Story [Star Trek Into Darkness] The Life To My Soul (Khan/OFC) Completed 12 September!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Dantana Skywalker, Jul 27, 2013.

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  1. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    Title: The Life To My Soul
    Author: Dantana Skywalker
    Timeframe: post-Star Trek Into Darkness
    Characters: Khan Noonien Singh, Anthea Harrison (OFC), James T. Kirk, Spock, Nyota Uhura, Leonard McCoy, Carol Marcus
    Genre: romance, suspense, action
    Summary: Sequel to “The Scars On Our Hearts”. Khan and his people, working to build a new life for themselves on a planet they’re secretly colonizing, are interrupted when the crew of the USS Enterprise discover them. Tensions between Khan and Kirk are renewed, fueled by the connection both men have to Khan’s wife. But there is a greater threat than jealousy lurking in the dark . . .
    Notes: I only own Anthea Mackintosh Harrison, Nolan Harrison, and other OCs.


    --Prologue--

    The Beta Quadrant

    "Captain's log, stardate 2261.01. The crew of the Enterprise observed the new year on New Vulcan, with Commander Spock's father and the individual we've dubbed Spock Prime. It's still very strange to me that there are two of him. Spock and Lieutenant Uhura are in unusually high spirits since the visit. I wonder if they're hiding something. At any rate, they're not fighting anymore and I'm relieved."

    Jim Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, paused his dictation and leaned back in the chair behind his desk. His quarters were quiet; it was the middle of the night aboard the ship, and apart from the skeleton crew that manned the bridge during the night, everyone was asleep.

    He liked this time of night; it gave him space to think without the constant demands of commanding the vessel he loved so much. He loved being captain, and he loved what they were doing. But sometimes, he needed a break from it.

    It had been almost two years since he'd died saving the Enterprise and its crew. He'd been revived through the blood of one Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered superhuman with homicidal tendencies. Dying had changed him. So had Khan's blood, though he hadn't confessed that to anyone.

    They weren't huge changes, just subtle ones no one noticed but him. His eyesight was sharper. His reflexes just a little faster, his body just a little stronger. He didn't need as much sleep as he had before, and his mind, well . . . Kirk had always been something of a genius. Christopher Pike had once asked him, the night he'd talked him into joining Starfleet six years ago, if he liked being the only genius-level repeat offender in Iowa. So he'd always been smart.

    But now, he was smarter.

    It scared him a little, enough that he had spent the last two years wondering if he was going to change in other ways. So far, so good, and he was still the Jim Kirk he always had been. Well, not entirely. Death did change one's outlook. He wasn't as brash, cocky, and gung-ho as he'd been before.

    "Current plans are to swing past the remains of Vulcan on the way back out into the unknown. It's mostly for Spock's benefit-"

    The communicator on his desk beeped. He paused the recording, held in a sigh as he pressed its answer button. "Kirk."

    "Captain," the voice of his first officer said, "Lieutenant Uhura has informed me that we are receiving a high-priority transmission from Earth, addressed to you."

    Kirk frowned. "I'll take it here in my quarters. You might as well come over, so I don't have to repeat anything."

    "Certainly, Captain."

    In moments, his door chimed. Kirk said, "Come."

    It slid open and admitted Spock. Obviously, the Vulcan hadn't been sleeping, either. Kirk motioned him over to the desk even as he touched the computer screen with a finger, signalling it to give him the transmission.

    It was text, and Kirk skimmed it. Then he stopped, went back and read it more slowly.

    Then he swore.

    "Captain?"

    Kirk rubbed a hand over his face, noting he needed to shave. "That was from Starfleet. Actually, it was from a Vice Admiral Brody. Don't know who they are, but they said it has to do with Section 31. It seems that Khan and his crew have been . . . abducted."

    Spock wasn't often bewildered, but his brows drew together ever-so-slightly at this. "An interesting choice of words, Captain."

    "Yeah. Admiral Brody also says that Lieutenant Commander Anthea Mackintosh is missing."

    The Vulcan tipped his head. "You think that she had something to do with this?"

    The captain snorted. "Oh, I know that Anthea Harrison had everything to do with it."

    "I was under the impression she believed her husband to be deceased. How did she know he wasn't?"

    "She's a spy, Spock. I'm pretty sure she knew exactly what she was after when she came to see us in San Francisco." And he, stupidly, had told her just about everything he knew. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

    Spock leaned over and read the missive from Earth. "How long ago did they discover this?" he asked, even though he could read it for himself.

    "Apparently, she altered the records and they had to go through all their top-secret storage facilities one by one. She 'vanished' a little over a month ago with her kid. I'm guessing she's spent the last two years working on this."

    "She is the wife of a criminal mastermind," Spock remarked.

    Kirk scowled at the screen. "Just what we need, Khan and his people loose in the galaxy. This is just great."

    "I presume that Starfleet would like us to locate them."

    "Doesn't say," Kirk said.

    "What are we going to do, Captain?"

    Jim Kirk heaved a sigh. "I have no clue."
    Last edited by Dantana Skywalker, Sep 12, 2013
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  2. Nightvision91 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2013
    star 1
    An amazing start to what will be an incredible story. I can't wait to see how this plays out.
  3. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    Mar 13, 2006
    star 5
    Great start to what should be a great rematch between Kirk and Khan.
  4. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    Thanks!

    Oh, it will be!

    What kind of posting schedule do you guys prefer for this? I had "Scars" finished for nearly a month before I finished posting it; the other places where I post this one, I just put up chapter 14 this evening.
  5. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

    Game Host
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    star 5
    Every day is fine with me. :D
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  6. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Yes the sequel with a very intriguing start. Love to see this every day[face_dancing]
  7. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    I'm happy to update as often as I can!

    ------------------------------------------------

    --Chapter One--

    CX-431 Alpha
    2261.15

    The settlement was small, but busy. Bare-chested men worked in the hot summer sun to construct somewhat primitive buildings, joined by a few women in sleeveless shirts. Others of both genders milled about, doing things that construction required of them. A select few worked with more modern equipment, preparing food or processing build materials. In short, the place was loud and somewhat chaotic.

    "NOLAN!"

    By rights, no one should have been able to hear the shout over the din, but everyone instantly stopped what they were doing and turned their attention to the woman searching the construction site frantically.

    Otto, the foreman of the project, shouted, "Keep eyes wide, everyone, he is out again!"

    "He" was fifteen-month-old Nolan Harrison, son of Anthea Harrison and her husband, Khan Noonien Singh. The currently-only child of the settlement's leader, Nolan was a precocious handful, and everyone had very quickly learned to keep an eye out for him.

    Anthea hadn't meant to let him get away, but the little boy--who could walk far too well for his tender age--had a tendency to disappear if she took her eyes off him for more than a few seconds.

    "Nolan!" she called again.

    "Over here!"

    With relief, Anthea turned towards the voice of her sister-in-law, Kati. The other woman had Nolan in her arms. Though the child struggled, there was no way he was going to escape his aunt's iron-banded grasp.

    "Thank you," his mother said with relief, as she took him from Kati. "I'm going to have to put him on a leash!"

    "Good luck with that. He'll just find a way to escape again." Kati reached out and ruffled the toddler's black hair.

    With Nolan located, Otto gave the order to resume work. Anthea propped her son against her hip and carried him back towards "home", presently the interior of a starship named Reliance.

    Her husband was in the medbay-turned-laboratory with Yves, one of the only two colonists with medical training. Khan didn't look up as she entered, merely asked, "Did you find him?"

