Rakantha Province: Bajor
"Bajoran, Klingon, Human!" Katie shouted as she was trying to figure out how to wrap herself in a long piece of peach-colored fabric. "This wedding needs to figure out what the hell it is before I lose my damn mind!"
"Would you calm down?" Alex said walking over to the other side of the room in the temple's rectory. "Laria's right on the other side of that door and she might hear you."
"Sorry," Katie said still very frustrated. "I just can't figure out this dress."
Alex sighed, grabbed the long piece of Bajoran silk, and gently draped it over Katie's right shoulder.
"Thank you," Katie said as Alex fastened a belt around her waist to secure it.
"Just remember," Alex said in a tone that caused Katie to roll her eyes. "This day is about Laria. The ceremony is exactly what she and the captain want, and we're gonna support them."
"Yes, Mom," Katie replied sarcastically. Alex grumbled something under her breath, but let the matter drop.
Lady Elessa finished the intricate Klingon braid behind Laria's neck and wrapped it around the bride's head. Lanassa then secured it with hair corsage made from Bajoran lilacs. Their purple blooms accentuated Laria's long cream-colored dress.
Lanassa was in tears as she looked at her daughter's reflection in the mirror.
"Laria-ga-ne. I can't believe it. It's finally your wedding day!"
"Men across the stars have fought battles for women with beauty such as yours, little warrior." Elessa said placing a hand on Laria's shoulder.
"Thank you," Laria said in shock as she stared at herself. She had never in her wildest dreams imagined she could ever be so happy…or so nervous. Laria climbed to her feet
"There is something else," Lanassa said. "When your father and I escaped Bajor, we had to sell almost everything, but there was one thing I couldn't part with."
Lanassa pulled out a small blue box. As she opened the lid, Laria gasped. She covered her mouth with her hands as she held back her own tears.
"This is the betrothal bracelet your father gave to me, Laria-ga-ne," Lanassa said picking up an intricately detailed silver bracelet covered with small blue stones. "It was his mother's, and I wore it until the day I was married in this very temple. Now, it is yours my beautiful one."
Laria's heart skipped a beat as her mother fastened it around her wrist.
"It's perfect," Laria said examining it in the soft light of the rectory. "It's too bad I'll only wear it once."
"Once is enough for some things, child," Lanassa said stroking Laria's hair. "I'm so proud of you."
Laria turned to Elessa.
"You will bring great honor to the House of Torlek, little warrior, but I have something to ask of you also."
"Anything," Laria said with genuine respect for her Klingon matriarch.
"I have born two strong sons for Torlek, but I did not have a daughter of my own until you walked into my sunroom that day on Qo'nos."
Elessa removed the dk'tahg from over her shoulder and gently unsheathed it. She showed Laria the crest on the hilt.
"This was given to me by my mother at my Age of Ascension. It bears the crest of my father, Krisn'ath. I wore it the day I married Torlek and it would do me great honor if wore it on your wedding day as well."
"Laria," Lanassa said nervously. "It is very bad luck for a bride to touch a blade on her wedding day."
"Mama," Laria said reassuringly. "The Prophets will understand. Trust me on this one."
Lanassa nodded. Elessa gently placed the weapon back into its sheath and placed it over Laria's shoulder.
The three of them walked out of the dressing room to meet her dais bearers.
As Alex, Katie, and T'les stared, Laria smiled.
"I'm ready," Laria said before taking a deep breath.
"You look absolutely beautiful!" Alex said running up to Laria and giving her a hug.
"The captain is a lucky man, L," Katie said as her eyes started to glisten.
"Katie, are you alright?" T'les asked noticing Katie's change in emotional temperament.
"I'm fine," Katie said starting to fan her face with her hand. "It's just, I always tear up at weddings…and that's not to spread around, alright?"
"Your secret's safe with us, Katie," Laria said offering up another hug. Then, the bride-to-be turned to T'les.
"Your appearance is quite aesthetically pleasing, Laria," T'les said with an approving nod. "I was very grateful when you assisted me at my wedding. I will return the favor and promise not to be involved in the death of your husband at this event."
Alex, Katie, and Laria all laughed, but Lanassa and Elessa immediately looked confused. Laria turned to both her mothers and awkwardly smiled.
"You kinda had to be there…"
"We will take your word for it," Elessa said furrowing her pronounced brow.
"There is one more thing though," Laria said walking over to her bag in the corner. "She pulled out three small boxes and looked at her dais bearers. "Once I get married, I won't be able to wear the earring of the Amira family anymore. Traditionally, I would wear the earring of my husband's family, but since Daniel doesn't have a Bajoran lineage, I designed one of my own. Since you three are as much my family as anyone else, I got one for each of you."
