Posted on Fri Apr 10th, 2020 @ 1:37pm by Lieutenant Mona Gonadie & Death & Kodria Mizu & Hera & Commander Rita Paris & Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox & Petty Officer 2nd Class 'Big Ethel' Jablonski & Jaeih Dox-t'Aan & Artan Pirate Helev t'Liun
Edited on on Fri Apr 17th, 2020 @ 10:50am
Born and Reborn
Location: The Aeries, Miradon
Timeline: April 10th 2397.
Just like all the other structures on the planet, this one was also round and had no corners or edges anywhere in sight. Unlike the others, the central building was built of stone and looked to be one of the oldest on the planet.
It was akin more to a colosseum than to anything else, really. A series of concentric, circular arches and pillars with ivy and mosses growing up from the base, peppered with colorful flowers that grew across the great stone faces of ancient Miradonian figures that stared down over the Aerie with carved, blank eyes. On either side, great circular reliefs in the stonework of the two moons of Miradon, and the two gods of their people: Minay the moon goddess and her counterpart, Nicoo’la the great trickster.
The structure was a giant stadium of nesting balconies at each level, surrounding a central pit filled with grains and foods for newborn chicks, many of whom were making cooing sounds and flitting about in short bursts of actual flight. There were about a dozen chicks visible from where the group was being led inside, each with a gentle coating of colorful and vivid feathery down. Over the top, though it seemed there was nothing but open sky, there was actually an energy shield in place to keep hunters out and the chicks inside that occasionally shimmered a light wave of golden light when the winds hit it just right.
"Oh my goddess, look at them, Hera! They're so adorable! I just want to squeeze 'em!" the mountainous security officer, Ethel Jablonski said to the radiant goddess at her side, sounding like a schoolgirl seeing a brand new puppy. Petty Officer Liu had stayed outside the Aerie's perimeter to keep an eye out for any potential threats, but remained in constant communication with her security partner. On either side of the group, Az'Prel and Jaeih walked like silent sentinels keeping careful watch over everything while Doctor t'Liun had her tri-corder out, scanning Mona.
Stepping up to Mona, Mnhei'sahe and the group, a pair of orderlies in long, ceremonial robes helped them out of the transport and into the check-in foyer. The processing was pretty quick as they were pre-registered and it was the most modern part of the proceedings, however as they weren't expected for another day, they didn't yet have the nest they were expecting fully cleaned so had to wait a bit as a team did a rush job cleaning it.
Soon though, Mona was led out to the executive balcony, where she delicately settled into the nest of her ancestors. There was a smaller padded nest in front of her for her bond-mate and bench-style stone seating to either side of her for their guests. Behind her was a rolling nest for the chicks for after they were born so they could be cared for prior to the parents being released.
As Mona settled into the nest, knees in the thick material and belly settling into it, her hiney in the air, she took hold of Dox's hands and smiled happily. "Almost there, my Minay."
Holding Mona's hands, the full strength of their bond was immediately re-established and in that instant, Mnhei'sahe could see was Mona could see. At the same time that her normal Romulan eyes looked upon Mona's deep, amber eyes, she could also see herself through those eyes. And what she saw was staggering. Streams of purple light flowed out of her own body and wrapped itself around Mona like light pulled into a singularity. And from Mona, that same purple light was being enveloped by waves of light from her middle. An impossible rainbow of colors Mnhei'sahe had no words for filled her mind as she was almost blinded by the auras of the children that pulsed rapidly with their Romulan-inspired heart rates.
Nodding, Mnhei'sahe replied with a smile and a tremble in her voice. "I'm here, Jhu Dhael. We're all here. I have you and I'm not letting go. I'm never letting go."
Just then the lights they were seeing flared up and tightened as Mona officially started contractions, forcing a long caw from both of them. At the same time, the swirling colors deep within her began separating out as well, preparing to become their own being. Then, a few moments later, the first contractions passed as the internal 'egg sac' ruptured.
From the stone bench, the others save Hera herself, could see none of the spectacle of light that was entwining the growing family as the two Miradonian birth aids came around, slowly running warm water down both women's necks in a slow, steady trickle. Leaning in slightly, Doctor t'Liun double-checked her own tri-corder readings and muttered an astonished whisper, "By the Elements. I have never seen anything like this before."
Concerned, Jaeih's head snapped around to face the Romulan physician and Mnehi'sahe's second as an Artan Baroness, "What does that mean, Doctor? Are they all alright?"