    "Kati did." She leaned on one of the medbay's two beds and sighed. "I've got him locked in our cabin for the moment. But as soon as he's tall enough, he's going to be able to trigger that door."

    Yves glance over at her. He was a tall, lean man with blonde hair and chocolate-brown eyes. "Hopefully, he will have better judgement by the time he is tall enough, non?"

    "I certainly hope so." Anthea moved over to where Khan peered through a microscope. She laid a hand on his shoulder, rubbing lightly. "What are you working on?"

    "I am studying Kati's latest blood sample."

    "Is she still rejecting the transfusions?"

    He sighed and sat back, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Yes, and I'm not sure why. We're working on modifying the formula for the serum Dr. McCoy developed, using Kati's own blood as a base, to see if we can find a reason for it."

    "I'm sorry it's not working."

    His sister was the only one of the "family" that was actually related to Khan by blood, aside from his toddler son. When he and his people had been exiled from Earth in the twentieth century, she had, with her brother, spent centuries asleep. He had access to much more advanced technology, had even discovered that his own blood cured nearly anything.

    Anything, it seemed, but whatever flaw in Kati's genetic engineering had given her epilepsy. Her blood was, so far, the only one that rejected Khan's blood outright. They'd tested everyone in the settlement, and in every sample, Khan's blood overwhelmed and "fixed" the DNA. Except Kati's. He'd given her a transfusion weeks before, and it had sent her into convulsions that had nearly killed her. And now, while his people laboured to build houses on their new home planet, he spent his days in the lab, toiling to find out why.

    "Have you thought to try Nolan's blood?" Anthea asked. "I'm loathe to offer him up as a guinea pig-"

    "-Or dead tribble," her husband muttered.

    "Pardon?"

    "Nothing." He turned in his chair and looked at her. "I hadn't thought of that. His DNA is might be sufficiently different from mine . . ."

    "Shall I fetch him?"

    "If you wouldn't mind?"

    Anthea went to retrieve their son. As she walked down the corridor, she mused on the last six weeks. For the most part, Khan's crew accepted her as his wife. They didn't treat her with the same deference they did him-anything he ordered or requested was followed immediately and without question-but no one had outright protested the presence of a "normal" human in their midst.

    She knew some didn't like her. Rodriguez, for example, but a large part of his dislike of her stemmed from a dislike of women in general. He was the only one who had made a fuss over her presence, but he'd very quickly learned not to say anything in front of their leader.

    Others, however, just gave off a vibe. She hoped that in time, they would accept her more. She didn't fear any of them, she just wanted to not receive the side-long looks and whispered remarks. Considering all she'd done for them, one would think they'd give her a little more respect, and not only keep silent out of deference to Khan.

    Anthea scooped Nolan out of his playpen and hugged him close. There were no words for how much she adored her little boy. Having Khan back, after nearly two years apart, was wonderful, but Nolan really made her life complete. Becoming a mother, even unintentionally, had been the best thing to happen to her.

    "Hi, sweetie," she said to him. "Let's go see Daddy for a bit."

    Nolan gave her a big, gap-toothed grin. "Dada!"

    Her son had a pretty advanced vocabulary, but what else could be expected of the son of Khan Noonien Singh? Still, Nolan was fifteen-months-old, and had trouble with a few of his letters, mostly with pronouncing his Rs. He was bright and intelligent, and usually a very happy, cheerful little boy.

    Life on their colony wasn't easy, but for her husband and her son, she would do anything.

    ----------

    Back at the medbay, she carried Nolan in. She set him on one of the two beds and retrieved an extractor unit. "How much do you need?" she asked Khan.

    "One unit should be sufficient."

    Khan rose from his chair and came over, watching as she used the tool to take a sample of their son's blood. They were designed to be painless; still, it was difficult for both of them to do it.

    He wasn't generally an openly demonstrative man, except when it came to his small family. Anthea made him feel more than he could recall in all his years, and Nolan . . . Nolan's very existence made the heart he'd once locked away swell with pride.

    He had taken on Starfleet by himself for the sake of his crew. For his son, he would take on the universe singlehandedly if he had to.

    Glancing at his wife as she handed him the vial of blood, he knew that he would never have to do it alone. He gently ruffled Nolan's hair, taking the vial from Anthea with his other hand.

    He didn't savour remembering those days after he'd fled Starfleet, when he'd thought Alexander Marcus had killed his crew, when he'd feared that his capture on Qo'noS had meant Marcus might go after Anthea, if he hadn't already. He'd hoped she would be safe with her family in Scotland while he sought vengeance for his crew. He hadn't been able to kill Marcus in time to keep the admiral from seeking her out. It was a minor miracle the arrogant old man hadn't done anything to his wife, but at the time, sitting in a brig aboard the USS Enterprise, he'd had no way of knowing if she lived or not and every reason to assume the worst.

    His crew lived, despite Marcus's attempts to the contrary. And not only had his beautiful wife given birth alone while he was locked in a cryotube--unaware of his son's very existence--she had stolen him and his people right from under Starfleet's nose, and brought them here.

    Khan owed her so very much for that, and an immeasurable amount for their son. Knowing he was a father had shifted his world view ever so slightly. He'd thought, the day he'd crashed the USS Vengeance into the city of San Francisco, that he had lost it all. But now he knew better. He had everything.

    But he said none of this, at least not in front of his crew.

    Resuming his seat, he set about his latest test. But he paused in preparing a slide to watch as his wife left, taking his little boy with her.

    There was, he thought, very little that could bring him down now.
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  8. RX_Sith C&G Game Host

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    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2006
    star 5
    I'm beginning to wonder if Khan and Kati are exact opposites in a way; him being the one who can cure all except her, and she who cannot cure anyone let alone herself. Hopefully, Nolan will be the answer to her rejection of Khan's blood; otherwise, she is but an island of herself.
  9. Nightvision91 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2013
    star 1
    Wow odd that Khan's blood didn't work. Fingers crossed that Nolan will be able to figure it out.
  10. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    I hope Nolan's blood will be the cure
  11. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    I know it's a little early, but whatever.

    ------------------------------------------

    --Chapter Two--

    They had yet to select a name for their new planet. The Federation had given it a generic name for its own records, but it was outside Federation space and had been uninhabited save for local wildlife. Anthea had chosen it carefully. It wasn't too far from inhabited systems to completely isolate them, but staying out of the Federation's way was important. With everything Starfleet had done to them--and what, admittedly, Khan had done to Starfleet--a wide gulf was the best choice.

    Life on the small planet felt, at least to Anthea, somewhat like the summer camp her parents had sent her to when she was thirteen, the one where she'd met her long-time friend, Lindy Williams. They'd "roughed it", meaning they'd slept in tents and learned to make fires and spot poison ivy. But it hadn't been "real". And now, Lindy was back on Earth, married with a baby on the way, likely still oblivious to what Anthea had done and the real identity of the man she'd married.

    Here, there was no escaping the primitive conditions to go back to the modern world. Granted, it wasn't as far removed for Khan's people, as they'd spent two and a half centuries in an artificial sleep. They'd come from a war-torn time, one with only rudimentary space flight. The seventy-two men and women who had survived their long, long journey on the SS Botany Bay, out of the original ninety, were remarkably adaptive to their situation. They'd devoured all the technical manuals Anthea had brought from Earth, had learned the use of the phasers and the plasma cutters, the PADDs and communicators, with remarkable speed.

    Yves in particular was thrilled with the technological advances. Even though Anthea saw their little medbay as woefully underequipped, the Frenchman had informed her that it was beyond anything available on Earth when he'd been a practising physician. That was a scary thought to the young mother.

