Chapter 2: II
Alexander waited patiently for the Medical Officer to examine him as he looked around at the evidence of the Jem'Hadar's assault on his crew-mates. There were several Klingons on the bio-beds; some of them were alive, others were obviously dead and were in the process of being removed from the Medical Ward. Once the more severely wounded officers were treated the medical officer then moved on to Alexander and used the osteo-regenerator to repair the damage to his trachea. Alexander waited for the procedure to be finished without complaint as was expected then got up off of the exam table and prepared to leave the Medical Ward when he caught sight of the only non-Klingon on board.
"What happened to her?" Alexander asked the Medical Officer before he turned away.
"K'nera was with the others in Engineering when the Jem'Hadar boarded," the other Klingon said as he glanced back at his other patient.
"Will she be alright?" Alexander was concerned by the fact that the young woman in question appeared to be injured quite extensively.
"She fought well for a non-Klingon but her anatomy is not designed for battle." The medical officer finished up with the young bekk officer and nodded before he continued, "But this is not the first time that she's been caught up in battle during her brief service on board the ship; she'll survive."
Alexander glanced back at the young woman before leaving the Medical Ward. He then headed back to his quarters for some down-time before he was to meet with Ch'Targh for his daily battle training session. He couldn't understand why he didn't take the same offense to the man's training methods as he always had with his own father's. After all, his comrade's training just might be even harder than Worf's at times. But Alexander never saw the shame in Ch'Targh's eyes that he had countless times in his father's. From the time he first met his father, Alexander always seemed to bring one disappointment to his father after another. As a young boy he had tried to live up to his father's impossible standard of what it meant to be a Klingon but no matter how hard he had tried Alexander always failed.
When Alexander reached his quarters and pulled out his trombone he sighed. Yet one more item that proved just how much his Human blood influenced his behavior, dreams, desires and even hobbies. Commander William Riker had been the one to give him his love of the instrument. Something that Alexander was certain the man had done with the intent to get under his father's skin. The commander, while all business when it was necessary, definitely knew how to have fun when the occasion would arise. In fact, it had been the commander who had taught him to play poker when he and Counselor Troi had visited him on Earth. They both knew that the fact that they came to see him while his father hadn't was a sore spot for him. Five years his father had stayed away with not a single word from him...
Shaking his head, Alexander attempted to banish the thoughts that he'd tried to leave behind him when he and his father had first met back up again while on board the Rotarran. He placed the mute in the end of the brass instrument to keep the noise level down for the others that might be in the surrounding quarters (he was well aware of the fact that these quarters were not sound-proofed in the same way that Federation ships were) and began to play one of his favorite pieces. It was a soulful piece that tended to calm his nerves when he needed to have a clearer head. Alexander knew that if he went into training without calming down a bit Ch'Targh would practically wipe the floor with him. Not that he couldn't do so any day of the week but thanks to the other man's help he was getting better at being able to defend himself; as was evident today after his battle with the Jem'Hadar. It was close but at the end of the day Alexander had survived.
Glancing at the chronometer Alexander saw that it was time to make his way to the training room so he carefully put his instrument away and made his way down. When he arrived Ch'Targh was not there just yet but other members of the ship were. He had dreaded this day but he knew it would come eventually. This group had shown obvious contempt for the hybrid who had been transferred on board.
While Alexander looked fully Klingon his name was a dead giveaway that he was not a pure Klingon. His mother, Ambassador K'Ehleyr, was half-Human and held a strong level of disdain for her Klingon half; even if she had made a career of trying to bring both the Klingons and the Federation together in peace. As such she had given her son a very Human name. She had wanted her son to embrace his Human-side as well and had taught him very little about the Klingon culture. It had only been during his brief stays with his father after his mother had died that he had been introduced to the ways of the Klingons; or at least his father's interpretation of them. As Alexander grew he had come to learn that much of his father's beliefs of what a Klingon should be came from idealized text, not from any firsthand knowledge of the race.
Seeing that he was alone with the other four Klingons, Alexander did his best not to show just how timid he really felt in the presence of the others who had shown such animosity towards him. Up to this point he had always had the support of the other crew members who had been transferred with him from the Rotarran when Alexander had come across them. They had only taken their taunting but so far when Ch'Targh or the others were around. Now the youngest member of the crew was alone and wasn't sure just what he'd be able to do if these older, rougher, Klingons decided to give him a lesson in battle training of their own.
"Well if it isn't the son of Worf," came the voice of one of the men. "I would have expected for you to be serving on board a Federation starship." Alexander heard the sneer in his voice when he said the word Federation.
"Oh no, R'jnol, the Federation wouldn't accept his kind. Even they cannot allow but so many with a traitor's blood within their ranks."
Alexander took a deep breath before responding, "Obviously, you have been misinformed. There have been no traitors in my family. That shame has fallen to the House of Duras; not the House of Mogh."
