Ian stopped a few feet from Evrilla’s door and took a deep breath. His anger was with Perkins and the individuals in the brig but the stress of the situation with his wife had Ian in command mode and not spousal mode. For the first time in his life, Ian did not have his confident swagger and outlook that everything was going to be okay. Right now he felt helpless. Approaching the door, Ian wrapped the edge with the back of his fingers. He knew Evrilla would have come to him if she was free but Ian could not wait any longer to hear something from her about his wife.
“How is she,” he kept his comment neutral not wanting to hear her answer but needing to just the same.
Evrilla looked up and motioned him in. “She’ll be alright. She should wake up soon. Please sit down. May I call you Ian?” She hoped he said yes, if only because of the shock she was preparing to impart on him.
Ian instantly felt on edge. It had nothing to do with Evrilla. As a doc she was fantastic: easy to talk to, went easy on the pep talk about bad vices, and understood what happened on shore leave stayed on shore leave. From his experience and that of the crew that had dealt with her, Evrilla was quick to laugh and always in a good mood. Now however, she was acting far more formal. Formal for docs always meant bad news. “Yeah yeah Ian’s fine,” he said coming around and taking the indicated seat. Leaning back he crossed his leg and fidgeted for a second trying our several positions before settling on leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees and his hands steepled on his lips. He wanted to say hit me or whats up but struggled with his words. Instead, he just waited for Evrilla to begin the conversation.
“Thank you, Ian.” Evrilla set her PADD on the table, open to the results of Jessa’s genetic screening. “This may be surprising to you, but it appears that the young woman in Sickbay is your biological daughter.” She pushed the PADD towards Ian, knowing he would likely want to verify the results himself. “I don’t know if you’ve ever donated genetic material…” She trailed off, waiting for an indication.
“Are you saying Kelly is pregnant,” he looked at her not sure whether to be happy or concerned. It was no secret they had been trying but this was an odd way to share the news unless there was something more to it.
“Luckily no.” Evrilla didn’t want to imagine the consequences Kelly’s surgery could have had on a fetus.
Ian’s face instantly was a wash in confusion as he processed what the woman was saying to him. “Hold up…donated genetic material? What…what are you talking about? He was clearly more than stunned by her comment. “I mean if you are asking have I popped into a sperm bank and made a deposit the answer is hell or none of your business,” he said far sharper than he ever intended. “If you are asking about a shore leave gone wrong in a very polite way that answer is still hell no. There is no possible way what your saying is possible. I am married to Kelly. I have been for three years now,” he got up and started to pace slightly running a hand through his hair roughing it up a bit. “Besides those people that boarded the ship are my age. Are you suggesting I had a kid at like five and my parents didn’t know about it?” Ian had seen the security report of the three in the Brig. It only made sense that the fourth one that hurt had to be close to their age also.
“The fourth person is a twelve-year-old girl. And upon running her genetics… she appears to be yours.” Evrilla leaned back in her chair, watching him pace. “I can see that you were unaware of her. Do you have any ideas, anything that happened thirteen years ago?” Ian was clearly distressed, so she’d try to get to the bottom of Jessa’s origin as quickly as possible.
“Run the test again,” Ian said looking at the medical chief. Pulling up his sleeve, he laid his arm on the table. “I said run the test again. There is a mistake somewhere. Thirteen years ago I was graduating the academy. I got a crap assignment on Vulcan where I spent two years of my life surrounded by no one with a sense of humor. Suffice it to say the dating pool was dry. Run the test again,” he demanded before letting his voice soften. “Please,” he added. Already his mind was doing back flips trying to place if there was any possibility of what she was saying was true and if it was true why now. “Labs can be wrong. Samples faulty. Please run the test again.”
“Ian, it’s been run many times. I wouldn’t tell you if I was not sure.” Evrilla met his gaze for a moment and sighed. “If you wish, we can run it again.” She tapped her combadge, asking a nurse to bring her a genetic sample from their Jane Doe. “Here.” She offered Ian a cotton swab, then turned to start up the PCR.
Evrilla placed both samples into the machine, pressing the start button. “5 minutes. Would you like something to drink? Tea perhaps?”
“No I would like to know what is going on,” he said in a jumbled tone as he made sure there was a lot of DNA on the swab he used inside his cheek, ” because what this test is suggesting, is that my kid tried to kill my wife…her stepmother…which is not possible,” he stammered slightly as he handed the sample back to Evrilla.
