A long time ago (around three years give or take) I had started a new Strangetown N002 game file and began a sort of guided play. I made a family with certain characteristics and background, and began making up a story as I went along, posting it on TSR since that was the community I was most active in at the time.
As sometimes happens with things like this, the plot began taking on a life of its own. I began getting more and more into the story, and toward the end it switches from a third-person narrative to a first-person dialogue.
I had fully intended, at some point, to write the story again from the beginning… following the same plotline but fleshing it out with more dialogue and pictures. However, while I would still love to do that someday, it doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon
So… if you don’t mind a sort of jumbled-up mess with mediocre pictures, feel free to read this story, that I ended up naming Alien Plan.
Meet Dr. Nicholas Quasar, the world-renowned scientist,
and his daughter Luna.
The Doctor has moved to Strangetown to assist the military in producing biological warfare agents to use against the encroaching alien race.
Of course, little does the military realize that the good Doctor is playing from both sides, and is also apparently assisting the alien race... possibly in their efforts to eliminate all resistance from Earthlings.
Despite his work, the Doctor is concerned about Luna... his daughter and only child. He understands she is family-oriented, and therefore has little interest in continuing his scientific legacy. However, he desperately wants her to marry someone who will, and also to have a child who will carry his life's work through to the next generation.
Luna wants to choose her own mate, but impending spinsterhood looms, and she's reminded that her biological clock is ticking every time she looks into a mirror.
Depressed, she goes on a moonlit stroll through the park in Bluewater Village to reflect upon her life, and, as Fate would have it... as soon as the sun rises, she meets someone.
Someone she finds very interesting.
Luna and Pascal's relationship strengthened, and they became engaged. She asked him to move in, which he did, and he then gave birth to an alien boy named Pol, meaning "star," much to the delight of the Doctor.
Luna worries her father's interest in the child may be something much more than step-grandfatherly, and she wonders if she ought to inform Pascal of her suspicions.
Meanwhile, the Doctor perfected his robotery skills, and created a Servo, Id, to assist him in his experiments.
Unfortunately, the first experiment attempted by the Doctor on Id went terribly wrong, and now the family's diet is rather limited.
Pascal and Luna had their wedding, and shortly afterward, Pol became a toddler.
Luna's motherly instincts kicked into high gear, and she became as watchful as a hawk over the boy in order to protect him from her father, but it appears the Doctor's plans may lie deeper than Luna could have imagined...
Luna began to notice her husband spending a lot of time in the laboratory being coached by her father, and, although she was afraid to say anything, it worried her a great deal.
She also is afraid that it is now Pascal who has been conducting strange experiments on the Servo, Id,
...sometimes with frightening and dangerous results.
To add to her misery, Luna would love to have a baby, but thus far, she and Pascal have not been able to conceive. This issue is exacerbated by Pascal's waning romantic interest in his wife, and Luna wonders what else has captured his attentions. She's afraid her husband may be having an affair, but even worse, she's terrified that he is following in her father's footsteps, and she's frightened for herself, and for little Pol.
Alien-born he may be, but to Luna, he's as much her child as Pascal's, and she'd die to protect him.
As time passed, things seem to go from bad to worse for poor Luna.
Pol became a child, and Luna knows her father is doing experiments on the boy because of the things Pol tells her. However, without any hard evidence to implicate her father in any wrongdoing, Luna can not bring herself to tell the child the only grandfather he knows may be using him for evil purposes.
Pol only believes he’s helping Grandpa in the lab, and desperately wishes his father would desire his help as much! Instead, Pascal refuses to let Pol even see his work, claiming if that should happen it would render it worthless!
Luna, is beginning to seriously worry about her marriage. Was it truly because he loved her that Pascal married her or was it only because she was the daughter of the famous Doctor Quasar? She is confident now that Pascal is not having a romantic affair, but she almost wishes that was the case. At least she would know how to handle that!
She hates having to tell her stepson that his father is too busy to talk to him or play with him, and she wishes Pascal could see how much his behavior is affecting his family, but he continues to act as though she and Pol do not even exist.
Determined to bring her husband back to her, Luna settles on one answer... a baby. Of course, she knows that a baby should never be the solution to a problem, especially a marital one, but in her current state of mind, she's not thinking clearly. She believes if she were to become pregnant, it would make her husband finally focus on what she feels is most important... his family.
