Book One - Chapter Thirteen
How to con a Klingon.
When we arrived at the transit lodge lobby, I asked Be’nen to stop by my room for a second.
When I closed the door to my room Be’nen would not look at me.
She kept facing out the small window of the room, and didn’t turn around when she spoke to me.
“I will not endanger my daughter by working with Klingons, Michael. None of us signed on for this.”
“Must we all be armed? Must we take on security personnel? Where will we keep the Klingons when they aren’t working, in the ship’s brig?”
“I don’t like It Michael. I can defend myself against one Klingon, but not against twenty five or so.”
She then turned around with folded arms, glared at me and told me outright: “You must rethink this situation it’s too risky for us.”
I went over to my room desk and sat down. I didn’t know what to reply to her and needed to think all this out.
We were just glumly looking at each other when there was a knock on my door.
“Yes, who is it?” I asked.
“It’s just me and Nichelle, can we come in?” It was Staunn.
She ran over to me and gave me a big hug and a kiss, and then greeted her mother a big hug. She was definitely excited about something.
“We got a present for you, lover.”
“For me; It’s not my birthday, what’s it for?”
“We got you a nice jacket. We thought that your old sport coat was getting a little ratty looking. We thought you need something to make you look more distinguished.”
“You bought me a new jacket? Where did “we” get it?”
“We went shopping while you were at the meeting. Nichelle picked it out. Isn’t it nice?”
Nichelle was blushing.
“Well lets’ see it,” I said.
Nichelle then handed me the package and when I opened it I saw that it was a real nice navy blue double breasted blazer. It must have cost them a fortune here on the moon.
The cut and material reminded me of one my old marriage tuxedos.
“How much did this cost Staunn?”
“It must have cost you both a fortune; this style of coat doesn’t come cheap on the moon.”
“We got it at a second hand store. It only cost me fifty credits,” Staunn continued.
“The clothes from the regular stores were really expensive.”
“Nichelle said that you would like it.”
I looked at Nichelle she was wearing her blue colony cruise ship suit; she was really blushing now.
Evidently she had no real civilian clothes either.
“I see,” I said. “I thank you both very much; here let me try it on. How did you know my size Staunn?”
“Really Michael I am the doctor you know,” she said with a great big smile, “I know the size of everything on you.”
Nichell put her hand to her mouth and twittered.
It fit real nice. It even had braid and stars on the sleeves.
Just for curiosity’s sake I opened it to take a look at the label. It read Yacht Club with a Third Fleet symbol.
I looked again at the sleeves again, and a closer look at its buttons. They had a naval type logo on them.
Something jogged in my memory when I tried to remember what this jacket was used for; with three stars on the sleeve.
Then it hit me; and I immediately went over to Nichelle and gave her a big embrace and asked her: “Do you know what this jacket is Nichelle?”
“No sir, I just thought you would like it.”
“Staunn, does anyone else know about this jacket?”
“No, I don’t think so Michael, what’s got you all excited all of a sudden?”
“Because it’s a Commadore‘s Blazer, from the Third Fleet Yacht club, Staunn; from Earth.”
“It’s a social club for officers of the Third Fleet, especially for captains with private shuttles on their star ships.”
“Staunn, You and Nichelle have given me a great idea for dealing with the Klingons”
“Now if I can get Commander Hayes to go along with me; I think our problem of command and control with the Klingons can be solved.”
Be’nen looked askance at me and asked; “I don’t understand what you are saying, Michael. Please explain to me what you are talking about?”
Staunn and Nichelle just kind of gapped at me.
“Look Be’nen, you heard what Commander Hayes and Captain Smith said, “The Klingon have little or no respect for people of lesser rank;” Well a Commodore out ranks a Captain, right?”
“Yes Michael, I know that, but you are no Commodore.”
“I know that, but the Klingons won’t.”
“When I go into that meeting with orders in my hand and a commission handy, they won’t know the difference; especially with me wearing this uniform jacket.”
“They know Commander Hayes would arrest me if I was impersonating an officer, but in this case a civilian can be a commodore and is entitled to a nominal command position over two or more ships and be addressed as a Commodore.”
“It’s stretching it a bit, but it may work.”
“Be’nen I want you to call your friend, Admiral Broderick and tell him about everything that is going on.”
