Dax was coming back from duty and it was late; barely anyone was on the Promenade. She had been carrying an open tricorder ever since she'd heard Chief O'Brien's story of finding Artesia in the guest quarters. She wanted to catch Artesia at whatever it was she was doing, so she was constantly scanning for fluctuations. Then her tricorder beeped, Dax grinned widely to herself certain that it was Artesia, and she was very near.
"I'm going to get you now!" Dax exclaimed happily and she ran toward where thefluctuation was located quickly. She was almost there when it disappeared. Dax stopped and looked around.
"No! I almost had her!"
Angrily she shut the tricorder and shoved it into her uniform pocket. She was just walking away when from around a corner Artesia ran out.
"Hey!" Dax shouted. The Klingon turned toward her.
"Yes?" Her smile was just a little bit too smug for Dax's liking.
"What were you doing?"
That smug smile that annoyed Dax so much turned into an ugly frown that went under the file of 'if looks could kill'.
"That's none of your business!" Artesia said rudely.
"I think it is, if you have some sort of machine that is powerful enough to register power fluctuations on our sensors then it is definitely my business," Dax answered
smartly; as she was speaking, Dax noticed the device sticking out of Artesia's
pocket. "What's that?"
"It is a PADD, I've been reading a book called Kajanpak't. It means courage, something you surely wouldn't know anything about. Now if you'll excuse me."
"I know what it means, Artesia!" Dax grabbed the Klingon by her arm as she turned to leave. "I'm not done talking to you yet!"
Artesia pulled her arm back and hit Dax. Dax reacted quickly by hitting her back and grabbing both her arms tightly.
"Tell me what you have in your pocket!"
Artesia's smug smile returned.
"I've told you what I have in my pocket, Dax!"
"I don't believe you!" the Trill hissed in Artesia's face. She let go of Artesia's arms and reached into Artesia's pocket to retrieve what the device was.
"No!" shouted Artesia and she grabbed Dax's hand with both of hers. "That is mine! Give it to me!"
The two women grappled for the PADD until Dax began to get the upper hand. She finally got her hand free of Artesia's hands and moved out of her reach.
"A book indeed!" Dax cried when she got a good look at the device. She had no idea what it was but she had a bad feeling about it. She looked it over and figured out that it was a medical device of some sort. Dax began to run away from Artesia toward the infirmary hoping that Julian would be there. She was nearly there when she began to feel dizzy and fell over.
"Julian!" she called, her voice coming out as a whisper. Artesia ran to Dax and took the device out of her hand.
"I'll take that, thank you!" she said softly and pressed Dax's comm badge. "Artesia to Bashir, Commander Dorks has collapsed on the Promenade."
Dax shut her eyes.
"The name is Dax..." she whispered and darkness overcame her.
Dax opened her eyes and looked around. Bashir was staring down at her with concern.
"Jadzia," he said, "How are you feeling?"
"I feel fine, what happened?"
"You're pregnant, the resequencing enzymes worked."
Dax smiled widely at Bashir, he tried to smile back but didn't quite make it.
"Does Worf know?"
"Not yet, I figured that you should tell him, after all, you're doing this for him. I've called him down if you want to talk to him right now."
Dax nodded and Bashir walked around away. A few seconds later Worf came to her bed.
"Doctor Bashir said that Artesia said you collapsed on the Promenade."
Dax nodded and sat up.
"Are you going to be all right? Doctor Bashir hasn't told me anything yet, he told me that it would be better coming from you."
"Worf," Dax said slowly, "I'm pregnant." She shut her eyes and held her breath, waiting for his response. A moment later she opened her eyes when there had been no response. "Worf?"
He was staring at her shocked.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Julian told me before you came in."
"But he says-"
"I know what he says, Worf!" she shouted angrily. Instantly she was sorry for shouting. It was not Worf's fault that she was so weak, it was the Pah'Wraith's fault. "I'm sorry."
"Jadzia, I cannot let you do this. Perhaps we could get someone to take the child like Kira took Yoshi."
"No Worf, I want to have this child."
Worf looked his wife over. Right now she was going to be as stubborn, if not more, than a mule, he would have to try and talk her out of this later. Besides, she needed her rest right now.
"We'll talk more later, rest," he pushed back on her shoulders until she was laying on the bio bed.
"I want to have this baby, I need to have this baby. I'm doing it for you."
"If I have a son, then you can stay with me and have your house restored."