She bought some new lingerie and told herself that she is a woman, after all, and the last time she checked, Pascal was still a man. It was time she became the instigator of the romance, and Pascal couldn’t help but respond.
As a lullaby seemed to chime somewhere in the distance, Luna smiled and fell asleep, convinced this was the answer and filled with hope for the future.
However, while still in her first trimester of pregnancy, she began to hear strange metallic clanking sounds coming from the lab below. She didn't think much of it until Pol complained that his grandfather was no longer letting him “help” in the lab, and did not want him going down there at all.
Luna immediately became suspicious. Why wouldn’t her father want Pol in the lab now? She decided to investigate, and crept down to the lab without her father or Pascal noticing.
She found a horrifying sight. Pascal’s two brothers were locked in a holding cell, and shackled to the wall!
Weakened and near death from exhaustion and lack of food and water, Vidcund told Luna it was Pascal who had done this to them... that he had drugged them and managed to bring them to the cell and restrain them... to be used as very special hosts.
Not hosts for the average alien spawn, but hosts for a new Birth Queen!
Apparently, since the only way the alien race could survive on this world was to be born here, in order for the aliens to reproduce themselves without the assistance of Earthlings, they needed to send an embryonic Birth Queen to be implanted in a human host to begin a new colony. It had been their plan all along!
Vidcund told Luna all the previous alien births, including Pol and his own half-sisters, were only drones and hive workers sent to gather data, although they didn’t realize that themselves. They had been born here, raised here, and the scientists on their home planet monitored them all throughout their lives, recording the data over several generations. Now, they knew the planet was suitable for colonization, and they intended to make that happen... at the expense of the human race!
Horrified, Luna frantically assured her brothers-in-law she would find a way to release them... before the unthinkable happened.
Luna spent hours searching for the keys to the cell door and the shackles and chains, and finally found what she was looking for behind a loose brick in the wall of the bedroom she shared with Pascal.
She rushed to the lab to release Vidcund and Lazlo, but was dismayed to find Lazlo had already died from starvation.
Vidcund was still alive, and Luna quickly set him free and the two of them fled outside into the dark night. They knew they’d have to do something fast, before Pascal realized his lab rats were gone. Vidcund suggested they lock Pascal and the Doctor in the cell, but in Vidcund’s weakened state and Luna’s pregnant one, they were hardly able to subdue anyone.
Luna wished aloud for someone to help them, and was overheard by Id, the Servo. It seemed the robot remembered and resented all the times he had been the subject of experimentation, and was more than willing to help Luna in whatever way she needed.
The three of them were able to creep upon the Doctor as he lay sleeping, and with Id's help, they easily overpowered him and locked him in his own holding cell. He begged Luna to understand... that he must complete his work, but she only demanded he tell her where Pascal was.
He didn’t need to answer. Pascal was all of a sudden there, standing in the middle of the laboratory, and Luna had no idea where he had come from.
It broke Luna’s heart to see her husband. He looked as though he hadn’t slept in weeks... he was unshaven, his eyes were crazed and deranged, and she was momentarily unable to move or speak with the shock.
Id had no such quandaries. He subdued Pascal with little more effort than it took to restrain the Doctor, and Pascal likewise was dragged into the holding cell.
Pascal put up quite a fight; shouting and cursing as he strained at the bonds that held him, but after a few moments, he was silenced by the Doctor’s quiet statement that they needed to tell everyone the truth. They could do nothing locked in the cell, the Doctor said gently... but if they told Luna and Vidcund the truth, they could still have a chance...
Resigned, Pascal quieted in his bonds and nodded. The Doctor was right... they’d have to tell them.
They’d have to tell them everything...
Vidcund refused to believe there could be any logical reason for his older brother murdering Lazlo and trying to kill him too, and Pascal’s first attempt at an explanation didn’t help matters.
Pascal said that Vidcund and Lazlo had to be weakened in order for the transfer of the embryonic Birth Queen to be successful... as the Queen would not be part human, she would be implanted as a complete embryo. The immune system of a normal healthy human would see this as a foreign body, and would destroy it. Therefore, the host had to be brought near death to make the transfer successful...
The Doctor noticed Vidcund becoming angrier, and quickly interrupted his son-in-law to say they probably should start at the beginning. Pascal quieted and nodded acquiesence, and the Doctor began by telling Luna and Vidcund aliens not born on this planet could not survive here... but there was one exception... the Curious brothers’ sister Jenny’s husband.
