Author: Laura Schiller
Email: Rostockgirl AT aol.com
Summary: Eric, son of Worf and Deanna, carries on the family tradition of diversity.
Disclaimers: Everything Star Trek, including Worf and Deanna Troi and Voyager, belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
"One iced raktajino and one portion of fried chicken with plomeek and potatoes," said Cadet Miral Paris to the replicator of the Starfleet Academy mess hall. She watched her tray materialize, picked it up and was about to leave when she heard a male voice order exactly the same thing.
She turned around. The speaker was a fellow cadet, a Klingon hybrid like herself, although his ridges were slightly more prominent. He was nearly a head taller than she was, with black eyes and skin the color of cinnamon. His hair curled in ringlets rather than frizz, unlike most full-blood Klingons', and he wore it tied back in a ponytail.
"Very diverse, aren't we?" he said, smiling, in a soft, elegant voice she had never heard from a Klingon before.
"What's that supposed to mean?" she bristled. Was he talking about the food or themselves?
"That's what, three planets on one plate? Personally, I think gagh goes very well with prune juice." He winked.
"Gross!" She had to laugh.
"Would you like to join me?" he asked, motioning with his head to an empty table. A small empty table, with only two chairs. "I'm Eric, son of Worf. And your name is?"
"Miral Paris. You're the politest person with Klingon genes I've ever met," Miral blurted out, as she followed him to the table. It was rather unsettling, actually. She wondered if everyone reacted to him that way.
"Would you rather I call you 'a worthy mate' and bite your face right here?"
"I'd knock your teeth out!" she snapped.
"I thought so." Eric took a bite of his chicken, as matter-of- factly as if he were discussing the weather.
"Er... no offense," added Miral, after a few seconds, when it looked like he wasn't going to say anything further. She was curious as to what odd turns this conversation might take next.
"None taken," said Eric, with a nod. "I sense that you're curious about me, Cadet Paris. Whatever you're thinking, go ahead and ask."
"You sense - ?"
"I'm part Betazoid," he said, gesturing to his very black eyes. "One quarter Betazoid, one quarter Human and half Klingon, to be exact. I'm slightly empathic. I can sometimes sense emotion. Yours seem to be a little stronger than the others'. I wonder why?"
Miral shrugged, impressed in spite of herself. A blend of three species, two of them completely different in character ... she couldn't help but wonder who his parents were, and how they got along. Then she remembered.
"Did you say you're the son of Worf? As in Ambassador Worf and Deanna Troi?"
He tilted his head. "Yes, actually. And you're the daughter of Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres, of the starship Voyager. I wasn't going to mention it; you probably get that all the time. First baby born in transwarp, and so on."
She rolled her eyes, but couldn't stop a grin. "Oh, I do get that all the time! Let me guess – you're going to ask me what it's like to be part of the Voyager family."
"A bit like Captain Picard's Enterprise family, I imagine," said Eric. "Public scrutiny. More honorary aunts and uncles than you know what to do with. More starship knowledge than most of the cadets here, or even the teachers. Something like that?"
"That's right." She made a face. "I'm supposed to take Chakotay's anthropology course next semester. He'll probably be twice as tough on me as the rest, just to avoid being accused of favoritism. And Kathryn, too – Admiral Janeway, I mean."
"Is she as awesome as the newsvids show her?" Eric asked, his face lighting up. "I'd ask you to introduce us, but... it would be too much like cadet hero worship, don't you think? I cannot believe she made a deal with the Borg and flew away!"
"She is awesome, isn't she?" Miral grinned, taking an almost proprietary pride in her parents' captain and her former babysitter. "She's really fun, too. Wicked smile. She used to sneak me candy when my Mom wasn't looking."
"Captain Picard isn't like that. But my Uncle Will – Captain Riker – he's always trying to give me dating advice. Drives Father crazy. And Data got my sister a kitten for her birthday."
They exchanged anecdotes about life in a Starfleet family, their famous 'aunts and uncles', and their experiences at the Academy. Miral laughed more than she coud remember doing since she left home. She also couldn't help but notice the way Eric's black eyes shone when he smiled, or the way his curly hair caught the light. For a moment, she was embarrassed – oh no, he's empathic, isn't he? – but she told herself quite firmly that, in any case, it was nothing to be ashamed of. He probably got that from girls all the time.
A glance at the chronometer on her wrist gave her a shock.
"What the - ? Is it that time already? I have an engineering class. I'm sorry; gotta go."
"Time flies at warp when you're having fun," said Eric.
She grabbed her almost-empty tray and her bag; so did he. They both stood up; she looked up, he looked down. Gathering her courage (her Klingon quarter, she thought wryly), she asked him point blank.
"So, Eric. What you said just now – do you think I'm a worthy mate?"
He grinned, a very charming grin. "I thought you'd knock my teeth out for saying that."
"Hmm... maybe not." For a first attempt at flirting, this seemed to be going pretty well.
"Honestly? It's too early to tell. My Betazoid side is telling me that I'd have to get to know you... very well indeed... before deciding that." He took a step close, purring his last few words.
"Well, you know my name," said Miral, motioning to her commbadge in a pointedly casual way. "Give me a beep."
"Count on it, Miral Paris." He gave her an old-world soldier's salute and strode off through through the crowd.
Two years later, on Qronos
"... and that's how we met," Miral concluded, sitting on the couch next to Eric with his formidable parents opposite them. At least, Worf was formidable, in the richly embroidered robe that was a high-ranking Klingon's casual wear. Ms. Troi, by contrast, with her turquoise dress and kindly smile, fairly radiated warmth and welcome. Eric's sister Shannara, in sweatpants and a T-shirt, frizzy brown hair standing up like a bee's nest, was perched on the window-seat watching the scene like an amused spectator.
"Ambassador Worf, Lady Deanna," Miral continued. "I've come here to ask your permission to marry your son."
Eric looked slightly uncomfortable. He had known this was coming; they had discussed it; but it was rather odd to hear those words aloud.
"Father," he spoke up, "I know you'd rather I marry a full- blood Klingon, but Miral's the only woman I want. She's the One – imzadi, par'machkai, whatever you call it. I love her, and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. Mother, you understand that, don't you?"
Deanna and Worf shared a look, speaking mind-to-mind in a matter of seconds with the ease of long practice.
~She is three-quarters human. What will Martok and Sirella say?~
~The same things they said when I married you, my husband. Don't worry. Any daughter of B'Elanna Torres is strong enough to take on a few grumpy in-laws.~
~He is so young, Deanna. How can he know he is making the right choice?~
~Trust him. Trust them. They're very happy – at least, they would be if your glower weren't making them nervous.~
~I am not glowering.~
~Trust me, darling, you are.~
~At least they did ask permission before getting married.~
~It's the honorable thing to do, don't you think? Oh, come on, Worf, look at them.~
Miral, small and light-colored in comparison to Eric, with straight glossy brown hair, was leaning ever so slightly against his broad shoulder for support. They were still in their cadet uniforms, a matching pair.
~Don't they look adorable together?~
~They do rather remind me of ourselves when we were younger.~
"You have our permission," they chorused – and laughed. That is, Deanna laughed, while her husband broke into a wide, fierce grin.
"Welcome to the family, Miral," said Deanna, standing up to hug her son and future daughter-in-law. Worf, with a solemn but not unkind expression, shook hands with Miral.
"Miral, daughter of B'Elanna," he said, "May the joining of our houses be to our mutual advantage."