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Old April 24 2009, 05:43 PM   #1
Dingo
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Klingons and Mercenaries

I wonder what the Klingon attitude is on warriors who serve as mercenaries? If Verad Dax's gang from Invasive Procedures was any evidence, there seems to be some leeway in Klingons being mercs. I'm guessing post Khitomer there must've been quite a few Klingons who became mercenaries.

Also I'm curious as to how the Klingon military seemed to be structured. On one hand it seemed to be a state force with all the trappings that entails, yet houses seemed to field their own ships and warriors. I'd hazard a guess that Klingon military service is similar to that of feudal Europe where lords contributed vassals and their services to the armies of their respective monarchs. Any thoughts?
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Old April 24 2009, 07:26 PM   #2
Mycobac
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Re: Klingons and Mercenaries

I have often wondered about this myself. I think in the TOS where the Klingons represented the USSR it was meant to be a single monolithic instrument of the state a la Red Army, but by the time of TOS/DS9/VOY it had evolved into a more disunited force more characteristic of the new direction of Klingon society. I think the feudal analogy is very apt, however, I would imagine that there would also be a centrally controlled fleet. Maybe "the Chancellor's fleet" or the "Qo'noS defense force" for cases in which there the noble houses refuse to cooperate yet there is a need for immediate action.

As far as mercenaries are concerned, I would imagine the official Klingon position is that fighting for money was dishonorable and not worthy of a warrior. But, as with most things Klingon the reality would probably be very different and there are probably quite a few Klingon mercenaries.
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Old April 24 2009, 07:34 PM   #3
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Re: Klingons and Mercenaries

As far as mercenaries are concerned, I would imagine the official Klingon position is that fighting for money was dishonorable and not worthy of a warrior. But, as with most things Klingon the reality would probably be very different and there are probably quite a few Klingon mercenaries.
Perhaps other opportunites for honor outside Qo'noS' territory exist for the young Klingon in a time of peace. Real world examples do exist, for instance. For instance after the 100 Years War there was a mercenary unit called the White Company under the command of Sir John Hawkwood. Generations of Englishmen raised up on war suddenly thrust into a peaceful era meant an influx of out of work soldiers that became Mercs.

I would asume post Khitomer many Klingons who couldn't or wouldn't beat the bat'leth into a plowshare became mercenaries.
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Old April 24 2009, 08:22 PM   #4
Mycobac
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Re: Klingons and Mercenaries

True, but the Italian Condottiere were mostly an anomaly born out of the relatively small size of the city-states and the limited size of their population. For the most part mercenaries were an unwanted necessity rather than a desirable asset. Additionally, it was more of a career choice made out of lack of options (younger sons of the lesser nobility) rather than something to be aspired for. True "warriors" tended to look down on them and as Klingon society tends to have a "every man/woman is a knight" mentality it is probably not widely embraced. I don't think that they would have a problem with a young man leaving the empire to fight for others and make his name, I think getting paid for it would be the problem. Also, mercenaries are well known for going for the highest bidder and switching sides mid-fight when a better offer is made, characteristics which are hardly in accord with the Klingon's purported sense of honor.
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Old April 24 2009, 08:38 PM   #5
matthunter
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Re: Klingons and Mercenaries

The Last Unicorn Star Trek: Deep Space Nine RPG sourcebook Raiders, Renegades and Rogues took the following view of how mercs are perceived by Klingon society, and I have to say it makes a fair amount of sense:

Klingon mercenaries do exist, but they are without honor. Although it is better to fight for money than never to fight at all, the true Klingon fights only for the glory of his house and the Empire. However, a warrior who is shamed and ostracized from Klingon society has little choice but to seek further battles; suicides don't get into Sto-Vo-Kor... Not all shamed warriors become mercenaries; some find new causes to fight for. Nonetheless, it remains a natural choice - most mercenary companies are only too happy to recruit a Klingon warrior.

Honorable Klingons refuse to associate with the dishonored, lest they be dishonored themselves. The Klingon code of honor forbids the hiring of mercenaries of any species, but to hire a Klingon mercenary would be doubly shameful.
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Old April 25 2009, 05:55 AM   #6
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Re: Klingons and Mercenaries

True, but the Italian Condottiere were mostly an anomaly born out of the relatively small size of the city-states and the limited size of their population. For the most part mercenaries were an unwanted necessity rather than a desirable asset. Additionally, it was more of a career choice made out of lack of options (younger sons of the lesser nobility) rather than something to be aspired for. True "warriors" tended to look down on them and as Klingon society tends to have a "every man/woman is a knight" mentality it is probably not widely embraced. I don't think that they would have a problem with a young man leaving the empire to fight for others and make his name, I think getting paid for it would be the problem. Also, mercenaries are well known for going for the highest bidder and switching sides mid-fight when a better offer is made, characteristics which are hardly in accord with the Klingon's purported sense of honor.
I'm certain what would motivate a 'mercenary' Klingon wouldn't be wages, but I'd guess the opportunities to seek battle when the Empire is in a peacefuls state. I figured a post-Khitomer Klingon Empire, with generations of young men raised to fight the Federation but not going to war, would be rife for several said young men going off into the Galaxy to seek honorable combat and likely in the employ of others.

Also, mercenaries are well known for going for the highest bidder and switching sides mid-fight when a better offer is made, characteristics which are hardly in accord with the Klingon's purported sense of honor.
Actually Sir John Hawkwood's White Company and many other mercenary units were known for being loyal to original contracts. I'm not saying switching sides didn't occur, but it wouldn't make good business sense for mercenaries to switch sides and become known as deal breakers. Future clients won't higher deal breakers...

True, but the Italian Condottiere were mostly an anomaly born out of the relatively small size of the city-states and the limited size of their population. For the most part mercenaries were an unwanted necessity rather than a desirable asset. Additionally, it was more of a career choice made out of lack of options (younger sons of the lesser nobility) rather than something to be aspired for.
Machiavelli did bring up the idea of mercenaries in his book the Prince. I can't quite remember what his stance on them was, but I do recall he favored armies levied from the populace. He did not, however, discount the pros of mercenary armies.
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