Disclaimer: The general universe here belongs to Roddenberry-Kirschner, among others. Some of the characters mentioned here belong to them, too, but the rest belong to me.

Warning: PG-13, due to some descriptions and dialogue.

Notes: This is the second in a three-story series about Marianne. It may not make sense to anyone who hasn't read "Disconnected", the first story. (I may yet end up merging all three stories - stay tuned for details.) Many, many thanks to Jen LeMaire, my main collaborator, the main reason these stories exist, and the provider of information about pregnancy and childbirth.

Part of This World
By Estirose
Copyright 1999

The first thing she realized was that the room was a mess. Of course, that was what happened when one mated a Kimera.

Ra'das, her Kimera mate, had re-assumed his human form and was now looking at her expectantly... and tenderly. She, herself, did not want to be parted from this wonderful being who was almost everything she wished in a mate. Okay, so he wasn't human. Small problem. She started neatening things up, not wanting her living room to be a total mess. Ra'das fell in beside her, bringing some things back to their former places.

"We will have to leave soon," he said quietly. "You need to pack whatever you think you need, and notify anyone that you need to. But we need to hurry. I would prefer not to incur the Taelons' wrath either, nor do I want my child to be born in their domain."

"I don't want my child to be born in their domain, either... but, surely we have some time?"

"You'll begin showing in another day, and you'll be unable to hide your pregnancy after that. In three days, you'll give birth."

She nodded. "Standard Kimera/hybrid pregnancy. I know."

Her grandmother had given birth to her father in just nine hours- the Kimera had been able to adjust their hybrids so that the pregnancy was less dangerous to them. Still, the pregnancy lasted three days as a safety precaution. Three days pregnancy, and three days after that for the child to grow to adult size.

Marianne called up the after-hours messaging service saying that there was a family emergency, length of time unknown, please put her on unpaid leave and she'd be back when she could. She then hurried to her bedroom and packed the things she thought she needed. She threw in a book or two- it was going to be a long three days, and she couldn't be learning her way around all the time....

Finally, she was ready. Hefting her bag, she said, "Let's go."

* * *

Once they got to the ship, things went fairly fast. Ra'das dropped to his true form, freeing his host, and they were soon in interdimensional, heading for the Kimera ship.

"I don't think you should worry about my host," Ra'das had told her on the way. "He is not the kind of person to report such things... and the encrusting will be nothing but litter to the cleaners."

"Is any of him in this one?" she asked, placing her hand over her stomach, feeling how natural it was to do so.

"I mixed some of the genes in for a healthy diversity... and, of course, the child has some of his memories as well... I could not deny her that."

"You couldn't deny her another experience, you mean," Marianne said. They had completely dropped English at that point, as somehow speaking Kimera felt better.

"The experiences that our parents give to us are in some ways as important as what we experience ourselves."

"For they have made our mistakes for us," Marianne recited.

"Exactly."

He reached out and guided her into the ship. Marianne had been on board before, but not for any length of time, and certainly not while she was considering it as a place for her child to grow up. She looked around as he greeted other Kimera, made arrangements for her, prevented them from distracting her. As they went through the ship, he told her about the world that they were currently near. "We're studying them for a future mating... assuming they're still around when we're a viable species again. Perhaps you would like to look at the research that has been done so far - one of your descendants may well mate with them."

"Maybe later, when my mind isn't otherwise occupied."

She felt amusement from her partner as he led her on. "Here are the medical facilities... this is Sa'ana and Be'ant, they will no doubt be helping you in the delivery, as they've done for some of your siblings."

"We've heard that you are a doctor yourself," Sa'ana said. "Perhaps, after you are delivered, you would like to look further at our medical facilities. We would be glad to welcome you."

"I'll think about it," Marianne managed.

As they left the facility, two very familiar faces rushed to them. Nessa and Allie, two of her half siblings, both about a decade younger than her, greeted the pair. "It's about time you were paired, Mari..." Nessa said.

"Ha, ha," she said. "Go shove a sock in it, Nessa."

Nessa and Allie giggled, but went off, promising to help her through what they could of the pregnancy.

Suddenly, Marianne almost slapped herself. Ra'das looked at her expectantly. "I forgot to tell mom and dad about the pregnancy...."

"You will have time," Ra'das replied. "You have much more of your pregnancy left to go..."

