Alexander stared at his personal log while trying to decide just what he should include in it. Today was the forty-second day of Maktag and the Ya'Vang
was scheduled to make a stop at DS9 before returning further into the Alpha Quadrant after their successful mission behind enemy lines. They would be docking at the station first thing in the morning for only twenty-six hours then would be joining the Federation's tenth fleet near the Kalandra system.
Alexander didn't know if he was looking forward to seeing his father or not. He supposed that he should be looking forward to it considering that this will be the first time since the wedding between Worf and Jadzia that Alexander would be returning to the station. Alexander had felt proud to be asked to be a part of their wedding and had been even more flattered knowing that they had changed their plans just for him. Jadzia had wanted to ensure that he would be able to attend. It had been her way of trying to help forge a new relationship between father and son and with the war, she had pointed out, one never knows just when you might be able to see one another.
Alexander felt his lip curl in a grin as he remembered the four nights preceding the wedding within the holosuite. There he had felt like his father's son. The fact that Worf'd had to explain the ritual to the three humans present had helped ease the tension of having to do the same for him as well and while he wouldn't have considered the trials that had taken place in there fun, Alexander had to admit that he had enjoyed just being able to spend the time with his father without expecting a chastisement.
Sighing, Alexander leaned back in his chair and ran a hand over the small crystal that contained his own holosuite program. It had been inspired by one that he'd visited with father years ago. Though this one would be more versatile in its story-line and hopefully there won't be any guest appearances of Commander Data's likeness this time. He'd told his father of it in his message to tell him of his arrival to the space station but his expression in regards to it had been unreadable through subspace. Alexander hoped that the two could spend one hour within the program without ending up in a fight; for that perhaps Alexander should invite Jadzia along. With what is it; seven life-times? After all of that time Dax seemed know just when to step up to keep a situation from escalating between the two. That much had been obvious from the short time that he'd spent with his new step-mother.
Giving up on the daily log's entry, Alexander figured that he'd just leave it blank and decided to head to the Training Room to burn off the underlying frustration and tension that seemed to always accompany any thoughts of his father. He had worked on the bridge earlier in the day so his evening was free. Now that the ship was no longer behind enemy-lines he felt as if he could relax more than he had in more than a month. Still, just the atmosphere in the ship itself was enough to make him feel as if he was behind the lines of a completely different sort of war.
Inwardly, Alexander wondered if he should speak with the General once he reached Deep Space Nine about the growing tensions within the ranks. Surely he must know of the general consensus among the Klingon people in regards to the rampant isolationist mentality; after all, his own wife was among those that held such regards to outsiders not too long ago. The wedding between Worf and Jadzia nearly hadn't taken place due to Sirella's dislike of alien cultures. Knowing how she had reacted to Jadzia, Alexander wondered how the woman had taken his own entrance into her House. She had not wanted to pollute the blood-lines of a great family yet he came with human blood already running through his veins.
Alexander shook his head to clear the thoughts. One good thing that he could say about the xenophobic hostilities that lay just below the surface of the crew, it had forced him to take his training in the ways of a warrior that much more serious. After all, within the Klingon culture, outside enemies are not the only causes of a man to not return home from battle. It was clear that just as many were likely to face danger from within their own ranks as they did from any outside opponent.
Alexander's footsteps echoed on the metal plates beneath him as he moved through the dimly lit corridor toward the Training Room. He had long since learned to tune out the metallic clang that always accompanied his movements about the ship but when the sound became louder than it should have it grabbed his attention. Without turning around, Alexander glanced about him to see if he could see any evidence of another warrior in front of him. Seeing no one, Alexander's brows furled. He slowed his steps slightly; not much, just enough to separate their sound from those that were coming from behind him. Suddenly, he knew what prey must feel like once they knew that they were being stalked by a predator. Someone was behind him and that individual didn't want Alexander to know it. Carefully, Alexander continued his progress toward the Training Room while listening to the echoes that came from behind him. With each step he could tell that they were getting closer to him. Allowing his hand to creep down toward his D'k tahg, he let his hand rest on it as he waited for the sounds to come even closer.