The only thing that had kept that particular alien alive was the fact he was married to a human. The bond that was created somehow strengthened him, and the scientists on the alien home world who were monitoring him were convinced this was the key to the overthrow of the human race... but such a thing could not come of war or hate, and it could not serve their purpose.
After Jenny’s unfortunate accidental death by drowning, the old alien began to feel the effects of the human world on one of his race. His children were not in danger, as they had been born here, but without the protective influence of his wife, he himself would perish.
He had come to the Doctor, to ask if there was any way he could be helped.
The Doctor told Luna and Vidcund that he already knew about the alien race from working with the military, and he was at first shocked to see the old alien, but he also knew from his work as a scientist that he who listens learns much, and he brought the alien, who told the Doctor to call him #9, into the lab.
#9 told the Doctor everything, and the Doctor searched for a way to duplicate the protective effects his wife had on him, but that is something that science has never been able to create.
Luna began to feel sorry for her husband and father. With the cell door locked and Id present, there was no way the two of them could escape, so she quickly reached through the bars and released them from the shackles. They sank to the floor gratefully, and the Doctor continued his tale.
The old alien had told the Doctor he wasn’t concerned about dying. He didn’t want to leave his children orphaned, but he was resigned to his fate. The Doctor found it hard to believe he was part of the conspiracy against our world, having lived on our world for the past twenty-five years and in love with one of us for so long.
He was right. The old alien had no idea, but when the Doctor showed him all the evidence he had from the military, #9 had no choice but to accept the truth and he said he wanted to help.
So, with the old alien’s permission, the Doctor began doing experiments on him... trying to find out everything he could about the alien body chemistry. With #9's cooperation, the Doctor was able to create microorganisms that would be deadly to them but harmless to humans.
Of course, the Doctor would rather prevent the war completely, but it didn’t hurt to be prepared. He sold the agent to the military, who were more than happy to get it.
Luna remembered all the mysterious visits she had witnessed from the elderly alien and the General so long ago. It all made sense, but now in an entirely different light!
The Doctor also said that during his experiments on the alien’s body, he found some odd tumors in #9's brain. Tumors that were not biological in origin, but mechanical. He asked the old alien about them, but #9 was unaware of their existence.
Upon further study, the Doctor discovered they were microscopic transmitters and tracking devices.
#9 was shocked. Unbenownst to him, he had been sending information back to his home world all his life. He was horrified. However, the Doctor thought he might be able to use those transmitters against the alien race in some way... feed them false information... or something of that sort... and the old alien was willing to help in any way he could.
Unfortunately, he died before the Doctor was able to do any more research.
That was where Pascal and Pol came in.
The Doctor told Luna that when she had come to him and told him she had met a man who was carrying an alien child, he felt Fate was smiling on him. He was sorry to have used her in such a manner, but it was for the greater good.
Luna fumbled with her wedding ring, muttering that she hadn’t been used. She would have loved Pascal under any circumstance, and Pascal spoke up and said the same... he would have loved her as well. After they were married and the Doctor told him everything, it just made him feel as though they had been made for each other in more ways than one.
Luna couldn’t help it. She unlocked the barred door and released her husband and father, falling into Pascal’s arms and sobbing. Pascal held her close for a moment, but then gently prised her arms from around him and told her they had more to reveal... and time was short.
Following his release from the cell, the Doctor began to pace. He told his daughter, Vidcund, and Id that he had continued his experiments on the alien tracking and transmitting devices on Pol as soon as Pol became old enough to follow instructions.
It didn’t hurt the boy at all, the Doctor said, and Pol enjoyed helping in the lab. The Doctor assured Luna he would never hurt Pol... he loved him like his own grandson.
Once the Doctor had figured out how to tweak the alien transmitters to his satisfaction, he and Pascal conspired to get Pascal abducted again... this time with Pascal having similar transmitters in his brain. These transmitters, however, were designed to feed information to the alien race allowing them to believe Pascal would help them to overthrow humanity. As Pascal had been with them once before and had borne one of their own, it was easier for them to trust him.
The aliens believing Pascal was on their side was the most important factor in the entire plan. Because of this, they were entrusting him with the arrangements to bring forth their Queen. They were taking a great risk in doing so, but they were satisfied in their belief that Pascal was helping them and would procure a suitable host... one of his brothers... and weaken the host as was needed in order for the queen to survive.
What the aliens didn’t realize was that upon the queen’s emergence from the host, Pascal intended to destroy her. With the Queen dead, the alien race would not be able to colonize this planet.
