The First Mother - Chapter 13

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Stepping out of the Pathfinder was a mind-blowing experience. There were thousands of people walking around with tents dotting the entire beach. It reminded me of those old music festivals that held before the world went to shit.

One of the Voyagers had landed dangerously close to us but I could see four other Voyagers at various locations in the distance just peeking above the forest.

The forest itself had changed so much already. Trees 100 meters in every direction had been cut and replaced with lots for buildings under construction.

Those poor animals, not even a week and they had already lost their homes and had been pushed deeper into the forest.

At the very least, the meals I could see being shared among the new arrivals were synthetic so far but how long until they decided the creatures of this planet looked tastier?

I had to do something. I'd decided I had to find Caitlyn immediately and tell her about my concerns.

I walked intently down the beach while ignoring the numerous stares that I got but was stopped frozen in my tracks when I heard a very familiar voice.

"Sup dummy" The voice said.

I turned to see Andy in all his glory. He now sported a beard but other than that, he looked the exact same as I remembered. He also now filled out his NASA suit quite well which was a far cry from the boy that left home.

"Andy" I said with my eyes widening. I already knew he was here but somehow seeing him still caught me off guard.

"Oh my gosh, Andy" I screamed as I ran to him and jumped in his arms. He caught me easily and pulled me into a very tight hug that knocked the wind out of me for a moment.

"I'm so glad you're here" I managed to say when we let go.

"Couldn't let you have this whole planet to yourself" he said with a smile.

Standing on my own as the feelings died down, I suddenly felt self conscious. The flowing, white, knee-length dress I'd changed into after waking up was about as feminine as you could possibly get.

So much that "I did this for a job" was no longer a believable defence. Even more so because that job ended three years ago.

By the time I was done breastfeeding Adya, my breasts had settled at around a D cup. This paired with my hips that pushed a bit too far out and my long hair that went all the way to my back, I looked nothing like the brother he'd said goodbye to a decade ago.

"Come meet my wife" was all he said though as he wrapped an arm around my shoulder and led me in a direction.

I knew it was her when she came into view because she was carrying Adya. I doubt anyone would let some random lady hold my daughter.

She wore her dreadlocks in a styled updo which made her look young and classy.

"She's pretty" I told Andy as we approached her "Much better than you deserve"

He laughed heartily.

"I know" he answered.

She gave a big smile and waved when she spotted us. This was Andy's wife. I decided to be on my best behavior to get off on the right foot. As it turned out, there would be no need because she was the nicest person on the planet.

"You're so beautiful" that was the first thing she said to me as we approached. "How are you two even related?"

"I got all the good genes" I said back with a smile.

Of course for the longest time and the duration of our childhood, that couldn't have been further from the truth.

Andy had always been very handsome with a very athletic body that the girls loved. He was also very funny and outgoing. The exact opposite of his shy, lanky, loser brother that kind of looked like a girl.

Now though, our attractiveness was more on par although on entirely different scales.

"Hi, I'm Imani" she told me.

"Dani" I responded.

"Of course I know that. I've been so looking forward to meeting you."

"Hope you're not disappointed" I said awkwardly.

"No way! Andy told me what happened but I didn't expect you to look like a model"

Andy and Imani exchanged a look which caused me to speak up.

"No need to be weird, it's okay. I was his brother, it's not really a secret"

"That's what I said" she agreed. "You're actually so pretty and you have an amazing daughter, I am so jealous" she gestured to the little girl on her arm.

"Imani really wants us to have a baby" Andy explained.

"Yeah but with the stupid laws..." she confirmed.

"Those laws shouldn't apply here though right?" I asked.

"That's what I'm thinking. I was hoping you could help us ask? Or see about a permit? I imagine you're pretty high up"

"Imani, she just woke up"

"I'm not really, I'm just a grunt to be honest" I replied. "But I'll ask"

"Thanks" she beamed a bright smile.

We all noticed Adya reaching out to me so Imani spoke again "Someone's itching to get back to mama, here"

I took Adya in my arms and held her close. To be honest, she was getting heavy and passed the age of being carried but I didn't mind. She'd always be my baby girl.

