Book One - Chapter Fourteen
How to con a Klingon, part two.
Be’nen, Staunn, Larry, Og and I, met in the lodge lobby and then made our way to the Port Commanders Office.
They were all wearing the navy blue uniform style clothing that I asked them to. That would have them match my new made up uniform.
I was the only odd man out; still in sport coat and brown shoes.
At the headquarters Commander Hayes invited us all in and asked us what was the meeting all about.
I asked him to please call in his adjutant and Captain Smith, because they needed to be in on my plans for a solution to the Klingon problem.
He said, “Well enough,” and asked both officers to come in to his office to hear my presentation.
When they both came in and were seated he asked, “Okay Chief what’s the good news?”
I asked Be’nen to give him the folder that we bought.
Commander Hayes started to read the documents, then he started to chuckle, when he finished he was trying not to laugh out loud when he gave the folder to Captain Smith.
Captain Smith’s eyes seemed to kind of bug out and he began to shake. He could hardly hand it over to Lt. Darnell when both he and Commander Hayes started laughing out loud.
Commander Hayes started slapping his desk and Captain Smith stated that he was probably going to piss his pants.
Lt. Darnell was having a hard time staying seated in his chair.
We of course sat their stoically. Og and Larry were wondering what was going on.
“What the hell does this mean chief,” Hayes asked? What the hell am I supposed to do with this…this poop sheet?”
“Well sir,” I replied with a straight face, “I want your permission to con the Klingons.”
That started them off into more laughing.
When Commander Hayes recovered enough and wiped the tears from his eye he said, “I’m sorry Chief it must be all the pressure of this job."
"I haven’t had a laugh like that in I don’t know in how long."
"You had better start at the beginning.”
I explained to him the story of how I got the idea from a jacket that I received from Dr. Tehk and My Computer Tech, Nichelle; she had a fondness for her colony ship uniform, similar to what Larry Comet, my comm. officer, is now wearing.
“I contacted Admiral Broderick and explained my problem to him, and my solution. After he had his fit of laughter, he recommended I give it a try; and now I owe him a hundred credits.”
“You see Commander” I further explained, “if you support me in making the Klingons think that I out rank them, like you do, we could get them to cooperate better."
"By the time they find out what is happening they’ll be in Cardassian space.”
“I don’t know Chief;: he replied, “technically you would out rank me. I don’t think we could keep it quiet enough to make it work."
"The moon is just too small a place to keep a secret.”
“Let me ask you another question, Sir,” I asked.
“Okay fire away,” he replied.
“Do the Klingons have a way to get off this moon quickly?” I asked?
“Do they have their own shuttle?”
“Yes, they do have a shuttle craft,” was his reply, “but I wouldn’t trust it. It’s the biggest lash up I have ever seen."
"It landed here, but I don’t think it can take off again. It looks like they threw it together from the same salvage yard they probably stole the Monarch from.”
“I see.” I said, “Look Sir, as soon as I get them to accept the contract and they accept me as their acting commander, we can be out of here in less than an hour.”
“We are already packet up and ready to go, all we have to do is check out of the port lodging.”
“I promise you I will work from the ship. If I need anything I’ll send my shuttle down with my crew only, or use the transporters once they are repaired.”
“You’re sure about your crew,” He asked? “We’re both taking a big risk here. I’m liable to be laughed out of my post if this blows up in our faces.”
“I see no alternative Commander,” Be’nen interjected. “I am sure that the Monarch is a pirated federation vessel.”
“If Chief Thomas does not take possession of it, you will have to impound it and arrest the Klingons.”
“If the Klingons don’t accept “Commodore” Thomas, you know they will be deported to the Klingon Empire."
"I think the Klingons will accept our proposal. Even if they find out later about the ruse they won’t say anything."
"Obeying a senior officer satisfies their sense of order, up to a point.”
“What is that point Ms. Tash,” asked Commander Hayes?
“If they decide to kill Mr. Thomas,” she replied, “and take command of the Monarch for themselves; it is a known Klingon practice.”
“What do you say to that Chief,” he asked, “do you still want to take the risk?
“I do sir,” was my answer, “they have no ship that can serve as a weapons platform, or as a raider.”
“They essentially have no place to go until they can redeem themselves in their fellow Klingon’s eyes; and Klingons don’t like failures.”
“They need us to bargain with to get them a warship, and be accepted back on their home world.”
“Okay Chief, I guess it’s your neck and my reputation; I’ll turn a blind eye, but I want you off Luna Port within twenty four hours “Commodore”; one way or another, understand?”
He then asked his staff: “Any further problems here; Captain Smith, Lt Darnell?”
“No sir,” they both replied, “mum’s the word Sir.”
“Okay Chief what do we do next, have a meeting with the Klingons?
