Pain...lashing in waves...blotting out everything in its wake. Lorna didn't want to moan, or make any sound. She wanted to prove that she was as brave as any woman of Sarek's native world would be at this time, but she couldn't help it. It hurt too much - more than it would have in normal circumstances...but this wasn't a normal pregnancy. With a Vulcan father and a Terran mother, how could it be?
She hadn't had this difficulty when she'd been carrying their first child...the pregnancy had gone amazingly well, even though she'd been trapped in Earth's past.... But, that had been possible only because the Beta Five, Gary Seven's computer, had monitored her treatment and care.... This time, it was different - not even Vulcan had advanced to the point where they had enabled her to complete this pregnancy without enduring much pain and discomfort...though they had made enough advances that she'd been able to continue the pregnancy to its full termination.
A calm voice repeating words of comfort spoke in her ear, and a hot hand rested upon her forehead, smoothing back her disordered hair. Immediately, the pain - or her awareness of that pain - lessened, and she was able to gather her strength for the final effort.
The welcome sounds of an infant voice raised in protest was her reward. A few moments later, she felt the contractions beginning which would force the second child into the world....
When Lorna awoke, she felt sore in every muscle and very, very tired. For a moment she lay there hoping to go back to sleep, then she recalled what had just happened. Her eyes snapped open and she started to sit up....
"Rest," Sarek insisted as he pressed her back. "You have returned to your room, and all is well."
"Safe. I was with them."
"It is as we were promised...they are free of any defects."
"You doubted?" There was a note of actual wonder in Sarek's voice.
"A little.... I kept hoping, praying, trying to believe...but there was always that chance.... When may I see them?" she asked eagerly as she sank down upon the pillow in response to his gentle urging.
"They will be brought to you soon. First, you must rest."
Lorna looked up into Sarek's face, and at the same time, she sent her thoughts questing to meet his. There were no words involved, but she could feel his quiet joy.
Sarek reached out to clasp her hands and brought them up to rest against his cheek. "You have given me a son and a daughter, Lorna. All Vulcan traditions and expectations have been fulfilled..." he spoke as though he were quoting the words of an ancient ritual, then his hands tightened over hers as he allowed his joy and pride to express themselves: "Thank you for our children, Lorna," he said simply.
"Thank you, as well, Sarek," she replied with equal brevity.
"I must leave soon to complete arrangements for their naming- ceremony. Have you any last minute changes?"
"No, all that we have decided pleases me."
"I have thought of one addition to the ceremony. Express your opinion of these, Lorna." He laid two small boxes in her lap.
She reached down to open them, then smiled. There resting on their respective beds of glowing fabric, were two tiny wristlets - made from a unique gold-hued substance that would expand as the children grew, but could not be removed unless one knew how to operate the concealed locks. Each wristlet bore a gold-hued oval set in its surface: Upon one oval was inscribed the name, "Talitha;" upon the second was the name, "Suvil."
"A gift of love from their father at their naming-ceremony!" She took a deep breath. "Oh, Sarek! I should have gotten something...!"
"Hush, my wife," he said with mock sternness as he laid one finger upon her lips. "You have given our children the gift of life. T'Alythia and Suvil require nothing more from you at the ceremony. You will be giving of yourself and of your service for as long as they need - what more can they ask?"
She didn't reply, merely reached up to clasp his hand with her own and then touch it with her lips.
"Sleep now," he reverted again to the ritual. "Regain your strength, secure in the knowledge that I am well-pleased with this fruit of our union. I go now to gather the Family for the naming-ceremony."
He rose, then he broke all tradition by bending to give her a swift kiss before turning to leave.
Obediently, Lorna closed her eyes and rested...all the while thinking of the exciting events that would come to them as they brought up their children. As she began to drop off into sleep, she breathed a silent prayer of thanks that she had given birth to twins....
The fact that she'd still been able to conceive at all at her age had been like a miracle.... It was highly unlikely that she would be fertile enough to ever conceive again....
Issue Number Three: December 1976
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