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Age of Aggression

Posted on Wed Aug 3rd, 2016 @ 7:18am by Civilian Haqtaj Matlh & Captain Nelson Harrison & Lieutenant Commander Soraya Delrisa & Lieutenant Thomas Stills & Magnus Temple & Petty Officer 1st Class Vartog

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Cargo Hold 15

Haqtaj had gone to some trouble for Anna's birthday celebration. She had booked out a Cargo bay adjacent to a Holodeck, and splurged on a cornucopia of goods that weighed down tables.

Klingon and Federation treats were in abundance. With common Klinogn indifference to Federation norms, the food was scattered in no particular fashion; Chocolate cake next to the Rokeg Heart Pie, and orange juice alongside the Blood Wine.

The invite list had included Klingons and Federation personnel, though there were in fact two parties. The first, a Klingon only affair, was held in the Holodeck. A select group of warriors of various ages led Anna on her first hunt for a Valtung Beastworm. Having cornered the creature, Anna was invited to make her first kill. Boyed on by the passion of those around her she found she was able to strike a blow, but the actual killing and cleaning were handled by the more experienced Klingons. Still, it was agreed she had done exceptionally well for her first hunt and they had given her the centre horn as a trophy for her belt.

Then the group had left the holodeck and joined the main group in the Cargo bay. Here the beastworm was placed on a spit while Anna regaled her classmates who had come of the great adventure. Some of the Federation parents in attendance looked on warily at the tale of gore but the youngsters drank it up, wide eyed.

Haqtaj lead the singing, carrying Anna on her shoulders around the room. Some of the parents took their young charges an left, uncomfortable in the high energy environment, but many stayed; mostly those who had been with the Klingons in previous Starbases and had gotten used to their exuberance.

Haqtaj placed Anna down on the centre table. She accepted a Vartog a package he had been holding for her. She motioned for silence from the crowd.

"Anna, daughter of Soraya," she began. "Today you took your first steps as a warrior. You did yourself and your people proud. On this day, it is my hope that you will begin a path of honour, and to that end, I am presenting you with this honour blade. Use it only in a cause that is just, and only in a way that is noble. Pettiness and disgrace should never be found in it, or your history."

The five year old held out her hands as the brilliant blade was given to her. Her emotions swirled around her like a heavy blanket; she had run with the hunters, felt their primal heat, even wounded prey. The approval of the Klingon thrummed through her and, though still young, she sensed the gravity of the moment. She bowed her head to her Aunt Haqtaj and held the knife up, triumphant!

"To Anna!" came the cheer from the crowd.

Annabella Delrisa delighted in the warmth of the assembly and the pride she felt from her Aunty. For a moment she forgot herself and looked around for her mother, then remembered Mommy had gone away again. She nearly cried then, missing Mommy. Welcoming hands touched her arms and shoulders, and the child let herself get lost in the happiness that surrounded her.

Over in one corner, where Magnus Temple found himself, one Klingon elbowed another, "If the children of Gaspar had fought as well as her, we wouldn't have found it as easy as we did."

Magnus was stunned. He'd been in the middle of a mouthful of a rather sweet cupcake when he caught the Klingon's words. He continued to chew, purposely and slowly, without looking like he was listening to their conversation. The Dane suddenly became aware of how difficult it was to appear to nonchalantly eat a cupcake. It was ridiculous. He just kept marvelling at the baked confection as if it were the best thing he'd ever eaten, while keeping his ears and empathic senses trained towards the interesting conversation.

"Maybe you could be foiled by a Human child," another Klingon added, "but House Tavaris are made of sterner stuff."

There was good natured laughter at this point. The other Klingon growled in friendly banter, "That human girl is protected by House Matlh. I would back Ro', brother of Matlh, over Bre'ton, son of Tavaris."

There was a general murmur of agreement, "And if he had fought at Gaspar..."

"Enough," Barked an older Klingon who had noticed the Human nearby getting to the end of his cake.

His formal duty done, Vartog retired into the anonymity of the assembled crowd of well-wishers. There were a few Klingons whom he hadn’t seen in years that he wanted to chat with but he preferred to keep it low key, if that was at all possible at a Klingon party. However, the dark-eyed guest of honor was looking around for him, and when she found him she ran over with a delighted squeal.

"Mister Vartog, look what Aunty gave me!" the girl said, holding out the blade.

Vartog recognized the dagger immediately...and its significance. Part of him swelled with pride for the girl but another part was troubled.

