Poor Sorcha. She wanted so much to be part of the in-crowd. She tried hanging out with the cool kids, but her natural shyness - borne of being so very different - made it difficult to get close to people.
She started spending a lot of the family's money on new clothes...
...and new jewelry.
She wrote in her diary all her hopes and dreams: for a handsome man to come and sweep her off her feet. Someone who loved her deeply and wanted to have babies with her.
(Seriously, that is all Sorcha thinks about: marriage and babies.)
Also galling was that while Ep and Komei were at work, the nanny still showed up to make sure the kids weren't left alone after school. Sorcha chafed under the assumption that she wasn't trustworthy. She also hated how the nanny would just stare at her nose.
The nanny also hated Sorcha's self-portrait. Sorcha cried and locked herself in her room for the rest of the night.
Meanwhile, responding to neighbors' demands to "tone it down!", Ep tried yet another new look.
He also finally got Komei to look through the telescope (Komei: "I'm only doing this because I love you") and... nothing happened. Repeatedly. Ep wondered if the aliens had completely left the area.
Komei suggested maybe Ep take a look himself to find out.
All too soon, a bright light, and...
When Ep vanished, the kids heard Komei's yelling and ran out to see what was happening. Komei worried that Ep would never return; Sorcha was already moody and tearful and no help; only Sebastian kept his head and tried to search for their missing dad.
"I don't see them anywhere..."
Komei tried to reassure the kids. "The aliens brought your dad back before. I'm sure he'll come back soon. In the meantime, I'm here, and we're going to toss that telescope out on the curb first thing in the morning."
Sebastian spent several hours looking for Epsilon, to no avail. He finally had to go to bed, since it was a school night.
Sure enough, shortly before dawn, Ep returned. Or, at least, the aliens dumped him out of their ride.
Sorcha had tried to stay up in hopes of meeting her alien dad, and of course since Ep was booted out instead of walked to the front door, her hopes were dashed. She used language she hadn't learned in that household.
Apart from a slight case of road rash from the landing, Ep was pretty satisfied with the evening, apparently. At least, he didn't complain.
In fact, he went right upstairs and went to sleep, and dreamed about... Eric.
(What is it with Ep and his obsession with Eric? As far as I know they have nothing to do with each other except when someone uses the telescope to peep on Eric, and he comes over and threatens people. And that concludes our questions about Ep's personality quirks.)
The next day, Ep and Komei head off to work again, same as usual.
That afternoon, though, shortly after Ep returned home, Teff came by to ask some questions.
"Look, the only reason I'm here is because Nex recommended I talk to you. It was you or Vicky, and she's married to Eric, so I'm stuck with asking you for advice."
Ep asked about symptoms and effects, and the tests that Nex had arranged in secret for Teff. "Teff, I know it might not be what you want to hear, but... are you sure you haven't been abducted recently? I mean, I know from personal experience..."
Teff swore he hadn't. "I'm sure I'd remember getting kidnapped and probed by greys, thanks."
"Well," Ep said, "there is one other possibility. You were affected by the shard, as I remember - it brought you back to life, and didn't it give you powers, too?"
Teff grudgingly agreed. "Yeah, but I don't like to use 'em much."
"The shard may have affected you in more ways than granting you powers," Ep continued. "We'd probably need to do full tests, but... for whatever reason, maybe it made you... pregnancy-compatible? Because that's the only other possibility, Teff. Once the baby is born, it should be obvious if the other parent is alien or - well - human."
Ep didn't want to speculate on who the other parent might be, but he hoped there was one. Spontaneous human parthenogenesis was clinically interesting, but the paperwork would be a mess.
Teff left with a sullen "Thanks", and Ep ran to the toilet, as his own stomach was suddenly urpy...
To be continued (of course!)