Generation Eight Part Four

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Boolpropian Round Robin: Generation Eight Part Four

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Generation Eight Part Four

  1. 1. “What do you mean we’re both pregnant? That shouldn’t be possible!” Pollination Technician 71 stared at them with a furrowed brow. “You did not know?” “No, we did not know!” “We’re both women - of course we didn’t know, because it shouldn’t be possible!” “There is a conference room nearby, let us go there to sit and talk.”
  2. 2. They all walked to the conference room. Stella and Maddie sat down next to each other; Pollination Technician 71 sat across the table. “How do you know we’re pregnant, anyway?” Maddie asked. “When you arrived on the ship, our scanners registered the pregnancies.” Stella nudged Maddie. “Then we probably are. I have never known the sensors to be wrong.” “I still don’t get how, though.” “Nor do I. What I know about reproduction does not explain this.”
  3. 3. Pollination Technician 71 cleared his throat. “You are not remembering that Madeleine is only mostly human, but human enough for it to matter, and also a part-breed, 500.” “Oh.” Stella’s eyes widened. “Oh!” She blushed. “And I was ready to mate last night.” “Okay, you two, explain to the stupid human.” “You’re not-” Stella felt a kick under the table. “Okay. Pollination Technician 71?” “Our biology is not the same as yours.” “I figured that out.”
  4. 4. “With us, a female is ready to mate - she is fertile - only once in a long time, by your standards. At that point, she finds a willing partner. If she chooses a female, they mate, and it is over. No pregnancy results, and she will not need to mate again until she is fertile once more.” “That’s what I assumed happened, as you are female, as am I. But, as Pollination Technician 71 said, you are mostly human, but also part-alien. This changed what happened.” “As I was saying, that is what usually happens when a female mates with a female. When she mates with a male, the process is more complicated - because we are dependent on the humans for reproduction. If the female chooses a male, they mate, performing an exchange, but are left in a form of reproductive stasis. The male will then abduct a human male and perform an exchange. This is not mating, but it is necessary to the process, and is why all Pollination Technicians are males. This causes the human male to get pregnant himself. The male then returns to the female, ends the stasis with another exchange, and she gets pregnant as well.”
  5. 5. “So, basically, every time a human is abducted and gets pregnant, an alien is also born?” “Correct.” “That’s kind of crazy.” Pollination Technician 71 shrugged. “It is necessary for our reproduction.” “So why is it different with me? I get the human part - that got me pregnant, because I’m human, and she did the exchange, or whatever, but I’m not male. How did Stella get pregnant?”
  6. 6. “You are a part-breed - what you call part-alien. Your body, therefore, reacted as one of ours does, and you participated in the exchange. 500 - Stella - got pregnant.” “I’m 1/16 alien.” “Our blood breeds true, as does your elf blood. You inherited much of the longer lifespan that elves have, as well as their capacity to learn to do magic. You also inherited our ability to get other females pregnant. Your father, though he does not know it, has a womb as well. Had he been with another man, he could have borne children.” Maddie stared in shock. Her father had a womb? “But Dad never-” “Your mother is a normal human female, and would not have been able to get him pregnant.”
  7. 7. She got up and started pacing. This was a lot to take in. “So, basically, what you’re saying, is that any part-alien male has a womb and can get pregnant if they woohoo with a normal male.” She glanced at Pollination Technician 71, who nodded. “And that any part-alien female can impregnate anyone with a womb if they woohoo.” Another nod. “And that since Stella and I both have both, we both got pregnant.” A third nod. She threw up her hands in exasperation. “Why don’t you tell people these things?” “What do you mean?” “You abandon part-aliens without telling them this! How many have gotten into same-sex relationships, not wanting or not expecting children, and then wound up with them anyway?”
  8. 8. “…I do not know.” “Because you don’t tell us anything.” She braced her hands on the chair. “Send us home.” “Us?” Stella was clearly nervous. Maddie was pretty sure she knew why - and they were going to talk about that later. “Yes, us. Send. Us. Home.”
  9. 9. Pollination Technician 71 rose. “Will you still send us reports?” “If you start actually telling us things, I’ll consider it. Maybe.” That was the best they were going to get, and Pollination Technician 71 knew it. He led them to the abduction room and sent them home. ***
  10. 10. They fell to the ground in silence, then picked themselves up and went into the house.
  11. 11. Maddie sat down on the couch in the living room, and Stella joined her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t - I didn’t realize it would be relevant. I didn’t know part-aliens inherited that biology. I’m sorry, Maddie.” Maddie sighed. “I know.” “Are you - are you upset about this?”
  12. 12. “No, I’m just - I wasn’t expecting to have kids, Stella. I always thought Eloise would be the one to carry on the family.” She got up and paced over to a picture. Stella followed her. “That’s her, there, on the swing. My baby sister. She sent me this painting. It’s the package that came in the mail the other day.” “Oh?” “She’s the one who would think to do something like that. Alice and I, we aren’t sentimental. Eloise is the homebody, the one who wants to settle down, get married, have a large family. I’m bi, but I prefer women, and, hell, I never thought I would get married, really. I couldn’t even stay faithful for a long time.” She turned to Stella. “What about you?” “I never expected to have children. Not like this. But, with you…I want them.”
