I was so mad about the way this chapter ended that I actually had to walk away from my computer for an hour. I'm outraged on behalf of both alex and men in general. And alex is position had I found out what they had planned for me I would've had to walk away and they would have had exactly 1 chance to explain to me what they thought gave them the authority to pimp me out like that. And quite frankly they did have a decent reason but if I had been treated in such a high handed manner they would've had to at very least delayed their plans long enough to convince me that they were a good idea. The thought that alex or in fact any man could be so easily led around by the crotch is infuriating. That someone with command training who in fact has been forced to make life and death decisions would roll over like that is so entirely out of character that I find myself at a loss for words trying to describe how wrong the mentality is. On top of that well the new reach enterprises may not the military Cortana and alex both are. Additionally alex is the ranking officer. While Cortana is and was made to advise she's way beyond the boundaries of decisions she's allowed to make without a commanding officer input. And johns memories should be prompting Alex to come down on her like a sack of bricks.
My final gripe is with your explanation about how the children would only be half augmented. If the nanites are even half as advanced as you claim they are. They would augment the egg before it split the first time. The children would be fully you augmented immediately.
Sorry you didn't spot it.
Read some of my recent comments about this chapter. I wont repeat them.
You will find that pretty much (90%) of all young teenage males would sleep with any female with a pulse and be gladly led around by their crotch if she was hot enough. Twenty somethings also spend a lot of time thinking with their 'other head'. Sorry fact of life.
I was pretty much the same in my misspent youth. Maturity and wisdom tempers that. You get wisdom by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.
Men make compromises in their lives with the women that they love. Sometimes bad compromises and sometimes they just acquiesce to keep peace between them. Look up Helen of Troy and Cleopatra for a start as to what men will do for their women.
Yes, Cortana... used to be his second in command because that was all she had been. Her experiences had been severely limited within the UNSC but unlike ALL previous AI she was created from the cloned emgrams of Dr. Halsey's own mind. With some imperative programming included along with all of the hacker/cracker tools.
She was born not just and AI but a sentient AI who with experience and time became sapient. This is a huge difference. The UNSC would have been terrified of her and rightly so. The Skynet of the Terminator series was a sentient AI but not sapient. A wise AI wouldn't have nuked off its creators.
Now, Cortana is not in his Mjolnir armor or locked down inside the Pillar of Autumn or locked up inside of Dr. Halsey laboratory (the only three places that she has been allowed until now).
Their threat is not an immediate Covenant but a possible future (when?) Covenant or this prophecy of Goa'uld. Cortana is a non-human AI, yet human emgrams of Dr. Halsey (see my previous comments on this subject). She is sapient and has created a network of global companies to prepare and defend humanity. She can be obsessive compulsive, brilliant intelligence (from Dr. Halsey the smartest human of her universe), and relentless.
She views herself as Xander's friend, sister, guardian, lover and Valkyrie/Fury protective mother. A complex relationship that her character is still working through.
Cortana is more than just his 2IC. She is his business partner and lover (inside the mind only). She is his Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Executive Vice President (2nd in a company and the real person who runs any company on a daily basis).
When you become married you will experience your wife, you own mother and later your teenage kids treating you in a high handed manner. You get used to it... grrrr.... well.... maybe... sort of.
We treat our loved ones with a lot of slack that we do not grant to any others. A huge amount of slack. We overlook chasms of adversity.
So no, this is not out of character. Xander now and formerly John are more complex than the brush that you are painting them with. I've taken this scenario from real life couples that I've known and myself. Let's just say that I'm over 55 and still considered a killer (my flight patch label/handle was 'Dr. Overkill').
Xander is a sixteen year old going on 69 years old with a old hardened war veteran in the back of his mind whispering to him.
Corporations do not work like rigidly hierarchical military units. Read up on Special Operation Forces (SOF) units, they do not follow the rigid rank structure that the rest of the military does. The guy with the most combat time leads each unit regardless of rank. The guys who are onsite make the decisions. They do not wait for some damn General or Colonel 8,000 miles away to tell them what to do. Although with our modern communication systems we actually have since 1976 idiot generals, one President (Jimmy Carter) and other CO's try to order SOF units to do incredibly stupid (suicidal) things.
Cortana is acting as the OIC onsite for the day-to-day decisions regarding Aten Werks, Reach and all of the others. She gives Xander the heads up in his regular situation reports starting in the morning but she is and will make decisions on her own like any other sentient/sapient being. Xander trusts her to make good decisions. Even when he may not like that decision because it affects him.
Her decisions do not endanger him physically, so like most guys he is going to roll with the blow and move on. Adapt and overcome is the unofficial motto of many Special Operations Forces.
Re-read the segments on nanites from chapter one forward.
I have an old school friend who is really big in the genetics engineering industry. My description of how these nanites work is exactly how they are building them today and how they think they will function in the near future.
It takes years, almost ten years, to augment a normal human. With the shots that will be cut down to one to three years for the Moms (everyone is different). Her Ova are not enhanced and she is not swimming with nanites to convert trillions of DNA strands and cells. So the first baby will have naturally half of Xander's enhanced DNA (no genetic defects) and half of the mothers DNA. I assume that the nanites cannot cross the placental boundary like all other things from mothers. The nanites will be transferred to the first babies via mothers milk, kisses and the near constant (7x24) skin to skin contact that all mothers have with their babies. By the time those babies reach the age of ten they will be full of their very own nanites and fully enhanced (genetically perfect plus augmented with the protective and regenerative nanites).
Unless they also get a booster shot or two, which is the only way to cut down this processes time - the ten year upper limit is a wall. But Cortana can only squeeze so much blood out of Xander. So she is also pushing the R&D side to replicate and mass produce the nanites for mass distribution.
Remember she is relentless. Her goal is millions and billions of fully enhanced humans as fast as possible. They have no idea when the Covenant or Goa'uld will show up in orbit, which is driving them.
If she had the tech base to mass produce millions of clones of Xander she would and send them out with only the command to go out and sow your oats. She wouldn't tell Xander until the first hundred were up and walking and talking and showing no adverse signs from the cloning.
One of the previous Reviewers who asked almost the same question, put terrible thoughts into my brain for an outline.
Maybe Willow in the future will help Cortana produce clones of Xander? She might really want two or three tall handsome buff clones around the house as Xander-prime is out slaughtering the Goa'uld and demons. I mean, she might be a depraved and lusty woman (like Anya).