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The Other Side Of The Story

Posted on Apr 19, 2018 @ 10:59pm by Captain Michael Turlogh Kane

Mission: The Trouble With Triticale

"THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY"

(Continued from "Shadowing The Local Law Enforcement")

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Captain's log, supplemental - on this, the morning of James Kirk Day 2433, I have come to the home of the Klingon Sompek, at his invitation, to discuss the concerns of his people...

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Location: Sherman's Planet, about 30 miles north of Port Emily
Stardate: [2.18] 0419.1500
Scene: Farmyard -> interior farmhouse


Michael Turlogh Kane was reborn in a pillar of white light, materialising at the co-ordinates Sompek had given him. The older he got, the more he was getting to dislike going through a transporter; being killed and resurrected over and over again was starting to make him feel less and less like the original him. He still felt the same inside his head, to be sure, but that disconcerting feeling lingered longer in his mind each time he was impelled to go through one of the damn things.

He had materialised in a farmyard, near a fine house that was a striking mish-mash of angular Human and sharp Klingon architecture. The house was coloured white on the ground floor exterior, and red on the upper, and the roof was cut into jutting crenellations that gave the house the appearance of a small fortress. The house stood in stark contrast to the pastoral idyll around it; lush farmland, a dozen shades of green, stretched to the horizon on every side. Most of the fields were in bloom, various crops and cereals being tended to by hovering robots, but there were a few outlying fields lying fallow and unused. The farmyard itself had several buildings of various sizes, from a small horse stable to a sty for a family of targs that were eyeing Kane suspiciously from behind their wire fence.

The farm looked prosperous. The weather satellite was in summer mode with clear skies and sunshine, and a light breeze ruffled Kane's hair.

The front door of the farmhouse opened and Sompek stepped out. He was wearing the same clothes as yesterday - a stained white shirt with a pair of blue overalls pulled up around it. His work boots were spattered with dried mud and his hands were dirty. He acknowledged Kane with a curt nod and moved toward him.

Kane was again struck at the Klingon's similarity to Humans. Sompek looked like a strong, burly mixed-race Human man, with brown skin and dark eyes. He had thick, meaty limbs and a big barrel chest, and his voice was rich and deep. Although physiologically the same as all other Klingons, the Augment Virus' ravaging of the genes of one of his ancestors had dissolved his cranial ridges, smoothing out his brow, blunting his teeth, and removing the tougher, more leathery skin that Klingons had around their joints. If Sompek had lived all his life among Humans and not ever needed medical attention, he could easily have passed for a Human.

Sompek held up a hand as he approached. "Greetings, Captain Kane. You come alone. That is good." The Klingon smiled a smile of blades in an alley.

Kane was no expert on Klingon culture, but he knew enough to know that they respected strength and courage. He pointedly looked around the farmyard and then back to Sompek. "I see nothing that would be a threat to me."

The Klingon frowned, unsure if he'd just been insulted, but then chuckled nonchalantly. "It is true. I am no warrior. Not many of my people on this planet are." He indicated the nearby fields. "Instead we have become farmers, men and women of peace. Out warrior spirit has been diluted, the fire in our hearts has been quenched. All this from generations of living alongside Humans."

Kane ignored the barb. "You seem prosperous enough, Sompek. Do you have a family to inherit your legacy?"

The Klingon eyed him with suspicion. "There are few full-blood Klingon females on Sherman's Planet. There were only a handful during the original occupation, and most of the females nowadays are half-breeds. That also means that the number of full-blooded Klingon males is also dwindling. I am one of the lucky ones - but no. I have no progeny, am an exile from the house of K'mpec because of my appearance, and the Empire exists only as a rump in a lonely part of space, centred around a ruined capital world. Where else am I to go but here?"

Kane looked around again. He could see Sompek's point, but there seemed something about this pastoral landscape that suited the Klingon. Sompek didn't walk like a lithe predator, he moved like a lumbering bear. He seemed strong, but that meant nothing in combat without technique. He certainly didn't seem to fit the mould of the traditional Klingon.

"Come into my home, and we shall speak some more." Sompek turned and led Kane up to the door of the farmhouse, beckoning for him to follow.

