Unofficial 24

Unofficial Literary Challenge #36: In Their Footsteps

The Birok-class I.K.S. Dragunov arched through space while Captain Kronen, a Klingon Defense Force officer and Ferasan, sat, intently at his command chair.

"Sir, I report we will arrive at the coordinates of the two warring Houses shortly," said Commander Red from the Helm.

Kronen kept a stern look forward before glancing down at him. "Excellent, Commander. By the way, according to rank, you should be by my side delegating ship tasks rather than operating menial functions like some kind of Fek'Ihri Hoardling."

"No offense, but the executive officer role is reminiscent of a pet targ in an Orion Slave Girl den. No, I am an able-bodied man, with the capability to operate Bridge processes in an exemplary fashion," answered Red. "A true officer gets his hands dirty every now and then! Please disregard the cleanliness of this console."

The Captain groaned. "All those years you spent with the Federation on exchange has given you a messed up work ethic. Enjoy your rank for once; that's all I'm saying. Anyway, our mission here is to negotiate a trade with an enemy House."

"Seems like a mad man's mission, Captain," commented Lieutenant Commander Linng, another Ferasan and the ship's tactical officer, from her station.

The Ferasan Captain snarled. "You would be right, but the Empire wants to unite against our true enemies, whomever the aliens are for this week; and, what better way to become a stronger people than to make ourselves stronger? Have any of you heard of the ancient Klingon known as Kahless?"

"He was some kind of giant floating head, right?" said Bekk Fen, a youthful Klingon and the Operations officer, genuinely confused.

Kronen stood. "You fool! He was the strongest warrior known in all the land and he wasn't afraid to make change and lead by strength! Even though I'm not a Klingon, I can respect and admire the enormity of a legend that he was."

"He ate the hearts of so many kolar beasts," Red realized.

Throwing down his PADD in anger, Kronen declared, "Kahless was renown for his lessons! Who do you think united the warring states of Quin'lat and Mekro'vak? It was said he threw himself into the field of battle and killed 200 men and women on each side in order to get their attention. He then turned to them all and forced them to join together in holy matrimony— but the warrior version."

"I doubt the actions of some Klingon from centuries past could be of any relevance today," said Lieutenant Kaz, the science officer and a Gorn.

Kronen nodded solemnly. "Oh, but he does; if only we allow such lessons to ruminate with our actions in the now. Take this Ferasan mouse in my palm," he said, holding it up. "I shall deliver it to the High Council as my contribution to the Empire, and honor will be mine."

"Ew! Put that thing down!" cried the onscreen hail of an astonished Captain Zang from the I.K.S. Roku. "You feline beasts are the bane of the Klingon Empire!"

The Ferasan commanding officer bared his teeth. "Unlike your kind, I believe in the Empire. I will sacrifice to make it better."

"The House of Groth sacrifices all it can for the greater good! Who do you think helped put J'mpok into power?" said Zang. "That's right; we murdered sooooo many Klingons to get him there. Oh, the killing was good. I actually tasted the blood of my brethren from the counter-splash."

Kronen waved the topic away with his palm. "Forget your whole dishonor stuff. My job is to unite you with the House of Tochi in order to facilitate a better tomorrow."

"Like we would ever do any business with that fool's House!" came the pre-antagonized banter of Captain Nogoth of the I.K.S. Kleckogunam, now dropped out of warp and rendezvoused with them. "We were once like House Groth, pitiful and dishonorable, but we changed and learned to breed Pipius crabs, a delicacy served dead among the elite."

The Captain threw up his arms. "We didn't even ask you about that. Do not offer backstory or intriguing peeks into Klingon culture unprompted! As for the joining of your Houses, I am here to propose trade betwixt you both as so: House Tochi's Klingon octopus goods for House Groth's ship parts," offered Kronen. "You are both flying old starships, but the Klekogunam looks like it takes a walking cane into its warp fields."