“Tell him all about your misgivings, and then ask him if he can get me commissioned as a Commodore in the Yacht club. For that, I promise I’ll buy the club a keg of beer when I get back to Earth.”
“Okay Michael, I’ll do it, but I still don’t understand. Admiral Broderick won’t think this is a fools’ errand will he; he’s a busy man?”
“Look Be’nen, just try to go along with me on this and let me know what he says.”
“Staunn, Nichelle, mum’s the word on this okay? I have to keep this quiet for awhile.”
“Your gift of this wonderful jacket has probably saved my bacon, thank you very much.”
“Sure Michael we can do that,” Staunn replied. “Are you having dinner with me tonight?”
“Why sure Staunn, you know if this was a fancy hotel I would order room service, but I guess we can all walk down together to the food court; it’s on me.”
“By the way what do you want for desert?”
Staunn started her huff huffing laugh again, and then taking her mother’s hand, we went arm and arm, with Nichelle in tow, down to the food court.
The next morning when I woke up I was again the peanut butter in the love sandwich.
The variation this time was that I had my arms around Staunn, and Be’nen had her arms around both of us.
How she found her way into bed behind me without waking me, I couldn’t figure out. Especially as these Luna port room beds were little more than cots.
When we got out of bed Be’nen said she had some business to attend to and she would see us when we stopped by her room on our way to breakfast.
She put on her bath robe and went out the door.
Staunn look at me and smiled mischievously; “It looks like it’s my time to make sure you have a good shower.”
The shower with Staunn was a lot of fun. There were a lot of laughs, giggles and play, but nothing more; not that there wasn’t a lot of teasing.
When she ran out of the shower you could have hung a towel anywhere on me.
We finally got dressed, and went to Be’nen’s room, knocked on the door and entered when she said come in.
Be’nen was dressed and holding some papers.
“These are yours,” she said, “they’re from Admiral Broderick.”
There were four sheets of paper in the file folder she gave me to look at.
One was a memo from Admiral Broderick. The second was a printed order for my appointment as a Commodore. The third was a wire copy of a Commission Certificate and the forth was a certificate of ownership for two shuttle craft named, Daisy and Dandelion, NCC 2010 and NCC 2011.
The memo from the Admirial read:
For: CWO Michael Thomas, Luna Port
From: ADM M.J. Broderick
Enclosed are the documents you requested, good luck.
The requirement for the club was that you must own at least one “Yacht” and have control of at least three vessels to retain the rank of Commodore.
The Bajoran Embassy was helpful by transferring temporary title of the two shuttles now in your possession, to you.
The third vessel you must obtain control by your own devices to retain your rank as Commodore.
P.S. the total expense of one hundred credits, reimbursable to me, was for the commissioning ceremony at the club as required by their bylaws.
He did it and didn’t ask for my recall. I immediately went over to Be’nen and gave her a great big 'Thank You' hug and a kiss.
“Be’nen you are absolutely wonderful. How did you pull this off?”
“I don’t understand it myself,” she said. “When I briefed Admiral Broderick of our situation by subspace video, he listened intently.”
“When I explained your solution to the problems I thought he had a heart attack. He said “What did you say?”, and then he disappeared from the view screen and when he returned to the view screen he was laughing, hard."
"I don’t think I’ve ever seen him laugh. It looked as if he had to wipe tears from his eyes.”
“I asked him to explain to me what was so amusing, but all he said was; “Never mind Be’nen, I’ll take care of it, and I’ll make sure Mr. Thomas gets the bill.”
“What did he mean by that?”
“It’s a long story Be’nen, I’ll explain later,” I said. “After breakfast we have to go shopping again, back to the store Staunn bought the jacket at.”
After breakfast I had Staunn take me, and Be’nen, to the second hand store where she had shopped at.
Second hand stores were more plentiful than your everyday retail stores on the moon, because of the shipping cost to get goods to the moon.
Here people in transit would trade in their possessions for credit, or cash, and then the store owner would resell them.
The store was filled with all sorts of odd materials; half of it didn’t look like it came from Earth at all.
I needed a shirt to match my new jacket, a white one.
The only one I found looked like it was for a tuxedo, the type without a high collar for a tie, it would have to do.
I needed a pair of trousers too; and ended up buying two pair. One pair was the right Navy color that matched my jacket and a pair of Fleet Marines trousers, with their red stripe.
