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System J-25: Federation Border with Romulan Neutral Zone

"I'm worried, Alex," Annabeth said in the far corner of Scharr's spartan quarters. "I haven't felt him move yet." She gently rubbed the sides of her baby bump hoping for some reaction.

"Honey," Alex said softly stroking her wife's cheek. "It's your first pregnancy and you're only in the twenty-third week. It's completely normal not to feel anything until week twenty-five."

"Ok," Annabeth said relaxing a bit. "I know I'm freaking out a little but I'm just so scared something will go wrong."

"That's also completely normal," Alex replied before planting a tender kiss on Annabeth's lips.

The doors parted and Tigranian and Laria walked in.

"Did we miss anything?" the Bajoran asked excitedly.

"No," Scharr said fiddling with his holoscreen. "still trying to get this damned trans-galactic sub-space chat all set up." Katie, Phil, and T'les were behind the Pershing's chief engineer with drinks in their hands. Tigranian walked over to them while Laria drifted back towards Annabeth and Alex.

"All these babies!" Laria said grinning from ear to ear. "It's so exciting."

"And terrifying," Annabeth added.

"Oh, Annabeth!" Laria said excitedly changing the subject. "I was searching the music database and I found the most amazing music. I think it's in your native language."

"Really?" Annabeth replied with a smile.

"Yeah, I loved it, but I do have a question," Laria asked. "What's a Luftballon?"

"What…" Annabeth said as she dropped her chin to her chest.

"Yeah," Laria said confused. "The singer kept repeating 'Luftballons' over and over again."

"Wir sind das Land von Bach, Beethoven, und Wagner und alles was sie sich erinnern ist neunundneunzig verdammt Ballons…" Annabeth muttered while rubbing her eyes. Alex looked uncomfortable. She always did when her wife shifted to German.

"What?" Laria asked cocking her head to one side.

"Nothing," Annabeth replied with a feigned smile. "I'm just glad you're learning about German music. That's all."

"Oh," Laria said relieved. "So, what is it?"

"It's a balloon," Annabeth said matter of factly. "It's a balloon that lifts into the air…" She held her palm flat and then raised it half a meter for emphasis. "Hence Luftballon."

"Oh!" Laria said. "I get it now. It's just that you humans have so many languages. Every region on Earth, a different language. How do you keep track of them all?"

"Avec la pratique!" Alex said happily with a grin. Laria looked confused and Annabeth groaned.

"Nobody speaks French anymore," Annabeth said. "The French don't even speak French."

"In Canada we do," Alex grumbled under her breath.

Across the room, Scharr continued to make adjustments to his holoscreen.

"Are you having trouble, Commander?" T'les asked. "Would you like assistance?"

"No," Scharr said angrily over his shoulder. "I've almost got it."

"Wow, Sir," Phil said taking another sip of beer. "Aren't you nervous at all?"

"Number eleven, Lexington," Scharr said pressing several buttons on the subspace tuner. "Please keep track of current events."

Katie and Tigranian laughed as Phil drank again.

The left side of the screen blinked into focus.

"You got me, Snowflake?" Scharr asked into the microphone.

"Yeah, Dad!" Zhenia Scharr said from the other side of the galaxy. "Loud and clear." She noticed everyone else in the room as Annabeth, Alex, and Laria walked over. "Hey everybody!" she said waving her hand at the screen.

"Hello, Zhenia!" they all said in unison.

"Is Lieutenant Hawkins there?" Zhenia asked hopefully.

"No, he's not…" Scharr replied as his antenna curled angrily. Zhenia knew to drop it. She also knew he would call later anyways.

"How's Cardassia?" Alex asked as Scharr continued to try to get Lor'Tan General Hospital on Andoria.

"Still the same. The border keeps worrying us, but at least the flow of refugees has stabilized."

Suddenly, the right side of the screen connected and Xel Scharr lay in a hospital bed wrapped in a white gown. Sweat dripped down from her long white hair and her antenna curled with each one of her labored breaths. Schrie and Fos Scharr stood on either side of her bed rubbing blocks of ice over her arms and forehead.