* * *

Marianne woke up in a strange bed.

For a second, she couldn't remember where she was, but then her memory slipped back and she remembered that she was in the quarters Ra'das had procured for her aboard ship. Good thing he did- although she had no doubt that she'd be refused quarters, she'd been too dazed that evening to really care about such things.

She wasn't showing, not yet, but that would happen in a couple of hours anyway. Less than a couple of hours. She judged that she was probably in the equivalent of the second month of human pregnancy. Soon things would get uncomfortable, but also fortunately, it would soon be over. At least she would hopefully stop feeling fatigued.

She stretched, pulling out an extra-large teeshirt and her gym pants, which would hopefully hold while she was seeking out maternity clothing that would fit. She'd need it tomorrow. Nessa and Allie would probably have clothing, and they deserved to be bugged back. That was taken care of.

Marianne thought briefly about sending a message to her parents, but that could wait until later, when she'd want to be doing a lot of sitting down anyway.

She got dressed and made her to-do list. First, seek out clothing from half-siblings. Second, find Ra'das. She wanted to spend more time with him, even if it did mean discussing the species on the planet. Third, discuss any health issues with Sa'ana and/or Be'ant, as she wasn't quite up to speed on Kimera/hybrid pregnancies.

That should keep her busy today, at least. Later on, she'd call Mom and Dad. Both of them would probably be amused at what species her mate was. She smiled briefly. Yeah, she really was catching up on lost time. By the time she was ready to leave her child in Ra'das' hands, she should know more about herself and the culture that she'd shunned so badly.

* * *

The child was growing larger. Whereas a few hours ago it wouldn't have been obvious that she was pregnant, now it was visible if one looked. She reclined in the chair, reading through some of the archives on cultures that her ancestors had visited... and, with Ra'das' help, retrieving some of the ancestral memories. There was so much she needed to learn... and so little time, for she would probably need to get back to Earth at some point and pretend once more she was human.

While once that was reassuring, now it bugged her. Bugged her to know that she would have passed onto her child a fear of the ancestry that she was revelling in now. Kimera blood was nothing to be afraid of, unless you were a Taelon....

Ra'das had been patient with her, altering between more tales of his travels and gently instructing her how to use some of the abilities within her that she'd not even been aware of. She suspected it was to keep her mind off her pregnancy - she did have a bad tendency to fret, after all. She was sure that he was tired of hearing about it.

So, she was busy looking up studies on pregnancy, in particular pregnancies that resulted from matings between the Kimera and another species. Mating between humans and Kimera tended to be deadly - if the human mother didn't have a CVI, she was dead. Of course, the one and only human-Kimera mating, her grandparents, had burned out her grandmother's CVI, but it had been long since confirmed that that was a mistake by her grandparent Ha'gel who was trying to burn out her grandmother's MI. Up to that point, the CVI had been handling things fine.

Idly, she wondered if any Kimera had ever gotten interested in her mother. She *did* have a CVI... and she was bonded to Dad. Strike that, the Kimera would never have touched her at that, since she was bonded to dad. In general, it didn't matter if hybrids had more than one mate, because generally it was assumed that if they had multiple partners it was a mate from each of their parents' species.

She wondered if she would have a human mate. Had to thumb her nose at the Taelons somehow....

Marianne smiled as she went back to her research, oblivious to Ra'das nearby.

* * *

"Are you sure you are feeling up to this?" Ra'das asked.

"Right now, I feel fine. Be'ant checked, the pregnancy is proceding normally, and I want to be up to speed before I have to spend most of my time between a chair and the nearest bathroom... okay, that won't be until later, but I do want to do the active stuff now and hold the rest of the sitting down until tomorrow."

He didn't comment, but instead opened the door to the room. Marianne could see inside, watching as people, no, she reminded herself, children, did things. Her child would soon be here, looking as full-grown as the rest of those here, and just as lost in parents' memories.

She wondered how the child would look. Some of the children in the room looked pure Kimera, some pure human, a couple that were clearly inbetween - half nieces and nephews? - even one or two that were evidently the result of the Kimera reclamation of their descendants all over the universe. The Kimera's main goal was breeding themselves into viability again, and it showed. She wondered how many, if any, other Kimera descendants she shared Ra'das with. Not that she really minded, of course, because she too planned to have more than one mate. She could hardly condemn Ra'das for something she was doing herself.

