10 February 2012

"Biological Imperatives"

By Curtis C. Chen

"You can't marry him," Donald said to his only daughter. "He's an alien."

"Oh my God, Dad!" Bree threw up her arms. "You sound like a total racist!"

Donald wasn't about to take that bait. "Sweetie, you've only known Roland—"


"—sorry. You've only known Reginald for what, a couple of months?"

"Three months, one week, and four days!"

"Why get married now?" Donald asked. "You're both still young. Why not wait until you're done with grad school?"

"Dad." Bree rolled her eyes. "I'm not going to give up my life to stay home and cook and clean. I'm still going to finish my Ph.D, I'm going to get a job. My relationship with Reginald won't interfere."

"I just think you should wait."

Bree sighed. "Okay, Dad, I didn't want to mention it, but Reginald has kind of a deadline."

Donald raised an eyebrow. "Don't tell me he's being deported."

"No," Bree said, stretching the word into five syllables. "There's just some stupid thing with his visa expiring, and the UN says he can do his thesis research just as well from the Moon, so they want to issue him Lunar documents instead."

Donald nodded. He could work with this. "Who's Reginald's sponsor?"

"Professor Goslee." Bree's face brightened. "Do you think you can do something?"

"I'll make some calls." Donald scribbled on a notepad. "I'd rather not have you eloping off-planet. At least here I can try to talk you out of things like—"

Bree threw her arms around him momentarily. "Thanks, Dad! I'm going to tell Reginald! Call me as soon as you hear anything, okay?"


He waited until the sound of Bree's footsteps receded down the hallway, then touched a control on his desktop. The door to the adjacent office slid open, and his wife—Bree's mother—Marney walked in, grimacing.

"You on top of this visa thing?" she asked, staring at her phone.

"I'll take care of it," Donald said.

"Last thing we need is for her to go off-planet. All that radiation exposure in transit..."

Marney still hadn't looked up. That annoyed Donald. "How's your project coming along? Found a sperm donor yet?"

That got her attention. "Finding a donor is not the issue," Marney said, stowing her phone. "Setting up the situation is proving to be tricky."

"How hard can it be to get a college girl drunk and knocked up?"

Donald regretted saying it even before Marney focused her withering scowl on him. "She has to keep the baby. We can't monitor her twenty-four-seven to make sure she doesn't pop a morning-after pill or visit a clinic for the next twenty-six weeks. She has to want the damn child."

"You know," Donald said, "we could convince her and Reginald to try artificial insemination or something—"

"I am not inviting that thing over for Sunday dinner," Marney snapped. "She marries a human or she doesn't marry at all."

Donald looked up at his wife. "Remind me again why we got married?"

Marney scoffed. "I'm sure I don't remember."


Image: Wedding bells for a soldier of Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 238, circa 1915