Pascal begged Vidcund to understand. He couldn’t reveal to his brothers the true plan, because any knowledge they had would be imparted to the embryonic Birth Queen upon her implantation, and even in her fetal state, the Queen would be able to transmit that information to the home world. All would then be lost, as the aliens would simply kill Pascal, the Doctor, Pol, and Luna, keep the host alive long enough to bring forth the queen, and then life on the entire world as they knew it would end.
Therefore, in order for the Queen to believe Pascal was helping the aliens, Lazlo and Vidcund had to believe it too. Pascal had been devastated at the loss of Lazlo, but he hoped that had his brother known, he would have agreed. Better to sacrifice the few to save the many...
Vidcund nodded. It was true. He would have done exactly the same thing.
In the meantime, Pascal continued, he had been working on a new weapon that would destroy the Birth Queen, whose natural defenses were rather formidable and immune to all known weaponry and all biological agents... even the one the Doctor had created to use against the other members of the alien race. Pascal and the Doctor had created a room just for the purpose of building the device, as they could not risk it being seen by Pol. The child could unknowingly transmit the information to the home world, and Pascal couldn’t take that chance. He knew it upset his son to be shut out, but it couldn’t be helped.
Turning to Luna, Pascal took her hands and said he knew how much she, too, had been hurt by his behavior, and that he was truly sorry. He also said he understood how badly she wanted a baby, but he could not, in good conscience, act to bring another child into a world that could so soon be destroyed.
Luna gulped. Pascal still didn’t know about her pregnancy, and she wasn’t sure now was the time to tell him. However, she realized she might never have another chance, and gently reminded Pascal of the romantic night they had spent together a few months before. He smiled and said he couldn’t easily forget, as it had been something he had very much needed and appreciated at the time... but then his eyes flew open with realization.
He had been so caught up in the moment, he hadn’t thought to do anything to prevent pregnancy. Urgently, he asked Luna was she telling him what he thought she was telling him? Luna nodded, her eyes downcast, and Pascal held her close, tears in his eyes. Then he lifted his head and on his face was a grim determination. He was even more resigned to stopping the alien invasion now.
Vidcund wanted to know what could be done. He said although no one could fault he and Luna, they had ruined the Doctor and Pascal’s plans. Pascal thought for a moment and then said he would simply advise the alien home world that both his brothers had died during the weakening process. It could have happened, he reasoned, and they would have had to think of something else in that case anyway.
He let go of Luna and prepared to send the alien home world a message.
(This is when the story switches to first-person and Luna's POV. Hope it's not too confusing.)
Pascal began to converse in a harsh-sounding language to a being we could not see, speaking rapidly, then pausing as he listened for the replies. A cold chill went through me as I heard the alien voices coming from another world, and Vidcund put his arm around me as I shivered. I was grateful for my brother-in-law’s support, as we were very likely facing not only our demise, but the extermination of the entire human race.
My father was listening carefully. Unlike myself, Vidcund, and Id, my father could understand what was being communicated, and after a few moments, he gently took my arm. “We need to go,” he whispered. “Now!”
“Why?” I asked, even as I was being pulled by my father toward the hidden weapon chamber. My father did not reply, but gestured frantically to Vidcund and Id. “In here!” he hissed in an urgent whisper. “Both of you... hurry!”
I gazed around the small room which I had not ever seen before. It was obvious it had been recently used heavily... discarded coffee cups, papers, and other debris littered the floor... but my attention was immediately drawn to the pulsing object in the corner. It was obviously the weapon that Pascal had been constructing. I couldn’t discern how it worked, and I was afraid to get too close to it, but there was no question of its power.
“What’s going on?” Vidcund asked my father once we were all inside. My father still didn’t reply; instead, he quickly crossed to the far corner of the room and began adjusting knobs and dials on the side of the formidable-looking weapon.
The device hummed and throbbed as my father worked.
“Id!” my father called, breathlessly trying to move the weapon so he could reach a hidden panel. “Help me!”
“What’s happening?” I cried, but my only answer was a blinding green light coming from around the cracks of the hidden door, and then I heard my husband scream in pain!
“Pascal!” I cried, clawing at the panel. "Daddy!” I sobbed, “What’s happening to Pascal?”
