TUE: Starship Robeson-Blessed Be The Peacemakers

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    I haven't put any stories out for quite some time, and I thought Juneteenth was a good time to put out this story. Really like "The Untold Era" concept and decided to join the fun. I hope everyone is doing well and that you enjoy this story.

    STAR TREK: THE UNTOLD ERA

    STARSHIP ROBESON

    “BLESSED BE THE PEACEMAKERS”

    2361


    “Nervous Number One?” The captain’s dark brown eyes twinkled with mischief.

    “Ah no,” the first officer said, clearing her throat, and tugging down her red tunic. She cleared her throat again, and said with more authority, “Of course not.”

    “You and the special emissary were acquaintances,” the captain stated.

    “Yes sir, we…attended the same secondary school,” she said, without adding more. “We knew each other…a long time ago.”

    The captain tilted his graying head, nodded, but didn’t inquire further. Instead he looked toward the eager crewman at the transporter station. “Crewman,” the captain intoned. Without the need to say more, the young man activated the transporter. There was a brief shaft of sparkling blue-white light which quickly resolved into the form of a tall, athletic, bronze-hued young woman. Midnight black hair wreathed around her longish, attractive face. Her form-fitting gray jumpsuit hugged her appreciatively, just as much as the still too new, for his taste, Starfleet uniforms were snug on him. The woman took in the transporter room and then the officers awaiting her. Her dark eyes narrowed just for the briefest of moments when they alighted on the first officer.

    The captain heard the woman’s sharp intake of breath. “Lydia Heathcote,” the emissary said, smirking, but there was no warmth in her dark gaze. “Fancy meeting you here. This is surprising, and perhaps, portentous.”

    “Listen,” Heathcote began, before the captain grunted. Heathcote turned to him, her cheeks flushing red. “Sorry sir.”

    “So am I captain,” the other woman said as she stepped down onto the deck. She was a couple inches taller than him.

    “Since you and my first officer are already, uh, acquainted, let me introduce myself. I’m Captain Clement Washburn. Welcome aboard the Robeson, Special Emissary K’Ehleyr.”

    ****************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Conference Room


    “Let me get this straight,” Security Officer Lantana said, “Starfleet Command expects us to stop a war?” The Boslic shook her head, the purple ponytail swaying. Her expression was the definition of incredulity.

    “I said avert war, not stop it,” K’Ehleyr corrected. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” The woman was standing by the inset screen in the front of the room. The captain had rolled his chair to the side so he could take everything in.

    “I’ve never even heard of Attis,” Washburn admitted as he stroked his chin.

    “Most people haven’t Captain, and in the past, the Klingon Empire would’ve been fine keeping it that way,” the emissary replied. “Some on the Federation Council as well.”

    “Why is that?” Chief Medic Redelk asked.

    “Good question,” K’Ehleyr answered. “A quick history lesson is in order. After the Praxis catastrophe which led to the Khitomer Accords, the Federation committed to helping the Klingons save their homeworld or find a suitable alternate. In the meantime, the Federation Council beseeched accommodating worlds to repatriate willing, or perhaps, not so willing Klingons. One of those planets was Attis. An independent colony not only close to, at the time, the Klingon Neutral Zone, but also the Gorn Hegemony.”

    “Gorns,” Lantana hissed. “Don’t like the sound of that.”

    “Interesting,” Washburn muttered. He glanced over at the unusually quiet Heathcote and saw that she wanted to be anywhere else but in the conference room. Clement knew he would have to get to the bottom of what was going on between Lydia and the diplomat at some point.

    “Attis was, is, a hardscrabble world where once it was suspected that valuable minerals were buried deep within its planetary core. The world had been already been claimed by humans, who were seeking Federation membership, in part to get the resources they would need for excavation. That was the carrot dangled over them to accept the Klingons. If you look back at the old vids, the politicians really sold Attis as a grand vision of what the future looked like. Well, that future came and went quickly after the Khitomer Accords and then the Klingon homeworld was saved. No vast deposits were found on Attis and the planet, and its inhabitants were forgotten.”

    “So, what changed it?” Washburn asked. “Why is the planet on the verge of war?”

    “Attis, a harsh planet to begin with, finally made good on its promise, with the discovery of a rich vein of kelbonite. Both sides claim it. It’s gotten so tense, that they both have asked for our help.”

    “Even Attis’s Klingons asked for our assistance?” The captain inquired.

    “Yes captain, even the Klingons, so it must be especially dire,” K’Ehleyr agreed, her eyes becoming hooded under her ridged brow.

    “Great,” Lantana said, “A brewing war on a suddenly valuable planet on the edge of Gorn space. How much luckier are we going to get?”

    “I wouldn’t cash in my poker chips at just this moment if I were you,” K’Ehleyr quipped.

    *************************************************************************
     
  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *************************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Recreation Room


    “You going to keep avoiding me?” K’Ehleyr stood just inside the entrance, her arms folded. Lydia punched the bag once more, so hard that the jolt went through her arm and down her side. She took the towel from around her neck and wiped her face.

    “What do you want K’Ehleyr?”

    “Hey, come on, is that how you talk to an old school friend?”

    “You know we weren’t friends,” Heathcote was on edge.

    “Through no fault of mine,” the Klingon shot back.

    “Hey, listen, I,” Lydia suddenly lost her ability to speak.

    “You’re going to apologize I guess,” K’Ehleyr said. The woman’s arms were still folded, and she lifted her chin slightly, giving her the appearance of looking down on the first officer. “Too late for that, don’t you think.”

    “Damn it, K’Ehleyr, we were kids. I mean, we didn’t know what we were doing.”

    “You knew enough that it would hurt me,” the other woman’s anger flared, “And that was the point!”

    “You were different, that’s why we singled you out, but everyone got teased for something,” Lydia countered. “I mean, we all did.”

    “Really?” K’Ehleyr’s gaze bored into her. “What did you get bullied over?”

    “Well, umm, you know, ah, come on!”

    The Klingon shook her head and exhaled loudly. “I shouldn’t even be letting this get to me. But with this mission, it’s just dredging up a lot of unpleasant experiences.”

    “Is there anything I can do, to help?” Heathcote reached out, but K’Ehleyr backed away. She bared her teeth. Her nostrils flared. Her fingers became fists. Then her eyes widened and her expression pinched.

    “I’m…I’m sorry,” she said, before turning away. “I never should’ve come here or accepted this mission at all.” The woman ran out of the room. Lydia thought to follow her but realized that it might do more harm than good. A phantom pain stabbed her left arm. She certainly didn’t need it broken again.

    ********************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Captain’s Ready Room


    “Enter,” Captain Washburn said. He glanced up from his PADD to see Commander Heathcote. The woman was flushed and in civilian garb. He frowned. Normally Lydia would never appear anywhere close to the bridge, much less his ready room, in anything but the freshest pressed uniform, even when she was off duty. He put the PADD down, ordered the computer to turn off the Miles Davis, and gave her his complete attention. “What’s wrong Number One?”

    “Well, uh, sir,” she said, biting her lip. Clement’s concern deepened. He had seen the woman face off against Cardassians, Talarians, Tzenkethi, and Tholians even, with ease. Something that made her anxious like this must be serious indeed.

    “It’s the special emissary, K’Ehleyr, isn’t it?”

    “Yes,” the woman exhaled and hung her head.

    Figuring this was going to be a long talk, Washburn offered the woman a seat on the room’s small couch and some refreshment. She took a green tea while Clement kept it black. He sat on the other end of the couch. He sipped his tea before asking, “Please Lydia, what’s going on with you? You haven’t been yourself since K’Ehleyr came aboard.”

    The Englishwoman drank before saying, “That’s just it, sir, I think K’Ehleyr being here has reminded me of who I truly am.”

    “I don’t follow,” Washburn said.

    “I’ve, I’ve worked extremely hard to excel at the Academy, and throughout my career in Starfleet. I’ve sought to exhibit the highest ideals and demanded no less of any under my command.”

    Washburn chuckled. “Don’t I know it. Even Lantana gripes about you from time to time.”

