Family recap: When we last saw the Tellermans, Apollo (Gen 8 heir) and his wife Hestia had twin boys, Josen and Wrai. Apollo's cousin Romeo had gone to college to study law.
The Earth and its partners in the Alliance of Free Stars continue their interstellar fight against the predatory Ur-Quan and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. Earth is ruled by a one-world government (which happened several generations ago, but it's important to note here).
A belyaev is a domesticated fox variety, first made popular in Kyle (Gen 6 heir) Tellerman's time.
I'm not used to keeping a diary or journal or memoirs. Apollo insists that we both do it, though. He has records of his family going back I don't know how many generations. You can't even read some of the oldest ones. I've tried. They're technically the same Anglic language that we speak and read and write, but I can barely make out what they say. Apollo's translating them in his spare time. I'm glad he has a hobby.
So, what do I write about? I don't see why anyone would care about my life, much. But I do like the thought that someone in the future will read this, and probably have to translate it, but somehow my memory will remain. That's a neat thought, isn't it?
So. Okay. My name is Hestia Athena Nikolaidis Tellerman, and my husband is Apollo Theodorakis Tellerman. We have two boys, twins, Josen and Wrai. I suppose I should give their full names.
Josen Actaeon Tellerman,
and Wrai Adaon Tellerman.
I think Josen looks more like me. But then it's hard to say. Wrai looks like my father.
I'm not sure what else to write for now, so I'll try again later.
~ ~ ~
Wow, it's been a while. I'd better do some catching-up. Josen and Wrai have a new baby sister. Her name is Kefira Aeronwy Nikolaidis Tellerman. I didn't think about her initials until after the birth record was completed. She was born the same day we heard that a new alien race, the Mycon, had joined the Ur-Quan Hierarchy. Just what the Alliance needs: more enemies. It didn't help that the crew of the Miwok offended the VUX on first contact, so badly that the VUX joined the Hierarchy just to get back at the Alliance.
Anyway, Kefira is blond and blue-eyed like her brothers. She looks like she is not immune to the "Tellerman nose". We still have many old dusty portraits of Tellermans past, and wow, that nose just doesn't quit. It should have a book about it.
I hope that the war will end before any of my children are old enough to fight in it. I wanted a daughter so badly, not least because I'm worried I'll lose my sons.
~ ~ ~
Josen and Wrai are almost the same, but not quite, in personality. Josen's got fairer hair because he spends so much time outside. He loves sports of all kinds and being outdoors. Wrai would rather stay inside and play games.
I wish I could get either of them to clean their rooms!
It's too hard for me to remember to write in this. Apollo's keeping a daily record, which is fine and all, but it's not for me. But I'll try to remember the big events, at least.
~ ~ ~
It's Kefira's second birthday!
Apollo and I both would like more children, I think. But three is pretty good; we can afford three. Plus we can still give them all attention. If we had more, I don't know if we could do that.
The war is still going on. We have a major fleet now, not just a few cruisers. Not as many as our allies the Yehat, who are the backbone of the Alliance forces. But Human ships are now a force to be reckoned with (I hope!).
~ ~ ~
At night, Apollo's taken to reading to us from the diaries of his ancestors. Some of it's pretty dry, and some of it we don't understand. But other parts are very interesting.
This week, he read from Little War diaries. During that time, the Tellermans (who lived in this very house! I didn't know that!) kept a garden and raised their own food. It helped them a lot during the Little War, when there was rationing, and sometimes they got snowed in.
So now I know what I'm going to do. I'm staying home with Kefira, and I want to be home for the boys when they return from school. So I'm going to follow the same plan as Tellermans of years past.
I also got Apollo to invest in a hybridized guardwolf. Sometimes his work keeps him away from home for long hours, and we're still rather isolated, though not as much as this house was during Little War times. We also got a belyaev, at the same time.
We named the guardwolf Smokey. He's very territorial, as we expected, and has fit in pretty well.
I think he recognizes his "place in the pack" well enough. I was a little nervous at first about how he'd react to Kefira, naturally.
But as "alpha toddler," he treats her just fine.
It was disturbing to find he was regurgitating food for her, though. Yuck! What a mess! And the smell!
Maybe that's how Kefira ended up trying to eat the pet food? Not that Smokey did anything to stop her.
No, that was my job as mother and alpha female!
We named the belyaev Czarina. That's an Old Rus word meaning "Princess".
Czarina attached herself to Wrai and he became her favorite. We had both animals neutered, of course - Apollo didn't want to be knee-deep in mixed-breed pups.
This presumes, of course, that they'll survive Kefira. She is completely fearless!
She can't manhandle Smokey since he's so much bigger, but she can sure toss Czarina around! But true to the breed, Czarina doesn't bare a tooth against her. That's why we went for a belyaev instead of a cat.
If only we didn't have the war in the background, I think life would be just about perfect. But it drags on and on, never quite going away, even though it doesn't touch us directly. I hope it ends soon, for everyone's sake. But it sounds like it's not that simple. Of course.
~ ~ ~
Really creepy today... it felt like there was someone around. But every time I turned, I was alone.
Apollo said his great-grandmother and great-grandfather (do I have that right?) were killed by ghosts, here at this house. I really didn't need to know that. He says there aren't any ghosts any more. I hope not. A guardwolf can't defend against a ghost.
~ ~ ~
As usual on Sundays, Romeo came over to visit today. Apollo and I agreed that as Romeo's last living relatives, we need to keep in regular contact with him. (He has an older sister, but she's in Sino-Brazil and we haven't heard from her in several years.) He's in law school now. He's come so far! When I first met him, he was a sullen teenager in a bad situation. I think Apollo's more proud of him than I am, since they're cousins, but it's still inspirational how well he's done.
