Chapter 9: IX

K'nera glanced at Alexander as he left the Mess Deck after the morning meal. In the months since the invasion of Betazed K'nera had begun to put to practice Ambassador Troi's advice in regards to using her telepathic abilities and found that it really had begun to help her find her center when she needed to. Now looking at her friend, her heart broke for him. In a sense, he had lost two mothers already in a span of about ten years.

The death of his father's wife had hit him hard and for a while K'nera hadn't been sure just what she could do to help him get past it. It was not normal for a Klingon to grieve for so long for a fallen friend or family member. Death was not something to be feared in the Klingon society. In general, the opinion of life and death could be summed up very simply. Life is short, grasp it with both hands and live like tomorrow will never come. If you know you will not get out of a situation alive then you might as well go out in style. Still, Alexander, despite his recent emergence in the culture, had not been raised as other Klingons.

Humans face death differently than Klingons. Death is an unknown that is to be feared and avoided at all costs. Humans also tend to try to make sense of the reasons behind a death; especially when that death had not been expected. Jadzia had not been ill nor had she gone marching off to battle the morning that she had died. A crazed madman simply found her as an inconvenience that was in his way so he killed her without thought. Such disregard for life made her death even harder to face. Alexander did not, could not, look upon death in the same manner as the rest of those on the ship. His Human blood would not allow him to. A part of him wished that he could but it just wasn't in him to do so.

Before Ch'Targh left to make his way to find his station on the bridge as well, K'nera stepped forward to stop him so that she could speak with him. She wanted to discuss his bunk-mate with him. K'nera asked if he knew whether or not Worf had contacted his son yet in the time since Jadzia's death.

Ch'Targh eyed the young Betazoid carefully as he tried to decide if he should speak of his young charge with the woman. In general, while he wouldn't consider himself among the xenophobes that were on the ship, he didn't trust other races. Particularly those that possessed psionic abilities. Still, the young woman standing before him had on countless times while serving on board proven that while her body may be Betazoid her heart was Klingon. He also knew that Alexander considered her to be a close friend; one of the few on board actually.

Exhaling roughly, "No. I believe that the general has spoken with him a few times but not his father. I won't hold my breath waiting for him to contact his son, either. Those two have had a strained relationship for years. Somehow I do not see Commander Worf reaching out to his son now."

K'nera heard and sensed the dislike for Worf in the Klingon's voice and cocked her head as she spoke, "You've met Alexander's father?"

Nodding his head, "He was the general's first officer on the Rotarran for a time. Let's just say that I wouldn't consider him having ever done any favors for Alexander. He woefully neglected his son's training, not to mention the boy himself, for too long. I hold no respect for a man that does that to his child."

K'nera remembered back to Alexander's birthday and how he had been disappointed that his father had left the station just before he was to arrive. She had hoped that it had just been a coincidence that his departure had been so close to his son's arrival but now she had her doubts.

"At least Alexander seems to be doing a lot better recently; which is good since what ground he had gained among the rest of the crew after casting aside his human name in favor of T'knehzoR while around most of the other Klingons had begun to slip away."

Nodding, K'nera then allowed Ch'Targh to head in behind the others to the bridge. She knew that she could have easily found out what she had learned by delving into Alexander's thoughts but she wasn't quite comfortable doing that still. Catching his stray thoughts or sensing his emotions were one thing; actively snooping into his mind was a completely different matter.

DS9

Alexander scanned his monitor and saw it showed the system was deathly quiet. There was absolutely no indication of Jem'Hadar ships anywhere on their sensors. Of course Alexander knew that they were not stationed to guard against the Dominion here in this system. Not this time at least. On the outer rim of the sensor's reach lay the Romulan fleet. They had recently joined the Alliance against the Dominion/Cardassian forces. There was no doubt that Chancellor Gowran did not trust the Romulans anymore than he did the Dominion. So as a response to their presences so close to the Empire, he had assigned squadrons of fleets to guard against them along the Klingon border that faced them.

Alexander didn't trust the Romulans anymore than any other Klingon that he knew but he also wondered just how the Alpha Quadrant Alliance was supposed to defeat the Dominion from the Gamma Quadrant if they couldn't put aside old hostilities long enough to fight only one enemy at a time instead of waiting for their own allies to double-cross them. Now the two fleets were staring at one another across an imaginary line in the sand; neither trusting the other but both reluctantly dependent on the other for their own sector's safety.

