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Posted on Jul 04, 2018 @ 4:09am by Captain Michael Turlogh Kane
Edited on on Jul 04, 2018 @ 4:14am

Mission: The Trouble With Triticale


(Continued from "Getting Answers")


Captain's log, supplemental - with the civil situation on Sherman's Planet still tense, a makeshift committee has been convened in Port Emily to try to negotiate some kind of settlement...


Location: Port Emily, City Hall
Stardate: [2.18]0704.0010
Scene: Governor Chisum's office

Michael Turlogh Kane sat down again along with everyone else. The chair wasn't exactly comfortable - it was one of those hinged folding things that was made entirely of metal and only intended for short-term use - but that was the very last thing he was going to complain about at a time like this.

There were several people all sitting in a circle in Governor Chisum's office, returning from a break in the meeting, during which he'd been contacted by Jasmine regarding her new lead. Seated at his own desk was Dick Chisum, then, moving from Chisum's left, sat Sheriff Ethan Edwards, Eve Dalziel, Sompek, and Kane. Sompek was sitting between Kane and Eve, directly opposite Chisum, and nobody looked happy.

Kane certainly wasn't happy. A series of events were all converging dangerously close to one another on this planet - the firebombing of the James Kirk effigy, the tension between the Human and Klingon colonists, the suspicious activity of Is'toQ and his squadron - and now the clock was ticking. Fifty-five minutes remained until the expiration of the deadline that he gave Is'toQ, and Kane was not looking forward to escalating the situation if the Imperial Klingons decided to defy that deadline. Starfleet were adamant that they could not corroborate Is'toQ's claim to be representing the Klingon High Council, and had issued orders to eject Is'toQ from the system if he refused to take his ships and depart voluntarily in peace.

He forced himself to concentrate on the here and now. Is'toQ was not in the room, even though his shadow might be in the doorway, and Sompek's friends were taking a breather on the street. Right now, law and order was breaking down in Port Emily, and they had to find a way to stop it.

Dick Chisum opened his drawer and took out his bourbon bottle and a shot glass, wiping his sweating face with his stained handkerchief. The governor looked around like he was going to offer everyone a drink, then saw their collective expression, and just poured one for himself. Kane watched him drink it in one draught, saw how bloated and puffy his face was getting, and frowned. The governor did not look a well man.

"Governor, let's get started," Kane said, putting on his best businesslike voice. He shot a glance around the room. "First off, I want to make it clear why I beamed down to Port Emily just now. Like I said outside, Starfleet have informed me that they cannot confirm Is'toQ's mission to Sherman's Planet, and have ordered me to see that he leaves the system for the Federation border."

"To see that he leaves - one way or another?" said Sompek. The burly Klingon sat with his back straight up, and slowly folded his arms, an expression of distaste on his face.

Kane met his stare evenly. "Yes. If the Klingons do not withdraw, there will be a military confrontation. Starfleet does not permit foreign starships to freely travel through the Federation."

Nobody said anything, and Kane turned his attention back to the room in general. "We have an equally dangerous problem here. Public order is collapsing. The local Klingons, perhaps empowered by Is'toQ's presence, are adamant that their own culture is not being accorded equality on Sherman's Planet. The James Kirk Day festival was just the latest example. Is that notion - that the local Klingons are oppressed - an accurate one?"

"Yes," said Sompek firmly. "I explained all this to you when you visited my farm, Captain. James Kirk Day is an expression of Human triumphalism over us, nothing more. We might have been content to let it pass before, but no longer. It must be abolished."

"Now, see here, Sompek, that there ain't gonna happen!" exclaimed Governor Chisum, leaning forward in his seat and putting his elbows on his desk. "Y'all're too busy goddam otherin' yerselves ta see that y'all're more'n' welcome to be a part o' Jim Kirk Day! The festival celebrates alla the people on Sherman's Planet!"

