Chapter 8: VIII

Alexander bade Lwaxana good-bye before K'nera activated the transporter to beam both her and the final group of Betazoid refugees to the designated star-base. He promised to try to stay in touch and Lwaxana assured him that if he didn't that she would find him instead. As the beam cleared, Alexander turned and glanced at K'nera and swore that he saw her visibly relax slightly now that the other Betazoids had left the ship.

"I take it that you didn't find Ambassador Troi's company all that enjoyable."

"Enjoyable? Not particularly. She is… a unique individual."

Alexander chuckled at K'nera's way of trying to describe the old family friend. "That she is. So, what all did she discuss with you earlier? You looked like you would like to throttle her before she finally left you alone."

"The ambassador is quite blunt and you are correct. Had she been someone else I might have been tempted to do just that."

"You'll learn that all Betazoids are very honest. Right to the point of being blunt. Or haven't you noticed that about yourself before?" Alexander asked with a snicker. "I believe that is one of the reasons that you've always been in trouble with your uncle."

"Saying that all Betazoids are blunt is a lot like saying that all Klingons are hostile. And I think that we both know that no one would consider you to be a typically hostile Klingon." K'nera shook her head as she spoke.

"You might be surprised," Alexander turned toward the door of the transporter room to prepare to leave. "I have my moments."

"Sure you do." K'nera gave him a wry grin since she had yet to see Alexander really lose his temper in the same way she had seen any other Klingon in her life. Before Alexander stepped out of the transporter room K'nera spoke back up, "I know that you ended up missing your training session today with Ch'Targh."

"It was for a good cause," Alexander shrugged with a smile. "I'm sure he wouldn't have wanted to watch over the Betazoids alongside us."

"Well if you'd like to get in some practice today, despite the day's delay, I plan to be in the training room in about an hour." K'nera ran her eyes over the transporter's display to ensure that it had powered down properly as she spoke, "You're welcomed to join me if you'd like."

Alexander stopped mid-step before turning to look at K'nera. Spending an hour alone with her, even if they were only training, actually sounded pretty good to him. Of course he didn't want to appear too eager to do so. Lwaxana's words of how she probably already was aware of his feelings for K'nera rang in his head which caused him to stumble over his words. "I…uh… I'd like to…"

"But you're worried that you'd hurt me? Don't worry. I train with my uncle all the time and he almost never goes easy on me. Come on. It could be fun."

"In that case," Alexander pulled on his tunic to straighten it. "Why not?"

"Good. I'll see you in there at about twenty-one hundred hours." K'nera gave a smile as she picked up some of Alexander's thoughts. She wondered if what she was sensing had anything to do with Lwaxana Troi's suggestion at discreet snooping.

In the days after the refugees had left, the crew begun to settle back into the usual routine and some of the uneasiness that had run rampant on board had begun to dissipate once the Ya'Vang had been reassigned back into Klingon space. It had joined the fleet that was charged with protecting Qo'noS from the Dominion shortly after the attack on Betazed. Since then the Dominion had stepped up their attacks which had caused some concern that there might be more aggressive strikes within the Empire's realm. As a result, Chancellor Gowron had decided that it would be prudent to reinforce the Klingon borders as he pushed the Federation for more offensive strikes on behalf of the entire Alpha Quadrant.

Alexander had personally hoped to be sent back to join Martok's fleet instead of being assigned to the Homeworld. Had the ship joined the squadrons of ships that had been placed under Martok's command it would have given Alexander the chance to see his father again. Though perhaps he'd elect to not suggest a holosuite program considering that the last time that he'd planned one his father had disappeared before Alexander arrived at the station.

One good thing about being assigned to the Homeworld, however, was that when the crew was given leave they were able to attend the latest celebration for some festival that Alexander could barely pronounce the name of but he was certain that he'd have a good time at anyway. He had been to enough Klingon celebrations to know to expect operas and reenactments of various historic battles. Alexander had gone with some of the members of the crew to the festivals and had genuinely enjoyed himself.

While on the planet's surface, (today included) he had taken K'nera's advice and simply introduced himself as T'knehzoR of the House of Martok rather than Alexander the son of Worf. Being on the Homeworld made him very aware just how much the name of his father could spur controversy. Worf had both fallen out of favor and been exalted only to fall once more several times in recent years; the most recent had been when he had refused to support the Chancellor's war against the Federation just before the start of the Dominion War. Some praised him for not kowtowing to the pressures of his superiors but most considered him to be a Federation Lackey instead. While only being known as a member of the general's House, however, Alexander could see the respect that was given to him just by association. It confirmed the idea that he should go by his Klingon name by most and only allow those who were closest to him to use his Human name.

Alexander had just finished watching a Klingon Opera on one of Kahless's battles on the street along with several of his crew-mates. Among them, were Ch'Targh, Kornan, Koloth, DedaJ and K'nera. The day of shore-leave had been going well for most of the day but during the mid-day meal at a stand near the main plaza a small group of Klingons approached their tables. A quick glance told Alexander that the lead Klingon bore the emblem of the House of Martok.

"I was told that some petaQ here claimed to be a member of the House of my father. Yet I have no knowledge of anyone named T'knehzoR. So tell me. Why should I not cut your tongue out for such deception?"

Those still seated at the table all tensed as if ready for battle but looked to Alexander to wait for his answer before reacting. Alexander raised a brow as he took in the appearance of the other man. He'd seen holovids of Martok's son and knew him on sight despite the fact that he hadn't seen him in person yet. Alexander reached across the table and grabbed some sauce to put on his bregit lung before he spoke.

"No deception. Perhaps you would recognize my Human name instead, Alexander Rozhenko. Your father invited me to join his House earlier this year."

