Excerpt from The Invention Of Motherhood

| | Comments (0)

Most of the others followed suit pretty quickly. In a few minutes, I was left alone with Anara and Helene. "I have a performance in an hour and a half," Helene said to Anara, "Make sure she knows what she's letting herself in for."

"I will, mother." Anara said, and Helene strode out, saying, "Welcome back, Grace. We'll do more catching up over dinner, but make certain to listen closely to what Anara has to say."

"Well, mother, I'm all ears," I told her. She wasn't my mother, but she was a wonderful mother-in-law, and we had a great relationship. Plus she had been one of my legal parents when I came to the Empire, which was how I'd met Asto. Mother was a title she'd earned, and I was happy to grant her.

"Before I start, I want you to know that I think you can do this, and that I will support whatever decision you make. I just want to make certain you understand what you're getting into. Operant babies are difficult at best to control in the womb. Strongly operant babies take that to an entirely different level."

"Mother, Asto and I read everything on the subject that's publicly available." To her credit, she at least credited me with the elementary sense to do it anonymously. "I understand that they start to have a perceptible mind around the twentyfive day mark. And I understand that the minds of children are pure 'I want!' It's my job to educate and civilize them. I may have been the youngest of five, but I helped with all of my nephews and nieces from the time when they were born."

"Are you aware that with artificial gestation, you're a lot less vulnerable to what they might do? You know children kick. Operant babies do a lot more than that. Furthermore, with artificial gestation, they don't have to be monitored every second of every day until they're ready to be born, and other people can give you assistance. If you're doing it natural style, that assistance becomes harder, because they've got to be inside your defenses to help."

"That's in accordance with my understanding."

"Now, imagine your child has a mind as strong as Asto. Can you keep them under control?"

"As strong as Asto, but untrained. Unfocused. Also, I'll be having a rapport with him that lasts until he's born. I'll feel what he does, but he will also feel what I do. By the time he's able to focus, he'll also be awake enough to be aware of the consequences." Guardian minds began developing in the womb, if you let them. By the time they were born, they would be as mature as any twelve year old Earth human, and more so than some alleged adults.

"Finally, imagine what happens if your son starts manifesting the full range of his abilities. Our family masquerade is exposed, with all of the consequences." Since Iaren had been born, Scimtar's descendants had been pretending to be Fifth Order, rather than Seventh. It insulated them from the worst of the strife of the inter-family rivalries. Let the other Great Houses vent upon one another. By pretending to be less than they were, Scimtar's heirs were exempted from the worst of it.

"I understand, mother. My plans were to do some commercial piloting while I was pregnant, but I can restrict myself to the Residence if I have to. You all taught me that I am in control of my body, but I realize I have no right to endanger the rest of you."

"Just be clear on the dangers, Grace. You'll be more of a target, also, once news of your pregnancy spreads, and we'd all be upset to lose you." I wasn't important as a Second Order Guardian. Even as Asto's wife, my value was mostly theoretical, and Scimtar had made the costs of striking at his family quite clear in the past. Rival families had bigger fish to fry. But give them a Fifth Order Scimtar in infancy with only Second Order defenses, and that might strike someone as a risk worth taking. Especially if anyone knew the younger Scimtars were Seventh Order, not Fifth.

"I understand the risk that concerns the family," I told her. We both knew that the real risk was that my Second Order abilities might not muffle the power of a Seventh Order Guardian's naked ego well enough, and it would be discovered that the family was Seventh Order. "I'm going to make a visit to Earth, but after that, I can confine myself to the Residence if you think it would be wise. Or I can build a new graycode and buy a new pilot module, and move freight anonymously. Actually, I think that would be even safer. The other Great Families can look into the Residence if they try hard enough, and they know exactly where it is and what it contains. Out there, I'd be just another pilot Vectoring stuff from system to system, and there would be nobody else with us to see what was going on."

"If you're sure that you want to do this, Grace, I'm on your side. It's just that Helene uses artificial gestation, and Corella did, too." Helene and Corella were the other female spouses with children. "For that matter, so did Anana and I." Anana I knew about, Anara I suspected, but their time was ungodly valuable, both economically speaking and politically. I made a fair chunk piloting, but nothing in their league.

"I'm sure. My sisters did it this way, as did my parents. We both know how hard pregnancy is on natural state mothers. If they can do that, I can get through this, especially as I'm a Guardian."

