A.N.:  Well, this is my first ST piece, but I couldn't help myself.  There just aren't many Soleta fics out there, and there definitely aren't any Soleta/Si Cwan ones.  I had to try, maybe get the genre started even though I haven't read everything in this series myself.  Consider it a challenge, people! 

************************************************************************************************************************************************

Summary: How will Si Cwan react when he learns that Soleta is pregnant with Thoth's child?

************************************************************************************************************************************************

"Truth's Child"

Something was off.  She didn't know what it was, didn't know why she continued to feel as though something in or around her was not as it should be.  She only knew that she couldn't sleep at night, that she couldn't concentrate during the day.  The hours dragged by in a mindless haze, and nothing seemed to interest her anymore.  She hadn't felt this listless or out of place since her younger days, since the years she'd spent wandering the galaxy, trying to decide who she was and what her purpose should be.  She was…dissatisfied, somehow, and the fact that she didn't really have any reason to feel this way only made it a thousand times worse. 

And then the nausea had hit, and her world had shifted yet again.  She'd been lying in bed one night, caught in a sleep made uneasy by the dreams she would refuse to acknowledge the next morning, even to herself.  Then, between one breath and the next, a wave of sickness powerful enough to make even her cheeks pale swamped over her.  She'd instantly snapped awake, rolling off her bed as the acids in her stomach started churning.  She'd sprinted for the bathroom, Vulcan dignity and Vulcan control completely forgotten as she sought to keep the previous night's dinner from violently relocating itself to the bedroom floor.

She'd barely made it to the bathroom before her stomach completely surrendered its contents, and she'd spent several long minutes heaving into the toilet.  By the time she finished, her cheeks had lost all color and her eyes had glazed completely over.  She leaned back against one of the lavatory walls, wiping her mouth on her sleeve.  "That," Soleta murmured weakly, "was entirely unappreciated."

"Are you all right, Lieutenant?"  The smooth, subtly concerned voice of Morgan Primus cut through Soleta's distaste with herself and what she had just done, not quite managing to startle the young Vulcan officer. 

Soleta sighed, having expected the woman—or whatever she was—to notice her recent discomfort.  Morgan missed nothing, these days, though she had proven surprisingly useful and discreet in her new role as the ship's computer.  Still, Soleta had never been accustomed to sharing more of herself than she absolutely had to, and she wasn't all that eager for Morgan's interference.  "I am perfectly fine," she lied smoothly.  Then, almost as an afterthought, she added, "Thank you for your concern, Morgan."

"Uh-huh," Morgan retorted, sounding far from convinced.  She paused for a moment, though of course this was more for effect than anything else.  Morgan could reason out just about anything in less than an instant, but she hadn't quite gotten over the habit of pausing for dramatic effect.  "Do you want me to notify Dr. Selar?" she asked, her 'voice' lilting with just the smallest trace of sarcasm.  "Xyon woke her up hours ago anyway, so you don't need to worry about disturbing her sleep.  She's already down in sickbay." 

Soleta frowned, actually considering the matter.  "No, thank you," she finally replied.  "I feel much better now." 

And she did.  Whatever had been bothering her before was almost completely gone, and she felt better than she had in a month.  She found, to her pleasant surprise, that even the mental haze she'd been under had lifted.  She was actually looking forward to her shift, and that was something that hadn't happened in a very long time.

"Whatever you say, Soleta," Morgan muttered, a shrug somehow clear in her disembodied voice.  "Let me know if you change your mind."

Soleta didn't answer, knowing Morgan had already pulled herself back to wherever it was she went when she wasn't talking to someone.  Soleta sighed again, turning until she could lean over the sink and rinse out her mouth.  That done, she spent a moment almost reluctantly staring at her own reflection in the mirror.  She was still a little pale, she noted with characteristic objectivity, but she was satisfied to see that no other sign of her momentary weakness was visible on her face.  She looked the same as she always did.  Nothing had changed, she thought.

Not true, said a little voice in her mind, but she failed to hear it.

************************************************************************************************************************************************

By the time her shift began that day, Soleta was feeling like her old self.  She had a bounce in her step that had been missing for quite some time, a vitality in her eyes that made all those who saw her smile.  Soleta was not exactly a cheerful individual, but the dour apathy that had been in her face for the past month had made everyone else uneasy, and even those who didn't particularly like her were glad to see the renewed alertness in her gaze.  Soleta, of course, only nodded back at her crewmates, no emotions whatsoever on her lovely face.