"Where were you going?" Andy asked me.

"To see Caitlyn" I answered.

"Oh we rarely see her these days. Do you know where she is?"

"Yeah, Will said she's in Voyager 3. That one over there" I pointed.

"I'll come with yoy" Andy decided. I didn't object.

=^..^=

As we walked past the beach and into what used to be a dense collection of trees, I tried my hardest not to let it show that I was upset.

The lush area of the forest had now been reduced to tree stumps. There was not a single blue eyes creature in sight. I thought back to that one Zoofle that I would occasionally see perched in a tree somewhere.

'I wonder where it is now' I thought to myself.

"What was it like?" Andy asked.

"What was what like?"

"Being pregnant and giving birth"

I blushed. That wasn't a conversation I ever expected to have with my brother.

"Why? Do you want to give it a try?" I joked.

"Funny. Just tell me."

"Being pregnant was fine. There were annoying parts but it was alright. Giving birth was literally hell" I explained. "There were times I didn't think I was going to make it".

"So worse than being kicked in the balls then?" he asked again with a smile.

"Really? That's why you asked?" I rolled my eyes.

"Oh come on, you can't blame me. You're like the only person that knows for sure. I have to know"

He was always such a goofball.

"I've never been kicked in the balls!" I said loudly. If there was anyone in the vicinity, I was sure they would have been very confused.

He stared at me in disbelief, "Never?"

"Never" I reiterated.

"That's crazy. So you're useless then? I guess I'll never know for sure" he jokingly threw his hands in the air.

"Giving birth is worse, trust me?"

"How would you know? You haven't been kicked in the balls. That shit hurts"

"Andy, I almost died. Giving birth is worse" I argued.

"I mean, you are a weakling. I'm sure I could have tanked it, no problem" He smiled.

"You're an idiot" I smiled back.

=^..^=

Voyager 3 landed closer to the pond and had scorched the surrounding earth.

I hoped and prayed the animals in the vicinity had gotten away in time. There were no scorched bones so that was a good sign.

Different strucrures were in the process of being built across several clearings that had been made in the area. I could hear people hammering away at wood that used to belong to proud trees.

I knew that that was inevitable in the end and I couldn't exactly expect humans to live out in the open without shelter but still there had to be something I could do.

Since Failsafe didn't seem to like the more aggressive approach, I would have to try it a bit more diplomatically.

=^..^=

The inside of Voyager 3 was gorgeous. Nothing like the bland halls of the Pathfinder, these looked more like a resort.

People turned around and some even left their job stations just to stare at Adya and I as we walked the halls.

Thankfully, the layout had remained the same and I was easily able to make my way to the bridge without having to ask for directions. That was where I expected Caitlyn to be.

There were guards posted at several doors. The same types that reminded me of Cillian but thankfully, none of them stopped me and only threw a simple "Ma'am" my way as I passed.

Andy though had eventually been stopped from going any further so we agreed he would head back to the Pathfinder.

I wasn't sure who was getting more attention, Adya or me?

=^..^=

I walked through the sliding door of the bridge and saw Caitlyn having a conversation with several other officials.

She paused whatever she had been saying and walked up to me.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present Dani Fahey, the first mother of Gaia" She announced.

A few dignified nods came my way which caused me to slightly bow my head.

"And this is Adya, the first child to be born on this planet. The first Gaian if you will".

The officials seemed more impressed by this as she even got a few claps.

"I wanted to speak with you" I whispered to Caitlyn.

"Wait outside, this shouldn't be long".

I nodded to everyone before turning and leaving.

=^..^=

Sitting in a waiting area close to the Bridge's entrance is where I first met Asher.

"Hello" He'd said to me before I even knew he was there. I had been too pre-occupied playing peekaboo with Adya.

"Hello" I said turning to get a good long look at him. Gorgeous. This caused me to smile involuntarily.

He had a tough, chiseled jawline that I swear could cut glass and tousled, black hair that fell perfectly into place. He carried his tall figure with an air of confidence that told me he'd never had to want for anything a day in his life.

"Hi" I said again.