“You have earned the weapon, young Miss Delrisa, but a weapon such as it is not to be drawn unless you mean to use it...and unless you know how to use it.” He knelt and looked her straight in the eye. “It is not a plaything. Draw it at the wrong time or in response to the wrong situation and you will find yourself dead within seconds. See the warriors here....” He waved an arm to encompass the milling throng. “If you draw on them they will assume you mean to fight. They will slash you open and no Klingon court will condemn them for doing so.”

He rose again. “Wear the weapon with all the honour it bestows on you but heed my warning.”

The child felt the gravity of his words but she was still very attuned to Aunty and the general bright moods around her. She nodded quickly and put her new prize away, bouncing off in another direction. She thought she had seen cupcakes....

Across the far side of the room, Captain Harrison stood in the doorway surveying the crowd. Loud, boisterous parties were not to his liking but he knew his position as station commander demanded he at least put in an appearance. Looking around, he spotted a familiar face and headed in that direction. “Mrs. Molington,” he said, “this seems a very...exuberant...festivity for a five year old.”

Cat Molington was enjoying the party scene. Everyone was having a good time and it was very lively. She smiled warmly at Captain Harrison as he approached. "It shouldn't be any other way," she replied "After all your only five once. I had a Prince and Princess party when I was 5. I still have the photos. They're very close the Ambassador and Anna."

“Yes, I had heard the Ambassador had formed a close bond with Anna. I find the concept...strange. They say opposites attract and I can’t think of two more opposite than an experienced Klingon warrior and a young, half-Betazoid child. Even so, Haqtaj never struck me as the motherly type but here she is, displaying all the attributes of a Klingon mother.”

"I heard that Klingons are very fond of children you know. She's a lovely mother with oodles of patience?" Cat wondered if Klingon mothers teach their children the same things as a human mother. Her own mother had taught her many things including many of the older crafts that aren't used as much theses days. Cat found them so relaxing knitting or sewing in her spare time. She hoped that one day she might be able to have a child of her own and pass on all the things that her mother taught her.

“I suppose it goes to show that you never can tell. No matter how much we think we know about life, reality never fails to throw up surprises.”

"That's what make life so interesting," she replied. "The Vulcans have a saying for it: Infinite diversity in infinite combinations but you would know that."

Magnus had sauntered over to one of the snack tables once again, wondering how many more miles he would have to run in the morning in order to have another cupcake. He figured another 10 minutes on the holodeck would be worth the calories. He deliberately took his time, making passing remarks and small talk to the assembled crew and civilians, as inconspicuously as possible, while scanning around the room for his intended destination. Finally he had made is way around to the doorway where Captain Harrison stood talking to a civilian.

"Greetings sir, Ma'am," Magnus interrupted their conversation with a nod. "Forgive my intrusion, but I just wanted to request a chance to chat with you Captain, as soon as you're available."

Temple looked square into Harrison's eyes to hopefully convey the suggestion of seriousness he had hoped for.

“Business or pleasure, Ambassador,” Harrison replied. He noted the expression on Temple’s face but mistook it for concern over the party so did not consider it urgent.

"Business, once more I'm afraid, Captain," Magnus replied with a shrug. He was about to take the Captain aside when he noticed some security officers entering the room and a small chill went down his spine.

The party was in full swing and, perhaps, it was a little raucous or, perhaps, security still held a grudge against Ambassador Matlh for the incident in the Delrisa quarters. Either way a couple of Security officers shouldered their way through the crowd to the Klingon Ambassador.

"Excuse, me, Ambassador," one began, "We have had some complaints from residents on the deck above about the noise. We are going to have to ask you to disperse this gathering."

Haqtaj laughed, "It's a party! Of course it is loud. Tell the bang'Hom who are missing out, that they can come and join us if they wish."

The Security guard eyed the crowd of drunken Klingons and began to realize he was not in friendly territory, "With respect, Madame Ambassador, this gathering is already bordering on an unacceptable high volume according to our security protocols."

Haqtaj thrust a platter of food at the man, "Protocols be damned, Lieutenant. We are celebrating a hunt; a prodigious event even in your backwards culture.

The security ensign tried to wave the platter away, "Ambassador, If you do not comply I am going to have to detain you for impeding the Security of this station."

Haqtaj leaned forward and leered, "I'd like to see you try."

It was at this point, the worst possible moment, that the Klingon behind Haqtaj was knocked flying from an overly friendly blow to the head. He staggered backwards and past Haqtaj knocking the Lieutenant to the ground. The junior ensign who accompanied him, already tense as a bow string, mistook the gesture as an attack.

The sound of a Phaser rang out. Haqtaj slowly crumpled in front of a startled Anna.

