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Author's Chapter Notes:

 Phlox meets a member of Doctor Lucas's family...and a member of Porthos's. Feezal makes a guest appearance in this one, as well as Zoesia, their granddaughter (a link with my earlier fic, "Four Weddings and a Funeral for my Sanity". Zoesia is the daughter of Treesal (Phlox's and Feezal's daughter) and Lieutenant Commander Johannes Birkenwald, one of Malcolm's Armory team).

I rewrote this chapter after I had my children...and this is dedicated to the staff at Sanger Clinic at Carolinas Medical Center Main, in Uptown Charlotte, NC, for their awesome work in pediatric cardiology, esp. Doctor B., my daughter's doctor.


(Phlox, Feezal and Jeremy Lucas)


"Phlox! Feezal! So glad you were able to come! I'm sorry I wasn't able to greet you earlier, but it's been a madhouse here with all the guests."

Phlox gave his old friend a wide Denobulan grin. "Hello, Doctor Lucas. It is good to see you. Don't worry about us; we've been taking in the sights and sounds of Luna as we wait for the conference to start."

Doctor Jeremy Lucas's round face was wreathed in smiles and his eyes sparkled in humor. Phlox marveled at the change in Lucas's demeanor, for the Human doctor appeared so much healthier than the last time Phlox had seen him. Lucas's trademark moustache was peppered with gray, but he'd lost some weight and gained some muscle on his stocky frame.

"Unca Jeremy!" Zoesia Phlox-Birkenwald launched herself into her adopted uncle's arms, much to Lucas's genuine delight. Lucas swung the three-year old around a few times, then set her back down on the ground.

"And how are you, Zoesia?" Lucas asked her.

The girl's grin was as wide as his grandfather's. "I'm doing good, Unca Jeremy."

"Doing well, Zoesia," Feezal corrected her. She reached down and patted her granddaughter on the shoulder. For a three-year-old, Zoesia seemed older than her actual age. She was a perfect blend of her parents, Phlox's daughter Treesal and her husband, Johannes Birkenwald; her reddish-brown hair curled around her shoulders and her wide eyes was the same shade of green as her father's.

"I'm doing well, Unca Jeremy," Zoesia repeated, but her enthusiasm was still unbridled as she tugged on Lucas's hand. "Guess what? We saw the Lunar Aquarium this morning and I saw a Risian dolphin! It talked to me!"

"Indeed?" Lucas gave her a curious expression. "Are you sure?"

"It said, 'Pleased to meet you'. It talked a lot, Unca Jeremy."

Lucas shot Phlox another humorous look. "Let me get his straight, Zoesia. It actually talked to you?"

"Yes, it was very polite, but its voice hurt my ears. I wish it could talk more quiet."

Lucas glanced up at Feezal and said, "She's quite verbal for a three-year old."

Phlox chuckled and shook his head. "Denobulan females tend to walk and talk earlier than their male counterparts, and Zoesia's ahead of the norm in some areas. Treesalfinds it exasperating at times."

"Yes, when our children become parents themselves, it's funny how history can repeat itself, isn't it?" Lucas said with a laugh. He refocused his attention on Zoesia. "Now, would you like to meet your new playmate for today?"

"Yes, Unca Jeremy." Zoesia's face dimpled as she laughed. "Is she my age? Is she nice? Does she know how to play ghator? Sorry, my mama says I ask too many questions—"

"Curiosity is a good trait to have, little girl," Lucas told her. "Don't ever lose that. Come, I'll introduce her to you."

Hand in hand, he and Zoesia walked through the halls of the Luna Convention Center, with Phlox and Feezal close behind. Zoesia took in all the decorations with eager eyes. Flags hung from the ceiling, each one representing a planet who was an ally of Earth. Andoria, Tellar, Vulcan, Risa, Denobula. Zoesia pointed out the flag of her mother's people with pride, then her father's flag next to it. Denobula and Earth.

The topmost floor of the Convention Center held apartments for guests and VIPs. A dark-haired woman sat on one of the couches next to the turbolift with a baby in her lap. Nearby, a six-year-old girl tossed a biscuit to a dog. The dog snapped it up, then began to whine for more.

"No more, Marianna," warned the woman. She glanced up to see Lucas and the Phlox's. "Over here, Uncle!" Marianna smiled as she saw Zoesia and ran to greet them. The dog followed at her heels.

"Hi, I'm Marianna," the girl said artlessly. Her black hair moved with her movement as she reached for Zoesia's hand. "You must be Zoesia."

"Yes," Zoesia said, suddenly shy. "I'm pleased to meet you, Marianna."

"C'mon, I want you to meet my dog. This is Atti." It actually sounded more like "Athi", but Marianna spoke so quickly that Phlox nearly missed the name. Marianna proceeded to make more introductions. Athi sat on his haunches and looked up at Zoesia with bright eyes. He nudged Zoesia's free hand with his nose; she patted him with a delighted laugh.