  13. 13. Maddie smiled. “I’m still in shock, but…I’m not minding the idea. I think two are going to be enough, though!” “Then it is a good thing I will not be fertile for a while!”
  14. 14. A realization came over Maddie’s face and she sat down hard on the couch. “We’re going to have twins. Dear Plumbbob, we’re going to have twins.” “We will have to get a nursery ready, then,” Stella responded as she joined Maddie on the couch.
  15. 15. After they sat for a while, Stella asked a question she’d been wondering about. “Why did you call yourself stupid? You’re not stupid, Madeleine.” “I’m not a genius either. But no, I’m not stupid. Easier to fool people who think you are, though.” “You want to fool them?” “Stella, the only alien I trust is you.” “Oh. I cannot ask you to trust them. They do not understand humans at all.” “No. They really don’t.”
  16. 16. They both felt odd feelings which brought them off of the couch to the point of popping. “We really are pregnant!” Stella said. She leaned down to rub Maddie’s stomach. “Really. Want to go celebrate in bed?” Stella blushed. “Okay.” “Huh. So that confident you, who desperately wanted to woohoo…that was all the need to mate?” “Not all, but…”
  17. 17. “I liked it.” “Me too, though you are confident enough for the both of us.” “Of course I am, but when you are, it’s hot.” “Shall I take you to bed and ravish you, then?” “Be my guest.” ***
  18. 18. Maddie and Stella weren’t the only ones with children on their minds. “I can feel my biological clock ticking.” “Do you even have a biological clock anymore? You’re a zombie. You can’t die, and you can’t age, and you can’t have kids.” “I still want a baby.” He rolled his eyes. “Family Sim.” “What, and you don’t want a kid?” “Not the way you do. I want to continue my family.”
  19. 19. “Your family is dead. Or they might as well, be, anyway, being penniless and all.” “And I want to make us great again, and not have the Worthington legacy die with me.” “So you want a kid.” “…Yes. Not that we can do anything about that, though, anyway.”
  20. 20. The door opened and they both turned to look. “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.” The voice was light, and airy, and slightly spooky. “Who are you?” Frances asked. “My name is Madam Barbara. I was here to meet with Rosalie and overheard you.” “Wasn’t the door locked?” Kendra asked. She’d tried it way too many times, she knew, and it had never opened under her hand. “Of course it was.”
  21. 21. They exchanged a glance, then Frances spoke. “So you said you overheard our conversation.” “I did. I can get you a child.” Madam Barbara took out her crystal ball and began to polish it. Another glance. “How?” “There are potions, known to we gypsies, that can make you both fertile again, for just long enough to conceive and bear a child.”
  22. 22. Frances’s eyes narrowed. “What’s in it for you?” She laughed airily. “Good question. You will owe me a favor, at some point in the future.” “This favor will not involve the child,” Kendra said firmly. “No. It is between us.” They exchanged another glance. “Very well,” Frances said.
  23. 23. The next day, Madam Barbara brought the potions, and they drank them. Then they distastefully woohooed, as Frances didn’t like women and Kendra didn’t like men. They were both very glad when the act was over, and Kendra was pregnant. ***
  24. 24. When Maddie and Stella had a day off, they invited over all of their friends, most of whom luckily had fairly compatible schedules. It was very obvious that Blossom was pregnant and due fairly soon - she wasn’t usually the neatest eater in the world, but she really was shoveling the food down now. Maddie was somewhat grossed out sitting next to her at lunch.
  25. 25. It wasn’t quite so obvious that Klara was pregnant, but everyone was glad to hear the news anyway, though she insisted that she was stopping with just one child.
  26. 26. Later, after everyone left, Stella finally finished her special project - a servo. She left it where it was and went to join Maddie for an afternoon nap.
  27. 27. When their nap was over, Stella fed the bird, then cooked a late dinner, as both of them were utterly starving.
  28. 28. At dinner, they both popped into their third trimester.
  29. 29. “I have a present for you,” Stella said, when they’d gone into the living room after dinner. “A present? Really?” “Yes.” “When did you get me a present?” “It’s the project I’ve been working on for the past few days.” “Oh?”
  30. 30. “What is that?” Maddie asked, as she draped an arm around Stella. “It’s a servo. It is a robot that will work for us, and act as a live-in nanny, so that we don’t have to quit our jobs to take care of the babies. I am happy to finally have a job in the Medical field, and I don’t want to quit. I suspect it is the same for you.” “You rock, Stella. How does it work?” “We have to activate it, and then it will be a part of our family.” She held Maddie’s hand. “Do you mind if I name it after my mentor?” “Not at all.”
  31. 31. Stella activated the servo, programming it to answer to the name Nine. Then she and Maddie headed back to bed. Pregnancy was tiring.
  32. 32. Nine, meanwhile, went to the computer. He wanted to be a Mad Scientist, but there were no Science jobs available, so he took one in Gamer.
  33. 33. The next day, they invited their friends over again. “Hey, Aldric.” “Maddie! Can I ask why there’s a robot doing yoga on your front lawn?” She shrugged. “Stella built it, to help with the babies, but until they’re here, it’s skilling. Don’t ask me why it chose yoga.” They all had a good time, though Blossom had chosen to stay home with her new daughter. Aldric brought the news that she was already pregnant again, and congratulations were handed out.
