5th in the Revenge series
Kathryn sat in the darkened hospital room, contentedly snuggling her son as he finished his first real feeding.
It had been a long day, starting about 3 a.m., when she realized that her backache had turned into something more substantial. By dawn, she was in the delivery room, with an anxious Michael holding her hand, and the irritatingly cheerful doctor humming an aria as he ran a tricorder over her stomach.
Actually, she’d been spared the worst of labor. Given all the injuries she’d suffered over the years, the doctor decided a fetal transport would be the better choice. “Sorry you won’t have any war stories,” he told her, “but this is safer for both of you.”
Young Edward, now sated, had fallen asleep. She’d just put his bottle down, when suddenly, a flash of light filled the room. She grabbed the baby closer and was reaching for the nearby vase when a very familiar voice admonished her.
“Kathy, Kathy … Is that any way to act?”
She laughed with relief. “Q, I might have known.”
“Yes, you should of,” he said officiously, as he leaned over her to peek at the bundle. “Kathy, he is adorable.”
“Thank you,” she said … “for everything.” Seemed only right, since it was Q’s “intervention” that led to the boy’s conception.
“By the way,” she asked, “where’s Q?”
“Ah,” he replied. “He’s spending time with his mother. Now that he’s behaving better, no thanks to her, she has decided not to disown him.”
She had a reply, but decided against it. “Well, I’m glad.”
“So am I” Q said sincerely. “So, how’s motherhood?”
“A bit tiring right now, thank you,” she laughed, as the Q merely shook his head.
“And that husband of yours, I assume he is properly thrilled,” Q said with mock sternness.
“He is ecstatic,” she assured him. That was no lie. For the rest of her life, she would remember Michael’s awe-filled whisper of, “Oh, Katie, look what we’ve made,” as the tiny form materialized in the incubator.
She looked at the Q for a moment, then finally said, “You know, I owe you an apology.”
He said nothing, but the idea clearly amused him.
“All those things I said about parenting,” she continued. “I suddenly realized that it’s a lot different when you’re presented with your own child.”
He chuckled. “Well, Kathy, feeling a bit overwhelmed today?”
“A bit,” she admitted. “I suspect running a starship was a cakewalk compared to raising a child.”
Q shook his head again. “Such self-doubt. This certainly isn’t you. Perhaps …” He snapped his fingers, and a young man materialized in the room. He had reddish hair, a medium build, blue eyes …..
“Q! What the hell are you doing?!”
“Edward, don’t talk like that in front of your mother,” Q admonished.
As Kathryn gasped, the young man spun to face her. “Mom?” he asked in amazement, not quite believing his eyes.
It was hard to tell which one of them was the most shocked, Q noted with satisfaction. “Yes, Edward, your mother. She was feeling a bit shaky about her child-rearing abilities, so I thought I’d have you pop in so she could see how well you turned out.” He smirked. “And say hello to yourself at a very early age.”
The older Edward looked at the baby, amazed. “That … that’s me?”
“It is,” Kathryn said, finding her voice. “About 20 hours old.”
He gently touched the baby’s wisp of red hair. “Wow,” he murmured, shaking his head. He looked up at her then, and she could see echoes of both her, and Michael. “I suppose I should apologize in advance for anything I do.”
“You haven’t done much of anything, yet,” Kathryn said.
“I will,” he replied, with a grin that was pure Michael.
“Edward,” Q said sternly, “I brought you here to encourage your mother….” He scolding was cut short by the arrival of a nurse, attracted, no doubt, by the commotion.
“I’m sorry …. Admiral …. You two will have to leave.”
“We’re family,” Q said huffily.
“Visiting hours are over,” the nurse began. “Nonsense!” Q replied, and snapped his fingers. The nurse turned into a lizard, and scampered out the door.
“Q!” Kathryn practically yelped.
“That’s all right Mom,” the older Edward said, patting her arm. “You won’t believe what he did to Grandma Gretchen.”
She glared at the Q. “WHAT did you do to my mother?”
He wagged a finger at her. “I can’t tell you, Kathy. It’s the … oh yes, the temporal prime directive.” “Besides,” he said petulantly, “I changed her back.”
“After three days,” Edward muttered.
“That will be enough,” Q said. And with a snap of his fingers, the elder Edward disappeared.
Kathryn shook her head, amazed. “Will he remember this?”
“Oh yes,” Q said. “In fact, he’s calling you right now. You won’t be the least bit surprised.”
She shook her head again. “What am I going to do with you?”
“Just remember, you promised I could be the godfather,” he said. “Well, I should be going…”
“Wait a minute,” she said beckoning him closer. She’d been watching him, and something didn’t seem right. She grabbed the front of his duty uniform. “I thought so. Fleet admiral’s insignia?”
“Well,” he said defensively. “You got promoted. Why shouldn’t I? Now, Ta!”
“Q! The nurse!”
“Oh, all right,” the disembodied voice replied. A flash, and the nurse was standing in her room again, looking very disoriented.
“Are you all right?” Kathryn asked.
“Yes … ah, no,” she replied. “Was .. was there someone here with you?”
“Ah, no,” Kathryn replied. A lie, perhaps, but she wasn’t about to explain this one.
The woman steadied herself against the door. “Excuse me, admiral. I think I need to go sit down.”
After she left, Kathryn looked down at her son, who had slept through the whole thing.
“Edward, it’s going to be an unusual life,” she whispered.
To her amazement, her son opened his eyes and fixed her with a clear, direct gaze.
And then … he winked.