This story stems from a conversation I had with my dear friend Will, who observed with amazement that we have never known an honorable Klingon. I'll have all you hard-core warriors know I stood up for Martok, who is the only Klingon I can recall that could defend his honor with factual evidence as well as a Bat'leth. I, of course, did not come up with any of the characters or cultures, Star Trek is the property of Paramount etc . . .

Oh, and I'm not afraid of criticism so, Bring it on!


Klingons



Lieutenant Commander B'Elanna Torres sat in a cool conference room and stared out the window which revealed the lush green grounds of Star Fleet Academy and, beyond that, the crystal blue of the San Francisco Bay. Across from her sat Lt. Commander Worf of the house of Martok, he was pretending to read one of the padds that was casually scattered across the mahogany conference table. No one else was in the conference room to mediate this 'discussion' no one else was needed. After all, they were 'experts' they should be able to hammer out these minor difficulties.

"That's not a good idea," she insisted. "This is not a black and white situation, it's more complex than that."

"Yes, it is a black and white situation," Worf insisted, "There is honor and there is dishonor; nothing else is so simple."

B'Elanna sighed and laid her head on the table, this was the thousandth time they had had this argument, at least. The reason she had agreed to take on this project eluded her, right now Tom and Miral were building a clipper in a small garage only meters away from the Gulf of Mexico. She could imagine them, Tom would be doing all the labor and she would just sit and watch him with an amazed expression. He would send her for a ratchet, right as the exaggerated tale about when he was trapped in the holodeck with Tuvok and was being hunted by an evil Bajoran reached it's peak. Miri would look at him, her lower lip trembling slightly and then, suddenly, turn and run as fast as she could to the tool chest where she would grab the right tool, almost instinctively, before delivering it into her father's hands. Tom would look at it, smile, say 'thanks' and then continue working silently. She would protest 'dad!' and then he would look at her, curious for a moment, before breaking into a smile and picking the story up right where he left off. She had married a melodramatic fool. And all she wanted right now was to feel that fool's hands on her back, massaging the stress away, and then his voice in her ear, whispering sweet somethings . . .

"You know," B'Elanna said, pulling her head off the desk and her mind out of the clouds. "I don't think we should spend a whole class on honor at all. We only have three days to cover Klingon history and culture, why bother cluttering it up with ancient ideologies."

Worf was a warrior, he knew thousands of ways to kill a person. Thankfully for B'Elanna, a glare was not one of them. "Honor underlies every aspect of Klingon life, how can you dismiss it as an ancient ideology?"

"You're right," B'Elanna snapped, her temper was paper thin and seconds away from being ripped. "It's not an ancient ideology, it's a catch phrase."

"What!" the full Klingon rose to his feet, had a Bat'leth been available he almost certainly would have put the blade to her throat.

In an odd way, Worf's total overreaction calmed B'Elanna considerably. "Look, I know I was away from the empire for a while there, and I know that I'm by no means a model Klingon, but at least I see the empire for what it is - a political system. And every political system has its catch phrase. The Vulcans use logic to do pretty much whatever they want, Star Fleet uses the idea of freedom the same way and for the Klingons it's honor."

"You are making wild accusations."

"Oh, for goodness sake, open your eyes!" B'Elanna said. "Can you name one honorable Klingon?"

"Kahless," Worf said without hesitation.

"Barring myth and legend."

Worf hesitated for a moment, while B'Elanna waited. Finally, the Klingon said, "Emperor Martok" with an air of pride and accomplishment.

"Wonderful," B'Elanna said dryly. "That's one honorable Klingon, I'll even add another, my grandfather was very honorable - from what I've been told."

"What you've been told?"

"I never met him, he disowned my mother when she married a human," B'Elanna said nonchalantly. "So now we have two. Care to add any?"

"I am honorable."

"Are you?"

"You dare to challenge my honor?"

"Fine, we have three. That all?"

