Sister Surrogate

A young couple unable to conceive look for help from an unlikely corner.

Warning: This story contains spoilers for Ticonderoga - Volume IV.

Location: Van Rijk Residential District, Demetria City, Ceres, Asteroid Belt
Date: Fri 16 Oct 123
Time: UST 1837

Jack and Ally stood in front of the apartment door, neither one doing much of anything. Because it was her sister, Jack expected Ally to be the one to ring the bell, but all she did was stand there awkwardly.
"Jack, I don't know about this," she said.
It was amazing that Ally could be just as timid around her own family as with anyone else.
Jack tried to play it off all casual-like and said, "Look, it can't hurt ta ask, right? Gwen's your sister an' maybe she'll be willin' ta help out. If she says no, we'll find some other way. If we hafta adopt, that'll be fine too."
It was dizzying how fast everything happened. When Chairwoman Liu opened up their future options, Jack and Ally took the chance to get out of the Army without a moment's hesitation. Technically they weren't out of the woods yet. They went on terminal leave last month, but the paperwork wouldn't be finalized until January. They just had to hope the Army didn't try to rope them back in.
During their exit physicals, Ally learned that the suppressants had rendered her infertile. Supposedly it was a one in 800,000 chance for females. Just her luck.
They weren't going to give up, though. They both agreed that they'd like to have kids and a surrogate was one of the options on the table.
"Okay, Jack..." Ally said and rang the doorbell.
The door opened to reveal Ally's younger sister Gwen. Gwen wasn't even a full year younger than Ally and the two of them could've passed for twins. Gwen was maybe a sench or two taller and had somewhat softer curves as she didn't have to go through the same rigorous training as Ally. She looked like she'd just gotten out of bed, her hair all frizzy and disheveled, and she was wearing a baggy tanktop and flannel pajama bottoms.
"Huh..." she said groggily. "Well, if it idn't Al and Jack? What brings ya ta my neck a' the woods?"
Ally held up one of the takeout bags they brought and said, "We, ah, we brought dinner."
"Come a long way jus' ta brin' me dinner," Gwen said. "Well, saves me the trouble a' orderin' out. Come on in."
Jack and Ally stepped into the entryway, took off their shoes and followed Gwen inside. Gwen's apartment was a cramped 1LDK in an apartment complex close to the commercial district. It was only about fifteen minutes from the O'Connor family home in the more upscale part of the district.
The apartment was somewhat deceptively advertised as a 1LDK because the LDK portion was all one room and apparently the kitchen counter qualified as the dining room. Trash and dirty laundry was scattered about, not all of it Gwen's by the look of it. Without commenting on the mess, Jack and Ally took their seats on the stools by the kitchen counter. While Jack was unpacking the takeout and Gwen was rummaging through the cabinets for plates, Ally tried to make small talk.
"How's school?" she asked.
"Oh, I had enough of it an' dropped out," Gwen said, pulling out some square plastic plates. "Ya don't need a college degree anyway."
"You do if you want a decent job," Ally replied.
Gwen simply shrugged as she laid out the plates.
"Waitressin's decent enough for me," she said. "If I ever want ta move up, I'll get my mixology license so I can move ta the bar. It's just a three-hour class, ya know?"
Ally went quite while Jack served up the food from the takeout boxes. They started eating. Ally was fumbling with her chopsticks, trying to pick up a piece of sweet and sour chicken, when Jack nudged her with his elbow.
"C'mon, shorty."
Ally put down her chopsticks, folded her hands and said, "Gwen... We, ah, we didn't just come here for dinner."
Gwen, who clearly knew something was up, casually slurped a lo mein noodle.
"Do tell."
"You, you know Jack and I are getting out of the service soon."
"Yeah," Gwen said, dipping a potsticker in soy sauce. "'Bout damn time, too. War's been over for almost a year now."
"Yes, well, ah, we're thinking... we're thinking about our future... as a family."
Gwen grinned slyly.
"Gonna get right down to it, huh? Well, you'd make a good mom, Al. Hell, ya been playin' mom ever since we lost Dad an' Mei."
Ally was quiet for moment and it took some encouragement from Jack for her to continue.
"You see, that's the thing... The suppressants, the drugs they give you in the service... I..."
"She can't have kids, Gwen," Jack said, sparing Ally the trouble of spelling it out.
Gwen was taken aback by this.
"Oh... And what about you, Jack?"
