She heard her commlock going off before it registered with
her brain and it took her several seconds to roll over and grab it off the nightstand, hitting the night-level lighting at
the same time. The sight of John’s face brought instant comfort, but then a jolt of fear and her first words to him
instead of hello were, “What’s wrong, John? Are you feeling sick?”
“No, no, nothing like that,” he reassured her. “I’m fine. And I woke you. I’m
She exhaled the breath she’d been holding inside. “No, it’s fine, don’t worry.”
She lay back down and rolled again onto her side, propping her commlock on his pillow so it faced her. “You can’t
“I was, but I had this odd dream…Have I ever told you how beautiful you look when you wake up?”
She laughed. “Oh, I’m sure I do. Odd how?...Your dream, I mean.”
He shook his head dismissively. “Little fuzzy cartoon animals and things…..Helena,” he paused,
momentarily not feeling as sure of himself as he had. “Baby, is there anything you want to tell me?” He watched her eyes dart away from him while she considered her words and he knew for certain he was right.
She’d been hoping she’d be the one to tell him, but then again maybe it was better if Tony or someone
else had already prepared him for the surprise. “Did someone say something to you?” she asked carefully.
He smiled at her hesitation. “About what?”
Great, he wanted to play games. She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. “Oh, I might as well
tell you this way…I wanted it to be during a nice romantic evening alone but we’re not going to get that luxury
for awhile…and that was before everybody thought you were dead and now everyone knows…and the whole time you were
just being held prisoner by a bunch of whip-wielding women in little red cat suits.” She frowned suddenly…and
tried to ignore the insecure section of her mind that snidely counted off how long it would be before she fit into anything
like that again. Not that she’d ever worn an outfit like that in her life, but still….
He was laughing at her mini rant. “Already read my report, did you?”
“I was having trouble getting to sleep and I wanted to see if there seemed to be any discernible symptoms
I could read between the lines that you weren’t telling me…You know, John, if there’s still an Earth and
there’s still a Las Vegas on the Earth, there are people who would pay big bucks for what just happened to you.”
He snickered. “Whatever floats your boat, I guess. Speaking for myself, none of them could hold a candle
to you. And by the way,” he reminded her, “you’re straying off topic.”
She nodded and rolled her eyes in acknowledgement. “Okay, okay…I’d been feeling…different
symptoms…and I had Bob run some tests the morning you left…and we think my implant just…that is…I’m….”
she paused, exhaling tensely. She hadn’t realized she was this concerned about his reaction. “We’re…uh…”
“You’re pregnant?” he whispered. “We’re going to have a baby?”
Helena was briefly annoyed, or maybe just disappointed. “Someone did talk to you,” she complained.
Someone had to have said something; he was too calm.
John just nodded at her. “The fuzzy bunnies.”
“What?” She looked at him askance.
“They were blue and pink and hopping around all over the place while we were making love. There was a
lot of fruit or something, too, you know seeds, fertility, all that,” he waved away her question. “We are having
a baby, right?”
“Yes. We are.” Her voice took on its professional tone. “Honey, are you feeling feverish,
John laughed. “That was my dream; I told you it was odd. I woke up knowing. I realize how ridiculous that
must sound, but I woke up and I knew.”
“Because the dream bunnies told you?” she confirmed. “What a bizarre commentary on my life
that that isn’t the strangest thing I’ve had to believe over the past couple of years.” She chuckled, finally
feeling most of the stress leave her shoulders. Cautiously she examined his face in the tiny screen. “Are you angry?
You don’t look angry and you don’t sound angry, but are you angry?” He didn’t answer immediately and
she began to feel some of her nerves creeping back.
His voice when he did answer was ragged with emotion. “All I can think about is how much I love you, and
how…astounding this is…and how beautiful I think you are…and how much I want to be holding you right now.
Both of you…Oh honey, don’t cry.” He saw tears shining in her eyes.
“They’re happy tears,” she explained with a cracking voice as a few of the tears beat out
her control and spilled down her cheeks. She wiped them away with the back of her hand.
