DISCLAIMER: Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended. This story includes same sex relationships between women. If you are offended by this or it is illegal where you live or you are underage then please read no further.
SERIES: This story follows on from Families
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Thanks DeeJay for looking it over.

By Texbkwrm

Chapter 1

Seven awoke to the feel of her wife softly stroking her hair. Smiling she pulled the smaller woman down and began to kiss her. It had been a night of desperate lovemaking. They had sought to burn away the memory of the loneliness and the heart ache of the last several days in a fire of passion. Now their touches were slower and gentler reveling in their love and reunion. The kind of lovemaking that starts off slow and takes all day. Soft kisses and murmured endearments growing into long caresses as they each reacquainted themselves with each other's body.

Unfortunately as the blaring com link rudely reminded them they did not have all day. "Lt. Torres you and Seven were supposed to meet with me at 0800. It is now 0810. We have a meeting with Captain Picard in his ready room at 0900." There was a definite tone of aggravated amusement in Kathryn Janeway's voice.

"Captain we will meet you in the ready room." Seven replied.

"Don't be Late! That's an order." the captain returned.

"We will comply." she responded as she turned to her growling wife.

"Damn Meetings!" B'Elanna snarled as she made her way to the sonic shower. Seven climbing in after her startled the Klingon. "Seven." she moaned as the blonde pulled her body into an embrace. "Seven we don't have time."

"By my computations we have ample time if you do not dawdle or use it all talking." Kissing her heatedly Seven pushed her up against the shower wall.

0857 in Captain Picard's ready room the command staff of the former starship voyager watched the minutes tick away as they waited for their missing shipmates.

"Captain Janeway will Lt. Torres and Seven of Nine be joining us." Commander Data inquired with his usual curiosity.

"They indicated that they would commander." Kathryn responded as she watched the time slip over to 0859. At exactly 0900 the computer announced "incoming site to site transport."

The stunned group watched as two beams of light invaded the room. Seven materialized in her familiar composed hands behind the back stance while B'Elanna appeared shouting "No!" her uniform jacket undone and one boot on while the other was grasped tightly in her hand.

Commander Riker grinning hugely remarked. "Quite an entrance ladies." pausing only momentarily to let them get to there seats. B'Elanna limping over , grumbling under her breath, and shooting glares at her mate. These bounced off Seven's composure like phaser blasts off of triple shielding. "Would you care to explain why you used the site to site transport?"

Seven replied with her usual aplomb. "So that we would not be late."

"Site to Site transfers are reserved for highly specialized circumstances." Captain Picard explained.

"I was complying with a direct order from a superior." The blonde returned. "We were instructed not to be late it was a direct order from Capt. Janeway. I just used the most efficient means at my disposal to ensure our promptness." This was said with a pointed look at B'Elanna.

"Seven I would appreciate it if you would restrain from using site to site transport except for an emergency." Picard requested fighting to keep a serious demeanor. "But I do appreciate your effort at promptness."

The meeting began with Capt. Picard talking about several starfleet matters that the Voyager crew would have to go through from extended debriefing to an infinite amount of data cube forms. While the former Maquis had been pardoned there were still some federation legal matters to clear up. What caused the most concern to the crew was hearing that a board of inquiry would be convened on Capt. Janeway?

"Why?" Tom Parris asked what everyone at the table was thinking. "She got us home from the delta quadrant they should be putting a medal on her."

"Tom. I knew this was coming." Janeway reassured the helmsman. "My ship was stranded out of contact for seven years. I lost almost half of my original crew and in the end I had to abandon and destroy my ship. A board is only to be expected at least it is not a court martial."

Captain Picard sought to put everyone's mind at ease by saying. "It is fairly routine for circumstances like this. I myself have set through a board." Changing the subject he brought up the number of festivities that had been planned in the crews honor.

"Lt Torres, Capt. Janeway. Ro Loran, the captain of the bird of prey Revenge of Kahless has invited you and an escort of up to twenty people to a banquet this afternoon in honor of Lt Torres. She asked me to reassure you lieutenant that she planned to make sure that everything was cooked." the last comment by Picard brought out relieved chuckles from around the table.

"Thank Hod Loran for me and we will gladly attend." the red head grinned at the _expression her former engineer was making.

"Thrilled." Lt. Torres remarked through clenched teeth thinking that her honeymoon on Risa just kept getting further away. Right now she would just settled for uninterrupted alone time with her spouse.

"Also after the banquet we will invite the klingon officers to come back here for entertainment and a dinner party." This comment by Picard was greeted by a low groan from the klingon as she realized that any evening plans she might have been contemplating were now shot.

Chapter 2

Inside the temporary quarters of the Torres-Hansen Family, a storm was brewing. While they had made arrangements for the Doctor to baby sit little Kathryn, and the boys were excited about going to see a Klingon Bird of Prey, Mezoiti was being difficult about going. First it had taken several assurances from both of her mothers and a secret call to Capt. Janeway to assure her that she would not be required to eat any dish that moved. Second she had not liked the wardrobe choices not understanding why she could not where her pretty pink dress and had to wear formal klingon attire. She had altered the replicator program to have the klingon costume come out pink. When Seven found out she had promptly corrected it and replicated a new one in an appropriate color. They were now at war to see which outfit would be worn.

"I will not comply." Mezoti declared defiantly.

"You will wear the designated attire for this event. Resistance is futile." This comment by Seven had B'Elanna struggling to contain her laughter.