A part of Alexander wondered if the temporary alliance with the Romulans could ever last once the war is over. That is if the war ever did end. He knew that all it would take right now would be for one nervous trigger finger to break the tenuous cease-fire between the two empires. From there the two empires would likely pull their forces from the front-lines against the Dominion and fight a war on a second front without even thinking about it. Of course Gowran could have posted ships that had once been loyal to the Duras family along the border. They were used to working alongside them; but then Gowran would have had to worry about their loyalty to him and the Empire.

Fighting back a chuckle to himself, Alexander found the whole political climate within the Empire to be ridiculous. To him it seemed that it would be obvious to see that if the various factions within Klingon Empire could just work together it would be much stronger. Instead, the Empire appeared to be one big house of cards; just waiting for someone to come along and knock it over. As it was, each man who made it to a position of power within the Empire then had to spend the rest of their lives waiting for someone else to come along and try to steal it away from them.

As Alexander's rotation shift ended, he got ready to leave the bridge only to be told that a communication was coming through for him from DS9. Curious, Alexander made his way to a comm station just off of the bridge. He wondered if his father had finally decided to contact him after Jadzia's death but when he switched the communique on he was not greeted by his father but by a Trill whom he'd not ever met before. She looked young; she probably hadn't been out of Starfleet Academy for more than a couple of years at most. She had short dark hair and looked nervous as she sat on her end of the transmission link.

"Alexander," the Trill squirmed where she was sitting and bit her lip as she waited for him to reply.

"Can I help you?"

"Huh? Oh, right. You have no idea how I know you. It's me; Dax."

Alexander blinked in surprise since he'd not really thought much about the symbiont since Jadzia's death. It had not even occurred to him that it had survived when she had not. Nor had he thought about how all of the things that he'd spoken with his stepmother about would ever be known to the next host, either. Unsure of what to say, he swallowed and tried to figure out just what he was supposed to say to the woman.

"Dax, right. So you…?"

"Yeh, I know that this is sort of weird for you but I just wanted to talk to you. You know, just in case you end up back here on the station, I don't want you to be caught off guard or anything." As if just remembering that she had yet to fully introduce herself, she then jumped in with, "By the way, you can call me Ezri. I'm the new counselor for the Station."

"You're a counselor?"

"Why does everyone always seem so surprised to hear that?!"

"I wouldn't know," Alexander chuckled but sat back in his chair and settled in for what was bound to be an intriguing conversation.

After he'd finished speaking with Ezri, Alexander felt better about Jadzia's death than he expected. He didn't know why but knowing that she wasn't completely gone helped him to allow her memory to rest in peace. By the end of the conversation, he also looked forward to getting to know the new host for the Dax symbiont. She seemed interesting and (like him) a bit out of her element at times. She had never prepared herself for the task that she was now faced with; the task of carrying on a legacy of eight previous hosts.

One thing that crossed his mind after he'd ended the communication had been Jadzia's cryptic allusion to the fact that his father had shared his reasons for sending him away to Earth with her. Perhaps now he could finally learn what those reasons had been. If he did learn of them, would he agree with them? Would he even be able to understand them? There was only one way to know that for sure and that was to hear them for himself. Then perhaps he could truly forgive his father for his absence during a time that he really could have used him around.

Alexander figured that he'd best wait before he approached Ezri about what Dax knew of his father's conversation with Jadzia. For now, at least he knew that there was a chance to learn what had been said; sooner or later.

DS9

K'nera raised her bat'leth up to block M'jaK's next blow and not for the first time wished that she had the same endurance that the Klingons had on board. The muscles in her arms burned with the strain of trying to keep up with the rigorous regimen that her uncle kept her on while on board the Ya'Vang. She knew that all of the work-outs were to try to ensure that when the Jem'Hadar boarded the next time that she would still be able to handle herself.

M'jaK had hoped that he would have been able to have found another assignment for his niece and have her transferred off of his ship before being sent back out to the front-lines. Unfortunately he couldn't find another commander that had been willing to deal when they learned the officer in question, despite the favorable service record, was a Betazoid. Now his ship was heading toward the front line once more without being unburdened of its sole non-Klingon crew member. As such, that meant that he'd felt that he needed to train K'nera even harder to ensure that she would have her best chance at surviving should they be boarded by the Jem'Hadar in the near future.

M'jaK brought his weapon down and was glad to see that his training of his niece had not been for nothing. Her skill with the bat'leth was improving (though it would never be on par with a Klingon member of the crew) which left M'jaK feeling quite proud of his niece. He suspected that she had been putting in some extra practice with some of the other crew which showed in her improving prowess with the blade. It really was a shame that she wasn't a Klingon. Still, he'd be a lot happier if she wasn't on his ship when they reached the front lines again.