“So when are we having this baby?” he asked quietly.
She sniffed. “About seven months.”
He nodded thoughtfully, “Which means you’re…?”
“About eight weeks, more or less.”
They looked at each other for awhile, not speaking, just smiling almost shyly as they each examined the other’s
face on their respective screens. Finally she asked softly, “What are you thinking?”
John smiled. “I’m trying to figure out what we were doing eight weeks ago.”
“Want me to draw you a dirty picture?” she asked playfully.
“All right let me rephrase that….I’m trying to figure out where and when.”
‘Ah….well, I have to admit I’ve been pondering that one myself, Commander.”
“Any conclusions, Doctor?” He was definitely curious and counting back through his own memory.
“Well, I’m thinking it could have been the evening after we came home from Alan’s party….although
it could have been the afternoon before we went to his party…or the morning after the party…or…” she
frowned, her voice trailing off.
“You’re an insatiable little thing, aren’t you?” he teased her.
She cocked an eyebrow at him. “I have to be to keep up with you.”
He shook his head. “I may have been looking at this all wrong…The real wonder may be that you didn’t
get pregnant before now.” They both laughed.
“I think really,” she began tenderly, “it was a couple of days before that…when we had
the whole day off together for the first time in weeks and we barricaded ourselves in your quarters…”
John smiled at the recollection. “We put on the fake fire disc and played the cd of the thunderstorm.”
His eyes closed as his mind replayed the scene behind his eyelids. They’d spent a lot of the day making love on the
floor in front of the pretend fire, sometimes under blankets, sometimes on top. Somehow that afternoon had become an exploration
of their own version of Tantric sex. He’d stayed inside her for what seemed like hours, both of them moving very little,
gazing into each other’s eyes and just relishing the sensations of being joined together. He remembered feeling like
he’d never been so deeply embedded within her; a couple of times he could have sworn he could feel himself grazing the
base of her womb…and if he were truly honest, he could remember having at those moments a powerful inclination to let
go completely and pump her full to the brim with his semen. When their mutual orgasms had at last been unstoppable, he thought
he’d actually blacked out for a moment and he recalled the same of her. She had collapsed quivering in his arms and
he in hers. For several long minutes they hadn’t been able to move. He presumed she would have a more potent awareness
of it, but it seemed highly likely to him their child had been created in those moments.
Helena watched him smiling as he remembered that day and she smiled, too. The lovemaking had been incredible
even by their standards, and if she did say so, she and John had pretty good standards. He’d stayed inside her so long
it started to feel as though they really were one entity. A couple of times she was convinced she could feel him brushing
against the base of her womb. He was pressed so deeply inside that when his release had overtaken him, she had felt his body
tighten against her, felt every tremor of his shaft, every individual burst of his semen shooting up high inside and seeking
to fill her, even as her own release struck her at the same moment, beginning between her legs and flashing straight up her
spine, desiring to draw him even further inside. For a long time after, they not only couldn’t move, they couldn’t
speak and though it was impossible to prove, she was certain their baby had been conceived that afternoon. If she were honest,
she knew in her heart she’d wanted it to happen.
He opened his eyes. “You know what I think?” His voice was husky, sensual. “If that’s
when it happened, I would be hard pressed to call this baby an accident. I’m not so sure he was…or she.”
She felt tears rising to the surface again. She fought them back and one hand slid down over her belly, just
ever so slightly more defined than it had been this time yesterday, her fingertips communing with their child. “You
think we were unconsciously trying?” She knew the answer from her perspective.
He shrugged slightly, still remembering the feelings and sensations of that afternoon. He wasn’t yet willing
to admit he’d wanted to make her pregnant that day, but in retrospect, he was no longer clear about his own intentions.
“I don’t think we were consciously not trying, if that makes sense. Maybe something in the universe thought we
were making the request.” His voice turned serious and once more hoarse with emotions scarcely controlled. “Helena,
I want you to know, really know, my objections, my reluctance…it was never
a matter of not wanting this with you. I’ve wanted this with you since I fell in love with you. I just didn’t
want it to happen on Alpha. I wanted our child, if we were lucky enough to have one, to know what trees are, what blue sky
is, to maybe have a dog or something… but….what the hell…I’ve long ago reached the point where I believe
some things are just meant to be.”
