“Hey darling, what have you got there?” I bent down to look at the doll Akima was playing with, it was cute in a hideous patchwork kind of way.
“Papa buy me dolly!” Akima gestured a chubby fist to Nico who was drinking his morning coffee and promptly choked on said coffee,
“Akima sweetie I’m not your papa!” Akima glared at him for a minute before turning back to her doll and singing to him,
“What’s your dolly’s name Akima?” I asked, frantically trying to shake of the discomfort of my daughter thinking Nico was her father.
“Rydder Googly-Boo.” She looked me straight in the eyes with a dead serious look on her face,
“Rydder?” She nodded. “Googly-Boo?” Akima nodded once more before picking up her song where she left.
“So is everything packed?”
“Almost, just got some clothes of mine upstairs to pack and then we can load up the truck!” Nico nodded and picked up Akima awkwardly, setting her down in a playpen in the shaded part of the front garden.
“Passports?” I nodded,
“You definitely handed in your notice two weeks ago?” Again I nodded,
“Like I’d forget that. You, my friend, are looking at an unemployed single mother!” Nico guffawed,
“Well, if you ever need anything..”
“I know. You’ll be on the first flight out!”
“Yes. And don’t forget I’m coming over for Christmas!” I smiled and pulled Nico into a hug,
“How am I supposed to cope without you Nico?”
“You’ll be fine Mimi.”
“Shh baby girl, try to get some sleep, it’s going to be a long flight for you!” Akima folded her arms and frowned,
“No sleep. Wanna play with Googly-Boo!” I kissed Akima’s cheek and placed her into her seat next to me, pulling Rydder from my bag and setting him next to her. Soon enough Akima fell asleep with her arms around her doll. I stayed awake the entire flight. God knows how I’ll explain having a two year old daughter in the space of 18 months.
“Mina! And who’s this little monkey?”
“Her name’s Akima,”
“Oh sweetheart you should have told us you were adopting!” Mum scooped Akima out of my arms and pulled her close for a cuddle.
“Er. Mum, she’s mine.”
“Oh, haha, don’t be obtuse Mina!”
“Look at her and tell me she’s not mine.” Mum lifted her head from Akima’s and studied her face while dad and Sophia stood behind her, jaws hanging.
“Can we go inside and I’ll explain.” I took Akima back from mum and everyone sat down in the living room as I explained the ludicrous story of how Akima came to be, but mum and dad weren’t that disbelieving, after all they used to be vamps and they are friends with werewolves, to question the existence of aliens, to them, was stupid. Sophia was the hardest to convince until Akima walked straight over to her and said clear as day,
“Auntie Soph-soph!” and pointed to her face, beaming at her, Sophia laughed and pulled her onto her lap,
“Yes sweetheart, I’m your auntie!”
After a few hours the truck arrived and dad and Sophia helped me unload while mum was feeding Akima, who was going to be seriously spoilt for as long as we lived here! By the time we’d unpacked it was well past Akima’s bedtime so I had to separate her and her apparent family favourite, Sophia. She wriggled as I took her upstairs,
“No bed! Kima not tired!”
“Come on baby girl, just ten minutes?”
“No!” As she tried to protest again she gave a huge yawn and I laughed at her,
“You sure you’re not tired?”
“I not tired!”
I settled Akima down with Rydder and she drifted off almost straight away, I stood beside the cot, rocking on my heels, making sure she was asleep before going back downstairs to where everyone had assembled in the living room at my request,
“Okay, so I have some bad news.”
I explained to my family about the situation and they agreed that the best plan of action was to wait and see, nothing was definite but that property purchasing was a must. Mum and I, acting as joint leaders, chose St Clare’s to relocate to, it would be perfect for future generations, but we were only able to buy a small cottage on a large lot due to overcrowding in the town, mum shrugged and said it was better than nothing and I agreed.
“Hey Akima, what day is it today?”
“My birrday!!”She clapped her hands and I smiled at her, her 6th birthday in Sunlit Tides, her growing had slowed down when she tuned 3 and now she’s hardly even a toddler, after a little “incident” on her first birthday here we chose to always have family parties. We were waiting on Hannah and Darius who had been delayed by Ariel falling down the stairs, she’s fine, just a combination of unlucky and clumsy the poor kid!