    These people were all scarily intelligent and strong. They'd taken to the modern equipment in just a few days, and now seemed to wield the tools as if they'd grown up using them. They'd figured out which planets and animals were safe to eat, and which weren't. And they had, so far, raised ten cabins to live in. At the moment, they split themselves between the finished structures and the temporary shelters. Seventy-two were a lot of people to shelter. Yves slept aboard the Reliance, as Anthea and Nolan did, but the rest were fine with their current accommodations, as far as she could tell.

    Kati flagged Anthea down as she left the ship, Nolan in tow. "Anthea! Look what I made for you."

    She held out a belt that had been modified to add nylon webbing, turning it into a big leash. "For Nolan."

    Anthea had to laugh. "Thank you," she said to her sister-in-law. "I love it."

    The other woman, due to her affliction, was in charge of most domestic matters around the colony. Heaven knew Anthea didn't have much of a talent for it. She'd brought the makings and equipment for sewing clothing, but she was pretty much only good at sewing squares together. Even though she was technically a soldier, Kati had an interest in it, and thus was in charge of overseeing the small group that handled such things.

    Kati took Nolan from Anthea and fastened the belt around the toddler's waist. Two nylon straps went over his little shoulders and attached at the front, and the length of webbing from the back was long enough that Anthea could loop it around her wrist.

    "This is going to be very useful," Anthea told Kati. "Maybe now I can keep him from running around the construction areas."

    "We do not mind him running around here, but he really seems to like the power tools."

    "No, he just likes going where I tell him not to."

    Nolan plopped his small, diaper-padded butt on the ground and tugged at the harness. "Mama! No!"

    His mother rolled her eyes. "He only listens to Khan these days. Which isn't that different from the adults around here."

    Kati shook her head. "The women like you. The men are . . ."

    "Annoyed that a normal human woman saved their arses?"

    "Essentially, yes. Give them time. They know how much you have done, but it is . . . not how we operated before."

    Anthea glanced down at her son, as she said, "I'm aware of your previous operations. Nolan! Don't eat that!"

    She bent and took the bug from her son's grubby fist. "I know you've a brain in there, sweetheart. Do try to use it. If it wiggles, it doesn't go in your mouth."

    Nolan frowned, reaching for the insect as Anthea tossed it away. Kati watched him with a somewhat wistful expression on her narrow face.

    "I know that look," Anthea said. "That's the 'I want a baby' look."

    Kati hadn't mastered the blank expression her brother was so good at. ". . . I do. Someday. But with this-" She tapped her temple. "-I do not want to risk passing that on. Ironic, is it not? Sister to the great Khan, the most flawed."

    "He's working on it," Anthea told her. "He is. It worries him that he can't figure out why his blood hasn't fixed it."

    "Why my blood rejects his, even though half of it is shared? Yes. I have a theory about it, one I have not discussed with him. We share half our blood, yes, but what if I am . . . flawed because I am a failed attempt at a female version of Khan?"

    "How so? You mean, your gender modified from a clone or something?"

    "Not precisely. What if Mother knew what she had created with Khan, and attempted to reproduce rather than exactly clone?"

    Anthea blinked grey eyes at her sister-in-law. "I'm still not following."

    "What if he is not only my brother, but my father? Not in a taboo way, merely his genes. I have spoken with Yves about their experiments. Perhaps he cannot fix me because my blood already carries his genes and it does not know what to do?"

    "That . . . is an interesting theory, one I suggest you bring up with him as soon as possible."

    ----------

    It probably should have bothered Anthea more that she was married to a man who was responsible--directly or indirectly--for the deaths of thousands. She knew, though, that Khan had not intended for the people in San Francisco to die. The ship he had been piloting had been crashing anyway, and he had attempted to direct it elsewhere. Granted, "elsewhere" had been Starfleet Headquarters, but he hadn't meant for it to land in the bay and then plow into the city. There was only so much he could do to control the ship, which had weighed hundreds of thousands of tons. With its guidance systems malfunctioning, and its thrusters dead, there had been no stopping the USS Vengeance once it was sucked in by Earth's gravity.

    Once he'd been able to stop deceiving her, Khan had opened up about his indentured servitude to Starfleet, or as he'd put it, his slavery to Admiral Marcus. He had admitted that he'd started a relationship with her largely because he was lonely, he was attracted to her, and she was useful. He'd fallen in love with her along the way, and realised that dragging her into his mess had been selfish and dangerous.

    Then, all at once, his careful plans had been shot to hell and he'd had to run. Marcus had come after him, had threatened Anthea, and he'd felt he had no alternative but to take out the head of Starfleet.

    He'd done so, but it had separated him from his wife, and from his child.

    She'd been angry with him for so long, but now that they were reunited, and she knew what had happened in the time he'd been gone, she found she couldn't hold on to that emotion, not when she had so many other things to cling to.

    Lying with Khan in their cabin, she watched him in silence, comparing the man before her with the man she'd thought she'd married. John Harrison had never been real. He'd been created by Alexander Marcus to hide who Khan really was. He hadn't been counting on his pet engineer to fall in love with anyone, and neither had Khan.

    "Sometimes," she told him now, "I still wonder what was you and what was this persona you made up. Sometimes it's difficult to reconcile you with John Harrison."

    "The things I told you in private, just between the two of us, was always me," he murmured. "As much of me as I could give you at the time. You've always been so open with me, and there was only so much I could say without endangering you. But I tried to tell you the truth, when I could. And if I could not, I tried to make it as close to the truth as I could manage."

    "I still feel sometimes as if I don't know you."

    "You have no idea how much I regret that," he replied softly. "Before I really knew you, it was easy to lie. But as I came to love you, my sweet Thea, it was such a burden. I wanted so much to tell you what Marcus was doing to me, why I had to keep you secret and to myself. And at the time, if I had told you who I really was, how I had come to be here and what I had done in my former life, would you have believed me? Would you have trusted me?"

    Anthea shrugged. "It's impossible to say now. But I've trusted you always, even when common sense and the whole of Starfleet said not to."

    "I am aware," Khan whispered. "And I have no idea how I can ever repay that love and trust."

    Their bed wasn't very large, barely big enough for the two of them to squeeze on, sometimes with Nolan wiggling his little body between them. Their son had taken immediately to Khan, adoring him with every fibre of his small being.

    This was one of those nights. Anthea lay between Khan and the wall, on her side. Her husband faced her, and Nolan sprawled on his back, limbs loose in sleep.

    She picked up one of Nolan's small hands, letting his fingers curve around hers. "I've been thinking," she said slowly.

    "About what?"

    Anthea ran the pad of her thumb over the velvety-soft skin on the back of Nolan's chubby hand. "I want at least one more child," she said quietly. "I don't want him to grow up alone as I did."

    "Having a sibling is good, yes," Khan murmured. "I would like another child, as well."

    "My thought was, he's over a year old now. If we wait much longer, he'll technically be too old to play with a sibling, because I don't want him to possibly hurt a brother or sister, not knowing his own strength and not being old enough to know he has to be careful. If he's inherited your full strength or not, he's still really strong for a baby."

    Her husband nodded. "I understand completely."

    He reached over and caught a lock of her hair between his fingers. "The last time we had this discussion, we decided it wasn't time."

    "And then I ended up pregnant within weeks," she reminded him.

    "Yes. I was hesitant to bring a child into that mess. It happened anyway and I missed it."