    Lydia nodded at that, drank again, and then said, “It’s just, so much of it, was a lie. I’m not the person you, or anyone else thinks I am.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I’m…well, I don’t know how to say it, but…when I was younger, I was less, enlightened I supposed, less evolved in my thinking. I treated K’Ehleyr horribly because she was different. Because she was Klingon. Alien. There was a group of us who hassled her. It got so bad that one day she lashed out and attacked us, breaking my arm. Her parents took her off world after that, and this is the first time I’ve seen her since.”

    “I see,” Washburn said, his brow creasing. “It was a long time ago. You were a child.”

    I knew better, even then,” Lydia declared. “It was no excuse.”

    “No, it wasn’t,” the captain nodded, “But we all have done things we aren’t proud of. We all have room to grow.”

    “That’s just it, I don’t know if I have, or can,” Heathcote said.

    “What do you mean?”

    “I still grapple with my fear of differences,” Lydia admitted before sinking into herself. “Part of the reason I joined Starfleet was to face this prejudice and defeat it, and sometimes I do, but other times, I don’t, and it can be such a struggle at times.”

    “Human beings, among other species, often fear the unknown. At times, this fear is warranted for survival, but other times it is irrational and destructive and must be reasoned away or held back. For centuries, great atrocities were committed upon people who looked like me simply because their skin color was a different hue,” Washburn said. “My own ancestors had once been enslaved on the North American continent. But a lot of brave people fought that injustice, even then it took until humanity on the brink of destruction for us to finally break free of our own intra-species biases. It took centuries. Perhaps, with us still being so new to exploration, that it will take even more centuries still to fully embrace the greater diversity of the universe. Even some Vulcans sometime still fail to live up to their famed IDIC, and that’s the foundation of their logic. And they’ve had space legs far longer than us.”

    “Thank you, sir,” Lydia said. She cradled the teacup. “I just feel so awful, still.”

    “I’m not the person you need to be saying that to.”

    “I know, I know, but K’Ehleyr, when I tried to tell her a few hours ago, well, it didn’t go well.”

    The captain gave her a once over. “I know Redelk’s good, but not that good.”

    Heathcote gave him a quizzical look. “I don’t understand sir.”

    “She mended your bones at warp speed,” the captain replied.

    “What do you mean?” She paused and her eyes widened. Her cheeks reddened. “Oh, no sir, K’Ehleyr and I didn’t get into an altercation. A physical one at least.”

    “Well then, that’s progress from the last time you saw her,” the captain said. “I think that’s something to start with. I mean, if you can’t make peace with a diplomat, who can you make peace with?”

    ******************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ******************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Private Quarters



    “Captain, I’m certain you’ve seen a woman before.” K’Ehleyr smirked between hard breaths. The diplomat stood without any self-consciousness in the middle of the room, in black tank tops and shorts, sweat glistening her much bared flesh. She gripped a long, wickedly curved blade with both hands. Around her it looked like a twister had swept through the room. Seeing the man’s eyes shift, the emissary looked contrite. “Sorry about the mess.”

    “Though we don’t have a holodeck yet, we do have a recreation room.” Washburn was droll.

    “I know about the rec room, been there.”

    “But I guess there wasn’t enough furniture to demolish.”

    “I suppose not, but no, I just didn’t want any, uh, unfortunate encounters.”

    “You are avoiding Commander Heathcote I see.” The captain nodded. “My first officer is who I am here to talk about.”

    “I read your file,” the Klingon woman said. “But even if I didn’t, the first time I laid eyes on you, I knew you were a perceptive man.”

    “Thanks for that, but you don’t have to be a Betazoid to sense the tension between the two of you,” the captain replied.

    “Fair enough,” K’Ehleyr nodded. “I would offer you somewhere to sit but…”

    “I’ll have the quartermaster bring new furniture,” Washburn promised. “I need to stand anyway. Been sitting too long today.”

    The woman gave him a once over. “You’re relatively fit for a human male of your age.”

    “Relatively,” Washburn scoffed. “Of my age? I think you’ve forgotten how much tact factors into diplomacy.”

    K’Ehleyr laughed. “I didn’t mean to offend.”

    “You didn’t,” Washburn smiled. “Rare to see an ambassador so blunt.”

    “I am Klingon,” she said, tapping her knotted brow.

    Half-Klingon,” the captain countered. “I do my homework too.”

    “I see,” the woman nodded appreciatively. “Would you care for something to drink? My workout has left me drained.”

    “I see,” Washburn said, waving off the woman’s offer while taking another look around the wreckage. “But this wasn’t just about exercise.”

    Turning from the replicator alcove, with a glass in her hand, K’Ehleyr admitted, “No, I wasn’t. I’m sorry you had to see…well, this.”

    “What exactly, is ‘this’?”

    “I work extremely hard to…suppress…my Klingon side. Bequeathed by my father, the emotions, the anger, the sensations, can be, well, very, intense.” The woman grimaced and shook her head.

    “You were afraid of another incident, like the one before, if you saw Commander Heathcote again,” the captain surmised. K’Ehleyr’s eyes widened in surprise.

    “So, she told you.”

    “Yes,” Washburn answered. “I can’t speak for her, but I do think you two should talk.”

    “Captain, you’re well-aware that I have more important things to deal with.”

    “The only furniture still intact is the bed, unless you’re going to rip the replicator out of the console as well.”

    “My apologies, again, Captain,” the diplomat replied. “But honestly, I must prepare for what awaits on Attis. I can’t allow my temper to get the better of me, not during a delicate negotiation.”

    “You’re ‘Klingon side’ you mean?” Washburn said.

    “Correct,” the woman answered.

    “I’m sure you’ve considered that maybe the Diplomatic Corps sent you to Attis precisely because of your Klingon side. Your biracial heritage gives you a perspective that can perhaps bridge the divisions wracking the planet.”

    “The thought did cross my mind, as well as the Federation Council’s,” she smiled briefly before scowling. “Though I don’t know if that’s true. My dual nature has often been a dueling one, and I don’t know if I can reconcile the opposing colonists.”

    “If you have doubts, then why did you accept the mission?” Washburn asked.

    The woman looked at him directly, and her smile became predatory. “Because Klingons don’t run from challenges.”

    *****************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Transporter Room


    K’Ehleyr leaned over and lowered her voice so that only Lydia could hear. “I like your captain’s sense of humor, teaming us up.”

    “I’m here to make sure you are safe, but also the rest of the away team.” Science Officer Nathaar and Lt. Lantana were behind them on the transporter pad.

    “Is that all you got to say Lydia?” The diplomat asked.

    “Well, uh,” Heathcote began.

    “Energize,” K’Ehleyr demanded, and the beam stole the first officer’s words.

    *******************************************************************
     
  4. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Shetland
    A nice beginning and an interesting crew you've assembled. Any chance to have K'Ehleyr in action again is a welcome one.
     
    DarKush likes this.
  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *******************************************************************

    Attis Colony

    Planetfall Meeting Chamber


    Teeth clenched, nostrils flaring, K’Ehleyr was holding back the feuding politicians through sheer will. “If. You. Don’t. Comport. Yourselves. Like. Adults,” she said each word slowly, her rage growing. “I will treat you like children!”

    “You have no right to talk to me like this!” Barked the white-haired human male, held back by K’Ehleyr’s unwavering left arm. “I’m the first selectman of this colony!”

    “No, you are as illegitimate as your peoples’ claim to this world!” Snarled the stout Klingon woman on the diplomat’s left. Though the fury and bronze complexion easily marked her species, the woman’s forehead was as smooth as Lydia’s. She had never met a Klingon that looked so…well, human, before.

    “You both asked the Federation to come here!” K’Ehleyr roared. “Now, if you wish for us to go, so you can start the slaughter, and then neither of you reaps the rewards of the kelbonite, be my guest!”

    I didn’t start it,” the man claimed.

    “You always say that!” The woman charged. “It’s never your fault!”

    My mother was one of the ones who welcomed you here!” The selectman said.

    “I don’t need a history lesson,” the woman shot back. “I was there!”

    “So, you should have more proper respect! We took you in after your own kind rejected you!”

