Avrai tu l'universo, resti l'Italia a me.
(Giuseppe Verdi "Attila")
[USS Charon, Deck Seven, Children's Center]
The tall Gai'Shian stifled a yawn, looking incredulously at the hevam balancing three children on his lap while tossing a ball to a fourth. If his superior hadn't told him this was the very male who had thrown a fit worthy of a Deletham that saw its nest threatened, demanding outright that he be allowed to look after the 'bambini' whatever that was until this 'calamità' was sorted out he would have believed someone had made a joke at his expense. For all intents and purposes, the dark haired, dark eyed human looked as harmless as the children toddling at his feet, a sweet nanny in lloannen'galae uniform. But apparently, he had managed to harry a higher-up enough to let him have his way and stay right here with the crew's offspring.
And what a lot they were, those children. At least half of them mongrels of some sort, chewing on toys, babbling in a dozen languages and still they all seemed to understand their caretaker who spoke in a dialect that was admittedly almost melodious.
"No, no, cara mia. Seraphim, no. Is no toy, eh?" The human waved apologetically at another bored Gai'Shian who had come close to losing his rifle to an inquisitive teenage girl, and he appeared about as undisturbed by the incident as if the raucous Ktarian boy had merely thrown another piece of pastry at the armored soldiers who had invaded their realm. "È come il papa. Like father, little girl."
Not so little, the annoying gnat. But for the most part the human kept the children occupied, and the two Gai'Shian were well content to watch them here instead of having to listen to the probably inevitable whining and shrieking if they were tied up like their parents. At least the only missiles they had to dodge in here were sticky food items and plush animals. If there was one thing to be slightly nervous about it was that the other six guarding the door had dwindled to two, thanks to more patrols seeking out some even more annoying aliens.
Oh it had been quite interesting to see the arrogant Gale bitch dismembered like that, though the hevam naturally had thrown another small tantrum, coddling the children and demanding the broadcast be turned off. And they would certainly not mind a shot at finding that bastard who had done it, if only to show the oh-so high and mighty officers how you dealt with a situation like the one they had allowed to develop.
The shorter, stocky Gai'Shian leaned out of the way of an enthusiastically tossed something, vaguely resembling a Klingon Bird-of-Prey after a collision with an asteroid belt, and actually smirked at the little boy with the odd, thorn-like ridges on his forehead. A girl with spots running down the sides of her face stuck out her tongue at him and yet another mongrel complained bitterly about the lack of something called "cetch-ssahp". He felt just a tad reminded of his own siblings, unruly bunch that they were.
The only child who seemed even mildly disturbed by the fact that two armored Romulans with heavy rifles were watching them was a small boy, likely of Betazoid origin judging from the night black eyes and his discomfort was mostly expressed by shooting withering glares from the safety of the human's lap. Spirited lot, one had to give them that
The sudden shouting outside made both Gai'Shian perk up, but there was no weapons fire or explosions, only odd sounds. Very odd. As if people were arguing and banging pots together at the same
"Che cosa? Ah, no. Marito."
"A fortunate man."
The first thing the Romulans saw when the doors slid open was a massive Klingon in full battle armor. To their credit, it took them less than half a second to go from baffled to combat ready, and only another good third of a second to raise their rifles. In another one third or so they might even have realized that there had been two voices speaking outside, a deep, rumbling bass and a cheerful female mezzo-soprano, and that the latter was as of yet unaccounted for.
Unaccounted for until something heavy and metallic made rather harsh contact with a head that was likely to have preferred if it had remained stuck in a helmet, stuffy and heavy and all.
Marcello's happy greeting of his beloved wife, soulmate and ferocious wielder of ironcast frying pans was drowned by three crashing sounds in rapid succession as one Gai'Shian collapsed in a heap on the floor and the other found his disruptor knocked out of his hand by a teenager using a chalkboard half again her size before a grey haired Klingon warrior took care of the rest. Rather thoroughly, though to the disappointment of several children he refrained from a battle howl and merely folded the Romulan in half.
"Ah, e signore Kulg'Rek. Buongiorno."