"Though we would greatly benefit from an octopus supply, I would never allow any relations with the Fool Tochi House of Foolish Foolishness!" charged Zang.

Nogoth agreed. "That Groth House overuses the word 'fool' more than the average Klingon overuses the word 'fool'. He will pay, that fool!"

"You are both petaQ!" interjected Kronen in his best attempt at a Klingon accent. "Kahless once forged an entire army from the ancient villages of Qam-Chee, Tong Vey and Ketha Minor to fight against the armies of Molor. He waited for no bickering and made it so. In his vein, I will also make this so!" He nodded to his Ferasan tactical officer, Linng, who targeted weapons on both Klingon vessels.

Zang was taken aback, unprepared for the atrocious gesture. "What are you saying? You will destroy us if we don't agree to this trade??"

"Your aggressive behavior will never hold up with us, Kronen!" argued Nogoth.

Kronen nodded before a passionate declamation. "No, but perhaps the spirit of Kahless will. It is through me His legacy flows! I will take the lessons of the Unforgettable and be guided by His wisdom and gile!!"

"You... what?" blinked Zang.

Nogoth was also left with barely any words. "Kahless? But you're no Klingon??" he said, confused.

"Whoever heard of a Kzinti channeling Klingon honor?" Zang continued. "Wait. Is it Kzinti or Ferasan? I heard there was a naming convention?"

Kronen launched a payload of over-powered tractor emitters and locked both the K'Vort-class Roku and the Negh'Var warship Klekogunam in place via directed energy. He then dropped two Heavy Disruptor Satellite Turrets over them, armed, and targeted at each Klingon vessel.

"We don't talk about that," Kronen winced, suppressing his predator-like instincts. "Oh my; is your destruction looking quite tasty right about now."

Zang pointed. "Your species freaks me out, Kronen! It's well known that cannibalism is still rampant in your practices, and perhaps coveting other people's wives; I don't know. The idea you channel Kahless is an insult and a perversion!"

"Who's to say he hasn't?" Nogoth questioned. "What we perceive is only limited to our understanding of the Ferasans. It's not our fault we are so self-invested."

The House Groth Klingon gritted his teeth. "That is the direct line of reason for self-investing by the mechanism of logic itself! Those cooked pipius crabs are messing with your heads, House Tochi! Trade us those so we can rid you of them and enjoy them ourselves. It was Kahless that slew the Great Klingon Crab, after all, by cutting himself into its backside and out its mouth in slimy, profusely-gunky gore."

"Hah! I haven't heard that story since I was a small one. Give us a regular inventory on your ship parts and we have a deal," agreed Nogoth. "Kahless be with us!"

Zang raised his fist in passion before the tractor beams on both ships dropped and they both turned to warp out of there. "To Kahless!"

"So, how much of that was our doing?" Red asked, turning to the Captain with both problem-vessels now free of the view screen.

Kronen relaxed his tense feline muscles, having allowed his prey gone. "It was the power of Kahless, Commander, transcending us all, and proving that an idea can make change in the greatest of scales. The mission was a success, and my convictions validated by their ancestry."

"As my convictions are daily, as well," Red said of his work on menial tasks. "Well, perhaps I shall join you by your side after all, since it appears you complete greater, more social-conscious tasks on the management level, as it were. Qapla'!"

The Captain gave him a lost look at that last bit. "Are you okay? Perhaps you should use the much coveted Klingon powder room?"

"It means 'success'," an astonished Red continued, unable to believe his commanding officer ignorant of the most basic Empire phraseology.

Kronen then nodded in understanding. "Ah; never been one for success. I just do things based on historical research." And then, "Did you know Zephram Cochrane invented warp drive for the Humans? I want you to play Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf whenever we go to warp speed from now on."

"What?" Red said, confused.

Kronen slammed his fist on his chair. "You heard me! Dismissed!" And with that, he watched the Klingon slowly back out of the Bridge, now even more lost than ever.