ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2011-06-27 02:28 am

Fake News: It Came From Beyond The Stars And Stripes (2/4)

Title: It Came From Beyond The Stars And Stripes (2/4?)
Characters/Pairings: Jon/"Stephen", the WØRD, Olivia
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Mpreg, squicky biological stuff, (skip) fighting over abortion
Disclaimer: #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. The Report characters and their universe are property of Stephen Colbert, the other Report writers, and Viacom. The real person(s) are used in a fictional parody context.

Stephen and Jon each have their own separate freakouts about the hybrid fetus incubating in Jon's torso, which finally, painfully, crash together. Olivia provides emotional support along the way, though she's really just here for the alien fish.

...Honestly, any summary for this sounds like false advertising. It's too sober for crackfic, and takes refuge in audacity too much to be serious, and I don't know how to convey the balance (assuming there is one) other than letting the text speak for itself.

Full story: Table of Contents


Even a couple months after impregnating the man, Stephen was still trying to get used to Jon's whole "kissing as gesture of nonsexual affection" thing. Jon swore it was an important nuance of human society; Stephen had listened carefully, then rushed back to the ship for a marathon session of revising his incredulous notes on how shameless the species was.

When Jon arrived in his office after the Thursday show had wrapped, Stephen greeted him with a nuzzle on the cheek and the barest closed-mouthed brush of the lips. It still felt incredibly presumptuous. Like he wanted to throw Jon down on the ground and tongue him right there.

And, okay, he sort of did. But you didn't let people know about that sort of thing.

"How's the diet?" he asked instead. "Are you keeping it all down? No point eating the nutrients the baby needs if you're going to spit them up before she even gets to them."

For a moment Jon studied him so intently that Stephen was afraid he'd said something weird again. Like that time he had found out why 'cock-thusiast' was not a good portmanteau to make, despite its perfectly logical use of English suffixes.

"The food's staying down," said Jon at last, sinking into the couch. "But can't you find some way to work it out without all these carrots? Or at least get it down to twenty-five percent carrot. Thirty, tops."

"Oh, you," sighed Stephen adoringly. "Your species loves carrots. I saw it on a documentary."

"Are you sure that wasn't rabbits?"

"Don't be silly. What would rabbits need good eyesight for?"

Jon lowered his head into his hands. Stephen, content to let him sit quietly for as long as he needed to keep his strength up, went back to polishing trophies.

"Why d'you keep calling it 'she'?" asked Jon at last. "There's no way you could know. We don't even have the same sex systems."

"Human embryos are female until they get the hormones telling them to develop into males. I saw it in a book." Stephen couldn't think why he had spent so long resisting books. Watership Down alone had prevented him needing to do any field research on rabbits. "We can I don't know how it works with half-human !'^''*', but you can't pronounce any of my pronouns anyway, so we may as well use yours."

"Different speech systems," said Jon. "Different sex systems. Completely different eyes."

"Mmhmm." Stephen brought the feather duster around the base of his Peabody. "It's too bad, because these contacts itch like a ##*%!!~. I thought the skin stuff would be the hardest part of the disguise, but nope, it's the contacts."

"Wait, skin stuff? What's your real skin like?"

"This is my real skin. It has color patches, that's all. I don't see skin color, but people used to tell me it was a very nice mottled bluish grey, and I believed them because my //~$!~@~s were full of *^*_#."

"Listen, Stephen, what I'm trying to say is...are we even sure it's possible to have a functioning hybrid? I know this one's growing at the, uh, the grub stage, but what makes you think there's a—"

"Jon, stop it!" snapped Stephen. Why did Jon have to bring all this up? Why couldn't he trust Stephen to take care of it? "My gut tells me she'll be fine!"

"Some of us don't put that much trust in guts!"

"If you're going to be a statistic-hugging factinista about it, why not trust the scans? The last one said everything was on track to produce a healthy, viable baby. Except the reproductive system—that's normal, most hybrids can't give their parents grandkids, no surprise there—and the eyes."

"You didn't tell me that! What's going on with her eyes?"

"So far, nothing! They could still turn out fine! And if they don't come in right, that is not a big deal. Or do you have something against blind people?"

"Aren't you worried about this at all?" said Jon feebly.