"If you have a daughter, it will all be worth nothing. You will die and Daria and I will be alone. Jadzia, to me, the possibility of a son is not worth your life. I do not know why you cannot understand that. I am not leaving and I do not want you to have this child for me."
Dax looked down; Worf had struck a chord - she couldn't stand the thought of her daughter growing up without a mother.
"Worf, I love you," Dax said softly and she sat back up to give him a hug. He returned the hug and held his wife tight as she began to cry.
Dax was deep in thought when her door chime rang. Julian had finally released her, insisting that she go back to her quarters and rest.
"Come in," she said rather distantly. Captain Sisko walked through the door and sat down in a chair at the table.
"Chief O'Brien managed to track down the fluctuations."
Dax looked up attentively, she walked over to him and sat at the table.
"He says that they occur every twelve hours and they always occur in guest quarters or in a quiet area of the Promenade."
Dax nodded and motioned for Sisko to continue.
"He's also noted Klingon life signs every time he tracks down a fluctuation."
"It's Artesia," Dax said with a grin, "Isn't it? I knew it was her."
"How did you know, Old Man?"
"That night I collapsed, I saw Artesia with some sort of device. I had taken it from her before I collapsed. I always have had bad timing."
"You're telling me, Curzon was late for everything."
"Well, that was just Curzon, but anyway, back to the subject at hand. O'Brien noted Klingon life signs and..."
"And he beamed in to catch her using a device. He had never seen anything like but recognized a medical symbol on it and took it to Doctor Bashir."
"Does he know what Artesia could have been using it for?"
"Yes. Dax, Artesia was using it to change the baby's DNA to match Worf's."
Dax's jaw drop and she could hardly contain her surprise.
"I knew she was up to something," she muttered. "But this? How? Why?"
"Odo has her in the brig now and is asking her."
"I'd like to be there."
"I'd rather you weren't."
Dax sighed. She stood up and paced, "I can't believe this woman. What could she possibly have to gain? Did she really think she could break up a family like that?"
"Like I said," Sisko shrugged. "Odo is very good at finding out the answers."
Odo found a changed Artesia in the brig. The Klingon woman was sitting on the bed, her hands clasped primly together on her lap. The outrageous personality, described by Julian, seemed to have been curiously subdued.
"Well," Odo said.
Artesia did not speak, did not look up.
"I think you have some explaining to do," Odo said gently. He held out the device that O'Brien had confiscated from her. "This is yours, I believe."
"Why?" Odo asked. "Why did you want people to believe this baby was Worf's?"
"I had no choice," Artesia said quietly.
"No choice? Were you aware that he already had a wife and a child?"
"No, not at first. But by then, it was too late. Jolar and I had already decided what we were going to do."
Odo nodded, remembering the name of Jolar N'Prie, Artesia's friend back on Starbase 357.
"Is Jolar the father?" Odo asked.
Artesia laughed scornfully, "No. I would not let that pa'tahk touch me. No, he owes a debt to the House of D'Toro and as such, must do my will."
"Must be very nice for you."
"It was he who supplied me with that device after I discovered I was pregnant," Artesia explained. "We found out that it could mask the true DNA of the child for a short period of time and cause medical instruments to read whatever DNA we chose."
"Very clever, but why Worf?"
Artesia shrugged, "I found out he was coming aboard Starbase 357 and it provided a perfect opportunity. The death of his son… well, that was unfortunate, but it helped me ply him with bloodwine and enabled me to get closer to him. That way, there would be plenty of witnesses who would say that they had seen Worf and I together. It was very convenient."
"But why?" Odo asked again. "Why cover up the father's identity? Who is it? You might as well tell me now and it will go easier for you."
"The father is -" Artesia began and then suddenly she was very quiet. Odo turned at the sound of the footsteps behind him.
"It's me," Martok said quietly. "I am the baby's father."
"I can't believe it!" Dax exclaimed for what had to be the millionth time that day. Odo nodded soberly.
"Artesia knew that Martok's house would be dishonored with this evidence of his infidelity, so when Worf came aboard Starbase 357, she took the opportunity," Odo explained.
Worf, who was holding Daria on his lap, shook his head, in dismay.
"I cannot believe it," he said. "Martok?"
"I don't think Martok knew of what Artesia was planning. And when she came aboard Deep Space Nine, he found out everything and at that point, he had to convince you to marry her, in order to save himself."
"And Sirella?" Dax asked.
"According to Martok, Sirella truly thought that the child was Worf's. But then, he also said that she was looking for any excuse to get rid of you," Odo said.
