The characters of Tracy Fairgate, Melissa Peterson and Claudia Collins belong to Karen Evans This story is a sequal of sorts to "Ice Queens" You may want to check that out first. Special thanks to Gabrielle Bessey and Marcia Richards

"The Lord said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh and say, Shall I indeed bear a child now that I am old? Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?"
Genesis 18. 13-14

Part Two

0200 hours
McQueen sat in the Saratoga's rec room, staring at the vid player. He was watching Tracy Fairgate's resignation news conference, now, four and a half months old. The conference was televised on local television stations in New York City. Tracy stood, composed on the podium and explained that due to "personal reasons" she was resigning her congressional seat. As she spoke, she ran a hand gently across her belly, McQueen smiled, slightly at the gesture. Then, she turned to her right and introduced a smiling Claudia Collins to the reporters and told them that she would be taking her place. With that, Tracy stepped down from the podium and Claudia stepped up, as the reporters fired off questions to Tracy, who shook her head and gestured to Claudia.

After that was finished, McQueen put a tiny CD into the player, and immediately a strong, rhythmic beating sound echoed through the rec room, then he took out a photograph of Tracy, winking at the camera, holding her swelling belly, then he looked at the ultrasound picture, the first picture of his daughter.

He remembered Tracy's message when she found out the baby's sex. "It's a girl Ty, hope you didn't have your heart set on a boy...if you did well...I guess we'll have to try again," then she laughed, "so start thinking of names, I'll accept all suggestions, just don't come up with anything outrageous, Mel's afraid I'll name her La-Shonda or something like that...and...um..no offense but, I really don't like the name, Tyra either."

McQueen knew that some Natural Born men preferred sons over daughters. He knew it was an old fashioned way of thinking, something about carrying the family name; he didn't have time for thoughts like that, nor did he worry about what the child would look like, the only thing he thought about was that it would be his baby.

McQueen heard someone come in, he turned around and saw Ross standing in the doorway. Before he could turn off the CD player and rise to face his commanding officer, the older man was at his side, hand on his shoulder.

"No, don't get up, Ty," he said, smiling at the sound of the heartbeat. "She's got a strong heartbeat."

"Yes sir, she does."

Ross pulled up a chair and sat down next to McQueen. McQueen looked down, a little embarrassed that his commanding officer wanted to share this with him.

"So, how is Tracy?"

"Fine. Melissa Peterson's moved in with her."

Ross winced at the sound of her name. "That thought does not warm my heart, especially after what she tried to pull on my ship."

"I know sir but...Tracy seems comfortable with the arrangement, she says Melissa's changed, calm, serene, even plays the harp."

"Next you'll tell me she's got wings and a halo," Ross said.

"Not yet sir."

"Well, at least she's not going stir crazy, being out of the political scene. That would make anyone a better person."

McQueen looked at the photograph of Tracy and felt a strange warmth in his belly. "Politics is Tracy's life sir, but she's managing alright."

Ross sat back in the chair. "So, tell me, have you two picked out a name yet?"

McQueen shook his head. "I...I really haven't thought about it."

"Haven't thought about it? Ty, this is your baby we're talking about."

"I...um...well, I'm not good at that kind of stuff...I mean, at the IV facility, the monitors named us...never really thought about naming someone else."

Commodore Glen Ross put his hand on McQueen's shoulder again and patted it affectionately. "I understand son. I have a suggestion of a name."

"Sir?"

"It's just a suggestion Ty, nothing more. What about Glenna?"

McQueen hoped the Commodore didn't see him flinch. "Sir...that's a nice name sir, but..um...well, Tracy might have a name picked out already."

"Ty, it's only a suggestion, not an order."

"Yes sir."

For awhile, the two men sat in silence as the heartbeat continued to echo through the room.

"She does have a strong heartbeat, sir."

Ross smiled and laughed. "You're going to be a great father, Ty."


