Paradigm Shift

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Chapter 31

It exhausted Danielle and Bethany running around helping people shore up their mental defenses. They had practiced with them, but it wasn’t quite the same thing as when you were under attack. They also had found one of the other Americans was quite good at deflecting the mental attacks, but it was just as exhausting to her. They all looked liked they had been beaten. “I wish we could give them a little bit of their own pain,” grumbled Danielle as she stood with her hands on either side of a collapsed woman’s head.

“I haven’t tried. Have you?” Janice asked.

“No,” said Danielle. “How would I go about doing it?”

“Well, my grandmother said it was a bit like throwing a punch. You just imagined you were hitting their mind,” said Janice. “I suggest we join hands so we can support each other’s energy.”

“I am willing to try anything,” said Danielle, who walked over by Danielle. Bethany joined them, as did Margot.

They all looked at her.

“Well, I may not be able to do much, but I can imagine feeding you energy. Y’all look like hell,” Margot said. “Willow had to get it from somewhere.”

They joined hands and began focusing on where the pain was coming from.

Danielle gasped when she felt like she touched something. It felt odd. She was tempted to call it evil. It seemed to shrink away as she touched it with her mind. “They are so not ready for this,” she said gleefully. She imagined she gripped the mind energy she had just touched and began wailing with everything she had on it, much like she had when she physically nailed Lev. She felt like it retreated. Danielle opened her eyes and noticed the unconscious woman had woken up.

“Thank god, it stopped,” the woman croaked.

“I think it worked. I imagined pounding on the energy when I touched it. The woman they were attacking woke up,” Said Danielle.

“Pound it how?” asked Janice.

“Like I did to Lev,” Danielle answered.

“Cool,” said Janice. She closed her eyes and began.

Twenty minutes later, Danielle, Janice, and Bethany opened their eyes.

“You feel anything else?” asked Danielle.

“No,” said Janice.

“Me either,” said Bethany.

“Maybe you got them all?” observed Margot.

“Maybe. Let’s check on everyone,” said Danielle, letting out a deep breath. She walked over to the closest patient. Dizziness got stronger and stronger the closer she got. She reached out to the wall to steady herself and missed. She fell against the wall, bouncing off, and landing on the floor in a heap as darkness claimed her.

* * *

“Maria, it says ninety-four over fifty,” said Bethany.

“Ugh. That’s too low,” said Maria. “See the second button from the top on the right side that says Homeostasis?”

“Yes,” answered Bethany.

“Push that button,” said Maria.

“Its asking for an authorization code,” said Bethany, the anxiety climbing in her voice.

Maria gave her a number to enter.

“Ok, it looks like the machine is starting an IV,” said Bethany.

“Perfect. Let the machine stabilize her and I will come over as soon as I can,” said Maria. “Call me if any alarm bells go off.”

“Okay,” said Bethany.

“How did you know to do that?” asked Janice.

“Listening to Mom,” said Bethany. “She was right. It wasn’t too hard.”

“Should we call Spartak?” asked Janice.

“He is out flying. I don’t want to distract him until we know what is going on.” said Bethany. “Maria should be here soon and we can let him know after. She just might be exhausted.”

“Ok. let’s get everyone out of here who can move,” said Janice.

Bethany nodded as she started at her mother. “Please do not leave me,” she said in a whisper. She then squared her shoulders and got back to work.

* * *

“We are not finding anymore on radar, Spartak. After you guys got the big ship, the handful of fighters left exploded. I sent Cullen’s squad around the back side of the planet just to check,” said Iosif.

“Excellent,” said Spartak. “Call Emily’s team back, then Squad C, then Squad A.”

“Aye,” said Cullen. “I am however going to have Valer replace you. I need you to come back to the Gliesea.”

“I am fine,” growled Spartak. “And I have plenty of fuel.”

“Understood. I still need you to come back,” said Iosif.

“What’s going on?” asked Spartak, his heart dropping into his stomach.

“I would rather tell you when you get here,” said Iosif, avoiding the inevitable.

“Spit. It. Out,” growled Spartak.

Iosif sighed. “Danielle is unconscious. Maria is with her, but she is in stasis.”