Satisfied now with the condition of the weapon, my father sighed. “He is being used as the host,” he said sadly. “I heard the aliens tell him they would use him since both his brothers were dead. They weren’t going to accept just anyone, and the embryonic queen is ready for transport. She had to be implanted soon or she would die. So, they are using Pascal.”
“But he could die!” I sobbed, turning toward the door again.
My father held me back, gently but firmly. “It’s likely he will,” my father said sadly. “But do you not remember what he told you about the host needing to be weak? The aliens will use pain to weaken him to their satisfaction before implanting the embryo.”
“No! Nooooo!” I screamed in horror, fighting to be free, but my father held me firm.
“Pascal knew his life was in danger from the start,” Daddy whispered to me, shaking me a little. “He was willing to sacrifice the few to save the many, including himself. Don’t let his efforts be for nothing!”
Pascal continued to scream and I sank to the floor, crying. I felt someone kneel beside me and out of the corner of my eye I saw it was Vidcund. Wordlessly, he put his arms around me, and we both listened helplessly.
Then, as soon as it started, the bright green light blinked out, and Pascal’s moans also ceased. I started to open the hidden panel, but again my father stopped me.
“Now he will be implanted with the embryo,” my father whispered. “We cannot act until after that is completed.”
I pressed my ear to the door but I could hear very little. Mostly I heard sounds of movement, and once I heard a weary groan from my husband, but that was all. Then there was silence. My father waited another few minutes, just to be sure, then he slowly opened the panel.
Pascal lay alone on the tiled floor, naked and in obvious pain. I rushed out to him and gathered him into my arms. His entire body was like ice. “He’s so cold,” I choked in a terrified whisper. “We have to get him warm...”
“He’s gone into shock,” my father replied, doing a quick examination of Pascal’s abdomen. “...but the embryo was successfully implanted. We have to act fast.” He stood up and rushed towards the weapon chamber. “Id!” he called. “Help me bring the weapon out here, closer to Pascal!”
“What are you doing?” I cried, suddenly realizing what was about to happen. “You’re not going to use that thing on Pascal, are you?” I covered my husband protectively with my own body. “You can’t, Daddy! It’ll kill him!”
“Luna, it’s our only choice,” my father said sadly. “Don’t you remember what Pascal told you about the embryo receiving the knowledge from the host and transmitting it to the home world? Once the home world knows of our plans, all will be lost. They’ll kill us to stop it from happening, and the queen would be allowed to be born, and so would end human life as we know it.”
I continued to sob, clinging to Pascal’s cold form, refusing to let go. “But... but those things you put into his brain...” I gasped, trying to think of something... anything... to save the man I loved. “What about those? Can’t you program them to block the signals or something?”
My father lightly placed his hand on my back. “I’m sorry, Luna,” he said gently. “But those only work on Pascal’s brain alone; they would not have any effect on the queen’s embryo discovering any information or relaying it.” He sighed sadly. “Luna, I’m afraid this is the only way.”
I still refused to move. My father grasped me by the shoulders and forced me to look at him. “Listen!” he whispered urgently. “Pascal didn’t want to kill the host! It was his plan to keep his brothers alive until the queen was born and then eliminate her alone, but we can’t do that now! Pascal knows too much and soon the home world will as well! We can still destroy the queen by the elimination of the host, but we must hurry! Any moment now and it could be too late! Now you listen to me and move!”
He prised me off of my husband and dragged me away. “Vidcund, hold on to her,” my father commanded, pulling me over to my brother-in-law. “Don’t let her interfere.” Vidcund wrapped his arms around me and nodded.
My father stopped, put his hand on Vidcund’s shoulder and looked into his eyes for a moment. “This won’t be easy for you either, son,” my father said, “but you do understand why we have to do it, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Vidcund said tightly, looking away. “I understand.”
My father squeezed Vidcund’s shoulder briefly. “Good. Stay there. And don’t let Luna get away from you, no matter what!” Vidcund’s arms clamped around me, and I knew it was pointless to try to resist. Instead I turned toward him, pressed my face into his chest, and sobbed.
After a moment, his viselike grip became more of a comforting embrace, and he lay his head down on mine, his own tears dripping slowly into my hair.
Powerless to stop what was happening, I squeezed my eyes shut as my father and Id pulled the weapon into a position to do what they had to do. I heard my father shout an affirmation, Id’s robotic reply, and then a high-pitched pulsing sound. Even through my closed eyelids the brightness in the room burned my retinas, blinding me for a moment. Vidcund’s arms held me even closer and I could feel his shuddering sobs. I clung close to him, feeling his tears mingle with mine... knowing his grief was as great as my own.