  34. 34. While the friends visited, Nine went to work for the first time, after he determined that he would be home in time to help with the births. And when everyone was gone, Maddie and Stella cleaned up. Nine had taken over a lot of those chores, but neither of them minded keeping the house clean.
  35. 35. “Hey, Nine, welcome home!” “I am pleased to return, Miss Madeleine.” “You know you can just call me Maddie, right? You’re a part of the family.” “I am pleased you believe so, Maddie.”
  36. 36. Their conversation was unfortunately interrupted by a very weird feeling. “Oh shit,” Maddie said, “I think the baby’s coming.” Stella waved her hand. “I believe mine is as well!”
  37. 37. As they started writhing in pain, Nine’s eye widened. “I do not know what to do to help!” “Just stand there and catch!” Maddie yelled.
  38. 38. “It’s a girl,” Maddie said. “I have a girl as well,” Stella responded. “Twin girls. That’s kind of crazy.” “It is. What should we name them?” “This one feels like a Roxanna to me. What do you think?” “I think Roxanna is a beautiful name. What do you think about calling this one Seren?” “Sounds good.”
  39. 39. Maddie passed Roxanna to Nine, then started screaming in pain again. “Fucking - I think I’m having actual twins!” “Oh no,” Stella whispered, then let out a low moan. “What?” “I am too, I think.” She quickly put Seren down on the floor.
  40. 40. “It’s another girl,” Maddie said, holding up her second baby, “and this one has my eyes.” “Hello, little man,” Stella cooed to the baby she held, “I think it is a good thing Nine is male. You have two mothers and three sisters. I am glad you are not the only boy in the house. Madeleine, what do you think we should name him?” “How about Ma’or?” “Ma’or it is. Would you mind Astraea for the last girl?” “I like that. I like that a lot.” “Good.”
  41. 41. “Sleep well, little man,” Stella said, as she tucked Ma’or into the blue crib. The girls all had pink. Then she picked Seren up and placed her into a crib, while Maddie and Nine did the same with Astraea and Roxanna. Then she and Maddie headed to bed.
  42. 42. They managed to fit four cribs into the nursery, with dividers to stop the noise of crying babies. Each baby had their own crib, reserved for their use, and their use only. From left to right, they placed Ma’or, Seren, Astraea, and Roxanna.
  43. 43. And when the kids cried in the middle of the night, it was Nine who changed and fed them.
  44. 44. When Maddie and Stella woke, he went outside to recharge, while they did the early morning changing and feeding.
  45. 45. When they were done feeding the babies, they fed themselves. “I still can’t believe we have quads,” Maddie said. “It is very good that I will not be fertile for a long time?” “Yeah. I mean…yeah. The kids are all cute, but…quads. Seriously, quads.” “I know. It is a lot of babies.” “It really really is. And, you know, thanks for building Nine. Because, seriously, I’m not sure what the hell we’d do without him.” “Neither am I.”
  46. 46. While Nine was able to take care of the quads on his own, it was much easier when all three of them could cuddle and feed the infants, even if the nursery floor was turning into a mess of bottles. “Hey, baby monster, you enjoying being out in the world?” “Baby monster?” “I used to call my little sister that. It’s a term of endearment.” “How odd.” Maddie shrugged. “What can I say? My family is weird.”
  47. 47. Stella grabbed a bottle to feed the baby she was holding (she thought it was Roxanna), while Maddie cuddled Astraea (who was the easiest one to tell apart, due to the eyes). “I told you about my new job, right?” “You did. You have to head out?” “After I finish feeding this one.” “Not a problem. Go to work, you’ll feel better when you do.”
  48. 48. Stella still felt nervous about leaving the infants to go to work, but it was her first day as a General Practitioner, and Maddie and Nine were perfectly capable of taking care of the babies while she was gone.
  49. 49. She’d have been a bit less reassured if she knew that Maddie spent most of the time that she was gone playing SSX3 and piloting the great ship Bathtub.
  50. 50. As the babies spent most of that time napping, though, it really wasn’t a big deal. And Maddie did take care of the babies when they needed stuff.
  51. 51. And coming back with a promotion made being away worth it. ***
  52. 52. “OW THIS HURTS!” Frances threw up his hands. “Be quiet, Kendra! We don’t want to disturb Rosalie! You know how irrational she is!” “I CAN’T THIS FUCKING HURTS!”
  53. 53. The door flew open and Rosalie stepped in, carrying her gun. “What the hell is going on in here?” Frances tried to block her view of Kendra. “Nothing important. She’s just a bit sick.” “Zombies don’t get sick.” She aimed the gun at him and he moved to the side, allowing her to see Kendra, who was still in labor. “How did you get pregnant?” No one said anything. “All I’ve ever wanted was to marry off six children, and you made me a zombie and unable to get pregnant, and now you have a baby? You don’t deserve a baby.”
  54. 54. As Kendra panted and screamed and finally gave birth, Rosalie kept the gun trained on Frances. He stood completely still, afraid to move. “Hand me the baby.” “What?” “Hand me the baby.” Rosalie turned the gun on Kendra. “Or I’ll shoot you.”
