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back to The Station Part 6
The next entry took a few seconds to come up.
When the screen focused, it wasn't a view of the station, it was three Klingon warships in formation, facing the station. One of the ships was dark and apparently drifting. The two others turned and glided away, then they went to warp and vanished.
Log Entry: Star Date 48756.8
Commander Straider's voice was rather tense. "We have guests."
The view showed a group of Klingon's drinking and fighting in the recreation room.
"They were involved on a joint exercise with a Star Fleet task force when one of their ships developed some sort of trouble and had to be evacuated. Since Klingon ships have precious little extra room, they were sent here to wait on repairs. And since Klingon ships don't have replicators capable of making the intricate parts their ship needs, and they don't trust Star Fleet to make the parts, afraid we'll keep the patterns and build a Klingon ship or something, they have to wait on a supply ship from the Empire."
"In spite of the treaty. The Klingon Task Force Commander, one Fleet Commander Praath, has asked that we keep the crews separate. So my crew, all fifteen of us currently, are sharing three rooms and sickbay as our quarters. The Klingons from the ship occupy every other room, the rec-room, our empty cargo bay, and a storeroom."
The view showed a Klingon sprawled on some boxes snoring loudly.
"Fortunately for us, they didn't want beds, or blankets, or much of anything besides air to breath. They've even brought their own food. God I hate froegiss."
The screen showed the dish. A mess of something that still had the shells on it.
Log supplement: Video to document the term.
Froegiss is a creature not native to any of the Klingon home planets. And while not really a delicacy, some of the warrior classes relish it.
They eat it whole, shell, rudimentary bones, inwards, and all. Although they prefer it live, onboard ship they will eat them after they have been flash frozen back on the supply planet.
"The smell is everywhere on the lower levels." Commander Straider said with obvious distaste.
"COMMANDER!" A Klingon voice boomed in the background.
"Captain Bac-ca." Straider said.
"I find your station most agreeable. It reminds me of one of our installations."
"Oh?" Straider said wondering if that was a compliment or not.
"Yes. Most Star Fleet ships and bases are geared toward comfort and softness. This place. I like it."
"I heard one of your officers had a problem in a sonic shower."
Bac-ca laughed. "He proved his metal admirably. He has gained much honor and stature among my crew."
"By getting most of his skin blistered or burned off in a shower?"
"No Commander. By only seeking minimal medical attention. Once his condition was stabilized so as not to be life threatening, he walked out of your sickbay under his own power."
"But he has to be in extreme pain."
"He is in absolute agony. I admire his fortitude."
Straider winced at the thought of it. "But Doctor Weaver said he will be scarred over most of his body for the rest of his life."
Bac-ca nodded. "The way the wound was inflicted is not as important as a Klingon's response to it. Being killed by a shower is not an honorable way to die. But to survive that degree of injury without accepting a pain reducer or cosmetic surgery IS honorable."
"And you've told my engineer to leave that unit in service."
"Yes. A gamble no? If somebody else decides to bathe, they may suffer the same fate. And perhaps this time, they won't be able to get out of it in time."
Straider shook his head. He knew there were two things in the Universe he would never understand, Klingon Warriors, and Human Women.
"I must go Commander. Thank you for your hospitality."
"No problem, any time Captain. Perhaps later we could compare my Ale with your Grog."
"I would be delighted. If I can. You see, I'm going down to... take a shower."
Straider nodded. "Later then."
The Captain was not burned. And as they compared drinks he seemed slightly disappointed. "I even was ready to scream my family's battle-cry. But it wasn't needed." He drank the drink in one pull. "This is most interesting. It is like a good woman, not overly powerful in the beginning, but later, she shows her strength."
Straider nodded. If he drank much more of it, he'd be lucky to walk. "It's an Earth drink that I slightly modified for this occasion." Straider took a deep breath and ordered another one for the Captain. Then he handed his guest the mug, "It's Sour Mash Whisky. My family used to be in the distilling business long ago." What he didn't tell the Captain was that this recipe had three times the alcohol content of his family's product.
"Captain. The supply ship is hailing us." Lieutenant Dastace Filia said from the door.
"Very good!" The Captain roared. He stood up quickly and almost fell over the Commander's desk. "A most interesting drink, I must have some to take with me." He worked to focus his eyes. "Commander!"
The Klingon officer lurched stiffly out of the office to the comm station.
Commander Straider stood up, with difficulty. "I ill be-in sick bey."
"Sir?" Lieutenant Dastace said with concern.
"Ineed a detox shott." He sighed.
The Klingon engineers were as good at repairs as their officer was at drinking. Three hours after receiving the needed parts, the ship was powering up and getting ready to go.
"My respects Commander." Fleet Commander Praath saluted.
"And gratitude." Captain Bac-ca said with his salute. He wasn't moving with his usual crispness though..