"You have considerations they don't know about. The other Great Families have no reason to come after them."

I clamped down hard on my frustration. Asto was amused. I knew Mother wanted the best for me and her grandchildren, but we'd been over that. "Agreed, Mother. Do you think we'll be safer from discovery in the Residence or in an anonymous pilot module nobody has any reason to suspect hides anything unusual?"

"Put a gestation chamber in your ship, just in case," she said, "And don't be too proud to change your mind if something happens." She'd picked up on my frustration despite my attempt to hide it.

"Good idea, mother!" I said, pretending I hadn't already had it. She really was concerned. And I wouldn't be afraid to change my mind if something happened to demonstrate a need. I wasn't suicidal.

"I'm sorry if I seem overprotective," she said, "You're young and haven't been involved in politics, but being pregnant with one of us puts you squarely into it. Be careful, Grace, for yourself and for the rest of us."

"I know, Mother. I'm sorry if I seem snippy. I promise you I'm not letting my hormones get out of balance. It's just that I spent twenty years thinking about how to make this work." I guess I really was cheating - no morning sickness, no mood swings, no swollen ankles, or any of the myriad other legitimate complaints of pregnancy. But those would have been carrying the point too far.

Copyright 2017 Dan Melson. All RIghts Reserved.

Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!
Please be civil. Avoid profanity - I will delete the vast majority of it, usually by deleting the entire comment. To avoid comment spam, a comments account is required. They are freely available, and you can post comments immediately. Alternatively, you may use your Type Key registration, or sign up for one (They work at most Movable Type sites). All comments made are licensed to the site, but the fact that a comment has been allowed to remain should not be taken as an endorsement from me or the site. There is no point in attempting to foster discussion if only my own viewpoint is to be permitted. If you believe you see something damaging to you or some third party, I will most likely delete it upon request.
Logical failures (straw man, ad hominem, red herring, etcetera) will be pointed out - and I hope you'll point out any such errors I make as well. If there's something you don't understand, ask.
Nonetheless, the idea of comments should be constructive. Aim them at the issue, not the individual. Consider it a challenge to make your criticism constructive. Try to be respectful. Those who make a habit of trollish behavior will be banned.

Leave a comment


Buy My Science Fiction Novels!
Dan Melson Amazon Author Page
Dan Melson Author Page Books2Read

Links to free samples here

The Man From Empire
Man From Empire Cover
Man From Empire Books2Read link

A Guardian From Earth
Guardian From Earth Cover
Guardian From Earth Books2Read link

Empire and Earth
Empire and Earth Cover
Empire and Earth Books2Read link

Working The Trenches
Working The Trenches Cover
Working the Trenches Books2Read link

Rediscovery 4 novel set
Rediscovery set cover
Rediscovery 4 novel set Books2Read link

Preparing The Ground
Preparing The Ground Cover
Preparing the Ground Books2Read link

Building the People
Building the People Cover
Building the People Books2Read link

Setting The Board

Setting The Board Cover
Setting The Board Books2Read link

Moving The Pieces

Moving The Pieces Cover
Moving The Pieces Books2Read link

The Invention of Motherhood
Invention of Motherhood Cover
Invention of Motherhood Books2Read link

The Price of Power
Price of Power Cover
Price of Power Books2Read link

The End Of Childhood
End Of Childhood cover
The End of Childhood Books2Read link

Measure Of Adulthood
Measure Of Adulthood cover
Measure Of Adulthood Books2Read link
The Fountains of Aescalon
Fountains of Aescalon Cover
The Fountains of Aescalon Books2Read link

The Monad Trap
Monad Trap Cover
The Monad Trap Books2Read link

The Gates To Faerie
Gates To Faerie cover
The Gates To Faerie Books2Read link

Gifts Of The Mother
Gifts Of The Mother cover
Gifts Of The Mother Books2Read link

The Book on Mortgages Everyone Should Have!
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages Cover
What Consumers Need to Know About Mortgages Books2Read

The Book on Buying Real Estate Everyone Should Have
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate Cover
What Consumers Need to Know About Buying Real Estate Books2Read

Dan Melson's San Diego Real Estate and Mortgage Website

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on September 5, 2023 7:00 AM.

First Draft Excerpt from Measure of Adulthood was the previous entry in this blog.

Excerpt from The Price Of Power is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.21-en

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Copyright 2005-2024 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved