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Trenari Cluster: Republic of Cardassia/Cardassian State Border

"Captain's Personal Log: Stardate 53426.2. The Pershing continues on its patrol schedule with Lieutenant Stone as acting first officer. The prospect of war is still unsettling, but sometimes life gives you moments that cause a person to step back and examine the true miracles of the universe. There is an old Klingon saying that comes to mind: "The truest motivation of battle can be found in the eyes of love." Until now, I never quite understood what it meant. However, I can safely say that love has certainly visited this ship and given us an even deeper perspective of what we fight for.

Alex and Annabeth have welcomed their child into the world. Katie and Phil continue to drive each other insane as the date of their wedding approaches. Tren constantly speaks of the day when he can finally see his daughter without a holoscreen between them. Even Brett Hawkins, our marine detachment commander continues to become better acquainted with Ms. Zhenia Scharr thanks to the miracle of subspace radio…much to the chagrin of her father, Mr. Tren Scharr.

As for me and my own wife…Laria makes me more grateful every time I see her. Speaking with Tyler Hancock reminded me that a marriage is a new challenge each day. Often, you are fortunate enough to not have to choose between a uniform and your wedding band. Sometimes, fate expects you to choose one or the other. Tyler made that choice, and accepted the consequences. I respect that, but he also made me realize that my choice would be different.

It will be several weeks before we can return Captain Geist to the Federation to begin her maternity leave. In the meantime, I will happily continue to report the updated ship's personnel status as 'USS Pershing: 176 souls aboard. 28 officers, 147 enlisted…and 1 civilian.'"

The doors to sickbay parted and Laria and Tigranian stepped inside. The lights had been dimmed, but they could make out a biobed in the far corner. Annabeth was still pale, but the color was definitely returning to her cheeks. Alex stood above her while holding her wife's hands. Beside Annabeth's bed was a rectangular incubator made of clear plastic. The two stared into it like the box contained the greatest treasure in all the stars. In a way, it did.

The two new mothers looked up, saw the Tigranians, and smiled.

"It's ok," Alex said barely above a whisper. "He's sleeping." They gestured for Laria and Tigranian to come over. The two visitors tip-toed up and finally got a good look at the infant wrapped in a blue ship's blanket. The words, USS Pershing: NCC-19860 were embroidered in soft fleece right next to his tiny head that was already crowned with a tuft of dark hair. It made Tigranian smile.

"He's so beautiful," Laria said softly.

"He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life," Annabeth replied.

"We brought something for him," Laria said pulling an object from behind her back. It was a freshly replicated stuffed pugabeast.

"That's adorable," Alex said smiling.

"I figured Rijo needed a friend," Laria said gently placing the stuffed animal on top of the box.

"I'm sure that will be his favorite," Annabeth added.

"I hope so," Tigranian said taking Laria's hand.

"We would have brought a card, but we weren't sure what name to write on it," Laria added.

Annabeth and Alex looked at each other.

"We decided to name him after our fathers," Alex said.

"Meet Maximilian George Hunter-Geist," Annabeth said reaching her hand out and stroking the edge of the incubator.

"That is one hell of a name," Tigranian said with a chuckle.

"Don't worry," Alex said flashing a smile. "We're going to call him Max."

"So Dan," Annabeth said with a bit of humility in her voice. "Go ahead and say it."

"Say what?" Tigranian asked with surprise.

"Don't mess with me, Captain," Annabeth said glaring at him. "Go ahead and say how you were right and I was stupid for going down to that planet. Go ahead and say that if my wife wasn't the greatest doctor ever to live, it would have been a tragedy rather than a miracle…"

"Yeah, make sure you emphasize that part," Alex said with a grin. Annabeth reached over and playfully tapped Alex's arm.

"And go ahead and say," Annabeth continued, "that regulations are there for a reason and it was irresponsible for two senior officers to ignore them."

Tigranian paused. Laria glanced over to him.

"I'm not going to say that, Annabeth. I'm not going to say any of that. Sorry, Alex," he added. The doctor shrugged her shoulders. "But I am going to apologize to you, Annabeth."

"Why?" Annabeth said incredulously.

"Because you are the most important officer on this ship, myself included. You made a call that you thought was right, and it's my job to support you, no matter what."

Annabeth smiled.

"Thank you, Dan."

"Things may not have turned out like we expected," Tigranian said, "but every day I understand more and more why Klingons don't believe in luck." He reached over and gently placed his hand on the glass over Max's sleeping body. "Everything happens for a reason. He just wanted to come a little earlier and give us this moment. Kahless heard his plea and approved."

Alex sighed.

"Speaking of Kahless, Dan," she said. "I asked for his help back on Cyrbok. I guess he listened, even though I don't really believe in him."

"The truly miraculous thing about Kahless, Alex," Tigranian said, "is not that he founded an Empire or that he was a great warrior. The truly miraculous thing is that he cares for the honorable even if they don't know how to honor him."

Alex shook her head as she reached into her lab coat. She pulled out a small card with a painting on one side and Klingon script on the other.

"It was the best picture I could find of him in the computer. I suppose I owe him one." She tucked it into the side of the incubator so that the face of Kahless the Unforgettable looked down on her son. The Klingon was dressed in shimmering white armor and held his sword high above his head. Mount Kri'stak erupted with burning lava in the background. "It will have to do until Torlek gets here with his bat'leth."

"What?" Tigranian said in shock. Alex and Annabeth nodded at each other.

"Beth and I talked after I got back from Qo'nos," Alex said. "Then, after how this little guy came into the world, it just seemed wrong to claim that all that Klingon stuff didn't mean anything. It obviously does to you and a lot of other people."

"When he's old enough," Annabeth added. "We're going to let him make the choice if he wants to continue on the warrior's path. But until then, a little extra protection couldn't hurt."

Tigranian put his hand over his face to hide the emotions coursing through him. He felt it wouldn't be appropriate for a warrior to lose his composure at this moment. Laria slowly wrapped her arm around him until he steadied himself.

"Well Dan," Annabeth said cocking her head to one side. "Are you ready to be a godfather?"

Tigranian took a deep breath and stood up straight.

"Did you look up what the back of that card says?" Tigranian asked Alex.

She held back an uncomfortable laugh.

"Actually no," she admitted with a hint of embarrassment.

"It's called 'The Warrior's Prayer.' Klingons say it before they go into battle." He began translating for them:

In the Name of Honor, Duty, and Loyalty,

Kahless the Unforgettable, guide our hands in battle.

Be our protection against the wickedness and dishonor of Fek'lhr and all his demons.

Give us the strength to fight and conquer all the enemies of our people in your holy name.

Guide us to salvation across the River of Blood and to feast at your bountiful table

when we are called to your celestial home in Sto'Vo'Kor.

All this, we pray in your honorable name.

We clearly understand.

Annabeth and Alex took it all in for a moment. Finally, Annabeth spoke.

"All that on the back of a little card?" she said with a smirk. Tigranian looked down at Max and smiled as he replied:

"Big things come in small packages."

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