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Lakarian City: Cardassia Prime, Republic of Cardassia

Stardate: 54526.3

Subspace radio was a miracle that allowed for near instantaneous communication across hundreds of lightyears. It also meant that Laria's parents could guilt her in real time from across the galaxy. She sat on a couch in the jenSa's palace with a PADD while her mother and father shouted in their living room on Gault.

"Laria-ga-ne," Lanassa yelled at her in Bajoran. "We have been in the Federation for twenty years and never seen such chaos. Politicians are always screaming on the holoscreen, Starfleet is flying back and forth from one side of the country to the other, and the Romulans are always threatening to fight over the smallest thing. I don't want to live like this anymore."

"Mama," Laria replied equally frustrated. "I know it's bad but leaving the Federation now is a terrible idea."

"Why?" Lanassa countered. "We can't even see you anymore."

"What do you mean you can't see me? We're talking to each other right now."

"Do not get smart with me, Child," Lanassa warned. "You know what I mean. You cannot visit us so we should come to you!"

"Mama, I said no."

"Do not speak that way to your mother!" Jion jumped in. "You already broke her heart by moving to Cardassia. Prophets preserve our crazy daughter."

"Dade," Laria replied. "Your daughter lives in a palace on Cardassia. Besides, we both know that your…past…makes it impossible for you to ever come to Cardassia. If their police ever found out what you both did back on Bajor…"

"Then we will move to the Klingon Empire to be with you," Jion said.

"Everything you own is tied to the farm. You've already run once in your lives. I don't want you to run again. You both worked too hard to make a home on Gault just to give it up now." Laria said.

"We started over with nothing before," Lanassa said proudly. "We can do it again."

"Mama, we both know you're not as young as you used to be. If you moved to the Klingon Empire where would you live? What would you do? They still use money."

"Daniel's family has a million acres on Qo'noS," Jion said. "You're telling me that Torlek couldn't give forty or fifty of them to an old kava farmer?"

"I don't think Klingons have a taste for kava, Dade," Laria said rubbing her eyes.

"They will develop one once they taste mine!" Jion shouted.

"Enough!" Laria shouted right back. "You will not give up the farm and you will not move to Qo'noS. That's the end of it."

"Who is this girl who speaks to us this way?" Jion replied very angrily. "She is certainly not the daughter we raised to respect her elders and the ways of her people…"

"Because I'm not a little girl skipping to school with a juice box anymore, Dade," Laria said. "I am a wife, a warrior, and a noblewoman of the Klingon Empire." Laria paused to look over at the wall rug of Mount Yanalit given to her by Colonel Kira. "But I am also a farmer's daughter, a Bajoran woman who is proud of her heritage, and someone who loves her parents from the bottom of her heart.

I walk with the Prophets as you do, and everything in my heart tells me that things will be better if you stay where you are. Please, I'm asking you just to listen to me for once."

Lanassa reached out and took Jion's hand.

"We know you are not a little girl anymore Laria-ga-ne," her mother began. "but it is so hard for us to just sit here while you face danger every day. You are the light in our lives and the reason we left Bajor in the first place. Nothing matters if we lose you and Daniel. We pray to the Prophets every day and night to watch over you, but the way the galaxy is going, we just don't know if they hear us anymore."

Laria shut her eyes to fight back tears. In her mind's eye she remembered the caring female Prophet who came to her in a vision during the blood combat. She had wondered why the Holy One had taken the form of her mother. Now, she understood why.

Laria wiped her eyes and took a deep breath.

"They hear you, Mama," she said trying to steady her breathing. "Believe me they do. They are with me always just as you are."

The confidence in her voice finally assuaged her parents.

"Very well, my beloved child," Jion said. "If tell us to stay, we will stay."

"Da hachee'el, Dade," Laria replied gratefully.

"Prophets watch over you, Laria-ga-ne," Lanassa added. "Yisa kezza shad les lave."

Laria kissed her fingers and placed them against the screen.

"I love you both too," she said smiling. Her parents both nodded as she disconnected the transmission. Laria gathered her thoughts for a few moments before standing up and walking out to the balcony. Tigranian leaned against the sandstone railing and watched the sunset glisten off the waves of the Kriil Ocean.

"How are Jion and Lanassa doing?" he asked as his wife leaned on the railing next him.

"They're scared. Just like the rest of the galaxy right now." Laria turned to him. "So the Klingons really aren't going to do anything to help Starfleet? They're just going to let the Federation sacrifice the Pershings in a futile battle?" she said angrily. Tigranian turned to her.

"No battle for the right reasons is futile, my love," he replied. "Besides, President Bacco directly attacked the pride and prestige of the empire. Chancellor Martok and the High Council didn't take it very well…"

"Oh to hell with Klingon pride, Daniel!" Laria shouted. "This isn't some disagreement about trade tariffs or mineral rights. This is about people's lives: Annabeth, Katie, Phil, Scharr, T'les, Katan, even Murphy! These are people we love! These are people we say are our family!" She turned back towards the waves with disgust. "Bajorans say family comes before anything else. I guess you disagree."

"The government is making this a matter of honor. It doesn't matter what I think."

"Doesn't it?" Laria replied. "I thought Torlek said you were the voice of all Klingon forces in Cardassia when he appointed you Imperial jenSa'? You're the one always quoting Klingon proverbs. What happened to 'nItebSuvnISDevwI'?"

"A leader must stand alone," Tigranian said before rubbing his forehead in frustration. "What do you expect me to do, Laria?"

"Exactly what I told you before, Daniel," she said firmly, "what's right."

"And that is?" he asked.

"I think it's long overdue that the Klingon Empire repays the Federation for Narendra III."

Tigranian instantly understood.


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