    “PetaQ!” The woman went apoplectic. The diplomat had to dig into the woman’s torso hard enough to draw blood just to hold her at bay.

    “Shit,” Heathcote muttered. She stepped forward, but K’Ehleyr nodded for her to stay back. Right after, the first officer’s combadge chirped. She tapped it, “Heathcote here.”

    “How are things progressing Commander?” Washburn asked. She wished she had some of the man’s oblivious optimism.

    “So far, only a little blood has been spilled, so I would say, things are going fairly well.”

    “Not a time for jokes Commander,” the captain admonished.

    “I wasn’t joking sir.”

    ***********************************************************************

    Attis Colony


    “Fascinating,” Science Officer Nathaar paused, to place a paw against the cool stone.

    “You stole my husband’s catchphrase,” smiled Treva. The silvering Andorian mineralogist who was leading him and Lantana deeper into the cavern. Behind them hung a sullen Klingon healer. The Klingons denizens on Attis would not allow the Robeson crew to examine the kelbonite deposits without having one of their own accompanying them. The large vein had been discovered in an arid part of the planet neither had ascribed much value to before, which now made it highly valuable real estate.

    “I can see why the Federation, or the Klingon Empire for that matter, hadn’t considered Attis worthy of investment,” Nathaar paused, and then his whiskers twitched. “My apologies,” he said to their blue-hued host and then looked over to the Klingon who was glowering at them all.

    “Yes,” the mineralogist agreed. “Scanners and transporters today can barely penetrate kelbonite, and those of the last century were definitely inadequate.”

    Lantana shook her head. “Wow, you all have been sitting on a figurative latinum mine this whole time.”

    “It’s perhaps for the best,” Treva said. “If kelbonite had been discovered last century it would’ve led to the Federation and the Klingon Empire competing for this world. I left Starfleet behind because I was through with that conflict.”

    “What would you call the current tension you’re experiencing now?” The Boslic inquired.

    “There is no comparison,” the mineralogist replied. “The wars with the Klingons last century were most devastating.”

    “And what would you know about war? Andorian!” The Klingon spat.

    Treva frowned slightly. “Let’s not revisit old arguments Kenelm.” Kenelm must have belonged to a subset of the Klingon species, Nathaar silently surmised. His slight build and close haircut didn’t fit the norm, but what truly set him apart was his lacking a sagittal crest. Kenelm could easily be mistaken for one of the human colonists. “Starfleet is here to help us ascertain how deep the kelbonite vein runs and best ways to extract it for our mutual benefit.”

    Mutual benefit,” Kenelm scoffed. He jabbed a finger at Lantana. The Boslic tensed. Nathaar hissed. The Caitian saw how badly the security chief wanted to grab the man’s finger and twisted it back at him. “This is just intimidation. Starfleet would never take our side over yours, and you know it!”

    “There are no sides,” Treva sighed. “Not anymore.”

    “Easy for you to say. You live in comfort while we have been pushed to the hinterlands,” he charged.

    “I’ve never known any Klingons who preferred to live in comfort,” Treva riposted.

    “You know what I mean,” Kenelm said, folding his arms.

    “She might, but I don’t,” Nathaar stepped in. “What is the reason for your grievance?”

    “Grievance?!” Kenelm erupted. “Grievance! You act as if the Earthers and their pets haven’t taken all of the arable land on this planet for themselves!”

    “Is that true?” The science officer asked the mineralogist.

    The woman’s expression was pinched. Her antennae moved like snakes. “Perhaps, from a skewed perspective, that would be correct.”

    “What does that mean?” Lantana asked.

    “This colony was founded after the Organian Peace Treaty and some of the first settlers had been veterans of two mid-century wars with the Klingons,” Treva explained. “Despite those hard feelings, the colonial selectpersons welcomed Kenelm’s forebears with open arms. I know that because my husband was one of those settlers. But it’s the Klingons who refused to live among us and chose the hinterlands. Less fertile land there, so they subsisted by hunting. And that became a way of life. One we thought they had embraced.”

    “Klingons never run from a challenge!” Kenelm poked out his less than impressive chest. Lantana suppressed a chuck. Nathaar’s whiskers twitched again. “Besides, that’s not the reason!”

    “What is the reason?” Treva sighed. “What do you people want?”

    Kenelm huffed. “You people?! You people!”

    “Let’s calm down everyone,” Lantana threw up her hands. It drew Nathaar’s attention to the phaser still in her holster. Since she hadn’t felt a need to brandish it there was still some hope here. But not much.

    ***********************************************************************
     
  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ***********************************************************************

    Attis Colony

    Planetfall Meeting Chamber


    Though K’Ehleyr had convinced the officials to retake their seats, she still leaned over the table, her knuckles pressing so hard against the wooden desk, Lydia imagined they would leave impressions.

    The first officer had hung back, by the door, and contented herself to watch K’Ehleyr work.

    “A 50-50 split of the kelbonite and whatever profits it generates is a feasible, perhaps only solution here,” the diplomat said, her voice wearied.

    “Unacceptable!” The Klingon woman, whom Lydia had learned was named Karis, slapped the table, so hard it made her body tremble. The woman’s ample cleavage, bursting through the low-cut brown leather tunic, was jiggling. The violet-red blood left from K’Ehleyr’s fingernails still glistened on the woman’s flesh.

    Whitcomb, the first selectman, sat back in his chair, folded his arms, shook his head, and merely grunted. “See, what I mean?” His outfit was as roughhewn as Karis’s. The human wore plain brown jacket and gray slacks, the clothing as weathered as the man’s face. Despite his title, Whitcomb was a working man, like Lydia surmised everyone else was in Planetfall.

    Named because it was where the first colonial transport ship landed, the original settlers had taken that vessel and used it to build many of the homes and buildings that were still standing.

    “The Klingons are unreasonable,” Whitcomb scoffed, “But what else is new?” Karis groused at that.

    “Enough!” K’Ehleyr barked at a startled Whitcomb, before turning to Karis, “Mev’Yap!” The woman’s eyes widened in surprise.

    “You know our tongue?”

    “Of course, I do,” K’Ehleyr said, a bit taken aback. “I am as Klingon as you are.”

    “We have not been Klingon, in a long time,” Karis said quietly, shaking her head. “And I thought you, being…a…well….”

    “Half-human,” the diplomat knew where the other woman was going. Heathcote raised her eyebrows. How did the other Klingon woman know that K’Ehleyr wasn’t a full-blooded Klingon? To her, she would suspect that Karis’s claim to Klingon heritage, sans forehead ridges, would be further in doubt than K’Ehleyr’s.

    “Yes,” Karis was forthright. “How did you…come to be?”

    “I don’t see what this has to do with…” Whitcomb started.

    “Quiet,” K’Ehleyr threw a hand in his direction. Without being prompted, Heathcote stepped forward.

    “First Selectman, I think now would be an excellent time for us to walk around your lovely town.” The diplomat glanced at her and smiled. It was genuine. Lydia’s heart warmed a bit.

    “Well, I, wait a minute,” Whitcomb protested. But the first officer clamped a hand on his shoulder.

    “Let’s go,” she said, nudging the man out of his seat.

    “Oh, all right,” Whitcomb said. He slid out of his chair. “I guess a bit of air will do us some good.”

    “Agreed,” Lydia said.

    ******************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Research Lab


    “Lieutenant Lantana wasn’t far off when she said that the Attis inhabitants are residing on a latinum mine,” Nathaar explained. “This is one of the largest deposits of kelbonite in the quadrant.”

    Washburn rubbed his chin, while gazing at the holographic recreation of the deposits floating in the air above him. “That’s good and bad.”

    “How so, sir?” Nathaar turned to gaze at him.

    “To go from barely getting by to a sudden windfall like this,” Clement shook his head. “can bring out the worst in people. Greed is quite the monster.”

    “I thought humans had left such base instincts behind,” the science officer said.

    The captain chuckled. “Many of us have Nathaar, but not all of us. And there have always been those among my kind who have never ascribed to the enlightened sensibilities most Earthlings had to learn to survive after our third world war. With Attis, being out here, on the fringe, it’s easy to forgo Federation principles, especially when there is such bounty involved.”