"And how happy you are to be part of the Federation, and not the Klingon Empire," said Sompek pointedly.

"Y'all ain't been Imperial Klingons for a century an' a friggin' half, Sompek!" exclaimed Chisum. He got out his handkerchief and wiped his face again. "Yore culture ain't the same no more! Hell, they say that all the Augment Klingons're extinct, that the other Klingons gone done an' killed 'em all! An' y'all wanna be part o' that kinda culture? Y'all don' know how lucky y'all are, bein' part o' this here Federation!"

Eve Dalziel put up her hand and interjected smoothly. "There were other issues besides that one. Is it true that there is only one Klingon school? That Human settlers are living on the best land, and get priority access to water?"

Chisum sighed and jerked a thumb in Sompek's direction. "It's all true, ma'am, but not in the way he's makin' it out ta be."

"Tell us," said Kane.

Chisum shot a glance at Sheriff Edwards, then shrugged. "Practically the whole planet's farmland was divvied up after the Organian treaty, see? Nobody livin' nowadays had anythin' ta do with it. The Klingons had just tried to invade us back then, remember? So yore damn right that our grandparents an' great-grandparents made shore the Klingons weren't all that prosperous none! The water thing feeds on frum that - triticale's so important ta our economy that we need to prioritise the water ta the best farmland! That's why Humans get first dibs! It ain't nothin' 'gainst the Klingons, it's simple best practice o' agriculture!" He clicked his fingers as he thought of something else, and continued on. "An' the Klingon school thing - shore, it's true that there's jus' the one an' all, and it gets less fundin', but we got thousands o' Human children ta educate that the *rest* o' the money gets spread around to! If we all up an' gave jus' the one school special treatment, that'd hardly be fair now, would it?"

"No, it wouldn't," said Kane. "But consider, Governor - the original system was put in place by your ancestors to give Humans an advantage over the Klingon settlers. It's a system that has been propagated and reinforced by each passing generation. Do the Humans of Sherman's Planet really want to keep their Klingon neighbours disadvantaged?"

"Well, no," said Chisum. "O' course not. But y'all aren't seriously suggestin' we kick Humans off'n their land, are ya? Because that jus' ain't gonna stand!"

Eve leaned forward. "My mother is Bajoran. When they were rebuilding their homeworld after the Occupation, they also had to mediate between competing land claims from people who were returning home after generations of being away. There was a lot of intransigence between those competing claimants, but the longer they stayed obstinate, the longer it took to negotiate a settlement for each individual claim. It got so bitter that several families died out rather than come to arrangements with other competing claimants. Instead of seeing that everyone needed to live together and work together, a lot of land ended up being bought by developers once all competing claimants were dead."

Everyone took a breath. Kane looked at Sompek and Chisum, and both of them looked at the floor in contemplation for a moment.

Eventually, Chisum spoke. He looked Sompek in the eye. "Well, if yore people have the worst land, then Ah guess we oughta make it better."

Sompek raised an eyebrow. "Go on."

"We kin divert tha use o' the farmin' robots," said Chisum. "Terraform yore land. Make it as good as ours."

Sompek nodded slowly. "And then water rights would be the same across the planet. Good."

Chisum stroked his sweating chin with a flabby hand. "An' moar triticale means moar profits for everyone on Sherman's Planet. With tha extra revenue, we kin give a better cut o' fundin' ta yore school. It's all gonna take a couple o' years ta implement, though. Won't be done overnight. Ya might haveta wait a bit."

Sompek's eyes narrowed. His shook his head in reluctance. "If you've never been segregated against, it's easy to tell someone to wait." He set his jaw and looked at Chisum and Edwards. "I don't want your 'wait' to mean 'never'."

The Klingon's profound words gave everyone pause, and Kane looked pointedly at Chisum. The Governor was nodding slowly, and shared another look with Sheriff Edwards. Both of them seemed happy enough.