“No Sir,” was my answer. “We have to inform my crew of what is going on.”
“Could we have a meeting here? I also need to change into my ‘Commodore’ outfit and sir, if you would oblige, can we have a “promotion ceremony”.”
“Okay Chief, in for a penny, in for a pound,” he laughed.
“Call your crew together. I just hope they don’t injure themselves rolling on the floor over this.”
I changed my clothes in the men’s room while Be’nen and Larry directed my crew into the Commander’s conference room.
When Be’nen signaled that they were all inside, I went to Commander Hayes’ office and requested his presence in the meeting room.
Commander Hayes then hailed Captain Smith and Lt Darnelle and all four of us marched out of his office and into the meeting room.
At the head of the room Commander Hayes called; “attention to orders:”
To Michael Thomas
KNOW YOU, that from special trust and confidence reposed in your fidelity, courage, and good conduct, our COMMANDER, in pursuance of the authority vested in him by the Constitution and By Laws of this Society, doth commission you Commodore of the third Fleet Yacht Club of THIRD STAR FLEET Engineering Division of STAR FLEET COMMAND
, to rank as such from the 9th
day of December 2332.
In Testimony whereof, I hereunto signed my name as Club Secretary, and caused the Great Seal of the Third Fleet Yacht Club to be affixed, this 9 day of July 2332.
Henry A. Wise
There was stunned silence for about thirty seconds when Ron Thornton shouted out: “The third fleet yacht club isn’t that a beer hall?”
Then Pete Murray shouted out: “What’d that cost you a case of beer?”
By that time everyone was roaring with laughter and calling out cat calls; except for Be’nen and Staunn.
I stood still at attention and saluted everyone, then asked them to quiet down a little bit because I didn’t want them to alarm the Klingons.
“What the hell do the Klingons have to do with this, “Commodore”?” Then they started laughing all over again, and I had to wait until they all got their breath.
I turned to Commander Hayes, shook his hand and thanked him, and told him I could take it from here.
I also asked him if he could also arrange an appointment with Capt Kluge and some of his officers.
I told him: “I would be accompanied by Ms. Tash, Dr. Tehk, Mr. Og, and Larry Comet and if Capt Smith could furnish a couple of security guards, I would appreciate it.”
He said; “Can do, call me if and when you get results.” He also reminded me that He wanted me of his base with in twenty four hours; “Commodore” or not.
When he left with Captain Smith and Lt. Darnell I asked that the crew quiet down so I could explain the situation to them.
I explained that dealing with Klingons, and their contempt for what they conceive of as being lesser ranking individuals, we all have to make them believe that I out rank them to get them to cooperate better.
I asked them all to cooperate in this scam and then I asked if there were any questions or input.
The first question I was asked was: “What if we don’t pull it off?”
My answer was: “We don’t get the Monarch, and we’re out of here within twenty four hours."
"We then head for Mars to pick up the Grayson, if it’s there like they told us.”
“If not, it’s off to the Qualor II Surplus Depot, by shuttle.; and you know what that means, we can look forward to a long, long trip crammed together in our shuttles, more delay and probably questions as to what are we really doing out there.”
That didn’t make the crew sound to happy.
The next question was; “What do you think the Klingons will do?”
Be’nen answered that for me. “I think we will get the use of the Monarch”, she said.
“The Klingons have no good options by staying on the moon”, Be’nen continued.”They are desperate but, I don’t want to minimize the dangers of working with them.”
“They culturally respect the chain of command, but they will be over bearing, but you must stand up to them and don’t let them pick a fight with you, you must out think them.”
“They are physically very strong and prideful; plus raiding ships of other cultures has been ingrained for centuries, but now we are allies.”
“If you are afraid of them don’t take this mission. If you want to stay and are fear-full, try to avoid them as much as possible; but you will be teamed up with them at least until we return to Earth and pick up the volunteer passengers and crew to Bajor.
“I do recommend that Mr. Thomas try to secure a security team to accompany us.”
That kind of put me on notice. “Are there any other questions”, I asked?
“Just a comment, Mike,” Larry interjected. “Folks, believe me when I say that the only people on board the ship, that will be manning that Monarch will be us, if the Klingons give us any trouble.”
“They will need the help, not us, because I can shut that Monarch down so that the only thing they will be able to do will be to send a rescue beacon.”
“Likewise”, a few others said.
“Okay everyone are we all agreed that I am the best “Commodore” that money can buy for a hundred credits, or not?”
“You were robbed, chief. I could have got you one of those commissions for a case of beer from the Bowery Yacht Club,” someone shouted from the back of the room.”
That set off more laughter, but I said thanks for playing along. I advised them to pack up and be ready to meet at the shuttles later this afternoon.
"One way or another we were out of here.
