The author Nora Roberts was on TV yesterday talking about how difficult writing is for her. If it’s difficult for her (with all of her bestsellers, money, and awards) imagine what it’s like for people who are unsure of their writing… who stare at the computer screen some days and just cannot get it together. That pretty much describes me. I have been looking at this chapter for months (and months) now and cannot get pass the block that it always causes.
And I know what’s causing it. It’s one of those little secondary plot lines which takes you away from the main story and gives you a glimpse of what’s going on elsewhere. I can’t seem to move past this chapter because I can’t resolve it all in my mind. Plain and simple it is the Jenusia character; Something is off… just not enough character development has been devoted to her. So, to push past it, I am going to dump her little side story here as chapter 12 (well, half of it) so I can just get on with it already.
Anyway… where we left off in Chapter 11…
The gardens at the opposite end of the complex were slightly more colorful and showy than the gardens adjacent. Clearly her guide’s tastes leaned towards the vibrant. She could just make out a male figure bending at the waist in order to smell a flower blossom. But when he righted himself there was something very familiar about his carriage: the finely chiseled jaw, the noble slant of the brow, and the delicate curve of his ear all marked him out as someone she knew well–very well– and had thought dead.
She stopped on the dirt path and released a strangled cry. The figure stood tall, turned and fully revealed himself to her when he stepped through the plantations. However, before he could bow in greeting, Uhura had taken off in a run, barreling towards him, her arms open wide to receive him, all the while sobbing loudly at the same time.
Her body slammed into his and her arms had him around the neck so tightly that he was at a lost on how to breathe.
“Selkek,” she cried.
Chapter 12 (Part 1 of 2)
She remembered a certain expression. Doctor Leonard McCoy had given her just such a expression once before. She ruminated on the irony inherent in that very moment, thinking that it must have been an expression which all doctors gave their patients every once and a while, a expression that said: ‘I need to ask a certain question, but you’re probably not going to like it’.
And McCoy had asked it, boldly, and managing to only stutter a little.
“If–if Jim’s the father, you can tell me.”
Jenusia jerked herself back into the present, leaving the over-bright, blinking lights of Starfleet Medical of several years ago and into the flickering and comparatively low lighting of the medical bay on the space freighter, Hercules.
She turned her focus to this other doctor, this other very young, very red-haired and very freckled human doctor who was standing in front of her giving her his own version of the Doctor McCoy look.
“Sorry?” she asked, having not heard a word he said.
“I asked if he boy’s father suffered digestive ailments from eating human food?” Not waiting for an answer, Scooter, as this doctor preferred to be called, turned back to look at the readouts on the uppermost medical panel. “It’s probably nothing; most likely the result of eating a little too much iron-based foods and chef did serve Aloo Palak last night. Vulcan’s call it risuriskaunnosh—a fancy word meaning an upset tummy.”
To emphasize his point, the doctor tickled Seymar’s belly causing the boy to squeal in utter delight. Teymar, on the other hand, was held securely in his mother’s arms and not wanting to be left out of any his brother’s fun, reached out towards the doctor to be shifted over to join his twin on the bio-bed.
“Alright, alright; over you go,” said the laughing young man, sitting him down and tickling his belly for good measure. Doctor Scooter glanced in the mother’s direction, studying her for a moment before turning away to load a hypo. “Then again, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it has anything to do with his Vulcan genetics and more to do with his Troyian.”
Jenusia surprised herself how well she held it together in that moment, even though on the inside she was on the verge of panic.
She had never let on that she was anything other than Rigellian. After all, Rigellians from that system’s third planet were all tall, dark-haired, and humanoid and looked very similar to their distant Troyian cousins. The only difference being the line of dark spots that ran down the lower backs of Rigellian females and this doctor, if she had anything to say about it, was never going to see that part of her anatomy.
And besides, she reasoned with herself, she was only on this ship for as far as space station K7 where the captain of the Hercules would rendezvous with passenger vessels which could place them closer to this new Vulcan home world he had heard about.
“I am sure I don’t know what you mean,” she replied, hoping that he wouldn’t press her further. The doctor, however, had other plans.
“Listen, Penny, I’m no geneticist; but the bio-scanner doesn’t lie,” he said, tapping a knuckle on the glass screen, drawing her notice to the lower part of the medical panel. “I saw the Troyian genetic markers as soon as I scanned him. Of course, to the majority of the less enlightened members of this particular crew, both boys appear fully Vulcan. And just so you know that you weren’t getting away with anything from the start, I suspected there was something different about them from the moment you three boarded.”
“Oh,” she said a bit defensively, crossing her arms.
The doctor moved two fingers from his left hand back and forth across his upper face. “It’s their eye color; that amber color, impossible in Vulcan’s. Now with Troyians on the other hand… well, let’s just say it’s a dead giveaway.”
“I assure you doctor, I am from Rigel Three,” she replied, not quite meeting his eyes.
“Really,” he said, non-nonchalantly, making a great show of unloading and reloading the hypo-spray with another cartridge. “If that’s the case, then, I’m glad you told me, because I wouldn’t want to to kill Seymar with the wrong medicine–” which he immediately injected into the boy’s neck.