Without warning, Alexander turned to face his shadow to find R'jnol behind him with his hand raised and poised to bring his own knife down upon the younger Klingon. Alexander raised both of his own hands to catch the descending forearm to prevent the blade from finding its mark. The two began to wrestle for the weapon and Alexander soon found himself pressed up against the walls of the corridor as he strained against the older man. Despite all of his training with Ch'Targh and his other comrades, he feared that he was not prepared for this type of assault. Unlike their first meeting in the Training Room, this time R'jnol didn't just want to scare him or teach him a lesson. The man wanted to actually kill him. What was worse, he needed both of his hands to hold back R'jnol's D'k tagh so he couldn't even draw his own weapon.
When Alexander felt the tip of the cold blade against him, Alexander became desperate to win this battle for his life. It was then that he remembered his first conversation with K'nera and her telling him of R'jnol's weakness. Alexander raised his left foot and brought it hard against R'jnol's knee. In turn, R'jnol flinched and pulled back just slightly. But it had been enough. Alexander raised his fist and connected with the more powerful Klingon's nose and sent him back further. Before R'jnol could react, Alexander had his own weapon in hand and stood ready to face him as he returned to attack Alexander once more with even more hatred than he'd had before.
Alexander ducked the man's blade as he swung it wildly and moved back behind him and waited for him to turn to face him once more. When R'jnol did so, he charged Alexander in hopes to pin him up against the wall of the corridor. Alexander may have been smaller and weaker but he knew that he was more agile than the other Klingon and waited until the last second before moving aside. R'jnol collided with the wall and turned in frustration back toward his surprisingly elusive prey. R'jnol then launched himself against the younger man with his blade drawn. Alexander raised one hand to capture the other man's wrist as the two fell backwards to the deck plating. As the two landed, Alexander saw a look of surprise fill R'jnol's eyes as he looked down between them. While Alexander had raised one hand to block R'jnol's blade his other hand with his own weapon had remained lower. It had caught R'jnol right between the ribs and sank into his lung. It had been lodged in deeply by his own momentum.
Alexander rolled the man off of him and stood up as his adversary drew in his last breath. R'jnol was the first Klingon that he'd ever killed. Killing him and the Jem'Hadar felt differently. He wasn't sure why though since both had been trying to kill him. Still, Alexander took no pleasure in his success in this battle.
"You were lucky," a voice sounded from the end of the corridor. Alexander turned to find the First Officer scowling down at the image of the lifeless corpse. "There were several opportunities to kill him before you finally did and yet you did not seize them."
"Sir, about R'jnol, I'm sorry but-"
"Do not apologize!" The First Officer bellowed as he shook his head. "You are a Klingon on board a Klingon Warship; not on a Federation Starship. You had every right to kill him several times over. He had no honor. Take a lesson from this, Young Alexander. You tried to offer mercy to your adversary by not killing him the first chance you had and it nearly got you killed in return. In battle, there is no room for mercy."
"Yes, sir." Alexander watched as the First Officer walked over to R'jnol's body and pull Alexander's weapon from his chest and wiped the blood off on his pant leg. The Officer then reversed it to return it back to Alexander. Alexander took the D'k tahg and returned it to its sheath.
"Now, call for a crew to remove this petaQ from the corridor." The First Officer then placed a hand on Alexander's shoulder, "And do so with pride. Your adversaries will now think twice before attempting to follow R'jnol's lead."
Alexander nodded and watched as the officer left. That was it?
He had just killed another member of the crew and that was all that the man had to say? Alexander was stunned at the manner that the death of such a prominent member of the crew was being taken. Taking in a deep breath, Alexander set about to informing the appropriate personnel of the need to remove R'jnol's body. He just wasn't sure he will ever be able to get used to this aspect of Klingon culture.
By the time that Alexander had made it to the Mess Deck for his evening meal word of R'jnol's death had spread throughout the ship. Ch'Targh and his other friends all congratulated Alexander on the outcome of the skirmish in the corridor. Others in the room all eyed Alexander uncertain of how to react to the news that he, of all people, had been the one to ultimately bring down R'jnol. Alexander fought the urge to show just how uncomfortable he was by the knowledge that only hours ago he had killed a man; a comrade. Still, he knew that his closest friends had to at least suspect the reason for his awkwardness during the meal.
Alexander offered no false bravado for his actions and merely allowed his friends to do the boasting for him. Not that he was sure that there was much to boast about. He had not bested R'jnol in some glorious battle. The First Officer had been right, he'd gotten lucky. Nothing more. The only thing that he could celebrate was that he had survived to live another day. He would survive to see one more birthday.
