Not Far From The Tree

I stopped walking and stared at her.

Mandy’s never been a bombshell-dropper. She is a bombshell, though: she’s in a pinup phase right now, 40’s hair and an outfit like Golden Age Lois Lane would wear. It’s really working for me.

Anyway, you know how when someone says something and your brain just can’t process it, and has to divert energy from the rest of your body in an attempt to ‘buff’ itself long enough to solve the problem that it’s just been presented? That.

“But you can’t.” I held up my hands. “I mean, I can’t.”

My sperm has ‘low motility’. The irony is painfully obvious to everyone involved so shut up about it.

She shrugged. “I’ve been taking shots.”

“Shots? What kind of shots? Have you been seeing a doctor again without—”

“Aren’t you happy?” She asked.

Here’s the thing: it’s exactly what you might expect her to say to me out of dismay because I was freaking out instead of jumping for joy. I’d wanted a kid. We’d tried so hard, for so long, before giving up. But she also knew there were reasons to freak out. The life we lead, etcetera. I’m on the third ‘B’ team, the first two having been wiped out by various bad guys. So. “Where have you been getting these shots?”


“‘Here’ as in, in the infirmary; or ‘here’ as in, in the lab?”

“Here as in our bedroom. Usually in the mornings while you’re training with Rapture and the others.”

She’s good at that: answering a question without really answering it. “And you’ve taken a test? You know you’re—”

“No test. D1 told me.”

D1 told her. I didn’t waste any time wondering how D1 knew before she did.

She’d just been in there. She’d only just found out: it’s where she was coming from when I ran into her. Around the corner, down the hall, through that immense steel blast door that I’ve never even seen open. Mandy’s been in there a lot; it’s how I know she’s more important than I am.



“Yeah. Of course. Okay.” I hugged her. I hugged her tight. I put away all my concerns about being a father who could get killed fighting evil tomorrow or the next day or a month and a half from now. “Okay. Boy or girl?”


“Okay.” I broke into a grin. “Okay.”

I just wonder whether D1 did it to help us because it knew we wanted a baby, or in some shadowy Cape breeding program with my son playing the part of Kwisatz Haderach. And the makeover, was that D1’s idea too? Something to make sure I’d be doing my part often enough without being put on a schedule?

I could ask it; I’d probably even get an answer. It would be a really good  answer, exactly the right answer to allay my suspicions. But would it be the truth?

Though, I hope she keeps doing the pinup thing. I mean, yowza.

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