"Worry," pronounced Stephen, "is not a manly feeling. Men don't express worry. They just roll it up in a ball and compress it into a tiny tight little knot until they can let it out by exploding at Democrats. Not you," he added. "Only Democrats they're not sleeping with."

Jon levered himself off the couch. It went more slowly than it should have.

"Where are you going?" demanded Stephen.



Jon ran his eye through the retinal scan and slunk into the medical bay, steaming caramel latte cupped in his hands.

Hey, printed the computer, flickering on. Keep That Thing Away From My Circuits.

"Don't worry, I won't touch anything," promised Jon. Stephen had only given him clearance in case of emergency, which a cowardice-laden funk probably wasn't. "I just need a quiet place to sit, that's all."

He took a sip of the coffee, burned his tongue, grimaced, and settled into the observation chair that Stephen never sat still long enough to use.

Your Official Clearance Level Is High Enough To Order A Basic Scan, the computer informed him.


If electronics could sigh, this one would have. Meaning I Can Give You A Massage.

Soon enough Jon was stretched out on the pleasantly humming table, trying to let his troubles float away. Every last one stayed resolutely at its moorings. But at least his muscles felt better.

One of the small screens lit up with technicolor blobs that looked from a distance like a retro screensaver. "Hey, uh, would you mind putting that on the monitor over my head? And zoom in?"

And just like that, he was staring into his torso. At the two-inch whitish grub that by now had paddles on, attached by what looked like a tube from its proto-mouth to the base of his upper intestine. At his...daughter?

"Eventually the miracle of fatherhood is going to sink in," he said out loud. "One minute I'll be staring at the little bulgy flippery thing, and the next the world will shift on its axis, and I'll be convinced that it's the most beautiful little bulgy flippery thing in the whole world, and willing to do anything and everything to keep it safe."

He hiked up his T-shirt and let his hand settle on his stomach, skin against skin. Waiting to feel something beyond the usual doughiness of too-much-takeout and not-enough-long-walks-in-the-park.

"Any minute now."


"Because that's what it's gonna take," continued Jon, half to the grub and half to himself. "A miracle. Anything less isn't going to make up for the fact that your dad's species would think you're a freak, and your mom's doesn't think mine deserves to know we're not alone in the universe. And I don't even know how we're going to get you out of there, much less take care of you, and Stephen doesn't care about anything except keeping me lucid while you're fattening up, and the whole thing makes me feel sick whenever I—"

Slow Down, Cowboy, printed the computer, making Jon wonder, not for the first time, who had programmed its sense of humor. Who Said Stephen Doesn't Care?

"Any time I try to say something might be a problem, he shuts me down!"

Of Course He Does, said the computer. He's Not

A faint ting, the one that indicated it was working on a complex translation.

He's Not Programmed To Show Worry, it settled on.

"The personality transplant," realized Jon, heart sinking. "Which also has him programmed to dig in his heels and refuse to be convinced by anything I say, logic be damned."

The computer whirred silently, the Report logo a faint placeholder on its otherwise blank screen.

Jon? it printed at last. Has Stephen Told You About Dpewgsik!spwlk v. Ned?

"Uh...not that I remember."

It Means That, Under United Planets Law, You Don't Need To Convince Anyone But Yourself.


The printer in the corner of Olivia's office spat out script pages that she was supposed to be learning. At least the boss couldn't chide her for being distracted when he was the one pacing a hole in her carpet.

Olivia discreetly toggled a couple of options on her scanner (the Agency's latest model, based on a heavily modded iPhone) and let it run. Just to make sure "alien-hormone-induced mood swings" didn't tip over into "psychotic rampage."

"Don't get me wrong, I think it's fantastic that Space Roe v. Wade extends to us inferior species," she said at last. "And if you want someone to tell you it's okay, I can do that too. But the Agency isn't exactly Planned Parenthood, you know?"

"You mean they're not a charity? Name your price."

"Ohhh, much worse than that. I'm not saying you would definitely get locked up in a cage and dissected, I'm just saying, there's a reason I haven't told the higher-ups about Stephen yet, and it isn't because I wouldn't love the honor and the glory."

Jon winced. "Duly noted. Thank you for that, by the way."