    Anthea turned her head a little, into his hand, as he laid it against her cheek. "What do you think? Should we try?"

    One corner of his mouth lifted. "I have no objections. I want to see you heavy with my child, to be there for his or her birth."

    Between them, Nolan grunted a little and rolled to his side, reaching out in sleep to grasp a handful of Khan's shirt in his small fist. His mother hugged him to her, pressing her mouth against the top of his head.

    "I adore him," she whispered. "But I do want another one."

    "Then let us have another one."

    "Chances are good I might already be pregnant," she said. "What with there being no birth control around here."

    "Is that why you brought this up now?"

    "Not really. It was just something I was thinking about today."

    Khan sat up, carefully lifting Nolan in his arms. "Let me put Nolan to bed, and we will . . . discuss this further."
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  12. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Nice chapter. She should get more children
  13. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    Eventually, they will. :D

    Figured I'd share a sketchy-painting thing I did of Khan, Anthea, and Nolan. Not my best work, but, eh.

    [IMG]
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  14. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

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    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
  15. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    Thanks!

    ----------------------------------------------

    --Chapter Three--

    The lead Kati had made for Nolan proved very useful. Anthea could slip it over a chair leg and her son couldn't run away. He wasn't pleased by this new development, though, and cried for a good twenty minutes when Mummy introduced her latest trick.

    "He really doesn't like it," she observed to her sister-in-law. "I've never seen him get this upset, aside from when he first started teething."

    "Khan is not one for being tied up, either," Kati remarked.

    "Oh, I don't know about tha-" Realising what she'd been saying, Anthea snapped her mouth closed. "Um."

    Kati let out a surprised laugh. "I do not need details!"

    "You won't get them," Anthea promised.

    "It is good, though, you and my brother. Before, he never had anyone like you. No one to truly care for him as you do. He had . . . mistresses, but they were never more than toys to him. I admit, I was not pleased at first, when I learned you were his wife. But you are good for him. You help him be . . . human."

    "I'll take that as a compliment."

    Nolan had, by this time, finally stopped crying. He sprawled on his back on the grass, in the shade of the tree his mother and aunt had sheltered beneath, and hiccuped.

    "Nolan, too," Kati continued. "I know he does not let the others see, but we all know he adores his son."

    "I think it's a bit silly, but I also know he's used to keeping things close to the chest. And I know why that became ingrained. But he doesn't need to do it here. It's not as if he has a reputation to uphold."

    "No," Kati said, "we would all follow him into the depths of Hell. Even if he asked us to do it while wearing pink tutus."

    Anthea grinned at the mental image of her intense, stoic husband in a tutu. "I'd love to see that."

    "So would I."

    The two women grinned at each other.

    "We've decided to have another baby," Anthea confessed. "One he'll be here for."

    "I think that is an excellent idea!"

    "I'm a little scared, I'll admit. Last time, I had the best doctors there for the birth."

    "Oh, Yves is very good!" Kati assured her. "Though I do not know how many babies he has delivered."

    Anthea arched a brow at her sister-in-law's effusive support of the doctor. She wondered if Kati knew how her face lit up when she said Yves's name.

    Nolan crawled over to his mother and dragged himself into her lap. Curling against her, he jammed a thumb in his mouth and grabbed a fistful of her blouse. "Mama," he mumbled sleepily.

    "Looks like it's naptime," Anthea said. "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put him down for a spell."

    ----------

    With Nolan napping, Anthea sat at the tiny desk in their cabin. She'd begun documenting life at the colony in a series of letters addressed to her mother, which she'd never send. She missed her parents a great deal, though she would always choose Khan when it came down to it.

    Mum,

    We've been on the colony seven weeks now. Today is day 50.
    We've built a number of cabins for our people, and more are
    under construction. Khan has selected s beautiful site for our
    own home, beneath a very tall, sheltering tree at the edge of
    our little village. For the present, we're still calling the ship
    home, though.

    Khan is still working on trying to help his sister. It worries him
    that he can't figure out what is wrong. He's not a man used to
    failure, and this, especially with his only true sibling, has him
    very stressed. I do what I can to assist, even if it's just give
    him comfort.

    Nolan is growing fast. I wish you could see him! Even though
    he's only fifteen-months-old, he's fairly mastered walking, and
    has begun running, though he still has a tendency to fall when
    he does this. He still speaks only in short sentences, but his
    vocabulary is expanding by leaps and bounds. Khan assures
    me his rapid development is normal for their kind. Our son
    has graduated from nappies now, which was the only hitch
    so far. He did not want to potty train. I prevailed in the end,
    however. Khan is relieved; he does not, at present, have to
    change any diapers.

    We've decided to try for another child. While we have no
    preference on gender, I admit that I would love to have a
    little girl. There are women here, but there is entirely too much
    testosterone on this colony. We have nine more men than
    women, Khan not included, and if we want a successful colony,
    we'll need to find the men wives. Save for Otto and Chin, who
    are a same-sex union, though Chin has confessed he would
    like to find the couple a surrogate by which to have a child
    of their own.

    My conflicts with Rodriguez continue. I'm not asking him to
    obey my every order, simply afford me some respect. I did,
    after all, rescue his frozen arse from Starfleet. Still, he behaves
    as if the women are lesser, me least of all given that I'm
    "normal" and not augmented like the rest of them. He treats me
    with a little deference when Khan is around, but when my
    husband isn't present, Rodriguez behaves as if I am not, either.
    I may bring this up with Khan, but I don't want to cause trouble.

    She leaned back and studied the words she'd written. In his little bed, Nolan stirred and rolled over, pushing his small bottom into the air as he pulled his knees up. Anthea watched for a moment, smiling faintly.

    I cannot help but wonder how things are on Earth. I wonder
    daily how Lindy is doing, but I can't speak to her or let her
    know where I am. She always had a little more blind loyalty
    to Starfleet than I did. But I wonder how she's doing with
    her baby on the way. She'll be due soon, and I won't be
    there for her. She probably hates me now, but then, she
    never did understand. She thought I was mad for loving
    Khan. Perhaps I am, a little.

    The cabin door slid open and Khan entered. Anthea quickly saved her entry and closed down the computer. She wasn't hiding anything from him, it was more out of courtesy. He looked tired, and for someone with his stamina and bearing, that was saying something.

    "You're working too hard," she told him as she rose from the terminal. "Did you get any sleep last night after I went to bed?"

    "No," he murmured. "I couldn't sleep. I feel I slept too long."

    "Khan, darling, two years in a cryotube doesn't count as proper sleep." She took his arm and pulled him to the bed. "You need a break."

    He pried off his boots, ran a hand through his dark hair. "I'm responsible for my people, Thea. How can I ensure this colony's success if I cannot fix this one problem?"

    "Maybe Kati isn't supposed to be fixed. I was never really one for believing in destiny, but . . ."

    "What changed that?" he asked, as she pulled him down beside her.

    "You did," she said simply. "By rights, you should have died, what, two hundred years ago? We would never have met. But you were in cryosleep for that time, and Marcus found you, and assigned me to work with you. I'm sure it wasn't his intention that we fall in love, get married, and have a son, but if not for such an odd string of events, we wouldn't be here, now, with our little boy."

    Khan stretched out on his back and closed his eyes. "It does have a certain predestined feel to it, doesn't it?"

    She brushed a stray lock of hair off his forehead. He didn't wear it gelled back as much as he had before, and she liked the look of it now, different as it was.

    "I'm sure you'll solve this problem, in time. But you can't work yourself into exhaustion, sweetheart. Not like you did before."

