a tale in weekly parts
“You’re what?” Xander mentally screamed.
“Pregnant,” Kr’veth’neq’is replied.
“How did that happen?”
“Oh, I forgot. You’re still young. Even so, it’s not my job to give you basic sex education. Don’t they cover it in school?”
“Of course they do. That’s not what I meant.”
“Then say what you mean, dumbo.”
“What I mean is… how far advanced are you, do you know the identity of the father and what was the location of your tryst – in other words, when, who, where? And while I’m at it, why?”
“Hmmm. When? According to the test kit, I’m about five weeks along. That puts it in the time I was with the Mendatians. Who? Probably one of the Mendatians. Where? I would guess Menda City. Why? You’ll have to ask them; if it was them; but you know Mendatians – well you don’t, but I can tell you – they are compulsive liars.”
“Are you sure?”
“That Mendatians are liars?”
“No; that it was a Mendatian.”
“I’m guessing that from the time.”
“And these tests are reliable?”
“Probably not deadly accurate, but a good indication.”
“Can I wake the dogs?”
“If you must.”
Xander gently woke the dogs. Chav can be awakened without any ceremony; he’s been used to it all his life, but if Ixus wakes up too suddenly, all manner of protective instincts kick in, and it takes some effort to calm her. He addressed Chav.
“Chav. Kr’veth’neq’is says she is with child.” Chav and Ixus sniffed around her, conferred and agreed.
“She is,” Chav said, “About half-way through the first quarter, we think. And it’s a boy.”
“What do your noses tell you about the father, guys?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked.
“Unclear,” Chav said.
“Not human,” Ixus added.
“Humanoid?” Xander suggested.
“Not biological, as we understand it,” Ixus explained.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked the lady with the bump – well, not yet, but she will have.
“The father is not a life-form as human science understands the term.”
“Eddie?” she demanded.
“Not Eddie. Something—”
“Not Albert,” Kr’veth’neq’is breathed, “Please tell me it wasn’t Albert.”
“Okay,” Ixus said, “It wasn’t Albert.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then why did you say it?”
“Because you asked me to, and I’m a nice doggie. I do as I’m told.”
“So? Was it him?”
“We can neither confirm nor deny that,” Chav said. “Your scent says that it could be Albert, or Jarvis, or both; but that scent could come from any of a number of inanimate entities. Do you, for instance, have any personal devices that you use for… for…”
“Stress relief? Is that what you’re asking?” Kr’veth’neq’is fumed.
“Any such object could have been compromised…” Chav said hesitantly.
“WELL I DON’T!” Kr’veth’neq’is yelled.
“Don’t take it out on the dogs, Sis. They’re only trying to be helpful, and that was a useful possibility to eliminate,” Xander said.
“I suppose you’re right. Sorry, Chav.”
“That’s okay. Apart from that, we got nothing.”
Kr’veth’neq’is shivered. “You know what this means, if it was Albert or Jarvis?” she asked.
“It means,” Xander suggested, “that your son will have the same father as your father. His grandfather will also be his brother, so he will be his own great-uncle. You will be his mother and his niece; your father will be your son-in-law, and I will be your step-grandson, as well as your brother.”
“Not what I had in mind, stupid. If Albert/Jarvis is his father, he will be fully bitek on his father’s side and half bitek on mine. That will make him seventy-five percent bitek at least.”
“At least?” Xander asked.
“Look. Dad is half bitek, right?”
“Which makes you and me quarter bitek. However, because of the dominant regressive bitek gene, we are functionally about eighty percent bitek.”
“Which will make your son ninety percent.”
“Unless the gene is dormant in him.”
“We need to talk to Albert about this, Sis.”
“Damn right, we do.”
Chav looked at the two part-humans with those eyes he reserves for special occasions, such as when the masters have food, and pleaded with them, “Can we go back to sleep now? I was having a smashing dream.”
“We know you were,” Xander said, with a grin and a wink aimed at his sister/grandmother. “Go on, then.”
The two dogs curled up on their blankets and were, within seconds, fast asleep again.
“I need to do some thinking,” Kr’veth’neq’is said, and promptly phased away, leaving Xander as he was before; alone in silent darkness. Only now, his head was spinning with thoughts of what had come out in the last minutes. The time was 4:25am. Xander would not sleep again that night.