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The Dohani War

by Martin Kerharo

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I watch you sleep in the still of the night
You look so pretty when you dream
So many people just go through life
Holding back; they don’t say what they mean
But it’s easy for me
Since you came
— Kim Wilde, You Came

We returned to Blue-58, Jane’s home planet. Jane’s belly had rounded swiftly, but she had no trouble moving about or doing all sorts of things that a woman in her condition ought not to do. Dohani genetic improvements. But it was an unimportant detail.

The baby was talking to Jane.

When we were still on Earth, the implant had already begun sending an automatic signal that meant only that everything was okay.

A month passed. One night, Jane woke up suddenly. “Oh...” she said. She put her hands on her abdomen, smiling hesitantly.

“What’s happening?” I asked.

“The baby has woken up. It was searching in the darkness with its mind and touched mine. It’s afraid. It doesn’t know where it is. I’m reassuring it.”

She leaned her head to one side. “Yes, that’s better.” She remained silent for a few moments.

I was amazed. I caressed her abdomen.

“It’s exploring,” Jane said, “as if it were in my arms and looking over my shoulder at other people. It’s intimidated.”

I heard noises in the house. Jane’s family was waking up.

“They’ve heard it,” Jane said.

One by one, the Dohanis entered our room. Jane’s mother sat down next to her.

“I can hardly believe it, Mama. It’s so beautiful, so innocent.”

Her mother took her hand. “I envy you, Jane. Your child is growing within you. It must be... marvelous. For you, being able to feel it developing at every moment; for the child, always being near you. You are very lucky to be a mammal.”

I felt rather left out. I was the only one who could not communicate with the baby.

* * *

“She wants to come out,” Jane told me. “Now is the time.” Jane was about to deliver the baby. We knew that the baby was a girl, and we had decided to call her Lucy. Her Dohani name was “She Who Comes From Two Peoples,” and she was the first true hybrid. Since Jane was Dohani and I was human, our daughter would be between the two, and we would teach her both cultures.

“She’s impatient,” Jane said.

I smiled. “I wonder who she gets that from.”

Jane gave birth in the swimming pool. It took only a few minutes. Dohani genetic improvements, again. With no pain, Jane’s muscles contracted forcibly. The way was open and the baby could come out.

“She’s worried now,” Jane said. “Catch her, I’m going to push her out.” She contracted.

“Sorry, little one,” Jane murmured. “You were cozy and warm inside me, but now it’s time for you to discover the world.”

Suddenly, Lucy was in my hands. I picked her up and held her head delicately. It was not really necessary; her muscles were already strong.

She did not cry. She opened her eyes tentatively, blinded by the light of day she was seeing for the first time. Her eyes were red, like her mother’s, and were already piercing. She saw me and smiled.

“Hello, Lucy,” I said, my throat tight with emotion. She was magnificent, beyond anything I could have imagined.

Copyright © 2012 by Martin Kerharo
translation © 2013 by Donald Webb

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