"Honor Gives Little Comfort"
Set one year after the Deep Space Nine finale, "What You Leave Behind." Worf has settled into his role as Ambassador, but when he gets close to Martok's daughter Anderel he has decide if he is ready to do what it takes to make his life finally complete. This is the first piece of fanfiction that I'd written in almost 10 years. It's the longest single piece I've written and I think it just might be one of my favorites.
Update July 2014- I am re-editing this story and breaking it into Chapters instead of one big upload. I hope that will make it an easier and more enjoyable read.
Anderel turned towards her door, "Yes, Mother, come in."
Sirella, Lady of the House of Martok entered her daughter's room. It was hard to really call it her room these days, Anderel was rarely home anymore. As it was, she was only there today to gather some things in preparation for another long trip away.
Sirella sat on the bed where Anderel was placing neatly folded clothes into her bags, "I must speak with you about an important matter."
Anderel closed her eyes briefly and sighed. She knew this would be coming soon, "Yes?"
"Since your father became Chancellor, things have been different for our family. We are more than we once were. And because of that, certain things are expected of us."
"Our House is in a very good place right now, obviously. But we are vulnerable. We are a relatively small house, and we need to do everything we can to solidify our position in the Empire. Your father's ascent to power was supported by most, but not all. And we are not powerful enough to defend ourselves if someone wanted to object to his being Chancellor."
"Father has been Chancellor for over a year now and there have been no objections," Anderel replied.
"You are correct. However, that doesn't mean that none will arise."
"So what should we do?" Anderel asked, even though she knew what was coming.
Sirella stood and began to pace, "We need to ally ourselves with another House, one that is large, powerful and has a long-standing tradition. The best way to do that is for one of us to marry into one of the Great Houses."
Anderel sighed, "Who do you have in mind for me?"
"Please understand, my daughter, I only want what is best for you. I only want to see you happy. You are of the age where you should start considering who your mate will be. And if you choose someone from one of the Great Houses, it will benefit you as well as your family."
Anderel continued with her packing, as if her mother wasn't making the biggest decision in her life for her, "I will do my duty, you know that. You do not have to convince me. I know what this means for our family. Now, tell me, who do you have in mind?"
"Kadar, of the House of Je'tel. I have spoken with him and his mother. He is just a bit younger than you, and proved his worth many times during the Dominion War. He captains his own vessel now, so you would barely have to see him."
"What I've always wanted; a husband I'll never see." Anderel said sarcastically.
"It has worked for your father and me for years."
"So when do I get to meet this absent husband?"
"When you return from your work on Earth," Sirella paused; her next statement would not go over as easy as the last ones had, "After this trip, you will be ending this job of yours."
Anderel finally turned and looked at her, "What? For what reason? I am allowing you to mate me with a man I do not know and most certainly do not love for the good of the family. At least leave me with the one thing in my life that I actually enjoy. Why must I give that up as well?"
"Ah, so I see where your heart is. I tell you that you are being arranged in marriage, and I get nothing from you. I tell you that you must give up your work and I see the fire in you."
"Why?" Anderel asked again, angrily.
"The Lady of a Great House has many responsibilities. There will be no time for your little hobby."
"Hobby? I have worked very hard to get where I am. I am a respected anthropologist both inside and outside the Empire and I am to give that up so that I can approve marriages and host receptions for my husband?"
Sirella was getting impatient, "At this point I am not asking you. This is your duty as the daughter of the Chancellor. When you return, I will bring you before the Lady of the House of Kadar for judgment. I expect that you will meet her approval and not shame us. Then you will be married and begin your new life."
Anderel gave a defeated nod. She learned years ago that trying to oppose her mother was futile, "Yes Mother."
Sirella softened. She walked to her daughter and the two embraced, "Anderel, I know this will not be easy for you. But it must be done. You will see, in time you will grow to be happy in this life."