The tears returned and once more she lost the battle. “I love you, John, so much.”
“I love you, Helena….You make a beautiful expectant mother, honey.”
“You better still be saying that seven months from now when I’m the size of a small galaxy.”
She was still blinking somewhat ineffectively at tears.
He chuckled. “I will be, baby. I will be.” He sighed, “You know, you should try and get back
to sleep. Starting tomorrow I hear you’re going to have a very irritable inmate in your medical facility.”
“He’s going to be irritable even on the first day?”
“Damn straight ‘cause he’s not going to be able to touch you…” He watched as she
stifled a yawn. “I mean it; you really should try to sleep, honey. I know you probably haven’t gotten much rest
“I know, John. I just don’t want to stop talking to you yet,” she said unwillingly.
“We’ll leave the link open,” he suggested. “I’ll stay right here.”
She considered. “So you’re going to sit there and stare at me while I try to sleep?”
“Not all the time,” he assured her. “I’ll try to sleep, too. I think I can now.”
She giggled. “Not afraid of the pink killer rabbits anymore?”
“I figure you can protect me.”
She closed her eyes reluctantly, but genuinely restful sleep, of a kind she hadn’t had in more than a
week, came quickly. Knowing he was right there as close as her commlock wasn’t as good as having him next to her in
bed, but after the past few days, it was good enough to make her feel secure again. He watched her for a while simply marveling
at his fortune, but shortly sleep caught him as well and he, too, relaxed, this time untroubled by overbearing pink bunnies.
“Helena, as your doctor and your friend, please relax,” Bob instructed. He pointed at the chair
he’d positioned in front of the quarantine glass. “Stop pacing and sit. Pacing is the Commander’s hobby;
we don’t need both of you taking it up. Everything’s fine, they’ll be here soon.”
“Easy for you to say,” she rejoined. “Now I have to worry about his reaction all over again.”
“What worry?” he dismissed her concern. “You said he was happy about the baby, thrilled and
“Yes, but that’s when it was a baby. Now it’s babies. Two of them, Bob! Twins!” She looked intently at the sonogram photos
she held in one hand, running the other lightly over her abdomen.
“I know, I’m the one that did the sonogram, remember?” he teased her. “It’ll be
fine, Helena. If he was happy about one, he’ll be happy about two…Shocked senseless, maybe, but happy,”
he reassured her.
Sighing, she actually did as she was told and sat, contemplating the day. The sonogram hadn’t been planned;
it was more of a reaction to Bob’s agreement that she was indeed showing more than either of them would have expected.
Her hormone levels were higher than they would have anticipated, too. Coupled with the fact that she was having exceptional
morning sickness and Bob’s concern that she seemed a little anemic, they agreed together to check for the most likely
common cause. The answer that neatly drew all aspects together was the possibility of more than one baby…and they were
rewarded in their investigative efforts with nice, clear pictures of two, count‘em, two little humanoid creatures with
big heads and tiny little webbed fingers and toes. They almost had real ears already and when Bob handed her the stethoscope,
two little heartbeats were distinct to her physician’s sense of hearing. Bob shouldn’t be surprised at her concern
over John’s reaction; she was pretty flummoxed herself.
“Helena,” Bob brought her out of her reverie, “they’re here.”
She couldn’t help herself, she stood and began pacing again, waiting impatiently for the Eagle to connect
its quarantine hatch door with the matching one into Medical. It seemed to take hours, but suddenly and finally there he was
striding toward her, thick Plexiglas between them, but still he was there and he was real and he was home at last. Simultaneously
they both placed their hands on the glass, fingers craving to touch through the barrier, eyes locking powerfully together.
“You really need that shave now,” she smiled at him after several moments, trying to make the mood
lighthearted, trying not to cry yet again.
