Day 13. 59 pages, 25,852 words. I wanted to make this a one-part character study, but got lost in the philosophising and then ran out of time.
Molren, and Molranoids in general, lived for about five thousand years. Their childhoods, as a result, were long and leisurely … and yet, thanks to enhanced information retrieval and inborn memory baselines and basic sensory cognition, your average ten-year-old Molran was about as smart and knowledgeable as your average human was ever going to get.
It didn’t mean their childhoods were shorter. On the contrary, they were much longer. A Molran, depending on the subspecies or culture in question, wasn’t really considered an adult until he or she was five or six hundred years old anyway. The ‘childhood’ of a typical Molran just wasn’t about learning to walk, run, talk, socialise, or acquire a minimum-level education. Those things were crammed into the first twenty or thirty years of a human‘s life because a human only got about two hundred before going and dropping dead. Condensing the basics made good logical sense.
A Molran childhood was a building-up of wisdom, a gathering of experiences, a period during which mistakes could be more readily tolerated. It was, largely, something the child decided was over. It took as long as it took, and attempting to rush it defeated the purpose.
 It is interesting to note that in Xidh – the primary language of the Six Species – and a lot of Fleet dialects, the word blaran was synonymous with child or recalcitrant youth. Blonryn, widely agreed to be its ancient source word, literally meant Molran who does not consider itself adult / Molran who does not consider itself Molran. It was hotly debated as to whether some of the original Blaran offshoots from the Molran species were descended from Molran ‘Lost Boys’ who simply refused to acknowledge adulthood.
The upshot of this is, while Molranoid children didn’t receive a formal education because they didn’t need one, the majority of them did take part in human education programs just for the experience. Between the age of ten years and First Prime, which could happen anywhere from twenty to a hundred and fifty or so, many Molran youths sort-of attended something not entirely unlike school. Not so much to learn, as to experience the learning curve of humans – and to assist in teaching them.
Many adult humans found this grating, because humanity has a neutron-star chip on its shoulder about being inferior. And also, Molren were annoying.
There hadn’t been any Molren in Tippy’s home of Colan Gairy Hive on Bad Moon Three, a seething subterranean city-state also known as The Griddle. Oh, there had been a few Blaren who loitered around the school complex … but they’d been Qastrians, opposed to the idea of interference in human development. Their solution to most schoolyard conflicts had been to hand you a pair of rocks and smile encouragingly.
At Tippy’s school, when they did the old What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up thing, most of the kids had said I want to be a mine angel, because that was what the heroes of The Griddle did. They regulated and ran rescue operations in the vast warren of mines underneath Colan Gairy Hive.
The rest of the wishes were evenly divided between AstroCorps starship Captain and chocolate taster and, in one special case, no matter how many times they explained to Bori Buddington that this wasn’t the way it worked, aki’Drednanth.
Taskerion Typhenix Ghee, five years old and born with a flaw in his inner ear that was too intricate to fix surgically – a flaw which had essentially made his nickname better-known than his real name by about three weeks after he’d finally learned to walk – had always answered this question by pointing towards an imaginary horizon, elevating his hand to about thirty degrees, and saying there.