"Hey Honeys!" Scharr said to the screen. "Can you see us?"

"Tren!" Schrie said relieved. "We thought you miss it!"

"Nope, the gangs all here, and I brought someone else."

"Hi, Moms!" Zhenia said waving at her screen.

"Snowflake!" Fos said grinning. "It's good you finally decided to call your mothers." Zhenia blushed a slight shade of blue.

"Where are the kids?" Scharr asked.

"The youngest seven are with your mothers," Schrie explained, "but Tohr, Schryb, and Isiraa are here."

"Hey Dad, Hey Zhenia!" a chorus of voices said from offscreen. Several blue hands waved into shot and then disappeared again."

"Hey guys!" Scharr said happily. Tigranian marveled how much his icy demeanor thawed as soon as he was talking to his family.

"Jesus," Katie whispered to Laria next to her. "It's like the Sound of Music meets The Brady Bunch."
"The what meets the what?" Laria replied furrowing her brow.

"Nevermind," Katie said rubbing her eyes. Laria huffed. It was the second time in ten minutes a human woman rubbed her eyes at her and it was starting to get annoying.

"How are you doing, Xel?" Scharr asked with deep affection.

"It's good think you called when you did," she said before shivering with the pain of a contraction. "Cause I think this is it!"

"Hold on, Honey," Schrie said stroking her forehead with her block of ice. "It's almost over."

"We're all right here," Fos added.

"WHY IN THE ICY ABYSS' NAME DID I HAVE TO BE THE GROUP'S DAMN SHEN!" Xel said shivering with pain again. "ELEVEN TIMES! ELEVEN DAMNED TIMES I'VE PUSHED OUT A KID FOR YOU PEOPLE!"

"Love you too, Mom," Tohr's voice sounded from offscreen. Scharr muffled a laugh. He was so happy to see he's acerbic humor had rubbed off on his oldest.

"Well, right now I hate all of you!" Xel shouted.

"Is that what's it's gonna be like me for me!?" Annabeth said to Alex and Tigranian with terror filled eyes.
"No," Tigranian said shaking his head.

"Not at all," Alex said agreeing with the captain.

Annabeth looked at both of them skeptically.

"Actually, yes, pretty much exactly the same," Alex said looking down at the carpet.

"But I know you'll bear it well," Tigranian added.

Annabeth's gaze looked like it could cut through iron.

"I'm gonna get a drink," Tigranian said excusing himself. As he walked over to the replicator, Laria followed him.

"She's getting close, Daniel," Laria whispered. "When are you going to talk with them about the baby's Klingon upbringing like Torlek wants?"

"When the time is right, L," Tigranian said replicating a raktajino. "It's a big decision."

"We're fast running out of right times," Laria said looking at Annabeth's swollen belly. "In about three months, you'll be having the talk with her son."

"You're right," Tigranian said taking a sip of his mug. "I just have to find the right way to broach the topic. I don't want to seem overbearing."

"Oh, it'll be overbearing no matter how you broach it," Laria said shaking her head. "You just don't have a choice."

"Qu'vatlh," Tigranian muttered as he walked back towards the group.

****

Two hours later, Xel lay in bed with a small blue bundle in her arms and a smile across her face. The tiny Andorian already had a full head of white hair and two tiny antennae that jutted out from its sleeping head.

"That is the most adorable little frosted blueberry I have seen in my life," Katie whispered as she pulled in close to Phil. Scharr didn't pay attention to anything accept the screen.

"A chan," Scharr said touching his hand to holodisplay. The group silently marveled at the beautiful scene from behind him. "She's beautiful."

"You did great, Mom," Zhenia added. "What are you going to name her?"

"You father is actually the one who suggested it," Schrie said gently running her hand through the newborn's hair.

"It was one of his few intelligent ideas," Fos quipped.

"Her name is Ryth," Scharr said softly before looking over his shoulder to the crewmates. "It means family."

There was not a single dry eye in his quarters. Even T'les had to clandestinely wipe her face with her sleeve.

"I guess having a baby won't be so bad after all if it ends like that," Annabeth whispered as she tightly clutched Alex's hand.


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