Spartak must have said an awe-inspiring oath, because the translator refused to do its job. “Which medical is she in?”

“Sick Bay,” said Iosif.

“I will head in first,” Spartak said. “Out.”

A few minutes later he was teleporting into Sick Bay. He scanned the room and quickly found his mate laying on an exam table under the stasis hood, pale, and looking lifeless except for the shallow rise and fall of her chest. At least she was breathing. He stalked over to the beside and looked at the monitors, hoping to make some sense out of what he was seeing.

Maria waited for him to look at her. “She was dehydrated and her glucose level was really low, but given how much mental energy she used, it is not surprising. We have replaced the fluids and her sugar level is normal now. Her blood pressure is adequate. Her brain waves are normal,” said Maria.

His eyes snapped to hers.

“When she didn’t wake up, I was concerned it was related to the mental attack. It’s not that,” Maria said.

“How long has she been unconscious?” he asked.

“Almost three hours, and I mean your hours, not mine,” said Maria. “Even a seizure would have only made her post-ectal for about twenty or thirty minutes. It is not making sense.”

“Nothing came up on her test results?” he asked as he splayed his hand on the stasis hood. He wished he could touch her. Danielle had explained that the hood kept them from having to intubate unless absolutely necessary.

“Nothing that should cause this,” said Maria.

“What does that mean?” Spartak demanded.

“Oh, you caught that,” groused Maria, not meeting his eyes.

“Maria?” he said.

“Spartak, she will want to tell you herself,” said Maria warily.

“Maria, tell me,” demanded Spartak. “She is my mate.”

She just blinked at him.

“Okay, then. I order you to tell me,” said Spartak, glaring.

Maria sighed. “The only thing that came up on the labs was a positive pregnancy test. Based on the HcG level, she in only three or four weeks along. She may not even be aware of it yet.”

“Pregnant?” Spartak whispered as he stared at his mate.

“Yes,” Maria answered simply.

“Is it risking her life?” he asked, never taking his eyes off of her.

“No. The baby is the size of a poppy seed right now. The analyzer places the implantation in the uterus and no where dangerous. If this is related to the pregnancy, it will surprise me. I have taken care of thousands of pregnant women and never seen this happen,” said Maria.

He nodded. He grabbed a chair from the desk and brought it over by the stasis hood. He wasn’t going anywhere until she woke up.

* * *

Bethany walked into Sick Bay, arm-in-arm with Bogd. Her mother was stable, so she just had to be on the Flight Deck when his squad came in.

He still hadn’t removed the smile from his face from her jumping into his arms. She was well on her way to becoming his. Then he saw Spartak’s devastated look and his smile disappeared. “Can I do anything for you, Commander?” he asked as they arrived at the bedside.

“You already did. You helped save the Fleet and my family,” said Spartak.

Bogd looked and Bethany and smiled. “We all have something important to protect.”

“I can’t believe she is still out like this,” said Bethany. “No one else is.”

“Was she the only one fighting back mentally?” asked Spartak, worried that what they were seeing might be because the grays had harmed her.

“No. Janice and I were also and we are both fine,” said Bethany. “Just tired.”

“Can you get her fed, Bogd?” asked Spartak.

“Yes, sir,” he said.

Bethany tried to resist.

“Please, Bethany. When your mom wakes, she will be worried about you,” said Spartak.

“Fine. Call me if she wakes,” Bethany said tartly. “Dad.”

He looked at her and smiled. “I like that better than Your Grumpiness.”

“You called the High Commander Your Grumpiness?” asked Bogd, his voice filled with both shock and awe.

“Well,” she said. “I had no idea what good hearing he had.”

“Yes, he does,” said Bogd, shaking his head.

Spartak let a smile out, listening to the two of them as they walked out of Sick Bay. He looked at Danielle’s pale form which wiped the smile off of his face. “Please wake up. I need you,” he pleaded.

* * *

Areson stood outside of Erica’s door, waiting for her to answer it. Maybe he should have called. She might want to freak out in privacy. He was about to turn and leave, when the door opened.

