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Dead Man's Hand - Family Values (Chapter Cover Art) 1

Chapter 18[]

Dead Man's Hand: Family Values[]

Dinh Ngo Medical Center
Hue, Kowloon
Bucklands Province
Lyran Alliance
15th March, 3058


"I'm not okay with this." Liz sat on the side of her bed as a nurse changed her bandages.

"What happened to 'my body, my choice'?" Joker asked, nursing her daughter, "Isn't that till the law in the Alliance? Or did that change with the name?"

"You're offering to trade your ability to have children in the future for magic beans!" the Duchess warned, "There is no cure for Cholmann's: never has been, probably never will be."

"Well then, there's nothing to worry about." Joker smiled, "No cure, no ovaries. Simple as that."

"Do you really expect the Clans to abide by your decision?" Liz asked.

"No, but I know you. You're a paranoid bitch who has contingencies stacked on top of contingencies for your contingencies. You probably have the freezer housing my ovaries rigged to blow if the wrong person tries to open it."

There was a moment of silence, with almost everyone in the room looking at the young Duchess.
"...it's a perfectly standard procedure used by most noble houses to ensure no 'engineered' claimants to a title." She admitted, sheepishly, "And it was just sitting there, not being used..."

"See? Nothing to worry about." Joker handed her daughter back to a nurse and buttoned up her top, "Anyway, since you're insisting that I breastfeed, meaning I can't have any of the good painkillers, I felt inclined to make you suffer at least somewhat."

"I'm trying to help you bond with your daughter." Liz shrugged, wincing as a cracked rib protested the movement, "It's something I can't imagine your own mother doing."

"While I may have disagreed with my mother on many, many things, boobs being for fun, not food, isn't one of them." Joker looked down at her chest, "That said, they are looking truly spectacular right now."

The young nurse who'd been tending to Liz blushed a deep shade of crimson red, only worsened when Joker gave her a smile and a wink.

"Enough of all that! Leaving aside your physical condition, we're roommates right now, and the privacy screen isn't sound proof" The Duchess warned, "Even if I am glad to see you're getting back to something approaching normal, for you, anyway, I'm not voyeuristic."

"Does that mean that I won't get to see a certain Star Colonel help you with your... physical therapy?" Joker asked, playfully.

Now it was Liz's turn to blush, although she did a better job of it.

"I've been involuntarily celibate for almost eight months, during which my hormones have been going crazier that a Liao on amphetamine." Joker protested, "Sorry if I need to get laid."

It was at this point that the nurse dropped the tray she'd been holding and ran out the door.


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