  55. 55. Kendra came over slowly and handed her the baby. Rosalie backed out, then locked the door. On the other side, she put the gun away, then cooed to the infant. “You’re a cutie, aren’t you? And your parents don’t deserve you, no they don’t. Auntie Rosalie is going to take very good care of you. They’ll just have to stay locked up, so they don’t cause trouble and try to take you back. Though they’re useful. Maybe I’ll lock you up when I let them out to work for me. Yes, that’s a good plan.” She walked over to another room. “We’ll have to set you up a nursery, and give you a name. I think we’ll call you Susanna.”
  56. 56. Back in the bedroom, Kendra and Frances were still in shock. “She took the baby.” “She took our daughter.” “Our little Francine.” Kendra raised an eyebrow. “How come you get to name her?” “Do you really have a preference?” “No. Not really. Not the way your family does.” A realization came over her face.
  57. 57. She collapsed, crying. “She took her, Frances. She took her.” He put an arm around her. “We’re going to get her back. We will. And we’ll get back at Rosalie, too.” ***
  58. 58. “Hello, Seren. It is your birthday today. Are you excited?” Seren gurgled. “I do not understand baby speak, but I believe you are. It will be good to see you four as toddlers.”
  59. 59. They decided not to hold an actual party. Klara had just given birth the day before, while Blossom was due to give birth again at any moment, and also had a rambunctious toddler of her own to deal with. Therefore, it was only a Garden Club member who had walked by earlier that day who joined the three of them as they twirled the babies into toddlerhood, then changed their hair and clothing and began to potty train them, then finally put them to sleep. Apparently, being tossed into toddlerhood was exhausting.
  60. 60. Roxanna and Astraea got matching pigtails, while Seren and Ma’or got matching clothing.
  61. 61. Luckily, they were able to fit four toddler blankets into the nursery, so that there was space for all of them to sleep, though most of the toys ended up taking over the living room.
  62. 62. And, once Maddie and Stella had joined their children in the land of sleep, Nine went to the computer, where he finally found a job as an Inventor. ***
  63. 63. Early the next morning, Nine discovered that emptying potties was not at all a fun chore.
  64. 64. Feeding the toddlers and playing with them was far more enjoyable. Each of the toddlers quickly developed their own personality.
  65. 65. Roxanna was the most likely to cuddle up to a teddy bear or play with the dollhouse or the toy box.
  66. 66. She also always started her days with a conversation with her imaginary friend. “Uh huh. Dolls today, then xy- phone with Straea. You think? Okay, we pway wocket then.” She sat by the toy box, zooming her rocket around, talking to her imaginary friend, clearly playing a game.
  67. 67. “Who you talking to, Sanna?” “Talking to fwend.” “Can I talk to fwend?” “No! Fwend is mine!” “Okay. I pway wocket.” “Then I go pway xy-phone.”
  68. 68. Maddie and Stella noticed that Roxanna seemed to talk to her imaginary friend at least as often as she talked to her real siblings, but they decided not to worry about it. She always responded to them and Nine, and, well, there was one activity she would do with her siblings - or, rather, her twin.
  69. 69. That one exception was playing the xylophone with Astraea. They both loved the music they could make. Roxanna was very good at it.
  70. 70. However, if Roxanna was good, Astraea was an expert. Whenever she had the chance, she played the xylophone. In fact, she never touched another toy for the entirety of her toddlerhood, despite the fact that Maddie and Stella had gone out and bought two xylophones, two rabbit heads, two block sets, a dollhouse, a toy box, and two teddy bears.
  71. 71. And when she wasn’t playing the xylophone, she could often be found under the piano, sometimes even when people were playing it.
  72. 72. She was also a bit hesitant about baths. “Mommy, whassat?” “It’s a bath, Astraea.” “Whassa baff?” “It’s to get you clean.” “Clean?”
  73. 73. Maddie rubbed her nose against Astraea’s. “Yes, you messy little girl!” Astraea giggled. “Not messy!” “Oh yes you are!” She lifted Astraea up above her head, flying her around, then zoomed her into the water. Astraea splashed happily. “Fun!” “You like the water, sweetie?” “Water!”
  74. 74. Maddie gently cleaned Astraea as she happily splashed water everywhere. When she tried to pull her out, Astraea’s lower lip started to quiver. “Leave?” “Yes, sweetie, your bath is done, and Mommy has to bathe Roxanna now.” “No want leave, Mommy! Want water!” “If you get out of the bath, you can go back to your xylophone.”
  75. 75. “…Xy-phone?” “To make the pretty music.” “Xy-phone! Want xy-phone, Mommy!” Maddie grinned. One crisis averted. Time now to drop one daughter by the xylophone and bathe another.
  76. 76. Seren and Ma’or, meanwhile, spent more time together than with their sisters, or than their sisters spent with each other. “Daddy-doll good for chewing?” “Yes! Whozat?” Ma’or gestured at the doll in Seren’s hand. “This one Seren-doll.” She grabbed another. “This Ma’or-doll. House? “Lots of house.” They always seemed to understand what the other meant, even when they weren’t speaking very clear English. The dollhouse was their favorite shared toy.
  77. 77. They also played with the blocks together, and even stayed together while eating and using the potty.
  78. 78. When they were separate, however, Seren and Ma’or were very different. Seren was quite a handful. She was the first one up in the morning, the last one to bed, and the only one who ever really got angry at the toys when they didn’t do what she wanted. She was also the only one to even touch the bunny head.