"Yes. Yes, Mrs. Dox. Yes. The internal sac has opened... but the readings. They are all of them, your daughter as well, biologically in sync. The normal Romulan heart rate is 240 beats a minute. A Miradonian heart rate at rest is approximately 120. Currently, Lieutenant Gonadie, Mnhei'sahe and the three children are... perfectly in sync with all of their hearts beating in unison at 170 beats per minute."
The Romulan physician scanned again and nodded. "Everything. Heart rate, body temperature, galvanic skin responses. All the same across the board."
The matronly goddess Hera spoke up, an almost ethereal tone to her voice as she stared up into the sky at the twin moons. "As we see with bonded eyes, we two and the visitor give blessings upon these that honor the old ways. This is as it should be. This is the natural order." Then, closing her eyes and coming back to the here and now, Hera glanced around the balcony and spoke in a much more normal voice. "Don't worry, everything is normal. Is Rita here yet?"
"Commander Paris is on the Hera. She was unable to make it, hence all of us being here." Jaeih said, almost irritated as she had to just sit and watch without being able to help. She held a hand out towards Mnhei'sahe, but the Miradonian nurse turned and looked at her, gently shaking her head.
As her stomach twisted in a knot at her inability to do anything, she rested her hands on the stone seat. But as she began to squeeze her fingers into the stone, she instead felt her hands taken on each side. On her left, the Vulcan refugee Az'Prel that was like more than a sister to her took a hand into hers and held it tight. On her right, Hera herself took Jaeih's other hand, offering a warm smile to the Romulan matriarch. "She will be here, Jaeih. Trust me."
But that all went unheard between Mona and Mnhei'sahe as their hands were locked together, both leaning towards each other. Gripping tightly, they didn't move when the robed nursed brought out fresh porcelain pots and poured fresh, warm water over both women's backs. Both now dripping, Doctor t'Liun checked her readings and whispered to Jaeih and the others. "Their core body temperature is dropping, which is indicative of entering the final stage. The children will be coming soon, and the water is to keep them warm. This is perfectly normal for Miradonain couples, apparently, with strong bonds... on their second or third pregnancy."
"But has never been recorded happening with a non-Miradonian bond-mate." T'Liun said with a raised eyebrow.
Listening, Hera simply smiled and closed her eyes, deep in thought while the process continued for another hour. After that last hour, In the center of the nest, Mona and Mnhei'sahe winced in perfect unison, letting out an echoing cawing sound. The two nurses looked at each other and nodded as they looked back. When they did, a third Miradonian woman came out. She was far older than the others, her thick plumage a faded periwinkle blue and her deep-set eyes wide and a vibrant lavender that seemed to glint in the light. "It is time. Take your positions, Nile, Mela."
The two nurses took positions, kneeling on either side of both women and putting their hands out, not quite touching either as all three women began to thrum. The thrumming was soon matched by a thrumming from Mona and the three chicks that began to make the birthing nest vibrate.
It only took a couple of minutes of this before the first of the three popped out almost like a rocket. The elder easily caught the black and red, lightly plumed chick with a soft towel and placed a hand on her back, her thrumming increasing in tempo. "You have declared yourself! Hlai'vana Godox!" With that, the newborn opened her eyes and gave her first squawk and gasp of air before she was wrapped up and set into the newborn nest.
It then took another minute for the next chick to come out, though this time with less force being a gold, extra soft chick. The elder repeated the ceremonial naming process. "You have declared yourself! Amihan Godox!" Rather than a single squawk, she let loose a series of sing-song squawks that almost sounded like she was trying to talk.
After the elder placed Ami in the second nest, she waited for the third to come out, but though the parents did their best, the third all but refused to come out for almost half an hour. Eventually, a blue/green plumed chick made its way out and the elder plucked it from Mona with a towel, placing her hand on its back like the others. Leaning in, it was as if she had to listen closely. "You have named yourself, little one. Tala Godox." The last chick then blinked several times and gave a little cheep and with a smile, the elder placed her in the third newborn nest, wrapped in a fresh towel.
As for Mona and Mnhei'sahe, the ordeal was finally over and as the leftovers finally slid out, they could finally relax. Stiffly, their fingers relaxed a little and their hands slowly opened, and in doing so, their bond finally relaxed. Trembling for a moment, the flumped against each other, gasping as their senses returned both to themselves and to normal. Touching, they could still feel each other fully, but for the first time in months, the sound of their trilling children came from outside. Weakly, they looked over and finally took in the sight of their three chicks, now born and healthy in front of them.