At that point both R'jnol and his companions' eyes lit in fury. These men had fought on behalf of the Duras family and did not take comments that disrespected the family lightly. After letting some Klingon explicits fly the men all lunged forward to tackle the young hybrid-Klingon. Alexander saw the glint of a blade being drawn so he drew his instinctively and did his best to fight off the four other men while being severely out-numbered and over-powered.
Alexander mentally prepared himself as the men quickly leapt across the room to reach the impertinent young man. Alexander knew instantly that he was in over his head but also knew that he had no choice but to fight both for his honor and possibly his own survival.
Ch'Targh made his way down to the training area along with Kornan and Katogh. The men often would join him and Alexander when they trained which allowed Ch'Targh to expand his training beyond fighting one on one. The two other men had served on board the Rotarran and were good men. Both had accepted Alexander along with the rest of the crew. However, just like Ch'Targh, they worried about their young friend at times when it came to blending in with the other Klingons. There had been more than just a few occasions that had made it clear that Alexander was out of his element while surrounded by his own kind in a foreign culture and using a different language than he was used to after spending almost no time with other Klingons (with the exception of his father) for the first nine years of his life.
All three of the Klingons currently making their way toward the training area had each intercepted some of the battle hardened crewmen of the Ya'Vang as they had intended to test the young crossbreed who had been transferred only days earlier to the ship. Had it not been for their watching over Alexander during this initial time on board the IKS Ya'Vang he most likely would have been spending most of his time in the Medical Ward.
"Today, I think we'll start with battle tactics regarding-" The man was cut short as he opened the hatch to the training room to reveal his young charge was in the midst of an all-out brawl with four other Klingons. Ch'Targh and his companions rushed in to aid the out-numbered younger man. He knew that Alexander had one thing going for him at the moment; the weapons of choice that had been drawn were D'k tahgs. Although he was clumsy with the Bat'leth, Alexander had some proficiency with the D'k tahg. Even he had felt the sting of its blade during their first encounter back on the Rotarran. Still, with the odds four to one, Ch'Targh knew that the young man would not be able to hold his own for long.
Kornan and Katogh rushed forward and began to battle against two of R'jnol's buddies. The third was still paired up with the group's ring leader and both were facing off with Alexander who was then joined by Ch'Targh. From there a flurry of activity engulfed the room as blades were flung to the side, fists connected with hard flesh and bodies were thrown against the walls of the training room. R'jnol then turned toward Ch'Targh with his D'k tahg at the ready just as the hatch opened to reveal the first officer as he bellowed at his crewmen to cease their quarreling. Ordinarily he enjoyed watching a good fight just as much as any other Klingon but today they were already short staffed due to the altercation with the Jem'Hadar; it would not be wise to allow this to continue to run its course today.
R'jnol and his cohorts pulled back reluctantly at the behest of their superior as Ch'Targh and Alexander pulled back their own companions. It was made clear by the glares that Alexander was receiving that this fight was far from over. He was not welcomed aboard this ship as a hybrid and the other Klingons had taken it upon themselves to see to it that his impure blood would be spilt sooner rather than later.
The first officer gave a quick glance over of the men and found that most of them could be sent to their quarters without needing any real medical attention. The youngest of the men, however, clearly had not been so lucky. He had been slashed with the blades of the others several times and, despite the fact that he was trying to hide it, he clearly had a few broken ribs.
"Alexander, you will go straight to the Medical Ward to see to your injuries. The rest of you, you are restricted to your quarters until your next watch. Dismissed!"
Alexander wanted to protest that he did not need to see the ship's physician, if for no other reason but to prevent himself as being seen as weak by the other men, but he knew all too well not to balk at a direct order. Clenching his jaw he gave a brisk nod as he made his way toward the corridor with his companions close behind him.
If he had not been so upset at his pride being kicked about due to his injuries while the other men sustained none he would have taken a great deal of pleasure from the fact that his friends had fought at his side; a sure sign that they, if no one else on this ship, had truly accepted him. He was one of them. Regardless of his Human blood or upbringing, Alexander had been accepted as a member of their ranks. That meant more to him than he was really able to admit. Acceptance for who he was has eluded him his entire life; starting with his father, then the other children on the Enterprise and of course the children that he grew up around on Earth. His entire existence had been one of an outcast. This fight today, however, proved that he had proven himself and his own worth to at least the three men who were even now walking behind him.
As the four Klingons neared the end of the corridor where they would part ways, himself toward the Medical Ward and the others toward the living quarters, Alexander felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw that it belonged to Ch'Targh. His mentor gave him a silent nod as if in approval before he turned toward their shared room and Alexander was almost certain that he saw a look that he would have killed to see coming from his own father's eyes. There was pride in the older Klingon's expression. Alexander had been out-numbered and over-powered but he had held his own until his companions had stumbled upon the fight. He had learned to take care of himself and was no longer the boy that needed his father or anyone else to fight his battles for him as Ch'Targh had feared when he had first met him on the Rotarran.