Soleta slipped onto the bridge, briskly acknowledging the crewmen coming off their own shifts.  "You have the bridge, Soleta," one of them told her, and she nodded again, aware that the Captain was not scheduled to appear for at least another hour.  She pursed her lips, knowing it was customary for the one in charge to sit in the Captain's chair but also realizing she'd be more comfortable at her own post.  Having made her decision, she frowned a little and began moving towards her station with all the swift, efficient gracefulness of her mother's race.  She hesitated just the tiniest bit as she passed the navigational console, but only one who knew her very well would have noticed the extra chill that seeped into her expression.  The man who had taken Mark McHenry's old place certainly didn't notice, though a nearby, dark-skinned man who resembled nothing more than a small mountain certainly didn't fail to see.  The head of security stood stiffly at his post—stiffly because a Brikar simply couldn't be anything else—and watched the slender Vulcan as she slipped into her chair.  "Hello, Soleta," he called out to her, the loudness and unexpectedness of his voice causing several of the crewmen to flinch visibly.  "It's going to be a great morning, isn't it?  Makes me almost feel like singing."

Soleta didn't even turn around, apparently already accustomed to Kebron's new chattiness even though nobody else seemed to be.  She had accepted his sudden maturity with remarkable equanimity, and now she reacted to him as though he had always been this way.  The same, of course, could not be said of anyone else.  "That would not be wise, Zak," Soleta immediately responded, perfectly aware that she was addressing him with an informality she would never even consider using with anyone else.  "Our crewmates are still unaccustomed to the sound of your voice, and I do not wish to tell the Captain that his entire bridge crew went into cardiac arrest because they were not prepared for a singing Brikar."

Someone on the bridge—the man in McHenry's place, ironically enough—actually snickered at that, but everyone else refrained from even so much as looking in Kebron or Soleta's directions.  For one thing, nobody was quite sure if Soleta was kidding or not, and it was just easier not to react to what would definitely have been a joke had Soleta been anything but Vulcan.  As for Zak Kebron…well, people who want to live long and healthy lives just don't laugh at Brikars, especially this one.  For some reason, Zak would take it personally, and then bones would inevitably start breaking.  Soleta was one of only two people in the entire universe who could have gotten away with teasing the security officer, and she was, of course, the one person who definitely would never even try.  

Zak didn't reply, and Soleta returned to her work, running the diagnostics that made everyday life on a starship possible.  She let herself become absorbed in what she was doing, losing herself so completely in her tasks that she almost didn't notice the first stirrings of sickness within her.  Before more than a few minutes had gone by, however, the nausea had grown to the point where even she couldn't ignore it.  Still, she tried to continue with her duties in spite of the illness, not willing to concede to a physical weakness her Vulcan training should have enabled her to control.  She remained at her post, a slight dimming in her eyes the only outward sign of her discomfort.  She told herself that she could at least remain to the end of her shift before giving in and running to Dr. Selar. 

And then Zak Kebron got involved, and ignoring her body's message wasn't an option anymore.  Kebron had always been strangely protective of Soleta, treating her like the sister nobody knew if he actually had.  His eyes flickered to her several times over the next few minutes, concern growing in his small eyes.  Finally, as Soleta's breathing became a little ragged, he sighed and called out to her.  "Is something bothering you, Soleta?" he asked, causing most of his crewmates to jump once more.  They glared at him, but Kebron, of course, either didn't notice or couldn't have cared less.  "You look like you're feeling a little under the weather."

Normally, Soleta would have made some very Vulcan-ish quip at that point, telling Kebron that an individual currently residing on a starship couldn't possibly be under the weather.  Then she would have told him she was fine, whether or not she actually was, and proceeded to complete her tasks without acknowledging the concern in his voice.  This time, however, she actually stopped and turned to him, looking at her oldest friend with something akin to hesitancy in her gaze.  She exhaled, her features a little too tight.  "I believe you are correct, Zak," she confessed, hating herself for showing weakness but knowing she would disgrace herself more if she actually vomited on the bridge.  She sighed, motioning for one of the other crewmen to take her place at the science station.  "Perhaps I have caught a virus."

Kebron tilted his body forward in the Brikar equivalent of a nod.  "Do you want someone to take you to sickbay, Soleta?" he asked, his tiny eyes riveted on her as she moved back towards the turbolift. 

She shook her head, slightly enough that she would not increase the sickness.  "No, thank you, Zak," she responded quickly.  "I will be fine on my own."

Not true, said the little voice once more, and this time she almost heard it.    

************************************************************************************************************************************************

Vulcans are a relatively swift as a race, quick to react and fleet of foot, but as she hurried towards sickbay, Soleta might have been pushing the concept just a little too far.  She had been in a losing fight with the nausea since she'd fled the bridge, and she was more than a little eager to get to sickbay and have the doctor cure whatever was ailing her.  Perhaps then, she thought acerbically, she might actually be able to get on with her life. 

