ALL IN THE FAMILY
The starship U. I. S. V. Enterprise made its approach to the planet Terra. They had literally travelled thousands of light years to reach the planet. They had departed from their last mission, which was some exploration in the Alpha Centauri district, when they received their orders from Space Fleet Command. Thanks to their Ultra Light Speed technology, the journey here took only three days, while it would've taken years with conventional light speed.
"Standard orbit, Mr. Chang!" Captain Jarrok Tiburon Kirkland ordered from his seat in the Captain's chair.
"Aye, sir!" said the Senior Tactical Officer from his post as he executed the command.
"Mr. Koralenko, put us in synchronous orbit over the Great Valley area." the Captain then ordered.
"Aye, sair!" said the Navigator with his native Prussalian accent as he executed the command.
He then opened up the log recorder he had in his hands and stated the following. "Captain's Log, Interstellar date 10119.9.23. It has been three years to the day since we last left orbit from Terra. We are here in relief of the U. I. S. V. Aries, which departed from here yesterday. Our mission is to continue with the observation of the primitive Saurians still thriving on the planet, until further orders." He then closed the log recorder.
After a few moments, he had an afterthought and reopened the log recorder. "Personal note: It is not my place to question the orders of Space Fleet Command, but I'm beginning to find that this constant observation mission we're committed on to be a bit redundant. These primitive Saurians obviously pose no threat to Rainbow Faces, Vulkadians, or any other space faring species who are members of the Federation. My big question is: What does Space Fleet hope to accomplish with this? Kirkland out."
As soon as he closed the log recorder, the sliding doors to the turbo lift swished open to reveal Mr. Kark, the Vulkadian Chief Science Officer assigned to the U. I. S. V. Enterprise. He was a deep red colored sentient Draconian, who was eight feet tall and had a tail that was equally as long to balance his large frame.
"Captain—" he began as he approached the Captain's chair.
"Mr. Kark." Captain Kirkland interrupted as he turned around to face him. The Captain's chair was on a swivel that could turn around three hundred and sixty degrees, if need be. "Since we'll be in orbit here until further notice, I'd like you to conduct a scientific study of the planet's society. You can ask the Lieutenants Riggs to help you with this, since they're now Senior grade Science Officers under your command, and they're the ones on this ship who are most familiar with this planet's inhabitants." Kirkland smiled.
"Yes, Captain." Mr. Kark simply said as he left to go to his Science station.
"Oh!" he said as he turned to face the Captain, remembering something he wanted to tell his friend and ranking officer. "By the way, your wife wishes to see you."
"Really?" Kirkland asked.
Kark simply nodded.
"Were you in the arboretum just now?"
"Why, Mr. Kark! I never pegged you for being a botanist."
"My father was a breeder of prized Vulkadian orchids, so I was raised around gardens and arboretums from early childhood. I find the opportunity to spend time there to be very... relaxing. Your wife doesn't seem to mind my presence there, in any case."
Kirkland smiled at his friend. Every day, he learned something new about his Vulkadian friend, like he did just now. "All right! " he said as he got up out of his chair. "You have the 'com while I go see what missus Kirkland wants." He then disappeared into the turbo lift as it opened and then closed for him.
The Enterprise's arboretum was a landmark experiment. It was established thanks to some lobbying by Jenna Foster Kirkland, Captain Kirkland's wife. She had convinced the Federation Council and the higher ranking Admirals at Space Fleet Command that a starship arboretum would be beneficial, especially on long space missions. It would allow a ship's crew to grow its own food, and not have to rely on replicators all of the time. It could also provide some recreation for those whose hobby or profession is botany and gardening. Finally, the experiment was approved. The Enterprise was chosen, not only because Jenna would be the Head Botanist in charge and she was the Captain's wife, but also because the Enterprise was the flag ship of the Federation, and they had to portray an image of innovation.
Jenna was hard at work planting some new flowers when she heard the swish of the automatic doors open behind her. She turned to look and saw her husband enter. She smiled to him. "Jarrok!"
Kirkland smiled back at her as the doors swished closed behind him. Jenna removed her gardener's gloves and soil stained apron and laid them on a nearby table before sidling up to her husband.
"You wanted to see me?" Kirkland asked as he took Jenna in his arms.