    “There’s also the Klingon inhabitants,” Nathaar added. “Who never ascribed to Federation principles.”

    “Well, if the history lessons were correct, the Klingons changed too,” Washburn said. “Can’t speak on their culture, because there’s still so much not known about them, but certainly their behavior has changed from a century ago, or even the time these Klingons settled on Attis. What did you learn about them? Lantana was telling me that Kenelm looked almost, human,” the captain said. “How can that be?”

    “For the sake of amity, I didn’t ask Kenelm, though it appears that the Klingons living on Attis are a subset of the Klingon species,” the science officer speculated.

    “I surmised that as well. Commander Heathcote said that the selectman, Whitcomb, intimated that these Klingons had been rejected by the empire. Any guesses as to why?” Washburn pondered.

    The Caitian shrugged his broad shoulders. “It would not be out of the realm of conjecture that racial discrimination was a cause. The Klingons aren’t known for tolerant attitudes and this might even carry over to minority members of their own species.”

    “Human history is replete with such shameful examples,” Washburn said darkly. “As are other Federation members.”

    “Persecuting those who look different, believe differently, or mate differently stains many humanoid societies,” the science officer shook his head, his ears drooping. “Caitian society is not immune either.”

    “Any idea what happened to their forehead ridges?” Washburn said. “I do recall the old history vids that had ridge less Klingons, but some of those Klingons either got their crests back or grew them somehow.”

    “Sir, it could be cosmetic surgery, a viral mutation, a natural evolutionary process, any number of causes,” Nathaar offered. “I can’t be sure unless one of the Attis Klingons consent to a medical examination, and if Kenelm is the rule and not the exception, I don’t think any would agree to do so.”

    “Just an idle thought,” Clement smiled. “No need to antagonize them any further. From what Commander Heathcote has told me, their leader, Karis, is even surlier than Kenelm.”

    ********************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ********************************************************************

    Attis Colony

    Planetfall City



    Commander Heathcote could barely keep up with the older man. He strode through the town square, barely greeting all those who stopped, smiled, and waved at him. Despite the colony being over a century old it hadn’t expanded much beyond where the first colonial vessel had made planetfall.

    This was a tight-knit community, and it seemed like everyone knew each other. So, with Lydia being a stranger, she drew a lot of attention, especially from children.

    She had never been good around children, but she did her best to accede to their curiosity. She bent down and smiled at them, picked up one or two, let them tug at a sleeve or pants leg or touch her hair.

    To her surprise, the denizens of Attis were a microcosm of the early Federation, with inhabitants representing all the founding worlds. About the only things she surmised that they had in common was a desire to live on the fringe and a suspicion of their Klingon neighbors.

    Heathcote, already exhausted, was relieved when Whitcomb stopped at a food stand. He dug into his pocket and hand the vendor a few coins. He held out a long light-blue icicle to her, while keeping one for himself. “Andorian ice,” he explained. “Best in the quadrant.”

    Lydia reluctantly took it. She shrank back at its coldness. “There’s no, uh, napkin or stick or something for this?”

    Whitcomb laughed. “Licking the residue off your hand is one of the best parts.”

    In the spirit of comity, Lydia took the proffered treat. She thanked the vendor right after Whitcomb did. While she was figuring out how to consume the popsicle, the first selectman had turned his sideways and was slurping along its edge.

    Smacking his lips, Whitcomb said, “That hit the spot. I was quite parched, with all that arguing.”

    “It seemed like a well-practiced dance, between you and Chieftain Karis,” Heathcote said, after trying the popsicle. She savored the rich flavor and nodded in approval. Whitcomb chuckled.

    “Yes, this wasn’t our first, uh, rodeo, as my grandparents used to say,” the first selectman said.

    “If that’s the case, why are you still at opposite ends?”

    “Good question.” Whitcomb replied, his face screwing up. “I mean, we’ve reached out, countless times, but I just don’t think those people want to live in a civilized manner.”

    Lydia frowned, and then looked around at the modest town square. Most Federation citizens would consider Planetfall a ramshackle settlement on a backwater planet, a far cry from any civilization they knew. Sensing her disapproval as well as her silent judgment, Whitcomb blanched. “Listen, I didn’t mean to say it, like that.”

    “Perhaps Karis and the others sense that you and other Planetfall residents harbor similar views,” Heathcote surmised.

    “Bitter feelings die hard,” Whitcomb admitted. “My grandparents were some of the original founders, and during that time, the wounds of war were still fresh. I mean, they had lived through two wars, in just about a decade.”

    Heathcote nodded along, as she plucked what she remembered from her history vids of the conflicts. The one in the 2350s had been longer and much more devastating, pushing the Federation to the brink. The other had been mercifully cut short by the Organians. The super race had been able to impose peace, but they had little the healing and reconciliation up to the Federation and Klingons, and even today, despite the Khitomer Accords, and decades of relative peace, there was still a tension between the nations.

    “Both of them had served in Starfleet, and both had seen so much loss of life that it had soured them on Starfleet, and so they chose to start a new life as far away as they could, and that’s how they wound up on Attis,” Whitcomb explained. “But it wasn’t as fringe a world as they thought, once the Federation and Klingons both thought the planet might hold valuable minerals. Thankfully the kelbonite was not found then, or else, Attis would’ve become a highly contested chess piece.”

    “From what they, and other elders told me, they were all happy that both powers had moved on and left them behind. It had taken a little convincing to put out the welcome mat for the Klingons a few decades after that, but how could we not? I’m sure you read all about Praxis. The Klingon homeworld was on the brink. The Klingons were facing extinction. The Federation had to do something, and though Attis was not a Federation world, we still held fast to the same ideals. My grandfather used to tell me that he saw the opportunity to finally let go of the past, to bury the hatchet,” Whitcomb added, “though none expected that the Klingons would just as well bury the hatchet in us than slaying the ghosts of the past.”

    “That doesn’t sound too welcoming,” Lydia admonished.

    “Well, you don’t live here, you haven’t had to deal with them, skulking around, on the outskirts. Every time they come to Planetfall we don’t know whether it is to simply trade meat and hides or to slaughter us.”

    “I’ve dealt with enough Klingons to know they are pretty direct about their intentions,” Heathcote shot back, “and if they wanted war there would be war.”

    “Whatever this is, it certainly isn’t peace,” Whitcomb said. “And that’s what we want, and that’s what this kelbonite should give us, enough bounty for all of us to share.”

    “Why do you think the Klingons are resistant to that idea?” The first officer pondered. “Why do they want it all?”

    “Ask them,” Whitcomb shrugged.

    “I’m asking you First Selectman,” Heathcote didn’t back down.

    “I don’t know,” the man pushed back. “Who does, with them? I mean, maybe to make more weapons, to use against us. To take what we’ve built because they certainly haven’t built anything of lasting value!”

    Lydia was taken aback. She didn’t know what to say. She wanted to castigate the man, to shame him, but she saw in his heated countenance more of a mirror reflecting some of her own deep-seated feelings. She liked to think that she had gotten over her bias against Klingons, and it had certainly helped that she didn’t encounter them frequently. However, her revulsion had merely just transferred to the Talarians and then the Cardassians and Tzenkethi.

    Sensing her hesitation, the first selectman pressed the advantage. “You should see what passes for ‘civilization’ on their side, a bramble of trees is more like it. From a people who have been space worthy far longer than us, and rule an interstellar empire, yet they choose to live in the Stone Age.” The man shook his head. “There’s just no reasoning with someone like that.”

    “I don’t believe that,” Heathcote paused. “I can’t accept that.”

    “You’ll see,” Whitcomb assured. “Your Council tried to convince us of the same thing, and the only reason we agreed for them to send an emissary was so that they could tell the councilors themselves what they refused to hear from us, that the Klingons will not compromise, unless they are made to.”

    The words hit Lydia like a blow. She staggered back. “That goes against everything Starfleet, the Federation, stands for.”

    “There’s no Federation or Starfleet out here,” Whitcomb sneered. “We don’t live inside a cocoon; we aren’t blind to the ways the galaxy really works.”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?” Heathcote demanded.