"Is there a reason you can't get an alien doctor to do it?" Olivia wrinkled her nose. "Don't tell me Stephen won't let you."

How the man could make a well-worn T-shirt and khakis so softened they might as well be flannels look uncomfortable, she would never know.

"Oh my god, you haven't even told him."

"The computer said I didn't have to," said Jon faintly.

"Wow. It's a good thing guys aren't normally the ones that get pregnant, because you are lousy at this." Loathe as she was to leave her nice comfy chair, Olivia dumped the scanner in a pocket of her coat and pulled out her sunglasses. "Get your jacket, Stewart. We're going to pay your baby-daddy a call."


Stephen was tinkering with the replicator in the dining lounge when the computer announced Jon's approach. He didn't have time to grab for his contacts or pull something on over his boxers (turned back to front by local standards, in order to let his tentacle uncurl through the opening), because the stupid AI completely failed to mention that Jon had brought company.

"Ooh, this is fancy!" said the Senior Hot Girl Correspondent, while Stephen gaped. "Love what you've done there with the low tables. Very Japanese. And are those beanbag chairs? They look awfully comfy. Are the screens arranged in any particular way, or just to look postmodern?"

"I thought you fired her," huffed Stephen.

Jon started. "What are you talking about?"

"She turned out to be an alien-hunting spy! Remember?"

"She's a funny alien-hunting spy. And she promises not to photograph, steal, or otherwise mess with anything on your ship. Right, Olivia?"

Olivia stood up straight and saluted. "I'm here purely for support purposes. Scout's honor."

"Support?" repeated Stephen. "What's going on? How's the baby? Is she doing all right?"

There was something off about Jon. Those black-and-white eyes with their little blue rings looked even more jellylike than usual. "Fine."

"Jon?" hazarded Stephen. "Are you all right?"

Jon's eyes turned to the ceiling. "Good of you to notice!" he breathed, hands clenched.

"Aw, Jon." Stephen used his tentacle to push a few buttons and scoop his latest creation out of the replicator. "You've just got to wait it out. Have a seat. Have a nap. Have a drink. Have a carrot."

"Stephen, I don't—" Jon's exasperation dropped off, replaced by confusion. "That's, uh, a cantaloupe."

"No, it's a synthetic carrot," explained Stephen, tossing it up and down in a curl. "It just looks like a cantaloupe. Tastes like one, too, if I did it right. The first batch tasted like ham for some reason."

Jon stared at the creation with slightly glazed eyes. "You've paid attention to me."

"Of course I pay attention, Jon," huffed Stephen. "You're my—" He stuttered over the word for a second, then left it untranslated: "!♥♥♥~."

He reached for the other man's hand, fairly certain that that was one of the gestures nonsexual enough to be performed in front of company. No such luck; Jon pulled away, ducked his head, then muttered, "You just had to make this as hard as possible, didn't you?"

"The carrot? No, it's soft and juicy. Delicious. You'll love it."

"Jon wants an abortion," said Olivia.

The carrot slipped from Stephen's tentacle and smashed against the floor.

"Well! I can see you two obviously have a lot to talk about." Olivia stepped sideways, carefully avoiding the trails of synthetic fruit pulp. "I took you the first step, but the rest you're going to have to work out for yourselves." Keeping Jon between herself and Stephen, she edged toward the doorway. "And that's all going to be very personal, so be gentle with each other, use I-statements, and always remember to listen. Got it? Awesome. Good luck!"

She flashed an encouraging smile and a double thumbs-up, then bolted down the corridor.

Jon still hadn't moved.

"She can't do that," said Stephen, in a hoarse, flat voice that didn't sound at all like his own. "She can't...I have to...Jon? Stay here. I have to catch Olivia, so you stay right here while I do that. Promise!"

"Sure," said Jon softly. "Not like I have anywhere else to go."


The beanbag chairs were comfortable. Jon nearly fell out of one when a Frisbee-sized robot with glowing blue trim skittered out of a hole in the wall, then relaxed and re-adjusted himself when it began slurping up the wreckage of the pseudo-cantaloupe.

He folded his jacket and kicked off his shoes to let his feet stretch, keeping an eye out for robots to make sure they didn't try to vacuum those up too.