Knowing better than to intervene she retreated to check on the boys . She smiled at the picture the boys made when she entered their domain. Icheb was helping Axan lace his boots and Rebi was making faces and doing combat moves in the mirror. Glowering at the opponent he faced in his reflection he tried a Klingon battle cry. Seeing B'Elanna he turned. "SecMaU are Mother and Mezoti prepared to depart yet. I have completed all of my designated assignments." The pride in his voice even with the formal phrasing came across clearly.

Smiling broadly B'Elanna placed her hand on his shoulder and said. "Rebi you make quite the warrior in that outfit." She motioned the other two boys over smiling. "Seven told me that all of you had been asking questions about Klingon culture. I'd like to answer the ones that I can. If you are through getting ready, we can join your mom and your sister. "

When she returned with the boys, mother and daughter had negotiated a compromise. Mezoti would wear the more traditional outfit aboard the Klingon ship with the slight modification that it would be in blood red to match Seven's attire but that she could wear the pink one to the dinner party on Enterprise. While Mezoti retired to her room to change, B'Elanna and the boys sat down. Rebi positioned himself beside her on the couch and Icheb and Axan sat on the ground in front of her . As Seven paced stiffly by, her wife pulled her down sandwiching Rebi between them. Mezoti stomped in moments later with a look of disgust on her face shifting in her clothes. When she looked at her parents, with an _expression that clearly said look what you made me do, B'Elanna smiled at the feeling of been there done that that came over her. When the little girl saw that there was nowhere to sit on the couch, her eyes clouded over. Seeing the vulnerability in her hesitation, B'Elanna motioned her over and tug her onto her lap. Mezoti sat stiffly unused to this type of interaction. "You look good sochling. Beautiful like your mother." This praise brought a shy smile to her daughters face and a loving look from Seven. "Okay I know that you have lots of questions about klingons, so why don't I answer the ones that I can. Icheb" she nodded to her oldest son. "Why don't you start?"

"SecMaU" he paused to consider his question. "I do not understand the Klingons honor code. It seams contradictory and inefficient."

"Icheb." she paused as she considered how to answer this. "The foundation of the klingon honor codes are ancient lessons from the time of Kahless. Now they have been modified over the years to cope with new circumstances. Over time the modifications and the interpretations have caused some parts of the code to become inconsistent and even absurd, but the ideals that are the basis for the codes are still valid. Courage, Integrity, Fidelity, & Strength these values make up the core of what the codes originally stood for. It's when the current codes stray from these that you get the contradictions and I have to say that to klingons unless it is dealing with weapons efficiency is not a priority." she smiled wryly at the last part. Feeling the young boy beside her squirm with anticipation B'Elanna said "Okay Rebi, why don't you go next."

"Do we get to go through the Rite of Passage being that we are of the Age of Ascension?" the boy asked excitedly. This question brought looks of concern from his siblings.

B'Elanna hastily assured them. "You won't have to go through the Rite of Passage." seeing Rebi crestfallen face, she turned to him. "If you want to go through the ritual you need to think about it long and hard and then you can discuss it with us. I am not saying that we will let you but we will consider it." She shuddered inwardly thinking about trying to explain a ceremony that involved pain sticks to Seven. She patted him on the shoulder. Turning to Axan the most solemn and introverted of her children, she asked gently. "Axan do you want to ask me something?"

"Will you be very disappointed if I don't want to be a warrior?" the quiet twin asked gravely.

"As long as you follow your heart you will never disappoint me." as B'Elanna spoke this she reached down and grabbed his hand pulling him to his feet and then shifted Mezoti to one leg and him to the other. "But as for not being a warrior, you already are. A warrior is someone who fights for what he believes in and to protect those he loves. You don't have to be a soldier to be a warrior. Some of the greatest warriors never carried a weapon. Do you know that the Doctor is a warrior?" seeing there incredulous looks she continued. "All doctors are warriors they fight disease and death every day. Teachers are warriors they fight ignorance and apathy these are much fiercer foes than you can face in a combat zone. Scientists fight the universe wresting the secrets and mysteries that she hides tightly in her grasp." pausing for a moment as she consider her young son interests and desires. "and artists fight the hardest thing of all. Nothing."

This left Axan confused. "How can nothing be the hardest of all?"

"A writer stares at a blank page or screen and pull words and ideas from it. A Painter stares at a blank canvas and solely with his imagination makes art. A composer sits with an instrument or a pen and from the silence creates music. Every piece of literature you read, is a writers victory over a blank page. Every work of art you admire is a painters victory over an empty canvas. And every song you hear is where a composer conquered silence." she finished solemnly.

Quirking a grin as she saw her oldest son alone on the floor she spoke. "Icheb if you want we can throw Rebi on Seven's lap and squeeze you in too."

With almost Vulcan logic he replied. "I believe that my weight added to the apparatus would over load it's structural integrity." at that little Kathryn woke from her nap. Hearing the baby cry Icheb walked into the nursery and brought the baby to Seven.

Seeing her son stand there B'Elanna motioned to Rebi to stand he complied with a puzzled look on his face. She leaned in and whispered very lowly so as to avoid borg hearing. Smiling he nodded. Turning to his older brother Rebi pushed him down between B'Elanna and Seven and then sat on him so he could not get up. B'Elanna laughed at Icheb's stunned _expression and then awkwardly hugged him. With the two children on her lap and Rebi on Icheb's it was kind of a group hug. As Seven comforted the baby she smiled at the picture of her family all piled up together on that couch. As they all laughed and Icheb shifted to get comfortable, B'Elanna turned to Mezoti. "Okay Seven Jr. do you have a question?"

