This is a post in the series of adventures of Harry, the famous ant. You will find my other posts if you click on the tag harryant.
As Harry marched on towards his base along with his team after the successful quest, memories from his days of rigorous training flashed across his mind. Every moment at Antza was an experience, there were mantors (mentors for ant cadets at Antza) all around you placing a (kind but) strict eye on everything you did and immediately rectifying the mistake. The unstated dictum was “your life and that of your society depends on your learning”. Any uncorrected mistake could risk not just the cadet’s life but the entire community to which the cadet eventually would get into. “Professional competence” was attributed the highest regard and importance at Antza.
There were tests on multiple levels and aspects throughout the day – ability to take sharp turns, ability to read trails left by other cadets, ability to stay on the quest and so on. But the biggest and the most important test was for something that Antza called “Anscent”. This was the ability to very swiftly share information to as many ants as possible, especially the information that mattered – food & threats. The “anscent” was a difficult test.
Every cadet was sent into an arena in multiple directions with a quest, to find an object. Also at the beginning of the quest every cadet was shared information(clues) that will help the other cadets discover their own quest. The cadet has to pass on this information he carries to as many other cadets as possible. The winner had to complete the quest in quickest time, but also by sharing information to other ants. This was a test of strength, memory, deliberate sharing and swiftness. The winner was not just someone who found his own game quickly, but also the one who shared most information to other cadets participating in the quest.
The arena had a radius of roughly 1.5 meters and the cadets had half a day to complete the goal, dodging attacks by predators and other unforeseen calamities. Harry figured out that the design of this game was beautiful – to win this game, you have to meet as many ants as possible and share your information, but in doing so, you should also get the information you need about your quest. The quicker you shared, the quicker you learnt and the chances of finding your own game enhanced as well. The biggest challenge that cadets in this test faced was the unknown threats that they have to go through and only by letting go of their inner fears & inhibitions could they reach out to each other quickly to share and learn. The victory depended on your ability to make as many other cadets as you can, win, by giving them clues to their own victory (game).
Harry, being a dist-ant, was not just fearless but also selfless. He braved covering the arena quickly and emerged the winner most of the times. The times when he did lose it was because some unforeseen calamity – strong gust of wind carrying blank sheets of flat substance (“humans called them torn pieces of paper”, Harry learnt later) or flakes of dust hitting him suddenly. But it only made him more resolute and tougher.
Learning & sharing and making others win – Harry smiled at himself as he watched his team march alongside to the base with tired expressions mixed with pride and respect.