    “You think you’re the only people we asked for help?” The selectman’s smile looked more like a rictus. “You just got here first!”

    *********************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *********************************************************************

    Attis

    Planetfall Meeting Chamber


    The sword whistled over her head, taking off a few strands. K’Ehleyr let loose a cry, a mix of joy and shame as she charged toward Karis. The older woman threw up her own blade just in time to avoid being bisected. Face to face, spittle slapping both of their faces, the two women snarled laughter.

    “This is a negotiation I can respect!” Karis declared.

    “I aim to accommodate,” the diplomat said. They moved awkwardly around the room; their swords locked as he sought to gain advantage.

    “I certainly wasn’t expecting that the Federation would send a Klingon,” Karis said, “Or if they did, they would be a Klingon with a human heart. And even though you are part human, I see that your heart is Klingon!”

    “I’m not the only one here who has human blood,” K’Ehleyr said. “I know about Qu’Vat, the metagenic virus, and what it did to our people.”

    “You mean, my people, us,” Karis’s expression crumpled. She dropped her sword. K’Ehleyr pressed her blade up against the woman’s chin. Karis lifted her chin, exposing more of her neck. She glared at the diplomat, daring her to press the blade further.

    K’Ehleyr staggered back, stunned. “What? Why are you giving me your neck?” She shook her head, to clear it, and to still the blood pounding from her heart, rushing through every pore of her.

    “If I die here, perhaps it will be enough to gain entry into Sto’Vo’Kor,” Karis said. “It’s the only way now that I could earn a warrior’s death.”

    K’Ehleyr squelched the laugh brimming on her tongue at the mention of the Klingon afterlife. Spending much of her life in the Federation she had often viewed Klingon tradition with a skeptical eye. She cherrypicked the things that she liked, while eschewing others, and she always strove to keep an open mind, and not be as rigid in her thinking as she thought too many of her people had become.

    But for Karis, Sto’Vo’Kor was real, and K’Ehleyr saw now that the prospect of not spending eternity among the honored dead terrified her. For Klingons, the idea of dying comfortably in your bed, surrounded by loved ones, was anathema to their warrior code. It was just one more thing that tore at K’Ehleyr, the opposing expectations and desires of her two halves.

    “There is also honor in seizing an opportunity for your people,” K’Ehleyr paused. “Our people.”

    Karis laughed at that. She placed her sword back on the wall. She had told K’Ehleyr that the two blades, formally crossed, had been gifts from the first leader of the Attis Klingons. He had been Karis’s mate and he had given the swords to his Vulcan counterpart as a symbol of their now linked fate. Certainly, K’Ehleyr hadn’t been the only one to read the subtext of the two swords being crossed, a presaging of the future of the divided communities.

    Karis motioned for K’Ehleyr’s blade and she put it back where it had been. Both swords were now stained with blood. Normally K’Ehleyr would’ve checked the cut running down her cheek, but she knew to do so in the presence of another Klingon would expose her weakness and invite insults or worse. So, she bore the pain, and managed it until it became a mild discomfort.

    The emissary could at least take hearts in how tattered Karis’s clothing was and how many cuts filled her arms and legs. It was amazing that the woman was still standing, much less walking, and talking as if they hadn’t just been in a death match.

    “Even you, sired by an Earther, don’t bear our shame,” Karis touched her forehead. “Kahless blessed you with a crest, even if it’s not a proud one. When the cure for the virus was discovered, not everyone was cured. It was a terrible time, with family’s being divided up between the cured and the still afflicted. We became the unspoken embarrassments, and eventually many of us were stripped of our titles, houses, and lands, and erased from history.”

    “The High Council couldn’t wait to get rid of us, to dump us on the Federation, and truthfully, far too many of us couldn’t wait to leave. And now, we simply exist, attempting to hold on to what made us Klingon at our core.”

    “So, you’ve forgone integrating with your neighbors,” K’Ehleyr said.

    Karis snorted. “You make them sound benign, as annoying, albeit harmless as a glob fly, but they are anything but.”

    “How so?”

    “If we accepted their entreaties and lived beside them, we would lose what little vestige of who we are that we have left.”

    “So, you’ve chosen to go in the opposite direction,” K’Ehleyr realized. “No, even further. You’ve gone back to a prehistoric existence.”

    “Yes,” Karis said, her face lighting with pride. “Not even the petaQ on Qo’noS honor our ancestors in such a manner. We survive only because of our strength, senses, our wits, and our blades, a true warrior’s life.”

    “No,” K’Ehleyr said, folding her arms. “They’re perfectly happy, though few would admit it, living in the 24th century, and you should be too.”

    “Are you questioning our commitment to our people’s traditions?” Karis’s expression darkened.

    “No, I’m questioning Klingon traditions period.” The emissary wouldn’t relent.

    “You’re doing what?” Karis spat and eyed the swords on the wall. K’Ehleyr tensed, and then loosened her muscles in case the fight rejoined.

    “It’s an old argument, with an old…friend, a fellow Klingon,” K’Ehleyr shook her head, momentarily lost in memories. When she resurfaced, she added, “He respects our ways far more than I do,” K’Ehleyr confessed. “I don’t believe in simply following a path because it has been followed by many others before me, especially if it leads somewhere, I don’t want to go.”

    “Perhaps that is because your human blood is thicker than your Klingon blood,” Karis challenged.

    “Or perhaps being a child of two worlds I can see outside of each, and both have room for improvement!” K’Ehleyr shot back. “And that’s why the Federation Council sent me here.”

    “I thought it was because they thought we would trust a Klingon face more,” Karis declared, now folding her arms. “Not one wearing those rags.” The diplomat struggled not to laugh, considering the tattered leather and fur getup Karis was in.

    “There may have been some councilors who thought you would view me as more legitimate,” K’Ehleyr surmised, “Despite my being half human.”

    “You’re not a real Klingon, nothing more domesticated, a pet,” Karis mocked, “like an old grishnar cat.”

    Pet,” K’Ehleyr repeated. She tried to clamp down her rising anger. “Least you didn’t call me a petaQ, so that’s progress.”

    “You mock me child?” Karis challenged.

    “No,” K’Ehleyr replied. “I’m just trying to understand you, to reach common ground. There’s enough kelbonite on this planet for all to benefit from, and I don’t get whether it’s stubborn pride that makes you resistant to working with the Planetfall denizens or something else behind your stance.”

    The other woman folded her arms. “What could this ‘something else’ be?”

    K’Ehleyr folded her arms and glared at the woman. “You tell me.” The women faced off against each other for quiet, intense seconds that stretched into minutes.

    Karis snorted, spat, and then snarled, “So be it!” She jabbed a finger at K’Ehleyr. “You are here to undermine what we have built, our way of life! If Whitcomb gets his way, more outsiders will come to Attis, our children will be lured away by them, or to Planetfall, another Federation world, or the old Empire itself, and they will be accepted in none of them!”

    “I’m living proof that that’s not true,” K’Ehleyr replied.

    “Oh, really?” Karis raised an eyebrow. “So, are you telling me that you don’t shackle your Klingon nature when you are with the humans, or that you don’t feel Klingon enough when you are among our people?”

    “Well, I,” the diplomat’s voice, and assurance, faltered.

    Karis’s smile was humorless. “You are of two worlds and bound by each. But this is the only world that will accept us, as we are, as we have become, and I will not let what you or those in Planetfall call ‘progress’ spoil that!”

    “It’s not up to you mother.” Both women turned toward the large doors that were now open. K’Ehleyr had been so focused on Karis that she hadn’t even heard the sound. A slight, smooth headed Klingon stood in the doorway. His appearance was unremarkable. The old-style Klingon disruptor he held was not.

    “Kenelm.” Karis’s voice was surprised, and annoyed. “What are you doing here?!” She gestured toward the gun in his hand. “Or with that?!”

    “You’ll learn soon enough,” he answered.

    “You will answer me now!” Karis took a step toward him but stopped when he fired at her feet. The acrid odor of ozone off burned stone made K’Ehleyr’s nostrils itch.

    “Mother, you will understand, I promise you,” Kenelm nodded. He turned to K’Ehleyr. “You will talk to me from now on.”