"Gentleman. It has been an honor, and a pleasure." Commander Straider said returning the salute. "Enjoy the whisky." He said to the Captain who nodded with a grin.
The Klingons uttered some Klingon phrases and beamed off the station.
Outside, the other two ships were back. All three were now under power and positioned themselves as escorts to a smaller bulkier supply ship. The convoy then executed a graceful arc and vanished into the distance.
On the station things relaxed immediately.
Lieutenant Dastace checked to make sure no Klingon life forms were on the station, then she lost her uniform. Then and only then, she pronounced the station Klingon-free for the first time in six days.
The celebration was immediate and prolonged.
There was equipment to fix, and the engine of a fighter to rebuild (Some Klingons volunteered to fly patrol). There were rooms to air out, and Froegiss to beam into space and forget about.
But all that was put off for a day or two.
While the Klingons were on the station. Everybody had to be Star Fleet.
Real Star Fleet.
Some of the crew had no idea what insignia they were supposed to wear on their communicator to indicate their specialty. Others only had rank pips that showed them as they had been when they arrived, in some cases, that was two grades ago. Commander Straider had given a quick lesson on how to salute and various protocols that they'd need in dealing with the Klingons.
For the most part, it had worked. More important was the advice he had given, "When in doubt, defer to the Klingon."
By the second day some routine was returning.
But there was still evidence of the Klingons everywhere.
"We still can't use our quarters." Ensign Quaker said.
Commander Straider nodded. "We're making the deck plating as fast as possible."
"How do you burn that many holes in both the floor and ceiling?"
"Be a Klingon with nothing else to do."
"But we found blood and tissue on the edges of some of the holes."
Straider laughed, "Be several very bored Klingons."
Ensign Quaker nodded and sulked out of the room.
"Where's Ensign Vickers?"
"She's just leaving sickbay." The com officer replied.
"What's wrong with her?"
"Nothing, Doctor Weaver has just insisted that everybody have a thorough physical."
Straider nodded and thought about it. Then he called the doctor. His call wasn't answered immediately.
"Yeahup." The doctor answered.
"I heard you had required physicals for the crew."
"Not everybody, just a few that hadn't been around Klingons a lot before."
"Or just the ones that are young attractive female Ensigns?"
"Or young attractive female Lieutenants."
Straider nodded. "Sometimes I wonder about your professional ethics."
"It's my sworn duty to make sure every woman on this station is as healthy as possible."
"How about the men?"
The doctor chuckled. "You still breathing?"
"You're healthy. Just don't try to drink any Klingons under the table any time soon. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a patient waiting."
"Hmmm. Since it's a command officer, I should make sure everything is OK with her."
The doctor laughed uproariously, "Professional ethics my ear."
But in another day they had most of the damage repaired. The fighters back in order. And the floor of Ensign Quaker's quarters repaired.
Everything was becoming routine until they were hailed by the Klingon's again.
"The exercise was a success. You should be proud of your Star Fleet. They fought with honor." Commander Praath said into the comm. "Captain Bac-ca requested that I drop off a gift for you and your officers."
Commander Straider nodded. "I do not require such an honor. But for the Captain's sake. I will accept for my crew."
"Well spoken Commander. We will be there in an hour."
"I look forward to seeing you again."
The image winked out. Commander Straider took a deep breath. Then he looked at the ceiling. "Red Alert!" He shouted.
The seldom used, rarely heard, alarm klaxon stuttered to life.
"Red Alert! I repeat. Red Alert. Klingon Command Ship to dock in One Hour!" He shouted to the communicator.
People didn't panic. But there was quick purposeful motion by every hand on the station for some time.
The Fleet Commander inspected the command officers. Restated how delighted he had been with the assistance they had received from the station. Then he declined dinner saying he had to get back to his fleet.
"They are like children, without a firm eye, they stray."
"Yes they do Commander."
"Please. Accept these gifts, for your crew, from a grateful Empire."
"Thank you sir. And. Thank your people for me."
"I will. And I will recommend your station to any of our ships that are in this sector." He said with a slight smile. "Although why anybody would come out here is a mystery to me."
"Me too sometimes sir."
In a few minutes the station was Klingon-free once again.
Commander Straider waited until he heard through the fleet channel that the Klingons were in another sector before he beamed a crate of Klingon food into space and had a fighter blast it to atoms. They kept the grog and blood wine and some of the other things. But the Grub Moors and the Froegiss went.
The log returned to the Commander's face. "It was nice to have company, and it certainly broke the routine of the last five years. But I was just as glad to see them go. Our duty to the Federation Treaty with the Klingon Empire is over. And I, for one, am happy to see it so."
The view changed back to the station. Without Klingon ships this time.
Continued in: The Station Part 8
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