“Okay Akima are you ready to blow out the candles?” Mum passed Akima to me and I helped her to reach the cake,
“Oh plumbob! Not this again!” We all ducked behind a sofa as sparkles enveloped Akima and her small body seemed to explode, I was the first to peer over and did a double take,
“So does this happen every milestone birthday or something?” Akima shrugged,
“I don’t know, but boy was that uncomfortable! Can I open my presents now?” She didnt even wait for an answer, she just ran straight to the pile of gifts and clicked her fingers, one present appeared to unwap itself,
“Hey! No cheating! Unwrap them properly that’s part of fun!” Hannah laughed at Akima’s impatience
“For you maybe.. mortal!” She grinned over at Hannah who burst out laughing,
“Sweetheart, I’m not mortal, trust me!”
As seemed to be the theme with all of her other birthdays Akima was spoiled by everyone, even receiving cards from the neighbors. On particular card had been withheld from Akima after I noticed the stamp was from Lucky Palms.
After we’d tidied up I settled down in the office to read the letter, I was probably overreacting but Nico always emailed us on Akima’s birthday, he’d never sent us a letter. I ripped it open and a small slip of paper fell out, landing face down.
“Soon” read the paper, in handwriting that I couldn’t quite place.
“Yes. Foods ready in the fridge and she needs a nap today at 3pm.”
“Okay, thanks, and please make sure she gets that nap, she was cranky last night!” Nico nodded and then waved me towards the door,
“Mina, hurry up you’ve got work!”
“I don’t know if I can face Ronan though.. He’s back from Venice today.”
“Girl, you’re going to walk into that lab, smug as hell that you have a stunning baby girl and you are going to work like its for sale and the rent’s due!”
“The rent is due Nico!”
“Well that’ll help make you work a bit harder!”
Nico knows everything about Akima, sure he didn’t believe at first but I guess he has no choice since he saw what Akima could do… I pull up at work and scurry into my lab trying to go unnoticed, thankfully it works and no one sees me. I pull out my phone intending to turn it off and find myself staring at my screensaver of Akima, she’s absolutely stunning, she infatuates everyone she sees, especially Nico. Baby girl has that man wrapped around her little finger, he spoils her absolutely rotten but I suppose since I’m not there it’s a good thing!
Briefing today had been short, get on with your own research had been the directive, but I had no major projects to do. I tapped my desk idly before switching on my computer, let’s see how home’s doing.
I went onto the Sunlit Tides server system and watched the live cam of the island, smiling to myself as I thought of my parents out in the garden, dad now enjoying his early retirement and mum taking care of her garden. I explored the island for a bit before I found myself staring at the bottom of the volcano, the one place I’d never been allowed. Curiosity caught me and I scrolled my way to the top, huh. That’s weird. There’s a lot more smoke than usual, not as if its anywhere near close to erupting but strange even so. I minimised the live cam and began reading up on the volcano.
“Although Mt. Dollow is unlikely to erupt in the near future, it remains an uncomfortable truth that Sunlit Tides is very much a ticking time bomb of disaster, a truth that many residents choose to ignore.” It was like ice and had been shot through my veins. That was my home. Most of my family history is there. How could no one ever tell me? My fingers worked faster than my brain now, calculations, charts, research, I barely remember focusing. I stepped back from my white board and looked over the equations, 50 years. That’s all it would take. Shit. 70 years at best before the volcano would erupt, before the ground would shake and split. 70 years before Sunlit Tides is wiped off the map completely.
“G, when am I going to give birth, this is so uncomfortable!”
“Good grief, how would you be able to handle 9 months of pregnancy?”
“I wouldn’t. And this saves me a job later in life.” G snorted at that,
“You’ll be due in a couple of hours, judging by your size.”
I went about my daily business, preparing more meals and phoning Jonathan’s brother Nico to arrange having him as a live in maid, I told him I’d had a child in Sunlit Tides who had finally been brought over, he’d start working in a couple of weeks meaning I’d have to pull a couple of “sick days” at work for a while.
“Ooh that doesn’t feel good,” G helped me over to the sofa and began helping me through the labour, and very quickly I welcomed my daughter Akima Dawn into the world.
“G, do you want to hold her?”
“She’s yours. I’ve got to go home now, my chip has become activated, I can teleport back, I’m sorry.”
“Mina? Anyone home?”
