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Chapter 2

With a backpack, sack lunch, and school uniform- Han Crispin flew with Wisp to school. Han had learned from home until middle school. Wisp attended class with him, nothing could stop her from being with Han. They left a few minutes early to stop at the playground meant for smaller children. Han struggled with remaining still, so he arrived early to burn steam on the monkey bars before the day began.

Some of the human children gaped at the pair of new attendees. Students were accustomed to seeing members of LARC1’s eight various species among their peers, but a small green haired boy with a long tail and a cloud that could take the shape of a little girl were a novelty. Their daring acrobatics and aerial maneuvers only added to their mystique.

Han did pull ups using his tail while Wisp cheered him on with vibrant bursts of pink and yellow light. Hana and Wisp played until the bell rang and the playground began to empty.

A girl, who looked almost human, left the school and approached the pair on legs whose knees bent back instead of forward. Strawberry blonde hair hung past her shoulders and long ears, like a rabbit, lay beside the pale locks. She was one of Wooril and Bobby’s children, half Grisdoran and half human, though she looked just like her mother.

“Hey, monkey boy!” she called.

Han completed a swing around his bar by vaulting into a somersaulting leap toward her. Wisp trailed after, flashing bits of lightning to express her disapproval of the interruption. Han landed on his feet, inches from the girl and eyed her with curiosity.

“I’m Han, and she is Wisp,” the little Nefilim coalesced into the form of a young humanoid girl in a sun dress. She looked thin with a tidy bob cut that ended just below her chin. Wisp looked Sita up and down, then curtsied.

“I know who you are silly. How many new kids with monkey tails and clouds for friends do you think this school gets?”

“Hmm…” Han held up a couple fingers and pretended to tally for a moment, even counting a few of Wisp’s fingers for good measure. “Just us!” He concluded with a grin. “You are a Grisdoran?” He reached out and touched one of her ears.

“I’m Sita,” she blushed at the contact and pulled his hand from the side of her head into a firm handshake. “My mom’s Grisdoran. My dad was human, but he’s part Nefilim now. His name is Bobby Rogers, and he’s friends with Travis and Shelly.”

“Wow! Then I guess you are a friend of the family.”

“Where is your mom and dad?” Sita asked. She had inched her way close to Wisp and was running her hand through the other girl’s form.

“I dunno. They are probably one of the Liberty monkeys in the pack I visit. They only say howdy, and besides, I’m sure they would be happy knowing I was with other people who were able to read and ...”

Sita yelped in surprise.

Han shot his gaze at the girls. Sita’s hand appeared to be stuck in Wisp’s midsection. The vaporous yellow girl waggled a disapproving finger at Sita before releasing her hand from amid the substance of her midsection.

“I guess Wisp doesn’t want you to swirl her up,” Han said.

“Oh, ah, no problem.” Sita wiped her hand on the front of a very fashionable outfit. “Sorry Wisp, I’ll mind your space, okay?”

Wisp turned into a cloud and lingered behind Han, nudging him toward class.

“I’m in student council, and in your class, so it’s my job to show you around. Plus, I’ve got the best grades in class, so I can come over to your house to help with homework.”

An icy breeze gusted from behind Han, and Sita shivered.

“What’s homework? Like helping pick up my socks and toys? Cleaning up the pots and pans?”

Sita giggled. “No silly!” Whatever we work on learning in school, we have to practice at home.”

“Well, I’ll have to rearrange my schedule if there is going to be time for even more learning. I better wait till after I do a bit of learning in school before I agree to do more of it after school. I like to go see my cousins, the Liberty monkeys in the afternoons. They help me master my swinging and flipping. Those skills are bound to be more useful than math problems with letters in them.”

Sita’s giggle erupted into full laughter. “You don’t get to pick whether or not you do homework. It’s part of school. Everyone does it.”

“No wonder human kids aren’t very good at the monkey bars,” Han said with a piteous expression on his face.

“Han, you’re better at the monkey bars than any gymnast I’ve ever seen.”

“Gymnastics! Do we learn that in school?” The boy grabbed Sita’s hand and raced toward class, Wisp zipping after the pair, a cold gust.

Mrs. Murphy, a petite human woman with red hair, stood in the front of the class. The front display showed all the star systems between Earth and Nibiru. Han, Wisp, and Sita crept in quietly, taking the only seats available, in the front row. Sita pulled out a notepad and began writing. Han pulled out a banana and ate while listening. Wisp took the shape of a puffy golden cloud and settled into the seat between Han and Sita.

“Our arrival in the solar system wasn’t to a welcoming party,” Mrs. Murphy placed both hands on Nibiru’s star and expanded that portion of the display until Haran and Nibiru stood by the side of their large star. “We human LARC colonists first explored Haran, but the Pneuma government discouraged visitors. In fact, they disliked outsiders so much, that they executed anyone who showed signs of turning from Pneuma to Anki. A natural process that some Pneuma youths have undergone for thousands of years.”

Han cringed in his seat at the thought. “Just for being different?” He blurted out.

Mrs. Murphy smiled. “Good morning, Han. Welcome to class. Yes, Pneuma culture on Haran was not accepting of outsiders. They summoned armed guards to eliminate the first human explorers the LARC1 sent to Haran while the city was still in space.”

Han knew this story. Elsaap and Pringar where only golden Pneuma youths when they met Shelly the day they fled Haran and joined the colony.

“This closed minded social practice killed countless Pneuma youths before they could develop magical abilities. It also led one of Haran’s original human explorers to defect from LARC1 and take an ancient Zagmuku back to Haran, which started the war that has been devastating the planet and its population for the past twelve years. Now, Pneuma refugees are pouring into Nibiru as fast as we can send transport vessels to carry them. Has anyone visited a Pneuma settlement? They are an hour’s flight from the colony. It is a great opportunity to see pre-industrial life.”

Han listened intently. He loved to hear the story of LARC1’s arrival. Pringar recited parts of the written history, Distant Origin, every night for months while she prepared the book. It is now required reading in the colonial school system. Even after hearing the tales directly from those who were on the front lines, living the action, Mrs. Murphy had his full attention.

“When we arrived on Nibiru, our scans and visual drone images revealed the ruins of ancient Anki civilization, but we did not detect signs of advanced biological life. The Nefilim are not biological, but magic synthetic life forms. It was not until humans had discovered prisoners held in stasis and encountered a few Nefilim that we realized other sentient beings remained on Nibiru. Humans and their new comrades, the Grisdorans, Saitarans, Exendel, Craygarta, and Minotaur, utilized shugarra, the silver transforming suits, and idgeul, the dragon shaped personal craft, to engage the Nefilim in combat.”

Wisp turned from a golden yellow to a dark grey cloud, crackling with little bolts of electricity. Han got the feeling that she hated hearing about a time when her kind did not get along with biological life.

“That’s when my dad and grandpa Marduk saved the day!” Sita chimed in.

Colonial history concluded, Han found he had a much harder time with grammar and mathematics. By the end of school, the poor boy’s head hurt, and his body tingled with energy.

“I’ll come back to your house and help you two study,” Sita volunteered.

“I can’t do more school stuff right now, my brain’s about to burst. I need to get some exercise.”

Sita squealed in sudden delight. She grabbed Han’s hand and began to run. “You’ve got to see the Craygarta. The big one is teaching the little ones some kind of kung fu! It’s awesome.”


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