"Yes SecMaU. I have a question." the little girl paused solemnly. "Why do Klingons eat things that move?"

Grinning hugely the Engineer replied. "You know I asked my mom that when I was little. She said that they tasted better that way but I never found that to be true. Still we won't mention that to any of the other klingons we meet today, okay." Just as Mezoti nodded her agreement, the door com chimed. Not waiting for permission in strode the EMH and right behind him Neelix.

The Doctor said "You were supposed to the meet me in sick bay twenty minutes ago." taking little Kathryn into his arms.

"We were having a familial bonding encounter." Seven answered wishing that they could have just enjoyed being together for a little while longer.

Neelix spoke "That is as it should be." the little Talaxians eyes welled up with tears.

Seeing how emotional her friend was and knowing how much he missed his family at times like these left the former borg helpless to comfort him so she motioned to her wife hoping that she would have an idea.

Standing B'Elanna pulled him over. "Don't they look like proper Klingons." she motioned to her family.

"That they do. Very Fierce." Neelix assured them.

"I don't want to look fierce. I want to look pretty." Mezoti insisted forcefully beginning to look petulant. At that statement Rebi groaned "Not again."

After having to be reassured that she looked beautiful as well as fierce they made to leave their quarters. Before they could make it out the door, Neelix stopped them. "B'Elanna is this what you needed?" he handed her a long case that he had sat by the door when he came in.

Seven immediately recognized it as the case that she had packed her wife's weapons in. "B'Elanna why do you require your weapons." her voice rising slightly in concern.

As she opened the case and brought out several knives, B'Elanna reassured her family. "It is customary for klingon's to wear knives. Especially when in battle armor. Don't worry Soch." she leaned in to kiss her wife. When it looked like the kiss might turn into more than a quick peck the Doctor spoke loudly. "You are going to be late."

Breaking away and blushing slightly, B'Elanna said. "Okay we can't upset the baby sitter."

Even the EMH laughed at that one. "Alright Seven." B'Elanna held out to her several of the knives. "Go ahead and pick the one that you want to wear."

Seven selected a klingon assassins knife known as the Kut`luch . She placed it in the sheath on her belt.

"Icheb." B'Elanna motioned him forward. "This is a D`k tahg, it is like the dagger that I will carry." Icheb took the blade solemnly.

"Rebi and Axan these are klingon throwing knives they are normally carried in pairs." as she hand the knives to the twins Axan admired the artistry in the hilt. And seeing the look in Rebi's eyes, She added forcefully "On your honor boy's these stay in the sheaths. You only use a weapon to defend yourself or your family." Seeing the serious _expression on the klingon's face they hastily agreed.

Turning to her oldest daughter, she knelt down. "Mezoti I have the perfect blade for you. This is not a klingon weapon this was my Terran great-grandfather's. My grandmother gave it to me on my fifth birthday right after he had passed away. I had always been fascinated by it and he had let me use it when we went fishing." At that B'Elanna pulled a red object of about 3 inches out of the case. "This is a pocket knife." opening it as she spoke. "It has two blades but it has a lot more than that, it has a file, it has scissors, it has a screwdriver, and my grandfather's favorite a bottle opener. It has a belt clip so you can hook it on your belt" As she handed it to her the little girl held it reverently. All of her brother's looked just the slightest bit envious too.

As they made there way down the corridor they attracted several stares. One ensign was staring so hard at the skintight blood red leather outfit that Seven was wearing that he walked into a wall. This behavior brought a round of questions from the children. Finally B'Elanna told them that he did it because their mother was beautiful and he was paying more attention to her than where he was going. They entered the transporter room before the children could demand further clarification.

Capt Janeway said. " I almost thought you wouldn't make it." she smiled at the children.

The boys quickly and simultaneously put the blame on there sister. Icheb saying. "Mezoti had difficulty getting ready. I do not believe that she is sufficiently matured to appreciate the honor." with the twins chiming their agreement.

"Capt. Janeway tell them that I am mature. I just do not see the honor in being made to consume nutritional supplements that I do not like and to wear attire that I do not care for." Mezoti retorted hotly. "It is inefficient."

Under her breath B'Elanna quipped to Seven "She may have a point."

Unfortunately Mezoti augmented hearing caught it. "See SecMau agrees with me."

"Enough." Seven said glaring at the Klingon as B'Elanna tried to contain a snicker. "We have an agreement. You will be on your best behavior."

"SecMau Lieutenant." Capt. Picard inquired politely. "I am not familiar with that klingon term what does it mean."

"It is not klingon captain." she grinned wryly. "It's a Torres-Hansen original it stands for Secondary Maternal Unit. They came up with it when I was still on Voyager and they were so pleased with it that I could not say anything but okay."

Chapter 3

The delegation from the Enterprise was too large to beam into the klingon's transporter room. In fact B'Elanna had said after looking at the group which included her sizeable family as well as Captains Janeway and Picard, her friends Chakotay, Neelix, and Tuvok, and Com Data, Counselor Troi and Security Chief Yar who were friends of Ro. "I hope we all fit in the ship."

So they were beamed into the Banquet hall other wise known as Cargo bay one. When they materialized, there were murmurs of amazement from the group. It looked like the hall of a great lord from klingon antiquity. Battle Banners hung from the ceiling, antique weapons adorned the walls, the room was lit by holographic torches, the battle drums thrummed as they appeared and all of the crew were decked out in ceremonial armor. A confused B'Elanna came forward to shake Ro's hand and as the drums stilled and a hush fell in the room a voice from the back of the hall was heard "I thought she was taller?" followed by "Shut up Mog." and then a thud.