Immediately after Tracy Fairgate's resignation, the rumors as to why she'd resigned came and went with each passing day. The first rumor was that Tracy had somehow contracted the infamous 20th century disease, AIDS, and that she was dying; another rumor had Tracy addicted to some illegal drug and was going away for a year to dry out, still another claimed Tracy was insane and was going to live in the same facility as her former assistant, Melissa Peterson. Then, four and a half months after the press conference, Tracy was walking to her car outside of her home in Alexandria, Virginia, when a photographer from a New York City tabloid snapped her picture and put it on the front page of the following week's paper. "HERE'S THE REASON" the headline screamed, it was clear from the photograph that Tracy was pregnant. By that time, however, most people weren't interested in why Tracy Fairgate resigned from congress, that was old news, as stale as two week old bread. The newspaper was met with only a couple of shrugs.

Tracy came to see Melissa Peterson, in the facility in upstate New York, and asked her to come live with her. She told her she was pregnant and McQueen was the father. Tracy expected a hostile response, but found none. Melissa smiled at her old friend.

"I'm so happy for you, Tracy, I really am."

"Yeah, sure Mel. I don't know a goddamn thing about raising a baby."

Melissa sat cross legged on the sofa, wearing faded jeans and a tee shirt, looking like the teenager Tracy met when she was a teenager herself.

"Neither does anybody," Melissa said.

"Shit, McQueen and I, what a pair, huh?"

Melissa nodded. "You love him, don't you?"

Tracy nodded. "Yeah, you could always read me like a book, Mel." She sighed. "How would you feel, living with me?"

"I don't know. But since I've been here, I've learned that the reason I was so angry all the time was because I never told anyone what my wants and needs were, not that anyone could meet them, but I still have a right to say them."

Tracy wasn't much for therapy talk, but if it helped Melissa, more power to it.

"If I felt uncomfortable, I'll let you know. Talk it out, don't act it out," she smiled.

"Okay."

"Can I have my harp?"

"Sure."

Melissa put out her hand. Tracy shook it, then Melissa's eyes filled with tears. "Oh God, Tracy, I've missed you."

"I've missed you too Mel," Tracy said as she pulled the other woman into an embrace.


As the weeks turned into months, Tracy became more used to the idea of being a mother. She no longer became upset as her body changed, but welcomed it. She had Melissa take photographs of her at different stages, so she could send them to McQueen, and she also made sure he got the ultrasound photographs, plus a two hour recording of the baby's heartbeat.

Tracy and Melissa spent their time eating healthy food, drinking healthy drinks, watching old 20th century movies on TV, Tracy's favorite was "Boyz In The Hood", and shopping. They shopped for baby clothes, baby toys and everything else that a baby girl would need, or wouldn't need. Tracy designated the room next to hers, as the nursery; and the room was soon covered in pink and white wallpaper, depicting rainbows and smiling children of all races, and filled with stuffed toys and clothes and furniture, a large mahogany crib sat in the middle of the room, a gift from Diane Hayden.

Despite Melissa Peterson's newfound serenity and complete withdrawal from political life, she was still sharp, smart and focused. She accompanied Tracy to her doctor's appointments, sometimes driving when Tracy felt too exhausted to drive herself, and stood by her friend when she informed the doctor that she wanted to have her baby the same way her grandmother had her mother, at home with a midwife.

"Tracy," Dr. Stephanie George said, "don't you think it would be better to go to a hospital? I mean your...situation could prove difficult."

"What do you mean by situation?" Melissa asked, staring Stephanie in the eyes.

Stephanie looked away from the intense stare, then turned to Tracy. "I mean your physical condition, Tracy. Your...situation."

"You mean you're not sure my insides froze as well as my outsides?" Tracy said.

Stephanie sighed. "You both are two of the earliest cryogenic experiments, I just want to make sure that everything will go smoothly."

"So do I, that's why I want to have my baby at home. Look, Stephanie, it's no secret that the father is an InVitro, and I know that a lot of people have problems with so called Natural Borns and InVitro's...together. I wouldn't want me or my baby to meet with some kind of...accident."

Stephanie stared at Tracy as though she had been slapped. "Tracy...if you're implying..."