Quickly I put Akima upstairs in her nursery and weakly hobbled to the door,
“Jesus Mina, whats wrong? You look terrible!”
“Well uh I’ve just been ill.” As I spoke Akima began whimpering upstairs,
“Nothing!” I quickly blocked my door and Ronan gently moved me out of the way and ran upstairs,
“Ronan, don’t go up there!” I caught up with him but he was already standing in the nursery gawping at Akima,
“Why didn’t you tell me you have a kid, you can’t have only just had her so spill.”
“Well then I can’t continue with this relationship.”
I rolled over and winced at the sunlight coming in through my window, urgh my skin’s getting more sensitive. As I rolled back over onto my shaded side my stomach gave a twist and I ran to the bathroom,
“Mina? Are you alright?”
“I’m just a bit ill, that’s all. Don’t worry G.”
“Oh good, it worked.”
“You asked me for a child, I granted your wish, did I do something wrong?”
“How exactly did you do that?”
“ETP, then DM.”
“Yeah, explain that in a human terms.”
“ETP is embryo transferral, that embryo is 100% of my DNA so I did a DNA merge so the child would receive around 50% from each of us, anymore and then it lacks viability.”
“So, I’m pregnant?” I rubbed the back of my neck with my hand, this is going to put a spanner in the works in terms of I don’t know, my entire life!
“Yes, and it may be worth noting that this pregnancy is highly advanced, I mean normal alien gestation time is probably 3 hours, but because she is half alien, I estimate the time at maybe 3 days?”
“Well you’re in a matriarchal family, Mina.”
This is insane, I’m like 14 hours pregnant and yet I’m already in maternity wear, how on earth do I explain this to Ronan? Or my family? Oh god Soph’s going to kill me.
After the crash the alien we’d found was taken for analysis and after a few months the whole event seemed like a dream, Ronan and I had now starting dating and we were so happy together.
“Ronan what the hell? What’s that doing here?”
“Boss wants you to dissect it, consider it an initiation, don’t worry he’s unconscious, I made sure of that.”
“Oh, um, lay him on the table then please.” Ronan nodded and nearly threw the body on the table,
“Hah, you’d be surprised at how resistant this guy is to harm.” I rolled my eyes and waved Ronan away, then I stood by the alien on my table (now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say!) and looked at him, well, better get this over and done with. I went over to my desk and starting prepping the injection.
I walked over to the alien and shrieked when I saw his eyes were open and he was trying to sit up,
“Please. Don’t.” The syringe slipped through my fingers and landed on my tiled floor,
“You can talk,”
“Yes. And I can feel fear and pain. Let your friends know that one.”
“I-I’m sorry.” I loosened the restraints on his wrists and he sat up, rubbing his head.
“Where’s my ship?”
“I’m not sure. I think our boss sent it off to another lab.”
“Well crap. Where am I supposed to go now?”
“You could stay at my place for a while?” The alien looked at me incredulously,
“You were about to kill me and now you want me to stay with you? Why should I trust you?”
“Because I’m you’re only shot at getting out of here.”
“You’ve got a point there.”
“Mina this is ridiculous, they’re going to see us!”
“G, unless you have a better idea you should keep it down!” I quickly dragged the box out of the surprisingly empty corridor and to my car, throwing it in the back seat. I then ran back into my lab and screamed,
“Ronan help!!” Ronan came running in, concern etched across his face,
“Mina what’s wrong? Where’s the specimen?”
“He.. It.. woke up and threatened me then it just.. vanished.. I-I don’t understand, I’m so so sorry!” I choked out some sobs and Ronan’s face softened,
“It’s okay Mimi, I’ll explain to the boss. You go home and rest.” Ronan kissed my forehead and began tidying my lab as I left the door.
“Okay I can’t carry you up the stairs so come on!” G reluctantly climbed out of the box and allowed me to help him the up the stairs,
“Wow someone definitely brings their work home!”
“What of it? Now since I’m letting you stay here are you going to tell me your full name?”
“GX-450, I told you just call me G.”
“Okay fine. Now you will have to stay in this room when I’m not here, this here is where you can sleep, and try to avoid touching anything.”
“Is there anything I can do to make up for this?”
“Hah! Unless you could make Ronan want kids or straight up give me a kid?” G laughed,
“I don’t think I could manage that. Sorry!”