Inside, the house was laid out neatly and compactly. There was a hallway, a staircase leading upstairs, a kitchen, and a living area, connected by open doorways. The walls were painted a calming pastel blue, and there were flowers in the window of the living room. The floors were polished wood, recently swept, and there were paintings and pieces of artwork hung on the walls - no implements of Klingon culture anywhere. The place was orderly and neat, with even the embroidered couch cushions matching the room's colour scheme.

Kane was impressed. There seemed more to Sompek than being a triticale farmer. It was obvious that the burly Klingon had a feminine side. "Nice place," he politely ventured.

Sompek looked around, somewhat startled, like he was just noticing it all for the first time. "Oh... yes. Sit down somewhere. I will get us something to drink while we talk."

The Klingon disappeared into the kitchen, and Kane sat down in an armchair that was soft and plush and looked out onto the fields through the room's big bay window. The window was open, and through it came the sounds of birdsong and the outside breeze. There were no other farmhouses within sight - Sompek had picked an isolated place to live. It seemed strange for someone who was the voice of his people on this world.

He heard a refrigerator door close and Sompek reappeared, carrying a tray upon which was a glass of some red fruit-drink and a delicate sugar pastry. Kane watched as the burly Klingon laid down the tray on a coffee table and pulled it towards them before sitting down on the couch opposite him.

Sompek offered a glass of the red liquid. "Sweetberry juice?"

Kane took the glass. "Imaginative name." He reached out and took a sugar pastry, noting how the edges were carefully folded into ruffles.

"The original Human colonists weren't very creative," said Sompek wryly.

Kane sipped the juice. It tasted like cranberry, but sweeter and without the bitter tang, and he liked it straightaway. He took a bite of the pastry, and it too was excellent. "My compliments."

Sompek shrugged. "Thank you." The Klingon waited until Kane finished chewing his pastry and had swallowed. "Captain, I asked you here today because I wanted to put the case of my people to you. You are here to participate in James Kirk Day because it is an annual celebration by the colonists of this world, but there is an entire culture of people who live here too, to whom this festival is offensive."

Kane nodded. To business, then. "You mentioned this yesterday in Governor Chisum's office. Before we continue, I want to ask you about Klingon culture on Sherman's Planet."

"Yes," said Sompek, sitting forward, giving Kane all his attention.

"When I was at Starfleet Academy, which was more years ago than I care to remember, I extensively studied what was then called Xenoculture. I learned the central tenets of the cultures of many Federation and non-Federation species alike. Forgive me, Sompek, but I don't see much evidence of Klingon culture on Sherman's Planet today. How can you complain about being othered if your own beliefs and practices are not more visible?"

Sompek held up a finger to interject. "Ah! It is because our grandparents and great-grandparents, who lived and died in the generation following the initial Klingon occupation, chose to restrict the practice of their own culture to appease Human concerns that it was too violent or prone to internecine conflict. They were told they had to integrate, that being a Federation citizen was more important than learning how to be a warrior, or how to hunt, or any of the other things that inflame the Klingon heart. So, our ancestors pared down their practice of their rituals. They told us stories of ancient heroes, of glorious battles, and some of the history of our people, but as the years passed by, and they began to die, more and more was lost."

Kane listened carefully. Sompek obviously felt very strongly about this issue - his eyes were alight, and his hands moved around while he spoke.

"We were abandoned here inside Federation space, when the Organians imposed their peace on the Federation and the Empire," continued Sompek. "At first, our ancestors thought they would be given a part of the planet to settle on, but the Federation is all about integration and diversity. Klingons lived alongside Humans, but deliberately modified their culture in order to keep Human fear at bay."

"I see."

"Klingons are at several disadvantages, even thought we are equal under Federation law," said Sompek. "When we arrived, Humans had already secured all the best land on the planet, and the Klingons had to settle on land that needed extra work to be made fruitful. That in itself was not an issue, but Humans were prioritised for things like water rights, weather modification, and replicator or farming robot allocation, simply by virtue of having been here before us. There were local ordinances put in place to keep this state of affairs ongoing. It took a couple of generations for Klingon farmers to grow prosperous enough to begin acquiring land closer to Port Emily. As far as I know, I am the closest one, and we are thirty miles outside of town here."

Kane listened in silence, but he shifted uncomfortably in the armchair.

"We have also noted other examples of this kind of neglectful discrimination," said Sompek. "Klingons, hybrid or not, are more likely to be given a jail sentence for breaching the peace, whereas Humans are more likely to get away with a fine. There is a perception that Klingons are more prone to violence, or that we are, on average, slightly physically stronger than Humans. Do I look like a violent man to you, Captain Kane?"