He smirked, "Hi. I'm Asher, and you?" He outstretched his hand for a shake pretending not to know who I was.

"Dani" I shook it. I could play his game.

"You're her"

'Smooth' I thought.

"In the flesh" I replied.

"And this must be your daughter"

"Yep, that's Adya. Would you like an autograph?"

Maybe I shouldn't have said that but it didn't seem to phase him.

"I'd prefer a drink" he said charmingly.

That phased me and left me speechless.

"Would you care to join me for a drink?"

"I'm busy" I finally replied composing myself.

"So am I but I'm sure we can make time for each other".

Talking to the same people for the past 6 years had left me rusty. It wasn't like I had much experience in these situations before that anyway. Certainly not as the girl.

Thankfully, I was saved by a guard showing up to let me know that Caitlyn was ready for me.

I had been prepared to use the opportunity to escape but then it hit me. Will and I was never going to work out. He was my first real love and I'd have loved more than anything to make it work but whatever his issue was with me wasn't something I could ever hope to resolve.

This was a chance to get over him. Plus, it was just a drink. What could possibly happen?

"Fine" I said as I got up and carried Adya, "One drink".

He seemed please. As I walked passed him and towards the guard, I wondered if he was still looking at me. If he liked what he saw as he watched me walk away.

Just when did I start seeing men as potential partners anyway.

=^..^=

Caitlyn had been droning on about my appearance and motherhood since we took our seats in the bridge. This was before I'd even gotten a chance to speak to her about my concerns.

"You were always meant to be a woman?" She told me finally.

Was that a compliment? It sounded like a compliment.

"Thanks?"

She reached and touched my belly, I didn't stop her. Caitlyn had been fairly easygoing with us but still this was weird. Was she like this with Heather? Maybe it was a girl thing.

"What about Heather?" I asked. She hadn't been in the medbay when I woke up.

"Voyager 5. She's up but they're studying her for any side effects of extended stasis."

The record for longest time in stasis had been 41 months. Heather had broken that record by a large margin so we were in uncharted territory.

For the missions longer than three years, the astronauts had been woken up for atleast a week before being put back under.

"Can we see her?" I asked.

"I'll find out" She assured me "What did you want to talk to me about?"

I thought for a moment to gather my thoughts. This was my chance to make a difference.

"I wanted to talk about how we treat this planet" I began. "You must have noticed that all species here are docile"

"Except the Zylphi" she added.

I nodded, "Yes. If we let people have free reign, humans will wipe them all out the same way we did those back on Earth".

She nodded. She was following so far.

"If it was up to me, no one would be allowed to harm them for any reason" I continued.

"By harm, you mean kill"

"Yes" I affirmed.

"People need to eat, Dani" She voiced "The only reason they haven't started yet is because they don't trust that it's safe yet"

"The animals here are intelligent, and emotional, and they communicate in different ways. It's wrong to kill them. They have lives and families and they grieve"

"How do you know this?" She asked me. "Have you conducted any experiments?"

"No but I know it. You can perform the experiments and you'll see".

"We have. They're mindless"

That wasn't true. Over the years I'd seen them interact in complex ways with each other.

"Trust me, they're not" I stressed.

"Again, how do you know? All evidence points to the contrary."

"I..." I stuttered. Could I tell her how I knew? I couldn't know how she'd react. I also didn't want to throw Will under the bus by telling her when I asked him not to.

"I know about you" I heard her say but it didn't register immediately.

"What?" I asked when it finally clicked. What did she know?

"I know about what you can do. I know that you speak to them and control them"

"H.. how?"

"Will told me. Frankly I'm hurt that you would keep it a secret from me but I understand with what happened with Voyager 1"

Okay that made sense. Will must have told her after he decided and thought he had proof it wasn't me.

I still didn't know how or why they'd attacked again but I wasn't going to look the gift horse in the mouth.

"I'm sorry. I thought you would throw me in jail or experiment on me"

"Oh the experiments are coming" she adjusted in her seat "..but no jail yet so don't worry. What happened was tragic but it wasn't on you. We know that."

I breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed that I had dodged the bullet.