Leaning back he rubbed his chin staring off into the air. A long moment passed before he directed his attention to the doctor. “Okay, so I get the birds and the bees method but is there any other way for half of me to get into that kid out there? You can’t clone someone from two parents can you?” Ian felt like an idiot even asking yet the age of the kid was at a time when Ian was sure of his relations. He had spent four years on and off with Kylie but Kylie was not some blast from the past he had no contact with. Hell, he and Chris, Lexi and Kelly, stopped by Kylie and Noah’s house last month returning from their vacation. Working with Perkins did little to increase his sex appeal and afford him the time to do anything but dote on the man. It hadn’t been dry before Kelly yet the window that matched the kid’s age had to be when he just broke up with Kylie around the time he graduated the academy. At this point, cloning felt more logical than any solution he could come up with.
“Well… not cloning, but tissue manipulation co-” She was cut off by the beeping machine.
As the machine beeped indicating it had completed its analysis, Ian looked at Evrilla. “On second thought, you got any whiskey?”
Evrilla grinned. “I’ve been waiting for someone to ask.” She pulled open the lowest drawer of her desk, revealing a neon blue liquid. “Is this sufficient?”
Even in the stress of the situation, Ian managed a small smile. “Past marrying me....snagging you for the doc in charge was the best decision Kelz made in a while,” he waited for her to pull out two containers and pour them measures of the Ale. Evrilla was full of surprises today and that was saying a lot for a day that just kept coming. For a half-second, he wondered what she had to accompany the Ale: Dixie cups like she used to give out medicine, test tubes like they had at the Halloween party, or real-life shot glasses. Hell right now he would trade swigging it straight from the bottle.
The other half a second was wasted on whether it was Romulan or Andorian Ale. To assume it was Andorian because she was was the easy conclusion. Andorian ale spoke to her heritage, pride in her culture and wes frankly damn good stuff. Romulan Ale however was romulan Ale. While highly illegal in the Federation, most ships were crawling with it. As with everything with Kelly, she never worried about contraband unless that contraband led to a problem. Hell if anyone came sniff through their personal booze cabinet, they would also find a small nip of the stuff hidden in the back. With them being the same color and texture, no one would ever think the sweet and friendly doc had a spicy and fiesty side. Ian’s forray into the containers and type of beverage calmed him enough to focus though and be part of this conversation instead of just physically present in the room.
“Andorian Ale was simple enough to bring aboard, especially since I listed it as medical.” She easily removed two glasses from a nearby shelf, disguised amongst various test tubes and beakers. She poured them shots, sliding one across the table calmly.
As she poured the drinks, Ian gave her a half grin suddenly realizing how skilled she was at medicine. Past the tomes of medical knowledge she learned over the years, Evrilla had learned that chicken soup or in this case ale, was good for the soul. He looked at her hoping she read what was in his expression. A thousand thank yous for treating Kelly and being the one on the other side of the table about to crush his world again but promising no matter what came, she would be there to help him rebuild it.
It was often said that treating children was difficult, as they would echo their doctor’s emotional state. Evrilla had treated not only children but psychic children. She knew the value of a single shot before a tense situation.
“She is not mine,” Ian professed again to himself breaking his stare off into space starting the tone of the conversation as he rolled the glass around with his fingers. Whether it was the shot of booze or Ian starting to process the shock, his tone was a bit more controlled and inquisitive. “I don’t do one nighters.” As soon as the words left his mouth Ian cringed slightly pushing the shot glass towards Evrilla for another hit. “I mean I haven’t done them in a while…since I got married… and you can clearly see that based on the age of that kid it wasn’t when I was with Kelly.”
Ian shifted in the seat nervously before he leaned in and continued talking. “And even when I did have a one-night stand it always resulted in a few weeks or months of me dating the person. It is not like I have ever been so desperate I have to roll into a bar to find companionship.” Evrilla probably didn’t need this much background but Ian needed to talk it out to figure it out. “So, me knocking someone, up a decade or so ago is not impossible but me getting hooked up with someone having that little investment in me to run off with the kid….not possible.” Ian stabbed the table angrily as if to drive home the point. “Hell even the really bad endings with a few of them…they would so want the upper hand and shove it in my face by telling me. That I can promise you,” Ian pointed to the bottle and held his glass out. The booze was warm and relaxing. Based on his body type and size, the amount of alcohol was not impairing him, just taking the edge off.
Besides… apart from that the one guy… our guests aren’t exactly residents of our current neighborhood if you catch my drift. I know I would have remembered seeing a female humanoid-like that, if they were part of the Federation,” Ian rambled on.
Throwing back the third shot, Ian set the glass down on the desk with a hard clink almost as if he was physically ending his conversation with an audible period. “So whatcha got,” he nodded to the machine settling back in a neutral pose waiting for the results.