"That's just what she's implying," said Melissa, "and where did you get this Natural Born word? Hell, nothing natural at all about the way I was born, my mother was out cold."

Stephanie stared at Melissa, the woman gave her the creeps, and not because she knew she had been in a psychiatric facility. When Melissa looked at her, Stephanie felt the weight of those blue/green eyes, it was as if she could see down to her soul.

The doctor sighed. "I'll look into midwives..."

"No problemo Steph, I've already found one," Tracy smiled at the doctor's stunned expression, "I just want you to be there in case there are...complications."

"You've found a midwife," Stephanie repeated.

Tracy nodded. "She's a real nice woman, and she's InVitro too."

"Tracy helped her brother get out of trouble, when she was in congress," Melissa chimed in.

Stephanie looked from Melissa to Tracy. "Well, if she's fine with you, Tracy, she's fine with me, and yes, I'll be there for you."

"Good. We probably won't need your help, but you never know," Tracy smiled.


As winter quickly became spring, Tracy began to grow restless, it seemed like she'd been pregnant forever, and it didn't help that she hadn't heard from McQueen in three weeks. She'd stand for hours, the window in the nursery and watch the tiny buds popping up on the trees outside her house.

"Why should I be surprised, finding you here," Melissa said.

"Fuck this shit!" Tracy shouted.

"What?"

She faced her friend. "Look at me goddamnit! I'm as big as a fucking house, and this baby doesn't feel like coming yet!"

Melissa assessed her friend's situation. Tracy had gained about fifty pounds, which wasn't so bad since she was tall, but Tracy had never been overweight. "I don't even want to look in the goddamn mirror, Mel!"

"Tracy, the baby book says that sometimes, girls are late, it also says that the way you're feeling is nor..."

"Fuck you, Mel! Just go fuck yourself, alright!" She walked away from the window. "And where the fuck is Ty! Why isn't he here! He should've taken that goddamn promotion that I got for him! I should've made him take it, that way he'd be here...with me...where he should be! Damnit, I didn't do this by myself you know!"

"Tracy, there's a war on, remember, and Ty's fighting it."

"War...shit...I'll give him a war...goddamn tank...war wound...war wound my ass...I'll give him a war wound when I see him..." Tracy ran her hand through her hair that was too long for her liking.

Melissa walked by the crib and shook her head. "I hate this thing, Tracy."

Tracy shook her head. "No, it is a pretty crib Mel...retro, the way I like it. I hate 21st century furniture...everything looks like cheap plastic..."

"I guess I'd like it more if it wasn't from Diane Hayden," Melissa shuddered, "that's a real dragon lady. I didn't know you were tight with her."

"I'm not Mel. The InVitro right's movement is growing, getting real strong, there are a lot of InVitro's out there. Soon, they'll be in the House, the Senate, and whoever gets on their good side, will have absolute power forever. And look at me, I'm having an InVitro's baby...an InVitro war hero's baby."

"She who finds the void rules the world, but that she could be you Tracy."

Tracy stared at her friend and shook her head. "Now you sound like you did when we were in high school, and at Vassar. Where's that serenity, Mel? I am not thinking about going back to that life, anymore...but if I was in Diane's position, Ty could be a general."

Melissa saw the black sedan park in front of the house, Tracy followed her gaze, she gasped.

"Oh, my God...Ty...something's happened to Ty..." Tracy put her hand over mouth, just as the front door opened; but the man who exited the car wasn't wearing a military uniform. He was tall, and brown skinned, he wore a dark suit and tie and carried a brown briefcase, he looked very much like an undertaker.

"Shit, what's Karl Williams doing here? He's Diane Hayden's right hand man, and probably a lot more," Tracy said.

Both women went downstairs, just as Karl rang the doorbell. Tracy opened the door and faced him.

"Nice to see you, Karl? How's the secretary general?"

"Fine Congr....I'm sorry. I keep forgetting. It's hard getting used to someone else sitting in your seat. How are you feeling?"

"Alive." Tracy saw he wasn't going anywhere, so she let him in. Karl entered the house and smiled at Melissa.

"Long time no see," he said.

