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Tales of Midbar: Children's Crusade

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In the Malchut universe, magic and even knowledge of it is suppressed. Most humans have been modified in various ways by nanotechnology. Humans have been driven from Earth and hounded across the galaxy but aliens. There are now huge numbers of human refugees, causing serious problems for both aliens and other humans. This is book 5 in this series but doesn't contain spoilers. Among the refugees are a group of children from Midbar. They're not seeking a new home, they're on a quest to get justice (or perhaps revenge) for what happened to their colony. They're going to seek the humans who betrayed them as this is the only way to get justice and hopefully rescue the rest of the colonists. Unfortunately, these traitors are scattered on various planets, moons, asteroids and space stations, requiring the children to get past a variety of immigration controls to get to their targets. Unfortunately, the trauma they've suffered and their delicate ages are going to pose problems. First they need a very special spacecraft controlled by a young princess, but they have to find her!

Scifi / Action
Age Rating:

Welcome to Farsinger Island


I remember my first swimming lesson and I think it was the first time I saw angels flying. My parents took me to the lake, the largest body of water on Midbar. I think everybody, all the colony, was there. It was white day so Alpha was shining red in the sky and the stratalite was shining cyan. Mum’s SABioC dragged me out to where my feet couldn’t touch the bottom as Abigale and Heman circled overhead with their red and black wings outstretched. Mum told me humans float in water and let go of me. I sank. A lot of colors mostly disappeared. I remember looking up with rays of red and cyan light shining down and Mum’s distorted face and the dark, winged shapes of the angels.

On the planet Tempest, an artificial, floating island was being battered by a hurricane while deep below, a stolen starship was following a Leviathan. I was one of five desperate, refugee kids swimming up from the starship to the island, dragging our few belongings behind us. At least I hoped we were going to the island but I wasn’t sure as my sense of direction wasn’t too good after spending a month on a starship that was laying on its side and being used as a submarine. We should have been rising faster than we would on Midbar, or even Earth, due to Tempest’s strong gravity. My mec eye could see infra red but infrared doesn’t travel well through water so could only just about make out my companions. We were all mods but only Naomi had gills and she was a traumatized three-year-old in a body that was fast turning into a teenager and currently an axolotl mer person. I was a mec, but without my SAMeC I was really just a bionic, and could hold my breath for totally ages and even if my bio component died, my mec component could keep swimming for ages. Karen, who was a cat lycanthrope, was rapidly cooling and I was fairly sure she’d drowned really quickly. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that but we were having to drag her with us. Mike seemed to have died as well. He was a fairy and I suspected his wings were slowing us down. I’d said we should remove them before we left but no. Martha, who was a bear lycanthrope, was still going strong, swimming with her large paws but I thought the increased drag from her fur was an issue. Naomi was swimming well but starting to look as if she was panicking. In the last few days, she’d become more distraught and seemed to be seriously doubting our claims that her family, friends and pets were OK and would soon be re-united with her. I had a nasty feeling her anavah powers were kicking in and this would be a really bad time for her to teleport. There were lights above us, or at least in the direction we were going, which seemed to be getting bigger and brighter. That was probably a good sign.

Then I started feeling as if something was vibrating through me. Some of the lights started being blacked out, like some large object was between us and them. Before I could think to do anything, Naomi started thrashing around, clearly frightened, and seemed to be trying to swim back down. The lights came back on but I was fairly sure the object had gone below us, I’d felt turbulence and seen something in IR. Would it keep going? No! Something grabbed the ropes connecting us and started pulling us upward really fast. Not straight up, we veered a bit to one side. Then it became clear there was a large, round, flickering, white light above us. It got bright enough that I could see my friends, and Karen and some huge creature, like a really large shark with arms that were holding onto the ropes. The creature pulled us through the surface of the water and then we splashed back down as the creature let go.

Naomi screamed and there were some strange screeching noises as the creature sunk back under the water. I realized the screaches had been, “Welcome to Clearsinger Island,” in Crosstalk. The creature must have been a Panan, the native intelligent life form.

I was breathing heavily while trying to take in our situation. I don’t know what I’d expected to find but the princess saying her sexual desires were becoming less suppressed would have been ideal. No sign of any princess and the only anavah vibes were from Naomi. We were in a round pool about 100m across that was in the middle of a larger room with a high ceiling which was glowing white like the walls. I could see Martha, reverting to human form (her smart clothing adjusting to fit her normal shape) and bobbing in the water. Naomi was still screaming and trashing around in her merperson axolotl form. There were two figures in the room approaching the pool.

“Quiet, quiet, calm down you’re safe,” Martha gasped to Naomi.

“Human’s,” an unfamiliar voice said in Universal Human. “Can you get out?”

There were only small waves in the water but it’s level kept rising and lowering. Ropes were thrown to us. I grabbed one and so did Martha. With some help from an unfamiliar male human and an XT I couldn’t identify (it was hairy and had lots of arms and legs - like somebody had tried to make a giant spider from the body and head of a dog and the arms and legs of several monkeys), we hauled ourselves out the pool. Martha and myself then dragged out our things, Mike and Karen, with some help from the man and the XT. I felt as if the room kept moving, tilting and going up and down. Naomi just flopped onto the floor sobbing. When we’d got everything out the water, Martha hugged and spoke softly to Naomi, who’s feathery gills shrunk and disappeared but she still had a lizard-like tale instead of legs. I started pumping the water out of Mike’s lungs. He was dead and his temperature had dropped to twenty five degrees but I knew this would help him regenerate. The other man started pressing on Karen’s chest, doing the same for her. She was down to twenty one degrees. Good, I really hadn’t wanted to touch her chest. That would have been totally weird. She was a pretty, fifteen-year-old hipsickah, now in human form wearing only a bra and underpants (also smart clothing like lycanthropes normally wore), but I was a ten-year old navi and, like everybody from Midbar, I hated her. She normally agreed with anything anybody said but, if she made any promises, she usually didn’t keep them. If somebody got cross with her about it, she acted like it wasn’t important and if that didn’t work, burst into tears and said she was sorry. She claimed that she couldn’t remember the really bad thing she’d done but therefore she couldn’t really repent and it made it hard for us to forgive her. Being a cat lycanthrope, she’d hated the idea of swimming to the surface from the starship. I’d never seen her put up such a big fight about anything, not even when we’d killed her. Also she had, you know, things, on her chest.

“We have some formalities to follow,” said the XT in Universal Human.

The man turned Karen onto her side.

I thought I’d got all the water out of Mike’s lungs I could so I turned him onto his side. Martha was still comforting Naomi who’d changed back to normal, well her Spartan Angel form but hadn’t extended her wings, she was never normal!

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