The machine behind Evrilla had long since processed the sample and sent the results to Evrilla’s PaDD. Again the results would show Ian Bordeaux was a perfect paternity match. It also showed several things that might cause Evrilla to raise an eyebrow herself. The first was the machine referred to the test results under the name Jane doe and not with a name indicating this was the first time the individual had been processed for basic medical care within the Federation.
The subject is 100% human with fifty percent genetic markers for English and French and fifty percent unidentifiable human.
Based on bone density, spinal length, and growth plates the subject is prepubscent between 12 and 13 years of age. She is A positive blood type but her blood contains unknow antigens not associated with either A type or O type. These antigens have had no apparent detrimental effect on the A positive blood transfusion she received during the operation. Further tests will be needed to understand the role and origination of these antigens.
Subject is within normal limits. No malnutritution is detected past or present. Body Mass Index (BMI) is 16.7 indicating subject is within limits for height but slightly underweight. Normal EKG and EEG readings. Subject has no antigen markers commonly associated with the basic immunization routine of Federation citizens.
1. Immediate administration of vaccination profile to prevent common diseases and illnesses
2. Increase dietary intake to create a better height to weight ratio.
3. Begin a regime of routine medical care to monitor subjects health since subject does not have any medical records contained in the Federation system.
“You are the girl’s genetic father, but that does not mean you contributed to her creation.” Evrilla tapped her finger on the table, preparing to explain.
“She is not mine,” Ian felt like he was about to explode from all the emotions tumbling in his mind. He was glad the doc was patient. He would probably have decked himself if he wasn’t sitting on the other side of the table.
“Hypothetically, we could take any living cell, reverse the specialization to a stem cell, and manipulate it into some other kind of cell. If the mother… chose you and had access to that sort of technology, you may well have had your DNA stolen, for lack of a better word.” She tilted her head slightly to look at Ian, gauging his reaction.
“You make it sound like an alien abduction from the 1950s. My family does own a cattle ranch but I am pretty sure I would have known if I had been sucked up and probed,” Ian felt a bubble of laughter rise up in his chest. He was in no way making fun of her expertise. Evrilla was only going on what she knew and science. The problem for Ian was every solution felt like the plotline for a bad B movie. “And what does the readout say about the mother? This was not some immaculate conception even it if was a lab experiment. If the person in the next room has 50% of me then who does the other 50% belong to? We could probably get a hell of a lot more answers if we just contact the other 50% genetic part and ask some questions?”
“It seems the other 50 percent had been listed as unidentifiable. I can run it through the Federation database, but that’s by no sense of the word comprehensive.” Evrilla had already started scanning for recorded matches, but she wasn’t hopeful.
Taking a deep breath Ian stopped looking at the situation as an event but more a problem he had to solve. The result was not much better. It at least calmed him some to focus on the next steps instead of things he could not control. “All these how it happened theories are all fine and dandy but we are past the how. I need to figure out the what. Like what the hell am I going to do. Legally unless there is a clone of me running around that kid is my responsibility until we can find the mother. Am I wrong?” His question was obviously rhetorical but the look on his face said he needed Evrilla to reply in some way. Regardless of Evrilla’s theory of DNA hijacking, Ian ignored the fact that even finding the mom would still not magically erase the DNA connection between the kid and him. That would be a problem for later.
“You have several options. You have no legal responsibility beyond that of a Starfleet officer to a sentient being. She is not currently in Federation childcare, so you’ve not been called upon as next of kin. She will likely go into some form of court-ordered care, at which point you may be called upon as her next of kin.” Of all the things for an Aenar pathologist to have an extreme familiarity with, Federation Duty of Care laws was not something that came to mind, but Evrilla had nearly memorized the relevant text.
Right now Ian hated the world but hearing his options from Evrilla had a calming effect. She was good with patients. It was almost like she was a counselor instead of a doctor but at times both positions had a lot of commonalities. They both got into your head and excised what was ailing you. Doctors tended to do it with a scalpel. Counselors with words. Ian however right now would have preferred a mystic with a crystal ball or a way to turn back time.
“So option one is I abandoned her to the people that brought her here. Let her rot in some cell after being defined as a terrorist and threat to the Federation. That would make me the father of the year now, wouldn’t it? I abandon her as a baby and then abandon her at 12 to the Penal system which is totally not valid because she is not mine.” Ian stood up and began to pace the room. Running a hand through his hair he let out a loud growl-like groan venting his frustration.