"Likewise," Melissa responded.

Karl didn't sit down, but Tracy felt the need to, so she did. "And how is Colonel McQueen?" Karl said.

"You tell me," Tracy answered, "I'm sure the secretary general knows better than I do."

"This isn't a social call, Karl, unless Diane wants to leave another crib," Melissa said.

"You're right, Ms. Peterson, this isn't a social call," he turned to Tracy. "The secretary general wanted to tell you this herself, but she wasn't able to come here today."

"Well, why doesn't she come tomorrow?" Tracy said.

"Because this can't wait Tracy," Karl's eyes met hers.

Tracy patted her belly. "Go ahead."

"Claudia Collins had joined forces with the conservatives, the kind of people who think all InVitros should be permanently indentured."

Tracy and Melissa looked at each other, stunned. Karl shrugged.

"I guess you didn't know."

"I've had other things on my mind. I don't believe a goddamn word you're saying, Karl."

He stepped closer to her. "Well, it's true, Tracy. Your seat has been taken over by a right winger."

"No, Claudia's not like that...she wouldn't..."

"She has. Frank Burger and Anthony Palmetti are pushing for a chemical weapon to be used against the Chigs. This weapon will be dropped on the Chig's home planet, it contains a virus deadly to them."

Tracy smiled. "Well, that explains it. Claudia's just getting behind them because of that. It's about ending the war."

Karl's face didn't smile. "The weapon is also toxic to humans. It would have to be dropped by a hammerhead. The pilots who fly this weapon will have a 75% chance of developing cancers we haven't even begun to study yet, at least that's what the scientists say."

"75%?" said Tracy. "No one in their right mind would fly that stuff."

"If they knew," Karl said. He opened his briefcase and took out a CD. "The information's in here, if you want proof." He placed the CD on the table near Tracy.

"Oh, my God," said Melissa.

Tracy shook her head. "Karl, I resigned, I gave up my seat to Claudia, I'm going to have a baby, I'm out of politics..."

"One more thing I think you should know, Tracy. It's already been decided what squadron would carry the weapon. Would you like to know?"

Tracy didn't say anything, she just stared at Karl, and she knew.

"The 58th," she said.

Karl nodded. "You know why? Because it's the only squadron on the Saratoga with an IV pilot, as well as an InVitro CO, and as Burger and Palmetti always say, who gives a shit if tanks get sick, they won't have anyone to miss them."

Tracy looked away from Karl, she stared out into space, and put her hands over her mouth. "Claudia would never agree to something like that."

Karl shrugged and walked to the door. "I'm only relaying a message. Take care of yourself, Tracy." Melissa opened the front door for him, and he slowly strode out.

Tracy picked up the CD and stared at it. Then she struggled to stand. "I'll be right back, I'm going in the study." She walked passed Melissa and closed the door behind her.

A half hour later, Tracy emerged from the office. Melissa, in the living room the entire time saw the anguish on her face.

"Call Claudia, tell her to get her goddamn butt over here right now! And if her secretary says she's in session, you tell her I don't give a shit what she's doing! I want to see her now!" Tracy folded her arms across her large belly, as her eyes narrowed.

Melissa smiled as she rushed to the vid phone. Tracy would never be out of politics, she was born for it. "Claudia, you don't know who you're playing with."


Shane Vansen was surprised to find Cooper Hawkes standing, alone on the observation deck, staring out into space. She looked to see just what he was looking at, and when she didn't see anything, she sighed.

"Coop, you okay?"

He just nodded.

Shane looked at his face, he wasn't telling the truth. They were all sitting in the Tun Tavern, when McQueen walked in and took his usual seat at the bar. Cooper intensely watched the older man, and then suddenly, without a word, he got up and left.

"I'll be right back," Shane told Nathan, Vanessa and Paul and rushed out after him.

"It took me fifteen minutes to find you Cooper, you're not one for staring out at the stars."

Cooper was silent for a moment, then he glanced sideways at Shane, then looked down.

"Shane...do you think McQueen's gonna...you know...change...when the baby comes?"