HoD Ro Loran just gritted her teeth and continued to greet her friend. "Epetai I and my crew are honored at your presence."

The honorific bewildered B'Elanna it signified the leader of a great house if she remembered her klingon correctly. She thought to herself I am just going to play along until I can ask Seven what it really means later. I must have it confused. Still after all these years thinking her friend dead she was not going to put up with all this formality. "Ro my friend it is so good to see you." with that she hugged the taller but slighter woman picking her up off the ground until Ro laughingly protested "Hey don't squeeze so tight if you bend the armor they may have to cut me out. It is good to see you too."

"Ro Loran this is Seven my wife." pulling Seven forward to shake the Bajoran's hand. "And these are four of my children." introducing each in turn.

"It is a pleasure to meet you." Ro assured them. "You move fast the last time I talked to you. You weren't even married." this comment brought laughter from everyone.

B'Elanna introduced her fellow crewman ending with Chakotay. "Hello again Ro." the former Maquis leader said. "Chakotay" she said after one of those pauses that say we have history. "It is good to see you again." After the Enterprise personnel created their former shipmate, Ro turned to introduce her staff.. "This is my first officer Klax." A tall man rather scrawny for a Klingon. As she shook his hand she realized why. He must be barely eighteen. His build gave away his youth but his eyes were those of a hardened veteran. He said "I am honored to meet you. Epetai" as she was introduced to more of the crew. She thought to herself half of them are children some barely over the age of ascension (13 yrs old). "Ro" she said quietly to her friend. "are you a training ship."

"No." the Bajoran replied. Seeing the question in B'Elanna's eyes she spoke. "We'll talk about it privately later, okay."

B'Elanna nodded. As she returned her attention to greeting the crew the group parted to allow a huge klingon fully seven feet tall approach. B'Elanna's face lit with amazement. "Old Man." she shouted with amazement. The last time she had seen him they had shared quarters in the sickbay of a stolen Cardassian ship after an escape from hell As she walked quickly forward he held out his hand she paused for only a moment to glance at the prosthetic that replaced his right arm. She punched him playfully in the gut and then hugged him fiercely. "I never thought I'd see you this side Stov-o-kor."

"Youngling no respect you give me." he growled. Then he smiled, "You have more lives than a tika cat."

"How is your daughter, Melok?" at this question the mans smile faded.

"She was killed during the Dominion War. She died with honor." Melok said proudly. "But I want to thank you B'Elanna Torres for teaching me that there is honor in living too. If I had died my grand-daughter would among the Nameless Ones instead of here with me." pulling over a young klingon woman who at fourteen was already quite a bit taller than B'Elanna. "This is K'Eylyt my grand-daughter."

"I am honored." the teenager assured her with hero worship in her eyes.

"I see you get your height from your grand-father." at the young girls smile B'Elanna continued "Would you do me a favor and sit by my oldest son at the banquet he is unfamiliar with klingon customs and I am sure he will have a lot of questions?"

"Certainly." K'Eylyt agreed eagerly.

Turning back to Ro they continued the introductions. B'Elanna knew that there were only supposed to be a crew of 36 on a ship this size but it felt like twice as many before she came to the end of the line. "And this is Mog." Ro said this with a sigh as she looked at the 15 year old klingon and glared.

"I am honored, honored one." as the young man stammered out his answer, B'Elanna placed his voice as the young man that questioned her height earlier.

Smiling evilly she leaned in "Am I taller close up." Seeing his flush she took pity on him. "What is your position Mog?"

"I am one of the helmsman." he assured her proudly.

Thinking of her friend Tom that they had left on Enterprise, immaturity and a lack of tact must be a requirement for helmsman. The punishment should fit the crime she thought. "Mog my oldest daughter has never been to a klingon banquet would you mind sitting with her and explaining things to her."

"Okay but it is not like its going to be a real Klingon Banquet. They cooked all the food." the disgust evident in his voice.

"Mog" his captain glared daggers at him "Go to your place." He slunk away at the disapproval in his captain's voice. As he passed the first officer, Klax whacked him on the back of the head.

"Are you sure that you want your little girl sitting with him?" Ro asked anxiously.

Smiling up at Seven who was quirking an eyebrow at the question, B'Elanna answered. "Don't worry Ro Mezoti can handle herself. She takes after her mother." she squeezed Seven's hand.

"Knowing her mother like you and I do Ro." Seven said smiling down at B'Elanna. "I think maybe we should be worried about Mog." with that B'Elanna smiled sheepishly as the other women laughed.

Whispering, "You got me." to her spouse B'Elanna kissed her hand and then still holding hands they walked side by side to the head table. As the entire gathering took their places with a little shifting to accommodate B'Elanna's last minute seating arrangements, Ro Loran raised her goblet in a toast. "To the Angel of Death who delivered so many of us from hell." the klingons cheered as they chugged back the blood wine.

From down the table Mog asked Mezoti. "Is your other mom sick?"

"No Mother is functioning within acceptable limits." Mezoti assured.

"Then why isn't she drinking the wine and why is she so pale." Mog asked again. "I think she sick or going to have a baby."

"We already have a baby and she is not ill." Mezoti retorted angrily.

Hearing their voices raise Icheb turned to his sister. "Mezoti are you following the designated protocols for this event."

"It is his fault." she pointed to Mog. "He keeps saying that Mother is ill."

