In Utero

By Robert Lynch

Caitlin stared at the results on the screen.

Positive.

How could it be positive?

The AutoDoc had to be wrong… She couldn’t be pregnant. Well... it wasn’t a first-case-of-human-parthenogenesis situation. There had been… opportunities… for fertilisation. But how was it possible in this day and age? She was on birth control; he was on birth control; everybody was on birth control.

And it’s illegal.

In utero reproduction was deemed a considerable health risk, artificial wombs had raised embryos for 300 years, and unplanned pregnancies had been a thing of the past before then.

What was she going to do?

No one would believe her when she told them it was unplanned.

She was going to have to tell Brandon. That was going to be a shit show of a conversation.

“Hi, you know how we just have a casual thing going, well now you’ve committed a felony, and you’re going to be a father. See you when we get out of jail.”

She put her head in her hands and told the AutoDoc to test her blood again. Maybe it was a false-positive. Maybe the reason for the hCG in her blood was medical. A genetic disorder, infection, ovarian cyst, or cancer could cause hCG hormones to be produced, according to the cloud. There was no way she could keep this secret. She would have to go down to the police station and turn herself in. If she waited, they could check the AutoDoc’s records and see when she knew.

Even if she did everything right, this could ruin her life. If the baby was brought to term she would be seen as jumping the queue, anyone waiting on a child license would hate her. People had been murdered for having an in utero child. The stories flashed through her mind from the news.

She could run.

Run and hide and have the child. Find an outpost far away or live on an alien planet. It would take too long to get a visa. Even if she could, the child would have no legal status. They couldn’t get a bank account, go to school, or a doctor, earn money, travel through a checkpoint — a lonely life. No matter what consequences she might have to endure, she knew she couldn’t do that to her child.

At this point, the child wasn’t a zygote of more than a few dozen cells, but Caitlin already knew that she would do what she could to protect it.

Crap. First, to the police. She thought, then when they have done their tests and confirmed one way or another, she would have to make more decisions and deal with other consequences.

Life was full of unexpected and unplanned things.

END

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