"Well...yeah Coop...he's going to have a baby."

Cooper sucked his teeth. "I don't know...it's like...weird...like McQueen's been there...for us...and we've been there for him and now...it's going to be different...like he'll be thinking about the baby..."

Shane smiled at the classic case of sibling rivalry. "And you don't think McQueen will be there for us the same way, because of the baby?"

Cooper looked at her now and shook his head. "Shit, now I sound like I'm jealous of a baby.."

"There's nothing wrong with being jealous, Cooper. McQueen is...he's more than our CO...and now we'll be sharing him with someone else..."

He ran his hand through his hair. "Don't tell him I said that, huh? I don't want him to think I'm stupid."

"He doesn't think you're stupid."

Cooper went back to his staring, Shane watched for awhile, then when she felt he'd be alright, she turned to go.

"Shane?" Cooper said, still staring at the stars.

"Yes Cooper."

"You think there's a lot of girls like her?"

Shane frowned as she wasn't sure what Cooper was talking about. "You mean Congresswoman Fairgate?"

"Yeah, girls who don't mind being with InVitros."

Shane looked down, realizing what Cooper was asking her. When she looked up, he was staring at her. She smiled.

"I think there are a lot of women who wouldn't mind being with you," she patted him gently on the shoulder and then turned to go.

"Thanks."

"For what?" Shane asked, turning to look at him.

"For saying that, even if it ain't true."


Claudia Collins smiled when Tracy opened the door for her.

"Tracy, wow, look at you. I'm sorry I haven't gotten to see you, but you know how the House can be."

Tracy nodded and closed the front door. Claudia nodded to Melissa who she didn't know, but had heard of.

"Sit down," Tracy said firmly.

Claudia sat on the sofa. Tracy sat slowly, and with difficulty in an easy chair, and Melissa stood by the window. Claudia realized Tracy hadn't smiled since she arrived.

"Did you like the gift?" Claudia said nervously.

"The carriage was very nice," Tracy said evenly. She sighed. "I've been hearing some things about you. I didn't know you were so friendly with Frank Burger and Anthony Palmetti..."

Claudia smiled. "Tracy..."

"...So what do they call me behind my back, huh? I'm sure tank lover is the nicest thing they call me."

"Tracy, they want to end the war. I don't agree with any of the things they say about InVitros, but when they talk about ending the war for good, I listen. I don't like Diane Hayden's idea of negotiating with the Chigs, look what the did to Colonel McQueen..."

"Stop it Claudia, you can't bullshit a bullshitter. What the hell were you thinking? Burger and Palmetti think all InVitros should be permanently indentured, slaves Claudia, that's what they want. How could you agree to anything they'd be a part of...chemical weapons...." Tracy's voice was even, but angry.

"What?" Claudia's eyes were wide. "What chemical weapons? There aren't any chemical weapons."

"The bomb to drop on the Chig's home planet? The one that gives the pilots who have to fly it a 75% chance of getting some kind of cancers no one has a clue about? But, hey, let's give it to the 58th, they've got a tank CO, who gives a shit about that squadron?"

"Tracy, that chemical weapon story is a rumor, not fact. The liberals made it up."

Tracy picked up the CD and threw it at Claudia. "Well, this convinced me, and you know I don't believe everything I see, Claudia. Look at it, tell me what you think."

Claudia picked the CD up from her lap and stared at it, as if surprised.

"Aren't you going to look at it?" Tracy said.

Claudia glared at Tracy. "Who gave this to you, Diane Hayden? Figures. She wants to talk to the Chigs, she wants to negotiate with them!"

"Diane Hayden isn't my friend, but I believe what was on that CD. That's a chemical weapon and it's dangerous to human beings. And the 58th was going to be the ones to drop it."

"They're the best Tracy, you know that."

Tracy stared at Claudia, Claudia stared back, but Tracy didn't back down. Instead, she struggled to get up. When she was on her feet she looked at Tracy as if she could snap her neck with just a look.

"I gave you my seat because I trusted you! I trusted you! And you stabbed me in the back! You bitch!"

