The universe that this is set in (and, incidentally, Marianne's father,
who is mentioned) belongs to Tribune and Roddenberry-Kirschner, among
for the previous story, "Through the Valley".
notes: Well, since I haven't gotten "Through the Valley" done
yet, I shouldn't really be putting this up. But, still, consider it a
teaser/spoiler for that story. I will say, to prevent confusion, that
there's a good reason that this is taking place aboard the Kimera
Alex had been carefully making his plans ever since Mish had told him
about the locking mechanism in his quarters, designed to make sure one
could really, really lock the door if needed. It was a long-forgotten
mechanism, and he was sure neither Ra'das nor Marianne knew about it.
He tested it a few times before he was satisfied.
The second part was actually child's play. Marianne's schedule he knew
well; Ra'das' not as well, but his work was not time-critical and it
would be easy to draw him in at the right time. So, one afternoon, he
called Ra'das just before Marianne was due to come back to their shared
quarters. And once they were there, he didn't give Marianne a chance to
escape, hitting the little-known locking mechanism.
Once he was satisfied that the door was locked into place, in a way
that neither Ra'das nor Marianne would easily open (at least if they
planned to keep him intact), Alex slid a chair against the doorway, sat
down, and waited for Marianne to start yelling at him. Not that it
would do much good, of course. He planned to keep himself and the two
others in for as long as he could manage.
"Alex, what are you doing?" Came from Ra'das.
"I can tell you what he's doing. He's going to make us sit here until
we make up," Marianne said, scowling.
"More or less," Alex replied. "Look, Marianne, I know you have some
problems with Ra'das and what he's done. And I'm sure Ra'das has some
issues too. Me, I'd like to know our child is going to grow up in a
"Alex is right," Ra'das chimed in. "I have obviously caused a problem
that I don't know how to fix, and due to Mish'ele's nature, is harming
her. I wish only to correct things."
Marianne turned furiously towards him. "You violated Alex and myself.
You tried to take away our choice to mate or not. Why do you think I'm
upset at you, Ra'das? You look, but you don't understand!"
Alex sighed. "She's got a point. I chose to stay, but I would have
preferred to chose my own time for that, like once I had become part of
The Kimera looked at Marianne. "I can only offer that I thought it was
right. It was obvious that Alex was going to become mated, if only with
you. It was also obvious that we would lose him if he wasn't a mate at
the time the Taelons removed the remainder of us off Earth. I could not
bear the thought of you losing him, and forever regretting the choice."
Marianne was shaking her head as he spoke. "You really should have done
some more research on humanity, Ra'das. You would have known that in
the culture both Alex and I come from, that sort of behaviour isn't
acceptable. It may be here, but we don't perceive things as people do
"You are right. I have been neglectful of that, especially as I should
have been prepared the first time I saw Alex in your memories. I'm
sorry to you and to Alex. I wasn't expecting you to be so rooted in
human cultural values."
Marianne rolled her eyes. Alex turned towards her. "Don't think you're
innocent either in this problem. Ra'das may have made some mistakes...
but he isn't the one who ran at the first opportunity."
"I freaked, all right?" Marianne responded, crossing her arms. "Who
could I talk to, really? My half-sisters think their life is great.
Ra'das is male and the wrong culture. Dad is the wrong sex and mom's
the wrong species. Not to mention she's too absorbed in breeding
"Your mother said you had postpartum depression and that I should be
understanding when you came back," Ra'das inserted.
"And postpartum is a recognized human problem," Alex said. "I know. My
mom had it after I was born. I remember her talking about it."
"Postpartum depression may be common, but the circumstances weren't
exactly something I'd expect a human or Kimera psychologist to
"Okay. You were upset. But Ra'das, I would have thought, had a right to
know. If only to take care of Mish and to give you room."
"I didn't understand why you left. I thought it was something I had
done," Ra'das said. "I realized later that I had made you upset at a
very bad time, but I was at a loss on how to deal with it as I should,
as your mate."
"I was virtually unable to talk to you at the time," Marianne replied,
looking down at her lap. "I was afraid if I did, that I'd tell you
where to stuff anything you said. And I just couldn't deal with an
argument, not then. And I couldn't talk to anyone else, because they'd
just tell me to go back to you."
"I understand," Ra'das said simply. "And I may not have been as
understanding as I should have if you had. Maybe it was best that you
went away, even if some of your actions were less than kind."
Alex sighed. "I think we've had a few communications problems here.
Maybe a lot of it stems from Ra'das failing to do research, maybe more.
I think there were also a few mistakes made. I don't think either side
can be blamed. The thing is, we've got a child on the way, and I expect
Ra'das to be a full partner in its raising, as I hope to be with Mish."
"It's going to take time, Alex," Marianne answered.
"Hey, we got most of nine months to sort things out. If we're to work
together, we must understand each other and where we're coming from.
That'll be hard, but not impossible."
Marianne looked at him warily. "In nine months? You've got to be
kidding. He's been less than understanding so far."
"Less than understanding about what?" Ra'das asked. "I truly want to
know what I've done to make you feel uncomfortable."
"I don't know if you realize it, Ra'das, but you keep treating me like
I was Kimera when my cultural base is Human. It's not who I am, and
it's not something I'm comfortable with. I have spent my entire life
being human, and I feel you're not respecting that."
"I am sorry for that. I wish I had realized that your mindset is far
different than what I'm used to. I was working under a cultural
assumption when I should have put it aside."
"On my end," Alex put in, "this is a point where we all need to work
together. I'm not familiar with Kimera culture, and while Marianne has
had some exposure, she's mostly avoided it. We all need to come to some
middle point, for the sake of our children."
"And may there be many," Ra'das added solemly. Marianne gave an
exaggerated sigh, prompting a laugh from Alex.
"Very well," Marianne said. "If you two will try, I will. But we've all
got to pull our weight. Especially if Ra'das wishes to have his
"It isn't for myself that I wish them. It's for the continuance of our
Marianne threw her arms up. "Whatever. You're not the one who gets
"I will obtain your consent before even considering a subsequent
child," Ra'das said solemnly.
"Good. Now, I think we're in agreement. Can we work out the specifics
"We should... but I have a feeling we're not going to," Alex said.
"I will attempt to obtain familiarity with your culture so that I may
be better prepared to support both of you," Ra'das said. "I presume, of
course, that you will both have your own plans. I think we should,
however, agree to come together like this to resolve any other problems
that affect our relationship as mates and get to know one another as
"That sounds good," Marianne said. "Once a week, maybe?"
"Or sooner. Yeah, that's a good idea. Nobody can make our relationship
work except for us," Alex said, getting up. "I'll open the door, then."
And he did.
Earth: Final Conflict fics