I asked Ron Thornton to see if he could furnish me one of those red work shirts that he found at Nellis supply store, and find a baseball style cap somewhere.
I wanted him to take them to the tailor and put the “Commodore’s” three star emblems on my collars and cap.
I couldn’t wear this good jacket to work in all day, on the ship.
When he said he would, I dismissed the crew and sent them on their way.
The I, with my negotiating crew, headed for Commander Hayes’ Office, to wait for a meeting with the Klingons.
Commander Hayes had put out the call for Capt Kluge and his officers to report to his office conference room.
He also gave me a roster of their names.
“Who are these people,” I asked?
“That’s Capt. Kluge’s real name,” he replied. “The Klingon Embassy on earth ID’ed them about a month after they got here."
"Evidently they could care less about these jail birds as long as they were in our hands.”
“Thanks Commander,” I said. (Somehow I felt like a sucker, Captain Kluge's name did not match the one listed on the roster)
We waited cooling our heels until a security officer showed up and told us the Klingons were here.
When we went into the room the first thing that hit me was a strong odor like two month old sweat socks. It was our guest.
The first impression of Capt “Kluge”, that I had received from our previous video conference, was that he was big, ugly and mean looking, and now I that saw those that were with him, they were not much better looking.
When we sat down and picked up the translators that Hayes had furnish, I glanced over at Staunn and Og, both had eyes as big as saucers.
I thought maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to bring Staunn in with us, but it was too late now, both were to be acting officers on our ship.
Commander Hayes introduced us to the Klingons; we all just nodded our heads in recognition.
The Klingons all had big smiles on their faces, or maybe it was a grimace; or an expression on a person who was just ready to bite into a rare steak.
When Cmdr. Hayes started to introduce their Captain as “Kluge” I interrupted.
“I don’t think we need to keep up this charade Captain D’Ghor Kahlest, if I am pronouncing it correctly. Maybe you could give us all your correct names.”
Before Cmdr Hayes said anything more he took it as a cue to make his exit, saying: “Well I’ll leave you now, ladies and gents. Call me if you need anything,” and left the room.
His two security officers stayed.
Capt. Kahlest and the rest of the crew kind of lost their smirk, but only for a second.
He introduced his Executive officer Tichar K’ehleyr, his wife KaLitra Kahlest, his Interrogation Officer Paghal Hon’tihl and his Chief Engineer Keedera Koboe.
He then put on his best intimidation face and demanded to know why they were summoned and what did I want.
“You will address me as Commodore, Captain,” I started off with. “Does this translate correctly?”
“Yes sir,” he said.
“I requested this meeting to verify if you, and your crew, would rather spend your time in the Luna Port brig, rather than join me in free association with the Bajoran recovery mission,” I started off with.
“That is outrageous’” he fumed. “What makes you think that I would ever consent to working with weakling humans and their pasty faced Vulcan collaborators and their vermin pet Ferengi who, I would in normal circumstances, pinch their heads off their necks like I would a gorch?” (Pimple)
I quickly restrained Be’nen. Staunn grabbed my arm and started hissing along with Og.
I thought Larry was going to have a hemorrhage, but he restrained himself.
“I would watch what you say around Ms. Tash, with talk like that,” I said sternly, “she may be inclined to kill you.”
“For your information Dr. Tehk is her daughter and she doesn’t take threats like that lightly.”
“You see she is not a true Vulcan, she is half Romulan and if she went after you, with what she knows about pressure points, you would be asleep while you died. Do I make myself clear?”
They all gave her a wary look when they all said, “Yes sir”.
Evidently they had had dealings with Romulans before, and I knew there was no love lost between the two races.
“And just to clarify matters here; if anything happens to any of my crew, as senior officer on this base I will personally see that they take a long walk moon side."
"Also I will let you know now that Ms. Tash, Dr Tehk and I are now in family negotiations for marriage and if anything happens to either one of them, I will have you all summarily shot.”
“Commodore sir, we meant no harm,” spoke Mrs. Kahlest.
“I don’t care, ma’am I am through talking.”
“I came here in good faith to offer you reasonable employment for three years, to refit a ship that is fit only for scrap, to give you some dignity in the face of your present exile.”
“As a Commodore of the Third Fleet do you really think I don’t know what your real status is?”
“The Third Fleet, that lost eighty percent of its ships defending Earth against the Breen in the return to DS9 campaign, an action that the Klingon fleet lost over twenty five of its ships off Cardassia, assisting Starfleet.”
“I thought at least you could assist us in recovering some parts of those ships and in the retrieving of the hundreds of Klingon warriors now floating, frozen in space."
"Well, you think about it.”
“Be’nen, leave the contracts, we’re leaving,” I said.
“It’s their choice, exile and maybe an extended stay in the brig here on the moon, or employment with me.”