"All I said is that she must be sick because she is not drinking and she's pale."

"That is the appropriate tone for Mother's complexion." Icheb assured him.

Looking at his shipmate, Mog asked "K'Eylyt what did he say."

"She's supposed to be that color. Targ brain." K'Eylyt kicked her friend under the table "Behave."

"Okay." he sighed fighting the urge to rub his shin.

As the courses were brought in Mezoti eyed the covered dishes with trepidation. To Mog she asked. "It's not gagh is it?"

"No." he sounded disappointed. "The captain said that since this was a thanksgiving celebration what with the Epetai coming back and all, we were going to have a Human thanksgiving meal." pointing to the larger serving dish. "That is tur'kay." he pronounced proud to have remembered the word.

The humans at the table smiled partly in nostalgia and partly in relief. Bowing to his prior experience Ro allowed Capt. Picard to carve the turkey.

B'Elanna began to explain the significance of the meal to her mate, when Seven stopped her "I remember." seeing the haunted look that came over her mate, B'Elanna squeezed her hand tightly.

Chapter 4

After the dinner, Ro asked her First Officer if he would give Captain Picard and the rest of the guest a tour, while she and B'Elanna got caught up in her ready room. Including Seven by saying " I have to go over some details of a personal nature having to do with B'Elanna's family and you should be there."

As B'Elanna entered Ro's ready, She inquired anxiously "Is my mother okay?"

"She's fine B'Elanna." she motioned to a couch. "Just have a seat. I'll explain everything. Epetai."

"Well start by explaining why you are calling me that." B'Elanna snapped

"If you will just shut up and listen you hard headed Klingon I'll get to it." Ro snapped back. Pausing to collect her temper Ro started again. "A lot of what I am going to stay must not be repeated for the security of the empire. I trust you to know which parts. B'Elanna the Klingon's took heavy losses during the Dominion War a lot more than the Federation is aware of and we want to keep it that way. You know your history about Praxis ,Khitomer, Wolf 455 and the Durass Civil War. Well during the Cardassian War we were hurt heavily even though we won. Gen Martok had been replaced by a Changling so the strategies that he employed were designed to weaken us and leave us vulnerable, Furthermore they used his Knowledge in the Dominion war to damage us heavily. We lost ninety ships in one engagement alone. They destroyed the shipyards at Volktk by sending photon torpedoes into the atmosphere."

B'Elanna gasped at the carnage that must have created. "The shipyards were orbital though."

"Yes but the scientist and engineers along with their families lived on the planet. They not only wanted to knock out our material capabilities but to remove our best personnel as well." Ro explained.

"The murdering cowards." B'Elanna cursed. Seven squeezed closer to her mate to give her support.

"I could not agree more. It was after I had joined the fleet. I helped with the evacuation. Your mother was one of the injured. Knowing you I visited her in the hospital where she was recovering." seeing the concern B'Elanna's eyes, Ro hastily assured her. "She's fine. Any way as we got to talking, we talked about you a lot she is very proud of you, she asked about how I was doing and I said okay I was used to being a second class citizen. Knowing that I had no house and so only limited protection under Klingon law she adopted me and authorized me as your representative to adopt individual Maquis into the House of Torres."

B'Elanna smiled "Well I always wanted a sister. Look Seven a new baby sitter."

Seven said. "Indeed and she has a whole ship to help her."

The women laughed quietly for a moment before Ro continued. "Well you know how I told you that most of the Maquis worlds joined the empire. Well they wanted the protection of a House and I discussed it with your mother and we allowed twenty- five of those worlds to join the House of Torres."

At that news, B'Elanna leapt off of the couch shouting. "What?"

"Sit down. We don't have time for you to have a temper tantrum about stuff that can't be changed any way and I have lots more to tell you and all of it is urgent. So let me finish." Ro shouted at her friend knowing that she had only a small window of opportunity to impart vital information to B'Elanna.

"Fine Ro but we will discuss this later." B'Elanna scowled fiercely as she warned her friend.

"With your rewards your mother has financed improvements on most of the Maquis worlds and if not for those improvements the famines would have been a lot worse. In the chaos after the war several houses used the opportunity to get rid of smaller houses and old enemies. You know a nameless one is someone without a house right. You also know that if there is no one of an age to take leadership of the house the children are essentially in limbo. They have no standing in the courts because they have no one to represent them they must try to survive somehow until they reach the age of induction and then try and take their name back. What with the war and the feuds their are a lot of those children and whoever has taken possession of the wealth of that house really doesn't want any competition. The merciful ones will allow them to swear allegiance to the new house. There aren't many merciful ones. The only protection most of these children have is to join the service and being we are so very low on personnel we are eager to get them. In Martok's defense he tries to make sure the youngest are placed on patrols on the Federation border with Commanders he can trust and he has arranged that anyone who joins the Fleet at whatever age can have their belongings placed under imperial guardianship. Still most of these children have nothing and no real chance of getting anything without anyone to fight for them so your mother has allowed many of them to join the House of Torres. If they join the house and they have young siblings we place these siblings in special dormitories on one of the Maquis worlds and they are cared for and taught. You've met Mog he is the oldest of five. His four siblings are in a dorm. Though his sister may be joining us soon. He is trying to talk her into finishing school."