She giggled. "Does a wife need an excuse to see her husband?"
"Sorry. Force of habit." Kirkland said softly. Then they both shared a few kisses.
"Have we arrived in orbit around Terra?" Jenna asked as they both started swaying back and forth together, like they often did when they held each other in this way. "I felt the ship drop out of Ultra Light Speed."
"We've arrived." Kirkland admitted.
"So this is where those Saurian kids you've met three years ago live."
"It is. Though they're probably not 'kids' anymore. Saurians tend to grow up fast, and it has been three years."
"Well, I'd like to meet them, if I can... Do you think that would be possible?"
Kirkland shrugged. "Who knows?" They then shared a few more kisses.
"I love you!" Jenna said.
"I love you, too." Kirkland reciprocated.
"There's something else you should know."
She hesitated. "I'm pregnant."
Kirkland's eyes grew wide in surprise. "Pregnant!"
"Are you sure!"
"I can feel the egg inside me." She said as she unconsciously rubbed her belly. "I only found out this morning."
For a few moments, Kirkland was speechless. Then he smiled brightly as he grasped his wife by the shoulders. "Why... by the Primal Force, that's great news... fantastic news, even! Dear, dear! There's so much we have to do! We've... we've gotta build a nursery, find bigger quarters, and—"
Jenna interrupted him with a giggle. "Relax, Captain! We still have a few months to go before I lay the egg. There's plenty of time for that!"
"You're right, you're right... How silly of me." Kirkland was unconsciously hopping from one foot to the other in a mixture of excitement and nervousness. "Pregnant!... Wow!... I..." He shared a few more kisses with his wife. "I love you, dear!"
Jenna smiled up at her mate. Of all the males she knew, he was the most... unique. She was never able to fully predict what he would do next, which was probably why she loved him. "I should get back to work." she said to him.
"Work... Yes! And I... I should get back to the Bridge." He finally tore himself away from his wife and headed towards the exit. "Take it easy, ok! Pregnant..." he muttered as he walked out of the room. Jenna just smiled and shook her head as she put on the gloves and apron and went back to potting her plants.
Kirkland regained his composure by the time he emerged from the turbo lift. He knew he had to maintain his tough exterior image in front of the crew; while inside, he felt like celebrating and worrying at the same time. He saw Kark at his Science Station's scanner, working away at analysing data the ship sensors was already getting for him. Kirkland approached him from behind.
He cleared his throat before speaking. "Mr. Kark." the big Vulkadian turned to face him. "I'd like to arrange a meeting in the conference room in a half an hour. Get both Lieutenants Riggs join us."
Kark nodded. "Very well, Captain." Kark saw that there was something else on his friend's mind. "Something else, Jarrok?"
Kirkland was a bit surprised at hearing the logical and formal Vulkadian call him by his first name rather than by his rank. He had tried for the longest while to get Kark to loosen up a bit more. Kirkland felt he was making some progress, if Kark was going to start referring him by his first name every once in a while.
Jarrok moved to the other side of Kark, and spoke softly so no one else could hear him. "Jenna just told me that she's pregnant."
Lieutenant Urbina, the Communications Officer sitting nearby, reacted to the word "pregnant", but wasn't sure if she heard correctly. She decided to let it slide for the time being and went back to monitoring her work station.
Kark simply raised his eyebrows in his own expression of surprise. "Indeed. Most interesting."
Jarrok was rubbing his hands nervously. "I've never been a father before... I don't know if I'll even be a good father... I... I don't know what to do."
"Jarrok, please restrain your emotionalism!" Kark practically begged. "Many males do not look forward to the prospect of fatherhood. Unfortunately, there is no formal training one can take to become a good parent. Children do not come with instruction manuals, and no amount of advice can make you better at it. You'll just have to... 'wing' it." Kark unconsciously flapped his bat-like wings slightly.
Jarrok smiled and nodded. "You're right, Kark... how foolish of me."
Kark nodded in turn. "I'm curious, though: Since, in your words, we are 'like brothers', does this mean that I will be your child's 'uncle'?"
Jarrok chuckled lightly. "Carry on." he said as he went to take his seat in the Captain's chair, while Kark opened the ship's intercom to Lieutenants Briank and Yolanda Riggs' quarters.