  79. 79. “Mummy!” “Yes, Seren?” “Want ten-shun!” “You want attention?” Stella leaned down to pick Seren up. “You want attention from the tickle monster?” She gently tickled Seren’s stomach. Seren giggled. “Like tickle monster! “I think you may be the only one who does, Seren.”
  80. 80. “Like snuggle monster too!” She latched her arms around Stella’s neck, holding tightly. Stella cuddled her, relishing the feel of holding her own daughter in her arms. She’d held other alien children in the past, but it had never felt this good. “Mummy read to Seren lots?” “Yes, Mummy will read to Seren lots. Let’s go find a story now.” “Yay!”
  81. 81. And finally, out of the four of them, Ma’or was probably the most easygoing, a good thing for a boy living with such strong- willed sisters. He never got angry with the teddy bear or the blocks, and he was often content to just sit and suck on his fingers while everyone moved around him.
  82. 82. Of course, the kids didn’t spend all their time alone. Maddie and Stella were often around, and both took part in potty training their quads.
  83. 83. And Nine was always there for a cuddle or a bath. Luckily, he never got shocked while bathing the toddlers.
  84. 84. Toddler training was very much a communal activity, as all of them participated in teaching the quads to walk, talk, and use the potty. Due to her work schedule, Maddie spent the least time in such activities; when she was home, she was usually too busy feeding, bathing, and changing the quads to teach them skills, as Nine and Stella worked almost identical hours. Therefore, while she did her share, most of her time with the toddlers was not spent teaching. Besides, Stella and Nine enjoyed it more.
  85. 85. And there were always plenty of cuddles to go around. Those, Maddie loved giving.
  86. 86. Friends came by, too. Klara quite enjoyed her job as an Inventor, and came home from work with Nine a few times. She always made time for the toddlers while she was there. So did the rest of their friends.
  87. 87. During the long nights, while Maddie and Stella and the quads slept, Nine began a new hobby: making robots. He started with toys, then slowly began working on more complicated machines.
  88. 88. He did, however, put two of the toy robots out in the living room for the quads to play with. Astraea quite liked the taste of them, while Ma’or got a bit scared of the noise and flashing lights. However, while both of them tried the robots once, the person who played with them most often…
  89. 89. Well, that was Maddie. ***
  90. 90. While Maddie had been dubbed Mommy, and Stella had become Mummy (they supposed it was an easy enough way for the kids to tell them apart), it was Ma’or who came up with Nine’s new nickname. Nine picked Ma’or up to get him a bottle. “It is time for you to eat, Ma’or.” “Okay, Daddy,” Ma’or said, patting Nine’s chest. Nine stopped short. “I am not your father.” Ma’or looked up at him. “Have Mommy and Mummy. You Daddy.”
  91. 91. Nine was shocked into silence as he got Ma’or a bottle. When Ma’or grabbed the bottle, he looked clearly up at Nine. “Tank you, Daddy.” “You’re welcome,” Nine said automatically.
  92. 92. Nine found Maddie and Stella in the dining room, eating a quick meal of sandwiches. He sat down with them. “What’s wrong, Nine? You are clearly disturbed.” “Ma’or called me Daddy.” Maddie and Stella exchanged a glance. “This upsets you?” Maddie asked. “I am not their father.”
  93. 93. “Technically, no,” Stella said, “but you have taken on the role.” “Look, Nine, you do as much of the childcare as we do. Hell, you do all of it when we’re asleep. As far as I’m concerned, if the kids want to call you Daddy, there’s no problem.” “I agree,” Stella said. “You are their male parental figure. I’m heartened that Ma’or was the one to call you Daddy, as well. You and he are the only males in the house.” “You are not upset?” “Not at all,” Maddie said. Stella shook her head, agreeing.
  94. 94. “I will need to think about this.” “Take your time. I can’t tell you the kids will stop, though!” Nine did think about it while he took care of the children and worked at the robot bench. And the next time Ma’or called him Daddy, he didn’t try to argue. ***
  95. 95. The morning that the quads were due to grow up, Maddie and Stella woke up, somewhat exhausted from keeping up with four rambunctious toddlers.
  96. 96. Then they sat down with leftovers for breakfast - since neither of them had had a chance to cook at all since their kids had aged up. “You’re sure you’re fine with me going to work? You’ll have to get the party ready entirely on your own, since Nine also has work.” “Well, we’re not doing a real party, right? The kids seem fine with just us, really, and I don’t feel a need for anything bigger. So it’s won’t be that difficult.” “If you’re sure.” “I’m sure. Go to work, Stella.”
  97. 97. After a quick nap (she was still exhausted, and the kids were all occupied), Maddie headed outside to check the mail. While there, she found a blond by the mailbox. “Hi, are you new to the neighborhood? I don’t think I’ve met you before.” “Well, my friend and I are looking at Viper Canyon, though we haven’t decided for certain yet. I’m wandering around, getting a feel for the place.” “It’s a great neighborhood, excellent place to raise kids. I’m Maddie, by the way. Maddie Doran.” “Very pleased to meet you, Maddie Doran. You can call me Ri.” “Is that short for something?” Ryelle thought fast. “Rianne.”
  98. 98. “It’s nice to meet you, Ri. Welcome to Viper Canyon. Why don’t you come inside? My kids are occupied, but I really shouldn’t leave them alone for long.” “That sounds like an excellent idea.”