    K’Ehleyr stifled a laugh, though she couldn’t erase the sarcasm from her tone. “Oh, really now?”

    “Yes,” the little man puffed up what passed for a chest. “As the Imperial Overseer of Attis.”

    “Son, what are you talking about?!” Karis demanded.

    “That was the price,” Kenelm nodded, with beaming satisfaction.

    “Price for what?” K’Ehleyr beat Karis to that question.

    Kenelm was beaming, “For handing this world to the Klingon Empire!”

    ********************************************************************
     
    CeJay, mthompson1701 and admiralelm11 like this.
  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ********************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Main Bridge


    Captain Washburn charged onto the bridge. “What’s going on Mr. Letoa?”

    The Samoan operations officer hopped out of the captain’s chair. Pointing at the main viewer, he said, “We’ve got a Gorn battlecruiser heading our way.”

    “Gorn?” Washburn was asking as he followed the man’s finger. There was a speck on the screen, barely decipherable from the starfield surrounding it. “Magnify,” he ordered. Letoa, already reclaiming his station, did as commanded.

    The speck suddenly took on the four-nacelled shape of a large, pewter-gray Gorn warship. What the hell? Clement thought. He said, “Hail them.”

    Letoa sent out the entreaty. “No response sir.”

    “Try again,” Washburn ordered while sitting down in the center seat.

    Seconds later, Letoa looked back at him, frowning. “Still not responding.”

    “When will that Gorn vessel be breathing down our necks?” The captain inquired.

    “In under ten minutes,” Letoa replied.

    “Thanks,” Washburn tightly nodded. He tapped a button on his armrest. “Emissary K’Ehleyr.”

    He got no response. That wasn’t good. He tried again, and then his first officer. “Commander Heathcote.”

    “Heathcote here.” Inwardly, Clement breathed a sigh of relief.

    “We’ve got a Gorn warship heading our way, and they aren’t answering our hails. I can’t reach the emissary. Is everything alright down there?”

    “Sir, I’m not with the emissary right now.”

    “What?”

    “She and the Klingon chieftain, Karis, were in private discussion. I’m with First Selectman Whitcomb. Gorn vessel you said, sir?”

    “Yes.”

    “Damn.” The curse was soft but carried over her combadge. “So that’s the play?”

    “What are you talking about commander?”

    “Sir, I think Gorn have been invited.”

    *******************************************************************

    Attis Colony

    Planetfall City


    “The Gorn are your play, isn’t it?” Lydia demanded. She restrained herself from grabbing the man’s collar.

    “Yes,” he said, unconcerned.

    “Do you have any idea what you’ve done? Who you’ve gotten in bed with?”

    “The Gorn will do what the Federation will not,” Whitcomb asserted. “And Karis will think twice about messing with them.”

    “You bastard,” Heathcote shook her head. “You think the Gorn will care about your people either?!”

    “Of course, they will,” Whitcomb said, but she saw a flicker of doubt. “The agreements have already been made.”

    Unable to stop herself, Heathcote grabbed the man’s collar and pulled him so close they almost kissed. “Unhand me!” He tried to pull away, but her grip was like iron, and no doubt helped by the sticky residue of the popsicle on her fingers. Out of the corner of her eye she saw other Planetfall denizens moving towards them, ready to intercede on Whitcomb’s behalf. But just so they knew she meant business, Heathcote drew her phaser and waved it for them. Whitcomb’s eyes waxed like moons. “What are you doing?!”

    Lydia’s gaze was hot enough to melt duranium. “We’re going to stop this, before it gets worse, or anyone gets hurt.”

    ******************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  10. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ******************************************************************

    Attis

    Planetfall Meeting Chamber


    The combadge buzzed, but K’Ehleyr didn’t answer. She was afraid any sudden move might set the nervy Kenelm off. He was glaring at her, the barrel of the disruptor aimed at the trilling small piece of metal.

    She was glad that it had stopped. “Son, this is not the way,” Karis was almost pleading now.

    “Mother, I’m doing this for you, for all of us!” The man said. The weapon was still pointing at K’Ehleyr, but his focus was on his mother. “The High Council promised your lands and title would be restored. Our kinspeople would welcome us back.”

    “You k’pekt, don’t you see it’s far too late for that?!” Karis thundered. “Many of us live here now, this is our reality. Life in the empire no longer is!”

    “That was your decision!” Kenelm snarled. “Not mine, or many of us who have never even visited the empire! We want our birthright back!”

    “Even among us, you are no warrior,” Karis was brutal. “You would not survive one second in the empire. And once real Klingon warriors lay eyes upon you, they will either kill you or laugh at you, and right now, I can’t imagine which I would rather see happen.”

    Kenelm shook his head. “You’ll see!” He flared, and then remembering that K’Ehleyr was still there. “You all will see! We will be rewarded for bringing a new world, a rich world, into the empire. They might even put my statue in the Hall of Heroes.”

    “I told your father to stop filling your head with such tales,” Karis snorted.

    “Kenelm,” K’Ehleyr carefully waded into the water. “The Klingon Empire of legend is not the Klingon Empire of today. While there is a lot of boasting about honor, the reality falls far short. Some rapacious Great House or ambitious general will take this world from you and if they don’t kill you all, they will throw you off this planet, and you will have nowhere else to go.”

    “I’m supposed to trust a half-breed like you?!” Kenelm sneered. “One with such straight teeth, like a human! Teeth that have never torn flesh, that have never tasted victory!”

    Karis moved quickly. K’Ehleyr barely saw the flash and heard the whistling of wind. Kenelm shrieked. The disruptor fell from his grasp as he stumbled backward. It was then that the emissary saw the hilt of the kut’luch sticking out of the man’s shoulder.

    Karis leaped across the room and onto her son, knocking him to the floor. K’Ehleyr grabbed the forgotten disruptor. She tapped her combadge. “K’Ehleyr to the Robeson.”

    Robeson here.” Captain Washburn was terse. K’Ehleyr frowned.

    “I suspect you are not alone up there, captain?” She surmised.

    “How did you know?” He asked. K’Ehleyr gave him an abbreviated version of what had just transpired.

    The man sighed. “Least that explains why a Klingon warship just decloaked starboard.”

    *************************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Main Bridge


    It was a three-way standoff. The Robeson was sandwiched between a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, K’Vort-class, and a monstrous gray Gorn battleship portside. So far, everyone was keeping their proverbial powder dry.

    “Bruce let’s trying hailing both vessels,” Clement said to the operations officer. “Maybe this time, we’ll get a response.”

    “One can hope sir,” Letoa offered. He pumped his fist while saying, “The Klingons are answering our hail sir.”

    “On screen,” Washburn ordered. In less than a nanosecond a hard-faced Klingon was scowling at him.

    “Starfleet vessel,” the Klingon groused, “This planet is now an imperial holding of the Klingon Empire.” He paused, looked to the side, muttered something unintelligible. “Under the authority of…Imperial Overseer Kenelm you are to break orbit once you have beamed your personnel aboard, out of courtesy to our alliance.”

    “Kenelm…Imperial Overseer?” Nathaar muttered, from his station. Washburn ignored the science officer.

    Clement leaned forward in his command chair. “Captain?”

    “Commander,” the Klingon corrected, “H’hass of the Bstlh.”

    “Commander H’hass,” Washburn nodded, “I’m Captain Clement Washburn, of the Starship Robeson, and we were invited here by both the Federation and Klingon citizens.”

    H’hass grimace-smiled, “Your assistance is no longer needed, Captain Washburn. You have one hour to settle your affairs and recoup your people.”

    Washburn did his best to hide his growing frustration. “We are allies, true, and perhaps this is a matter for the Federation Council and the Klingon High Council to decide, but what about that Gorn vessel?”

    H’hass’s smile turned predatory. “We will deal with those interlopers.”

    “Captain, the Gorn are now hailing, audio only,” Letoa said.

    “Put them through, loud enough so that our…ally, Commander H’hass, can also hear,” the captain ordered.

    “Federation, Klingon vessels,” a sibilant voice slithered through the bulkhead speakers. “Attis is now a protectorate of the Gorn Hegemony, as agreed by the rightful planetary authority.”