Pausing only for a moment to let this sink in to the stunned engineer Ro continued. "The House of Torres is now the largest house in the Klingon Empire. The money that your mother did not use for improvements and the duties she collects. She has invested through your business manager Quark. She has also arranged cooperative investments from outside sources to bring businesses to the Maquis worlds. You are the richest woman in the Empire. Of course most of it is tied up in projects." as B'Elanna moved to speak, Ro shushed her "There's more. I would not hit you with this all at once but you need to know everything because we found out that some factions in the Federation are up to something about the Voyager crew. I don't know if it has to do with Seven and the kids or you or someone completely different but I wanted to let you know that you have back up whatever it is. As the proverb goes, it is the time to have every blade to hand . You can't use a weapon if you don't know you have it. Also you know your mother was very ill, it was an assassination attempt. It could have been a rival house but they used poison and we believe the Romulans may have been behind it." Ro looked at the shocked woman sitting in front of her and smiled. "Now tell me how you two got together."

As B'Elanna struggled through her bewilderment at this incomprehensible turn of events and before she or Seven could say anything Mezoti ran in exclaiming. "It is not my fault!"

Chapter 5

Mezoti was followed hotly on the heels by Icheb and the twins. "Mother," Icheb spoke forcefully. "Mezoti has broken several of your assigned protocols for this function." you could hear the exasperation in the older boy's voice.

"It was all his fault." she pointed to Mog, as he was lead in by First Officer Klax. As Klax stepped further into the room, you could see that he was carrying a large Klingon battleaxe. B'Elanna first thought was "Discipline must be heavy on this ship". As he got closer to her, she realized that it was a ceremonial axe and obviously an antique, and as he laid it on Ro's desk, she saw where the handle was severely bent.

Where Seven had been comforting the little girl and trying to calm her, when she saw that axe, she turned to her and pulled her chin up so that she had to look her in the eye. "Mezoti, what occurred and how did it involve that." She asked as she pointed to the weapon on the desk.

"He kept saying," again pointing at Mog "that you must be sickly and then I told him that you weren't. He said that I was probably sickly and weak too, so how would I know." There was little catch in the little girl's voice as she continued. "I told him that you were strong and that I was too. Stronger than him and he said that he could lift that axe and there was no way that I could lift it. So I pulled it down to show him. I did not realize it had a third bracket and when I went to pull it down, it bent. So it is all his fault. I am sorry mother." Said the little girl. "I tried to observe the protocols but he made me mad" with that she turned another glare on the young helmsman.

"Mezoti, I agree that he should not have said those things and I am sure that his captain will reprimand him for violating ships policies, but that does not mean that you can disregard what you know is the correct course of action. Mezoti, you know our protocols involving weapons. You are not to handle a weapon without your SecMaU or I being there. You are not allowed to handle someone's belonging without permission. Also you must have separated from the group because you would not have been allowed near a weapon. First, you must apologize to Captain Ro and First Officer Klax for disrupting their ship. Secondly, you must apologize to the owner of the weapon. Also you will apologize your brother for worrying him," Seven said nodding toward Icheb. "When we get back to our quarter you will prepare a report on the appropriate care and handling of all klingon weapons, your SecMaU and I will discuss the further consequences with you after we have conversed. You may begin your apologies now."

Chastened Mezoti said. "Captain Ro, First Officer Klax I apologize for disrupting your ship and leaving the group." pivoting slowly to face her brother "I am sorry, Icheb."

Her brother answered "The protocols are for your protection. I would be distressed if you were injured." Nodding, he stiffly hugged her, knowing that this was part of the protocols that followed an apology with his siblings. As the oldest, he was beginning to get a lot of practice.

Mezoti paused for a moment, "SeMaU, I am unaware of the identity of the owner of the battleaxe."

"Well then, you will have to ask." indicating Captain Ro Loran, who was at this moment, staring dumbfounded at the axe on her desk. She personally could barely lift it and to think of it being bent by a child boggled her mind.

"Captain Ro, would you inform me as to the owner's designation and whereabouts so that I might apologize." Mezoti said formally.

It took a few moments for the words to sink past the Bajoran's confusion. "Mezoti, the axe is mine and I accept your apology but you should not touch a weapon without permission."

Mezoti nodded and taking the other woman's befuddlement as distress she pulled on Seven's hand. "Mother can you fix it."

"May I?" Seven said, asking permission before she casually picked up the axe one handed and then with both hands she pulled and straightened until the bend was gone. "Is this acceptable?" she handed the axe back, oblivious to the stare of awe from the klingon's surrounding her.

Mog voice as he whispered to Klax was clearly audible to Borg hearing. "I'm in love."

"Shut up, Mog." Klax growled as he elbowed him. Thinking that cleaning the gagh vats would be a suitable duty assignment for the young helmsman for the next several weeks.

"Thank you, Seven." Ro said as she struggled to hold the axe.

Klax seeing his captain's dilemma walked over and took the weapon. Handing it to Mog, he said. "Return this to the wall, and then go to your quarters. I will find you later." that last sentence was said in a distinctly ominous tone.

As the young helmsman strained to carry the battle axe, he contemplated his punishment with anxiety.

"Before you leave, Mog you owe the Epetai and her family an apology." Ro informed the young Klingon.

He turned to face a stern looking B'Elanna. "Epetai, I am very sorry that I said your wife looked weak and sickly and I am sorry for getting Mezoti in trouble but I did tell her not to touch the axe. It really wasn't her fault though I guess."

As B'Elanna listened to the young man stumble through his apology she struggle to hold a strict demeanor. "You should know better than to treat a guest of your ship this way but because you are young I will accept the apology. Still don't insult my family again or I won't be as forgiving."

"Thank you, Epetai." after a moment he spoke again. "Epetai, may I ask you a question?"