    He reached up, caught her hand toying with his hair, and drew it down to play with the ruby ring he'd given her when he'd proposed. "You're right. I was always so tired then. If I had been a little more alert, perhaps . . . No matter now. We're all safe here, aren't we?"

    "As safe as we can be," she murmured. "You should take a cue from Nolan, and take a nap."

    Khan rolled to his side, tugged her against him. "Or, since he's dead to the world right now . . ."

    "Mm. I like your thinking."

    ----------

    He ended up taking more than a nap, sleeping the rest of the afternoon and well into the night. The problem with his being a "superhuman" was that sometimes, he thought he didn't have limits. Anthea knew better, and she wasn't surprised that he'd crashed so hard.

    Khan had a tendency to obsess over things, fixate on them until they were all-consuming and he had to deal with it. She understood the drive he'd had to save his people, now that she knew that's what he'd been doing two years before. But he was doing the same thing with Kati, now, and she couldn't figure out, except to distract him through sex, how to get him to slow down.

    At least, she mused, he was using his focus for good. She knew he and the others had once attempted to "purify" the earth. It was mind-boggling to her that her husband was capable of such a thing. Isolation from his people, his relationship with her, and undoubtedly his adoration for his son, had changed his perspective and his priorities. Still, knowing that the man who slept beside her had once ruled a quarter of Earth? It was difficult to grasp.

    He made a distressed sound and jerked in his sleep, brow furrowed. The nightmares, too, were nothing new to her. He'd had them for as long as she'd shared a bed with him.

    Anthea smoothed her thumb over his brow, murmuring, "Khan. It's only a dream, darling."

    He woke with a gasp, blue eyes flying wide. Khan blinked rapidly, then focused on her face. "Anthea."

    "Another nightmare?" she whispered.

    Instead of answering, he looked around the room. "How long have I been asleep?"

    She consulted the clock. "Oh, a good twelve hours, almost. You didn't even wake when Nolan threw his bear and pitched an absolute fit over it."

    He sat up, and she grabbed his arm, pulling him back down. "But I need-"

    "To sleep," she insisted. "Everyone else has gone to bed. There's nothing you need to do at this very instant."

    Seeing she wasn't going to give in, Khan sighed and closed his eyes. "Fine."

    Anthea wrapped an arm around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder. "You were dreaming. Do you remember any of it?"

    "Fire," he murmured. "Fire, and my mother's voice, screaming. I've never had that one before. I barely remember her voice as it is. I do not know how I knew it was her. I tried to reach her, but I couldn't. It was so hot . . ."

    He drifted back into sleep, and Anthea wondered.
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  16. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Nice to see Anthea getting a nice friend in Kati and what is in the dream?
  17. Nightvision91 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2013
    star 1
    Wonder what is up with the dream. Glad that Anthea made a friend with Kati.
  18. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    Ooohhh, sorry! Didn't mean to go so long without posting!

    -------------------------------

    --Chapter Four--

    A few days passed before Anthea stiffened her resolve and approached Kati.

    "Do you remember much about your mother's death?"

    Kati paused in pinning the sleeve of a shirt in place. "To be honest, I do not remember her at all. I was only a little older than Nolan when she died. I know that Khan has better memories, but he, too, does not remember her much. I do know that he took her death very hard."

    "What do you know about what happened?"

    Her sister-in-law put down the shirt and leaned back in her chair. "There was an explosion at the lab where she worked. Khan thinks she was working to fix my epilepsy, as he is, but we do not know for sure. The explosion caused a fire, one that no one could get through to even attempt to save her."

    Anthea nodded, attention half-drawn to Nolan where he lay in his playpen in the shade, gnawing on a cracker. "And where was Khan during this?"

    Kati frowned. "I do not know, actually. Why do you ask?"

    "Just something he said a few nights ago. Got me to thinking. It's nothing, really."

    ----------

    Khan may have been the leader, and regarded by his men as supreme commander and emperor--which made Anthea snort to herself whenever one of the men addressed him that way, regardless of his past status as such or not--but he looked after his people first and foremost. He waited 'til they all had cabins built, proper shelters rather than flimsy tents, to start work on their own home.

    Anthea brought him lunch while he and Otto took a break from digging a shallow foundation. With Nolan on her knee, they ate in companionable silence, broken only by Nolan attempting to steal some of his mother's lunch.

    "I've been thinking about something you said," she told her husband, when he took Nolan from her.

    "Oh?"

    "When you had that nightmare about your mother? You said that you were trying to reach her and couldn't, because it was too hot."

    He frowned. "I do not remember much about the dream."

    "What if . . . it was a memory? Is it possible you were there that day?"

    Khan turned those intense eyes her way and regarded her in bemusement. "I have no recollection of it."

    "Everything you've told me about what happened has been a . . . historical, third-person account. What you were told growing up. Except that dream. If she was experimenting using your DNA, it would make sense for you to have been there. They didn't have DNA replicators then, did they? Everything had to be with a large sample."

    "Nearly everything," he said with a nod. "It was so primitive compared to today. I . . . I'm not sure, to be perfectly honest. I have no memory of that day, at all. I remember only . . . being told she was dead."

    He froze so suddenly that Nolan reached up and patted his face, saying, "Dada?"

    "What is it?" his wife asked.

    "I just remembered something. When they told me she was gone, I was in a white room, in a white bed. I always thought it was one of the rooms at the . . . centre where Kati and I were raised after her death, but now that I think about it, it wasn't. It was a hospital. Why was I in a hospital?"

    "Maybe you were there. Perhaps you were injured in the fire?"

    His expression was suddenly troubled. "Perhaps. I will need to think about this more."

    Anthea reached over and rubbed his shoulder. "If you need to talk it out, you know I'm up for it."

    ----------

    "This is a lot hotter than England," Anthea complained. "When is it going to be fall?"

    "We chose a warmer area," Khan reminded her. "I'm not familiar with the seasons here, and given our latitude, I wouldn't expect cooler weather for a while."

    She groaned. "It's giving me a headache. I think I'm going indoors, where it's cool."

    He lifted a brow. "It isn't that hot."

    "It's hot if I say it's hot!" she retorted. "Ugh. Go do shirtless, manly things."

    "Wouldn't you rather watch me do those shirtless, manly things?" he asked with mild amusement.

    "Maybe later. I'm going to see if Yves has anything for this headache."

    She was almost to the ship when it hit her. She hadn't been nauseated in so long, it was a complete surprise to find herself stopping on the path, stomach clenching, to fight a wave of the unpleasant sensation.

    In fact, she hadn't been nauseated since she'd had morning sickness with Nolan . . .

    Trying to keep her excitement tamped down, Anthea hurried aboard the ship. It had been easier, she recalled, to test for pregnancy back on Earth. Even in the twenty-third century, it didn't get much simpler than peeing on a stick that said "pregnant" or "not pregnant".

    She didn't have one of those, hadn't thought about it. She knew it was because, subconsciously, she hadn't wanted to think about the logistics of having a baby on a distant colony, far from Earth. She really should have taken that into account.

    "Yves," she ventured, as she entered the medbay. "How would I go about setting some of this equipment for a specific test?"

    The doctor tilted his head, eyeing her. "What kind of test, Madame Khan?"

    "Please, Anthea is more than adequate." It bothered her more than a little to know that some of Khan's crew took the meaning of his name, ruler, literally and used it as a title. "I need a pregnancy test."

    His pale blonde brows arched up. "Oui? Does Khan know?"

