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Party favours

Posted on Wed Feb 5th, 2014 @ 6:02am by Petty Officer 1st Class Vartog & Civilian Haqtaj Matlh & Pardek

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Klingon Embassy

The noise was audible for three decks in every direction and palpable as Harrison stepped through the doors to the embassy. The invite had been to a "Quite celebratory function" for the Klingon Ambassador who had been reappointed to the station. As he came in two heavy set warriors nodded to him and ushered him through.

Haqtaj could be seen a head above most of the crowd and moved towards him like an iceberg in a Klingon Sea.

"Captain! I am so glad you could make it to my little party. It is, in no small measure, thanks to you that I am still here."

“Madame Ambassador,” Harrison said with a slight bow. “Or should that be Madame Ambassadress? I am not sure of the correct title.”

"Madame Ambassador is the correct term," Haqtaj waved gratuitously around, "but I would accept Ambassador or simply, Sir."

The last bit was said with a wink. Haqtaj smiling and happy was difficult to come to terms with.

“There are some matters I would like to discuss.”

"No business here, Captain. Just frivolity. Have a look around. I am sure you will find someone interesting to talk to."

Harrison recognized few faces. One or two people nodded in his direction but that was more by way of acknowledging his presence than attempting to strike up a conversation.

Haqtaj thrust a mug into his hand and pushed on through the crowd. A moment later Harrison was being jostled out of the center of the room towards one of the walls. He almost collided with a small and elderly man who was pressed to the wall as if he might suddenly break. In truth he was that frail he might well have. He tried a smile at the Captain.

"I find these events somewhat... overwhelming," he offered.

Harrison could not but agree. “I have never been one for such formalities myself,” he said. “I was forced to attend the Admiral’s Ball last Christmas. It was several hours of unmitigated agony. Don’t tell Admiral Harrison I said so,” Harrison added quickly. “As these things go it was a fine affair: good food and excellent refreshments. Then the dancing started."

“Do Klingons dance?” Harrison asked.

"Oh, indeed. I intend to be long gone before then, however. It makes Mosh pits look like Kinda gyms. Here." The man offered him a small box that rattled. "If you intend to imbibe then these will take the edge of tomorrow's hangover."

“Thank you but I will not be needing them. I do not drink much and I certainly will not be joining in any Klingon blood wine rituals. Do not get me wrong; I do not mean to offend the Klingons and I am sure Madame Haqtaj is providing nothing but the best of vintages but I will only indulge sparingly."

He looked down and the spindly man. “I am sorry,” he said politely. “I did not catch your name.”

The man smiled slightly, "Dr Morgan Pass.

"No Captain, don't reach for your communicator. Even if you were to summon security, I am on Klingon Territory while in the Embassy, so you can't simply arrest me. Besides, it would rather defeat the whole purpose of this gathering. Like this we can talk without being overheard, and without any delicate questions being asked by your superiors."

“I see, how very convenient for you,” Harrison replied. “Now I will definitely not be taking up your offer,” he added, pointing at the box that was still in Pass’ hand. “Do you wish me to consider your offer to assist in finding a cure for the plague virus?”

"You may have to hurry. I believe Mister Pardek over there is very keen to talk to you about lifting the quarantine, and I do not believe he shares the Ambassador's resistance to talking at parties."

“Then I will make this brief. I will not be accepting your offer. I am aware of several vials of blood going missing. I do not know who stole them and, while I have no evidence, I am reasonably certain you arranged for their theft. If I am correct you will be conducting your own research whether I condone it or not. Therefore, you do not need me. For my part, I will not consort with a known criminal and Federation outlaw.”

Morgan returned the box to his pocket, "Spare me your hypocritical sycophantic posturing, Nelson. I am here specifically at your request, at great risk to myself and our host. I didn't come here to be lectured on morality by an infant. My daughter was older than you when she died. If you have such a grand picture of thing tell me this, how many Federation citizens have I killed? Round numbers will do. To the nearest billion if you like."

“To the best of my knowledge: none.”

"None." The man supplied taking a sip of his drink. "The good ambassador has killed more of your people than I ever did. And she revels in it, boasts about it. On the other hand, I do not enjoy my job, I am just very good at it."

“I have no doubt that Madame Haqtaj has done her fair share of killing. I also have no doubt that there will be many songs sung about it tonight and well into tomorrow morning. I, too, have killed. I killed Jem’Hadar, I killed Breen and I killed Cardassians. I will not bore you with platitudes about acting in the line of duty or patronise you with excuses like ‘acting under orders’. I did what needed to be done in the course of a war against an implacable enemy.

