Disclaimer: Liam and other characters from Earth: Final Conflict belong to Roddenberry-Kirschner, among others. All other characters are my own.

Author's Note: These five little pieces are things that I wrote while working on the longer fics in the Schultz Family stories. The first three - "First Lullaby", "Not Thinking", and "Plenty of Time" were written during various drafts of "Mated Pairs" and are all Rosemary. The last two, "Not Staying Still" and "Contraptions" were written during what was otherwise writer's block, and are other members of the Schultz family.

All fics on this page copyright 1999 Estirose.

First Lullaby

Rosemary leaned back in the chair, holding her baby daughter. Marianne was looking at her as if she was the most fascinating thing in the universe. For all she knew, she was. As she held her daughter, she had to wonder how human Marianne truly was. She had to be some part Kimera, but how much? She'd know when she talked to Melissa later.

Behind her, Liam bustled around, doing some things for her. Hard to believe that the whole thing had happened, from the date to labor at the hospital not that many hours earlier. And everything was so *normal*. Fetal development, the whole pregnancy, everything. Safer for Marianne but still amazing.

She looked over as Liam drew up a chair beside her, taking one of their daughter's tiny hands against one of his. Standard sharing position. "How is she?"

"Still startled," Liam replied. "Don't expect her to be be coherent for a while."

"I don't expect a baby to be coherent anyway," Rosemary said.

"I was," Liam said.

"You were also a nine-hour pregnancy who looked full adult in less than a day," Rosemary retorted.

"True," he responded. "But I can feel her."

Rosemary sighed, looking down at her child, their child, so much in danger if the Taelons knew what she was. So many differences probably hiding in such a normal human-looking baby. "She's your child, definitely."

The leader of the US Liberation movement grinned. "I would've thought that was obvious."

"You're right. I couldn't sleep around on you. I don't know what's happened, but something has bonded us together. A mating bond of some kind."

"I didn't know it would happen - but it makes sense, from what Dr. Park told me," Liam said.

"When your mother was giving birth to you," Rosemary responded. Liam looked vaguely startled, and she smiled. "I'm sure she's glad that Marianne's delivered - just to stop having to hear the same question seperately from both of us."

Liam smiled back, and took Marianne in his arms, holding her as he'd held babies his entire life, yet looking nervous at the same time. "Oh, I'm sure she'll hear more - from both of us. You don't think that her participation in Marianne's life would be limited to prenatal care and delivery, did you?"

"Considering that she's the only Doctor on the planet who's delivered and cared for a Kimera hybrid before, I certainly don't mind," Rosemary said as Liam crooned in some alien language to his daughter.

Rosemary smiled as little Marianne fell asleep to her father's singing.

Not Thinking

"Okay, so what *were* you doing?" Rosemary asked her daughter. The teenager was sitting by her computer in her room, glaring at her defiantly.

"Fouling up a Taelon program," Marianne replied. "Or trying to, anyway. You know how tricky the Taelons tend to be, mom. Some of them at least. I had to foul up the project before it could go further. I got out as soon as I realized that they were aware that I was there."

Rosemary buried her face in her hands. Marianne had an unfortunate tendency to idolize some of the less savoury folks that Liam sometimes hung around. It was one of the few things she didn't like about him, and especially what he thought was best for Marianne to learn. "I thought you'd given up hacking after that incident in seventh grade."

"No, I couldn't stop hacking. I just learned to make things less obvious."

And she was good at that, Rosemary knew. She and Liam had pounded the lesson in over the years: be ordinary, learn how to avoid anything that would give you away. But Marianne had always been good at things that gave her satisfaction and that nobody could know about.

Liam had taken Marianne's side last time they discussed the matter of hacking. However, hacking someone's computer to see if you could do it was one thing - a Kimera hybrid hacking the Taelons was another. Technically, by the agreement's standards, Marianne had the right to live on her planet of birth, but some of the more paranoid Taelons might think she was there to ruin them. At the very least she'd be sent off to live with the Kimera, forbidden to come back to Earth again. At the worst, she'd die. And things would definitely be worse for Liam and the other hybrids.

Problem was, she wasn't getting that. She wasn't understanding that there was a difference. A full human would be in trouble, go to jail, or worse, but Marianne's little game had endangered her and the others in ways Rosemary wasn't sure she'd understand.

"Don't worry, mom, I don't think they traced me-"

"That's the problem, Marianne. You don't think!" Rosemary snapped. "I know that you're proud of your ability to hack computers, especially since you taught yourself everything you know. But you never think of the consequences if you're caught. And the Taelons are especially dangerous. You know very well they'd like any excuse to send your father and you and all your half-siblings off-planet. At the very least, you are a representative of the Kimera, as the oldest of the second-generation hybrids. If you can't behave, how do you think the rest of them will look?"

Marianne continued glaring at her. "Dad will back me up. You'll see."

"Don't count on it this time," Rosemary said. She only hoped that she was right.

Plenty of Time

Rosemary relaxed on the bed, looking at the ceiling of her apartment. She wondered if she'd made the world's wisest choice - Marianne was soon to graduate with her first degree, even if she had a bit more of schooling to go. She'd survived through the last four years with only rare visits from her daughter- couldn't she do so again?