    "He knows we're trying. He doesn't know I suspect. I'd . . . like to surprise him a little."

    "Ahh. I see." He smiled and gestured for her to come over to his station. "We can test by blood, just a little prick-ha ha, still funny even now!-of the finger-"

    "Ow!"

    Yves caught a drop of her blood from the tip of her finger in a little container. "Yes, well, not as delicate as the extractor, but it does not take much. Perhaps, one day we will have the ability to sense it with a scanner, but it is not this day."

    He took the blood sample and popped it into one of his machines, humming a tune she didn't recognise under his breath. "Ahh! And here we are! You see, it is like those crude tests but without the indignity, checking the hormone levels in blood instead of . . . the urine."

    "Which is appreciated," she said dryly. "What does it say, Yves?"

    He turned the screen her way. "Your suspicions are correct, madame. Indeed, vous êtes enceinte!"

    Well, that hadn't taken them long at all, had it?

    ----------

    She found Khan working with Otto and a man named Joachim-a blonde, obnoxious man she'd taken an instant dislike to, though he was oblivious-on what was to be their home. It was larger than the others, with several bedrooms plotted out. They had the foundation down now-made of large, flat river stones-and the support beams up, nailing them into place with little effort.

    She watched them work for several minutes, grateful she'd brought hundreds of thousands of nails. She'd had no idea how many it would take, or how many structures they'd need, so she'd planned generously on nearly everything.

    Otto was the first to notice her. "Kaiserin!" he exclaimed. "It is unsafe!"

    "I'm well outside the reach of any beams," she assured him. "May I have a moment with my husband?"

    "Certainly!" Otto said, and dragged a protesting Joachim away.

    Khan set his hammer down on the work table and wiped sweat from his brow. His black hair fell in his eyes and he impatiently swept it back. He was shirtless, as she'd jokingly suggested, and glistened in the afternoon sun. Anthea never got tired of looking at him, especially like this.

    "What did you need?" he asked. He picked up one of the reusable bottles they'd brought, currently filled with water, and took a drink.

    "Oh, I just wanted to see how things were going . . ." She stepped to the "doorway". "Is it safe to come in?"

    "As long as you do not step into the hole where we've laid the cellar," he said. "This is the living area, and over here will be the kitchen. The cellar is beneath it. This, er, room will be my workspace, and here, a room for you for . . . whatever you'll need one for."

    "And I'm guessing this large space will be our bedroom?"

    He nodded. "Big enough for the bed you brought from Earth."

    "I couldn't possibly leave that, now, could I?" she asked with a grin. "I have very fond memories of that bed."

    Khan smirked. "As do I. Now, this will be, I think, Nolan's room, though he's too small to truly appreciate having his own space."

    "And . . . two other rooms? Is one a nursery?"

    His blue eyes went from the rudimentary floorplan to his wife's face. "If we need one. Do we need one?"

    She couldn't have kept a secret from him if her life had depended on it. Anthea bit her lip, grinned, and nodded.

    Khan dropped the bottle and hauled her into his arms to kiss her passionately. She laughed against his mouth, hugging him tightly. He never kissed her in public, not like this. It was nice.

    He backed her against the nearest support beam. Anthea hadn't done anything about her earlier headache, but she forgot it with his body pressing against hers like this. If their new house had had walls, she probably would have encouraged him to take her on the floor.

    "A child," he said, when he put her down. "Another child."

    "Yes. Let's not tell anyone just yet, but yes." She didn't want to share their joy with anyone at the moment, wanted to hoard her happiness. "Just a little while. I want it just between us, only for a little while."

    "Mm. I'm good at keeping secrets. This one, though, I may have a bit of trouble with."

    They stood in the framework of their home and held each other, and Anthea reflected that life really couldn't get much better than they had things right then.

    Still, in the back of her mind, she wondered when the other shoe would fall.
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  19. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    a delightful update and I hope things will stay alright for the family
  20. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    --Chapter Five--

    A happy Khan was a very pleasant Khan. As the heart of the community, even though only the two of them and Yves knew about their baby, Khan's good attitude quickly spread to everyone. Everyone save Rodriguez.

    This time, it was apparent enough that Khan finally picked up on the man's animosity.

    "What is his problem?" he asked Anthea, as they prepared for bed.

    "He doesn't like me," she told him. "I wasn't going to say anything, but he doesn't."

    "Why would he not?"

    She shook her head and sighed. "Khan, not everyone sees me the way you do. I haven't brought it up because I don't want to cause trouble, but he's not the only one who doesn't care for me. He's just the most obvious about it. I talked about it with Kati. They think I'm . . . not good enough, or something."

    Her husband frowned. "That is completely ridiculous."

    "Actually, I can kind of see where they're coming from. I'm not an Augment. I'm a normal, flawed, weak human woman in their eyes. And Rodriguez especially is angry that he apparently feels he . . . owes me. I don't see it that way, but some of them apparently resent that I rescued you lot all on my own."

    Khan snorted in disgust. "It is not only that. Silly as I think that reasoning is-you are not weak in the slightest-there may be another cause."

    She arched a dark brow. "And what would that be?"

    He actually looked uncomfortable. "Back during the wars . . . Rodriguez is not originally one of my people. Most are, for varying reasons, but Rodriguez was late to the party, so to speak. I had a brief . . . interlude with his sister, and she was killed in the war. I think he believes that I would have married Telema, and he would have been elevated in status by it."

    His wife was skeptical. "So he resents me because not only did you not marry his sister, who then died, but you settled for an ordinary woman?"

    He nodded.

    "How long was this . . . relationship?"

    "Six months. The longest I had before you."

    Anthea made a derisive sound. "Oh, please. If you were required to marry anyone you shagged for at least six months, I would have married Elworth Kennedy straight out of secondary school. And that would have been a disaster."

    "And who is Elworth Kennedy?" There was a thread of jealousy in Khan's voice; she doubted any but she would have noticed.

    Anthea smirked. She wasn't jealous of his past, especially given they were all long dead. But he, who had no reason to worry, was jealous. It was kind of cute. "Idiot I dated in school. I was sixteen, and he was my first."

    Khan caught her around the waist. "And if you met this Kennedy now . . .?"

    "There is no one but you, my love," she breathed, pulse racing as he pulled her against him. "I wasn't even that invested then. I only shagged him because I was curious and he had a fast car. Have I mentioned I was a little shallow at sixteen?"

    Her husband laughed and pressed his lips to the side of her neck. "Telema was pretty, but that was her only appeal to me," he told her. "She never held my affections. I was . . . different before you, Anthea. I never loved the way I love you."

    She reached up, caught her fingers in his hair, and twisted to kiss him. Khan's big hands were hot through the thin silk of her nightdress, flattened against her back to hold her against him.

    "Khan," she breathed against his lips.

    "Mama!" Nolan yelped from his playpen. "Ma ma ma ma ma!"

    "Dammit," Khan muttered. "That's it. Starting now, he's getting his own room."

    She laughed. "I was just thinking that myself. Tell you what. I'm going to take myself off to the loo for a moment. Why don't you move his crib into the next cabin over?"

    "Good idea."

    When Anthea emerged from the bathroom, she padded on bare feet next door, where she found Khan tucking Nolan into bed. She loved these moments, when her war machine husband showed his softer side.

    "There we go, Noisy Cricket," he murmured to the baby. "Off to sleep, now."

    Anthea came up behind him and looped her arms around his waist. "'Noisy Cricket'?"