Being an Ambassador was proving to be more enjoyable than Worf anticipated. Worf really liked living on the Homeworld; it was something he had wanted his whole life but had never been able to do. He was grounded here, yet he still got to travel the galaxy, and in his own vessel no less. He was happy to leave behind much of the stress and anguish brought on by the Dominion War in the last few years. True, it was not very warrior-like to say that one is glad to be done with fighting, but having a break from it from time to time wasn't bad.
Most of all, this was the first time that Worf could really exist between two worlds. He worked for both the Federation and the Klingon Empire. For him it was the perfect role and he was thrilled to have it.
Worf also spent a lot of time with Chancellor Martok. Not only was he the Ambassador to the Empire's strongest ally, but he was his closest advisor and friend. Today Worf was visiting the Chancellor at his home in the Capital City.
"Worf, come in, come in!" Martok was always happy to see him, "I am glad you could come on such short notice."
"Of course Chancellor."
"You enjoy calling me that, don't you?"
Worf smirked, "Just admiring my handy work."
Martok laughed, "Your sense of humor is improving."
"So, what may I do for you?"
"I would like to go over a few details of the treaty before you to travel to Earth," Martok replied. The Khitomer Accords had been dissolved by Gowron back when Worf first came to DS9. During the war, the Federation and Klingon Empire worked together under a temporary treaty. Now it was time for a permanent one, and Worf would be overseeing it. This would be his biggest assignment yet.
Worf nodded, "Yes sir."
Just then Martok's door opened and a young woman peeked her head in, "I don't mean to intrude, Father, but I wanted to say goodbye before I left."
"My daughter arrives one day and is gone the next. Worf, you have met my daughter before, haven't you?"
Anderel came all the way into the room, Worf stood and nodded respectfully to her, "Yes, a few times, albeit briefly."
Anderel returned the greeting, "We have met, but I am often away on one of my research expeditions or at the Military Academy."
"The Military Academy? What is it that you do?" Worf asked.
Martok was almost offended, "You are speaking to Professor Anderel, daughter of Martok. She is the head of the Cultural History and Anthropology department at O'Ghat."
"Father, you are bragging. I am not the department head, just a member. A lot of people will have to die before I get that job."
"As I should! You have worked tirelessly to bring back culture and history to our people, something that we have forgotten."
Anderel turn to Worf, "My father tends of go a bit overboard. I do study Klingon history and do my best to uphold and teach our traditions. But I am sure all of this is of no interest to someone like you."
Worf bristled at her offhanded slight, "I have a great interest in my culture."
"I meant no offense," she said, "It's just that from what Mother has said of you—"
Martok cut her off, before she revealed more of Sirella's opinion of Worf, "The two of you can talk all about it when you are on Earth together. Anderel will be lecturing at Starfleet Academy."
"I will just be a guest lecturer," she clarified.
"She is modest like you, Worf."
"Perhaps I could attend one of your lectures," Worf offered.
"You should do that!" Martok interjected eagerly.
Anderel turned to her father, "Again, Father, I just wanted to say good bye."
He came around his desk to embrace his daughter, "I will be on Earth to sign the treaty when Worf finishes it. I will see you then."
"I look forward to it."
Anderel left the room and the two men sat down again. Martok spoke, "She is fine young woman. Why she has not found a husband yet is beyond me. She is very traditional, perhaps too much so for young men her age."
"She did not think very highly of me," Worf sounded a bit defeated.
"Her mother's influence, I am sure."
"And I thought Lady Sirella only sang my praises."
Martok laughed, "There is that sense of humor again."
"Ambassador, welcome aboard."
Worf stood in the transporter room of his ship. It wasn't a large or glorious ship, but it was his nonetheless. He and his ambassadorial staff used it to travel between destinations when he was working. Because he was technically the Federation's Ambassador to Q'onoS, and not the other way around, his ship was provided by Starfleet. Because of his experience in Starfleet, he was allowed to command it himself. He never thought that he would get to command his own ship after the incident with Jadzia, and even though this was little more than a transport vessel, it was his and he was proud of it.
