Children of Prosperity (Part 2)

Cairn’s Log 4/14/2222: The fourth wave of young hybrids was born yesterday. 24 of that number have older siblings who recently began an integrated schooling. Their primary education on numerals and language is taught by human instructors, while the Alk take them on little expeditions to show them their home world. Miss Sonja, the head mistress arrived a day early for our first progress meeting. Her eyes stared down at the table between us, her hands clenched to point of redness.
“I… I can’t…they aren’t like the children I taught back on Earth.”
“What are you saying?”
“They’re so... introverted. Even when I’m staring right into those eyes and they look straight back at me, its like I’m talking to myself!”
“Well, perhaps….”
“And that’s not all. Yesterday Proteus slapped a toy out of Delina’s hand , without a word of warning. I reprimanded him immediately, but he wouldn’t apologize or say anything. Even Stevens had trouble making that little brat oblige.”
“Sonja there’s one in every class, I’ll make sure Stevens reins him in.”
“You don’t understand; Proteus isn’t alone! All the boys are quiet like that, and the girls won’t talk unless I call on them. They just push and hit like animals.”
I had other things to attend to and I reassured her that the first months would be the most difficult; she just needed to bring them out of their collective shell.

Cairn’s Log 8/26/2228: We made an integration breakthrough yesterday; the crystal technology was retrofitted into a smaller ships’ control mechanism. Pilots need only think it and the craft will do it. The day was almost perfect if not for Sonja’s pestering about the children’s aptitude test scores. Only Proteus scored at the 49th percentile, the rest were depressingly lower. Her near constant griping has led to a petering off of new births among interspecies couples; it seems as if the number of hybrids is reaching a threshold at 1100. Today I had a talk with Sallkir, Sonia’s counterpart among the Alk:
“The young half-breeds are imbalanced, they do not see like the Alk do. Their zeal for the hunt is far greater than any Alk. They break so many crystals in their attempts to manipulate them with their minds; I have only seen three succeed to a small degree.”
“What is your recommendation?”
He only looked at me, his pupils were pensive slits.

Cairn’s Log 7/30/2231: Today Proteus along with a platoon of younger Alk partook in a rite of passage. Proteus, at the top of his class, is the only hybrid whom Sallkir deemed worthy for such an undertaking. They were given tiny crystals to manipulate into what the Alk call a “soul piece.” One by one the small children expanded, shaped, and molded wondrous sculptures, never lifting a finger. Most hybrids at the assembly snickered but a few of the older ones held an unmistakable look of derision. At last came Proteus, his eyes glared with intensity at the small shard, as if he hoped to intimidate it into submission. Gradually it grew long and jagged. Proteus was shaking with exertion as his final mental push refined the roughness into a javelin. A twisting, malevolent, spire tainted either side; Proteus raised it up to the tune of chanting hybrids. Stevens’ smile was beaming until he caught his son’s piercing gaze.





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