  99. 99. Ryelle was a bit stunned at the sheer number of toddlers who seemed to be filling up the living room, as well as the fact that all of them were green.
  100. 100. “Four kids! That must be a lot!” “It is, at times, but they’re all wonderful.”
  101. 101. While Ri went around, playing with the children, Maddie went over to the piano, ostensibly to practice playing. Really, she didn’t need the practice, but it was a convenient way to keep an eye on the stranger, who she didn’t quite trust alone with her kids. Something was very odd about that woman, though she couldn’t quite put her finger on what. ***
  102. 102. “Stella! Wait up!” “Mal! Hello.” “I wanted to say congratulations on the promotion. You’ll be a great Chief of Staff.” “I’m not Chief of Staff, Mal.” He rolled his eyes. “You’re clearly next in line, and you know as well as I do that Kimberly is due to retire soon. You’ll get it then.” She blushed. “I guess so.”
  103. 103. He patted her shoulder. “Believe me, I have full faith in you, even if you don’t.” “Thank you.” “No problem. You heading home now?” “Yes, my children are due to grow up tonight. I want to be home for that.” “Of course - I wouldn’t miss my kids’ birthdays for anything. Have a good party!” “Thank you, we will.” They waved, then both got into their cars and headed off.
  104. 104. Behind another car, Frances sagged in relief. He hadn’t been seen. Then he tensed again in fury. Stella Terrano - Doran now, he supposed - was next in line to be Chief of Staff, and was going to get the position soon. Meanwhile, he’d been told that he was presumed missing and couldn’t have his job back. He hadn’t been missing. He’d been dead, then locked up and without the chance to get to work. It wasn’t like he’d purposefully tried to miss work or anything. And on top of that, she was green. She was an alien, not a part-alien, and she’d been fooling them all along. He turned around and headed for home.
  105. 105. When he got there, he passed the room where the new zombies - former Worthington Society members - were staying, shuddering as he did so. He didn’t particularly like dealing with any of them, particularly the ones who followed Rosalie slavishly.
  106. 106. He headed upstairs and found Kendra sitting in their room, clearly listening to the sound of Rosalie singing “Oh Susanna” to his - their - daughter on the other side of the wall. “Kendra, you’ll never guess what I saw at the hospital.” “Frances,” she said, her eyes dead. She strained to get closer to the wall. He sat down next to her. “I know you’re upset about Rosalie taking Francine, but…there’s nothing we can do right now. We’re going to have to trust that she won’t kill her, but I don’t think she will. She wants a baby as much as you did.” He patted Kendra’s shoulder. “We have another focus. Revenge.” “Revenge?”
  107. 107. “On Stella and Maddie. Remember they got us into this in the first place?” “Yes.” “So let’s concentrate on them. After we kill them, we’ll take Francine back.” She shook herself, then finally moved away from the wall. “You found something out, you said?” ***
  108. 108. “Sanar! You’ll never guess who I just met!” Sanar looked up from where she was tending the fire. “Who?” “A Doran!” “A Doran? Really?” “Really.” She stood up. “How sure are you?”
  109. 109. “Completely sure. She introduced herself as Maddie Doran, and she looks like one of us. Her features are incredibly elven, and she has ears.” “Just one?” “No. There are toddlers. Four of them. She must have bred with an alien, or a part-alien, because all of them are green, and three have alien eyes.” Sanar’s eyes narrowed. “That’s too many people for us to deal with, if there’s a man in the household. The kids might be killable now, but they grow quickly, and we don’t have an accurate account of who will be fighting us.” Ryelle nodded. “I agree.”
  110. 110. “We have to tell the Council. We’re too far for me to send a message easily, though. I can do it, but it will knock me out for a good week, and I’ll be weak after.” “You write the message, and protect it, and I’ll get a messenger.” “That works.” While Sanar climbed into the tent to get her writing supplies, Ryelle walked towards one of the cliffs surrounding their camp and whistled loudly. Then she waited.
  111. 111. A large white bird winged down from above and landed on Ryelle’s arm. “You’re quite the beauty. I’m Ryelle. What’s your name?” She paused, listening. “Imshi? It’s lovely to meet you, Imshi. Would you be willing to take a message to the North Forest for me? Good.” She and Imshi walked back to the tent. Sanar came out. “Is this the messenger?” “This is Imshi, yes. She’ll go to the North Forest for us.” “Great. Here’s the message.”
  112. 112. “You asked for help?” “I did. One adult and four toddlers may be few enough for us to deal with, but there’s whoever she bred with, and the children will grow quickly. She may also have friends. We don’t know what we’re up against, and I’d rather have help.” “Good.” Sanar handed the message to Ryelle, who gave it to Imshi, with strict instructions on how to pass the message on, and who to give it to.
  113. 113. They watched her fly off, then sat by the fire. “I guess it’s time to wait,” Sanar said. “Always the worst part,” Ryelle agreed. ***
  114. 114. When Stella got home, it was time for the toddlers’ birthday. They decided not to have a big party, but invited over their college friends. Klara and Blossom came, and brought Blossom and Aldric’s daughter, Starchild. Almeric and Aldric didn’t come, since they had three toddlers between their two families, and someone had to watch them. William didn’t come, because he had to work. Klara ended up holding Ma’or for the cake tossing, since there weren’t enough adults, while Blossom and Starchild cheered for the quads.