She rested her hand on her stomach, something she'd often done when she was pregnant with Marianne all those years ago. Soon, soon, she'd have a child growing within her again. If she didn't change her mind first. She hoped that if she did change her mind, she'd do so before Liam got in on Saturday. He kept quite busy nowadays, with all the stuff he had to do.

It wasn't every day that one scheduled getting pregnant. But when it came to the two of them, their schedules, and the fact that she'd end up pregnant by the time he left, it happened.

She wondered how Marianne would react to the fact that her parents were thinking of another child. Marianne was twenty-one, very nearly twenty-two, and she'd been an only child for so long. Rosemary herself hadn't anticipated wanting another child - but she did. And there was only one person that she could dream of mating with - Liam.

Rosemary wondered how he coped with mating anyone new. She herself felt that it would be a betrayal to sleep with anyone else. Well, and the sex was great as well. But mostly, Liam was her mate. Granted, she shared him with a few other women, but they were mated, and the fact that they were each other's first (and in her case, only) partner tied them close.

Liam himself had been surprised by her request, but was certainly happy to come back and join with her again. They both remembered all the details of their first mating - him because of a very good memory and her because of her CVI - but there was something about touching each other. This time, they wouldn't be together because of overactive hormones set off by inadvertant mating stimulation. This time, they had chosen to come together.

She just hoped she wouldn't have second thoughts. Strike that, she was. Loneliness was not the reason to have more kids. Never mind that Liam would be delighted, she didn't have to go through with this.

Rosemary reached over to the global, picking it up. She looked at it for a few minutes, and then put it back down again. She had time to think about it. Time to weigh the benefits and the drawbacks. He wasn't due in for another five days.

There was plenty of time to cancel. Plenty of time to say no. Plenty of time to even say yes. Plenty of time to make up one's mind.

Not Staying Still

Mish opened her eyes.

Around her, the others slept. Sleepyheads, all of them. Only she was awake. She didn't know why she always got up so early, since even mom didn't get up this early. And it wasn't relevant to dad.

She slipped out of the bed and stealthily made her way out of the room. On her way out, she decided to look at the planet below. That meant finding a terminal, or better yet, an observation room. Teacher had told her that sometimes her parents' interests would seem just as interesting as anything she might be interested in, and she should indulge them until she found her own. Well, this planet was dad's. Couldn't be mom's. She hadn't been here long enough.

Slipping out into the corridor, she casually wandered along the corridors and hoped she wouldn't be caught.

* * *

"Mish'ele," the voice came gently behind her. She didn't turn. It was just dad again, coming to take her back to the room. It was always him, or teacher. Usually him, taking time out to guide her back. He was alone, of course, mom taking care of something on Earth so that she could come back and spend more time with both of them.

Mom was different - why shouldn't she be? She was mom's child, after all, preserving who her mother was. Different was good.

"I'm coming," she said, turning around and addressing him. "I just wanted to see the planet."

Her father placed a hand on her shoulders - a gesture he had no doubt picked up from mom - and took her back to the room.

* * *

Boring, boring, boring. She was so bored! The teacher was going over things again for the dunderheads of the class, those who just couldn't grasp things the first (or second) time through.

Mom had liked school, she realized. But mom wasn't stuck with *this* group. Too bad she couldn't just enroll in school on Earth, it seemed far more interesting. And it was something she hadn't done before. Maybe she could sneak aboard the next shuttle. She was good at sneaking. And she didn't have to be on Earth that long. She just wanted to experience the world her mother had been born on for herself.

Anyplace would be better than here. Anyplace. It was hard to sit still.

* * *

It was time to go to sleep again, at least for those who did. Mish yawned, glad that the day was over, finally. Tomorrow was another day, and she had plans to make. Great plans.

Laying down, she fell asleep, visions of new worlds in her head.

Contraptions

"Hand me that, will ya, Mish?" Chris asked his favourite niece.

As she handed him the required tool, Mish replied, "Does Ya'nmi know what you're doing?"

"Yes. Well, kinda," Chris replied to her. He paused, and then added, "Okay, so I wasn't that specific."

Mish grinned, and he grinned back, mindful of the adjustment he was making. Mish'ele was his favourite of his full nieces and nephews - mostly because she was the only one of his fast-growing nieces and nephews who had retained her sense of adventure. The rest of them looked and acted like stuffy adults, but not Mish. She was just a few months older than him, looked over twice his age, but was still fun to be with. More fun than his niece Shari, a slow-grower like him.

"Hey, I don't mind. If you find a way for us to go faster...." Mish replied. "And I don't think Ya'nmi minds either, at least as long as you don't blow up the homeship or anything."

"Blow it up? Really, Mish, I do know what safeguards are," he teased her. Of course, one of the reasons Ya'nmi let him build his contraptions whas because he knew all the safety precautions and followed them. This was his home, as well, and they were in space, did people really think he was going to risk blowing up the ship he'd been born and grown up in?

"I know you know, just teasing," she said, looking over a piece of equipment. Mish knew a lot of things - mom had described her once as a Jill-of-all-trades, and Mish said that fit. From machinery to people, she did well in everything, if she could just stay still long enough to finish it.

He was sure she mostly helped him out because he didn't mind her lapses. She could be pretty inattentive down here. It wasn't true everywhere, and he knew that they were trying to slow her down. Slowing Mish down... it would be a shame if they did so, because that's part of who she was.

"Need this next?" Mish asked.

He grinned wider, accepting the tool, and went back to work.


Earth: Final Conflict fics