This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!
Prologue ~ Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~
“This is the third time a potential has gone into premature tespiro at the beginning of classes on breeding. What have you to say for yourself?”
The boys from his class would have been astonished at the way the instructor shook when confronted with the full wrath of Dr. Arjun. “I assure you doctor, it had nothing to do with the lessons. I’d barely got started when the boy took ill.”
Dr. Arjun paced back and forth along one end of the small conference room. At the other end the teaching staff huddled in a group and several feet ahead of them stood the instructor Arjun was chastising.
“So you claim it’s just co-incidence. That the hormone imbalance of these pubescent boys has nothing to do with it?”
“No! That is . . . I—”
“And how is it that so many of the students were caught off guard by what was happening? I have a report from the infirmary that one boy had to be fully sedated.”
“What happened there was—”
“I don’t care what happened. I care that the incident may have impeded the boy’s future as a breeder.”
The instructor took a tiny step backwards.
“Bah! I should get rid of the lot of you.”
Dr. Arjun continued to pace while the teaching staff continued to sweat it out. Finally he turned to address the entire group. “Here’s what I’ve decided. There will be no more lessons regarding the breeding program to pre-tespiro groups. Until they’ve passed tespiro safely we have no idea as to how fully they’ll be participating anyway.”
The instructors murmured their agreement.
“I want weekly reports from all of you. If you see anything that could be a trigger for early onset tespiro, no matter how trivial it may seem, I want to hear about it immediately. Now get out of here. All of you.”
It was almost comical, the way the instructors jammed the door in their haste to leave. The instructor who’d been the focus of Arjun’s anger breathed a sigh of relief as he crossed the threshold and shut the door quietly behind him. It was times like these he really regretted staying with the compound when it moved. What good was the money he was making if he couldn’t stop into a bar to buy a drink?
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Much to Zephyrin’s disappointment, the lessons on breeding were postponed until the advanced classes, while more intense classes in surviving tespiro were added.
“I wonder what the percentage rate is for survival of tespiro,” Nereida said idylly at mid-meal one day soon after the incident. So far they’d still been allowed to have meals together, a small consolation for the twins.
“73.662 per cent,” Zephyrin said promptly.
The four others at the table stared at him.
“What? I did an independent study on it last term.”
“Why would you do that?” Akash asked with a shiver. “Personally, I’d rather not know the odds of surviving.”
“I think those odds are pretty good,” Yuri told her.
“Easy for you to say,” Nereida told him. “You’re earth. Everybody knows earth is the most likely to survive tespiro.”
“Really?” Akash asked her. “I didn’t know that.”
“That’s because you pay even less attention in class than Ravi does. What do you think Ravi? Ravi?”
Ravi blinked as his sister poked him in the side. “The odds didn’t help Sior much, did they? And he was earth. I think if it’s going to happen it’ll happen and there’s no sense dwelling on it.”
Zephyrin and Nereida looked at him in surprise. Akash just shrugged and picked up her tray to leave, Yuri following her.
Are you all right? Nereida asked.
Well you’re not acting fine.
Just leave me alone.
I’m sorry, I guess I’m just in a bad mood. He rubbed his forehead.
Okay, I’ll leave you alone for now. But we’ll talk later, okay?
“Have you seen the way he looks at her?” Nereida asked Zephyrin in a whisper.
“They way who looks at who?”
“The way Yuri looks at Akash, silly.”
“But he’s earth and she’s wind,” he protested.
“Doesn’t seem to matter to them that they’re not the same element.”
“Even if it doesn’t they should still know better than to form attachments.”
“Sometimes knowing something doesn’t make it any easier,” Nereida said.