Worf scowled. Honor was such a high ideal that very few reached it. Although he was fain to admit it, he had, at times, broken the honor code himself. If he were to judge himself as harshly as he judged others he would have to count himself among the dishonored - he had lied for the empire and abandoned his family name. He had fought against the empire in Star Fleet and failed to protect his mate. "What is your point?" Worf spit out.

"No offence, but you were raised by humans. Did you even know a Klingon as a child?"

"I educated myself about the empire," Worf said defensively. "I read books."

"Written by Klingons?"

"Naturally."

B'Elanna shook her head, "And it never occurred to you that the 'historical' account of Emperor Temar killing eight thousand warriors of the house of Jaroth was not just a little exaggerated?"

Worf didn't say anything, he didn't even meet B'Elanna's piercing gaze.

"Klingons exaggerate their history," B'Elanna said plainly. "They make their battles so choked full of honor than they couldn't possibly have happened."

"I can't believe you are accusing the empire of propagating lies."

"Not lies, exaggerations," B'Elanna explained. "Humans do the same thing, their historical mistakes sound so much worse in the books than they could possibly have been at the time. If you grow up in the system you learn around it, you start to think through it and around it. You start to use it, not be used by it."

"Enough, you've said enough," Worf scolded.

"You don't believe me."

"How can I? You're claims are unfounded."

"Can you even tell me what Honor is?"

"What do you mean."

"Describe it, how can I know when I see it."

"Honor is life," Worf said, as if he were a child reciting his lesson from a book. "It is the ultimate aim of all Klingons."

"That's not a definition."

"That is how it is described in the first chapter of The Book of Kahless."

"You remember the first chapter of The Book of Kahless?" B'Elanna asked, amazed. All Klingon children were requiered to read The Book of Kahless, and all the Klingon children B'Elanna had ever talked to had hated it.

"All my life I have strived to follow the codes I learned as a child."

"From a book!" B'Elanna insisted. "I learned those principles as a child too, my Klingon family taught me very well that honor was a good excuse for doing what you wanted to do and dishonor is a badge you could easily place on someone you didn't like. It had nothing to do with any sort of moral stance or strength of character, it had everything to do with strength." B'Elanna laughed bitterly. "I didn't know what honor really was until I joined the Marquis and found people who were really willing to fight and die because they believed in something, not because their honor, or pride, demanded them too."

"You are not a true Klingon," Worf said gruffly. "You do not really understand honor."

B'Elanna cocked her head slightly and looked at him with brown eyes that had seen the best and worst in Klingons and in human. "You know what," she said, realizing he would never understand that honor depended on the person, not the race, just like logic was not the property of the Vulcans, nor freedom to the humans, and even greed for the Ferangi. "You're right. I don't even know why they asked me to do this, it's stupid, there must be hundreds of people who are better acquainted with the empire than I am." B'Elanna stood up and started putting all of her padds spread across the table into her briefcase. "Right now my husband and daughter are building a boat. As soon as I get there we're putting on the engine, Miral helped me build it and she couldn't wait until it actually got on the boat."

"By all means, join your family," Worf said, his voice was strained. It could have been anger at her somewhat insulting observations about the Klingon Empire or perhaps it was jealousy, to his knowledge Alexander had never been eagerly awaiting his attentions (of course, Alexander had always eagerly awaited any attentions Worf could spare, unfortunately Worf usually had so few attentions to give the boy that he had never noticed Alexander's eagerness.)

"Perhaps I can persuade Dax to come and aid me."

"Dax?" B'Elanna asked, confused. "I thought that was the name of your, ah, dead wife."

"No," Worf said harshly. "She was trill, Dax is the symbiont. In a previous life, that of Curzon Dax, it helped negotiate the Khitomer accords. Dax understand honor."

"Right," B'Elanna said, she tried to imagine what it would be like to work with Tom after he died, or not even Tom, just a fraction of him in someone else's body. It gave her the willies, and stiffened her resolve to be in his arms before the hour was up. "Best of luck to you two."

"Thank you," Worf grunted, before adding the traditional Klingon parting blessing, "Go with honor."

B'Elanna smiled at the irony. "You too."

The End