She handed the packages to her girlfriends. When they opened them, Alex and Katie smiled. T'les nodded with approval. The earrings each consisted of a small Bajoran eternity wheel with the crest of the House of Torlek superimposed on top of it.
"It's very you, L," Katie said pulling off her own earrings, "and it's my honor to put it on. She fastened the pendant to her earlobe and attached the chain to the top of her ear. "Did I do it right?"
"Like you have been wearing one your whole life, child," Lanassa said with a grin.
"I do not mean to be a nuisance," T'les said awkwardly, "But I believe I will require some assistance." She had managed to get the pendant attached to her lower ear, but was struggling to attach the chain to her ear's point.
Alex and Katie laughed, but Laria walked over and managed to gingerly attached the chain to the top of T'les ear.
"Perfect, T'les." Laria said admiring the Vulcan's new accessory.
"Well, Ladies," Alex said picking up a bouquet of purple Bajoran lilacs. "I think it's time for us to get set. We wouldn't want to keep the lucky man waiting would we?" Elessa snorted derisively.
"I am the Lady of Daniel's House. He waits on his wedding day as long as I tell him too."
The women all burst out laughing.
"He looks like he's about to pass out," Murphy whispered to Torlek as Tigranian examined himself in the mirror for the tenth time in as many minutes.
"I have not seen him this nervous since the first time he saw battle on the bridge of the Sk'oh," Torlek replied with a grin. "But make no mistake, he's going into battle again today."
"You can't possibly believe that?" Murphy said to Torlek incredulously. "Marriage is a partnership, not a war."
"On the contrary, Sir," Tigranian said adjusting his blood red marriage armor. "All worthwhile endeavors in this life are battles: marriage especially. It requires preparation, dedication, and above all, honor."
"What the hell do you know about marriage, Sir?" Scharr said from his seat in the corner. "By my count, I have you beat on weddings three times."
"He apparently knows enough," Torlek said picking up a matching red stole and placing it over Tigranian's shoulders. "You speak like a true Klingon, my brother. Go forth and conquer."
The door to the room opened and Phil entered, still carrying his Ma'Staka.
"When do we get to beat you with these?" Scharr continued berating Tigranian while holding up his padded wooden stave.
"All in good time, my Andorian friend," Torlek said picking up a red sash and placing it over his right shoulder. "Is everything prepared?" he said turning towards Phil.
"It's all set," he replied. "The bridal party is getting in position now."
Tigranian audibly inhaled to steady himself.
"Well," Annabeth said picking up two ceremonial bat'leths. "It seems we finally found the great Daniel Tigranian's weakness: a 1.5 meter tall Bajoran girl with a love of science and bad Earth cultural history."
"I think you already knew that, Number One," Tigranian said with a smile that quickly faded as soon as he remembered Annnabeth and Alex's time on the Pershing was fast drawing to a close. Annabeth knew him well enough to understand what was on his mind.
"It'll be alright, Dan," she said walking over and placing an arm around him. "Just be in the moment for today."
"Thank you, Annabeth…for everything."
"It's not time to say goodbye yet, Sir," she said giving him a quick peck on his cheek. They both froze. Annabeth furrowed her brow. "That was weird wasn't it?"
"Yes, yes it was…" Tigranian replied.
"I'm never going to do that again."
"Well," Murphy said trying to retain some levity to the room. "Rather than say goodbye, I believe it's time to say 'hello."
There was a knock at the door.
"Phil," Annabeth said motioning to the helmsmen. Phil checked who was there before letting Vedek Grigan enter.
"Vedek!" Tigranian said walking over to the old priest.
"That's quite a striking outfit, Captain Tigranian," Grigan said with a grin.
"I doubt very many grooms have worn one in this temple," Tigranian replied.
"No, they have not," Grigan said shaking his head. "But then again, there haven't been very many grooms in this temple like you either."
Torlek couldn't help but laugh.
"There is only one Daniel, Son of Tigranian."
"That's for damn sure," Annabeth said shouldering her bat'leths. The others laughed.
"You are very lucky to have her, Daniel," Grigan said with a caring nod of his head.
"Just as she is lucky to have you," Grigan continued as he placed a hand on Daniel's arm.
"Well," Annabeth said clearing her throat loudly. "Now, that we've gotten all the awkward emotional exchanges out of the way, I would be much of a sword-bearer if I let the groom be late to his own wedding."
"Indeed," Torlek said. "We are awaited on the battlefield."
"Finally," Scharr said climbing to his feet and walking over to Murphy. "What is that expression humans say? Let's get this show travelling?"
"That's close enough, Tren," Phil said placing his Ma'Staka behind his head.
"Alright," Tigranian said looking to Torlek one last time. "I'm ready."
"Then let the war begin. Qapla'"