Aside from the robot, and presumably the computer's silent oversight, he was alone in the room until Stephen trudged back in ten minutes later. Jon started to get up again; Stephen waved him to sit down. "Left your sidekick locked in the aquarium. Plenty of cool sights to keep her occupied, no switches she can accidentally push that'll launch missiles across New York."

"Are there lots of switches like that around here?"

"No, no. Hardly any."

"Oh. Good."


"Nice of you not to just kick her out."

"Well, I wanted her in range of ship lasers if it turned out this was her idea."

Jon sat bolt upright. "Stephen! You can't go around casually threatening to murder people!"

Stephen thumped his tentacle against the floor. "You started it!"

Head pounding, Jon collapsed back against the cushion. Even in his most neurotic imaginings, the conversation hadn't imploded that fast. "Stephen, please...can we try this again? I can't deal with you saying things like that, but I know I picked a fucked-up way to spring this whole idea on you, so can we call it even and start over? Please?"

For answer Stephen spun on his heel and stalked over to the room's only visible gadget: an oversized vending machine by the look of it, with a panel of glittering circuitry obscuring what would have been the display of assorted plastic-choked snacks. He jabbed at a set of buttons at knee-height with a curve of his tentacle, while opening a panel in the wall that Jon hadn't noticed and pulling out something that flashed in the light. A knife.

It didn't seem like Stephen wanted to disembowel him, but after that crack about Olivia, Jon figured it was prudent to not make any sudden moves.

"Don't look at me like that!" pleaded Stephen, approaching Jon with the blade outstretched. "I might get some things about your species mixed up, but I know this one. Offering food is a gesture of reconciliation across almost all human cultures. Jewish ones included."

Sure enough, there was another cantaloupe-shaped object coiled in his tentacle.

"Thanks," said Jon gruffly, as Stephen took a seat across from him and began slicing the pseudo-fruit against the bare table. "I appreciate it."

"You better." Stephen passed him a juicy-looking wedge. "One delicious slice of something indistinguishable from your inexplicably favorite fruit, on the house. You're welcome."

He watched the first bite with bated breath.

Jon hated to crush his spirit any further, but he couldn't lie. "Tastes like strained peas."

"Why do you always have to be so critical?" burst out Stephen, slamming both fists against the table. "It's good enough! And if it isn't, I'll fix it. I'll do whatever it takes. Just give me the chance!"

"This isn't about whether you're good enough, Stephen!"

"Sure it is! You're worried she won't be healthy, but if she isn't, I'll take care of her!"

"Stephen, you're talking to a card-carrying hypochondriac. You think I would trust a sick child of mine to someone who didn't have years of hands-on training? Especially to someone whose idea of eye surgery is dropping a cat on someone's face!"

"You want to be a diploma-hugging elitist, Jon? Fine! Give me a couple of weeks to polish my report. I'll convince the UP to recognize humanity a few years early. Sure, it might mean the end of the Report, but it'll give you access to the best doctors in the galaxy."

The hope in his voice made Jon feel like his heart had been dropped in a trash compactor, the shreds of his earlier relief nearly blotted out by a whole new wave of guilt. He had no illusions about the show's importance, or his own relative position in the pecking order. No matter how dismissive Stephen tried to appear, this offer was huge.

Maybe there was a way through this. In all the tangled web of possibilities, there had to be at least one thread that would carry them through without torpedoing their relationship in the process.

"These doctors," he said—it was hard not to fold in on himself, the way Stephen lit up—"how are they with surrogacy? Or artificial wombs, incubators, that sort of thing. Can they put the grub in one of those?"

Stephen swallowed. "They can try. It's not easy. Laying in someone who isn't the father happens all the time, but moving an egg that's already started growing? Fails a lot. Succeeds...less than a lot. She'll be safest if you just stay the course for a few more—"

"I want this thing out of me!" shouted Jon, and only realized he was choking up when his voice broke over the words.

Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Stephen's tentacle wringing one of the table legs with a force that ought to have snapped it off. "Stop talking about her like that. She's your baby!"

"It's my body!"


A wallscreen by Jon's head flickered to life. I'm Right Here. You Don't Have To Shout.

"Contact the UP outpost," snarled Stephen. "Tell them I've committed a breach of secrecy on the level of...what level is it when you have sex with the natives, again?"

