Copyright© 2015 by Gordon Johnson
Tom grunted, "O.K., I can go with that idea, Enid. Jeannette, you have to collect your certificate of permanent residence if it is ready, and complete the setting up of your business today. Do you want a lift, or do you feel like a walk?"
Jeannette checked her watch. "Give me five minutes, Tom, and I'll accept that lift. I will walk home, but I may come back via the shops, Enid. Anything you want me to get for you?"
"Yeah. Look for a new bed for Usgar. He is swamped in an adult bed, but is too big for the usual child bed. You want to find something that will do him for another five years at least, I should think."
"Great idea, Enid. I had noticed he was too small for the bed he was in last night, but I didn't take the thought further. I'll see what I can find. There must be other families with pre-teens like him. I wonder if we have room for a small chest of drawers for his clothes?"
Enid smiled. "I am sure we will make room. If everything goes well, we'll eventually need a larger house for our kids, anyway."
Jeannette smiled back. "You say the nicest things, Enid. Let's see if I can get pregnant, first. It would be great if my first Tom had been shooting blanks. We know your Tom is fertile, though."
Later that day, Tom was finalising some pages of the paper when his phone rang. He picked up, and Jeannette said to him, "Tom, you can call me "boss", now. As of two hours ago, I am the proud owner of The Rehome News."
"Congratulations, boss. Do I get away with "boss", only at work? Can I use "darling" at home?"
"I am sure we can manage with that degree of familiarity, Tom. Oh, and your son Usgar will be getting a new bed delivered in the next couple of days."
"Lovely. He looked a bit lost in that bed last night."
"That's it exactly. We need to make him feel comfortable, knowing he fits in, in every way possible. I bought a pregnancy kit yesterday, but have still to use it. I'll let you know what it says, if anything. It might be too soon."
"Pregnant or not, Jeannette my love, I intend to continue making love to you and Enid as often as possible. You can depend on that!"
Esther was relaxing at home, and admiring Jenny, who was studying on her home computer, learning the basics of Malan. Jenny became aware of being watched, and turned her head.
"Mummy, you are supposed to learn Malan too."
"I know, dear, but I think your need is greater than mine. I have enrolled in the evening class "Learning Malan" that is run by Mother Narech at the high school. That course is aimed at adult humans who need to be able to understand the basics of the language and speak it to some degree. You have to learn it to be your first language, with English as secondary. The problem you have is you were never given the chance to immerse yourself in the language, so it is more difficult for you to learn it now.
Feel free to invite your Malan friends over here, to assist you with it. Having someone to talk to in Malan is important. That technique is a great help in learning any language, Jenny."
"That's a good idea, Mommy. Can it be any time, or do you want it to be times when you can be here?"
"The first time, I would like to be present, to watch what happens, but then I expect you to make your own arrangements with the others. They are reliable young people, I think. Narech has taught them well." She paused and went on on, "Though it may be that I am not supposed to leave five-year-olds without adult supervision. I shall check that out."
"Thanks, Mommy. I love you, Mommy. You have always looked out for me, no matter what these men did with their "tests"."
"I do my best, Jenny. You are first and foremost my daughter, so I have motherhood responsibilities that I am happy to attend to. Everything else was secondary."
"You mean, like Auntie Charlie?"
"Yes, like Auntie Charlie. On this planet, in this colony, she doesn't have to be secondary any more. She can marry me, and we will both be your mommies. Won't that be great?"
"I expect so, Mommy. I don't know Aunty Charlie so well as you, but she seems a nice lady. She has never said anything nasty to me, and I am used to having her around at times. Does this mean she will be around ALL of the time?"
"This will be her home, Jenny. Charlie and I will share a bedroom, just like mommies and daddies do."
"Oh? That's all right, then."
"How do you mean, Jenny?"
"I was afraid I would have to let her share my room, and I like having it to myself. But if she will share YOUR room, I will still have my own room."
"A very practical view, Jenny. You will continue to have your own room. Growing girls like to have a private place to themselves. I had not realised you were so, so, human, that way. I wonder if that is your upbringing, or Malan sociology being similar to human sociology."
"What's sociology, Mommy?"
"Oh, how people behave, as a group. I do believe Malans and humans are so very much the same. No-one has really taken much notice of this."
"Mommy Ruth Kempe seems to know a lot about how people behave. Perhaps you could ask her, Mommy?"
"Fuck, yes!" Esther remembered. "The Governor said she was a psychologist. Well spotted, Jenny. You are a clever girl indeed. Now show me how clever, by studying your Malan, please."
Next morning, Esther put through a call to Ruth Kempe, at the mansion. The lady that answered said, "Sorry, madam, but Ruth has already left for her office. You can get her there. This is her phone ID, but please wait until she gets there."
Esther waited half an hour, then tried the number. She got through.
"Hello. Ruth Kempe here. Can I help you?"
"Mrs. Kempe? My name is Esther. I am the mother of Jenny, one of the Malans. I understand you are a qualified psychologist?"