    H’hass threw back his head and bellowed. “Thank you for the laugh.” In a flash his expression turned deadly. “Gorn vessel, you are encroaching upon Klingon territory. Leave at once or die.”

    “Hold on Commander H’hass.” Washburn threw up a hand. “Let’s talk about this.”

    “This doesn’t concern you Starfleet,” H’hass shot back. “In the interest of our alliance I suggest you grab your companions and exit our space.”

    “Sir, what do we do?” Lantana asked. Clement glanced behind him at the woman who was perched on her chair at the tactical console.

    “We’re going to try to stop a war is what we’re going to do,” Washburn declared. “More power to shields, charge weapons.”

    “Sir, what about Commander Heathcote and Emissary K’Ehleyr?” Nathaar asked. The science officer knew that with the shields up they couldn’t beam their colleagues back to the Robeson.

    “Take us to red alert.” Washburn said, again ignoring the Caitian. He was confident that both Lydia and K’Ehleyr could handle whatever was coming their way on Attis. The captain didn’t have time to ponder otherwise.

    As the klaxons blared and the bridge was bathed bloodred, the captain next ordered. “Ensign Dalila, move us between the Gorn warship and the Bstlh, if these two want to duke it out, they’ll have to move around us or push us to the side.” The young Nuvian woman at the helm quickly turned his orders into action.

    “Captain,” Lantana called, drawing his attention.

    “Yes Lieutenant?”

    “You left out the other option for what getting between the Gorn and Klingons is,” the Boslic said.

    “And that would be?”

    “They could simply punch through us with their disruptors,” the woman answered.

    ***********************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ***********************************************************************

    Attis

    Planetfall Meeting Chamber


    Commander Heathcote pushed Whitcomb through the open doors and into the meeting chamber. Her eyes widened to see a young Klingon man bound to a chair at the table. The man was struggling against his restraints, bellowing in Klingon so rapidly that her universal translator could barely keep up.

    Across the table from him, Karis and K’Ehleyr sat, both sipping from flagons. The chieftain had brought the beverage, which she called bloodwine, in a barrel that was to opened once a deal had been hashed out. K’Ehleyr grimaced each time she drank, while Karis merely savored the brew.

    The odor roiling off the open barrel was so pungent that Lydia was afraid to come any further into the room, afraid she might start gagging. So, she pushed Whitcomb ahead of her. The man stumbled but grabbed on to the table to stop from hitting the floor.

    Karis held up her flagon. “Clarke, care for a drink?”

    He wretched. “I would never drink that swill.”

    “So, in no mood to celebrate?” K’Ehleyr inquired.

    “I’ll be in a celebratory mood just fine, once our new protectors start beaming down,” Whitcomb boasted. “You won’t be so smug when the Gorn start beaming down.”

    “You realize that my son, Kenelm, made a deal with the Klingon Empire?” Karis asked.

    Whitcomb blanched. He turned to Kenelm, and charged, “Is that true?!”

    “The Klingons and the Gorn are above your planet right now,” K’Ehleyr answered. Kenelm merely stared daggers at everyone, Lydia included.

    “Captain Washburn, of the Robeson, in the process of trying to keep them from killing each other, found out that neither you, and definitely not Kenelm, made your deals with the consent of a majority of the people you claimed to represent,” K’Ehleyr said, “Which delegitimizes both claims.”

    “No!” Whitcomb pounded the desk. Kenelm said something Lydia was glad didn’t translate.

    “The captain worked out a deal where both the Gorn Hegemony and the Klingon Empire would defend this planet, while the Federation worked to safely extract the kelbonite, with profits and benefits spread evenly among all,” K’Ehleyr said, adding, “And they call me a diplomat.”

    “Commander H’hass has offered to take back any of my people back to the empire who wish to go,” Karis said, her expression growing sad as she looked at her son.

    “Captain Washburn has done the same,” K’Ehleyr chimed in. “No one has to stay here if they don’t want to. So, First Selectman Whitcomb and ‘Imperial Overseer’ Kenelm, do you find this acceptable?”

    “Well, I,” Whitcomb started.

    K’Ehleyr smashed her flagon against the table, and her eyes blazed. “I was asking out of habit. It’s already a done deal. Live with it!”

    ********************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Black Swallow Lounge


    H’hass smacked Clement so hard on his back that he almost fell over. The captain had to roll his shoulder to make sure it hadn’t been dislocated. That’s going to hurt in the morning, he thought. H’hass was oblivious. “You are quick tongued as a Ferengi,” H’hass chortled. After things had settled down, Washburn had invited the Klingons, the Gorn, and inhabitants from Attis all to celebrate at the ship’s main recreational lounge. The Gorn had declined and their ship was already making its way back to Hegemony space. The influx of new people, especially the Bslth crew, had made the gathering especially raucous.

    “Ferengi,” Washburn repeated, his stomach tightening. No one in Starfleet had yet to lay eyes on a member of the species, but they had all heard stories. They were a frightful, vicious enemy. “What do you know about the Ferengi?”

    “Only that the nimblest among them would’ve attempted what you did, talk a Klingon out of a fight,” H’hass said. He leaned forward, and the man’s thick, smell, stringy dark hair brushed Clement’s face. “Unlike them, you are fortunate that we are friends now. Otherwise, you would be space dust.”

    “That’s good to know,” Washburn smirked. He lifted his glass before realizing that most of its contents were no on the floor. He held the glass in front of the still chortling Klingon. “Excuse, I need a refill.”

    “Of course, of course,” H’hass said between guffaws. Washburn made a quick escape to toward the bar. Hopefully by the time he got another drink, H’hass would be chewing someone else’s ear off.

    “Captain!” K’Ehleyr waved at him through the crowd. The refill forgotten; he made his way to the emissary. She was sitting a table, with Chieftain Karis, an Andorian from Attis, Doctor Redelk, and to his surprise and satisfaction, Commander Heathcote.

    “May I join you?” He asked.

    “Of course, sir,” Heathcote jumped out of her chair and hastily grabbed an unoccupied one from a table close by. Washburn thanked her and then placed the chair by K’Ehleyr, who had made a space for him.

    Once the Andorian had introduced herself, K’Ehleyr said, “I thought you might be in the need of some rescuing there.” She nodded in the direction of H’hass. The man now had his arms around both Nathaar and Letoa. Each man winced every time H’hass roared with laughter at his own jokes. Clement felt especially for Nathaar. Being Caitian, he had extremely sensitive hearing.

    “When this party ends, I might be doing some reconstructive surgery on Bruce’s and Nathaar’s eardrums,” Redelk cracked.

    “Ofelia you might be right,” Clement shook his head. “I’m going to have to put in for commendations for both of them.”

    “Right now, we wish to salute you Captain Washburn,” K’Ehleyr said, holding up a glass.

    “Hear, hear,” Redelk said.

    “Just how did you do it sir?” Heathcote leaned forward, propping her elbows on the table.

    “I’m very curious about that too Captain,” Karis said. “How did you forge an alliance between the Federation, the Gorn, and the empire?”

    “Well, I, uh,” Washburn’s cheeks felt hot. His throat drying, he tugged at his collar. “Well, um,” he glanced at the expectant chieftain and then looked at the equally inquisitive K’Ehleyr. “I threatened to destroy the kelbonite deposit.”

    “You what?” Clement was glad the woman hadn’t been drinking at that moment because she would’ve sprayed everyone at the table.

    “The captain had already put the Robeson in between the other two ships, daring them to fire on us to get to the other,” Redelk said, nodding with pride.

    “Very bold,” Karis’s eyes gleamed with respect.

    “Risky also,” K’Ehleyr said. “I can imagine that H’hass was impressed.”

    “He was,” Washburn said. “After he let loose a few curses. He was even more so impressed by my threat to destroy the kelbonite. Without it, the need for conflict was over.”

    “It wasn’t a trick,” K’Ehleyr slowly realized. “H’hass would’ve seen through that and cut through you if he had thought so.”

    “Correct,” Washburn said. “I was prepared to fire on the planet if I had to. And that made the Klingons and the Gorn realize that sharing the bounty from the kelbonite was better than having none.”