    "Oh. It's a . . ." Khan gave a small laugh and looked sheepish. "A film that came out in the 1990s, about a government agency that deals with aliens attempting to invade Earth, called 'Men In Black'. I only had the chance to see it once, but one of the main characters, Agent J, has this ridiculously small gun that packs an enormous wallop. It's called a Noisy Cricket."

    She looked down at their sleepy son. "I see the resemblance."

    Khan took her hand. "Let's star-gaze. It's a clear sky tonight."

    "Khan, I'm in my nightdress."

    "No one will notice," he assured her. "And if they do, they'll look away."

    She hesitated, then grabbed a blanket and one of the "baby monitor" communicators Khan had rigged up. "Fine."

    Outside, near their mostly-built cabin, Khan spread the blanket out and they lay back to look up at the stars. Since there was no light pollution, the sky was brilliant with glowing pricks of white light, and a multicoloured swath of gases from a nearby nebula.

    "I remember," he told her softly, "the rooftop patio in London, where we tried to stargaze. But London was too bright."

    "Mm. Our first night together, as I recall."

    "It was, yes. Back . . . home, in the twentieth century, I loved to stargaze. I had all of the constellations memorised. These stars . . . I couldn't begin to tell you what they are."

    "Pretty is what they are," she said. "Beyond that, who cares? Oh!"

    She pointed excitedly as a shooting star went by. Logically, she knew it was just some sort of space debris, burning up in the atmosphere or skimming along its surface, but she didn't care.

    "I haven't seen one of those in so long."

    Khan wasn't quite as impressed, but then, he knew what it was like to be in something crashing through the atmosphere, with no shields, only a thick layer of metal between you and a very hot death, so it had lost some of its charm. "I want the others to be as happy as we are, but short of ordering them to 'pair off and make babies', I'm at a loss as to how."

    Anthea laughed at his phrasing. "I think Yves and Kati might be interested in each other."

    Khan folded his hands behind his head, looking up at the sky. "They have been for some time, but neither has the guts to say anything."

    "I do know she's worried about her condition, about passing it on. Have you made any progress on that?"

    "Some, I think, but it could very well be that she was designed to reject my DNA." He rolled to his side and ran a finger down his wife's arm. "We were created to be the start of a superior race, but . . . What tends to happen when bloodlines are regarded as 'pure' and not to be sullied by the inferior?"

    Anthea wrinkled her nose. "Oh. Ew."

    "I am still not certain my mother really regarded us as children more than experiments. Given how she created us, and who she worked with, the thought would definitely have crossed her mind. If she worked in a failsafe to prevent inbreeding, it would explain why that transfusion of my blood nearly killed her."

    "That's . . . both devious and evil, and brilliant."

    Khan pressed his forehead to hers and sighed. "However, it leaves me with figuring out which part of my DNA repairs errors, and which of hers rejects it, and figure out a way to remove that and splice mine in. And doing so with the limited equipment we have . . ."

    "I got what I could. I'm sorry it isn't more."

    "I know you did, my dear. And Nolan's blood does show less of a reaction, so I am hoping that eventually . . ."

    Anthea combed her fingers through his hair. "Did you look into her theory about the other thing?"

    Khan made a frustrated noise. "I did, and she is correct. Our mother used my DNA, blended with her own. My thought is that is the cause of her defect and the source by which Mother built in the failsafe. Humans do not reproduce asexually or through selfing."

    "You realise I have very little actual idea what you're saying? I just love listening to you talk."

    Khan huffed a laugh. "You're much smarter than you give yourself credit for, Thea."

    He ran his hand over her stomach, laying it gently against her belly. "I have so much to thank you for, my love. You saved my people, and have given me a true family. I know I can be . . . distant at times, but you know that I adore you, yes?"

    "Of course I do." She stroked her fingers over the back of his hand. "There was a time when I wasn't sure, but now, I have no doubt."

    "I am sorry I gave you that doubt." Khan kissed her forehead, then her mouth. "If I could do it over, differently, I would."

    "What's done is done," Anthea told him. "There's no point in worrying about it now."

    "Mm. No. But I have seen enough that . . . even if I can, in this moment, think that nothing can touch us, I still worry."

    "Don't," she pleaded softly. "Don't waste time on worry. Let's just enjoy this time, however long it ends up being."

    Khan rolled to cover her, cupping her face in his hands. "Whether it is a day, or a century," he promised.

    Then he kissed her, and both missed the meteor shower that lit the sky above them.
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  21. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Meteors? Something nasty to the planet happening?
    Nice update
  22. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    Nah, just a regular, ol' meteor shower.
  23. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    I'm going on a trip this week, and I don't know what my internet access will be like, so this is probably the only update I'll do 'til Saturday.

    -----------------------------

    --Chapter Six--

    Armed with the things Khan had told her about Rodriguez, she sought the man out the next morning, where he worked on tanning hides culled from local wildlife. He was on the shorter side, only a few centimetres taller than she, with a wide, stocky build and long, black hair tailed at the nape of his neck.

    "Rodriguez," she said, as she approached.

    He looked up, shielding his eyes from the sun with a hand, and sighed when he saw her. "What do you want?"

    "Khan tells me your first name is Miguel. Would it be alright if I called you Miguel?"

    "No."

    She smiled. "Alright, that's fine. Rodriguez, I am aware that you do not like me."

    "Senora Khan is a smart one," he said dryly.

    Her smile turned into a nasty grin. "Khan knows, Rodriguez. Right now he's tolerating it and letting you adjust. But let me tell you something. I am his wife, the mother of his son and of any future children. Do you know what that means?"

    His dark eyes narrowed. "Why do you not enlighten me, senora?"

    "It means that I spent two years hunting down where Starfleet had stored you lot, and it means that the only reason I rescued your sorry, ungrateful arse is because he likes you. It means that I have the patience and determination to make your life a living hell if you continue to treat me as subhuman. Khan may be your leader, but it's really me you should be worried about, Rodriguez, because I will not hesitate to remove you if it becomes necessary."

    Rodriguez laughed. "You talk big, Senora Khan, but I do not believe you have the . . . guts."

    "No?" Anthea picked up one of his hide-scraping knives, one out of a box of random hunting-and-gathering tools she'd thrown together back on Earth. She rolled the handle between her fingers. "Let me tell you something. There was a doctor back on Earth. Her name was Roxy Coleman. Brilliant geneticist, just at the start of her career. She was one of my staff, while I worked at Starfleet Headquarters, trying to find Khan and all of you. She discovered some things, after I had her look into something. She swore to me she'd never tell."

    "What has this to do with me, senora?"

    "Do you know why I'm speaking of Roxy in the past tense, Rodriguez?"

    He shook his head.

    "Because I killed her. I liked her, and I killed her because she knew too much." She slammed the knife down, burying the point in the log he was using as a work surface. "What do you think I would do to you, since I don't like you?"

    Anthea turned and walked away, leaving him with that thought going through his head.

    Khan stood in the doorway of their mostly-built cabin, not far away. "Did you really kill this Doctor Coleman?" he asked.

    "Her career," Anthea told him. "Which, to a doctor, is very much the same thing."

    He laughed.

    "Not going to chew me out for threatening one of your men?"

    "Hardly. I've tried to make them accept you, but we are a very proud race, bred to be that way. Much as I hate to say it, my dear, many of them are going to make you earn your place. Rodriguez was a good start."

    She sighed. "I'm having a baby, Khan, I don't have time for this."

    "I know. But world domination can't be achieved overnight. Believe me, I speak from experience."

    ". . . I don't know what to say to that."

