Saturday, March 3, 2018

Void: Doctor Who (Part IX)

It was November of 2168. The salmon battalion was gone, back to some point in history on Earth, to fight in some other war. That was evidently all they did. Saga hoped they had some good mental health care. It was one thing to be a soldier, it was entirely different to alter one’s allegiances every time one is dropped into a new conflict. Did they have any role in the decisions, did they sometimes have to fight against those they once fought alongside? Did they receive any compensation?
Durus was doing exceptionally well since the battalion left. The government was strong, working under the guidance of a sensible Constitution, one written with the future in mind. The people were learning to start working for themselves, and with each other. Unemployment was coasting at a healthy low rate, and sponsored programs were supporting those in transitional periods. They still lived in separate cities, but none was isolated. They maintained relations with each other, sharing knowledge and resources, and operating under the global banner. It was kind of the first time that Saga and Andromeda felt like they could take a breath, and really focus on their private lives. No one was asking the latter to build them anything, because they realized that, though this would be easier, if they utilized human labor on a construction crew, they could pay those people, and support the economy. Paramounts were still around, and using their time powers when warranted, but the entire system didn’t rely on them. That was what the Mage Protectorate was lacking; self-sufficiency, and they knew they couldn’t make that mistake again.
For the last several months, the two of them had been discussing having children. Years ago, they couldn’t imagine bringing a child into this world, but now that things were going so well, it didn’t sound like such a bad idea. They were now fully ready for the commitment—excited for it, even. The only problem was that they were both women, and conceiving a child together would be a little complicated, especially since Durus was still an underdeveloped state. At the moment, Camden Voss was visiting from his new city of Jaydecaster, to discuss their options.
“Why me?” he asked.
“You’re one of the few people here that we trust,” Andromeda replied.
“Don’t you think that makes it a little awkward?” he questioned.
“A little, yes,” Saga agreed, which is why we’ve decided that the child would be born of Andromeda. I imagine being with her would make it a little less awkward.”
“For who?”
Whom,” Saga corrected.
Camden blinked, and repeated, “for who?”
“Everybody,” Andromeda put forth.
“I don’t know about that. Have you tried contacting a prostitute? They’re very professional, and the industry is heavily regulated. You can trust them, even though you won’t know the donor very well.”
“We want it to be you,” Andromeda said honestly.
He took a breath for the first time since sitting down with them. “I don’t know how I feel about fathering a child to whom I’m not allowed to be a father.”
Saga shook her head at that. “We wouldn’t cut you out of our lives. You would be a part of this. No, you wouldn’t be his or her father—maybe more like an uncle—but we would want your input. They would grow up knowing you, and loving you.”
He shook his own head, but out of hesitation, not complete opposition.
“If we were on Earth,” Saga continued, “we would go to a doctor for artificial insemination, but we would still ask you to donate the sperm.”
“If we were on Earth, in present day, you wouldn’t need sperm. You could have a two-parent child using your respective DNA samples.”
“Earth in 2002, then.”
He sat in thought for a moment, then a lightbulb clicked in his head. “You can have a doctor.”
“No one here can do anything like that. I mean, they might be able to, but like we were saying, it all comes down to trust.”
“No, I know of a real doctor. In 1997, I was on a mission in Tennessee when I was suddenly transported to the future, in a different person’s body. As it turns out, a choosing one was sending her consciousness back in time, into other people’s bodies, to complete her own missions.”
“She was a doctor?” Saga asked.
“No, but there was a doctor there. It was her job to help the people whose lives had been temporarily taken over not totally freak out. Of course, as a salmon myself, I didn’t need anyone to calm me down, but I benefited from some therapy, just the same. She was brilliant; not only a psychiatrist, but also a medical doctor. She’s like the choosing one version of Baxter Sarka.”
“And she can help us?” Andromeda asked. “I assume she’s on Earth.”
“She travels all over,” Camden explained.
“You can call her with your sheetphone?” Saga hoped.