"That CD is a lie Tracy!"

"Then why don't you look at it if it's such a lie? Because you know it's true! Get out of here! Don't you ever come back in this house again! I don't want you here you fucking fascist!"

Confused, Claudia rushed to the front door, just as Tracy grabbed her stomach and screamed. "Fuck, I'm peeing on myself."

Melissa rushed to Tracy and looked at the mess. "Your water's breaking," she tried to sound calm. She looked at the retreating Claudia. "You get the hell out of here," she said angrily.

Claudia looked helplessly at Tracy, then at Melissa before rushing out the house.

"Sit down honey, it'll be alright, I'll call Jen and Stephanie and...set up the vid player...okay..."

Tracy sat down. "Ahhhh! Shit...it fucking hurts!"


Commodore Glen Ross pounded on the hatch of Colonel McQueen's office, then entered without waiting for an answer. McQueen was sitting at his desk, reading flight reports, drinking coffee. He looked up when the Commodore entered.

"Sir," he said.

"My quarters Ty, now!"

"Sir?" McQueen said.

"Now means now, Ty."

McQueen put down the mug and dropped the reports on his desk. "Yes sir," he said quickly and followed Ross out.

As soon as they entered Ross's quarters, McQueen thought he heard a woman scream. He saw that the vid player was on and the picture was a bit fuzzy; which usually meant a direct transmission. McQueen stared at the vid player and blinked. On screen was Tracy's bedroom, the camera was parallel to the bed. Then, Melissa Peterson walked in front of the screen.

"Colonel McQueen, we made it...we've been trying to get through forever..."

"Ahhhh! Shit...it fucking hurts!" came a scream from the woman in the bed.

"She's been in labor eleven hours," Melissa said.

Tracy lay at the foot of the bed, almost on the edge, wearing a long, white nightgown, legs spread. There were two other women in the room, one appeared to be in her thirties, with dark brown skin and black hair, the other looked to be in her late forties, she had pale skin, red hair and glasses; both women wore blue smocks.

McQueen turned to Ross, who pulled up two chairs. Ross nodded. "She's having the baby, Ty."

Both men sat down and turned to the screen. Tracy turned her face to the camera and screamed. "Who the fuck turned that thing on!"

"Tracy, we got them. We're patched into Commodore Ross's quarters, McQueen's watching," Melissa whispered.

Tracy frowned. "Ohhh...oh...shit....you watch this you motherfucker! It hurts....owwww..."

"You're doing fine Tracy, the contractions are coming quicker now," Jen, the midwife said.

"Easy for you to say, you fucking tank! Get out of here....ahhh....God....I'm going to die because of you fucking tanks...."

If Jen was taken aback by Tracy's statement, she didn't show it. McQueen however stiffened, not just because of Tracy's words, but because of the agony she was clearly suffering; her face was sweaty and distorted with pain. It brought back memories of being a POW, and he felt helpless that there was nothing he could do for her.

Ross noticed the pained expression on his friend's face. He patted McQueen's hand. "This is normal, Ty...she'll call you every name in the book...but when it's over...you'll see," Ross smiled.

Tracy continued her verbal assault on InVitros, McQueen in particular, Ross shook his head at some of her expletives, the woman swore worse than a sailor.

"Ahhhh...and I thought getting stabbed was bad....this is worse...Owww....Ty...if I ever see you again...I swear I'll cut it off...no..that's too...owww.....too good for you...goddamnit...I'll bite it off...I'll fucking bite it off....!"

Both Ross and McQueen crossed their legs at that moment. Jen grasped Tracy by the shoulders. "Now Tracy, I want you to push...okay...when I say push...push."

Melissa wiped Tracy's forehead, as she fought for breath. "You hear that, Tracy?" she said.

"Yes, I heard that...I'm not fucking deaf!"

Jen and Stephanie moved between Tracy's legs. "Push Tracy," Jen said.

Tracy grimaced. "Ahhhh! shit!!"

"I see the head, Tracy...come on, push..." Jen said.

