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 ~
Ch 13 ~ Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~
"How was this allowed to happen?"
There was no answer to his question, but then Dr. Arjun hadn't really expected one. He frowned at the men and woman standing before him. Fools, the lot of them. When they moved the compound five years ago he thought he'd gotten rid of any superfluous staff members at the same time he culled the seeders who were no longer needed. Leaving the bodies behind and then blowing up the old compound had been a stroke of genius as far as he was concerned. Apparently he should have waited long enough to add a few more.
"Bad enough we have an unsanctioned breeding on our hands, but to have wind cross with earth? This is unacceptable! There is nothing salvageable from this union."
The two breeding attendants and two instructors fidgeted as they stood in front of him.
"Surely security -"
"Do not try and blame my security staff. You," he glared at the instructors, "clearly did not instruct your students on their proper duty. Such a thing should never have entered their minds. And you two," he turned his attention to the attendants. "You previously held positions as dorm monitors did you not?"
The man and woman shifted their feet. "Yes sir."
"Did you at any time have cause to believe the two in question were forming an attachment?"
They looked at each other, then back at him. "No sir."
One of the instructors, figuring he had nothing to lose, spoke up. "I wonder sir . . ." His words dried up under the force of Arjun's glare. He gulped audibly.
"You were saying?"
"I just . . . that is . . . I thought . . ." he took a deep breath. "Are we really doing this new generation of breeding stock any favours by having them suppress their sexual feelings? I'm not suggesting they be allowed to form attachments, but wouldn't the breedings go easier if they were allowed to feel their natural desires? The sexual act without feelings is just so . . . clinical."
The other instructor made as though to stop him, but he was ignored. "This new generation of seeders is --"
"Your opinion is duly noted. But we are not here to discuss policy. We are here to investigate an unsanctioned breeding. Can anyone tell me the power levels of the two in question?"
One of the attendants held up his hand. "They're both level Two, sir."
"That makes their punishment much easier. You are dismissed."
Dr. Arjun waited until the door closed before opening a com channel. "Cullen, I need to see you in my office."
"Right away, sir."
While he waited for his head of security to arrive, he flipped through the files of his remaining staff members, checking to see if there were others that needed purging.
"You wanted to see me sir?"
He looked up as the brawny form filled his doorway. "I have a job for you Cullen, a mess for you to clean up." He passed over six files. "Make sure these four are removed discreetly, and these two," he separated out the two files marked with red. "Make it appear as though these two are being taken outside of the compound."
"Yes sir," Cullen said, taking the files. "The usual method of disposal?"
"No sense in changing a system that works, so yes."
"Very good sir."
Cullen nodded respectfully, then turned on his heel and left to fulfill his duty.
Dr. Arjun allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction. There were many advantages to having a volcano at your disposal.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Kairavini . . .
Ravi was sitting at his computer terminal, doing research. Nereida? What's the matter?
Why do you always assume that something's the matter?
Because we hardly ever talk these days unless there's a problem.
I'm sorry, brother.
No, I'm the one who's sorry. It's just . . . natural, I guess. We both have such different roles in the Program.
I think it has something to do with men and women being so different. There was a burst of mental laughter.
Ravi smiled. That's certainly true. Now, what has you so upset?
I just heard about Akash and Yuri.
Akash is a friend of yours, isn't she? Wind, I believe.
And Yuri was Earth.
Was, you mean something happened to him?
Something happened to them both. Akash has loved Yuri since they were children. She wanted him to be her first breeding experience.
Feelings are for humans, Ravi said automatically, mind reeling.
They got caught. They were banished from the compound.
Banished? Are you sure?
Yes, I saw them as they were being taken towards the entrance.
I wonder . . . Ravi mused.
I wonder if they were banished for an unsanctioned breeding, or for being in love?