His crew was small, and it was a mix of Klingon and Federation staff. There were only 30 of them total, half of whom rotated on and off based on where Worf's latest assignment took him. There was one member of his staff that he was immensely glad to have; his son. Alexander had joined him only a few months after he took the Ambassadorial position. As much as he tried, the life of a warrior was not for him, and when Alexander heard that his father had been named Ambassador, he knew that he wanted to work with him. He refused to allow his father's favor to get him a position on the staff; he applied through the same channels as everyone else. Worf was quite surprised, but pleased. He had been told long ago that Alexander's destiny would lie in diplomacy, and it seemed that was coming true.
When they reached Earth, the other delegates were already there and were ready to being. The treaty between the two allies had not been renewed for a long time, and much had changed since then. The Klingon Empire was vast and consisted of many star systems. The Federation was equally vast, though more spread out. They shared borders in many places and much of that had to be settled.
Worf sent reports back to Martok on his progress daily. It was tedious work, and sometimes negotiating over minutiae could be maddening, but Worf was proud to be a part of it. In this way he could serve the empire and that pleased him.
Yet, the words of Martok's daughter stuck in his head, "I am sure all of this is of no interest to someone like you."
Dr. Anderel, as she was referred to by everyone since she's arrived, had never been to Earth. It was a very different place than the Klingon Homeworld. Its native people were so diverse, it was a wonder the world hadn't ripped itself apart in civil wars. Anderel loved a challenge and a new experience, but she was a little nervous. She had been studying and instructing at the Academy back home for years, but dealing with Federation students would be much different than fellow Klingons. She would have to alter her style to appeal to their way of doing things.
She discussed the matter with one of her colleagues, a fellow historian who was here with her, her friend Dr. Negalla, "And if one more of my students asks a question while I am speaking, I am indeed going to take out my d'k tagh and cut their tongue out."
Anderel laughed, "I yelled at one today that did that and told him exactly what you just said. They thought it was just part of the lesson, I don't think they knew that I was serious."
The two women walked the campus discussing their experiences so far. Dr. Negalla was also here instructing a class for the semester, "I am grateful for the opportunity, but I will be happy to return home when this is over."
"Yes, I agree," Anderel began, "But despite the differences, I am enjoying experiencing so many different cultures here. Though, the food leaves a lot to be desired."
Negalla laughed, "That is definitely true."
The topic of today's lecture was the role of opera in Klingon culture. This was Anderel's favorite subject, she taught a whole class on just that back on Q'onoS. She could tell that the class response was mixed; some were enjoying it, some thought it was just noise. Today she would be discussing the role of the musical score in Klingon opera.
And she had a guest.
Just as class started, Ambassador Worf slipped in. He sat in the back and observed. He didn't say anything, but listened intently. Anderel never expected him to actually take up Martok's offer to come to one of her lectures. What did an off-worlder who'd worked for the Federation his whole life and married a Trill care about Klingon opera?
When class was over, Anderel intended to find out. He stayed behind after all the students had filed out and approached her podium, "Thank you for allowing me to sit in on your lecture."
She nodded graciously, "You are most welcome, Ambassador. I was surprised to see you come in."
"Your father suggested that I—"
"Oh, yes, I know that. I just never thought that you actually would," Anderel replied as she gathered her materials.
Worf's body tensed, "And why is that, Professor?"
Anderel paused before speaking, "I do not mean to offend," she chuckled to herself, "I find myself saying that a lot since I have been here on Earth," her face straightened again, "I simply do not see why someone like you would have an interest in these things."
"I am Klingon," Worf said defensively.
"Well, yes, of course you are. Again, I meant no dishonor. I am glad that you enjoyed the lecture."
Anderel made her way toward the door, but Worf was not ready to end this conversation. It bothered him that Martok's daughter clearly thought so little of him. He was a part of the House of Martok, an honor that he held dear. But he knew that he had not made a good impression on Martok's immediate family. Martok's son Drex despised him, Sirella was polite but cold, and Anderel clearly had a poor impression of him as well.
"I did enjoy the lecture," he paused before throwing out the bait, "Though I did not agree with your take on the significance of the crescendos in the second act of Ga'vot Toh'va."