"What about Gowron?" Dax asked. "Artesia threatened that Gowron would declare war on the Federation if Worf did not marry her."
"A simple bluff,"
Odo said. "It's true that Artesia belongs to a great family… however, she
failed to mention that she belonged to a dishonored branch of the family. It's
very unlikely Gowron would have made any move against the Federation. It is
not worth the price.
"What happens now?" Worf asked.
"It depends on you two," Odo said. "Would you like to press charges?"
Dax and Worf eyed each other pensively. Both held great affection for Martok even after this deception, but both realized how close they had come to losing each other over Artesia's treachery.
"Perhaps something private?" Dax volunteered.
"Right," Worf nodded. "Martok made a mistake, but I would not have him lose his honor over it. However, I do not believe I can remain in the House of Martok after this deceit."
Jadzia nodded her agreement.
Odo rose, "I will do as you ask."
"Thank you," Worf said.
After Odo was gone, Worf crossed over to the opposite sofa, where Jadzia was sitting. He handed her Daria and mother and daughter cuddled for a few seconds.
"It will be difficult without a house," Worf said softly. "But it's for the best."
Two days later, the doors to their quarters chimed. Worf had been playing with Daria on the floor, while Jadzia had been lying on the sofa, watching them.
"Come!" Worf called out.
The doors slid open and Sirella walked in. With some difficult, Dax managed to sit up.
"I am sorry to bother you," Sirella said. "I owe you both an apology."
Worf glanced at Dax, who nodded slightly.
"Accepted," Worf growled.
"I would like to ask you a favor," Sirella said quietly. "The House of Martok is no more."
"What?" Jadzia asked in surprise.
"Martok has agreed that he can no longer lead the House. He will step down and asked that I name his successor. I ask you, Worf, would you be willing to lead our House?"
"What about your own son?" Worf asked.
"Pah!" Sirella waved a hand, dismissing the boy. "I ask you again, Worf, son of Mogh, would you be willing to lead our House?"
Worf looked at Jadzia, who still seemed a little stunned.
"I would be honored," he said finally.
"Good," Sirella said. "And also, for leading the House of Worf, your seat on the High Council has been restored."
Worf couldn't speak, but Jadzia managed to get to her feet and walked over to Sirella.
"Thank you," Jadzia said softly. "This means so much to Worf."
Sirella eyed the Trill with compassion.
"You love him," Sirella said quietly.
Sirella touched Dax's shoulder, "I wish you all the best with the coming child."
Dax smiled, "Thank you."
~ THREE MONTHS LATER ~
"Jadzia?" Worf walked into the bedroom. He found his wife lying in bed, her face absolutely ashen. He knelt by her side. "My love."
Her eyes fluttered open, "Worf…"
"How do you feel today?"
"Not good," she confessed. "Worf, I don't know if I'm going to make it."
Worf kissed her forehead, "Don't say such things."
"She is well, do not worry."
Her eyes closed.
Worf found Bashir in his medical lab.
"Jadzia is much worse," Worf reported. "Isn't there anything you can do for her?"
Bashir sighed, "I asked her if she would let Kira or Keiko carry this baby, she said no. She wants there to be no doubt that this is your child. And I'm afraid, her stubbornness is killing her."
"There must be something…" Worf said almost in despair. "If it hadn't been for Artesia, she would have never done something like this. She knew I was against it, but somehow she felt threatened by that woman. What am I going to do without her?"
But Bashir had stopped listening.
The Irishman looked up from his stew to meet the doctor's concerned eyes.
"Jadzia is dying," Bashir said.
"I know," O'Brien nodded. "Keiko stopped by to see her yesterday and she said that Jadzia had difficulty even in walking to the door."
"I have an idea," Bashir said. He placed a familiar device on the table. O'Brien looked at it.
"This belonged to Artesia," the Chief said.
Bashir nodded, "Remember what I told you earlier about force field dynamics on DNA?"
"No, not really."
"I ran some tests. It is possible to manipulate DNA using the phase variance shifts in force field dynamics. Unfortunately, those phase shifts actually change the DNA."
"And you want…?"
"I want to inject Jadzia's cells with a strong, healthy DNA," Bashir said earnestly. "And I need your help. This machine helps generate DNA sequencing. If we could find a sample of Jadzia's healthy DNA, we could use it in conjunction with the phase variance theory and restore Jadzia's DNA. Her body would then regenerate all needed cellular material and she would be healthy again."
O'Brien eyed the device skeptically, "Let me see what I can do. Where do you propose to find a healthy DNA sample?"
