((Flashback - Ral household, Piri Islands, Betazed – Stardate 239601.15))
Keehani had finally calmed down.
It had been days of sadness when she was first told about her grandmother’s neural disorder, which the doctors had likely determined was a side effect of Empathic Synaesthesia.
Then Vaxa told her the truth about her past, and her family. Keehani, who was Initially enraged at the news of her grandmother’s now not so secret history, was now in the “mild-acceptance” phase.
Vaxa: Yes, teardrop. “Ral” is the name I adopted from your grandfather, Itum. Before that, it was Ukinix.
Keehani: “Vaxa Ukinix.” And you were *actually* in line to be matriarch.
Vaxa: ::Slow nod:: My mother died during the Dominion invasion. I *am* the matriarch.
The exo-politics student’s jaw, once again, dropped in disbelief. She sat back in her chair and mulled over what she had just heard. The news was so Betazed-shattering that they had resorted to verbal communication instead of normal telepathy.
Keehani: I’ve never heard of the name “Ukinix” before. Troi, Vataix, Dirsye. They’re all well-known noble names. Not “Ukinix”.
Vaxa: Most people haven’t heard of it. ::Rye smile:: That’s by design. Your great grandparents… they weren’t the most “noble” of nobles. Quite the opposite.
Vaxa swallowed, and then looked down.
Vaxa: The other houses tried their best to consign the name Ukinix to history.
Keehani’s black eyes seemed to get larger. Her jaw tightened as she spoke in a flat tone.
Keehani: Did they now.
Keehani crossed her legs at the same time as she crossed her arms.
Vaxa: ::Slight smile:: Your mannerisms remind me of my mother sometimes. ::Smile fades:: I’m glad you didn’t turn out like her.
Keehani: But how can you not be matriarch? You’re either the head of a noble house, or you’re not!
Vaxa: ::Slowly shaking head:: But I *am* matriarch, teardrop. In name at least. ::long sigh:: Just not a controlling matriarch.
Keehani’s jaw clenched even tighter.
Keehani: They can’t do that.
Vaxa: But they did. I was forced, I had no choice. ::shaking head:: Teardrop, I only told you because – with my condition… ::swallow::: you needed to know, in case...
Keehani got up out of her seat, and walked over behind Vaxa’s chair with intent. She leaned forward and wrapped her grandmother in her arms, in a strong embrace, and gave her a kiss on the top of her head.
Keehani: Grandmother, you are going to beat this disease. And by the Four, you are going to be controlling matriarch again.
Vaxa chuckled slightly, and patted her hand on her granddaughter’s arm.
Vaxa: I have watched your optimism and determination grow since you were a child. I am grateful to the Four every day for you. When I lost my son, I gained a granddaughter and raised you like you were my own. But teardrop, I ask for nothing more from you.
She wrapped her hands tighter around Keehani’s forearms.
Vaxa: I have left my nobility in the past. You have brought so much joy into my life after a long period of darkness. And I am so proud of you Keehani.
Keehani squeezed her arms tighter around her grandmother.
Keehani: I love you, grandmother. With all my heart. And I always will.
After a long moment of silence, Keehani finally spoke.
Keehani: Which means I will fight for you. The houses may think you are now forgotten.
She stood up, and made her way to the door.
Keehani: But they’re in for a shock. I don’t care how long it takes.
Vaxa: ::Exasperated Scowl:: Oh Keehani, where are you going…
Keehani: To the university campus, I have some people there that can help me. ::Turning around:: What was your brother’s name again?
Vaxa: Oh, Keehani…
Keehani said nothing. Vaxa’s shoulders dropped, but at the same time she smiled. Keehani was young and determined, and full of fire. There was going to be no denying her.
Beginning to feel tired, Vaxa resorted back to telepathic communication.
Vaxa: ~~ “Astradem” is my brother’s name. But I don’t know where he is. My parents suspected he went to Earth, but- ~~
Keehani: ~~- “Astradem”. I’ll be back in a few hours. Love you!~~
((Amity Outpost - Terminal A, Gate A7))
Keehani was already on the defensive at the news of another noble visiting Amity. It was bad enough that she was still (as far as she knew) on a Federation watch list.
Despite her confidence, it had taken a lot of courage to ask Rivi Vataix for a posting on Amity. She still didn’t know what the Vataix (specifically Rivi’s) position was on her petition to get control of the Ninth House back. And nor would she raise it – for the success of her posting, her protection of Rivi as her aide, and the entire diplomatic mission meant that Betazoid legal manoeuvring and politics were left on Betazed.
But it made it hard when Betazed brought the politics to Amity. Another noble who might turn up their nose and scoff at the name “Ukinix”. For the sake of her family, including her cousin Wil, she would stand up for her name if she had to. Even if that meant potentially annoying Ambassador Vataix (and by extension Wil which she had to admit to herself she took some pleasure in).
Keehani’s eyes fluttered in disbelief when attendants rolled a purple carpet out of Gate A7. If she ever was to become the matriarch in waiting of the Ninth House of Betazed, the pageantry would be the first thing to go.
Finally, the noble woman entered through the gate. Keehani stood up straight, and put on her best, warmest, fake smile.
Polgonz: Good morning, Ambassador. What an impressive station. ~~ It’s a pleasure to meet you, at last. ~~
The noble woman gave Rivi a nod.
Polgonz: ~~ Very well. If that is your preference. I look forward to the opportunity for further conversation, once my people have settled. Undoubtedly we’ll have much to discuss. ~~
The woman then turned her attention to Keehani, who made sure her best fake smile was on display. Her senses started feeding her unexpectedly contrasting information – admiration, and was that… attraction?
Polgonz: First Secretary. ~~ Or should I say, Daughter of the Ninth House? ::A look of excitement in her eyes:: I’m very glad to make your acquaintance as well. We should meet again soon. ~~
Keehani’s fake smile turned into a genuine one.
Keehani: ::offering hand, polite nod:: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Daughter Polgonz of the Twentieth House. I would very much enjoy meeting with you sometime. I’d be happy to give you a tour of the station.
Noble “friends” were what Keehani needed, if she was to be successful in her Reconciliation Forums petition. She would not squander the opportunity.
Polgonz: ~~ And who else do we have here? ~~
Keehani: ::looking around:: ~~ The First Officer was just here, I’m sure he’s around- ~~
She spotted Wil walking back from a tiny nearby vendor outlet named “Circles of Delight”, a lit up coloured booth that contained a single attendant in a tacky uniform. He was holding a rectangular box in his hand.
Ukinix: G’day Ms Polgonz, how are ya’, I’m Wil, First Officer. ::Opening lid of rectangular box:: Can I offer you a donut?
Keehani’s genuine smile turned to a grimaced one, as she mentally facepalmed herself.
First Secretary Keehani Ukinix
Federation Diplomatic Corps, United Federation of Planets