“Inform Cmdr Hayes of your decision,” I told them, “we are going to lunch."
"Either way we leave the moon within twenty four hours.”
“You two security guards wait outside the door and don’t leave until they make their decision,” I directed.
We all marched out, walked over to Cmdr. Hayes Office where he offered to us to come in and sit down and wait for the Klingons' decision.
“Well how did it go.” He asked?
“I thought it went well,” I replied.
Be’nen leaned against the wall with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
“I didn’t realize how a big liar you really are Michael,” she harrumphed.
“Jesus Mike, I thought we were going to have to fight our way out of there,” Larry said as he collapsed in his chair. “I’m too old for this.”
Og wouldn’t sit down. He just paced back and forth mumbling to himself.
Staunn sat down for about two seconds and then went to me, and sat on my lap with her head over my shoulder.
She had been quite shaken up, so I just held her in my arms.
“So it went well did it,” Commander Hayes stated while he was shaking his head?
He then turned around at his desk and got busy on his computer.
About ten minutes later there was a knock on the door, and one of the security guards entered, dropped a folder on Commander Hayes desk and waited.
Hayes looked at all the papers and then said; “Congratulations Chief you did it. The Klingons are your problem now. What can I do now to get you all off my base?”
“Thank you sir,” I replied, “would you please release the Klingons you now have in the brig, into my custody?”
“I would also like to request a customs, or security team, to accompany us to the Monarch and stay there until we are ready to leave."
"Maybe some personnel ready to rotate back to Earth, or even some that would like to join us on our venture to Bajor?”
“You ask a lot Chief, but I will see what I can do,” he replied, “let me remind you that the Monarch is a piece of crap so get those transporters up and running first thing."
"I’ll pass the word to base supply to be ready for your resupply orders, anything else?”
“Not at the moment Sir,” I replied glibly. “I guess it’s time to go back and talk with my new Klingon associates.”
“Be’nen,” I asked, “would you please take Staunn, and inform the rest of our crew, to gather up their things and meet me at the shuttles.”
“W have to be off the moon as soon as I can get all the Klingons disembarked in their own shuttle."
"I will meet up with you there. See you later.”
Nobody said a word they just left the room and I went over to the conference room with the security guard.
When I entered the room they were all were sitting at the table looking very glum, even for Klingons.
I asked the security to wait outside.
I then went over to the place that I had left at the table opposite Captain Kahlest, stood before him and picked up a translator.
“I would like to say to all of you; ‘welcome aboard’.”
“Your personnel that are in confinement are to be released into my custody and I would appreciate it if you would please round up all your people and meet us by my shuttles in Luna Port module three."
"I understand you have your own shuttle craft?”
“Yes Commodore, it is one that I had constructed and it is sufficient for all of us,” Kahlest answered.
"I see," I replied and asked, "Could you also have your shuttle sent over to module three first?"
"I would like to examine it, I’m sure it will be an asset, especially as you are familiar with its handling qualities."
"Do you have any further questions?”
“Yes Commodore, I do,” he asked.” What happens to our families while we are working on this mission, are they to remain here and restricted as they are now, at Luna Port?”
“I don’t understand what you mean by the question, Captain,” I asked?
“Our families Commodore,” he said emphatically? “What happens to them? You have hired my crew of Klingon men. Klingons do not have women or children as part of their crew.”
“I am sorry for the misunderstanding, Captain,” was my reply.
“This is not a combat mission and my understanding of your situation was that the Monarch, and its’ crew, was a family ship.”
“As this is a joint Federation and Bajoran mission, your family members, men, women and their children are not restricted, but welcome to participate, within reason.”
“What reasons Commodore, “asked the emphatic Kahlest?
“You must school your children, Captain,” I stated. “Your curriculum can be Klingon, but will have to meet Federation testing standards. And as crew members, they must meet minimum age requirements for operational certificates as part of your crew, otherwise there is no problem.”
That brought on many a sigh of relief, especially from Mrs. Kahlest, and brought on much discussion that my translator didn’t catch.
“Are the women paid too,” Kahlest asked?
“Yes they are captain, if they are your crew, you pay them,” was the answer.
“It’s in the contract. Are you ready to go to work now?”
Kahlest looked at his party, then turned and said, “Whatever you say, Commodore.”
“Good!” I said, as I reached across the table to shake Kahlest’ hand.
“What is this,” He asked?
“On Earth, where I am from, it is a gesture of good will that is sometimes a greeting, sometimes a show of trust, especially between men to show agreement, and friendship."
"It can be also a mutual sign of honor and commitment, do you take my hand?”
“Yes,” he said as we shook hands with a fist that felt like he was crushing walnuts, “and we Klingons say, Klapla,” (Success).