"They are... by the elements, they are beautiful." Jaeih said, as tears bubbled up in the eyes of the generally stoic woman who was now free to kneel over to help keep her daughter and daughter in law from just collapsing completely. "Rest. I have you. You have done well, Mona, my dear. They are beautiful."
"Rest." Jaeih said again, softly, as Mnhei'sahe and Mona lay against each other in the central nest and slowly drifted off to a much-needed sleep, listening to the cooing chirps of their three daughters. "We have you all. B have you all."
Stroking her exhausted daughter's head, Jaeih felt a welling of pride and bliss overtake her as she glanced over to the goddess Hera and smiled.
Night fell on Miradon, as the two moons shone their lavender light through the windows of the private nesting chamber below the Aerie where Mona, Mnhei'sahe and their three daughters rested. The padded nest was more than large enough for all five who all leaned against each other.
The room was a wide, circular chamber with ancient stone walls and bamboo wood doors and window shudders as a gentle, cool breeze wafted in. Just outside in the next chamber, the rest of the party relaxed. Inside the room, Mnhei'sahe leaned over with a soft smile and ran a finger across the lightly fuzzy black and red forehead of Hlai'vana, who let out a trilling coo. "I... I can't believe it's real Mona. Look at them."
"I am. They're more beautiful than I could have imagined," Mona replied, running her fingers gently across the cheek of the bright gold Amihan. "Tala has the same markings as my mother and I think little Vana is going to take after you."
As Mona rubbed Amihan's golden downed cheek, the newborn tot began trilling, which from her began to come out as a rhythmic hum that was melodic and musical. As she did, Tala joined in, with a much more subdued and quiet trill. ON the other side, Hlai'vana's trilling was a deeper, coarser sown, more like a caw that made the other two girls stop for a moment and look at their sister with confused looks on their faces.
Watching. Mnhie'sahe bit her bottom lip and chuckled lightly. "Definitely taking after me." As she spoke, the redhaired Romulan leaned over to hang her head over her and Mona's daughters.
Looking up, the three chick's eyes were already bright and clearly focused as their irises opened wide looking at their mothers with a look at almost read as awe. All three's eyes were a dark amber brown that almost looked like polished copper in the moonlight. "They have your eyes, Jhu Dhael..."
Then reaching across, Mnhei'sahe ran her fingers across each of the children's faces, tracing the forward curve of their pointed ears. "And my ears." As she did, from the center, Amihan reached her tiny, fuzzy hand up and touched Mnhei'sahe's cheek.
Then almost in unison, all three of them popped out with their first words. "Nona! Nom-nom!"
Chuckling softly, Mona looked deep into her lover's eyes. "I guess it's feeding time. And no, contrary to what the others think, we don't feed them like Earth birds. Can you reach the juja seed meal behind you? They should be able to fly and feed themselves in a day or two, but for now..."
"Heh... Yes, I have it." Mnhei'sahe said, reaching for the ancient-looking ceramic bowl that was sitting on a warming pad on a small end table next to the expansive nest. She had known that Miradonian chicks could speak right away, as their ability to bond with their mothers in the womb made it possible for them to learn at a highly accelerated rate, but it was still amazing to hear for herself. "Here you go."
"Thank you, my Minay," Mona replied as she took the bowl and fed each of the chicks a pinch at a time of the golden mash. For their part, they ate it up like it was the best thing they'd ever eaten. Realistically, so far it was the only thing they had ever eaten. It would be a few months before their tummies could handle anything more than the basic chick foods that were common to either Miradonians or Rihannsu.
Watching, Mnhei'sahe looked anxious watching as if she was anticipating something going wrong. Their bond while touching was still strong, but even without it, Mona could have read that anxiety on her loves face from across the room as she gently took Mnhei'sahe's hand and directed it to take a tiny pinch of the mash and lead her, one by one, to their daughters, who excitedly took their second mouthfuls with happy smiles.
With a nervous chuckle, the red-headed Romulan leaned against Mona and smiled as they watched Amihan, Tala and Hlai'vana eat.
Which was when a pair of the wooden shutters of the room exploded inward, as an armored figure skidded to a halt on their back.