"Push...you fucking push...you goddamn bitch! Ahhh...I hate you I hate you...I hate all of you! Why the fuck did I have to go through natural labor....!

McQueen rubbed his eyes. He wished her voice wasn't so loud and painful.

Melissa looked down. "She's coming Tracy...come on...one more push."

Tracy fell backwards on the bed, panting, eyes wide. "I can't..." she started to sob..."it hurts..."

Melissa rushed to her friend. "Come on Tracy, just one more push...Ty's watching you."

Tracy raised herself on her elbows and pushed. "Ahhhhhh!" she let out a blood curdling scream.

"There she is, Tracy," Stephanie said.

"That's it...it's over..." Tracy said.

The next thing everyone heard was a baby crying. "You did it Tracy," Melissa said, clapping her hands as Jen took the baby and Stephanie held the knife to cut the cord.

McQueen looked at Ross, his blue eyes wide, like a child's. "I can hear her, "he said.

Ross grabbed McQueen's hand a vigorously shook it. "Congratulations dad."

Tracy looked up as Stephanie was about to cut the umbilical cord. "Give it to me, I'm good with knives," she laughed.

Stephanie gave Tracy the knife and she cut her own baby's umbilical cord. Then, Jen handed the rather round, still crying baby, to her mother.

Tracy looked down at the baby and began to cry, not in pain, but in happiness. "Look honey," she pointed to the camera..."that's daddy..that's daddy.." Tracy blew a kiss to the camera and held the baby up so she was in full view. "Ty, say hello to your daughter, Tiffany Fairgate McQueen."

McQueen flinched at the name, it was not one he would have chosen, but since he hadn't chosen any, it would have to do.

"Should've stuck with Glenna," Ross whispered.

McQueen leaned forward and looked at the baby. This person, he realized, this Natural Born little girl was a part of him, she had his genes, his blood, perhaps some of his characteristics.

"Say daddy...I love you..." Tracy said, smiling as she saw McQueen's face staring at both of them. The picture became frazzled.

"I think you're loosing the feed," Melissa said.

"Shit," Tracy said under her breath. "Tiffany, say bye bye to daddy." Tiffany stopped crying and seemed to be staring at the vid phone. Tracy waved the little hand. "Be safe Ty...come home soon," were the last words Tracy was able to say before they lost the feed altogether.

"Damnit," Glen Ross said banging his hand on top the vid phone. He looked over at McQueen, who sat impassively, blue eyes staring into nothingness. "Ty?" he said.

He blinked, looked at his commanding officer and rose. "Thank you very much sir." He headed for the door.

Ross hadn't expected that reaction. He was ready to open up a bottle of scotch and celebrate, he searched McQueen's face for a hint of emotion, he found none in his face, but he did notice the man's hands were trembling. "You're very welcome, Ty."


Tracy opened her eyes and touched her stomach, feeling it almost flat, she smiled. It really happened. She felt sore and exhausted, like she'd run a marathon. She turned on her side and saw Tiffany sleeping in the crib given by Diane Hayden, Melissa brought the crib into the room while Tracy was in labor, feeling Tracy might want Tiffany to sleep in her room for awhile. She smiled as the baby's chest rose and fell. Tracy looked around and saw Melissa sleeping in a recliner. Damn, the woman practically went through labor with her. Almost on cue, Tiffany opened her eyes. Tracy quickly sat up, grimacing as soreness hit her. "They don't call it labor for nothing," she said.

"Melissa," Tracy said, the woman slowly opened her eyes. "Please bring Tiffany to me?" Melissa stumbled to the crib, picked Tiffany up and gave her to her mother, then she returned to her seat and fell asleep before her behind hit the chair. Tiffany was eight pounds, seven ounces, but she didn't feel that heavy.

"Hey little girl, what's up? Want to eat?" Tracy offered Tiffany her breast, but the baby's made a face. "Guess not." Tiffany looked into her mother's face, and Tracy wondered if she could really see her. Her eyes were blue and her skin was the color of tea rose. Tracy turned on the TV with the remote control. The news was just starting. "Oh, Tiffany, let's watch the news, okay...let's see what's happening."