I got the shop owner to sew a red strip on the Navy blue trousers to make them match and make me look very official.
While rooting around I found a blue saucer cap. It looked like an SF Academy instructor’s cap, or one of the cruise line attendant caps; at least it fit.
When I put the cap on and walked around modeling it, both girls just looked mystified as to what I was doing.
I took it over to the Ferengi that owned the store and asked if he could get some embroidery work done for me.
“Sure, what you want,” He asked.
I drew him a diagram of the three star pattern, similar to the one that was on my jacket sleeve, and asked him to embroider the emblem on patch material; and then sew it on front the saucer cap.
I then walked around until I found a pair of Star Fleet standard earth issue black Wellington boots, all my shoes seemed to be brownish.
That completed my “uniform” shopping.
I asked the owner what time I could pick up my goods, he said he could deliver them if I just leave my address.
I thanked him, paid my bill, and then escorted my two doubtful looking companions back to the Luna port lodge.
Back at the Lodge I asked them both to come to my room. I wanted to do some explaining.
I needed them both to understand what I was doing.
In my quarters I started off with; “Look Be’nen, I am going to try and pull off a ruse.”
“I’m going to try and get the Klingons to think they are dealing with an officer of superior rank."
"The papers and the fake orders that Admiral Broderick gave me, along with the jacket that Staunn and Nichelle picked up; will help me be dressed for the part.”
“I am now a Commodore, think of it as an honorarium.”
“Are you both with me with me on this, because I don’t want you to have to lie about it.”
“We have seen the orders Michael”, spoke up Be’nen skeptically, “Admiral Broderick would not lie to us.”
“I am just a little confused about the clothing,” commented Staunn. “It is an unusual uniform for any Commodore I have ever seen.”
“Well you have seen Larry and Nichelle in their uniforms haven’t you? It’s the same kind of style.”
“Oh,” they both said! “You want to look like a Merchant Marine Commodore.”
“Yes, that’s it, kind of,” I said. “Now we must try and convince the Klingons that I out rank them and can be their commander, it’s a military status thing.”
“With this “promotion” in hand, it will be easier for them to accept my position, and follow my orders, at least until we get to Bajor."
"Now do you get what I’m trying to do; do you have any more questions?”
“No Michael,” Staunn replied slyly. “It’s very clear to us that you are trying to trick the Klingons into working with us, and signing that Bajoran contract."
"Isn’t that right mother?”
“Yes we understand perfectly. It’s something we are familiar with, lying and working with liars.”
“But you are a Vulcan, I thought they can never tell a lie.”
“Michael, Michael you are so predictable at times,” explained an exasperated Be’nen.
“We both understood what you were trying to do, but I must say we are both doubtful if you can make it happen”
“We will do our best to assist you; and the fact that Admiral Broderick made you a Commodore, is all we need to know; am I right Staunn?”
“Yes mother and I think he will look real nice in his new uniform.”
That thought made me feel a lot better. I knew I’d been preaching to the choir, so to say, but I felt a lot better knowing that they didn’t think I was crazy.
At least I think they didn’t.”
Later when my trousers and cap were delivered I asked Be’nen to schedule an appointment with Commander Hayes in regards to having our first meeting with the Klingons.
I also asked Be’nen to wear her blue business suit, and asked Staunn if she could wear an official medical something, that she would wear on duty, on our ship.
They both kind of rolled their eyes at me, as if I doubted their ability to play their parts.
I then put a call out to Larry Comet, and Og, and asked them to come with us to headquarters to meet the Klingons.
I told Larry I would like him to wear his old civilian service blue uniform, the one that matched Nichelles’.
I also requested that Og to find something in “official looking blue”, to wear to the meeting.
I would call them back as soon as I heard from Commander Hayes.
It was a short time later we got a call from headquarters that the port commander was ready to see us.
I promptly notified Larry and Og that were going to the meeting, and then called Ron, Pete and Don and told them that we had a meeting at headquarters scheduled to meet the Klingons; and if they would round up the rest of the crew and be ready for a meeting, in say about thirty minutes from now at the headquarters, I would appreciate it.
I then gathered up all my new uniform bundles and had Be’nen carry my new “promotion” papers.
We were off now to see Commander Hayes to ask him for permission to pull the biggest con he will probably ever see on the moon.