The next morning, Alexander watched as Deep Space Nine came into view. He felt a mixture of both excitement and hesitation knowing that he was about to see his father again and spend the next twenty-six hours in the same location as him. When the Ya'Vang completed it's docking Alexander headed toward the hatch that would lead him to the station. As he stepped through the hatch Alexander glanced around looking for his father. He'd assumed that he would be here to meet him but the older Klingon was nowhere to be seen. Alexander did, however, see Jadzia waiting for him with a big smile which he returned readily.
"Alexander! Welcome back," Jadzia stepped forward to hug her stepson. "It's good to see you. I can't believe how much you've changed in just a couple of months!"
Jadzia knew that Alexander was in his final year of Klingon maturation but she hadn't been prepared to see such a difference in the young man. In the months that he had been gone Alexander had shot up several centimeters in height and his shoulders had begun to broaden. If it hadn't been for two physical characteristics, Alexander's lack of facial hair that still separated him from the rest of the Klingons on board and his wearing his hair tied back just like Worf, Jadzia might not have been able to recognize him at all.
"It's good to see you too," Alexander answered as he glanced around while looking for his father. "Is my father up in Ops? I sort of thought that he'd be here already."
"Oh, about that, General Martok left out last night on a mission and your father volunteered to go with him." Jadzia slipped an arm through Alexander's and turned him to head toward the promenade. "But your father said to give you his best."
Alexander felt his heart drop slightly but he wasn't sure why he had expected his father to be here in the first place. "I understand."
"But," Jadzia raised her other hand and revealed a message crystal in her hand, "I do have some transmissions from Earth for you. Your grandparents sent them."
"Thanks. I know that they've never felt comfortable with sending messages through the Empire. They probably figured that my father would still be able to get them to me by sending them here. I hope it isn't a problem."
"Nah, I can understand their discomfort to a point." Jadzia released the message crystal as Alexander took it from her to put into a pouch on his belt. "Now, tell me all about your latest mission behind the Dominion Lines."
"Well-" Alexander started only to be interrupted but a comm message for Jadzia.
"Lieutenant Dax, we need you in Ops."
"I'm sorry," Jadzia gave Alexander an apologetic look before answering the comm, "I'm on my way." She then added to Alexander, "We'll get together later. I promise."
"Don't worry about it. I'll be alright."
Alexander watched as Jadzia headed off toward Ops then continued his way to the bustling hub of the station. All around him people of dozens of different races milled about; all oblivious to the fact that Alexander was more hurt by his father's absence than he cared to admit. He had planned to spend some time with his father yet his father was not here. As much as he'd liked to think that the mission was just convenient in its timing, he suspected that the mission had actually been devised by his father to keep him busy. Alexander remembered back on the Enterprise
how he had felt as if his father would go out of his way to look for extra work. All in an effort to avoid spending time with his son. Today was just one more instance to support that theory.
Alexander made his way to the bar and took an empty stool and waited for the Ferengi behind the bar to take his order. After he did Quark gave Alexander an odd look as he handed him his drink.
"I think I remember you. You're Worf's son, right? The one with the human name."
Alexander inwardly groaned since he knew that was likely how most people remembered. He wasn't Alexander. He was Worf's son. The one that was more Human than Klingon. "That's right."
"Hey kid, don't take this the wrong way or nothing but weren't you more scrawny the last time you were in here?" Quark caught Alexander's sudden jerk of his head at the description and raised his hands up as if in defense. The last thing he needed was for Worf to hear that he'd offended his only son. If that happened Quark was likely to have the massive Klingon down in his bar and making trouble for him. Something that he didn't need. "Not that you were really scrawny or anything it's just that you look a bit different now is all."
Alexander shrugged as he accepted his blood wine. He wasn't about to go into trying to explain Klingon growth patterns to someone that really wouldn't have cared about them anyway. Once Quark moved on to the next customer Alexander stared at his glass and couldn't help but wonder just what his grandparents had been doing back on Earth lately. He was sure that back in Minsk they were likely sound asleep since it was the middle of the night in the town where they lived. He made a mental note to be sure to watch their transmissions and see to sending a message back just as soon as he knew that it was daybreak there. Though Alexander knew that doing so would only make him feel a bit homesick.
