Book One - Chapter Six
Crew call, do you speak Klingon?
After Ms. Tash left my office, I just sulked around trying to think of what I needed to do next.
I didn’t want things to get out of hand.
Completing an assigned mission with all the required tools was one thing, but starting from scratch was another.
I began to worry about getting the required crew for the Grayson.
The Bajorans were depending on me to get things done, and I was starting to feel the need for a good stiff drink, or at least to have somebody around to have a drink with.
I was really feeling sorry for myself when my console terminal started to flicker; it was a caller from Luna port.
On the monitor screen was about one of the meanest and ugliest people I’d ever seen.
It was, I supposed, “Captain Kluge”, the Klingon captain of the freighter stuck on the lunar base.
I introduced myself.
“Are you the Batak (the universal translator could not give me a definition of what that meant) that would dare to hire a Klingon fighting vessel to move your miserable freight," was the first words out of his mouth?
I had never met, much less talked to a Klingon before, but I knew their temperament by reputation.
Especially after having to assist in rescue missions from klingon raiders, I figured this was an opening to a contract negotiation.
“Yes, I am the miserable officer that would even consider the hiring of such a dilapidated vessel for such an important mission."
"What’s your problem, do you need a blood sacrifice before you can sign a contract?”
“You are impertinent; if you were here before me I would tear off your head and use it for blood wine."
"You are talking to a Klingon warrior of long and terrible lineage, with plenty of family to backup my actions, Batak.”
“I see. I’m glad I’m here then."
"I wouldn’t want you shot as a common criminal before you signed a contract with the Bajorans. Although I could order that your vessel be confiscated, and held for investigation as to its true owner’s identity."
"Would you prefer that I do that, Captain Kluge?”
“You insult me, and seek to pressure me into a contract, that is unseemly, and unprofitable, to one of the Klingon Empire’s trading companies,” he replied.
“You think me to be so at a disadvantage to accept such a menial task."
"You insult me, and my family, with such trivial rewards for the pride of the Klingon fleet. We demand much more in compensation than you and the Bajoran Embassy offered.”
Commander Hayes must have given him a sample copy of a contract proposal.
“I see. What would your terms be”? I asked.
“A renewable contract every ninety days, to take any and all Klingon vessel parts as we need, and no salvage work."
"The release of all my personnel presently in confinement on this miserable base, refit at your expense, and resupply so we can get off this miserable moon."
"Anything less I would not consider.”
“I’m very sorry Captain Kluge, but you will have to take what Bajorans offer and like it."
"My guess it’s your only chance to get you, your family, and your ship back in business.”
“The way I look at it is that you are a minor family clan that is on the outs with the empire."
"The ship you now have is probably a prize that they left you after they confiscated your raiding vessel."
"It was probably a war bird class ship, indicated by the size of your freighter’s crew.”
“The Empire probably confiscated it to participate in their last fight with the Dominion, near Cardasia; so I don’t think they trusted your warrior skills, take the deal.”
“You insult me further, how dare you, better death than the dishonor you would place me in, never, unless my conditions are met, you Batak.”
“Now that would be interesting to watch, Captain Kluge, if that is your real name."
"You would probably lose your life in combat with the local police, very honorable for a tradesman like yourself."
"Your death would then leave your family to rot on a foreign base; how favorable for them.”
“Where would your family honor be then, my friend?"
"Will your name then be remembered with honor, or as a failure?"
"Are you willing to face the disgrace of being unable to enter Solvocore?”
Captain Kluge was so enraged he could not even speak, so I put out the carrot.
“Look Captain I never saw myself as a warrior, but I’ve seen war and its aftermath."
"Personally I could care less what happens to Klingons. I’ve seen the havoc you Klingon raiders have done and as far as I’m concerned if it wasn’t for your ship, you would be toast”.
“This mission is to our mutual benefit, I get the use of your ship, and you get employment."
"You get the refit you need, plus the supplies you require, but not for free."
"The credits required to get you moving are on your bill. That includes getting that space debris you’re flying up to Federation standards.”
“You’ll be getting additional crew from the Bajorans, so you won’t have to have your children standing watch."
"You will be far away from Klingon authorities."
"Later on if you haven’t reneged on your contract, you can act as an agent for Klingon ships spare parts”.
“I think I can let you have a priority on a Klingon warship, if you want to trade in your freighter."
"Three years can be enough time to change circumstances for you on the home world.”
“I think it in your best interest to enter into a leasing contract with the Bajorans.”
“Captain Thomas you drive a hard bargain. Can you get my people be released from the base brig?”
“When you sign the contract Captain, I will inform Commander Hayes, and I am sure he will be willing to set their parole."
"Besides that I’m not the Captain; I am the mission project officer. You can call me Mister or Chief, I’ll answer to both. Do we have a deal?”
“Yes sir, and I ask that a copy of the contract be forwarded to Commander Hayes so he can see to my refit and to the release of my personnel.”
“It will be done immediately, welcome aboard, sir.”
“I assure you Mr. or Chief Thomas, I will not forget what was said today, my word and my honor are bound. I still do not like it.”
“Thank you Captain, and if you are thinking of skipping out, remember that the Federation and The Klingon Empire are now allies and your warp signature will be known throughout the quadrant."
"Good day Captain.”
"He said something that sounded like “bah” and clicked off.
Well so much for that nut roll. I haven’t used language like that since I was an enlisted tech.
I immediately informed the Bajoran embassy and my contact at Starfleet headquarters, plus Commander Hayes at Moon Base Alpha, of what had just transpired."
"I also informed them that if they wanted to hear the record of our conversation, just to let me know, and I would send it.
That would sure curl their ears.
Boy was I beat; office work was never my best area of expertise.
It was time to head for the officers mess.
Maybe my supply officer would be there with his two assistants.
I really hated to watch the Ferengi eat though, but it would be nice to see the Dabo girls cooing and awing over almost everything we discussed.
I had to admit Og was cataloging all that we needed as if it was his own property.
Seeing as I had no reports from the base security of anything be stolen, or smuggled, I considered it a good thing.
I listened to his report on his findings during dinner, and received a complete description of his activities from the two Dabo girls.
We then went to the Officer’s club for a few drinks.
Og kept mooching money of me so he could play the club’s slot machines; so at about 2100HRS I called it a night and headed for my quarters.
Before I hit the rack, I sat there thinking; I was trying to sort out all the things I still had to do.
It seemed like I only had about two hundred and sixty six more tasks to go ‘til we get to Bajor.
I decided then to have a confab with my crew and made a conference call.