Besides, Ra'das had been a jewel, complying with all her requests and rarely leaving her side except when she wanted privacy. This place was still strange to her, and having someone she knew and loved by her side eased things a lot. Especially right now, where all her training said that her pregnancy was proceeding too fast, while her instincts said it was proceeding just fine.

Sheesh, tomorrow was going to be fun, going through the equivalent of the last trimester of human pregnancy in one day. As it was, she was starting to look slightly balloonish - tomorrow she'd probably feel like falling over. Okay, not quite, but her stomach was bigger, it seemed, every time she looked at it.

Well, better get things done while she could.

She let Ra'das lead her to the Kimera teaching the young ones. There was a lot she needed to know.

* * *

Marianne groaned as she woke up. Looking at herself, she judged that she wouldn't be pregnant much longer, or at least her child would be born by the time she went to bed again. Probably a few more hours to go. She went to the bathroom before getting into her borrowed maternity clothing, and then went to find Ra'das. Today was a day for study.

Ra'das had promised her more interesting things, just to take her mind off the last stages of her pregnancy. No more concentrating on pregnancy and childbirth, just general other things that the Kimera anthropologists had discovered over the centuries.

She found Ra'das waiting practically outside her door, apparently eager to begin. He led her to a comfortable room, apparently modified for pregnant researchers. She noted, with a slight grin, that it was near the medical facilities. She probably wasn't the first Kimera hybrid to spend the last few hours of her pregnancy accessing databases.

Her suspicions were confirmed when Ra'das showed her some of the emergency stuff and special features. Definitely a room meant for comfort.

The rest of the day wasn't too bad, except for the ever-closer bathroom breaks.

* * *

Ra'das noticed before she did.

She'd been spending the last few hours going to the bathroom and getting comfortable, relying on him to distract her as her baby did its final shiftings. He'd been doing such a good job that she almost missed the fact that she was almost at the end of her pregnancy. It was only because that he got more absorbed in the lower portions of her rather than the screen or her face that she realized she'd had the first twinges of the birthing process.

He got up, helped her up, and moved her to the couchish piece of furniture she'd seen earlier, and continued touching her, as if he was trying to relax her, tap into her biological processes to make sure this was as easy on her as possible. Shortly after she expelled the 'plug', he reached up and touched something on the wall, a monitor perhaps. Shortly after that, her water broke. She was worried about that, but he reassured her that it would clean up easily.

Soon after that, she was in labor. Ra'das was always there, always touching her physically and mentally, helping her relax as they moved down the hall a bit.

It was funny, almost, how short her labor was, how short the entire birth process was. But even humans could have short processes - hers was just helped by a trio of Kimera easing everything they could.

Sa'ana placed her daughter on her chest, just as many physicians on Earth would do, placing her hands on the infant, as Ra'das' joined hers. She felt her daughter's mental presence join hers and Ra'das, and she almost cried in joy.

* * *

"Michelle!" Marianne called in despair as her daughter ran down the corridors, completely naked. She sighed as the child, who was getting older every time she looked, giggled up at a passing Kimera. At that point, Michelle slowed down long enough to let her mother catch her. "Speed demon," she muttered, primarily to Michelle, who kept giggling.

"It appears that her physical inheritance is quite exceptional," Ra'das said as she handed the child over to him so that she could cover her with a blanket.

"I hope she slows down when she reaches maturity," Marianne puffed.

"I don't know. Sa'ana told me that Mish'ele may never slow down."

"Ra'das, don't tell me that, can you imagine how terrifying she'll be in a few days?"

"She may be energetic, but that might be precisely what she needs."

Marianne sighed. "I'd be surprised if she slows down long enough to find a mate."

* * *

"Morning, Mom!" Michelle yelled as she bounced up and down on Marianne's bed.

"Ugh. Michelle, you're really getting a little too big to be bouncing on mommy's bed in the morning," Marianne said, cracking an eye open. Michelle looked to be in her late teens now, and Marianne hoped she would stop growing soon.

"How come?" the girl asked, wrinkling her nose.

The door opened, saving Marianne from having to explain. Ra'das stood in the doorway, looking bemused, or as bemused as he could. "Mish'ele, your teacher is looking for you."