He does well with the kids, too. He listens to them, no matter what they want to talk about, and very seriously too! I know they love it, because he treats them "all grown up".
Romeo's been around their entire lives, of course, so he's part of our family as far as everyone's concerned. The boys love him.
Kefira... not so much.
Still, he keeps talking to her, which is very decent of him
I asked him if he had a job or internship lined up - he's graduating at the end of the semester. He said he did, but didn't want to talk about it too much, for fear of jinxing it. I could understand that! There aren't enough volunteers for the military, so the government brought back conscription. The battles are in space, so they don't exactly need ground troops, but someone has to pilot, navigate, staff the guns, swab the toilets, that kind of thing.
~ ~ ~
What horrible news. Romeo's been conscripted.
He actually got called for duty the week before his last dinner with us; he just didn't want to tell us then, and make everyone upset. He came over last night to say goodbye, after the kids went to bed.
Apollo's safe, because of his job with the orbital defenses. I (probably) can't get called up because I'm taking care of the kids. But Romeo's a young single man with no dependents.
He's not jumping for joy, but he's not distraught, either. He says he'll still go into law when he gets back, and he'll study while in the service. He doesn't know yet what he'll be doing; he hasn't been sorted into a specific duty yet.
I wish this war was over! I'm tired of hearing of Ur-Quan atrocities, how they immolated Ixnar, how the Ilwrath sacrifice prisoners on their bloody altars. I don't want to think of Romeo dying in space, or anyone else.
I hope they all come home safely, and soon.
~ ~ ~
Wolves are coming down across the border again. One of them came right up to our house, the one day we took Smokey in for his annual checkup, and apparently found poor Czarina.
We got home in time to find the culprit, and Smokey chased it far off. We had to drive right back to the vet, this time with Czarina. She'll live, but it's going to cost so much. It's a good thing I've been working on that garden. The food's better, now that I know what I'm doing, and it's one less expense we have to worry about.
Normally the wolves aren't so bold around here. If something isn't done about them, I think we'll find a lot more wolf pelts decorating people's floors.
~ ~ ~
Romeo's a second lieutenant on the Hummingbird. We have all those paintings of hummingbirds in the portrait hall. It's coincidence, I know, but I like to think maybe it means something. But what?
We likely won't hear from him much, because of the distance, and censored communications.
~ ~ ~
I have new plans, and I followed through on them! I got another garden up, and the boys are old enough to help out in it now without eating the food right off the plants! Plus the restocking last year has turned out some good fish in the pond, and I successfully smoked and salted most of them.
And - get this! I actually built a henhouse over the winter! ME! I ordered two cockerels and the rest pullets, and now we'll have eggs and occasional fresh meat (if I can get over the whole killing-a-chicken thing... I think we'll just have eggs for a while!). Plus feathers (again, if I can actually kill a chicken) for, I don't know, pillows if nothing else. Apollo says some of his co-workers are interested in the fresh eggs. Another way for me to contribute!!
I also redecorated. Okay, that was more of a luxury. But I don't think the decor has changed in over ten years, and it was definitely time. Now I feel like we can have friends or Pol's coworkers over without it looking like we live in a museum!
Okay, the boys said their room is a little hard to sleep in. I admit that the color scheme is a bit strong. But it's the style, and those boys sure do want to be stylish. Teenagers!
I can't believe how fast they've grown up. And of course, the kids today have to rebel against "our" generation. No makeup! No exposed stomachs! Covered arms!
It's so funny, they think they're individuals, but they all conform to the trends. In this case, brightly colored, heavily patterned open jackets for the boys.
I only insisted that everything be easy to clean and as dirt-resistant and possible, and I'm not responsible for clothes left out on the floor!
Wrai and Josen are coming along well. Josen's on the track team, and Wrai on the school website committee. All three kids attend Perkiomen Prep, where I'd hoped to teach before they were born. Well, life happens while you're making plans, right?
The boys have good friends at school, too, which I'm glad of. After the anti-mutantism when the kids were toddlers, it's kind of weird to see my sons with a mutant friend. But no matter how my moms complain about it, I figure I need to stand back and let them make their own friends. And Bronisław's a good kid (not like that Richter Cormiere).
~ ~ ~
Josen asked tonight at dinner if Apollo and I were going to have any more kids! One of his classmates just became a big brother at age 18 for the first time. The look on Apollo's face! Oh, I wish I'd taken an image.
Not that we haven't thought about it, now and then, but I don't think we'd have the energy at our age to handle another baby. I'm spending all my time on our little "farm" now. You wouldn't think chickens and crops and fishing would take up so much time, but it does!
Just saw it on the feed - there was a big push near the Vulpeculae system, and the Alliance forces dealt the Hierarchy serious damage! Romeo's ship, the Hummingbird, was there, and it sounds like the crew were an important part of the attack. Maybe there's hope the war will be over soon!
~ ~ ~
I can't believe Kefira is sixteen already! She's grown up tall and pretty, and I'm so glad the clothing ideal for girls her age is "all covered up". Now comes the tough part, I suppose, since she reminds me constantly that I said she could start dating at age 16!
Czarina seems to disapprove, but then, our belyaev is getting up there in age, while Kefira is just as playful (one might say "rough") with the pets as ever. Smokey doesn't mind it, but he's bigger.
And this fall, my boys start college. Apollo says the Little War lasted an entire generation as well. I pray every day that something will change soon. Currently the war is stalemated, and engineers and scientists are working on new defenses and weapons to bring into battle, of all the races of the Alliance. We're hoping the boys can stay in college, but probably at least one will be conscripted. We're not looking forward to that...
~ ~ ~
(To be continued...)
Some elements of this story are courtesy of George Martin and Fred Ford.