Chapter 11: Tots
Syon Chao's mind emerged from his morning meditation with all the grace and beauty of a swan floating on a quiet, moonlit pond. Meditation had been the way he had solved difficult problems since his Grandfather had taught him how to meditate. He was very young, at the time, and the peaceful habit had formed the character behind the mind. The habit of meditating each morning helped resolve issues that had been left to the magic of sleep. Meditation also ensured his day would be productive, no matter what tasks awaited him. Meditation with a Companion expanded the experience, and exposed nuances that would take him years to explore.
One of the many discussions that Syon had with his Grandfather revolved around where the answers came from while sleeping or meditating. Thanks to his Companion, now he knew.
Every human has a biological quantum gate in their brains. The gate is the source of paranormal phenomena that have puzzled scientists through history. It also gave humans access to the quantum realm, where the portal to the Companion's universe resided. During meditation, and sleep, the subconscious slightly cracks that gate open, and listens to the buzz of billions of humans unconsciously broadcasting thoughts. The common phrase, 'sleep on it, ' is good advice for a tried and true method of finding answers to difficult questions. The unconscious mind filters through the vast pool of knowledge until an answer is found. Syon wished his Grandfather was alive so the debate could finally be resolved between them. He also wished his Grandfather was alive to help him address many of the quandaries he was wrestling with.
Syon Chao had been selected by a group of children to be their teacher. He accepted the position for more reasons than their request, or even at the urging of Chi, his Companion. His knowledge, and his skills, had been passed from father to son for many, many generations. Syon was not married; therefore, he didn't have a son. He was hoping the children were the answer to prayers he had sent to his ancestors. Syon had been searching for a student.
Early in Syon's life, he searched for his life-mate, but the search had been in vain. There were many that were fair of face, or enticing in other ways. None meshed with that inner harmony that he felt in his deepest heart. He hadn't given up on the search as much as he accepted the reality that he might never find the one he was looking for. Rather than eliminate the quest for a life-mate, he expanded the search to include finding a student worthy of his legacy. Syon had finally found his student: seven of them in fact. He also felt as though he had stepped from a sunny, pleasant, kiddy's wading pool, and into the deep, bitter-cold waters of the stormy, gray, North Atlantic.
"The children do not misbehave," Chi pointed out. "They are not cruel, or uncaring. They truly care for those around them. They love their mothers and fathers, and almost everyone they come in contact with. I don't understand why you think there is a problem."
"I am concerned for their humanity," Syon explained to his Companion.
"What in their thoughts, memories, or actions, makes you concerned for their humanity?" Chi asked curiously.
He was a very new Companion, and was still adjusting his world view to that of his host. The question forced his host to organize his thoughts enough for verbalization, even if he didn't answer verbally.
Syon mentally shrugged, and gathered the nebulous thoughts that caused his unease.
"The children are more integrated with their Companions than anyone else," Syon began. "I don't know how they upgraded their armor, but they did. Their armor is learning, and gaining experience as quickly as the children. Do you know they view adult hosts with Companions as cripples, or at least as not fully functional? Not in a vicious way, but as you would feel for a puppy with only three legs due to an accident. Adult hosts can't achieve the integration ... the gestalt that the children can reach. Pity is not a good foundation for a developing relationship."
"They are right," Chi insisted. "They are better integrated, so naturally they have more control of their immediate environment. Compared to them, other hosts and Companions would be cripples, in their current state. Does that mean adult hosts can't reach the same gestalt? Does that mean that you and I can't integrate to the same degree as the children?"
Syon was quiet for a long moment as he considered Chi's questions. His Companion had a good point. What prevented adults from achieving the same level of integration with their Companions as the children? It couldn't be a physical barrier, so it must be mental. A mental barrier was a matter of perception on the part of the host and the Companion.
"You are right to question. There is no reason you and I can't reach the same gestalt as the Children. We must examine why we haven't already reached that level of integration. I know they are right to view hosts with lesser integration as incomplete, too" Syon admitted with a sigh. "I don't think you understand the danger of that reality. There is also the issue of 'normal' humans. Did you examine the memories of their nursery school experiment?" he asked rhetorically. "They were thinking of the other children as little more than pets they were trying to train. Like teaching Spot to roll over. Chi, they have a human legacy. I think the world, the universe could be a very dark place, if they lost their connection to humanity."
