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 ~
Zepherin slid into the seat beside Ravi, almost vibrating with excitement. “I heard we’re going to learn about seeding a Breeder today,” he whispered.
“Where’d you hear that?”
“You’re not the only one who knows how to find things out,” Zepherin whispered smugly.
The teacher called the class to order. “Now, pay attention. There’s going to be a test on what you learn today at the end of the week.”
There was an audible groan. Ravi craned his neck to see who it was. The noise appeared to have come from Halsey, a potential water elemental a few years older than Ravi. He didn’t look well.
“Humans call it having sex, or making love and invest an emotional interest in the act,” the instructor sneered. “But the truth of the matter is, it’s the simple act of procreation. There are no feelings involved. You will be expected to plant your seed within the Breeder and then leave the breeding room.”
An even louder groan sounded. This time the teacher was unable to ignore it.
“AE-02-63, kindly refrain from making those annoying noises and pay attention.”
“I don’t feel well,” Halsey moaned.
Setting the tablet with his notes down, the teacher approached him. “No, you aren’t well, are you?” He laid the back of his hand briefly on Halsey’s forehead. “You don’t seem to have a fever . . . if anything you’re on the cold side. But you’ve sweated right though your clothing. Perhaps you should go to the infirmary. Do you think you can make it on your own or will you require assistance?”
“I think I’ll need help,” Halsey admitted. He bent over double with another groan, clutching his stomach.
“You,” the teacher pointed at random, “will help AE-02-63 to the infirmary. Don’t dawdle and come straight back here.”
“Yes sir!” the student replied, packing up his books and getting to his feet.
Before he could offer a helping hand, Halsey gave a strangled cry and slid to the floor. Both the student and the teacher backed away as he went into convulsions.
Kairavini, what’s wrong? Nereida asked, feeling his dawning horror along their link. Are you all right?
It’s not me, it’s Halsey.
“Stay back everyone, give him some space,” the teacher ordered. He activated his wrist communicator, summoning a medical team to the classroom.
Tell me what’s happening, Nereida demanded.
He’s sick or something. Kairavini stared, like the rest of the class, in horrid fascination. He started groaning and then he fell to the floor and started shaking. A medical team’s on the way.
Halsey screamed in agony and then seemed to explode outward into a wave of water. The student at the desk beside the aisle got the worst of it, staring in shock at the water dripping off his clothing. All that was left of Halsey was a large puddle of water and his clothing.
He’s gone, Ravi told her. Halsey’s gone. Just vanished into a puddle of water.
After a moment of stunned silence, the classroom erupted into noise. The medical team arrived but all that was left was to administer sedatives to the boys who needed them. The boy with the dripping clothing started screaming and had to be totally tranquilized.
Ravi felt his breakfast threaten to make a reappearance as one of the med-techs used a suction device to suck up what was left of Halsey. One of the med-techs stayed behind, just in case, as the teacher called the class to order.
Are you all right Ravi?
I don’t think so, he answered honestly.
“What you have just witnessed was unfortunate, but tragic though it was, it does happen from time to time.”
“What exactly happened?” someone asked.
“What you have just witnessed was a premature tespiro. AE-02-63 was caught unaware and unprepared. He was unable to control his element and it consumed him.”
“But it happened so fast . . .”
“And as you can see, it was for the best. A proper tespiro can last up to two weeks. Nature has seen fit to make sure those who are not worthy do not have their agony prolonged.”
Ravi shuddered. Halsey had looked like he was in terrible pain. He couldn’t imagine going through that for two weeks.
Nereida, for once, had no words of comfort for him.