Alexander knew that, while they always tried to hide it from him, both of his grandparents worried about him now that he was serving the Empire. More so, perhaps, than they had ever been concerned about his father. Whereas Worf served in Starfleet, Alexander was serving on board a Klingon Warship. They knew what to expect from service to the Federation but the Empire was still a mystery to many that had no firsthand dealings with them. Alexander knew that his infrequent communiqués with Sergey and Helena both eased their worry for him and increased it. They were always glad to hear from him and see that he was doing well but seeing him on board a Klingon ship was never easy for them. It reminded them of the danger that he was in by simply being enlisted in the Klingon Defense Forces. Alexander figured that while he was on the station he could at least alleviate some of their concerns by providing a different background for their conversation.
"Such a serious expression," Alexander turned to find K'nera walking up behind him with two plates in her hands. "Mind if I join you?"
"Uh, not all. What's that?" Alexander motioned to the plates. On each of them appeared to be a sliver of cake.
"QoSlIj DatIvjaj! (Happy Birthday)" K'nera placed one of the plates in front of Alexander and sat down on the stool next to Alexander.
Alexander's brows lowered on his face as he gave the Betazoid a questioning look. "How did you know it was my birthday?"
"Um, let's see…" K'nera gave a false look of concentration and smiled. "I'm a mind reader, maybe?"
"I thought I heard the others on the ship say that you'd never developed your skills. Not living among others from Betazed and all. I was told that you were just empathic."
K'nera shrugged as she lifted her fork to take a bite of the cake. "That's the story that got out since Klingons in general aren't comfortable with telepathy. M'jaK and DedaJ are the only ones on board that know the truth."
"So why tell me?"
"Because you don't seem like someone that would plunge a D'k tahg in my chest after knowing the truth. You don't come off as someone that would really have a problem with telepaths," K'nera smiled. "But I should apologize for intruding. I usually try not to but you seemed so down; I thought that it might have had something to do with yesterday. When I realized that it didn't I figured that I'd come over and see if I could do anything. No one should be alone on their birthday. Especially on an important one like this one."
"It's just another day," Alexander picked up his own fork and took a bite of the cake that K'nera had gotten from the food replicator. When he tasted the cake he knew just how far into his thoughts K'nera had ventured. "Black Russian Cake?"
"It's probably not as good as the way that your grandmother makes it but you were wishing for a piece of it so…" K'nera waited to see Alexander's reaction to her mental snooping but he seemed to accept it without too many qualms much to her relief. "Anyway, don't worry about me spying on you anymore. I just couldn't help it after catching a few stray thoughts."
"Don't worry about it, really," Alexander smiled and shook his head. "And you're right; I don't have a problem as a general rule with telepaths. In fact, back on the Enterprise
, there were several on board and the counselor was empathic."
"I see. That's good to know," K'nera said relieved. "So, any plans for your birthday?"
"Nah, I'd planned to go the holosuite with my father but since he isn't here-"
"Since he isn't here you'll just have to go without him. There is no reason to not have a little fun before you have to leave the station." K'nera interrupted. "What kind of program did you have in mind?"
"Its just one that came up with based on an old holonovel that my father and I used to visit on the Enterprise
. It takes place in the Ancient West of Earth."
Alexander gave a crooked grin as he explained his fascination with the time period from Earth's history with quite a bit of enthusiasm. It was a time that had always held his imagination. Eventually Alexander even told K'nera of his first visit to the Ancient West in the holodeck with his father and how it had been complicated by Commander Data running a diagnostic at the same time the two Klingons were inside the program. The safeties were turned off and both Alexander and his father had actually faced a bit of danger before they could leave the deck.
Alexander had been certain that after that fiasco his father wouldn't want to go back to the holodeck with him. He had, however, been able to convince his father to return a couple more times. That was why he had written the program that he'd brought with him to the station. Alexander had hoped to try to recapture those brief moments from his childhood where the two of them had actually gotten along. Unfortunately, after telling Worf of the program and then learning that he volunteered for a mission to be away from the station on the very day that Alexander was to be present, he realized that his father must not look back on those times quite as fondly as he did.
"Well," K'nera eyed Alexander as she saw that his look of excitement as he explained the time period turned to one of disappointment because his father was not on the station. "Is there any reason why you can't still use the program? After hearing all of that, I'll admit that I'm a bit curious about it now."
"You're kidding," Alexander cocked his head as he tried to judge if K'nera was just trying to make him feel better.
"Nope, come on. We'll go see if one of the holosuites are free." K'nera grinned and waved Quark over to ask about buying some time in the recreational rooms. "Consider it a birthday present. Just don't expect me to know what in the worlds I'm supposed to be doing in that kind of place."
Alexander chuckled, "Deal. We can turn the characters off in the program and just explore the town."