basic food (0.559538 (neutral:0.000000)), constant pain (0.557262 (negative:-0.434687)), dark heads (0.552765 (negative:-0.453893)), doorway (0.447220 (negative:-0.577797)), bees (0.430710 (negative:-0.409796)), tumult (0.376251 (negative:-0.382725)), antennae (0.375631 (negative:-0.299171)), chiming (0.374207 (neutral:0.000000)), Beehive (0.370345 (negative:-0.299171)), cheering (0.369270 (positive:0.229518)), pauses (0.363232 (neutral:0.000000)), stimulation (0.359557 (negative:-0.615600)), reverence (0.358516 (negative:-0.526976))

Flora:Person (0.844359 (negative:-0.360439)), the Queen:FieldTerminology (0.155401 (positive:0.260012))

Odor (0.883027): dbpedia | freebase
Honey (0.793246): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Olfaction (0.769907): freebase | dbpedia
Laborer (0.745075): freebase | dbpedia
The Corridor (0.742279): freebase | dbpedia
The Tempest (0.742263): yago | freebase | dbpedia
Perfume (0.726093): opencyc | freebase | dbpedia
Aroma compound (0.711387): dbpedia | freebase | yago

 The Bees
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Paull, Laline (2014-05-06), The Bees, Harper Collins, Retrieved on 2015-02-22
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: fiction