"You look like an angry man," said Kane. He wondered what Sompek might be capable of if he riled the Klingon up. Would Sompek give into his racial pre-dispositions and become enraged enough to be violent?

And then he realised that he'd just done it. Kane felt a sinking feeling in his stomach as he caught his thoughts, stopped them running away down a slippery slope. He backed up mentally, reminded himself that Sompek was an individual, and not responsible for the actions of his entire people.

"I am angry!" said Sompek passionately. "There is only one school for Klingon children on this planet, but it receives a fraction of the resources that an integrated school does. Furthermore, Humans are always attempting to ensure that hybrid children - those children with one Human parent and one Klingon parent, who in many cases is a hybrid themselves - are raised as Humans. A half-Human, half-Klingon child is assumed to be Human on this planet!"

"You'd rather they were assumed to be Klingon?" said Kane.

"I'd rather their mixed heritage was used to identify them! It is important that those people who carry Klingon genes know that they are part *us*! The Humans have privilege on Sherman's Planet and they refuse to see it!" Sompek sat back and sighed.

Kane paused a moment. He wanted to help, but was unsure of what to do other than recognise his own biases. From what he had gleaned, Governor Chisum was aware of Sompek's points but disagreed with them, and was thus unwilling to make any changes. Wasn't that his right as the democratically elected governor of the planet? Didn't Chisum have an obligation to protect the interests of majority as well as the minority - in fact, wasn't minoritarianism something that federalist politics strove to avoid just as much as a tyranny of the majority?

He tried to compare it to life on a starship, but it wasn't quite the same. Everyone on the Phoenix was an individual with an individual cultural background, but they had all agreed to be bound by the rules of service to Starfleet. Racism was absolutely not tolerated aboard a starship, but most Federation citizens (in the core worlds, at least) were enlightened enough to recognise that there was no biological difference between all members of one species despite their individual outward appearance, that sexuality was a wide, nuanced spectrum, and that everyone deserved a place at the table in good faith.

Sompek eyed him. "You see now why we dislike James Kirk Day. To us, it is triumphalism masquerading as community. To us, the triticale you have brought endorses and normalises this festival in the eyes of the government on Vulcan. When you have gone, everything I have already spoken of will remain."

Kane put his glass and plate back on the tray. "Do all Klingons feel as you do, Sompek?"

The Klingon sighed. "No. Full-blood Klingons mostly do. After that, it depends on how much Klingon blood is in the heart. Some young mixed-race people, even those half-and-half, prefer to lean much more toward their Human side, probably because of the influence of the dominant culture here. In another few generations, we pure-blood Klingons may have been bred into irrelevancy."

That, Kane mused, might be the crux of the matter. In any case, there was nothing more to be said - today was James Kirk Day, and preparations for the festival were complete. When he had left his hotel that morning to come here, everyone was smiling, but he didn't remember seeing any Klingon faces - not that he could have told them apart.

He needed time to think about all this. The legality of a starship crew attempting to influence political change on a colony world was very murky - indeed, one of Starfleet's general orders specifically stated that Starfleet personnel were to obey all local laws an ordinances of any Federation member world they visited. He had a strong gut suspicion that the JAG would not look kindly on any attempt to politically influence Governor Chisum, and in any case, his orders were simply to visit Sherman's Planet and make nice with the locals, not to attempt to upturn their society.

He stood up. "Thank you for your hospitality, Sompek," he said, extending a hand. "I'm glad we met here, away from the town. You've given me much to think about."

Sompek got up and shook Kane's hand with a strong grip. "I would wish you to enjoy the day, Captain Kane, but since I know where you are going, I cannot find it in my heart to do so."

Sompek escorted Kane back to the front door and out into the farmyard. Kane turned to face him. "I'll see you soon, Sompek." He touched his communicator. "Kane to Phoenix. One to beam to previous Port Emily co-ordinates."

Before the matter stream killed him again, he saw the Klingon nod, his expression unreadable.

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NRPG: Let James Kirk Day 2433 begin!!


Jerome McKee
the Soul of Captain Michael Turlogh Kane
Commanding Officer
USS PHOENIX


"He speaks an infinite deal of nothing!"
- Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", Act 1, Scene 1.117

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