  115. 115. “Mommy, want fire!” Roxanna said loudly as she leaned towards the candles. “No, sweetie, we blow the candles out. Then we can have cake.” “Cake?” “Cake!”
  116. 116. All four of them spun into childhood, some into better outfits than others.
  117. 117. Then they, and Starchild, headed into the dining room to eat cake. Starchild was a bit amazed that all four of her new playmates were green, but she enjoyed talking to them all the same. Unfortunately, she had to leave fairly quickly, because her mother wanted to get back to her brothers. At least that gave the quads time to change into their new clothing.
  118. 118. And time to start a water balloon fight with their mother and the robot. Maddie had had to go to work, but when she got home, she joined the fight, too. Afterwards, they all headed up to their new bedrooms.
  119. 119. “Hey, cool,” Ma’or whispered to himself. “It’s all starry! I love the stars!”
  120. 120. Seren was equally pleased by her ocean-oriented room. She especially loved the fish by the door.
  121. 121. “You want the pink side, Astraea?” “I do!” She spun into her nightgown. “Isn’t it pretty?” “I like the purple better.” “Well, that’s your side, then!” “You sure you’re okay with sharing a room with me?” “Who else would share? Seren and Ma’or? He’s a boy. And I like being with you. Besides,” she said as she climbed into bed, “this way, we get to have a stereo in our room.” ***
  122. 122. “Good morning, Ma’or!” “Mommy! What are you doing?” “Tickling you, of course!” Ma’or giggled a bit. “You’re a silly tickle monster, Mommy.” “I am, am I? That deserves…more tickling!”
  123. 123. Starchild came to visit again - her parents wanted her out of the house while they dealt with her younger siblings. Besides, she was happy to hang out with her new friends. The Saturday was a busy one, with lots of games between them all.
  124. 124. “Astraea! Ow!” “Oh come on, Roxanna, it’s just a pillow!” “You hit hard, though!” “Do not! Come on, grab a pillow, you can hit me back!” “Oh, fine.” Roxanna smiled, though, as she attacked her sister with her pillow. It was a fun game.
  125. 125. “What are you guys doing?” Seren asked after she got out of the shower. “Pillow fighting!” Roxanna said. “You should join us,” Astraea added. “No thanks. I’m going to go get breakfast instead.”
  126. 126. “Hi Mommy!” “Hi Seren. What are you doing in here?” “I wanted to try baking a muffin.” “Well, I hope you got Nine’s cooking talents. I’m not a very good cook, and neither is your mum.” “Is Daddy good at cooking?” “Oh yes. You should taste his chocolate cake.”
  127. 127. Unfortunately, Seren did inherit Maddie and Stella’s cooking skills.
  128. 128. Luckily, she wasn’t the one to cook when BJ Ryan came to see if the kids belonged in his private school. Stella desperately wanted to get all four kids into the local private school. Everything she’d read told her that private schools were better, and that this was the absolute best of them all. She wanted the best for her children. Therefore, she invited him on a tour of the house, and then to stay for dinner. Nine did the cooking.
  129. 129. He was joined for dinner by Seren and Roxanna. Seren talked about all she wanted to learn at school, while Roxanna talked about all the fun she wanted to have. Somehow, he managed to get a good impression of the family.
  130. 130. And he allowed all four kids into his school.
  131. 131. Ma’or, meanwhile, was at the easel. “Hi Mummy.” “Hi, Ma’or. What are you painting?” “Oh, I haven’t decided yet. What are you doing?” “I need to send an email.” “What kind of email?” “Nothing important.”
  132. 132. She wasn’t quite telling the truth, but she didn’t think her kids needed to know the whole truth about the aliens yet, either. They’d promised regular reports. If she didn’t want them coming down, demanding to know what was going on? Well, those reports had to be sent. And she didn’t want the aliens interfering with her children.
  133. 133. Eventually, Klara picked Starchild up to drop her off home on her way home from work.
  134. 134. And Astraea managed to zonk out on the couch.
  135. 135. “Red hands, Roxanna?” “Sure, Seren. As long as I get to start on the bottom.” “Oh, fine.” Seren put her hands on top of Roxanna’s and they began the game. “Why aren’t you playing with Astraea? You usually play with her.” “She fell asleep on the couch.” Seren giggled. Then she tilted her head. “Is that a car?” “A car?” “Mommy’s home!”
  136. 136. “Hi Mommy! How was work?” “It was good. Why aren’t you in bed?” “Not tired yet.” “Well, let’s get you there, then.”
  137. 137. Maddie and Stella tucked all of the kids into bed, and carried Astraea from the couch to her bed.
  138. 138. Then they headed for their own bed. “Did you have a good night at work?” “I got a promotion. I’m a Rock God now.” “Congratulations! I know this is what you’ve always wanted.” “It really is. How’s your job going?” “Well. I suspect I shall be Chief of Staff soon.” “Good. You deserve it.” Maddie leaned over. “Of course, I deserve a celebration for making Rock God, don’t I?”
  139. 139. “And how do you intend to celebrate?” “Oh, I thought I’d start with this.” They had a lovely celebration.