Michelle frowned. "But I just wanted to say good morning to mom!" she protested.

"I know, but it's time to go back now," Ra'das said patiently. He took their daughter's shoulder and guided her out. When she saw that she was alone, Marianne dashed and got some clothes on- she'd quite forgotten that Ra'das could get into her room and he hadn't quite yet understood why she was a bit touchy about being seen nude in public.

Fortunately, she was done before Ra'das came back. He came in and sat down on the bed beside her. "Are you all right?"

"Just... startled, I guess. Having grown up slow myself, I can accept that some hybrids grow up fast, but I've never been really confronted by it before. Michelle's still so young to me!"

"Mish'ele is still young. Her physical appearance is deceiving you, like your father's did to the Taelons and Humans around him. Her mental development and seperation from our own memories has not occurred yet."

"I'd love to know where she picked up that little bouncing on momma's bed thing. I don't remember doing it, and mom didn't do it...."

"I am afraid that this particular mannerism comes from my host. It is his memories that she takes this from."

"Who is this poor guy you grabbed as your host, anyway?" Marianne asked. Ra'das frowned, kind of. He knew very well that the Kimera custom of taking a host was something she didn't like. It was the only reason probably that he had backed away from his first proposal that they approach Alex as a host for their children. As it was, poor Alex wasn't the slightest bit aware that she was interested in him, much less that Ra'das had certainly taken to the young man he'd seen in Marianne's memories.

"His name is Matthew - Matthew McCourt. He is a doctoral student at your university nearby, working on a degree in physics. He is actually quite a ways away from home, as his parents live in the city of Loma Linda, in California. All of this you should have in your memory."

"You're the one who nabbed him, Ra'das," Marianne said impatiently. "He is one of Michelle's parents - and he has no idea that he is now a parent."

"This really bothers you," Ra'das observed. "I'm sorry for not realizing this sooner."

"You said, when we first met, that I was the most human of the hybrids," Marianne answered. "Kimera blood flows in my veins, but I have spent most of my life being human."

"Yet, some level of you must be comfortable with it, for you did not insist that I stop using Matthew as a host when you mated with me."

Marianne blinked, and realized that he was telling the truth. She had been in such a hurry to mate, to prove to herself that she was Kimera, that she hadn't thought of Ra'das' host and the fact that she was inadvertently helping him become a father. She sat there quietly for a few minutes. "Ra'das, could I be alone now?"

Ra'das looked at her, and then left the room. Marianne flopped back on her bed. She was definitely becoming more Kimera, maybe losing some of the things her mother had taught her about how to behave. She may not agree with some of her mother's ethics, but that was one that she believed in strongly, didn't realize that she'd broken until now.

Others easily accepted both sides of themselves. Maybe their mothers had let them follow more Kimera ways, instead of teaching them some more human values. She was the odd one out here.

Marianne flipped over onto her stomach. Did she really belong here? Or was she fooling herself if she believed she could recover the part of the heritage she'd lost, at least without losing herself in the process. "Maybe it's time to go home," she muttered. "I've done my part, surely Ra'das has other mates, and I can just visit from time to time."

She started packing, trying not to cry. It wasn't too hard, as she hadn't packed very much. She'd miss Ra'das and Michelle, but she had to go home. Now. At least until she could take a good long look at herself.

Marianne almost made it when her daughter called out to her. "Mom? Where are you going?"

She turned around almost guiltily as Michelle came up to her, and grabbed her tightly. "I'm just going back to Earth for a few days, Michelle. Don't worry. I just have to take care of a few things that I didn't get to do."

"Where's dad? Is he waiting to see you off?" the anxious girl asked.

"Um," Marianne managed. She felt guilty for not telling Ra'das she was going. But she didn't really want to tell him, and she really didn't want to go into why she wasn't telling him to her daughter. "He won't be seeing me off, but then, I won't be gone that long."

"Okay, mom, if you're sure you're coming back...." Michelle said.

Marianne hugged her daughter. "I will, dear. I will. I'll be back for you to tell me all about what's been going on while I'm away."

"Okay, mom, I will."

"Goodbye, Michelle," Marianne said, releasing her daughter. As she went away, she looked back and watched Michelle waving. With a heavy heart, she went to get on the first flight home.

-end


Earth: Final Conflict fics