Bashir grinned, "That's the easy part, my friend. Daria."
Daria did not like needles. She liked Doctor Bashir, but needles, even when held by the good doctor, did not convince the little girl that such things were good.
Bashir had come to Worf and Dax's quarters for this occasion, thinking that Daria would be more comfortable in familiar surroundings and also, Dax had wanted to be there for this.
Bashir found Jadzia and Daria together in Daria's room. Jadzia was reading to Daria, her thin arms wrapped snugly around the little girl. Bashir was amazed at how frail Jadzia had become in three months, but he made no comment.
"Daru," Dax said softly. "Doctor Bashir is here. Remember we talked about this? He just wants a little sample of your blood."
"Will it hurt?" the toddler queried.
"Not at all," Julian assured her. "Just a little prick. Oh, look at that. We're done already. Did that hurt?"
Daria immediately began to cry and Jadzia held her close.
"I'll begin to sort through the DNA," Julian told Jadzia. "I have to separate your DNA from Worf's."
"No rush," Dax said with a radiant smile.
Bashir nodded, but one look at Dax told him that she was wrong; he did have to hurry, because the Trill did not have much time left.
O'Brien laid down the tool and handed the device back to the doctor. Bashir took it and examined it carefully.
"So you think I can use this to amplify Jadzia's DNA?" he asked.
"Don't ask me, it was your theory," O'Brien answered. "But yes, previously, when Artesia was using the device, the effect was only for a few hours. Hopefully, with my modifications, the effect will be permanent - long enough to try your new theory out on Jadzia's DNA."
Bashir shook his head, "I hope this works. I don't know how I will face Dax and Worf if it doesn't."
O'Brien smiled sympathetically at his friend, "You do good work, Julian. It will work."
The doctor nodded, but his expression was not optimistic.
The Klingon was immediately awake and he turned to face his wife. She smiled up at him.
"The baby's kicking," she told him. She took his hand and guided it to the spot on her abdomen where the baby's feet made ripples in her skin.
"He is strong."
"It could be a she," Dax reminded him.
"It is a strong child."
"Yes, like its father," Dax said softly. "Worf, promise me. If this doesn't work, you promise me you will take care of Daria?"
Worf looked at her in amazement, "Jadzia, of course I would."
"Will you tell her about me…?"
"Would you tell her how much I loved her?"
Jadzia was quiet for a moment, "At least you have a House of your own now. The House of Worf. Poor Sirella."
"It is of no consequence."
Jadzia was silent for a long time and Worf wondered what she was thinking.
"I'm scared," she said finally. "I'm afraid of dying."
"This treatment will work," Worf said. "If not, there is no reason to have this baby…"
"I can't do that, Worf. You know that."
"You would sacrifice yourself for this child?"
"Yes," Jadzia whispered, and he could hear the tears in her voice. Worf swallowed hard. He reached over and held her for the rest of night, praying that she would not slip away in her sleep.
"Well? Do you have good news for me?" Jadzia asked brightly as Bashir dropped by.
"Here is a sample of your healthy DNA," Julian answered. "I used Artesia's machine to amplify the strain and then I used a new theory in genetics to replicate the strand."
"Sounds good to me," Jadzia said.
"How is the baby?"
"Kicking," Jadzia said. She watched as Julian pulled out the tricorder and scanned her.
"Very healthy," Julian said. "You and Worf are going to have your hands full when this little one arrives."
"It is certainly an active one," Dax answered. She tended not to think too much of the future, knowing full well that she might not be there for this child.
"Well, let's try this," Bashir pressed a hypospray against her neck. Immediately, the device hissed. After a few moments, Bashir laid the hypospray down.
"I'll check back in a couple days," he told her. "We should know by then."
Dax nodded, "I'll be here."
Worf managed to switch shifts with Kira in order to be with Jadzia when Bashir checked back on her. Keiko O'Brien had agreed to take Daria for them, so that they did not have to worry about the child hearing bad news…
"Well," Bashir took a reading. "Jadzia, it looks like there is a twenty percent increase in your energy levels. It looks good."
Jadzia bit her lips back, "Good? You mean, really good?"
Bashir nodded, "Really good. And I hate to say it, but you do have Artesia to thank for it."
Jadzia could not speak, but Worf smiled a rare smile at the doctor.
"Thank you," he told him. "Thank you for this."
After Bashir was gone, Worf held Jadzia as she cried in his arms.
Go on to the Conclusion
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