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I love cuddling Maia. She makes the cutest little sound every time someone picks her up to play with her. Even though she’s still young I can tell she’s gonna take after me in looks which will be nice to finally have a child that resembles me but I can already tell she’s a lot like Cyrus in personality. She’s so easy going and energetic. She can stay in her bassinet and quietly play by herself without crying or fussing which makes her the perfect child to have now seeing as how I’m no longer a spring chicken.

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Kaleb is always popping into the nursery to try to see his new little sister. I love how he’s already so protective of his sisters. He’s always looking out for Lyra when they’re at school by making sure no one bullies her on the playground and now he’s my number one helper when it comes to the baby. He always volunteers to help us care for her whether it’ll be warming the bottle or passing a clean diaper when it’s time for a diaper change.

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Lyra didn’t like having a little sister at first. She wanted a baby brother so when she learned the new baby was a girl she was a little disappointed. I think she liked the idea of being the only girl in the family since her brother and cousins are all boys and she probably thought a baby sister would steal her thunder.

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Thank goodness she got over that quickly. I don’t think I could handle dealing with sibling rivalry on top of now having the responsibility of choosing which daughter will become the heiress of the legacy. I originally wasn’t going to have another child so Lyra was the only option but now she’s not anymore. I try not to worry about it too much since that’s a long way from now and I’m just thankful that Lyra likes her little sister enough now to at least watch her for me while Cyrus and I take a shower or get something to eat.

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Once I went back to work I began preparing for the trip to Sixam. I was already cleared to go months ago but because I got pregnant with Maia I had to postpone the trip until after the pregnancy. I was a little nervous about this trip as it would be my first time actually visiting another planet. The last time I was barred from entering but now that I had the clearance I would finally be able to set foot on the alien planet. I was also looking forward to reuniting with Gabriel. I hadn’t seen or contacted him since he left. He didn’t even know he had a new niece and I had no clue if he and Reyna had started a family either.

The day arrived and I was so excited. The take-off in the rocket went smoothly as expected and once I arrived within their planet’s orbit I requested permission to teleport through the wormhole generator. When the permission was granted I teleported through the wormhole generator and then found myself standing on a landing pad. I confidently stepped off and began exploring my surroundings.

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The satellite pictures were nothing compared to seeing the planet’s environment with my own eyes. It was beautiful! I could stand around all day and just take in the sights of the surroundings but I had work to do and a limited number of hours to get it done before my oxygen ran out. I had a list of items I needed to collect, a much longer list now than how it was when I originally started working as an apprentice back in the day.

As I started digging for some of the metals and crystals needed I thought of Dr Bjergsen. He saw potential in me and gave me so many opportunities to push myself and to do great things. He was an awesome mentor and I knew if he was still alive today that he would be proud of my accomplishments.

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After I finished collecting all of the items on the list I ran into Zizark, Reyna’s mother and one of the members of the Sixamian Council. She approached me and of course looked just as grumpy as I remembered the few times I interacted with her.

“Greetings Ivy Sloane, you have arrived much later than was decided. We agreed that you would visit us within a month of Gabriel Chin and Reyna’s arrival back to the planet.”

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“I apologise for not coming during the agreed upon time frame. One of my colleagues sent a message to your council in my absence to explain why I couldn’t take the trip. Didn’t you receive it?”

“We received a message but your colleague did not properly calibrate the satellite before sending the message so the data arrived out of order. Our scientists could not decode its meaning.”

“I’m sorry.” I shook my head. I should have known my new apprentice, Aaron, needed more training before I left that responsibility to him. “The reason why I could not make the trip earlier was because I was pregnant. I had a baby girl.”

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“Congratulations.” She said plainly. Most people are more enthusiastic when they hear you just had a baby but not Zizark. I suppose it was silly of me to expect her to be enthusiastic about anything since her general demeanour was mean and surly.

“Thank you.” I responded. “So, where are Gabriel and Reyna? Will they be meeting me as well?”

“They are not on Sixam.”

Not on Sixam? I waited for her to elaborate but then it became clear that she wasn’t going to unless I asked another question. “Well…where are they? Why aren’t they on Sixam?”

“They are on a classified mission.”

“What kind of mission?”

“You do not have clearance to know that.”

“But I really wanted to see them…”

“You were expected to arrive many lunar months ago. They expected you then. We could not hold off our plans for them in order to wait for you, Ivy Sloane!” She yelled.

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“Sorry…I guess I’ll just have to see them another time then.”

“You will indeed. I will leave you to continue your explorations, Ivy Sloane. Goodbye.”

Just like that, she walked away. You’d think she’d at least warm up to me a little since we’re technically in-laws but at least her daughter is not such a crab. Though I do wonder how my little brother puts up with her as his mother-in-law.

After she was gone I realised I had another hour left before it was time for me to return to the wormhole generator so I made the most of it by taking myself on a little excursion around the planet.

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It was so quiet here. Sixamians have their houses and commercial lots underground so that was probably why it was so peaceful above ground. They have it that way so they could preserve their environment by limiting deforestation and pollution. I wish I had the opportunity to see what their underground structures looked like but Sixamians are very private and never invite outsiders into their homes, especially human outsiders. In spite of that, the ones I met were friendly and welcoming as they knew who I was and why I was there. They talked about my brother in such glowing terms like he was some kind of celebrity and it made me feel so proud of him for adjusting so well to his new life. I only regret that I didn’t get to see him but there will be another time for that.

Going to Sixam has always been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl old enough to understand what the rocket ship in our backyard was and what it was used for. I remember staying up late at night watching the stars through our observatory dreaming of this day and now it has arrived.

Younger me would be proud.

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