Of course, before more than a minute or two had gone by, she started wondering why the shipwrights back in San Francisco had decided to put the bridge so far from the medical wing.  Hadn't it occurred to them that the ill or injured officers should be a little closer to aid when they needed it?  At this rate, she wasn't going to make it all the way down to sickbay before she lost the breakfast she hadn't eaten.  She sighed as she half-ran down one endless corridor after another, feeling a little of her long-repressed temper rising within her.  What had those damned builders been thinking?!

And then she was at the sickbay doors, and everything was almost all right again.  She darted through, barely giving the doors time to move aside for her.  She paused on the threshold, her eyes darting over the room in search of someone who could calm her stomach.  "Dr. Selar?" she called, voice tight with strain but almost completely in control.  Her parents, she thought absently, would have been proud.

A slender woman immediately emerged from one of the back chambers, a man in tow.  Soleta watched them come towards her, her own striking eyes automatically analyzing their appearances.  Selar, of course, looked quite a bit like Soleta herself.  They had the same tapered, pointed ears, the same smooth skin and dark, straight hair.  Both had intelligent eyes and strikingly beautiful faces, though Soleta's was a little more triangular and much more exotic.  There was a strangeness in Soleta's features that was lacking in most Vulcans, a sense that she was searching for…something she knew she shouldn't be but would keep looking for anyway.  Her eyes held a wildness so subtle that most of those around her never even noticed, a wildness that simply should not exist on the face of a Vulcan. 

The doctor wore a completely unreadable expression as she looked up and found Soleta gazing back at her, though her features were twisted with a semi-permanent irritation.  "Ah," she murmured, surprisingly not surprised by Soleta's presence in her sickbay even though Vulcans did not usually become ill or give into that illness if they did.  Soleta's eyes narrowed slightly, and she found herself wondering if Morgan had said something to the doctor, after all.  Probably, she thought.  Morgan might be wonderfully circumspect in most cases, but she wouldn't have hesitated to say something had she thought Soleta wouldn't seek medical attention for herself. 

Soleta sighed as the doctor waited expectantly, not wanting to bring up her problems until they were alone and letting her gaze drift to the man standing behind Selar.  He was an extremely tall man, broad of shoulder and strong of limb.  His skin was a dusky red not found on most humanoids, the color of sand from a Vulcan or perhaps Martian desert.  He was completely bald, his bare skull covered in dark tattoos.  His every movement practically oozed a confident arrogance which, when combined with the beard he wore, gave him a slightly satanic look that most of the female—and some of the male—crewmates found perversely appealing.  He was watching Soleta, his own features almost as unreadable as the Vulcan woman he was standing behind.  He looked…tired, she found herself absently deciding as she met his gaze in return, and this surprised her, because Si Cwan had always given off the impression that his energy and vitality knew no bounds.  Was something bothering him?

Soleta mentally shook her head, the nausea rising in her again to the point where she just didn't care about Si Cwan's affairs.  She sighed, walking slowly up to them and already tasting bile.  Perhaps the tightness of her expression revealed more than she ever would have wanted, because Si Cwan abruptly excused himself.  He inclined his head once towards Dr. Selar and once to Soleta, and then turned and walked away.  Dr. Selar watched him go, frowning a little more than was usual, even for her.  She glanced at Soleta, eyes cold.  "What can I do for you, Lieutenant?" she asked, the characteristic ice in her voice.

Soleta frowned back.  "I have…not been feeling well," she replied.  "I was sick once this morning, and while I had thought I had recovered, I am feeling ill again."  She cocked her head to one side, still fighting the churning of her stomach.  "I believe I might have a virus."

Selar nodded, already pulling out a medical scanner and gesturing towards one of the beds.  Soleta, still frowning, obediently slid onto it, laying back and folding her slender hands over her stomach. 

************************************************************************************************************************************************

The exam didn't take long.  Selar was finished within moments, but her frown had deepened with every test she'd run, and Soleta was starting to feel rather impatient by the time the other Vulcan finished analyzing the problem.  Selar moved back over to where her patient was sitting, legs dangling over the edge of the bed and features twisted with a faint irritation.  She stared at the other woman for a long moment, appraisal clear in her dark eyes, and Soleta finally sighed.  "Have you found the problem, doctor?" she asked quietly, trying to smooth her features into a properly calm Vulcan mien. 

Selar's frown stretched all the way into her eyes.  "Yes, Lieutenant," she began, speaking with a hesitancy completely unlike her, "I have found the problem."  She paused, perhaps trying to find an easy way to explain.  "You are pregnant," she said.

Soleta could only stare at her, the silence stretching out between them.  Eventually, though, she swallowed and tried to compose herself.  "That is not possible," she said, her voice slow but completely certain.

Not true, came the inevitable mental voice…and this time she heard it.