"If the Governor made this agreement public," said Kane to Sompek, "would you use whatever influence you have with your people to ease their impatience for change?"

The Klingon. "Yes. Yes, I would. We would still be of the opinion that James Kirk Day needs to change, but perhaps that is a talk for another time, after progress has been made on the issues we have been discussing."

Chisum stood up and offered his hand to Sompek. "Well, that's jus' dandy, yessir! Put 'er there!"

Sompek reached out and shook Chisum's hand. "Please, Governor. Do not disappoint us."

"No fear of it!" Chisum reached for his bourbon bottle and two glasses, and Kane caught Eve's eye. He gave her a pleased nod. Everything seemed to be working out well. There was, at least, hope for the future.

[[Yu to Kane.]]

Jasmine sounded out of breath and her voice was on edge. Kane moved to the corner of the room and tapped his communicator. "Go ahead, Lieutenant."

[[Captain, I'm en route back to City Hall. Captain Thytos and I have been following up on our lead regarding the firebombing, and we've arrested two suspects. Request you meet us there - we have potentially valuable intel.]]

Kane glanced over his shoulder and beckoned Sheriff Edwards and Eve to join him. "We'll be there, Lieutenant. Report to me on your arrival. Kane out."

Quietly updating Eve and Sheriff Edwards about Jasmine's message, the three of them moved quietly to the door, as Governor Chisum and Sompek continued healing old wounds.


Scene: Police lock-up, in the basement level

Sheriff Edwards' lock-up was pretty primitive - just an office and a hallway with some cells on each side of it - but since crime on Sherman's Planet was restricted to public drunkenness and the occasional fistfight, it didn't need to be as high-tech as the Phoenix's Security Centre.

Jasmine and Kass returned with their prisoners. While the wounded marines were beamed back to the ship and the Millers were locked up in a cell, Jasmine updated Kane, Eve, and Sheriff Edwards on the raid on the Miller farmhouse (see Ranjani's post "Getting Answers").

When she was done, Kane glanced at the wall chronometer. It was inexorably ticking down the seconds - thirty-five minutes remained until Is'toQ's deadline elapsed, and no word yet from the Phoenix to suggest that the Klingons were preparing to move. Time was drawing short. He looked at Edwards. "You know the Millers?"

The tall black man shook his head. "Not well. Ah know of 'em. She runs a local bakery, he's a groundskeeper, but other'n that, they kinda keep to themselves. On a planet like this, that describes about half the damn population."

Kass threw a thumb at the tech and weapons they'd recovered from the farmhouse. It was piled up on one of the tables in Edwards' office and was easily identifiable as Klingon. "Cap'n, that there junk's at least fifty friggin' years old. It's all Klingon, alla it. Reckon those two are too."

Kane nodded to Eve. "Lieutenant?"

Eve produced her tricorder and moved down the hall to the cell where the Millers were sullenly sitting. She said nothing to them, just opened the tricorder and started scanning.

Kane looked at Kass and Jasmine. "The holographic generator - it's there?"

Jasmine nodded. "Yes, sir. Commander Malin-Argo's scan was accurate. It's a Klingon holo-generator from the last century, same state as everything else. No doubt about it now - the Millers are the ones who set the hologram of the mysterious thin man."

"Friggin' sleeper agents, right under our goddam noses," said Kass.

"Ours too," said Edwards.

Eve closed her tricorder and made her way back to the office. As she rejoined the group, she nodded fatalistically. "As was suspected. They're not Humans, they're Klingons. Augments, if that makes a difference. No hiding their DNA base pair sequences."

"But why?" asked Edwards. He held out his hands, like there was a jigsaw puzzle in mid-air that he was trying to put back together. "Are they political activists like Sompek? Why did they firebomb the James Kirk effigy?"