"Do you think they would harm humans?" Chi asked in surprise.
"Not exactly ... Not out of cruelty, but a human doesn't cringe when they step on a bug, either," Syon explained patiently. "There are dangers other than directly taking action against another. If they mature believing they are superior to other humans, how long will it be before they dismiss other humans as irrelevant? We need to find a way for them to accept their own humanity. No ... Not accept ... Revel in their humanity ... Celebrate their humanity. They need to be mankind's protectors."
"How can you do that?" Chi asked.
"I have no idea," Syon admitted. "We have much to teach them, but teaching them to celebrate their humanity is the primary goal," he mentally asserted with determination. "Me achieving the same level of integration with you, as the children have, is a close secondary goal. Teaching them will be difficult if they view me as less than them."
Syon Chao linked to the children for their first full lesson. He knew there was a deeper connection, which they called a meld; but a link was sufficient for introductions, and possibly the best he could achieve with his current level of integration with his Companion. Their brief introduction the night before had been surprisingly informative. Normally, introductions between a master and his students would be face to face. Unfortunately, the children weren't all in the same location. Four were in Texas, two were in Washington DC, and the last child, Barbara, was traveling to Albuquerque with her parents.
Linking was good for many tasks, Syon had learned. Power from multiple host/Companion unions could be concentrated in a single individual for battle. Conversations could also be conducted, similar to a telephone party line or conference call, across long distances. Each mind remained separate, during a link, with each individual contributing to the conversation as an individual entity.
Melding was a much deeper connection. The minds joined, submerging the individual in the meld. Melding was a Companion practice, used to solve problems too complex for individual Companions. They had tried to bring human hosts into a meld, but the chaos of the human mind, even with a Companion, proved to be disruptive ... except with the children. They could join a melding of Companions, or form their own. A melding of the children displayed all the problem solving characteristics of a normal meld, and more. Their melding hinted at the ability to wield the power of the meld as a single entity.
"I am Master Syon Chao," he began. "You may call me Master, or Sensei, which means teacher."
"You don't need to explain words," one of the children pointed out. "If you say a word we don't understand, we receive the full meaning from your surface thoughts. Sensei means more than teacher. It is also a Master, and a Leader."
Syon ignored the statement, but marveled that such a level of understanding could be achieved so quickly. He could also sense noises in the background, like whispering in a large classroom. Instead of responding to the statement, he requested, "Would each of you tell me your name, how old you are, who your parents are, and where you are physically located?"
He realized the children would know the reason for the request: that he wanted to test them. They were, after all, two, three, and four year olds. It would be natural for him to wonder about how cognizant they were of what they were doing. He mentally shrugged. It didn't matter why he asked. He had asked, and that was reason enough to receive an answer.
"I'm Noah, and I'm four years, two months old," Noah stated. "Daddy is Caleb, and Mom is JJ. I'm in Washington, DC."
"I'm Mike, I'm two years and two months, and Noah is my Uncle," Mike said with a mental giggle. "Ryan and Kim are my parents, and I'm in Washington, DC, with Noah."
"I'm Briana Ferrier and I'll be four next month," Briana said hesitantly. "Buck and Bailey are my parents, but I don't know where I am. We're going to Albuquerque. I was asleep when we stopped at a hotel last night."
"That is good enough, little one," Syon said gently.
"I'm Barbara Joskovitch, and I'll be four next month, too," Barbara said wistfully. "Teddy and Cynthia are my dad and mom, and I'm in Austin, Texas. I'm two days older than Briana, and I wanted to go to New Mexico, too."
"You get to go to Washington with Leslie next month, Barbara," Briana pointed out. "I won't have anyone with me."
"I'm Leslie, and I'm almost three and a half. Don't worry, Brie. We'll figure something out, and it isn't as if you will really be alone," Leslie said consolingly.
"Who are your parent's, little one, and where are you located?" Syon asked gently.
"Oh, yeah," Leslie blurted, her thoughts tinged with embarrassment. "Singer and Gabi are my mommy and daddy. I'm in Beaumont, Texas, but we're going to stay with Noah and Mike, after Mommy trains a manager for the restaurant."