Disclaimer: The universe in question belongs to Tribune and
Roddenberry-Kirschner, among others. Ang, her family, Ri'alit, and
anybody appearing or mentioned in this fic belong to me.
Rating: PG, maybe PG-13. Some adult themes.
Author's note: This was written as a gift for a friend. It follows up
the story "To Fly, Alone", continuing Ang's adventures. It is one of
several possible sequences of events that could have happened to Ang,
and one far more pleasant that what originally occurred.
Reading the Fine Print
It had been several years since I had seen the Kimera, but I
instinctively knew that the being in front of me was Ri'alit, the
medical doctor that had briefly taken care of me when I'd been injured
several years ago. The last glimpse I'd had of him was right after I'd
woken up, for I had departed as soon as possible from the hospital I'd
been in, fleeing towards my family and away from the Kimera society
which would happily absorb me.
I'd found my family, found their new home, and my family had continued
to live happily, or as happily as we could knowing the Kimera had
discovered us. Then I'd become adult, at least by human standards, and
become part of an exchange and teaching program on another planet. I'd
been enjoying my new home, or at least until I'd run into Ri'alit.
If I'd only seen him coming! But it was too late now. "Angharad," the
Kimera greeted me, calmly, as if I'd never fled the hospital. "I had
never thought to see you again. Would you perhaps like something to
"No, thank you," I replied, hoping that the Kimera in question would
catch the hint.
He tilted his head. "Food then, perhaps? I promise you no obligation; I
would just like to talk with you and understand you."
I sighed. "Thank you, Ri'alit. But, no."
The Kimera made a regretful gesture and left.
* * *
I should have known better than to expect Ri'alit to give up. The next
time I saw him, I was grading tests in my classroom. He came in with a
basket full of food, clearly intended for me, which he put down in
front of me before fetching a chair and settling to one side of my desk.
"You don't give up easily, do you?" I asked.
"No. But then, you fascinate me; it's not every day that one of my
patients sneaks out of the hospital. I don't often run into hybrids who
seem to reject their heritage."
I shook my head. "I'm not ashamed of being Kimera; it's Kimera culture
that I don't want to be a part of, thank you very much."
"Then I might have a solution for you," Ri'alit responded. "It is a bit
of a compromise, but I think that you would find it an acceptable one."
I eyed him warily. "And what is that?"
He said this so matter-of-factly that it took me a moment to get my
thoughts together. "No," I responded, as firmly as I could, considering
his idea had come as a total surprise. "I'm not interested in you,
Ri'alit. I don't have much interest in spending the rest of my life
mate-bonded to you."
"Mate-bondings are not like human marriages. We would be under no
obligation to each other after the mating. If you wished, we would
never see each other again. You would be a properly-mated adult in the
eyes of the Kimera and would not have to fear them ever again."
Trying to gauge Ri'alit's expression was impossible. I put my ungraded
tests away and looked at him fully. "And what do you get out of this?"
"Adulthood," Ri'alit responded. "Like you, I am a legal minor in Kimera
society. If I could go back with a child in tow, I would be able to
take on much greater responsibility. I long to be chief surgeon on a
ship, but they won't let a *child* do it. Understand, I would take the
child with me when I part, and I will not reveal where you are if you
are concerned about that."
"So, what you're basically saying is that you want a child to advance
in the world," I responded angrily. "And me as a one-night stand, with
the currency being my freedom."
"I do admit that my motives may be viewed unfavorably in some lights.
But I have been attracted to you since I saw you in the hospital. I had
hoped to transfer up to the ship you were on and get to know you, but
your departure got in the way."
So, they *had* intended to make me ship-bound when a ship arrived! I
felt a wave of relief pass through me as I knew what fate had been
intended if I hadn't gotten away. "So, you want a trophy-child."
"I want a *child*," Ri'alit responded. "Surely, you feel it too, the
need to reproduce that we all have? Tell me that you have not felt like
mating before with some individual of some species."
To tell the truth, I *was* getting kinda chummy with Jezzy before I
left. But, unknown to Ri'alit, I take medication to keep those urges in
control. Yes, we have our own pipeline in Kimera space that the Kimera
don't know about. "Kimera can't help reproducing at sexual maturity. If
we don't, we get sick," I responded with confidence.
"And I reached sexual maturity shortly after my arrival at the hospital
that you and I met at. I tried to tell myself that my attraction was
because you were the first unattatched female Kimera I'd come across
since then, but it didn't work."
"Great," I responded.
"I live on the other side of this world currently, and the next ship is
not due for at least another half a year. The pregnancy would only take
the usual time, and I am a skilled doctor who can assist in your
delivery. After that, I and the child would be out of your life. Is
this not worth a few days of me, a little bit of pain, and your
Well, he was right. I did want to stop running. But that was
impossible. If I stopped running, and my family didn't, then I'd lose
them possibly forever. Of course, it was past time for me to leave the
nest, and besides, the Kimera were looking for six, not five. If I
could get my family to arrange me a new identity, maybe I could live
relatively anonymously, maybe even fall in love, marry, and have a
normal family. Then my family could move on as often as it needed to,
and I'd never have to move on again.
Ri'alit raised his palm. "If this is what it takes for you to recognize
that I mean no harm to you, and only good for the child," he said,
clearly expecting me to do something. I realized that this was probably
a sharing, though I wasn't quite sure. I'd never shared before.
But, instead of revealing that to Ri'alit, I raised my hand cautiously.