He frowned seeing the movement of her lips and looked down to flick on the room’s intercom. “What
did you just say?”
“I said you really need that shave now.”
He grinned. “Not as much as I need to shower.”
She frowned at him then. “What is that you’re wearing?”
He looked down at himself in the ridiculous silver-grey jumpsuit, performing a full turn for her perusal and
amusement. “Oh this?...You mean you don’t like it? It doesn’t turn you on?”
Helena shook her head. “Not really. Is that the latest in fashion statements for male captives of sadistic
“Apparently.” He rolled his eyes. “I feel like I’m modeling aluminum foil.”
“You look like a second string comic book hero.” She was giggling now. “You just need a mask
and a cape.”
“Oh, thanks,” but he was laughing with her.
“I’ll get you a clean uniform and send it in.”
“Please do.” He sighed then and looked at her longingly. “Well, this is nice and cozy. It’s
going to be just like visiting day in a prison movie.”
“Don’t make it worse than it already is,” she scolded. Then almost timidly she asked him,
“Do you want to see our first baby pictures?”
He grinned at her again, much wider this time. “Of course I do. You already did a sonogram?”
She nodded and picked up one of the photos off the chair behind her, pressing it against the glass. “John…this
is your son or daughter…we don’t know which yet.
He found himself blinking back tears as he stared at the image in her hand, their child now real to him, revealed
in plain photographic evidence. His mind returned to that sensual afternoon eight weeks ago, the emotions rushing at him with
remarkable force as he realized he was not only unsurprised with the result, but intensely glad. Last night in his dream-weary
state, Helena’s pregnancy had been more a notion of fantasy than a hard and fast fact, but there was no denying it now,
nor did any part of him wish to deny it. With difficulty he cleared his throat to speak. “When can we find out what
“It’ll probably be at least six to eight more weeks before we can be sure what they are…if
we can get them to cooperate and turn the right way for the camera, of course.”
He started to nod then registered that some of her words made no sense. “I’m sorry…what do
you mean ’they’?”
She reached for the other picture then, also holding it to the glass. With her eyes carefully on his expression
she explained, “Uh, John…this is your other son or daughter…we
don’t know which yet.”
His eyes flicked from the photo in her hand up to her eyes, down to her stomach and back again to the photo.
“Other? You mean…we have…its twins?…You have two of them in there?”
She laughed hesitantly. “I seem to have two of them in here,” she agreed. “Uh, honey, there’s
a chair at the desk behind you,” she pointed, the physician in her not liking the disorientation she saw on his face.
“Huh? No, I’m fine, honey, I don’t need to sit down,” he responded vaguely. “We’re
having twins, two babies. Most people are content to start with one, but…wow…leave it to us to go for extra credit.”
He did get the chair then and bring it over to the glass, seating himself abruptly and gazing at her.
She sat in her own chair, examining him anxiously. “Are you okay?” She thought his eyes looked a
little vacant. “John?”
He nodded, still staggered, but he began to smile. “Are you
all right, that’s the bigger question. Everything’s okay…all…three…of you, you’re fine?”
His eyes dropped again to rest on her belly, noting it already seemed to have acquired a small curve of prominence. She wasn’t
wearing her uniform belt either. Then his gaze rose higher and the main new visual attraction seized his attention. “Oh, my…look at those,” his brain roared, and his body curtly reminded him he hadn’t
been with her in nigh on two weeks.
She cleared her throat lightly. “To answer your question, yes, all three of us are fine…What are
“I’m just looking at you, honey.” His eyes didn’t waver from her breasts.
“Those are my breasts. My face is up here, John.” That broke his concentration and his blue eyes
met her green ones, looking back at him with undisguised amusement.
“Sorry.” He had the grace to look sheepish. “They’re uh…”
“Bigger, I know.”
“Ye-ah,” his eyes drifted downwards again. “I don’t think I ever knew how much things
can change in ten days.”