Knowing that she should really say no but letting her curiosity get the better of her she said. "What Mog?"

"How did you conquer such a woman?" his voice filled with awe.

Seven's eyebrow lifted dramatically at that statement. She walked over behind B'Elanna and put her arms around her. "Indeed how did you conquer me?"

With mischief in her eyes B'Elanna pulled Seven in for a heated kiss, As Seven tried to regain her equilibrium, B'Elanna spoke. "Love but it was a joint victory."

After Klax led Mog out, Ro snorted. "Well you fueled their fantasies for years. B'Elanna We are going to have to rejoin the others but I will be coming over to the enterprise at 1830. I am expecting a communique and I may have more information about what we talked about earlier."

B'Elanna acknowledged this with a nod as they left to rejoin the others. As they entered the dinning hall Picard asked, "Lt. Torres are you ready to transport back or do you need more time."

"Captain we are ready." B'Elanna agreed thinking that she really had to be alone with Seven to discuss the latest turn of events.

As he was about to contact Enterprise, Ro stopped him. "Captain Picard I was wondering if you could make a holo recording of the evenings entertainment. My crew loves opera and I know they would love to see it."

"Of course Ro, I would be delighted too." Picard assured her. "Picard to Enterprise Energize."

As the air about her began to sparkle you could hear B'Elanna cry out. "Opera!"

Chapter 6

"Seven, I can't believe you knew and didn't tell me." B'Elanna asked incredulously. She had just been informed by Captain Picard that the focal point of the evening's entertainment was a Klingon opera. Not just any opera. Oh no, this one was dedicated to B'Elanna and it depicted her escape from the Cardassian death camp. If that wasn't bad enough, the Doctor, Commander Data and Neelix had roles in it. The Doctor was going to be Gul Vicat, Data was going to play Kort and Neelix was going to play the Bajoran resistance leader that had been killed before she could free him.

As they entered their temporary quarter's the Doctor was there to greet them and return little Kathryn. B'Elanna glared at him, took the baby and walked into the bedroom. "B'Elanna seems her usual cheerful self.", the EMH said to Seven as she entered with the rest of the children. "Captain Picard told her about the opera, she was displeased that I had not informed her." The former borg was confused by this, as she had been led to believe that her mate would enjoy the honor. "I am sure once she sees the effort that we put into it, she will be pleased. I have to go get ready." He smiled and left hurriedly.

After sending the children off to their designated assignments, she entered the bedroom to observe B'Elanna talking to the baby she held in her lap. "How was your visit with the Doctor, sweetie?" she asked the smiling infant. "What did you do? Did you eat your supplements and take your nap?" The baby giggled and squirmed as B'Elanna blew raspberries on her tummy. "They are going to make me go to the opera." the klingon said in a pouting voice and made a face at the baby. Little Kathryn just watched her mother's _expression intently. "I would rather stay home with you." Looking down into those trusting eyes, B'Elanna was filled with wonder. "Poor baby, I bet he sang opera to you the whole while we were gone." At the word opera, the baby started to laugh. "Well, at least one of us likes it."

She caught a glimpse of Seven standing in the doorway and motioned her over. "I am sorry about being such a grouch, love."

"If the event is really unacceptable to you, we do not have to attend." Seven said with concern lacing her tone. "I am sorry that I failed to inform you. I was told that it would ruin the surprise."

"Hey, don't feel bad, It's okay to surprise me about things and you shouldn't feel bad. I just don't like opera." She reassured her. "It's only an hour and a half. I think I'm just grumpy because we haven't had much time alone."

"I have missed that as well." Seven slid in behind B'Elanna resting her chin on the shorter woman's shoulder and sheltering both her wife and her youngest child in her embrace. They sat there quietly talking, gently kissing and cuddling each other as they held the baby. "I like just sitting here holding you." Seven said softly. "I love you." B'Elanna said, just as she reached up to pull Seven into another kiss. When the kiss ended, they look down to see the baby turn red and screw up her face. Shortly thereafter a very familiar odor reached them. Both women began to laugh, "I will change her. You go check on the others." B'Elanna said as she rose.

Icheb had made sure that his siblings had put up the formal klingon attire properly and Neelix had retrieved the weapons from them and returned them to the case. Seven supervised the preparations for this evening's activities. Samantha Wildman would be watching the baby and Naomi would be going with them. After Sam arrived, she shooed Seven into the bedroom to change. Seven walked in to see the baby asleep in the crib and B'Elanna slipping on a green silk shirt. She was wearing black leather pants and boots. Her leather jacket was laid over the chair. Turning and kissing Seven ardently, she said "You better hurry." Seven hastily removed her clothing and headed into the shower. Quickly showering, she was stunned to see her wife standing at the door when she came out. "You were observing me." the klingon grinned and pulled her naked body close and started nibbling on her lower lip. "Are you complaining?" Seven reached her hand behind her lover's head and crushed her lips to her. As she began to unbutton B'Elanna's shirt, Sam's voice rang out. "Hey, are you ready yet?" "If we ignore them, maybe they will go away." B'Elanna said urgently. Then they heard the baby begin to fuss at the interruption of her nap. Breaking apart slowly, "You get ready, I'll take the baby to Sam."

