The courtroom, Qo'noS, 2375
Trial Day 5
The building which housed the halls of justice was a huge, stone monstrosity. Originally a defence fortress on the outskirts of the First City (although the city had long since expanded, swallowing it up), it was over a thousand years old and built to withstand even the worst of the inclement weather that Qo'noS could throw at it. This storm, however, was one of the worst the city had experienced since records began and the day went on, windspeeds became high enough to cause even the strongest buildings to shake under their force. The weather control teams were working hard to dissipate the storm but they had difficult choices to make. It was often the case that interfering with the weather in one location could cause worse conditions elsewhere and it had become evident that allowing this storm to simply blow itself out was the lesser of two evils.
Inside the chamber, the judge felt the slight shaking of the ancient building and lifting a hand, summoned one of the guards to his side. The two spoke quietly for a moment and then the guard was dismissed.
For a moment, Krahl considered what to do and then, with a discontented growl, he rose to his feet. They'd started early that morning, thanks to that g'dayt windstorm, and he was tired, hungry, and getting just a little too old for this. For the briefest moment, he pondered the possibility of retirement before dismissing it as irrelevant and self-indulgent. "We have covered a lot of ground today and the hour is growing late. I had thought to end the session and reconvene to hear the final parts of the story tomorrow." He glared at the unfortunate soldier who had given him the bad news before continuing. "Unfortunately, the weather has continued to deteriorate and I am informed that all vehicles are grounded and a 'shelter in place' order has been issued by the government. As such, we appear to be stranded here."
He waited until the inevitable outcry had died down before speaking again. "I have decided to call a temporary recess." As he spoke, he cast his eyes around the courtroom, calculating the numbers present. Yes, he decided, the staff facilities would be adequate if not quite to the high standards of comfort that some of his 'guests' might have expected. "There is a canteen with replicators in the upper basement as well as sanitary facilities. My guards will show you the way." He lifted the heavy globe and brought it crashing down. "Court is now in recess. We will reconvene in forty-five minutes."
As spectators and officials filed noisily out of the courtroom, Krang remained where he was assuming, correctly as it turned out, that as the prisoner on trial the invitation did not extend to him. The chamber was almost empty when a pair of guards approached him. "You will come with us."
With a curt nod, Krang stepped out of the dock and allowed the guards to escort him through the corridors. They stopped outside a door which was clearly marked as being what Chrissie would have euphemistically called a rest room.
"You may use the facilities," the guard informed him. "We will wait here."
This time, Krang's nod was a little less curt. It was actually thoughtful of the guards to think of this. Going inside, he did what was necessary and freshened up before returning to the custody of his guards, offering them a faint smile of thanks. A few moments later, he was sitting in a small holding cell. It was the old-fashioned type, a bare room with four stone walls and an actual door rather than the more usual forcefield. Seating himself on the bench, he made himself as comfortable as possible and settled down to wait.
He had no way of telling the time but it was only about five minutes before the cell door opened and one of the guards returned, carrying a tray containing food and a tankard of water, which he placed on the bench next to Krang before retreating and locking the door again. Not particularly hungry, Krang nevertheless tasted the food, finding it to be surprisingly good quality. A generous portion of rokeg pie with a side helping of gladst filled the plate. That was Chrissie's favourite, he reflected, wondering where she was and if she was all right. She would be fine, he told himself sternly; Mackenzie would be looking after her, he had no need to worry about her welfare. Still… he missed her.
The door opened again and as though summoned by his thoughts, Chrissie stepped inside. He was on his feet at once, arms held out and she flew into them. "Krang! Oh, Krang!" She said something else but her voice was muffled against his chest and he did not catch the words. It didn't matter; she was here in his arms and nothing else mattered.
The two sat together and shared the meal, and as he ate, Krang discovered that now Chrissie was with him, he was hungrier than he'd thought. The food quickly disappeared and shoving the empty tray aside, he slipped his arm around her.