The Klingon grunted in reply which was about the friendliest greeting he managed while dragging the other two disheveled looking and quite unconscious Gai'Shian into the room, much to the delight of two girls who immediately made for the rifles and other assorted items of interest.
"Seraphim! Ragazza terribile! È pericoloso!"
The half Betazoid girl seemed unimpressed and checked the power cell, nodding with an expression reminiscent of a cat who had stumbled over an unexpected bowl of cream.
"Is filia di signore Falcon. Need no rifle for being dangerous." Lucia frowned at the dent in her second favorite pan and decided that some Romulans would deeply regret making her break her kitchenware again before she patted the teenager's head and went to explain to her husband why he should stop being useless.
Kulg'Rek for his part kept examining the Italian woman's forehead for any signs of ridges, however faint. There was something positively Klingon about Lucia, and it wasn't merely the way she wielded that frying pan. Hand of Kahless, if she wasn't married he might be reciting love poetry and brewing tea this very minute.
Well, maybe the tea would have to wait until the current infestation of Romulans was dealt with, but ah, it was a moot point anyways. Grunting with disdain, Kulg'Rek arranged the slightly disheveled creatures in a corner some might say badly banged up but the Klingon felt they still were in excellent shape, what with being alive and all and looked around for something to tie them up. Unfortunately, apart from some strings glued inexplicably to a Vor'Cha class cruiser smaller than his hand, there was nothing useful in sight. As far as he was concerned, breaking their necks would greatly simplify matters but Federations had funny views about killing vermin in front of young ones. Just to make sure the cursed creatures would at least sleep soundly for a reasonable amount of time, the Klingon resorted to the time-tested method of shaking them until they started blinking and then bopped each over the head again, and if he took a good amount of glee from the sounds his gauntleted fist made at impact well, who could blame him, really.
The sound of rattling, squeaking and gurgling of liquids made the grey haired warrior look up and the sight before him was one he would not forget until the day he embarked to Sto'Vo'Kor. Likely not even after that.
A human male, near unrecognizable under the mass of plush creatures, toys and various food and drink items he had stuffed into his uniform and balanced on his arms along with two of the smaller younglings, his every move producing a cacophony of noises the Klingon hadn't even known were possible while before him a small, black haired woman with luscious curves wielded a frying pan to emphasize her words. Words that sounded rather like a general explaining to her faithful troops why they were a bunch of morons.
Too bad he didn't speak Italian.
As respectfully as if he were in fact addressing the Chancellor herself, Kulg'Rek marched up to the pair, picking up a giggling Trill along the way so that at least the child would stop getting between his feet. "Madam, I strongly suggest we get the young ones to a more easily defended area. It won't be long until someone discovers these guards no longer answer the comm."
"Ah, ma certo. But what is you suggest we do with this, eh?" with a huff, Lucia pointed her pan at her husband who looked rather hurt. "You want I let bambini be hungry?"
"Oh, which one is eat che cosa è?"
"Is fiorella Miriam's plush Targ, amore. Can no leave behind, bambina will be sad."
"Mr Marcello, how sad do you think the girl will be if her friend is shot on account of making more noise than an advancing army?" then again the Klingon had to admit all those toys could probably even absorb a full disruptor hit. If the Romulans even got off a shot before dying from shock. Or laughter.
Looking thoughtful, the Italian male began to examine the items on his person and shed several things that rattled and squeaked. In order to speed up the process, Kulg'Rek deftly stuffed the debated Targ into his armor and subsequently found a small human attempting to scramble up into his arm. If there was ever going to be a song about the glorious battle over Charon, he would have to make sure this part was conveniently overlooked. But it was rather touching to see those fearless little creatures not to mention the two humans who refused to let a mere fleet of Romulans stop them from caring about their allies' offspring. While bickering. Enthusiastically.
"Madam, I think I have an idea."
"When Kahless the Unforgettable was besieged in the city of "
"Ah, si. Is good, story. Bambini will like. But later."
"Impacciato. Let Klingon talk. You know where to hide, signore?"
"Si." Kulg'Rek's grin was that of a warrior about to outfox a cunning enemy, and if nothing else, it convinced Lucia. Now all they had to figure out was how to squeeze the bulk of toys that was Marcello into a Jefferies tube.