"Any survivors?" I asked. I knew the answer to that.

"None. It was a horrific scene. Even worse is that we lost the entire chain of command down to the Secretary of Homeland Security. I wonder whose shitty decision making it was that put the entire US government in one basket. Suddenly I find myself in charge. What the hell do I know about leading?"

She took a pained breath.

"At the very least their families weren't onboard. The UN board, NASA administration, all.... "

Her voice trailed off as my mind remained focused on what she had said.

I hadn't even thought about their families. How could I have gone on if their families had died too? The children...

"Are you okay?" Caitlyn tapped me on the shoulder. "You look pale"

I shook it off "I'm fine, just tired"

"Go get some rest"

"OK" I agreed "About the animals..."

"Don't worry, we'll talk more about it later. See about what conservation policies we can adopt to protect them"

Phew. Good start.

I made a mental note to ask her what the stance on having children on Gaia was the next time we talked.

=^..^=

I must have still been weak from the surgery because my arms were starting to hurt from Adya's weight as I approached the ship.

There looked to be a party happening on the beach as I could hear music and could see people dancing as I approached.

I think it was starting to dawn on everyone that they had escaped the dying planet and now they could live the rest of their lives on a tropical paradise with no dangers.

Understandably, they were all in a jolly mood as they drank and danced with each other.

I wondered how many celebrities were here. Maybe we could even have one of those music festivals again. I worried for the planet but still, it was nice to see and talk to other people except Will, John, Cillian and Robert.

Speaking of the devils, I spotted them waving to me from the Pathfinder. They were seated on printed chairs placed in the sand and formed a circle along with Andy and Imani and one other girl that I didn't recognize.

I waved to them before hurrying to take the empty chair that I assumed was for me

John immediately handed me a red plastic cup filled with what looked like beer. I took it graciously. Beer was among the easiest and cheapest drinks to synthesize material-wise so it made sense that there'd be a lot of it to go around.

"Dani, meet Mia, Cillian's sister" John told me. He was all smiles as he introduced the redhead "Can you believe the big guy has a sister?"

Cillian grunted uncomfortably.

"Yeah, over 6 years together and you didn't think to tell us?" I asked in disbelief.

"Yeah and I thought we were close" Robert added shaking his head in mock disappointment.

"Cillian was always quiet about that sort of thing" Mia informed us but of course we knew that already.

He grunted again.

Her voice was soft and angelic and devoid of the albeit slight accent that Cillian had.

Honestly, they were nothing alike. She was barely 5'5 and had a very slight structure. She also had brown eyes where he had blue.

I quickly glanced over to Andy and Imani who were very involved in their own conversation. I glanced around and noticed the music was getting louder and the party more intense.

She was younger than you would have expected since he was already in his mid-forties. She looked to be about my age or maybe a little older.

"Is it just the two of you?" my mouth spoke because I got the chance to think.

"Our parents went back to Ireland. With the travel restrictions, Caitlyn couldn't get them to come" She explained.

"I'm sorry" I said realising that the answer to my question could only be a sad one.

"It's okay. Ireland is still fairly peaceful unlike the US"

I would later find out that nobody else's family had managed to come. I drew the long stick, Cillian got his sister, John's father had critical health issues that prevented his parents from making the trip and there was no word about Robert's large family.

"I'm sure they hadn't even tried to get them from the low zone" Robert had said "Not like they would have found them anyway".

Will was all alone and remained quiet throughout that conversation.

"So what's it like on earth right now?" Robert asked the question directed at Mia, Andy and Imani.

"People from the other zones broke through the high zones checkpoints one time. It was a massacre. I was in college when it happened so I was safe" Mia told us. "It's a good thing our parents were already back in Ireland when it happened"

"The middle and low zones are now one and the same basically" Andy told us "Military housing might have saved our lives"

"Things will only get worse" Will commented for the first time.

"I hope not" Andy spoke up again "The president... former president announced Gaia to the country. Five hundred voyagers were under construction when we left so people have hope again"

"Seven hundred and fifty thousand people?" Robert asked, "That won't make a dent".