B'Elanna picked up the baby and went to the living area. Sam and the boys were talking and the girls were in Mezoti's room. "You woke the baby, Sam." As Sam took the infant into her arms and soothed her, she said. "You might want to fix your hair and button that before you go out." indicating the smaller women's disheveled appearance. She returned to the vision of Seven in an indigo blue sleeveless gown that clung like a second skin. When her wife began to slide on the matching flats, she spoke smiling. "You are without a doubt the most beautiful woman on board." Seven flushed, still unused to compliments. "Do not start something we will be unable to complete." Smiling, B'Elanna kissed her gently. "I'll behave but can I help it that I find you irresistible?"

Exercising extreme willpower, they left their quarters moments later to find all of the children ready and waiting. B'Elanna struggled to contain a laugh as she saw Mezoti. She had modified her outfit again. It had gone from a fairly light pink leather to a hot pink patent leather. Pulling her daughter close. "I like it. It suits you." The only thing glowing brighter than the little girl's attire was her smile at those words. "Now lets go see an opera." B'Elanna said as she led the group into the passageway.

As they entered, B'Elanna and Seven were escorted front row center. The children took the row behind them, with the girls situated between Icheb and the twins. Shortly after they arrived, Ro came in and sat to the left of Seven with Captain Janeway on B'Elanna's right. Picard took the end seat by Janeway. Janeway warned B'Elanna. "They worked very hard on this. Look happy."

"If I were that good an actress, I would be on the stage." B'Elanna said, as she tried to put some enthusiasm on her face or at least hide the dread. Janeway chuckled softly. The house lights lowered and in the darkness you heard the drums begin. The curtains raised and the first act began with Neelix framed in the spotlight. He began his aria. Not knowing that Seven was fluent in Klingon, Ro began to explain. He is saying that even if he dies, that his people's oppressors will be destroyed and he curses the Cardassians. At the end of the song, he is dragged from his cell. He is thrown to the ground, a second spotlight appears and there is the doctor. B'Elanna grimaces as the Doctor begins. The arias go back and forth between Neelix and the Doctor, one taunting and the other resolute. The scene ends with a flash from a phony disrupter. When Neelix crashes to the ground, the Doctor laughs maniacally.

"That's not how it happened." B'Elanna whispers across Seven to Ro. She is shushed as the next scene comes up. It shows a group of beaten Klingon prisoners mingling in a compound. Well, it is Enterprise crewman dressed up as Klingons, Commander Data stood up in the midst of them and began to sing. "He is cursing his fate for winding up here and he calls out to the Stars to return his honor and give him vengeance." Ro whispered quickly before the chorus started. When the actors on stage began to sing, the klingons in the audience joined them. Seeing Seven's confusion, B'Elanna explained it is traditional for the audience to sing along with the chorus. So Seven joined her voice along. This ended Act One.

B'Elanna saw a crewman motioned Captain Picard out of the room. She thought to herself "I wish I could escape too". She squeezed Seven's hand as the curtain rose again for Act Two. They had the smoke machines going full blast and you heard a woman's voice as she walked out of the fog. It was a tall Vulcan woman who was dressed as a klingon. When B'Elanna realized that this was the actress that was playing her, she could not contain herself. "You've got to be kidding." She was roundly shushed again. She just sank lower into her chair groaning. Seeing Klingon opera sung by an android and a Vulcan was beyond surreal to B'Elanna. The mock battles were fierce enough with both opponents using Battle'ths. Upon seeing this, Mezoti asked. "SecMaU, Where did you obtain Battleths?"

"We did not have any." as she answered her daughter, Seven and Janeway shushed her again. After the Vulcan woman defeated Data, she kissed him and vowed to bring him the Gul's head. This ended Act Two. "B'Elanna, were you involved with this Klingon?" Seven asked sounding very annoyed. "No!" B'Elanna snorted. "Kort was 13. This is all make believe. Ro, tell her." Hearing her friend's distress, Ro controlled her impulse for mischief. "Seven, Kort was only a boy. Klingon Opera tends to the melodramatic and is not necessarily accurate." This mollified B'Elanna's wife as the curtain opened on Act 3. Right as the spots came up, B'Elanna noticed Picard return with a group of people. The spots opened with the Vulcan woman challenging the Doctor to battle. They clashed back and forth between arias and smoke swirled about them. In a climactic move, the Vulcan woman used a sweeping slash to take the Doctors head off and, as it tumbled to the ground, there was a clash of cymbals and the lights went dark. "I've felt like doing that often." B'Elanna muttered. The spots came up on Data as he rested on a pallet surrounded by his fellow Klingon's. As the tempo of the music rose, the woman stepped out of the smoke and into the spotlight, carrying the Doctor's head. As she threw it to Data, he caught it. They sang a duet about freeing the prisoners. There was a lot of pyrotechnics and smoke, as they depicted the battle to free the prisoners. Injured, the Vulcan woman sang a last aria as she faded into the smoke. This was followed by a last chorus that depicted the reunion of the klingons. As the house lights came up there was thunderous applause from the Klingon's in the audience. B'Elanna, as graciously as she could, thanked the players and then tried to make her escape dragging her wife behind her. She almost made it to the doors before Capt. Picard caught her.

"Lt. Torres, I have some people that would like to meet you." Motioning to a tall Klingon in formal attire and the woman at his side. "This is Ambassador Worf and his wife, Jadzia." "I am honored." B'Elanna replied at meeting the famous warrior. He shook her hand and said. "I have heard many great things about you and I am glad to finally get to meet you." Shaking Jadzia's hand, she introduced Seven. "This is my wife, Seven." While she moved slightly to the right so that Jadzia could shake Seven's hand, B'Elanna caught sight of a Klingon woman moving forward. Her eyes widened and she paled. "Mother."

Part 7

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