The anchor team, an Asian woman and a black man appeared on screen. "Ken and Barbie, huh?" Tracy said, "bet she doesn't have cellulite."

"Our top story today," the woman said, "Acting Congresswoman Claudia Collins was shot this afternoon leaving the Capitol. She was pronounced dead on the scene..." Tracy gasped, nearly dropping the baby. Tiffany started to cry, Melissa woke up, blinked and stared at the stunned Tracy.

"Tracy....wha..."

"Claudia's dead. Somebody shot her." Tracy turned up the television. The black anchorman said that she was shot by one of the demonstrators, protesting chemical weapons, he was arrested on the scene, a photograph of the man appeared in a small box. He was normal looking, with dark hair and dark eyes. The anchorman said his name was Alan Newsome, and that he was affiliated with many different causes, including InVitro rights.

"They had to say that," said Tracy. The anchorwoman mentioned that Claudia Collins had replaced Tracy Fairgate when she resigned due to personal reasons. Melissa turned off the TV. Tracy looked down at Tiffany, who was crying and began to rock the baby back and forth. "I'm sorry Tiffany...mommy's sorry..." Tracy started to cry.

"I can't believe someone shot her. I guess Karl Williams was right, or should I say Diane Hayden," Melissa said.

Tracy looked blankly at Melissa. "Just like us...Just like Spencer Chartwell was assasinated. Thank God the guy wasn't an InVitro." She held Tiffany close to her and the baby stopped crying. "Guess Claudia really was too close to the conservatives...and we all know how much Diane hates conservatives..."

Melissa frowned. "Tracy...you're not saying..."

Tracy shook her head. "I'm not saying anything." Tiffany was asleep. Tracy rose and walked to the crib, when she suddenly stopped. "Melissa, could you get that other crib from the nursery, I'd feel better if Tiffany slept there."

"Sure Tracy," Melissa said and left the room. Tracy looked down at her daughter and touched a tea rose cheek.

"I'm sorry Tiffany, the world's in no better shape than it was when I was born."


McQueen walked down, down, to the belly of the Saratoga, to a storage area, where not many ventured because of the heavy and musty air conditions. It was a place where McQueen felt comfortable, a place he went when he wanted to be completely alone. He found a dark and quiet place, took off his boots and sat cross legged on a large crate, leaning his back against the wall. His artificial leg began to ache, as it normally did when he did a lot of walking and he rubbed it until the aching stopped. He took a few deep breaths as his mind, which had been racing since seeing his daughter born, began to clear and slow down.

He had heard birth referred to as a miracle, and now he'd seen it first hand. Yesterday, Tiffany Fairgate McQueen was not in the world as he knew it, and today she was. She was created by he and Tracy and whatever God was out there. Most times McQueen didn't believe in God, how could such a being sit by and watch as InVitros suffered such injustices? But today, he wasn't sure, man with all his imperfections could not have created on his own, this birth process. McQueen shook his head, he wasn't in the mood for such philosophical thoughts.

What was on his mind was the last thing Tracy said to him. "Be safe Ty...come home soon..." Home. She was telling him to come home, to her and Tiffany. She was telling him that her home was his home, that they were his family. McQueen closed his eyes as images of Tracy Fairgate flashed in his mind, the time she first stepped aboard the Saratoga, in a black dress and red shoes, their boxing match in the Saratoga's gym, their first kiss, touch...the first time they made love...Then, he remembered her visiting him, every day, in the hospital, after that Chig bomb took half his right leg, how she persuaded the bigwigs in Washington, maybe even the secretary general herself, to demand that Commodore Ross search for the three missing members of the 58th, which resulted in finding them alive.

McQueen opened his eyes again and realized that Tracy Fairgate was a part of his life. Home and family were words McQueen never thought applied to him, but now, they did. He'd have to ask Tracy for a photograph of she and the baby to put on his desk, replacing the wedding photograph taken on the day that McQueen previously thought was the happiest day in his life.



Next : Part Three

Previous : Part One






Karen Evans
9/9/96