“That’s fine, G. I was joking. Anyway, I’m exhausted, so goodnight.”
I’ve been working in Lucky Palms for around a month now, I was settled in and working on a secret project with some of the best young scientists from around the world. Joe, our supervisor had told us the boss believed that us young ‘uns would be better to hire as we’d live longer and he expected the project to take a while.
I’ll never forget my first day here, I was searched at the door, then again before entering the boss’s office. I was manhandled into a seat and a piece of paper was slid over the desk. I picked it up, “Confidentiality Agreement”the paper read.
“What is this?”
“If you want to work for us, or just find out what we want you to do, you’ll have to sign. Anything discussed in this room is private and that agreement just makes sure you don’t go running your mouth.”
I leaned back in my chair to read the paper fully. I’d have no problem keeping secrets, but still best to see what I’m dealing with.
“Good.” The old man behind the desk stood up and gestured to the hologram behind him,
“You know what this is?”
“Is that a volcano?”
“Good. But where specifically?”
“I’m assuming not our planet?”
“Yes. And what do we know about other planets?”
“Well. Nothing. We’ve never seen them.”
“Good. And you’re right, we’ve never even come close to them. This is where this project comes in. This project is focused on proving the existence of extra-terrestrial life in these other planets.”
“Where do I come into this?”
“Mina, surely you must know that your exam results were exemplary? We need you to help us!”
“How do I do that?”
“Analysing rock samples, visiting crash sites and the like. Which reminds me, there is a small meteor cluster seemingly headed for the dry lake bed at some point tomorrow, I will need you to attend the site with my son, Ronan.” As he spoke a young guy came in and smiled,
Ho-holy plumbob this guy was gorgeous! I get to spend time with him??
“Brilliant. Expected impact is at 3am, please be alert and attend the site as soon as we call you after we check it’s a safe site.”
“Okay then, Mina you’re excused. You may return home to get some sleep before tomorrow.”
“Hey Mina, do you want me to drive you home? I saw you carpooled this morning and no one else is leaving right now?”
“Oh, um, I-sure.”
“Come on then!” Ronan walked quickly over to a dark car,
“I’ve got to make this quick, I’m not supposed to borrow dad’s car!”
“Wait this is your father’s car?”
“Yup. Now buckle up, you live near the pier don’t you?” I nodded as I clicked my seatbelt in.
“Thanks for the lift!”
“No problem, see you later. I’ll pick you up?”
“Okay be ready at 3!” I nodded and went into my house, smiling. Hey! It wasn’t a date but I got to spend some time with Mr Gorgeous!
The sunlight made it impossible to sleep, so I lay with my eyes shut for a few hours, but at around 7pm the sun set and I fell into an easy sleep only to be woken by a car horn beeping. Shit! Ronan! I quickly threw on my jeans from this morning and ran down the stairs,
“All set?” I nodded as Ronan helped me into his car and we drove to the crash site.
I felt a wave of heat pass over me as we walked through the crowd of people to get to the crash, as soon as we peered into the crater I understood why, there was no meteor, in fact at first I couldn’t see anything for all the steam but soon it cleared, allowing me a glimpse of what appeared to be a UFO
Police came and ushered people inside before they could take a look while Ronan and I began gearing up to take a look at the wreckage, we were lowered in and we separated to see if we could find a door of some sort.
“Ronan! I think I’ve found something!” Ronan ran around to where I was standing and sucked air through his teeth,
“We’ve gotta get him out! He might be injured!”
“Considering there’s a spaceship on him I think that is a certainty Mina.”
“I don’t care! Help me!” Eventually we were able to pull the guy out from the wreckage and to my surprise he was breathing but then Ronan spoke up,
“Man I can’t believe we wont be coming back here again!”
“I know it’s so sad!” Sophia nodded as we packed the last of our things into suitcases and closed our bedroom door for one last time. The girls were all saying their goodbyes downstairs, with mascara running down their faces and screeches of promising to visit, Daphne turned to us,
“You girls better have a spare room because you sure as hell aren’t keeping me away from Sunlit Tides! I’ll be over next Christmas!” Daphne smiled at us both and pulled us into a hug.
“So you’ll bring all my clothes to my house while I’m at work?”