“Well, I can page her. She is a doctor, afterall.” Camden’s phone had only been used once here, to contact The Officiant, yet he still carried it with him wherever he went. He took it out and dialed. Then they waited. “Could take a few decades,” he said after a beat. “She’s not going to get it for another negative a hundred and forty years.”
“What?” Andromeda squealed.
“I’m kidding.” His phone rang. “See?” He lifted the phone and pointed it away from them, like a remote control. Once he pressed Accept, a light appeared from the phone, and corporalized a body in the middle of the room.
“Mister Voss,” she said. “Nice to see you again...for the very first time.”
“Same to you. How are you, and Quivira, and the rest of the team?”
“Well, thank you,” the doctor replied.
Saga stood up and shook her hand. “Saga Einarsson. This is my wife, Andromeda.”
“Pleasure to meet you two. I’m Dr. Mallory Hammer.”
“We’ve heard of you,” Andromeda realized. “The Officiant mentioned you before our wedding.”
“Ah, yes,” Hammer said. “Couples often need a consult before they commit to marriage.”
“Do you have any idea why we’ve asked you here?” Saga asked. She wasn’t sure, because sometimes time travelers knew everything about the outcome of events before they arrived. Knowing who knows how much, and when, can make communication a little difficult, which was why you kind of had to keep a laid-back attitude towards what would normally be treated as dumb questions.
She shifted her gaze between the three of them. “If I could hazard a guess, you two are looking to spice up your relationship?”
“No.”
“No?” she asked rhetorically. “Then my second guess would be that you’re trying to have a child, and you would like me to perform the procedure.” That was likely her first guess, and the other was just her attempt at humor.
“That’s the one,” Camden said.
“I am from the twenty-twenties. Under these conditions, I will need sperm. I don’t know if you were expecting same-sex conception, or...”
“Camden is meant to be involved,” Saga said, then she turned towards him. “That is, if you’ve agreed.”
He took a reverent pause. “I would be honored.”
“Sounds great,” Hammer said. “Do both parents want to be related to the child? Camden is obviously the sperm donor. One of you can supply the egg, and the other the uterus. Or the bearer can provide the egg as well.”
The others hadn’t thought about it yet, but Saga had. She wanted the child to be part of her, but she would not be able to carry it. She requested to speak with the doctor in private. “I can’t carry a child.”
She nodded understandingly. “Okay.”
“I’m much older than I look. I’ve been thrown throughout time, and de-aged, and torn out of reality. I was considering raising a child when I was stranded on Earth a few years back, and learned then of my infertility. My eggs, on the other hand, should still be fine.”
She nodded more. “Yes, the de-aging process has been known to produce a sort of...resupply of eggs. However, it can also cause spontaneous endometrial thinning. I wrote my thesis on the effects that time travel can have on reproductive organs.”
“Wrote your thesis where? What school would understand what you’re talking about?”
“It doesn’t matter.” She set the conversation back on track, “does your wife know?”
“She does. We told Camden it would be less awkward for him to impregnate her, rather than me, but really, she’s our only option. But if I can provide the egg, I would love to.”
She nodded a third time. “That can be done. Easy.”
“Thank you.”
They went back to the other two. “All right, we’ve set initial plans.” She looked at the time on her pager. “I’m going to be back in two days.”
“Why?”
“If you still want to do it in two days,” she said, “you still want to do it. Never make a major change on the same day you decide to do it. It’s like going to the grocery store hungry. You’ll buy the wrong things. Let this sink in. In two days, we’ll iron out the details. Two days later, we’ll go over the details again. After another two days, assuming everyone understands the ramifications of what we’re doing here, we’ll begin the actual procedure.”
They didn’t say anything. They just had to concede to her expertise.
“I’ll need a sterile environment anyway, so if you could put me in touch with the hospital, or clinic, or whatever you have here, I’ll get going on my own process. Is everyone okay with how we’re proceeding?”
“I am,” Saga agreed.
“I’m going to need a verbal agreement from all of you.”
“I am.”
“I’m in.”
Hammer smiled. “Get used to making your intentions abundantly clear. I do nothing without consent.”
On November 22, 2168—one day after the report came out of Camden’s sister’s death—they made a baby.

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