"Yeah probably, but it's something. And there's also the Mars missions.." Andy spoke again.

"If they wanted to save everyone, they should have fought to save Earth. Leaving only saves a fraction" Robert said finally.

Everyone seemed to agree with him.

It looked to me like Andy still had faith. He was always like that, optimistic. Maybe that's why things always worked out for him.

After a while, the conversation seemed to devolve into politics between the guys that I had no interest in so us girls moved closer together to have our own conversation.

Mia told us about her boyfriend back on earth that wasn't offered a ticket since he wasn't family.

"The audacity of him to ask you to stay" I said in disbelief.

"I kinda get it though" Imani put forward a different opinion "If it was Andy and I, I don't think I'd want him to go either".

"Yeah but you're married" Mia argued.

"Yeah but even if we weren't" Imani added.

"You don't know what's real or not. He could break up with her at any point" I said.

"Exactly" Mia agreed.

"Did you atleast try to get married?" Imani asked.

"Yeah but they wouldn't have it. In the end, I decided not to risk it and come see my brother"

"Well, I think you made the right decision" I said to her "Men are fickle. There was a time when I thought Will would do anything for me, now we barely talk"

This seemed to pique their interest.

"So you two were together together?" Mia asked.

"On and off for a while" I answered.

"I thought it was just for the baby, I didn't know you guys actually dated" Imani said.

"It's complicated" I replied.

"I still can't believe you used to be a boy" Mia added. I blushed. "You're girlier than me".

"Don't tease her" Imani cautioned her.

I side eyed Adya to make sure she wasn't getting too far.

"I'm not, I'm just happy there's a girl my age here I can talk to. How old are you anyway?" She asked me.

"26" I answered.

"I'm 26 too" she said wide eyed. "No wait, I'm 28. Fuck stasis actually" she frowned.

"Atleast you're not 31 now" Imani said.

"Hot guy incoming" Mia announced excitedly "Act cool".

I turned to see and locked eyes with Asher walking this way. My heart skipped a beat. What the hell was he doing here?

The girls must have seen my reaction because Imani asked, "You know him?"

"Girl, you work fast" Mia said in a hushed tone.

I didn't get a chance to respond because Asher was already within earshot.

"Hello" he said as he approached our congregation.

There were various individual acknowledgements as well as some suspicious looks.

"Dani, hi" he said to me.

"hey" I responded.

"I was wondering if you wanted to join me for a dance and maybe that drink".

The whole group was quiet. I glanced around and they were all staring, even Will.

Why did Asher have to do this here?

"I would but I'm watching Adya right now" I said.

It was a lame excuse but it was the only one that came to mind.

"We'll watch her" Mia offered. I shot her a frustrated look.

I tried desperately to think of an excuse. Blank. Fuck.

"Sure" was all I managed to say.

=^..^=

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Hope you're still enjoying the story. As always I'd love to hear what you think of it so far.

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Comments

Something tells me that nothing good will come of this…..

D. Eden's picture

First, I don’t trust Asher - he seems altogether too slick, and ver, very pushy. I really doubt he will be the type to take no for an answer. Plus, that party is getting way too raucous to be safe.

Second, I have the feeling that Will is going to be very jealous and isn’t likely to take this lying down. The question here is whether he is going to go after Asher, or go after Dani.

Will Dani end up being saved by the animals? It wouldn’t surprise me if something happens at the party and she gets saved by her friendly Fylis, Kira, and her like.

D. Eden

Dum Vivimus, Vivamus

What she said!

Why do I have the feeling that Murphy just manifested after having snuck on board. I really think the crap is soon to hit the fan and a whole bunch of people areoing to get a rapid attitude adjustment when Gaia awakens to protect herself.

On the other hand . . . .

Emma Anne Tate's picture

. . . Maybe Will will stop being a jackass and realize what he’s risking losing!

Emma

It Seems To Me

joannebarbarella's picture

That we're all suspicious of Asher. Maybe it's feminine intuition.

Dani can't help but be naive as her experience of men is very limited.

I don't see why they have to chop down trees when they have accommodation in the ships and they have 3D printing. The vandalism has started already.