“Uh, hi,” Erica said. “Sorry it took me so long to answer. I just got out of the shower. What’s up?”

Well, didn’t that just set his mind wandering off to places it shouldn’t at the moment. Back to the matter at hand. “Well, there is not an easy to say this. Danielle is unconscious in Sick Bay. We thought you would want to know,” Areson said.

“Oh god, yes,” she gasped. “Bethany know?”

“Yes, she has been there the whole time,” said Areson. “Spartak has been there since he got back.”

“Take me there,” said Erica.

He walked with her, placing his hand lightly on the small of her back. For moral support, of course, he told himself.

* * *

Why was she laying on a hospital gurney? t was the only thing that could possibly feel like this. Apparently it did not matter where you were in the universe, they were all uncomfortable. She forced her eyes open and immediately saw the stasis hood. She groaned to herself. Something had happened.

She focused outside the hood and saw Spartak looking at the monitors. “Spartak,” she croaked softly, her voice rough from disuse.

“Danielle!” Spartak exclaimed as he bolted out of his seat. He placed his splayed hand on the outside of the hood. Danielle pressed her against the hood from her side, making a mirror of his hand. His hand was quite a bit bigger than hers. “Thank the gods,” he muttered.

His cry had awakened Maria from her catnap on the next gurney. She got up and walked over to the bedside. ’Hey, kiddo,” she said to Danielle as she ran a set of vitals. “You scared the hell out of us.” The vitals looked fine, so she turned off the stasis and moved the hood away from the bedside.

Spartak immediately grabbed her hand.

“Don’t even think about getting up right now,” Maria said, knowing her friend.

Danielle sighed and laid her head back. “How long have I been out?” she asked.

Maria looked at her band. “About seven hours. And I mean seven of these new hours, not our old hours.”

“Damn, I haven’t had that happen since,” Danielle started, her face blanching.

“You have had this happen before?” asked Maria as she crossed her arms.

“Yes. I had it happen when I was pregnant, both with Kyle and Bethany,” Danielle said.

“Pregnancy-induced syncope,” said Maria. “I have read about it, but it is supposed to be very short-lived.”

“Normally it is, but I have the whole nurse-whammy thing going on,” groused Danielle.

Maria nodded in understanding.

“Wait, that means, I am,” stammered Danielle, her hand slapping against her mouth in shock.

Maria nodded. “HcG says about three to four weeks.”

Danielle’s, and Spartak’s eyes met. Many feelings passed back and forth between them in those few brief seconds, there were only the two of them. “I‘m pregnant,” she whispered.

“We’re pregnant,” he confirmed as he smiled. He leaned over and kissed her.

The room then exploded in a cacophony of noise. Erica had alerted the whole crew of women who had always stood by her. Areson had called the rest of the Fleet leadership. The room was nearly bursting with congratulations.

Bethany leaned down and kissed her mother on the cheek. “Congrats, Mom.”

“You okay with this, honey?” Danielle asked, squeezing her daughter’s hand.

“Of course. I won’t be the baby of the family anymore, and I have my own suite so I can get out of dodge if the baby needs a diaper change. Works for me,” Bethany said.

Everyone laughed.

* * *

Danielle held her two-month-old son, Willam against her shoulder as she patted his back to get him to burp. He was growing like a weed. He had Spartak’s dark hair and olive skin and Danielle’s bright blue eyes.

“So what do you think” Spartak asked as he smiled lovingly at his mate.

“And you did a cultural study about gender roles?” Danielle asked. "I do not want to take over the Fleet again," she said, grinning at him.

“Yes. The list keeps growing. Pheromones. Gender Roles. Ninja battle skills. Mental shielding. Bad attitudes,” he said. “We looked.”

“Hey, most of those are from me!” said Danielle, a look of mock outrage on her face.

“True, but now we know what to look for when surveying a planet,” chuckled Spartak. “Besides, there are plenty of males who love to have a strong mate like mine. It can only help us ensure our survival.”

“You say the sweetest things. Keep that up, mister, and we will be repopulating the universe all by ourselves,” chuckled Danielle before leaning over to give him a kiss they both felt to their toes.

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