“Option two,” he came back and put his hands flat on the table staring at Evrilla, “I step up because whatever reason or way or how this happened that kid in there needs someone. If I don’t how can I ever look at myself, my family…my wife,”. His voice trailed off as if he was begging for someone to give him what he needed to hear. “How can I have any other kid one day with Kelly and not feel like a liar when I say I will always be there for them or explain why I gave up on my kid.” It was clear by his emotions altering from pure anger to absolute anger, Ian’s mind was moving from the kid in the next room being a stranger to something more familiar. His verbiage had begun with not even mentioning Jane Doe in the next room as he spoke. It was all about him and Kelly and duty. The longer he talked pronouns like she and her indicated Ian’s mind was giving the person an identity. By the time he had finished his tirade and the booze had settled him, Ian had even started to use the word kid in a decidedly parental tone.
Ian sat down and picked up his glass sliding it towards the doc again. “Is she okay though? I mean is she healthy?”
“She will recover fully.” Evrilla absently poured more ale into his glass.
A blind man could see the toxicity the Elders displayed towards Jessa. In the back of Ian’s mind, he had braced for the doc to reveal a history of broken bones or injures associated with physical abuse to go along with trying to slit her throat in the transporter room. When she didn’t relief washed over Ian’s body. The clean bill of health gave Ian the hope that wherever she was before coming to the Altantis with the Elders, Jessa had at least been well cared for.
“Ian, if you choose to take her on, it should not be out of duty or guilt. Right now the two of you are nothing more than strangers who share DNA.” The last thing she wanted was a bond of resentment forming between the two. “I think you ought to talk to Lieutenant O’Farrell before you make a decision either way.”
Ian nodded at the suggestion of a counselor. The clean bill of physical health did not mean Jessa’s psyche hadn’t been screwed with. “I agree. If anyone on the crew needed to see a shrink it is Jessa Novar,” Ian let out a small laugh. “She tried to take on Mardusk, Normally I would stamp them section eight for even thinking that let alone trying it. I just don’t want anyone getting hurt,” he let out a sigh playing with the full measure of booze between his fingers as he contemplated the parameters of how that would happen.
“Can I ask you a personal question doc?” His comment was more rhetorical than anything. Evrilla could choose to answer or not but right now, of all the species in the world, Andorians and Aenar felt like the only ones that might slightly understand and relate to him. Maybe there was something about Kelly believing God put people in your path for a reason.
“I mean no disrespect here but I am kinda feeling like a cross between a thaan and a zhen “Ian’s expression showed he was being sincere and using the only common thing he could think of to express what was going on in his head. The basics of Andorian mating were well known. It took four individuals all working together to produce offspring. These four individuals then raised the child as a quad instead of the traditional binary pair instilling the best of not two people but four.
“I have my wife, the individual’s mother, myself, and for the fourth, these Elders who might not have been involved with the actual procreation process but sure as hell has spent enough time with the kid to form some twisted parental influence. I can handle Kelly. Hell, I can handle whoever this birth mother is but whether she remains or is removed, part of the individual’s quad is going to be severed. How do Andorian’s do it when the quad falls apart?” Ian, subconsciously or by choice, made sure he was not using any wording to indicate attachment or association with Jessa. Words like individual created a safe buffer between him and the situation. The fact that Ian seemed to be worried though about the impact of deprogramming Jessa hinted at him already concern for the child past his choice of clinical and aseptic terms. “Is it any different than a traditional divorce? I mean not all Andorian quads end up sitting on a rocking porch watching the grandkids play right and there has to have been a time one of the quad didn’t remember or realize a bundle of Andorian joy was coming…right?”
Listening to her reply, Ian took the drink she poured early and washed it down in a manner normally seen when someone was drinking for courage. “I am a diplomat. My job is to look at the bigger picture and come to an agreement that benefits all sides. The sides don’t have to love the agreement but they have to abide by the rules. I love kids. Maybelle, Tatly, Ruth… but babysitting is a long way from being a parent,” he named the ones he had the most contact with in his day-to-day life. Life on the Atlantis was anything but regulation. While Picard and others might look back in abject horror of a kid in someone’s office during duty hours or coming into a routine staff meeting, Kelly took a different approach. Once she told Ian that she saw the Atlantis as one huge family trucking through the galaxy in a huge interstellar RV. Yes, there were dangers and risks but everyone accepted them when they signed aboard no different than someone’s house burning down or being taken out by a natural disaster dirtside.
“Generally females never wake up one day with someone standing at their door saying remember me oh and by the way, this is your kid.” Whether his attempt at humor would be read as mildly amusing or insulting, Ian didn’t care. To his knowledge, based on the procreation requirements of Andorians, they were the only race where a female could be a Shen and maybe not know about it. “If you were in my situation, what would you do?”
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