Pacified

Written for Comfortember 2020, Prompt: Confessions. Set between Station Break and Natal Attraction. This is a thing that's been in progress since those episodes aired and I finally finished it for this challenge. Comments and kudos would be awesome. Enjoy!


Sparks' hand hovers over the call button on the video display of the hologram screen at his desk in the Marshall Station. This isn't a call he's looking forward to making, but it's one he has to make sooner or later, he knows.

He sends the signal off to the USS Indomitable and waits what seems like an eternity for an answer. He's about to end the call, write it off as a failed attempt, try again later (or never, never sounds good, surely he can put this off until then), but his mother's surprised face pops up onto the screen just a split second before he can do so.

"Noodle!" she says, clearly delighted to hear from him. Usually the only time they communicate is during some planet ending crisis.

"Mom," he greets, swallows the nervous lump in his throat, tries to force his hands to still where they're shaking.

"How are you, honey?"

"Fine," he lies. He is very far from fine. "Just fine. Is, ugh, is Dad around?"

"Caiaphas!" she calls out to someone off screen and a moment later his father appears at his mother's shoulder.

"Son."

"Dad," he answers, though the word fills him with a sense of dread, a reminder of what's to come, what he has to find the words to say. "I, ugh, I need to tell you two something important."

They both straighten, "Is something wrong, Noodle? We can beam down there in just a moment, if you need us."

"No! No," he says quickly, too quickly. He can't do this face to face, this is hard enough. "No, stay there. It's... it's not bad?" He's not sure if he's lying there or not, still not entirely sure how he feels about this at all, just that he can't mess it up. Not again, when he only just managed to fix it. "I, that is... You're... you're, ugh, gonnabegrandparents."

There's a pause, and then, "What was that, boy? The connection must be wonky."

"I'm gonna have a kid."

Another beat of silence as his words process, and then his mother is beaming at him, "Oh! That's wonderful, Noodle! A Noodle of your very own! Who with, Sparks, that Red Plains Rider?"

"No," he says, he never told them about that ordeal, which he's glad of now, he would have hated to have to give them the bad news that the baby hadn't been his - or hers, for that matter - he would have hated to have to do this twice. "Not her."

"That writer gal, then? Rebecca Rose Rushmore?" his father guesses.

"No, Dad, not her." Of that, he's thankful, being tied to her for the rest of his life would be terrifying.

"Oh, then it must be Mercy," his mom chirps in delight, "I always knew you two would end up together, ever since your days at the Academy."

But, no. "It isn't Mercy, either."

"Who, then, Sparky? Spit it out."

He puts his head in his hands, can't look at them when he tells them the truth, "Croach," he mumbles out, barely audible.

A longer pause, this time.

"It's Croach."

Still nothing but icy silence.

"If you could, y'know, say something? That would be helpful."

His father clears his throat. Sparks dares to look up, sees a flash of disgust on his father's face, his mother's is still blank with shock. "That the blue-skinned fellow?"

They've met Croach before, they know very well who he is, but he says, "Croach is a Martian, yeah," anyway.

Without another word, the call ends.

Sparks stares at the empty screen and tries not to react. He's never cared what his parents thought of him or his decisions before. He's an adult. He's an adult who has a whole planet to look after, even more so now that his and Croach's offspring will be inhabiting it, as utterly terrifying a thought as that is. He doesn't have time to worry about this, not when there are robot rogues out there who need dealing with (though not that many have cropped up since the last time he cleared Mars of bad guys).

He turns, grabs up his robot fists and makes for the door, but then he freezes.

Croach is standing there.

"No less than twelve of my senses alerted me that you were in distress."

Sparks sighs, leans heavily against the doorframe, "What have I told you about using your senses on me?"

"Not to do it, yes," Croach answers, rambles on with, "and had any less than ten of my senses been alerted, I would have continued to disregard your present mental state despite my continued awareness of it, per your wishes. As such, I thought an exception was to be made given the circumstances. You told your progenitors of my fertilization."

He retreats to his desk, to the comforting piles of paperwork that wait for him there, "And if you know that much, then you know just how well it went over."

"You did not tell them of the Red Plains Rider's fertilization?"

"I didn't," Sparks answers honestly, "You have somethin' to say about that?"

"But you have chosen to tell them of this?"

"Well, I imagine you would know if you were carryin' around some Jupiterian spy baby, wouldn't ya? If you and your nanotech-"

"Nah-notek."

"-say it's mine, then it's mine, and I'll be around for whatever that entails."

"I am glad you have circumvented the previous emotions you were feeling in regard to our offspring, Sparks Nevada," Croach declares with something almost like a smile on his face for the first time since the Surprise Event, "As willing as I was to raise our brood alone, it was not the outcome I ultimately preferred. I would have faced continuous negative commentary from F'lork the Judgmental."

Maybe it's the relaxing effect of perfectly completed paperwork or maybe it's that he's finally coming around to this idea of a life with Croach, but none of this is sounding quite as bad as it did before. Sparks shrugs, sets his papers aside and looks to Croach with a smile of his own that might, possibly, be considered fond. "Yeah, well, I coulda done worse, I suppose. And there's no one else I'd wanna raise half-martian babies with, Croach."

"I suppose it is a good thing that no one else is offering, then."