The child stood stock-still for a moment as her Aunty fell to the ground; she lost her emotional connection with the Ambassador as the woman lost consciousness. Aunty Haqtaj? But Aunty had never 'heard' her that way... Is she sick?

"Aunty?" Annabella Delrisa said as she dropped down to hug her. She started to cry.

A wave of rage from the surrounding Klingons flooded through her tired mind. An Attack! Defend the Ambassador! Stand and fight!

The girl vaguely heard the voices around her but the festive mood that had buoyed her had suddenly gone dark... the fury of the Klingons filled her, she was swept up in the thunder of anger that enshrouded her. In seconds the child's deeply dark eyes had gone black.

Without being aware or really knowing she was doing it she drew her knife and jumped at the startled ensign.

Following Anna's lead a number of Klingons loyal to House Matlh sprouted weapons, as the Lieutenant regained his feet and the ensign tried to deal with a wildly slashing 5 year old with a knife; a wildly thrashing 5 year old who had been taught by her Aunty how to fight.

"YOU HURT AUNTY!" she shouted, feeling the approval of the warriors as she moved to strike the ensign's leg. Tears streamed down her face as she only just missed her mark.

All Vartog’s worst fears were realised in an instant. It was bad enough that drunk Klingons had been roused but right in the heart of them stood a five year old girl who had no clue what harm she was causing. He swept in and knocked Anna over, causing the knife to clatter to the floor. Then he wrapped the tiny girl in his arms to protect her. Booted feet trampled over him but he held her tight. Annabella was shaking with rage as the powerful sensations of anger continued to rock her.

“Aunty Haqtaj has only been stunned,” he said in Anna’s ear. He tried to project a feeling of calm to her but it was hard to do in an atmosphere rapidly rising to fever pitch. “Aunty Haqtaj has only been stunned,” he repeated over and over like a mantra, hoping all the while that it was true.

A Klingon kicked Vartog viciously, trying to move him away so she could get to the ensign. Vartog freed one arm, grabbed the warrior’s ankle and wrenched. The warrior yelled but it only inflamed her more. Vartog decided that protecting Anna was the best thing he could do and turned his full attention back to that. She was quieter now, still shaking and crying. She felt Vartog's calming presence soothing her amidst the violent emotions around her. She felt again for Aunty's emotional signature but there was none.

Chaos!

The ensign, half bemused by the little girl's assault now saw a Klingon fly in and "crush her".

=^= Security to Cargo Bay 15! =^= he summoned help. =^= Riot in prog... =^=

The bottle sailed out of the crowd and knocked him cold. The security Lieutenant was on his feet again, but was barely able to fend off the blows around him. Some of the Klingons, those with clearer heads and a better understanding of what had happened, moved to aid the Federation and the fallen, but this only led to a wider confusion and renewed fighting as Klingon turned on Klingon.

On one side Cat Molington, Magnus and Harrison found themselves in grave peril.

Harrison initially thought Vartog had gone mad but quickly realised the Petty Officer was trying to save Annabella. He momentarily considered moving in to assist the Klingon but thought better of it. He’d been trained in unarmed combat but that had been years ago; to call those skills rusty would be to overly praise them.

Instead, the turned to Temple. “Get Mrs Molington out of here then go for help.”

That done, he retreated to the relative safety of a side wall. Once there, he tapped his commbadge. =^=Security to Cargo Bay 15. Riot in progress. Set phasers to stun only.=^=

Grabbing the Teacher firmly by the arm, Magnus was thankful they were near the doorway already. He didn't want to look back at the chaos behind him and instead headed straight out of the Cargo Bay.

"Come on, Ma'am, I'll get you somewhere safe." Temple said as he pulled Mrs Molington out into the corridor.

"Hands off me." said Cat "You'll do no such thing."

Temple was surprised by the Teacher's sudden rebuke. "Just doing as the Captain ordered Ma'am, I think we should get to safety."

Cat pushed him away as easily as swatting a fly. She'd been in worse parties than this and the school teacher in her needed to bring order to chaos. Only one thing to try. She lifted her fingers to her lips and released an ear piercing whistle so shrill that it would have wakened the dead.

The swell of emotion stopped for a split second as the teacher's shrill whistle filled the air... Anna felt like her breath had been suddenly sucked out of her body.

Annabella SCREAMED!

Vartog heard the whistle and knew immediately who had acted: only one person could whistle quite like that. Then Anna screamed. His first reaction was to grip her tighter but he knew instinctively that was the wrong thing to do. He relaxed his hold a fraction instead. The fight drained suddenly from the child and she went limp in his arms.

The surge of emotion followed by it's swift departure had been too much for the five-year old. She had fainted.

 

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