A very familiar armored figure, in EVA armor of the black underbody pressure suit, and gold plates covering a rather impressive physique, on whose left breast was a Starfleet delta that had not been in use for a dozen decades.
"Aw, crap," the armored figure expressed in a familiar voice as she turned and raised an oddly cobbled-together looking rifle of some sort to her shoulder, holding aim on the window she had just entered through. "Don't ask, just stay where you are.... aaaaand..."
The rifle sparked, hummed loudly and ionization crackled across the exterior of the makeshift weapon as it fired what appeared to be nothing. But there was a sudden inrush of air, as a not entirely three-dimensional entity was suddenly consumed in a controlled microsingularity implosion, naked to the human eye.
Retracting her helmet, the rifle vanished from sight as Rita Paris turned to the new mothers and their chicks. "Tala'll be insufferably pleased about that..."
Sheepishly she held up her hands, knowing that behind her were her own security forces, along with Mrs. Dox and Az'Prel, all of whom she suspected wasn't at all surprised by this turn of events. As she waited for the inevitable questions, Rita watched the countdown timer in her visor ticking down.
From the outside, it was Rita... but not quite. The waspish waist was a bit thicker- still narrow, and still she was curvaceous, but less impossibly so. Although it seemed her hips had caught up to her bustline a bit more in the intervening years. There were a few fine lines around the eyes and the lips, from a lot of smiling over time. The hair was still blonde and the eyes an alert bright blue. But instead of the tomboy swagger haircut, her hair had grown out into a style that was still short and functional. But this particular coif was the austere and dignified style of a woman more accustomed to being viewed as a role model. She was not old, but it was clear she was not precisely the woman they knew in the current day- not exactly. Although the bemused expression that her face wore was all too familiar- the expression that came across the face of the lost navigator when the universe took her somewhere amazing.
"Ah, I'm not even supposed to be here today..."
"I told you you'd be here," Hera softly commented with a wink, dozing back off again. "Don't worry, we won't tell you again."
In the wide nest, Mnhei'sahe had literally rolled her body over Mona's, who had rolled over their chicks in a moment of reflexive defense. But now, as the moment had passed, both women had curled back over the children, who all seemed remarkably amused by the entire affair, and the anxious new Romulan mother brushed her bangs out of her face with wide eyes. "Rita!?"
Eyes narrowing, the observant pilot looked the familiar but different woman over. Then, glancing over to her own mother, who was armed with a phaser rifle standing in the doorway with the others, Dox put her arm on Mona's shoulder that immediately conveyed, through their bond, the message of stay here just a second.
Climbing off the bed, the young new mother was still physically drained from her unexpected part of the birth where the link made it feel as if she had been as involved in the physical act as Mona had been. She stepped over to her friend who was clearly the same woman, but a bit different as well, and raised an eyebrow. "What... did you just shoot? And... what's... going on?"
There was only a little confusion in the questions, but for the woman who was friends with the unknown and the impossible, there was also a bit of understanding in Dox's deep, brown eyes, as Rita could see the mind behind them working out all the possible options.
"Hunters..." Mona just muttered as she nodded solemnly and resumed feeding the chicks as if it was a perfectly normal thing.
"Chronal hunters," Rita explained, then shook her head. "It's... a Rita story, as you like to say. Petty Officers Jablonski and Liu, yes, I know what my armor ID says on your HUDs, so please delete your recordings of this event, and it really needs not to go into the official record. Please don't tell me I was here, as I was blissfully unaware that I party crashed this blessed event, up until now. But since I am..." Rita stepped forward, arms open to offer a hug to Dox. "Welcome to motherhood, you two. And happy lifeday, you three! Oh, the adventures you'll have..."
Looking at this strange, somewhat older version of Rita Paris, Mnhei'sahe chuckled lightly and returned the hug. "Well, you said you would do everything you could to be here, and in true 'Rita Paris' fashion, here you are."
Stepping out of the hug after a long moment, Dox shook her head and then looked at the two Petty Officers who looked ever so slightly unsure of exactly what they should do, given the particularly unique scenario in front of them. With a confident smile and a nod of confirmation, however, the Romulan Flight Chief silently assured them that this was Rita Paris and to do as she had asked. Then, she turned back to the older version of her bond-sister with eyes just a little teary. "I am so glad to see you, Rita. That... one way or another... you could make it. Thank you."