“The difference between you and I, Doctor Pass, is that I killed enemy soldiers. I did not set out to kill civilians. Yes, some of the surgical strikes might have resulted in civilian casualties. However, I did not act knowing that entire civilian populations would be wiped out. I regret their blood on my hands and, most likely, you will say the same thing but...I did not set out to wipe an entire race off the face of a planet.

"I wonder," Morgan scoffed, "when you enemy equips 4 year old with weapons and explosives, if your distinction between soldier and civilian would be so distinct. My wife was killed by a seven year old suicide bomber."

Harrison continued, unabated, “I now face a very real threat from dissident Cardassian groups, many of whom hide within civilian populations. Should I bomb entire towns just to destroy a suspected rebel base? No. Should I remove the civilians and confine them in internment camps ‘for their own safety’? No.

“Undoubtedly there are those within Starfleet and the Federation who would do just that. Certainly, the Dominion War was won because rogue elements within the Federation released a virus into the Great Link which would have led to the Founders’ extermination.”

Morgan was bored by this rant. It was doctrine swallowed without chewing. He allowed the Captain to get it off his chest though.

“I might remind you that it was Starfleet officers who acted to stop what was a rogue element and sought to find a cure. That is not to condone those who acted so basely, only to point out that we should not all be tarred with the same brush. In my opinion, the rogues should have been rounded up and arraigned before a court martial. They should have been subjected to the same ‘justice’ as the Federation wants to subject you to. Unfortunately, that was not my decision to make.”

Harrison seemed to have finished so Morgan continued, "Now that we have set the score straight on that, let us have a look at your other problem, shall we? Yes, I arranged for the stealing of the blood samples, placing myself at risk and in debt to get them. Yes, I will do the research whether you like it or not. I am a pragmatist. You have a choice to reap the benefits of that research or reject it out of hand because your principles are stronger than your love. How ironic, that you will let maybe billions of people die rather than accept help from a man who killed just as many and could save them. Federation morality at it finest again."

“As you have pointed out, Doctor Pass, there is no such thing as Federation morality. The only thing I can go on is my own sense of morality. That tells me not to trust a man responsible for the death of billions. It tells me that if the efforts here fail and that billions die then many will condemn me. I can live with that. I did think that I could live with dealing with the devil to find a cure but I find that that is not who I am.”

"So now we come to the difference between us," Morgan placed his cup down. "I will not allow my animosity towards you or the Federation to cost lives. But since you will not accept the solution if it were offered to you as pills in a small box," here Morgan patted the antidote he had freely offered to Harrison only moments before, "I will give you a clue that should enable your medical and science division to find their way forward. And for every survivor you see on the Promenade, or at staff meetings, you will remember that it was I who made that happen. I hope it burns you up."

"The cure is: Love's First Kiss."

At that point Haqtaj arrived with Pardek. She nudged Pardek and indicated to the pair, "Hello, the Humans are ganging up on us again, Pardek. We'll have to watch ourselves."

Pardek noticed that when Klingons let their hair down, they really let their hair down. Pardek nodded. Humans were definitely strange beings. It was a wonder they got out of their solar system much less conquered the galaxy. He nodded to Harrison. "Captain."

“Mister Pardek,” Harrison returned. “I trust you are enjoying yourself.” He looked around at the gathering. “I must say, Madame Haqtaj throws a boisterous party.”

"I think," Pass sighed, "I may have to retire. I am not as young as I once was. Madame Matlh, It has been a privilege. I will get the solution to you as soon as Mr Pardek and I have completed our field trials. Mr Pardek, I look forward to doing business with you in the future. Captain Harrison, I wish your people more good fortune than the Federation wishes me."

Harrison wondered at Pass’ comment but let it pass for the moment. I was something he would be mentioning to the new Security Chief though.

He offered Pass a slight bow, more from polite manners than any sense of affection for the man.

With that the man moved into the crowd and was soon swallowed form sight. Haqtaj turned expectantly to Harrison, "So did you convince him to help you?"

“On the contrary,” Harrison replied. “I told him I would not be accepting his assistance.”

Haqtaj craned forward, "But you said... The whole point of this was to give you the chance to..."

She threw her hands up, "Humans! They change their words faster than their clothing. No matter. There is a party to be had, and things to celebrate, even if the lift of the quarantine isn't one of them."

 

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