Alexander gave the Klingon a wry grin before heading off to get patched up; no longer feeling shame in having to do so. Once he had reached his destination, he waited patiently for the physician to tend his wounds for the second time in as many hours. The old doctor was speaking with the Betazoid and Captain M'jaK on the other side of the small ward. Curious as to why the captain would take such a special interest in the blonde woman's welfare, Alexander strained his ears to catch what the others were saying as he waited his turn to be seen.
"Given her weaker anatomy I would prefer that K'nera remain here for the rest of the day."
M'jaK gave a glance to his brother's charge and knew very well that she was fighting the urge to disrespect the doctor's opinion by rolling her eyes. This was by far not the first time that she had ended up in the Medical Ward of the ship and he was well aware of the fact that this would likely not be the last time either. K'nera could at times be foolish enough to forget that she did not possess the same Klingon blood as the rest of the crew; as had been very evident when she had been the one to lead the fight against the Jem'Hadar that had invaded the engineering department earlier in the day. M'jaK knew that Lor'vah will be pleased to hear of his adopted daughter's fighting spirit but at times he himself wished that the young woman had not chosen to enlist in the Defense Forces. As captain of this ship he had enough to deal with while facing down the Dominion without wondering how the sole Betazoid on board was fairing during a battle.
M'jaK caught sight of his niece and nearly growled at the knowledge that she would not remain in the Medical Ward even if he ordered her to. Every Klingon on this ship would think twice before refusing a direct order but K'nera was not Klingon nor did she seem to have the same qualms about speaking her mind when hers differed than his or anyone else's. And now, it was clear that K'nera did not agree with the determination that she should remain in the Medical Ward for the rest of the day or the coming night.
"Given that things seem to be a little busy around here, perhaps it will be best for her to remain in her quarters for the rest of the day instead." M'jaK gave K'nera a stern look that he hoped would indicate that he would not tolerate for her to balk at this compromise that he was trying to broker on her behalf. "That should allow you to concentrate your efforts on the rest of the crew. I need them all at their peak conditions should we intercept the Jem'Hadar again in the near future."
The doctor nodded and headed toward the next patient that he had to tend to and left to leave the young woman with the captain of the ship. As he looked around to see his remaining patients he noticed that one whom he had treated only a couple of hours ago had returned. Well, he would have to wait since he still had others that needed him before he could see to the young bekk officer.
The captain, too, noticed Alexander and walked over and asked if there was anything wrong since he knew that he had come to the Medical Ward earlier with the rest of the bridge crew; he shouldn't have had the need to return so quickly.
"It is of no concern, Captain. Just a minor incident in the training room is all, Sir." Alexander straightened his stance as much as he could while biting back a wince.
"I see," M'jaK raised a brow as he responded. He was well aware of the fact that the spreading belief that Klingons have lost their true identities as warriors as they have allowed themselves to be drawn into peaceful alliances had a firm hold among some of his crew. A belief had spread shortly after K'nera had been assigned to the ship.
M'jaK suspected that Alexander's presence on board the Ya'Vang gave those angered by K'nera's being posted on the ship a convenient target for all of the animosity that had been brewing among the Klingons on board. Still, if the hybrid was to remain among his crewmen then he must prove that he was able to handle such attacks. M'jaK decided that it was wisest to leave any further comment about his suspicions as to how he had ended up in the Medical Ward for the second time today unspoken. He then checked on his other crew members before he left to return to the bridge.
Once M'jaK was gone, K'nera approached Alexander and made her own assessment of the younger officer's injuries. "R'jnol really did a number on you, didn't he?"
Alexander face contorted in confusion, "How did you know?"
K'nera indicated the slash pattern that was on Alexander's chest. "That's his signature. He always fights in a predictable fashion so the damage that he does is usually fairly consistent."
"Oh," Alexander was a bit embarrassed under the female's scrutiny. Knowing that she was a telepath, he did his best to keep his thoughts under a tight rein. Still, the pain that he was in made doing so much more difficult.
K'nera shook her head to clear it from some of the residual pain that she was sensing from the Klingons in the room, including the one standing before her. She then leaned in and spoke in a whisper. "R'jnol is not without his own weaknesses. His right knee; it was crushed last year and he was without medical care for more than a week. It is nowhere near as strong as his other one. If you time it right you can use that to your advantage the next time you find yourself tangling with him."
Alexander gave a confused look to the blonde woman before asking, "Why are you telling me this?"
K'nera shrugged, "I don't like him. It'd be good for him to be taken down a few levels. If it came from you… I just think that it would be a bit fitting, that's all. But for right now, I know R'jnol and I think that it'd be wise if you watched your back. If he's already honed in on you, he isn't likely to suddenly start going easy on you later."
"You sound as if you know that for a fact."
"Let's just say that even if I wasn't a Betazoid it wouldn't take much to realize that if anything ever happened to the captain, I'd be dispatched very shortly afterward. R'jnol is at the head of a xenophobic group on board the ship. They are part of a larger group that is spreading throughout the Empire. So like I said, watch yourself."
With that K'nera turned and left the Medical Ward leaving Alexander to contemplate her words of warning.