Anderel turned back towards him, her face showed both annoyance and intrigue, "Oh really?"
Worf let out a breath. Now he could impress her with his knowledge of Klingon Opera, "Though changes in the music often represents the tide of battle, this is not an example of it. In this case, I believe that it is representing the unrequited romance between the lead characters."
Worf's opinion on the subject was completely opposite what she'd just presented to the class. Yet instead of being upset at this challenge to her ideas, she was intrigued, "So you think that the pace of this score is written in a similar manner as 'Kahless and Lukara?"
"Yes. Though we will never really know which opinion is correct, as Yinta, the composer, died without giving any commentary on the opera."
"Yes, he did. I take it you are a fan of the opera then?"
Worf nodded, "Yes. And now that I live on the Homeworld, I make a point to attend performances whenever I can. Just last month I was able to see Baraq Kadan perform Ga'vot Toh'va. It was very enjoyable."
"I was at that performance! He is one of my favorites, though he takes a lot of criticism for his traditional style."
"I prefer that style, it is hard to find those who will perform the classics as they were meant, and without their own egotistical embellishments."
Anderel smiled, she was pleasantly surprised by Worf, "I am very glad you stopped by Ambassador. And when we are back on Qo'noS, perhaps I can accompany you to see a performance. I bet the Ambassador from the Federation gets the best seats."
Worf smiled, "Not nearly as good as what the Chancellor's daughter can get."
She smiled in return, "We will see."
The Ambassadorial complex was enormous. Every Federation Ambassador had an office, and since Worf was ambassador to one of the Federation's most important (if not the most important) allies, his office was the biggest. There was enough room for his entire staff to work and for him to hold conferences. Along with the offices, the complex also contained housing for all the ambassadors and their staff when they were on Earth.
"The Jintapa system has been a part of the Klingon Empire for centuries! We have allowed Federation citizens to colonize parts of it, but that does not mean that we will concede those worlds!" Martok's voice came booming from a comm monitor in Worf's office.
Worf nodded, "I agree. The proximity to the Romulan Empire makes Jintapa and important strategic sector. But it is also why the Federation wants a part of it."
"The answer is no! We will not concede any of our territory—"
Worf interrupted him before his latest tirade got out of hand, "I have a solution. If we simply allow the Federation to have a military installation on Jintapa IV, and require them to share all their intelligence with us, then they will be satisfied."
Martok sat back, "Yes, that is acceptable. I am glad that you have the patience for all these details, Worf."
Worf nodded respectfully, "It is an honor to do my duty for the Empire."
Martok changed the subject, "I spoke with Anderel this morning and she tells me that you visited one of her lectures."
"Yes, I did. She is a very capable instructor."
"Have you spent any time with her outside of the classroom?"
Worf was a little taken aback by the question. Why would Martok be asking that? "No, I have not."
Just then Alexander came into Worf's office, "Father, I apologize, but one of the delegates is here to discuss Jintapa with you."
"Thank you Alexander," Worf turned his attention back to Martok, "Chancellor, I must go for now."
"You know Earth better than Anderel does; perhaps you could keep her company."
Worf, even more confused now, nodded, "I have been quite busy working but I will see what I can do, Chancellor. Qapla."
It had been a week since Worf's visit to Anderel's classroom. Worf wanted to return, but he wondered what Martok's questions had meant. Did he not want Worf to see Anderel? It was not as if Worf was trying to mate with her; he was just eager to meet someone who shared similar interests. But he did not know what to make of the Chancellor's inquiries.
Though Worf did not seek out Anderel, she went looking for him. Other than Dr. Negalla, he was the only other Klingon she knew on the planet. And as luck would have it, Negalla had become quite friendly with a Tholian physicist who worked with her. So that left Anderel without a dinner partner, and she did not like to eat alone.
Worf was easy to find, he spent almost all his time working. It was getting towards the dinner hour, and Anderel decided to pay him a visit at his offices.
Alexander greeted her when she came to the door, "Father told me that you were here on Earth. I'm glad you stopped by."
