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Chapter Notes:

E2 timeline.

The Ikaaran species is canon, although full-blooded Ikaarans are never seen, and only one's name (Esilia, Jonathan Archer's wife) is ever mentioned. I write Ikaarans as having a major population problem on Ikaaria, causing them to separate their children by gender and send out single-sex work gangs to farm or mine. After a few years, the ships return, and another set goes out. I also have them handle their population problem by building in a form of genetic self-destruction, an early death they call 'the decline'.

In canon, Archer meets Esilia when her ship is caught in a spatial anomaly. I follow that, but since I provide two kicks back in time, Esilia is only there for the second go-'round. This scene takes place during the first.

“It’s not fair,” Science Crewman Diana Jones complained. 

“What isn’t?” asked Preece Ti, an Ikaaran. She had been the Science Officer on her ship but it had gotten stuck in a spatial anomaly. Within the Delphic Expanse, it and the Enterprise – which had been kicked back in time – were prisoners of the timeline. The NX-01 was generational. Couples had formed, including between the Ikaarans and human men. The Ikaaran ship had been distaff. 

“No choices. Everybody else has a choice, except us. No offense. But we’re the only lesbians. Everybody’s pushing for us to be together.” 

They were in the Observation Lounge, which had become the Ikaarans’ home. With the others married to or living with human men, Preece Ti had it to herself. There was a bowl of fruit on a table. She picked up a piece. “What is this?” 

“There’s a rapid change of subject. It’s an orange.” 

“Is that not a color?” 

“It’s the same word.” 

“I see. I chose this orange,” the Ikaaran tongue was a little unpracticed in saying the word, “when there were apples and peaches I could have had. If it had been the last item in the bowl, would my selection be any fairer or better?” 

“We can always grow more on Paradise and Amity.” Diana referred to the two planets they had claimed for agriculture.

“The number does not make the matter any fairer. Diana, there is but one choice. I am fortunate, for you are beautiful, kind, intelligent, and you would be my choice even if the numbers were reversed and this was a ship where all wished for same-sex pairings.” 

“I, I don’t know what to say, Preece Ti.” 

“Is it fair to you?” 

“Yes. I shouldn’t have had such doubts. It’s more than fair.”

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