She leaned her head against his shoulder. The armoured uniform he wore meant it was not the most comfortable position, but she didn't care; she just wanted… needed… to be close to him. "You brought back some happy memories today," Chrissie said eventually. "The wedding was beautiful. It was a good day."
"It was indeed," Krang agreed. "It was the last of the good days."
That wasn't quite true but she understood his meaning. The conversation they'd had that evening, in which she had presented him with her idea, had been the beginning of the end of their time together on Earth.
With a little sigh, she snuggled a little closer to him, determined to savour every moment of this little interlude the guards had so generously and unexpectedly given them.
St Mary of the Heavens, London
Wednesday 2nd February 1994
Shivering slightly in the cold air and thankful that unlike the bride, he was wearing his winter cloak, Krang found himself smiling as he watched Kay'vin and Marla posing on the steps of the church. Luckily, his mate had remembered to pick up her little camera on her way to the church. The vicar's wife also had a camera and the two women were both engaged in taking photos of the happy couple.
The newlyweds had emerged from the building to find the soldiers lining the pathway and steps into the church, bat'leths raised high to form an archway. Somehow Krang knew that Chrissie was responsible for that. As soon as the vows had been over, she'd slipped from her place to take a couple of photographs from the vantage point of the aisle, then spoken very quietly to Grenn and the two had disappeared outside. He'd wondered what she'd been up to; now he knew.
Marla looked radiantly happy and surprisingly beautiful (if probably rather cold) in the flimsy and very unconventional dress she had borrowed. Klingon women, at least, those who were hemQuch - or Imperial Klingons as they preferred to be called - did not generally wear such short skirts. The style was, unfortunately, irrevocably associated with the greatest shame of the Klingon people, the Augment virus, having been fashionable amongst the QuchHa, even to the point of becoming official uniform for QuchHa women in the Defence Force.
He'd seen pictures of his own grandmother wearing such a uniform. Living on the Qu'vat colony at the time of the epidemic, she'd been one of the original victims of the virus - although Krang suspected she would have fiercely disputed his use of the word 'victim' – and she'd been lucky to survive. She would also have objected to being called an Unhappy One, and rightly so; anyone less unhappy or victimlike would have been hard to find.
He'd not understood as a young child, just what it meant to be QuchHa. His grandmother was just his grandmother, a somewhat scary old lady who'd given him candied racht. As he had grown up, he had learned. Once the other children had found out they'd told their parents, and the parents had educated their children as to the undesirability of such blood. And the other children had mercilessly educated him. He'd fought battle after battle in defence of his family honour and in the end the school had suspended him for fighting.
Giving himself a mental shake, Krang returned his attention back to the present. It was funny how a simple detail could bring back memories; he hadn't thought about his grandmother in years.
The vicar, Krang noticed, was off to one side, talking with some of his senior officers. The human looked slightly harried and Krang wondered momentarily if he should go over and rescue him. No doubt they were still discussing that ridiculous story about turning water into wine. Admittedly it was a good story and the rather whimsical thought crossed his mind that if the Klingon gods had been able to produce a decent bloodwine, they might not have ended up dead.
Lost in his thoughts, he almost jumped when Koreth nudged him to get his attention. "They seem to be done with the photography now," the brigadier said with a grin. "Since we have no ma'Stakas, we should perhaps go and congratulate them politely, the tera'ngan way."
Koreth was right. Turning his gaze back to the couple, Krang saw Chrissie putting her camera away before pulling a small, brightly wrapped parcel out of her bag and handing it to Marla. A gift of some sort, he assumed, although how she'd found the time to obtain one on such short notice, he had no idea. She said something to the couple and whatever it was, it caused Kay'vin to blush and Marla to break out in giggles.
Admittedly overprotective, Krang kept an eye on his mate as she moved away from the newlyweds. A shout from one of the children had caught Chrissie's attention and seeing them pestering one of the soldiers, she muttered something under her breath and hurried over to retrieve them. Quite who was being rescued from whom, Krang was not entirely sure.