“Yes Soph! Now go, you can’t be late for your first day on the job!” Soph grinned and dashed out to her car. Since we’d come back we’d both been offered very good jobs, well Sophia had. I’d been offered a job in an undisclosed project out in Lucky Palms, I knew it paid well and that’s about the only thing I knew. I’d be given a house with all expenses paid for me, and they would explain everything when I got to Lucky Palms. I accepted after mum and dad had contacted the people offering me a job to make sure it wasn’t a scam or anything.
The minute Sophia and I came home from Uni she bought a house of her own, a small two bedroomed place near the ocean, we’d been helping her move her stuff bit by bit over the course of a few weeks and we’d arranged to get it all set up for her before she came home from work so our first plan of action was to set up a baby swing for Ariel, Hannah and Darius’ daughter since neither of them could find a sitter and they were both determined to help.
After an hour or so of manoeuvring sofas and chairs, Vince, Darius and dad had completed the living room while mum, Hannah and I had finished the kitchen and dining room. The whole time Ariel had watched us, in almost eerie silence, Hannah whispered that it sometimes unnerved her when Ariel was as quiet as that, as she spoke Hannah scooped Ariel up and sat on the sofa with her to feed her,
By the time Sophia came home at 7pm we had completely finished the whole house and were all collapsed on the sofa in her living room, trying to keep our eyes open,
“Guys!! You didn’t have to do this!”
“Nonsense, no daughter of mine is sleeping on the floor!”
“But I would have managed!”
“Soph shut up and get over it.” Sophia laughed and plonked herself on my lap,
“So who’s cooking dinner?” A collective groan rose up in the room as she began dialling a number for pizza, before scooping up Ariel and giving her a huge cuddle,
“How’s my favourite fanged niece doing?” Ariel made a soft cooing sound and we all smiled, Ariel and Sophia were almost enviably close, sometimes I think Ariel may actually prefer Sophia to Hannah.
“Thank you all for coming, and also for insisting on paying for my pizza!”
“No problem, Mina wont let us help out with her move so its the least we can do helping you!”
“Dad, I’m moving to Lucky Palms. Not a 10 minute drive away!”
“Stef stop winding her up, come on, we need to help Mina pack in the morning anyway so lets head home! Night Sophia, see you bright and early tomorrow!”
Bloated with an obscene amount of pizza we all waddled in unison to dad’s car, as we drove off I felt as if half of me was missing, this was gonna be the first time in my life I haven’t lived with Soph. And when I move out to Lucky Palms I’ll probably only see her via the internet and on holidays.
Our room felt so weird without her prancing about and generally acting like an ass, but at least I’ll be able to get to sleep at a reasonable hour for once! Or so I thought, I rolled over and glanced at the clock, 2:00am, as I rolled back over my phone light up and I saw a text from Sophia. We stayed up for a while texting until I heard birds tweeting and began to actually feel sleepy,
After what felt like maybe 10 minutes of sleep mum and dad woke me up to finish packing up anything I wanted to take with me to Lucky Palms, which incidentally wasn’t a lot.
Holy plumbob! This house is huge! I have two living rooms! Why on earth would I need two? I found a letter on my kitchen table explaining all terms of tenancy basically no parties in which the house could get destroyed, any pets or children must be supervised at all times etc etc. I went upstairs to go check that all my furniture I’d picked out was here, yup all present and correct.
This house is technically two houses that are joined together by a bridge/corridor thing so I decided to go inspect the other and found another fully furnished bedroom with a half wall nursery built in.
Of course. They know I’m part of a legacy family.. But I’m hardly planning on having kids while I’m here! Oh well. I suppose it’ll be useful if Hannah and Darius ever come to stay. As I played with the mobile hanging above the cot my doorbell rang so I dashed downstairs and found a guy at my door,
“Mina Tempest! It’s Jonathon Davis! We spoke on the phone?”
“Oh yes, please come in!”
“I just came to make sure you’re all settled in, which it appears you are. Is everything to your liking?”
“Um yes? I was just wondering as to why there’s a nursery though?”
“Well you are part of a legacy family so we assumed that you would have children, which reminds me, my adoptive brother is a nanny, so if you ever do need a nanny, here’s his card.”
“Oh, er, thanks?”
“No problem, anyway I’ll leave you to get properly settled down and I’ll see you in the labs tomorrow where we’ll explain what’s going on!”