"My Jenny is exhibiting what to me is normal human behaviour in a young girl. Is this because she has spent all her life with me, or is it because Malans are very similar to humans in their family behaviour? I am concerned that I might be a bad influence on her as she starts to learn about being a Malan."
"Why Esther, that is an interesting question. We don't have enough data to be able to say with certainty on such matters, for the other four Malans were brought up as Malans, then were integrated with human children. Yours is the only one that was brought up as a human child. I would have to discover what older children may have influenced her, what she learned from adults, and so forth.
"I can say that there is no cause for concern. All the Malan children appear to be quite resilient in whatever social circumstances they find themselves. As long as they are treated with respect, they seem to be able to handle anything. The four were also taught by Mother Narech how to handle adult humans who were unkind. The children were taught that these humans had mental problems, and were to be pitied; and not to be afraid of them. Their responses have derailed a few people who had harsh words to say, when they themselves were in turn regarded with sympathy and concern!"
Esther relaxed somewhat. "Then I don't need to worry about treating my daughter as a human girl?"
"That is so, Esther. Treat her as a normal daughter, but encourage her to adopt Malan traits, customs, language, and friendships. I am sure you are doing your very best for her."
"Thank you so much, Ruth. That takes a load off my mind."
Tom got his story finished, finally cleared by the Governor, and warned his distributors on Earth to expect it momentarily. He aimed to publish it in his own paper, and send it to the earth news distributors at the same time. He had his computers set up to send it at the touch of a button.
He cast a final eye over the text. He could see no glaring errors, so took a deep breath, and pressed the button. His paper's latest edition went live, and he phoned the Governor to tell him so.
Bob replied, "Thank you, Tom. I am ready to field queries from Earth. We shall see how long it takes. I presume any that come to you, you will simply refer them to me?"
"I am happy with that, sir. Best of luck!"
Bob's first call came from Ebenezer de la Torre, the ex-UN diplomat, and so most aware of the political ramifications.
"Governor, have you seen the front page story in the paper?"
"I have, Ebenezer. An interesting tale it is, too."
"Do you need any advice or help in dealing with the Earth authorities, when they read it? They are going to be hopping mad!"
"I expect so, Ebenezer. If I find myself facing a barrage of calls, I may ask you to help out. Mainly, we are claiming nothing, except trying to be helpful to the poor ladies who have suffered the loss of their children for five years. We rejoice in their being reunited with their offspring, and are offering support to the ladies.
"That is the line I propose to take, Ebenezer."
"Fine. That seems straightforward. If I come in to help you, I could claim to be a spokesperson for the Governor. Is that acceptable?"
"Indeed so, old friend. You know my ways, don't you?"
"Huh! I certainly do, you con-man, you!" he laughed at his own joke. Bob laughed politely as well.
"Right. I'll get someone to call you if the pressure arrives. Bye for now."
There was nothing from Earth for several hours, until the online editions of major newspapers started to be noticed in the corridors of power. Then the TV stations picked it up, referred to past stories about Malan children, and rediscovered that these children had been effectively banished from Earth. However, there had in the past been no mention of the human mothers who had acted as surrogates to birth the alien children. The media asked for spokesmen from the United States – as the lead nation – on what their country had been up to, concerning these women.
The first response was to try and bluster their way out of the questions. An official was produced to fend off the reporters.
"It is far too early to answer questions about a story which has just appeared. We have to establish the veracity of the claims made in a newspaper on a colony world. We noted that names of the supposed mothers have not been revealed: a suspicious sign. The whole thing might be a hoax, or an attempt to undermine our great country."
The reporters were having none of this. "But the story quotes the Governor of Rehome. Does not that lend it credence?"
"Who knows? The quote may have been taken out of context, or inserted without his knowledge. The Secretary of State is currently preparing to speak to the Governor of Rehome on that very point."
"Secretary of State? Does that mean that Rehome is seen as a foreign country? We understood it was a colony of ours."
"It is indeed a colony, a colony of Earth, but a self-governing one, with its own laws and customs, so effectively a foreign land, albeit without the need for a visa to visit it. We pride ourselves in seeing a colony maturing and acting as an independent country, without having to fight for that right, which the United States had to do in its infancy as a nation."
Another reporter was not to be put off.
"All of what you say does not answer the basic question. Were there indeed a number of women who were asked to be surrogate mothers for alien children? Our stories from several years ago merely said that the children were cloned from deceased Malans. There was never any mention of human mothers. Why was that?"
The official was flustered. "I cannot answer hypothetical questions about events in past years. That is not my remit, gentlemen and ladies of the press."
The US Secretary of State, Terence Connor, was now on the phone to the Governor of Rehome.
"Governor Robert Kempe? I am Terence Connor, Secretary of State for the United States of America. I refer to a story which appeared in your local newspaper, and which has spread to the media on Earth very quickly.
"Is there any truth in what the story claims, Governor?"
"Mr Secretary, as you will understand, I have not been directly involved in anything to do with the story, but I met these ladies the other day, when there was a meeting with their Malan children."
"But how do you know that these women are genuine, Governor. What evidence have they produced to substantiate their ridiculous claims?"