"I'll be fine once the suppressants are flushed outta my system."
Ally continued, "You see, we want to ask you if, if you'd be willing..."
"We wanna know if you'd consider bein' a surrogate for us."
Gwen dropped her potsticker.
"Wow..." she said, stunned. "That's, uh, that's a lot ta take in..."
Nobody said anything for a while. It probably felt longer than it was. Finally, Gwen spoke up again.
"So what do I do?" she asked. "The next time I'm ovulatin', we put on some Cyrus Green an' me an' Jack go ta town?"
Aghast, Ally nearly fell out of her seat.
"Wha--? No! You're not sleeping with my husband!"
"Would ya feel better about it if I let ya watch? How 'bout if ya joined in? It'd be a little weird for me, but I'd do it for ya, Al. Whaddya say, Jack?"
Although it was clear that she was joking, probably, Ally was too mortified to see it. Jack wasn't about to walk into the trap that had been laid out in front of him.
"I value my marriage too much ta say a damn thing, I'll tell ya that right now."
"Aw, you're no fun," Gwen said disappointed--hopefully just because Jack wasn't playing along with her teasing. "I know it's every man's dream. I tell ya what, Al, you can sit on my shoulders so he'll be lookin' at you the whole time."
Her face bright red, Ally clapped her hands over her ears, muttering, "I'm not listening to this. I'm not listening."
"Alright, alright," Gwen said, backing off a bit. "What'd ya have in mind?"
Ally had to regain her composure before she could explain, "We go to the clinic and if you're a viable surrogate, you'll be artificially in, inseminated."
Ally turned red again and Gwen had to stifle a grin.
"We're not even raidin' the eggs from your basket?" Gwen asked.
"We, we can't use my eggs... The suppressants..."
"Well, if we're usin' my eggs an' his swimmers, why spend all that money on the clinics when a 20-credit bottle a' wine'll work just fine?"
"Because you're. Not. Sleeping. With. My. Husband."
Ally was not usually the sort to get angry, but it was clear she was starting to get angry now. This didn't stop Gwen, though, as she continued to needle her.
"Ya always did have a problem with sharin', ya know that, Al?"
Before an all-out argument could break out, Jack stepped in to dial things back.
"C'mon, Gwen, stop teasin' her. Ya know this is hard for her."
Gwen's sly little grin faded and she seemed to actually get serious about the whole thing.
"So say I agree ta this. What's in it for me? Havin' a kid's gonna wreck my bod an' I ain't even found a husband yet."
"Are ya even lookin'?" Jack asked.
"No, but I wanna keep my options open."
Although it was a bit on the crass side, Jack decided there was no point in tip-toeing around it. He and Ally had talked about what they were willing to offer as incentive and he might as well speak plainly.
"Lemme lay it out for ya, Gwen. You agree ta this an' we put ya up till the kiddo's off the tit. Unless ya don't plan on doin' that bit."
Gwen chuckled.
"You're a poet an' ya didn't know it, Jackie-boy." She then cupped her breasts with her hands and asked him, "Ya really thinkin' 'bout my tits that much? Al's gonna get jealous."
Gwen was a little more stacked than Ally was and it was rather clear that she wasn't wearing a bra. Jack tried not to stare too much, but it was kind of hard not to with the way she was leaning over the counter.
"Both of you, stop it!"
Gwen let go of her breasts and leaned back in her seat, saying, "Sorry, sorry."
"If you agree to this, you're going to have to be more responsible," Ally said firmly. "That means no drinking, no smoking and no sex until all this is over."
"What do I look like, a nun?" Gwen balked.
"You'll be living with us rent-free. Free food. And we'll pay you a thousand credits a month for the trouble."
Jack wasn't expecting Ally to bring up the money so soon, but it clearly had the desired effect.
After gaping at the offer a bit, Gwen said, "Shit, if I knew bein' a broodmare paid so well, I woulda done it years ago."
"Is that a yes?" Ally asked.
"Yeah, man, sure."
That wasn't exactly the most inspiring answer from the woman who was going to be carrying their child to term and Gwen seemed to realize it, because her expression softened as she said, "An' it's not jus' 'cause I like the idea a' moochin' off ya either. You guys oughta have a young 'un or two."
Seeing her sister actually be serious about anything made Ally start to tear up.
"Aw, now don't get all sappy on me, Al," Gwen said, taking a potsticker and bouncing it off Ally's forehead. "We ain't sure it'll even work yet. Come on, the chow's gettin' cold."
And so they ate their meal together, the first of what was possibly going to be many more to come.