One Of The High Ones.

"Right. Tell them that. And add that he's calling in his Ned rights, so they'd better set up the transporter right away."

With the heel of his hand Jon scrubbed fitfully at his blurring vision. "Wh-what happened to 'a couple of weeks'?"

"Don't need 'em," snapped Stephen. "You're obviously not civilized."


The aquarium was stunning. Black floors, black ceiling, and the space in between carved into a maze by deep blue tanks that stretched from one to the other, creating vast winding columns for their resident creatures to roam. The whole place was kept perfectly dark aside from the illumination in the tanks, and the sharp orange signs that marked the exits.

Olivia could think of worse places to be locked in.

Nothing seemed to be labeled, but there were screens embedded in the ceiling, their glossy finishes shining just enough to be visible. Captivated by a flock of what looked like crabs with shells as jeweled as butterfly wings, Olivia turned to the nearest screen. "Hey, computer! What are these?"

The nearest screen flickered on. I'm Not Sure Stephen Would Want Me Talking To You.

"Pretty please?"

Oh, All Right. Those Are From His Homeworld. Their Name Roughly Translates To "Yummier When Fresh."

"So they're Stephen's lunch?"

No. They're His Engineering Crew.

"Of course. Don't know why I didn't think of that. And what about these? The lumpy yellow things with the big fans. Are they the janitors?"

Those Are Technically Plants. They Secrete A Substance Which Keeps His Skin Soft And Moisturized.

"How about that guy in the next tank over? The big grey shape...can't quite make it out...."

That's Porpy. His Zany Buddy.

"You're kidding, right?"

The screen winked out.

A moment later, all the lights went with it. Only the exit signs had survived, their glow swept up by the water to fill the room with a suffocating near-pitch dimness.

Olivia pulled the scanner out of her pocket and switched it on. "C'mon, computer, pick up," she urged, trying not to be creeped out by the glimmers of curious alien fish gathering at the fringe of the light. "Are you there? Network in range? You're all around me, you better be in range!"

She was seriously considering panicking when her screen filled with blue stripes and Arial Narrow. Sorry About That. Stephen's Under Arrest, So The Ship Is On Lockdown. Non-Essential Power Shut Off, External Exits Sealed.

"I guess his talk with Jon didn't go well."

You Could Say That. One of the doors slid open, revealing a corridor that wasn't much brighter than the aquarium, white walls dull and clouded under the dim orange emergency lighting. When Olivia looked back at her scanner, its screen had filled with a map, the text relegated to a column on the right: Allow Me To Direct You To The Quantum Portal Out Of Here.

"Hang on. They locked all the exits, but they missed the quantum portal?"

The Portal Is A Third-Party Application.

"Seriously? Which party?"


"Why am I not surprised," grumbled Olivia. "Look, I'm glad the baristas will be getting out safely, but if you don't mind, I'll take directions to Jon and Stephen instead."

[identity profile] 2011-06-27 07:08 am (UTC)(link)
Clicked on the ficlet link for the first chapter and found this second chapter - awesome! Don't want to infringe on Jon's rights to his body, but I do want to see how the little sprout gets out and turns out ::is conflicted:: But Stephen's trial should be plenty entertaining. I really enjoy Olivia as a secret agent, too - just wicked awesome :)

[identity profile] 2011-06-27 08:29 am (UTC)(link)
Your summary/disclaimer is actually what I found so fascinating in this story. If you bluntly lay out the plot, it sure sounds like crackfic. But you write this plot and the characters in a way that makes it impossible not to feel deeply for them (and not to want to hug them all *group hug*). Great job!

(Anonymous) 2011-06-27 09:45 am (UTC)(link)
I seriously made some-sort of squeal-yelp hybdid when I saw you updated, haha.

I love the story. It's so unique and the way Stephen cares so much about his little girl(?) is so heartwarming. ;A;
phantomcranefly: The Tenth Doctor, with text:  "Why, oh why do I never learn to ascertain my time-space location on arrival?" (Default)

[personal profile] phantomcranefly 2011-07-09 11:29 pm (UTC)(link)
This is so cool!

"What would rabbits need good eyesight for?"

(Please say that's on purpose? :) )