    “With the Federation overseeing extraction, I know they will not attempt to encroach on our territory as a neutral third party, albeit one that has both the empire and the Gorn looking over your shoulders,” Karis said. “Whitcomb, and those of his ilk who want to open Attis up more to the galaxy can do so while my people can still retain our way of life.”

    “That’s right, and for those among your people who want to return to the empire, the High Council is accepting,” Washburn said. He shifted in his chair to gaze at how Klingons from Attis were interacting with the Bstlh crew. Both had been wary at first, and Lantana had been concerned about fights breaking out or blood being spilled, but as the night wore on and the alcohol flowed, they were chanting poems that hadn’t been lost by the cleavage.

    A hundred years wasn’t that long a period of separation, especially for Klingons whose natural lifespan exceeded humans. There were somethings though that the Attis Klingons would have to refrain from.

    Kenelm, the purported Imperial Overseer for Attis, was cradling his forehead, blood seeping through fingers, while the Klingon sitting opposite him was roaring with laughter. “Even I don’t do the headbutting,” K’Ehleyr joked.

    “Serves him right,” Heathcote quipped. When Karis looked at her, the woman’s cheeks reddened. “Apologies Chieftain.”

    “No,” the stout woman shook her head. “My son will have to get used to it if he’s to live in the empire, if he’s to reclaim our House and lands.” Her expression became sad.

    After a few moments of silence, Washburn asked, “I didn’t see the First Selectman here…Whitcomb.”

    Former First Selectman,” Treva said. “His rogue decision to cut a deal with the Gorn was not looked on favorably by his compatriots.”

    “I’m glad about that,” Washburn said. “Perhaps there’s hope for reconciliation yet.”

    “Captain Washburn,” Karis was pointed, “you can’t reconcile something that was never together to begin with.”

    ************************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  12. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ************************************************************************

    USS Robeson

    Transporter Room


    After Heathcote dismissed the short Saurian at the transporter controls, K’Ehleyr smirked down at her from the transporter platform. “Should I be worried, with you beaming me over to the Crazy Horse?”

    “Not funny,” Lydia said as she refamiliarized herself with the transporter console.

    “Well, I guess this does put the special in special emissary to get a sendoff from the ship’s first officer,” the diplomat quipped.

    “Not everything is a joke K’Ehleyr,” Heathcote admonished. She stepped away from the console and approached the transporter platform.

    “Just trying to keep things light,” the half-Klingon replied.

    “Or avoiding the pain I caused you,” Lydia said. “I know I’ve done my fair share of running around it, and I just wanted to say…”

    K’Ehleyr put up a hand. “You don’t....”

    “Yes, I do,” Heathcote cut in. “Especially after what transpired on Attis. I saw way too much of myself in Whitcomb. I won’t deny my biases, but I certainly can’t let them calcify to a point where I put my colleagues and friends in danger.” She sighed, “So, I want to tell you that I am sorry.”

    “Accepted,” K’Ehleyr said. “I would like to say I’m sorry I broke your arm, but I’m not. I am sorry though that I let you and the others push me to that point. And I regret I was trying to be something I’m not, or rather, denying both sides of my nature. It’s something I struggle with.”

    “I can relate to that,” Heathcote chuckled.

    “No, who's joking?” The emissary smirked again.

    “I wanted to be the first to hear, well, the second to Captain Washburn, that I’ll be volunteering for the Office Exchange Program to serve on a Klingon vessel.”

    The diplomat’s eyes widened. “Lydia are you sure that’s wise?”

    “What I did to you, it was beyond simple childhood cruelty, there’s a deeper seeded problem there, and the only way to deal with it is head-on,” Heathcote declared. “I figure that if I live with Klingons and work alongside them, I will gain a deeper insight and become a better person and Starfleet officer overall.”

    K’Ehleyr nodded. “That is commendable.” The smirk transformed into a genuine smile. “In your efforts I say Qapla’!” Clearly looking askance, the diplomat added, “It means success.”

    “I have much to learn,” Heathcote nodded.

    “Not as much as you might think,” K’Ehleyr said. “I mean, you’ve already learned the most valuable lesson.”

    “Oh? What’s that?” Lydia asked.

    “If a Klingon challenges you to a headbutting contest, don’t accept.”



    THE END
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
    Gibraltar, CeJay, tax1234 and 2 others like this.
  13. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    I enjoyed this story. I wouldn't mind reading more stories with this ship and crew.
     
    DarKush likes this.
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Bry and the Admiralelm11,

    Thank you both for reading and sharing your thoughts. It took me a good minute to come up with this idea but it started falling into place fairly quickly after that. I do like the crew, and there's lots of room to flesh them out. I don't have any definite plans for them at the moment though.

    Right now, I see Starship Robeson, as not being part of Dark Territory or United Trek, though I wrote it in a way that I could easily just change my mind about that if need be.

    I never stated it in the story but in my mind the Robeson is a Niagara-class starship. It's named for the noted African-American activist, actor, and athlete Paul Robeson. I chose the Niagara-class in part because of the Niagara Movement, and Washburn's first name Clement is taken from one of the members of that movement. Washburn was named in honor of the late Trek assistant director Charles Washburn.

    As for the characters, I had Laurence Fishburne loosely in mind for Washburn. Though Warren Hawk, who is going to play a Starfleet captain in the Axanar: Interlude fan film, and Clarke Peters (saw Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods last week) also were swirling around in my head for Washburn. For Heathcote I was jumping between Joely Richardson and Lara Pulver, mostly leaning toward Pulver. Clarke Whitcomb, the first name came to me from 19th century explorer William Clark.

    Niagara-class
    https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Niagara_class
    Paul Robeson
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Robeson
    Niagara Movement
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Movement
    Charles Washburn
    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Charles_Washburn
     
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Terrific and timely story. So much to like here, from seeing K’Ehleyr back in action before her untimely demise, the sharp and clever dialogue, to the very relevant theme of racial tensions and biases and ultimately overcoming those.

    Heathcote was a particularly important character here and I like how you portrayed her as somebody fully aware of her shortcomings and prejudices and desiring to better herself rather than somebody ignorant of their biases as is too often the case.

    Trek has always been a fantastic platform to address social issues which is currently more important than ever and this story is an outstanding example of showcasing how to do just that.

    You told a meaningful story and managed to keep it entertaining at the same time.

    Outstanding work, sir!
     
    Gibraltar and DarKush like this.
  16. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    Thanks for reading. Always appreciate your insights. Originally I was looking to do a story with a different, famous Trek ambassador, but I've long liked K'Ehleyr and I thought her biracial heritage would be more apropos for the kind of story I was conceiving. I took another look at the episode that introduced her "The Emisssary" on Netflix to recharge my memory for the character and hopefully I did her justice.

    I had thought about using the Romulans instead of the Gorn, but to keep this in the "Untold Era" I decided to not use them. I'm glad now I didn't because I think putting the Romulans in this story would've raised the stakes way too much and I might have had to do a space battle scene, and I didn't want to do a space battle. I sometimes feel my space battles become too redundant anyway. To me, the bigger issue for this tale was the struggle within for several of the characters.

    I'm glad Heathcote resonated. I thought it would be interesting to have a Trek character who had been a racist bully in their youth, as opposed to being the one bullied-which I think is more typical-and that she is still grappling with her own biases. Her flaws made her a more interesting character to write. I tried not to make things neat and tidy by the end because prejudice/bias, and certainly discrimination/racism are not things that are neatly solved at the end of an episode or story.

    I disagree with you slightly when it comes to people being ignorant of their own biases. I do think there is unconscious bias, though I also think some people hide behind that because they don't want to deal with or let go of the prejudiced beliefs they knowingly hold, unlike Heathcote who sees she has a problem and is trying to change herself. Now that I think about it, where was the ship's counselor? I guess with the Robeson not having a holodeck yet, then it's not too egregious the ship doesn't have a counselor either.

    I do agree with you very much in that Trek is a great platform to write about all kinds of social issues, etc. For me, "Blessed Be The Peacemakers" was one small way I've been processing the last several weeks.
     
    Gibraltar likes this.