"Just a few years late, but... I'm glad I'm here after all. Hello Mona, it's good to see you and the girls. Well, lest I violate the temporal prime directive even further- my argument is going to be that this is a predestination paradox, and given that the Hunter was doing so chronally, it would have irrevocably changed the past from it's predestined course. Angstrom's gonna love this," Rita rolled her eyes imaging in it. "Alright, countdown timer is almost done. I left myself WAY too much time for this and... Ethel, Li, Jaeih, Az'Prel... be well, all of you."
"You too, Admiral," Jablonski replied before there was a rippling in space, like a Doppler wave that centered on the torso of the golden armored adventurer and radiated outward as she stepped back away from everyone. Eyeing the effect, Rita Paris muttered to herself, "Here's hoping I don't get lost on the way back..."
Then with a sound like a sheet of tin wobbling in the wind, the visitor from a potential future vanished, as if she had never been there in the first place.
Staring at where Rita had been standing a moment ago, Mnhei'sahe's shoulders dropped a little as the moment passed, the adrenaline of the moment starting to wear off and the deep fatigue settling back in. Turning to the others in the doorway, the red-headed Romulan took a breath. "Admiral. Well, that's not a massive surprise, really. Anyway, it appears like everything is under control."
Turning back to the nest where Mona had the three children held tight in her arms, Mnhei'sahe nodded. "The nurses will be releasing them tomorrow and we can go back to the hotel, but until then, have a good night, ladies. Thank you, again."
Smirking ever so slightly, Jaeih met her daughter's eyes and nodded as she picked up the cue. "That is our cue to give them their privacy, ladies. We will all be able to fawn over the children in the morning after we've all had a good night's sleep."
Gesturing to the door, Jaeih led the others out as Ethel leaned back and waggled her fingers in a wave at the chicks, who replied by holding up their hands and squeezing them in a sort of half-wave as Jaeih got them out of the room and closed the door behind them. And once the door was shut, the elder Romulan grandmother straightened up and her softened voice returned to normal. "Well, that was unexpected, which is wholly unsettling. So, Miss Jablonski, as the ranking security officer, I defer to your recommendations for our next rotation."
Still in the EVA Armor that she had activated the second they heard those shutters smash open, the mammoth maiden of muscles tapped some instructions into the control panel on her wrist. "I'm increasing my suits sensors to expand the scans for tachyon disruptions and quantum flux distortions. Doc t'Liun, could you keep up intermittent medical scans of the room. Keep an eye on their vitals. Liu, you're on the other end of the corridor. I'm on door duty. Miss Az'Prel, Mrs. Dox, you can take turns getting some shut-eye, but I'd like one of you at least walking the perimeter for the Aerie. Check back in an hour and we rotate. Sound like a plan?"
The unexpected team of women all there to see to the protection of the new family in the other room had little intention of resting anytime soon as they all agreed and got to work with silent nods. Meanwhile, her keen Romulan ears picked up the activity in the out there, Mnhei'sahe chuckled and walked over and re-closed the shudders. "Well, that happened, Mona. Are you all okay? The children seem none the worse for wear, other than being wide awake now."
The brightly plumed avian nodded, still feeding the hungry chicks. "Yeah, wide awake and hungry. I think they'll want to try flying after this as well. If Rita of our time asks if she was here, I'll leave answering that to you. I don't want to lie to her."
"I'm not the best liar, especially where Romulans are concerned, but I can keep it to myself if I need to." Mnhei'sahe said as she stepped back over to the nest where her family lay. Slowly and gently, the exhausted new parent tucked herself in next to Mona and the girls. "Besides, temporal mechanics mean that we just met A future Rita, not automatically our future Rita, so I'm not overly concerned. If there's one thing I've learned in the last few months is that nothing is actually set in stone."
"After all, who would have ever predicted that I would be here with the most wonderful woman there is. With our three, amazing, beautiful children." Mnhei'sahe said as she rested against Mona and ran her hands through the chicks feathered crowns one at a time. "I never would have thought it... possible."
As she spoke, it was clear that she was starting to fade as the thrumming of the children soothed her. With a smile, Mona understood full well. While she physically endured the process, the depth of their bond was so strong that Mnhei'sahe experienced it all through her and it had drained the young Romulan just as much as it had Mona herself. It was a shared experience, and it seemed that that bond was being used by their newborn childred to full effect. Slowly, softly and gently, Amihan, Hlai'vana and Tala thrummed in unison as the newborn family drifted off to a much needed sleep together.