Though Anderel hadn't spent much time with Worf, she had met Alexander on several occasions. She found him quite curious. By anyone's account, he was a pitiful soldier and was about as Klingon as a pile of tribbles. But none of that seemed to bother him. He didn't seem to mind that he didn't fit in, and that in itself made him endearing. He was different and he was okay with that. Anderel found that admirable.
She returned his smile, though not as enthusiastically as he'd given it. Alexander's giddiness definitely gave away his human lineage, "Good evening Alexander. Is your father available?"
Just as she asked, Worf emerged from a back office holding a padd and speaking to another staff member, "Kerera, I need the transcripts from last week's discussion of the military installations in the Rodrere systems first thing tomorrow morning."
"Yes sir," the young Klingon woman replied quickly. It was clear that Worf ran a tight operation. Even Alexander snapped to attention when his father entered the room.
Anderel approached him, "I was certain that I'd see you in my second lecture on opera," she said.
Worf's shoulders straightened defensively, "I have been busy."
"I see. Do you make your staff work all day and all night?"
"Yes," Alexander replied for him. Worf gave him a look that silenced him quickly.
Andered laughed, "Well, I need a dinner partner for the evening, and I thought that you would be as good as any."
Worf's eyes narrowed, "You wish to have dinner with me?"
"Why not? We are practically family. Plus, I would love to hear your opinion on the newest performance of Aktuh and Melota."
Worf felt uncomfortable in the way he always did at the idea of a social situation with a woman. He could stand down a dozen Jem'Hadar, but dinner with a beautiful woman intimidated him. And in this case it was not just any beautiful woman, but it was Martok's daughter. He felt he should decline, but he did not want to offend her, "Alright."
"Good. Let's go. Tell your staff they can go home now."
"This is still my office, Professor," Worf turned to the staff that was still there, "When you have finished your current tasks, you may adjourn for the evening."
Anderel smiled, "So, where are you taking me?"
"You asked me out. I should be asking you where you are taking me,"
She laughed as they stepped onto the turbolift that took them to the ground floor, "All I know about Earth is eating at the campus replimat, and I'm tired of that."
Worf nodded, "I can understand that. I know of a place that I think you will enjoy."
"A Klingon restaurant?" she asked as they made their way out the door and down the street. The evening air was cool, more so than was comfortable for most Klingons. Anderel tightly folded her arms over her chest.
"No," Worf began. He'd become accustomed to the cool weather here in San Francisco, "It serves a type of Human food, it is called Russian. I have found the flavors to be strong and pungent; the only human food that compares to Klingon cuisine."
"You know much about Humans."
Worf wasn't sure if that was meant merely as an observation, or as an affront, "I have spent much of my life around them."
The restaurant was not far and they walked together, "Father has told me some things about you… that your parents were killed on Khitomer and that you were raised by humans."
"That is correct."
"Are your human parents still alive?"
Worf nodded, "Yes, they live here on Earth. I acquired a taste for this type of food from my adoptive mother."
"And where did you acquire your taste for opera?"
"That I learned on my own…" he paused, "Actually, when I reached the age of ascension, my human parents sent me to Qo'noS to undergo the Rites. While I was there, my guardian was a performer. From him I acquired my appreciation of Klingon music." Worf smiled inwardly, "And from Jadzia."
Anderel did not recognize the name, but she could tell by the change in his expression and tone that Jadzia must have been his wife, "Your wife."
Worf's chest tightened, he certainly had not meant to go down this road. He gave a short answer of "Yes" in hopes that Anderel would drop the subject.
She did not, "My mother thought highly of your wife."
That caught Worf completely off guard, "What?"
"She did not think an alien should marry into a Klingon house. But she has mentioned that she was surprised by her determination to prove herself and to marry you. Mother did everything she could to break her, but she would not bend. Mother respected that."
Worf's chest swelled; he was proud of the memory, "I did not know your mother grew to respect her."
"My mother isn't all bad, you know."