    ----------

    By Earth's calendar, it should have been autumn already, but CX-431 Alpha had a slightly longer revolution, and summer dragged. The heat was really getting to Anthea, and she spent most days on the ship, where there was air conditioning.

    Once word got around that she'd stood up to Rodriguez, some of those who had been leery of her came around, viewing her as worthy of their leader at last. Those who had always supported her didn't see why it was such a problem, Khan marrying a normal, but very capable, woman.

    "Khanopolis!"

    Khan gave Joachim a gimlet eye. "I am not that egotistical, Joachim."

    "You used to be proud of who you are!" the other man said.

    "I still am. I have merely learned to temper it with restraint. You would do well to do the same."

    Chastened, Joachim ducked his head. The men sat around one of the work tables, taking a break from construction, and talk had turned to what they were going to name their new home.

    Otto laughed and slapped the younger man on the back. "We are looking to name a world, Joachim, not feed Kaiser's ego!"

    Khan briefly lifted a corner of his mouth in a wan smirk. He was different now. Not in any huge way, but his time with Starfleet, his time with Anthea, had taught him what years as dictator of the largest empire on Earth could not: power wasn't everything, and arrogance could cost him. There was a difference between knowing his abilities, knowing he had been engineered to be better, and assuming that it could automatically get him anything he wanted.

    Being bested by a Vulcan had taught him that.

    "I want a name to last," he said finally. "We may be faster, smarter, stronger, but we do not live forever. I wish to give our home a name that our children can carry when we are gone."

    Otto nodded. "Why not ask Kaiserin her opinion, Khan? She has good taste."

    "She said she does not care, as long as it isn't silly or difficult to pronounce," Khan said.

    Chin, silent until now, laughed. "She did the hard work," he pointed out. "We just build, and finish what she started. She does not need to worry about trivia now."

    Especially not, Khan thought to himself, now that she was expecting. He smiled to himself, thinking of their coming child.

    Kati wandered over, with a plate of food for Khan. "Taking a break?"

    "And trying to name this place," her brother said. "Thank you, Kati."

    Kati pushed her long, dark braid over her shoulder. "How about . . . Sitara?"

    "What does that mean?" Joachim asked.

    "It's Hindi," Khan told him. "It means 'planet' or 'world'. 'Tara' also means 'star'."

    "I like it," Chin said. "It sounds nice, and is to the point."

    "You speak Hindi?" Joachim asked.

    Otto reached over and smacked him on the back of the head. "His name is Khan Noonien Singh, fool. What do you think he speaks, Swahili?"

    "I do speak some Swahili," Khan said. "Also French, Afrikaans, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, Russian, German, Vulcan, Romulan, and Klingon, to name a few. Not necessarily with any complete fluency."

    Kati patted her brother's head. "You are such a show-off. Oh, I almost forgot. Anthea said to tell you that she wishes to speak with you, when you have some time."

    He immediately stood up. "Did she say what she needed?"

    "It was nothing urgent," Kati assured him.

    "Still, I had better see what she wants."

    As he left, Otto remarked, "That woman has the great Khan wrapped around her finger."

    "I would not mind being in his place," Joachim said. Then, "Ow!"

    ----------

    Khan paused with his hand near the panel to lower the Reliance's ramp when he heard Anthea's laughter coming from the direction of the lake. Turning on one heel, he walked the length of the ship, finding wife and son playing in the shallow water under the Reliance's nose, shaded from the hot sun.

    Nolan splashed happily in the water, shrieking with squeals and laughter. The little boy sat in his mother's lap, slapping his hands against the water's surface, giggling at the ripples he made. Anthea wore a bathing suit, her brown hair knotted loosely at the nape of her neck. As far as he could tell, the baby was naked.

    Khan loved moments such as these, the sight of his child so happy making his heart swell. To think he'd nearly missed all this, would have missed it if Anthea hadn't sacrifice everything she'd worked for to save him.

    He walked across the warm, sandy shore. Nolan saw him approaching and yelled, "Dada!"

    Anthea turned, giving him a big smile. "Come play with us, Daddy," she said. "I'm teaching Nolan how to swim."

    Khan shrugged and kicked off his boots, then peeled off his shirt. He rolled up his pant-legs and waded into the water, to where his little family sat.

    Nolan immediately splashed him with a small spray of water and giggled madly.

    Narrowing his eyes at his son, Khan growled, "You think you're getting away with that, do you?"

    He caught Nolan under his little arms and pulled him through the water, and the child laughed like a loon. Khan found himself grinning as he skimmed Nolan's small body over the surface of the water.

    Anthea never tired of seeing Khan interacting with their son. When she'd been pregnant with him, she hadn't known where her husband had disappeared to, or his side of the events that had taken him from her. She'd faced a future in which she'd raise her child alone.

    Words couldn't describe how happy she was now. It had been an adjustment, calling him Khan instead of John, but now it felt as if she'd always called him that. And watching him play with Nolan in the water, truly relaxed for what was probably the first time in years, she could almost believe they'd never been apart.

    "I think you're his favourite person in the universe," she remarked to her husband. "Before I woke you up, he was all about Mummy, but now he worships you."

    Khan glanced over with a smile. He held Nolan loosely, so the child could float a little and paddle his arms and kick his small legs. "I'm still new and interesting to him."

    She shook her head. "No. He adores you. I wondered if he'd know who you are, since you weren't there in the beginning, but he definitely knows you're his father. If it was just that you're someone new, he'd be like this with everyone, but he's not."

    Nolan got impatient with the talk and no swimming, and he flailed his little arms. "Play, Dada! Swim!"

    Khan arched a brow. "How big is his vocabulary now?"

    "I lost count a while back. He picks up a new one every day, I swear."

    "Hmm."

    They spent a while teaching Nolan how to float by himself. He almost had it mastered by the time Anthea decided their wrinkly skin needed to dry out. They got out of the water, and Khan carried Nolan on his shoulders, the little boy's small hands on his head for balance.

    Anthea wrapped a towel around herself and picked up her husband's discarded clothes, since he had Nolan and couldn't retrieve them. As she straightened, she noticed that Rodriguez stood not far away, glaring at them.

    "He might be a problem," she told her husband. "It's gotten worse, not better."

    "I will speak with him," Khan said softly. "Truthfully, if he weren't an Augment, I would have left him on Earth back in 1997."

    She made a noncommittal noise and keyed open the Reliance's ramp. As he followed her aboard, Khan noticed she'd put a hand to her belly.

    "Are you alright?" he asked.

    "Fine. Just thinking. I have no real preference on a gender, but I'd love to have a little girl."

    He put Nolan down, even though the child was still naked. "I believe I would, as well. Perhaps, if we did . . . we could name her Sarina."

    "After your mother?" Anthea caught Nolan, amidst his protests of "No, Mama!" and carried him to his dressing table. "I'd like that."

    Khan slid his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her shoulder. "Speaking of names, Kati suggested a name for this world, and I have decided to adopt it."

    "What did you choose?"

    "Sitara. Hindi for 'planet'. About as original as Earth, but more elegant."

    Anthea twined her fingers through his, where they rested on the slight swell of her stomach. She'd never regained a flat belly after Nolan's birth, so she was "showing" earlier with this child.

    "I like it," she told him. "It's a good name for our home."
    RX_Sith and Nightvision91 like this.
  24. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Love how you are describing the life of the family.
    I hope Rodriguez doesn't give too much trouble
  25. Nightvision91 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2013
    star 1
    Rodriguez....not sure what to make of the issues he could cause. Enjoying reading about the family life.
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