“You try carrying twins, see what it does for your girlish figure,” she replied sarcastically. She
was about to add to her retort when one of the nurses, Anne Malloy, arrived at her side with a cup. Helena looked at the contents
and wrinkled her nose, but the young nurse was unsympathetic, though smiling.
“You have to drink it, Dr Russell; Dr. Mathias’ orders.”
“I know, Anne. I’ll drink it.”
She made no move to do so, though, and the nurse crossed her arms and stood there unmoving, an intractable look
on her pretty freckled face.
“I said I’ll drink it,” Helena told her.
“I don’t see you drinking it,” Anne responded, mildly defiant, the rosy color in her cheeks
rising to match the color of her hair. “You might as well know right now, Dr. Russell, we’re all aware you’re
the worst patient we ever have in here,” she glanced toward the glass, “except maybe for Commander Koenig.”
Her lecture turned back to Helena. “If you want a properly healthy baby, you’re going to have to take proper care
of yourself and we all intend to see that you do. Now that we have him,” her head gestured toward John, “under
glass so we can keep an eye on him and not have to worry where he is or whether something’s killed him, you don’t
have to worry about him either. You’re going to have to start getting more rest and you’re going to have to eat
on a better schedule. And,” she pointed at the goopy molasses-like mixture in the cup, “you’ll have to pay
closer attention to your vitamin and mineral intake.”
“I have been paying attention to all that,” Helena replied defensively.
“Not enough,” the young woman was not to be dissuaded. “Dr. Mathias says you’re anemic.
So drink. I’m going to stand here till you do…He told me to,” she added for final emphasis.
“I’m not five. I’m a responsible adult and a doctor myself. I know what I need to do for my
own health,” Helena pointed out.
The nurse looked unimpressed. “Apparently knowing what you should do and actually doing it are two different
Helena looked flabbergasted. “You do remember I’m your boss? You know I could assign you and Dr.
Mathias to the biohazard disposal team,” she scowled, but there was no malice in her tone.
Anne shrugged. “You could. But someone else would rise to take our places,” she retorted cheekily.
Helena laughed then and, waging a small struggle with her gag reflex, drank Bob’s concoction, handing
the cup back to Anne. “May I have some water to get the taste out of my mouth so I have some chance of keeping it down?”
“Absolutely,” Anne replied in a voice filled with sweetness and light now that she’d been
obeyed. She returned momentarily with a large cup of water and left the two of them in quasi privacy.
John was smiling with what he hoped looked like support, as opposed to the hilarity he felt over seeing Helena
bested in stubbornness by a junior nurse. “Are they always so mutinous in here?”
She laughed again. “Not usually. My, uh, condition seems to have brought out the mother hen in most of
them. Sometimes it’s not pretty.”
“I thought you said you were all fine.” His voice was a soft reprimand.
“We are all fine.”
“Oh yes, except for,” he began ticking off items on his fingers, “your rest, your diet, your
vitamins and apparently, you’re anemic, too. This will not do,” he chided her gently.
She tilted her head downward in admission of facts and glanced up at him through her lashes. “Things have
been a little out of control for me this past week or so,” she reminded him. “But you’re right, it won’t
do. I want these babies to be healthy.”
“Which means you have to be healthy.”
“I’ll try to do better, Commander.”
John shook his head. “No, you won’t try, Doctor. You will
do it. Those are my kids you’ve got in there. Did you eat anything yet today?”
“No,” she admitted. “I was too busy throwing up instead.”
John made a sympathetic face but pressed on. “Go eat something now. And then go get some rest which you
look like you need.” He smiled. “Then come back and visit me.”
Helena looked hesitant. “I’m not sure I want to leave you yet. You just got here.”
“You know where to find me.” He tapped the glass. “Honey, I’ll be right here. Besides,”
he informed her, “I really do need that shower and shave to feel comfortable. Try to take my word for it; it’s
just as well you can’t hug me right now.”
She actually was hungry for a change which finally made her decision. “Okay. I’ll be back.”
She placed a hand against the glass. “I love you.”
He placed his hand against hers on the other side. “I’ll be here. I love you, too.”