"I never said—"
"It is alright," Anderel replied, "I know that you and she are not the best of friends. There are some things about you that she does not approve of. But she is just fiercely protective of her family. She wants what is best for the House of Martok, that is all."
They arrived at the restaurant and were promptly seated. Worf spoke, "And what of you? What is your opinion of me?"
"Well, when Father brought you into the house, I did not think much of it. We have many non-blood members, so I did not think it was an issue. Drex, however, was livid."
Worf rolled his eyes. He and Drex had a history before he and Martok did, only it was not a good one. In Worf's opinion, Drex was not worthy of being the Chancellor's son. Worf did not want to offend Anderel by insulting her brother, so he kept his opinion to himself, "That was to be expected."
The server came and Worf ordered for the two of them. They continued their conversation, "May I ask, Ambassador, why you chose Starfleet instead of the Defense Force?"
Worf paused before answering. She seemed to have a genuine interest rather than the insulting tone that usually came with that question. Worf replied as honestly as he could, "It was a very personal decision, one that I wrestled with even after I made it."
"Does that mean you regret the decision?"
"A warrior has no room for regret," Worf replied decisively.
"That is a slogan, not an answer."
Worf narrowed his eyes a bit. Right now, Anderel's forwardness was reminding him of Jadzia. Early in their relationship, she was often direct in a way that made Worf uncomfortable, "It is the only answer I have for you… for now."
Anderel smiled, "Oh, I see. So what you are saying is, 'not on the first date?'"
"And what of you? You have asked a lot of questions, but have answered none."
"Perhaps you are not the only one who likes to remain a mystery," she sat back in her chair, "What would you like to know?"
Worf chose a safe question to start, "How did you come to be a Professor?"
"I have always had a passion for our history and culture. The stories that are passed down, the traditions and legacies we hold dear. It has always fascinated me. But I've felt that in recent times, we have begun to lose sight of those things. We have forgotten what it means to be Klingon. And not just in battle, but in everything. Klingons are passionate beings, passionate in everything we do."
Worf perked up a bit, "Yes, yes, I have always felt the same way. It may sound odd coming from an 'off-worlder' like myself, but I have felt that our culture was slowly slipping away from us- that is until your father became Chancellor."
"I suppose I have you to thank for that. Having one's father as Chancellor has made it much easier to get my programs and initiatives passed. I have worked closely with him since his instatement on many things."
"Then, you are welcome."
Their food came and their conversation continued. Worf could not believe that he'd never spent any time with Anderel before. She was fascinating. They two of them discussed everything from the political ramifications of the fall of Gowron to the most authentic way to prepare a bregit lung.
In fact, they talked so long that their food was long done, and the proprietors of the restaurant had begun to put the chairs on the tables.
"Do you suppose they are too intimidated by a pair of Klingons to ask us to leave?" Anderel asked, "Maybe they will just lock the doors with use still here."
Worf smiled, "Perhaps we should go."
As they stood to leave, Worf found himself watching her as she headed towards the door. She was a bit shorter than most Klingon women, and almost half a meter shorter than Worf. Her jet black hair hung halfway down her back in heavy, thick waves. She was rather plain in her appearance; her clothes were simple and unadorned. She wore no jewelry or any symbols of her house. Worf's eyes traveled along her form. Many Klingon would find her utilitarian appearance unappealing, but Worf did not. His breathing quickened for just a moment.
Anderel turned to see Worf was still standing near the table, "Are you coming, Ambassador?"
Worf snapped to attention, "Yes, yes of course."
They walked back to the consulate and though they'd been talking non-stop over dinner, they were both quiet as they walked. As they neared the building, Worf broke the silence, "Would you like to use the transporter at the consulate to get back to campus?"
"Yes, thank you."
Their silence continued as they made their way to the transporter room. They entered the room and Anderel headed for the transporter pad. It was late and the operator was off duty, so Worf went to the controls to activate the transporter himself.
"I enjoyed myself very much," Anderel said as she stood on the transporter pad facing Worf.
He nodded respectfully, "As did I."
"I am ready to transport."
"Yes of course. Qapla."