"Athi, is it?" Phlox asked. "Unusual name for a dog...he's a beagle, isn't he?"

"Yes," said Marianna's mother. She extended her free hand to Phlox and added, "My name is Patricia Lucas-Miglioni."

"My niece is in her last year of medical school," Lucas said with a smile. "She starts her internship this autumn."

Feezal squeezed Patricia's hand. "Congratulations on such achievement. What are you planning to specialize in?"

"Pediatric cardiology," she replied, "specifically Human and Denobulan children. Both of my children were born with heart problems—corrected with surgery, thank goodness—but it got me interested in the subject." Patricia chuckled ruefully and stroked her younger girl's hair. "I think we need more interspecies cooperation in the medical field...Uncle Jeremy's been a great role model."

Lucas chuckled and blushed. "Well, I try to set a good example to the younger generation."

"Come, come, let's give credit where credit is due," Phlox admonished him good-naturedly. He watched as Zoesia held a bone-shaped doggie biscuit in front of Athi's nose. Phlox's nose caught a whiff of—cheddar cheese? "Is that wise, to feed the dog cheese?"

Patricia shook her head. "It's specially formulated for him, Doctor Phlox. Athi has a sensitive stomach, but like a lot of kids, his favorite food is the one thing that's supposed to be bad for him. From what I understand, Athi's litter mates were just as rambunctious and curious."

As Phlox watched the beagle interact with the girls, a niggling thought occurred to him. Athi was tan and brown with black on his muzzle, as if someone had penciled in a thin mustache on his face. Of course, dogs of the same species all looked similar, thanks to genetics, but still...

"Athi looks about, what, eight years old?"

Lucas nodded and agreed, "Just turned eight. Not quite a tiny puppy anymore, but he acts like a dog half his age. You know, Patty got him when he was about seven weeks old from a friend of my brother's...second to the last left in the litter, if I remember right. Patty wanted to get both of them, but their old house didn't have the room."

"Otherwise, I would've taken him and his brother," Patricia said ruefully. "The last one looked so sad when we left...I hope he found a good home."

Feezal's brow wrinkled in thought, then she gave her husband an odd look. "Didn't your Captain—Admiral-Archer have a beagle as well, Phlox?"

"Yes, he did, but the beagle is a rather common breed—" Phlox tried to convince himself this was all just a crazy coincidence, but after hearing Patricia's story, his inner instincts didn't believe that. "Were Athi and his brothers born in San Francisco?"

Patricia nodded. "That's right. He was in a litter of four. When Marianna was younger, she shortened his name to "Athi" because that was what she could say at the time, and the name stuck. His real name is—"


She blinked. "Yes, from 'The Three Muskeeters'."

Lucas's face dawned in comprehension as he said, "Wait a minute. Admiral Archer's dog is named Porthos, isn't he? The Musketeer who was rather vain and quite the dandy?"

"And the one who lived life with enthusiasm. It fits him. You don't suppose—?"

A low growl interrupted them and Phlox looked over his shoulder. Athos stood at the top of the stairs, blocking the girls' path, growling in warning. "Marianna!" Patricia called sharply.

"Zoesia, keep away from the stairs!" Feezal added. "Stay on this floor where we can see you!"

Both girls reluctantly turned away from the landing and back towards the elders. Athos nudged Marianna with his nose with a rather impatient gesture. He wasn't satisfied until the girls were a good distance away from the stairs; it was only then that he smoothed his fur and his hackles subsided.

"He's fiercely protective of Marianna and the baby," Patricia said. "It's as if he's a older soul in the body of a dog. Always thinks of the girls first and himself last."

"Just like his namesake. Athos was the elder statesman of the Musketeers and protected his charges, almost to the point where he didn't take enough care of himself." Lucas's voice was dry. "If that isn't proof, I don't know what is."

"This is extraordinary, meeting Porthos's brother," Feezal said. "We must tell Admiral Archer of this. I think he would be pleasantly surprised."

"I agree, my love," Phlox heard a distinct chime from the lower floor, "but the first session is about to begin and we don't want to be late. I suppose we can call the admiral on the lunch break and tell him this wonderful news."

Patricia chuckled and added, "Go on, I'll watch over Athos and the girls. I still have some connections in San Francisco; maybe I'll call around and see if I can locate the other puppies."

"Splendid." Phlox nodded and said, "Well, you be a good girl, Zoesia, and try to stay out of mischief, hmm?"

"Yes, Grandfather," Zoesia said happily. "I have Athi to watch over me!"

As Phlox, Feezal and Lucas headed towards the stairs, Phlox mused, "She seems to have an affinity for animals, first the dolphin and now the beagle—"

"Maybe she'll become a veterinarian," Lucas said. "Wouldn't that be a wonderful thought?"

"Indeed, it would."

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