"Ah, yes. The Human-mutt. Tell me. Just what kind of name is Alexander? Certainly not one of a warrior," Drex snickered.

"Actually, if you were familiar with Earth's history, then you'd know that the greatest warrior in the planet's history was simply known as Alexander the Great," Alexander tried to act as casually as possible since this was the son of Martok. It would not be wise to antagonize him out of respect for his father. "He rose to power in the fourth century and conquered nearly the entire known world at the time in only three years. Even before Kahless himself had fought in any battles. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still taught his tactics well into the twenty-third century."

"A Human warrior?" Drex bellowed with laughter. "Surely not one worthy of a Klingon."

"I'm sure that is up for interpretation," Alexander shrugged.

Drex lowered his eyes as he tried to decide if there was some veiled insult behind Alexander's words. "My father should have been more discerning in his recent admittance into our Great House. At least you have some Klingon blood. In fact, without that ridiculous name you might could even pass for one. But he's even allowed a Trill to join recently. If I'm not mistaken, she is the mate of your father. His foolish choices will be the end of our Great House if he is not careful."

Mentioning Jadzia had a certain effect on Alexander that he couldn't quite explain. She wasn't his mother, not really, but hearing her insulted was like hearing someone saying much the same thing about K'Ehleyr. Alexander turned in his chair to finally face Drex fully. He didn't take a true aggressive posture but he did straighten just a bit as he crossed is arms.

"Drex, the way I see it. Anyone can be born into a Great House. It's all a matter of genetics. Being invited into a House though…" Alexander raised a brow while leaving the rest of the sentence unsaid. "As for Jadzia, if you think that she wasn't worthy of joining the House of Martok then I would suggest that you take that up with your mother. It was her decision to allow her entrance. Something that I happen to know she didn't do lightly either. Jadzia is honorable; Trill or not. Your mother is a formidable woman; one whose wisdom I would not go against if given the choice. If the Lady Sirella saw something in a lowly Trill that was worthy of her House, then I would suggest that you take a deeper look to try to see just what she did."

Drex ground his teeth; he'd been hoping that he could spur the younger Klingon to react in a way that he could be justified in attacking him. Instead he lauded Drex's mother while defending his own step-mother. Not exactly something that he could use as a launching pad to put Alexander in his place with. Drex growled under his breath before one of the larger men at the table finally spoke.

"Well now that we all know one another," Ch'Targh was amused by Drex's reactions to what appeared to be Alexander's sharpest weapon; his words. "Perhaps you would like to join us for the mid-day meal. After all, I'm sure you would not want to dishonor your father by fighting with one of your own household."

Drex sneered at the suggestion before exchanging glances with his companions before turning to stalk back off. After he and the other Klingons had left, those sitting at the table began to chuckle.

"That's one for T'knehzoR of the House of Martok," Kornan snickered as he raised his glass of blood wine. "A victory in a battle of words that I'm sure would even have been worthy of this Alexander the Great of yours."

Alexander turned back to his meal smiling. It was clear that Drex was not used to using his wits in battle rather than a bat'leth. At least he knew he had one weapon at his disposal that he was well adept at.

Later that evening, Alexander made his way back to the ship and was heading to his quarters when the first officer stopped him to inform him that he had an incoming transmission. Confused, Alexander made his way to the nearest communication station and pulled up the message and was surprised to see General Martok on the other end of the transmission.

"General Martok," Alexander wondered if Drex had contacted his father after the minor scene down on the planet's surface. If so, he wondered just what he could have said that would prompt the man to contact him personally. "It is an honor to hear from you. I just spoke with your son today. I-"

"I'm afraid that this is not a social call, Alexander." The general's face held a look of regret at what he was about to say before continuing. "I'm afraid that I have some bad news."

Alexander straightened in his chair and swallowed. "My father. Is he…Is he alright?"

"It is not your father, Alexander. It's Jadzia."

Alexander sat at the table in the Main Mess Hall and stared at his empty cup that had been filled with blood wine when he had sat down. He couldn't believe that Jadzia had been killed. It was only today that he'd surprised himself by thinking of her as more than just his father's wife. She had come close to becoming another mother to him. Even when his father did not keep up with his transmissions, Jadzia had seen to it to return every single one of his messages that he'd sent to Deep Space Nine. They had literally talked for hours about nearly anything and everything over sub-space.

Jadzia had even broken the news to him only last night that she and his father had wanted to let him know that they were thinking about starting a family. She hadn't wanted Alexander to feel awkward considering his and Worf's own father/son relationship so she wanted to make sure that he hadn't had any objections to the whole idea. Alexander had hoped that with Jadzia's help Worf could have learned to be a better father than he had been to himself. Now that was no longer a possibility. Words that Jadzia had cryptically spoken to him had suggested that his father had reasons for sending him away but she would wait and let Worf tell Alexander. Without Jadzia's prodding he doubted that he'd ever know just what those reasons had been.

Martok had told Alexander that his father was not taking his wife's death well. Alexander had seen his father's reaction to his mother's, K'Ehleyr, death and he suspected that Worf was even more broken now than he had been then. Alexander had often wondered if his father had ever loved his mother. For Jadzia, there had been no question at all. While on the station during the wedding planning, Alexander had literally seen that the Trill had been the very light in his father's eyes. It had been her that had put a spring in his step and could even provoke him to laughter. Without her, Worf just might not be seen to laugh again. Which was too bad since his father's laughter had been a sound that had begun to grow on him.

Alexander didn't know just how long he'd been sitting in the Mess Hall when he felt a hand covering his. Looking up, he saw K'nera sitting across from him with a look of compassion in her eyes. She had sensed his grieving and had come to offer him any comfort that she could. The comfort of a true friend. She did one thing that he couldn't do since Klingons don't have tear ducts; she cried for the fallen Trill and did so openly.