"It was a good ceremony," Krang complimented the couple when they eventually came face to face. "My congratulations."
Putting an arm around his bride's waist, Kay'vin offered his superiors a happy smile. "Thank you both for coming. We are honoured by your presence."
"Yes, well…" Koreth growled, remembering Krang's much earlier comments and deciding to tease the young couple. "You've taken up enough of my time with this nonsense, Kay'vin. If Krang isn't keeping you busy enough, I am sure I can find work for you to do." Both Krang and Kay'vin gave him a startled glance, wondering at his sudden display of temper. Then it was Marla's turn. "And you, Lieutenant Marla… you were due on duty half an hour ago."
"What?" As far as she knew, her shift was not supposed to start until that evening. "No, sir, that's not…"
"Your shift starts when I say it does," Koreth snapped, ruthlessly cutting her off. "You should know better than to argue with a superior officer."
"But, sir… I…" she protested somewhat incoherently, confused by the very undeserved reprimand.
"In fact," Koreth growled, with some effort keeping a straight face as he interrupted her again, "you are both relieved of duty and will confine yourselves to quarters for a period of forty-eight hours. Now get out of here before I change my mind."
"Yes, sir." Realisation dawning, Kay'vin grabbed hold of Marla, pulling her away before she could protest further.
"I note you did not specify whose quarters," Krang observed, his lips twitching with barely repressed amusement as he watched the young couple hurry off. "Did you just give them a two-day honeymoon?"
Koreth grinned. "I did," he confirmed. "It's the best I can do considering they've just come back from leave."
"Well, it's not like we would have got any sense out of either of them," Krang laughed. He slapped Koreth on the back. "Well played, my friend."
Finally coming over to join her mate, Chrissie was just in time to catch the tail end of the discussion and answering her enquiring look, Krang gave her a quick summary of what she had missed. She laughed delightedly. "Oh, nicely done. Anyway, I just came over to tell you that I'm going to take the children home in a minute. Are you joining me or...?"
He shook his head regretfully. "I still have a lot to do today. I need to get back to work."
"Back to work?" Disappointed but not really surprised, she decided to tease them. "Doesn't that imply you were actually working in the first place?" As the two Klingons bristled, she took a risk and stirred things just a little more. "Besides, don't you know its traditional to give a gift to the newlyweds? You can't attend a wedding and not give a gift, that would be dishonourable." Trying not to laugh at their horrified expressions, she delivered her final blow. "Forget work, you two need to go shopping!"
"Shopping?" a Klingon woman approached, the only one present apart from the bride and Chrissie guessed that this had to be Kolana. Krang had spoken of her once or twice but it was the first time Chrissie had actually met her. She was a lot more intimidating than Marla, as well as being older, and instinctively, Chrissie moved just a little closer to her mate.
"Um…" Kolana's closeness left Koreth unusually tongue-tied. "Yes. I… um… Apparently we must find gifts for the couple."
"Oh?" Her voice was little more than a purr. "I do like shopping but I am not at all familiar with London. You will show me round this city and I will help you choose an appropriate gift."
Too shocked to protest, Koreth allowed himself to be led away and watching them go, Krang and Chrissie struggled to contain their laughter. Chrissie reached up and kissed her mate. "I really must get the children home. Thank you for calling me, Krang-oy. It's been a wonderful day."
Not caring who might be watching, Krang pulled her closer, deepening their kiss until they were both breathless and wanting. Chrissie was right, he decided. It was a good day.
Notes: Obviously the real reason for short dresses in Star Trek was because it was the 60's. However, it occured to me that we never, ever see a Klingon woman with ridges wearing the short skirt. They seem happy to show off their cleavage, but always wear either a long, ankle length skirt or trousers... every single time. Hence I came to the conclusion that the fashion was associated with women suffering from the virus.
As always, thanks to the three wonderful people who have reviewed and supported this story. You know who you are!