  140. 140. While they celebrated, and the quads slept, Nine continued working at the robot bench. He eventually managed to build a fully functioning sentrybot. ***
  141. 141. “Hey, Blossom. No, we’re not doing anything today. Oh, the twins? Of course we’d love to come to the party! Are Almeric and Klara-” She listened for a moment. “Of course. We’ll see you at ten.”
  142. 142. “What are you doing, Mommy?” “I’m dancing with your brother.” “I can see that. Why are you in your underwear?” “Oh, no reason. How do you feel about going to a party today?” Ma’or looked up. “A party?” “For Starchild’s younger brothers. It’s their birthday.”
  143. 143. “Will Starchild be there?” Astraea asked. “I’m sure she will. And she’s not the only kid coming, either.” “Who else is coming?” “That’s for me to know, and you to find out.” “Mommy!” both kids yelled in unison, but Maddie just smiled.
  144. 144. After they all got dressed, they headed over to Aldric and Blossom’s house, where it was time for their twin sons, Redwood and Ziggy, to become children. Starchild was blowing her horn the hardest, but she was joined by her cousin Katja, Klara and Almeric’s daughter, and the quads.
  145. 145. The kids immediately ran for the cake, though Redwood and Ziggy took a bit longer to get theirs - Redwood needed his overalls, while Ziggy wanted a perfect Hawaiian shirt. Meanwhile, the adults greeted each other, catching up. They’d all been so busy with pregnancies, babies, and toddlers that they hadn’t had much chance to see each other.
  146. 146. Nine also got introduced around, and he was quickly accepted into the adult group.
  147. 147. And when the kids left the table, the adults occupied it, chatting and catching up on things.
  148. 148. The kids, meanwhile, headed out into the yard for a massive water balloon fight.
  149. 149. And then they broke up into smaller, individual games.
  150. 150. And when those were done, it was time to play in the pool.
  151. 151. “Go Astraea!” Seren cheered as she watched her sister slide down, falling face first into the pool. Ziggy looked at her. “Isn’t that kinda painful?” Seren shrugged. “I dunno. I’ve never done it!” “Well, get in, Seren! I wanna slide and you’re blocking it!” Starchild said. “Okay!”
  152. 152. Seren, however, wasn’t quite in the mood to slide down face first, so she went in the normal way, swiftly followed by the rest of the kids.
  153. 153. And then the adults. Nine relaxed in a deck chair, however, watching everyone else swim. Getting wet would ruin his circuits. “Are you fine watching, Nine?” Stella asked as she walked by him on the way to the diving board. “Yes, Stella, I am fine. I do not need to swim.” “I think it would break you, anyway.” “It would ruin my inner workings, yes. Relaxing is good, however.”
  154. 154. It was a good party, and everyone had a great time. Then the Dorans went home, ready to start school the next day. ***
  155. 155. “Roxanna?” “Yeah Astraea?” “What’s Daddy doing?” “I don’t know.” “I think he’s charging,” Seren said, sticking her head out of the bus to look back at her sisters. “He needs to do that to get his energy back, Mummy said.” “Come on!” Ma’or called from inside the bus. “I want to get to school!”
  156. 156. After everyone successfully got on the bus, Stella headed off to work.
  157. 157. Nine and Maddie both had the day off, so they decided to spend it relaxing. Mahjong and pillow fights were fun distractions.
  158. 158. And then it was three, and time for the kids to get home.
  159. 159. And to get a bit confused by the fact that they now that to do homework.
  160. 160. “Mommy!” Seren called as she jumped off the bus. “I brought a friend home from school! Is that okay?” Maddie came up to the bus from where she’d been waiting to meet her kids. “Did her parents say it was fine?” “She said her aunt doesn’t mind.” “Alright, but she has to leave before eight.” “Okay.” “What’s her name, by the way?”
  161. 161. “Susanna.” ***
  162. 162. So, normally I would end the chapter with actual chapter stuff, but in this chapter, you also got to meet all nine of my kidlets who will have, you know, actual roles in the story. Just so you know who is who, however, I’ve posted this picture. The four Doran kids are the green ones - obviously. Roxanna is in purple, Astraea in black, Seren in pants, and Ma’or, well, he’s the boy. Blossom and Aldric have three kids. Those are Starchild, in the braids, and the twin boys, Redwood and Ziggy. Redwood has brown hair and overalls, and Ziggy has black hair and the Hawaiian shirt. Their cousin, Katja, is Klara and Almeric’s daughter. She’s in the green shirt and glasses, as both parents have them. I figured she got the bad eyesight from them. And, finally, Frances and Kendra’s daughter, who will be called both Francine and Susanna in story, depending on who is talking to/about her, is on the right, in the pink.
  163. 163. And stats! Because, you know, all four kidlets were All four kids have black hair with red recessives and born, and, really, we’re not having more. Really. green skin with skin 2 recessives. As the eyes vary, I’ll You’ll find out aspirations and LTWs at teenhood, write those by each kid. though. Roxanna Doran Seren Doran 8/1/5/10/6 10/9/9/4/3 Capricorn Scorpio Alien/light blue Alien/brown <-- Maddie’s twins <-- Stella’s twins Astraea Doran Ma’or Doran 7/1/6/10/2 7/1/6/5/6 Taurus Cancer Brown/alien Alien/brown

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