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   Chapter 29 No.29

A Girl Named Sandy By Paul Kater Characters: 10802

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04


Routines get broken

Again life picked up its routine. Sandy continued school and at times she stopped by the laboratory where Paul and Don worked, and Paul and Don gave the occasional lecture between their long hours in the lab. Paul tried to hold back his sighs as every morning Sandy would apply the make-up to make him look older again, not succeeding all the time and that got him several remarks from his wife who secretly had to laugh about his despair.

Wilma was over the moon when she had heard that she was going to be an aunt. At first she demanded to come over to the apartment at least four times a week to check on Sandy but the couple managed to convince her that everything was well, that nothing was visible yet, and they'd let her know as soon as that changed. Still, Wilma dropped by once a week, ever so excited. Sandy and Paul suspected that Wilma was going through a surrogate pregnancy with Sandy, as Paul's sister never had children herself.

The news of the pregnancy was received with a small party at the library, during a meeting with their 'offworlder' friends. Paul wondered how the connections worked between all the offworlder groups around the world. Neither he nor Sandy had mentioned the pregnancy to any of their friends in this group, and yet they knew. Lester and Janet explained that there were a few people in each 'coalition' that maintained contact with other groups, to learn about novelties and developments.

"And when one of us gets pregnant, that is a novelty, " Janet said with a smile at Sandy. "After all, one day we go back to our home planet, and the more there are at that point, the better our chances for getting there and surviving."

Paul frowned at her words. "That doesn't sound very convincing. I had assumed that the journey back would be quite easy and safe."

Herman Winters, one of the local story-tellers who also was an interior decorator, shrugged. "You have to consider, " he said with his deep and melodious voice, "that everything we know is very old. And yes, that makes the mode of transport back to the home planet also old. I for one am convinced that everything will be safe. There is a story that tells of the craftsmanship of our race, and the amazing materials they had at their disposal to make space-faring ships that were nearly indestructible. You are probably far more knowledgeable on the distances in space than most of us, Paul, but when I recall that over four thousand years ago they were already able to cross such a vast expanse, then that gives me confidence."

Sandy put her arm around Paul. "Let's not worry about that now, please? I'm having a nice time here, and so should you. My mother told you to look after me, Paul, and making sure I am happy is therefore officially your duty." Her words were received with laughter. Paul knew he had no other option than to let his doubts go and enjoy the evening. That wasn't a difficult thing to do.

***

The remaining weeks of Summer passed by swiftly, and Autumn took its place with very gentle weather most of the time, but mixed with fierce rainfall and a few violent storms. Together with Autumn a bump appeared on Sandy's belly, making their happy secret less of a secret. The r

.

"Don, Arecibo needs a line into the system for their feed, can you give me one for them? Paul, when they start sending, can you interpolate that data with Jodrell's?"

"Ahead of you, sweetheart, " said Paul, shaking his head and grinning.

"What?" Sandy had seen it.

"You're too clever, " Paul told her as he patched up a secondary input to the simulator, and then ripped the machine's cover off to connect it. "I'm already setting up for interpolation so we get the best of both worlds."

"Nid oes dim yn digwydd heb reswm, " Sandy said, and then went back to the telephone, speaking Spanish.

Don and Paul stared at each other. "I didn't teach her, " Don said, waving his hands. "I can't even pronounce that." Then he called out a set of codes and links to Sandy, who repeated them in Spanish.

"They will send in about five minutes, " Sandy said as she hung up. "It's going to be a condensed flow, so we get things faster, although of lower quality." She then leaned back into the chair, rubbing the swelling of her belly. "We're happy you are so proud of us, Paul."

The simulator was waiting for information, so Paul walked to the chair where his wife sat and kneeled down with her. "I am. And I am also glad that you-"

The door opened and a student looked in. "Excuse me, doctors. Is Sandy coming back to class?" Don and Paul said "no" at the same time. Paul added that she was needed here in the laboratory, and the student retreated.

"But I should get back to class, " Sandy wondered.

"As I said, you are needed here, in case Arecibo calls. We can't have the two of you running up and down all the time, " Paul explained, resting his hand lightly on her belly.

"How long until you're due?" Don asked. He always asked.

"About five more months, " Sandy said with pride in her voice. "The nursery's almost ready. We did it in blue and green. Our favourite colours." Don's response never came, as the simulator beeped to signal that it was receiving information from Puerto Rico. Three pairs of eyes watched the screen, waiting for the first images to appear. When the pictures finally formed, they all gasped.

***

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