"Let's go ask them," said Kane. He led the group into the hall, and approached the cell. The Millers, or whoever they were, were sitting in a cell by themselves. It was one of the temporary holding cells - a couple of benches, but no bed. Down the hall, the other arrested Klingons - the ones arrested for their part in the riot earlier - looked on with great interest. Kass moved down the corridor to stand threateningly near them.

Kane deferred to Eve, and the counselor ran a critical eye over the two prisoners. Kane watched her take in every detail of their body language - how they carried themselves, how they set their jaw under the gaze of their captors, how they looked, how they breathed. Kane was a student of psychology himself, but could not match the counselor's expertise at such minute observation.

Finally, Eve stood back and looked at Kane. "The woman," she said.

Kane turned to address Edna Miller. He gave it a moment to collect his thoughts and figure out how he was going to say this in front of such a large audience. "You call yourself Edna Miller, and you and this man pretend to be a Human married couple. Our medical scans show that you are, in fact, Klingon Augments. Earlier tonight, your farmhouse was raided, uncovering dated Klingon technology and weapons. These are the facts. What we want now are answers."

John Miller put his head in his hands and stared at the floor, but Edna Miller got to her feet. She held herself at her full height, squaring her shoulders. "That is all correct. I won't deny it."

Sheriff Edwards stepped forward. "Why did you fire-bomb the James Kirk effigy?"

Edna looked at him witheringly. "To protest the festival."

Edwards shook his head. "And you coerced Jimmy Rao into drugging Rusa?"

"My husband took care of that, but yes."

"Why?" Edwards shrugged. "Yore people have never been violent before. They protest every year, yeah, but y'all ain't never tried to hurt anyone nor anythin' before. Why now?"

"Maybe you pushed us to it," said Edna. "You and every other Human in this place. Maybe you've just pushed us too far, and now you're all going to pay for it." She chuckled to herself, an unpleasant sound.

"No, there's more to it than that," said Jasmine. "You made Jimmy Rao silence Rusa for more than just political activism. Rusa's a fellow Klingon - even if she didn't know you two were her own people, there was another reason why she had to be taken out of the picture, isn't there? She could identify you as the firebombers, yes, but if you were really Human, you could have relied on the local police to let you off with a warning or a fine or something. No, there was something else."

Kane frowned. "Is'toQ." When he said the Klingon captain's name, it fell into place. There *was* another reason that John and Edna had behaved so ruthlessly against Rusa and Jimmy Rao. "You were working for him. Right?"

Edna sighed. Kane could see the conflict on her face - there was no point in denying it, but she didn't particularly want to speak either. Eventually, she shrugged. "Yes. We've been in subspace radio contact with him for a while."

"You've got quite a variety of old Klingon equipment," said Eve. "When we go through it, we'll no doubt find a subspace transmitter."

"Did that varmint tell ya to firebomb the festival?" asked Edwards.

"No, just to create a distraction. That's what we picked. Seemed the best thing to do."

"A distraction?" said Kane in alarm. "Distraction for what?"

"I don't know." Edna folded her arms and leaned against the bars of the cell. "He said he was going to try to help the Klingons in Port Emily, that he would put pressure on the governor to give us concessions. He said that, once his mission to the Federation was completed, he would take those of us who wanted to go home. We assumed that the firebomb would force Chisum to the negotiating table."

"There is no mission to the Federation," said Kane fiercely. "It's all part of some game that Is'toQ is playing with us. Your people have all been conned as part of it."

He stepped away from the cell, and Edwards, Eve, Jasmine, and Kass surrounded.

"What's next, Cap?" asked Kass.

Kane shook his head. He checked the nearest wall chronometer again. Fifteen minutes until the deadline expired. He needed time to think, to contact Jake on the ship and go over their options. But there might not be enough time for that.

Everything, including time, was working against them now.


NRPG: All this tension - can you hear the sound of cracking bone? Over to you, Shawn!

Jerome McKee
the Soul of Captain Michael Turlogh Kane
Commanding Officer

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



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