I knew it was over even before the light in the room died away. The world was saved, but my love, my husband... the father of my unborn child... was gone.
Was I surprised to see the sun rise that morning... knowing the world was moving on as usual? No, not surprised... I was instead filled with rage! Irrationally so, I knew... but the normalcy of life after what had transpired that night filled me with an illogical, frustrated wrath. I wanted to scream at everyone I saw... to let them know how close they came to death. That they needed to stop and look around them... needed to be grateful for every breath! For the blue sky overhead! For the sheer miracle at being alive! How dare the world behave as though this was just another day? This day was a gift! As would every day after it be!
Gazing into the brightness of the sun, I swallowed back my tears. “A gift,” I murmured. “Pascal, I promise you... I’ll not waste it. I’ll never waste it...”
The sky darkened to azure, and I heard the paperboy whistling as he delivered the morning news. Dogs barked nearby, and a few cars went past on the highway.
The lives for which my husband had given his own went on.
Pol was understandably devastated at the loss of his father, but I explained everything to him. I told him all of it; from the part he, himself, played in the important research, to why his father couldn’t ever let him see the work he’d been doing. I spared none of the details for the child, for although Pol was young, he possessed intelligence and insight far beyond his years.
I had thought the knowledge that his ancestors had planned on overthrowing our world might disturb him, but he was surprisingly philosophical about it.
“I wasn’t one of them, Mommy,” he said. “I may look like them, but I’m not part of their world. They didn’t see me that way, either. They used me and they would have killed me too.” He frowned a little. “I’m glad I helped beat them. Just like I bet my uncle #9 was glad. You know, Mommy... I bet not all of the aliens wanted to destroy us. I bet there were a lot of them who wanted to be friends with us. But they couldn’t cause then they’d get killed, too.”
He pondered that for a moment, then turned his huge black eyes up to me. “Mommy... those aliens who wanted to do the bad stuff to us... why were they the ones in charge? Why were they the ones who decided everything?”
I sighed sadly. “I don’t know, Pol.”
My stepson looked at me oddly and I hugged him. “But do you know what I think, Pol? I think you’re right. I think there are a lot of them who wanted us all to be friends, too. And who knows... maybe now they’ll get that chance.”
My pregnancy progressed uneventfully, and I soon gave birth to a black-haired, silvery-eyed daughter, who I named Gaea, meaning “Earth,” in tribute to the bravery her father had shown when he sacrificed himself to save our world.
Life was indeed going on for us all.
Gaea grew rapidly, basking in the adoration from all of us, and although I wished many times that Pascal could have known his daughter, there was no doubt she did not suffer from the absence of a father in her life. Daddy, who was overjoyed at having another grandchild, doted on her; and Pascal’s brother Vidcund was there for both Gaia and Pol constantly, establishing himself as a father figure long before I realized my own feelings for him had changed and blossomed into the beginnings of romance.
It was difficult for me to accept at first. I’d been thinking of him as my husband’s brother for so long that it felt strange to realize it could be more. Yet there was no denying how important he was to me, and I to him. We were both still young... and this life had so much more to offer us both.
When Gaia was a toddler, Vidcund shyly admitted he loved me, and wanted to be with me always. “I want to marry you, Luna,” he said quietly. “I know I can’t ever take Pascal’s place, either in your life or the children’s, but I ...”
I kissed him then, by way of aquiescence, and as his arms found their way around me and pulled me closer to him, I knew this was what Pascal would have wanted as well. I wasn’t certain how I knew that, but I felt it deep within.
Gaia toddled over to us and held her little arms up to her uncle, who scooped her up and cuddled her close. Yes, definitely what Pascal would have wanted... for me, for the children, and for the family. Lifting my face skyward, I took a deep breath and, for the moment, just savored my blessings. It was truly a miracle to be alive, and to love, and be able to feel the sun on my face, the breeze in my hair, and the warm sand under my feet.
Gaia’s too young to understand of course, but one day I’ll be sure to tell her everything. All about how brave her father was, and that he sacrificed himself to save her... and me... and all of us... the entire world...
I watched Vidcund playing with my daughter, just as Pol came home from school and ran to his uncle and future stepfather, waving his report card and shouting with pride. There was no doubt Vidcund loved the children as much as I.
He had also loved his brother, and most of all, he understood that I did as well...
...and that I always would.