"This will be sending only," he said, almost in reassurance. "I have no
intention of invading your privacy here. I just want to convince you of
I put my hand against his own, and the sharing began. -Young, I am too
young. I need something to make me stand out. A child, a child is the
answer! That will show them I am worth paying attention to! And a
child, it is time for me to be a father. Long past time. If she will
only accept me, let me take me....-
I was aware of the world again as Ri'alit lowered his palm. "You see? I
am willing to let you go, just to have a part of you with me. I wish it
could be more, but if this is what I must content myself with, I will.
And you, they will pity your background but you are mated. You will be
assumed a competent adult. Is this not worth the price?"
"Let me think about it," I responded.
* * *
Ri'alit seemed in no hurry to leave the settlement and anxious to hear
my answer, but I took several days figuring the consequences. I even
sent a message to me mother, through the roundabout route that I always
used. My mother's reply came back "Ang, angel, we've always held that
the most important thing is not to be limited by species. I trust you
to make the right decision regarding this Ri'alit. He has some very
good points, honey, not the least of which is that you won't have to
take the il'isani'ch anymore. But I'd say run as soon as you can; we're
putting an identity together for you, as well as getting ready to move
ourselves, just in case. I trust your one-night stand (as much as any
of us can have a one-night stand) will go well. You know how to get in
touch with your physician if something goes wrong. Good luck, honey.
Maybe we'll be seeing each other someday."
I know my mom was working under the assumption that Ri'alit had picked
up some things from me during the sharing, and it was simply too
dangerous to even let me know where they were going. But, really, I
didn't mind. I was making a new life here. Besides, mom sent up the
most important thing with her message, an encoded file containing as
complete a family tree as we have of our family, both human and Kimera.
It was marked, appropriately enough, 'do not open until you refuse him
or after he's gone.'
After that, I felt like the risk was worth it. I waited for Ri'alit,
waiting to give him the news.
Ri'alit passed by shortly, stopping to greet me as had become his habit
to do. "Have you made a choice yet?" he asked.
"Yes," I responded. "Yes, I'll mate with you."
Thankfully, Kimera don't bounce. But you could *tell* that Ri'alit was
really happy; I got the impression that he thought he'd have to impress
me further. "Then, if you will give me a schedule, I will find us a
good place and time to mate, and an isolated place for you to birth. Do
not worry about a thing; I will take care of everything for you."
* * *
True to Ri'alit's word, he did. He secured us a relatively isolated
cabin (I insisted on something within a two-mile distance from the
renting office), with a nice clearing nearby. Not a bad place,
especially if you were as embarrassed as I was to be doing this.
Ri'alit settled me in, though it was obvious what he wanted to do
really badly was join with me and generate the child.
I wouldn't mind just getting this over with, either. Everybody in my
family knows about fast-growers, the products of Kimera-hybrid matings.
Three-day pregnancies, three days of physical childhood, and very, very
different from us. And, if I guessed right, I would only have to put up
with Ri'alit up until the child was born and he was satisfied that I
was healthy. Then I wouldn't have to see him again.
Ri'alit led me to the clearing, stopping at the center and raising his
hands up, palm outwards, and looking expectantly. I stood there,
wondering what to do, when he gave the equivalent to a sigh, dropped
his hands, came around me, and gently manipulated my hands and arms
until my stance was a mirror image of his initial stance. Then he
walked around and touched his palms to mine.
What does it feel like to join with another Kimera? Well, the first
thing that happened was that my body converted to pure energy, the pure
energy that inescapably makes up part of my being because of my Kimera
heritage. With that, I knew that I could go to full energy anytime for
a short while if I wanted to, it was just mostly useful during a
The second thing I noticed was the additional thoughts. When a Kimera
joins with another being, another Kimera or not, there is always an
element of being merged together, the merge being needed to create the
spark which is the resulting child. We become, literally, a part of
each other, knowing each other intimately.
It was during this phase of the joining that I became aware of
Ri'alit's plans for me. He had told the truth, at least mostly. It's
what he left out that damned him.
Oh, he wasn't lying at all about his attraction to me, or his minor
status in Kimera society. He wasn't lying to me about his desires, or
that I'd be essentially free if I mated with him.
He didn't mention, however, that he intended to bond me so close to him
that I could never even get interested in another being again. That if
I had an urge to produce more children (and he thought I was Kimera
enough to have that happen) that I'd be forced to turn to him for them.
And, worst of all, he wanted me away from the child for a reason. He
had intended to raise the child with the belief that they would be the
saviour of their wayward family. A person who would know how my family
worked and could track them wherever they may go. I could feel his need
become more urgent as he discovered the secret I never intended to
reveal: that there were more of us than the Kimera thought.
Somewhere along the way the child came into being, and I somehow knew,
through my own ancestral abilities or the link with Ri'alit, that the
child would be female. The little spark nuzzled me and remained there
until Ri'alit seperated from me and I regained a solid form.
I must have stood there aghast for a good half a minute until I
regained my senses and ran. I think Ri'alit chased after me. I'm not
* * *
And now, a day and a half later, I huddle in the woods, getting more
and more pregnant every time I look. I don't dare go into civilization,
for fear of the questions that will inevitably be raised in the likely
event that the child will inevitably look quite a bit more Kimera than
I don't have a large amount of medical skill myself; I rely on what I
gained from my joining with Ri'alit. Fortunately, at least two of my
ancestors were physicians. But it is what I have, what I am stuck with,
until my child is born and I can continue on.
And Jennifer and I *will* continue on, no matter what. No matter what
obstacles are in our way, we will find our way out. Thanks to Ri'alit,
I have my own, new family. But next time, I will read the fine print.
Earth: Final Conflict fics