Jenusia didn’t think, she just reacted.
“No!” she cried out, moving swiftly forward, reaching for her son a moment too late.
She grabbed Seymar from the bio-bed and cradled him in her arms protectively. The child, startled momentarily by his mother’s sudden action, stared at her for a second or two before bursting into tears.
“I’m sorry, baby; Mother is so sorry. She soothed and rocked while feeling her son’s face and running the backs of her fingers over his forehead, waiting for a seizure or something far worse to happen.
Doctor Scooter just shook his head. “I injected him with a simple cooper supplement; his blood chemistry seemed a little low; I expect it’s the change in his diet and environment.”
He then glanced up to the medical panel again, this time interpreting Teymar’s reading.
“Teymar seems fine, for now, but I’ll need to see both boys regularly to monitor their blood levels. Obviously, they are both readjusting to life on-board ship after growing up with all that fresh air and sunshine on Omicron Ceti Four.”
Jenusia’s brow furrowed. “Wait a minute. You didn’t inject him with a medicine meant for Rigellians?”
The doctor crossed his arms in a self-satisfied gesture and smirked.
“And that will teach you to be truthful with me from now on.”
Her anger flared.
“That was a cruel, mean trick!” She began looking Seymar over once more as if to reassure herself that he was indeed quite well. “Someone needs to revoke your medical license, if you even have one.” She kissed her son’s forehead and wiped away the wetness on his face with the edge of her shirt.
The doctor turned to open a cabinet and from inside he produced a red ball which he put into Teymar’s hands before lifting the boy from the bio-bed and placing him on the floor.
Seymar’s crying ceased the moment his eyes clapped on the toy. He wanted to be let down as well, and on gaining the floor the twins sat and began to happily roll the ball back and forth.
“Look, Penny, if that’s your real name,” said the doctor, ushering her over into a corner and lowering his voice. “I don’t care why you want to hide who or what you are; but for mercy’s sake, let me in on at least part of whatever secrets you’re keeping purely from a medical concern for the twins.”
Jenusia debated within herself for a long moment. She had kept silent all these years and she wasn’t about to spill her guts to this strange red-haired human no matter what he said. But then, the boys health was now at stake and that changed the circumstances.
“Your suspicions are correct; you’re pregnant.” McCoy then grimaced as if something else weighed heavily on his mind. He started to speak, only to stop himself a second later. Yet, when he did decide to ask his question, he began it haltingly.
“Look Jen, I know it’s none of my business, but–if—if Jim’s the father, you know you can tell me.”
Jenusia’s eyes flashed dangerously. “So that you can do what? Run back to the dorm as fast as your legs can carry you and tell him the happy news?”
“Dammit, Jen,” snapped McCoy, in all his red-faced, irritated glory, “I’m a doctor not a tattle-tale. Doctor’s here on Earth, unlike those in other cultures, have to keep silent. If James T. Kirk is going to be a father, you will have the delightful privilege of telling him the happy news yourself.”
“You do realize that I broke up with Jim a long time ago?”
“You do realize that a baby can still be made by two people who broke up a long time ago?”
Jenusia began to jump off the bio-bed only to be pushed back down by McCoy. “Hold on, hold on, let me get another scan before you go running off.”
McCoy ran his hand scanner over her, grimaced, then ran the scanner over her once more.
“Well, that’s strange.”
“I’m not reading any human DNA at all. In fact… something must be malfunctioning on this damned bio-scanner; come over here and lie down on the bio-bed for a moment; I need to check this out.”
Jenusia frowned. “That won’t be necessary.”
“And when did you get your medical degree, Cadet Pentaurian? Over here, now!”
Jenusia sighed heavily and paused, staring at the doctor in a momentary battle of wills. However, when McCoy raised an eyebrow, she conceded defeat, thinking it was best to get this over and done with as soon as possible. She edged herself off the exam table, went to the bio-bed and laid down. While the machine began its customary whirring sounds Jenusia decided to speak.
“My child cannot possibly have human DNA.”
“Oh?” replied McCoy not taking his eyes off the readouts.
“My child’s father is—does it matter who my child’s father is?”
”Not to me. The DNA code analyzer will tell me everything I need to know.”
“I’ve got class in twenty minutes.”
“Class?” McCoy was incredulous. “Some alien knocks you up and the only thing you’re worried about is getting to your next class?”
“Watch who you’re calling an alien, you alien! We do have finals coming up, you know.”
“I’d say you have a lot more to worry about than finals.”
“What do you mean?”
“What I mean is, there’s no way the Academy is going to let a pregnant cadet, and a pregnant security cadet, for that matter, stay on.”
“They cannot kick me out.”
“Kick you out? No; but they will do a damn good job of seeing that you take a leave of absence until after the baby–” McCoy paused, then pressed a few buttons, “or rather babies are born! That’s plural in case you didn’t hear me the first time.”
To Be Continued…
Author’s note: Ok, will that tide you over for the time being? Yeah, didn’t think so. But it’s something, at least. Also, don’t get too attached to the twins names. I don’t really like them and I just might rename them in the final draft.