A/N: Sorry this took longer (and is shorter) than ch. 2, I didn't have this written before and I realized that a lot of things went unexplained. So now, hopefully, I'll edit more chapters sooner. And next time, I'll warn you when I have to rewrite stuff! Also, ch. 1 has ben updated slightly, to reflect that the Imaerans had already been in contact with the Klingons, and also: Thank you to everyone who's reviewed so far!
Inside the silver building, the air was cool, compared to the late spring atmosphere outside.
"Exactly how much do you know about warp technology?" Kirk asked.
"Our knowledge is scattered," Nevaha said. "We can detect the faintest traces of it around our planet, but we have had to learn an entirely new way of thinking to be able to comprehend how it works. Our entire technological culture has been based on magic-" she gestured to a glowing blue gem set in the ceiling that seemed to radiate cool air- "And now we have to deal with the emptiness of the Nothing, and Nonbeing particles-"
"Nonbeing particles?" Kirk questioned the unfamiliar term.
"In the- Klingon, you called it?- ship, the engines are powered by particles which have Nonbeing reacting with particles which have Being-"
"Matter and anti-matter," Kirk realized.
"Is that what you call it? We have had little exposure to the more widespread terminology. We have made do with what we know." Nevaha shrugged, then called out to a passing dragon.
"This is Rendan," she introduced the dark silver and black male, "The leading expert on what we know of warp." Rendan snorted and bobbed his head in greeting. "You'll forgive him, he's not very talkative. Prefers the intricacies of Nonbeing engines to conversations with other dragons!"
Kirk raised an eyebrow and looked over his shoulder at Scotty. "Sound familiar?" he half-laughed.
"Sir! Ye make it sound like I stay in th' Engine room all day an' shun human contact!" Scotty replied, mock-offended.
Rendan snorted again- in laughter this time, a hint of a smile inching onto his face.
"I believe you two could work together to determine the precise parameters of our knowledge," Nevaha suggested, "If that's agreeable, Captain?"
Kirk smiled and shrugged. "I've got no problems with that. But- Scotty?"
"Try to control your enthusiasm and only discuss things Rendan already knows about?"
"...Right, sir." Scotty looked severely disappointed.
After McCoy and Spock were sent off with a gold-and-blue Healer and dark green Philosopher- one of the Imaerans' scientists- to discuss possible poisons, natural dangers, and the prevention of accidents, Nevaha and Kirk continued to the central hall. A slightly raised platform with various writing materials on it stood amid brightly-colored banners.
"These are the banners of the Allied Clans," Nevaha said. "In light of the recent attacks, all but two of the Clans' banners are here. We will all witness the Peace contract."
"How so?" Kirk asked.
"Each banner represents a Clan indirectly. Since having a representative from each Clan here would be a little chaotic, we hang every Clan's banner. There's an enchantment on each that would let each Clan view the proceedings from their banner, if they so choose."
Nevaha lightly ran a claw down a banner displaying golden dunes, red rock formations, and a pale sky, adorned with sparkles of gems that glimmered in certain lights. "This is my Clan's banner," she said, pride in her voice. Quickly she turned away and ushered Kirk to the writing table.
"This will only be a temporary contract," Kirk reminded Nevaha, "Until you develop warp-powered ships, the Federation can't really intervene."
"Of course, but how do you deal with situations like this, when a society has developed warp not of their own means?"
"... It's complicated."
"Hmm. I think the beat way to go about this is a kiinather."
"Kiinather? Oh. It is a ritual, a symbol of near-permanent peace between two Clans. It can only be broken by the murder of either younglings or a Clan leader."
"And this planet and the Federation would be on peaceful terms after the ritual?"
"Absolutely. The ritual is rather simple, just an oath and a witness of four repesentatives, which include the oath-taker. There's a non-harmful- to us, at least- scale-dyeing potion that temporarily lets the representatives take the colors of the other Clan. I'll ask the spell-weavers about a modifiation for your species."
Kirk smiled. "That sounds harmless enough. I think I know who my representatives will be."
Nevaha trilled happily. "Good! Then we'll announce it soon?"
"Many of my people already know your language, or part of it. During the presentation, we'll take turns speaking the same thing. We can make connections by listening to two languages, but I think the process would be easier if I spoke in the Old Tongue, at least for now."
"The Old Tongue?"
"It is a language we have that is more suited to your vocal chords. You've heard-" she completed her sentence with growls and chirps. Then she picked back up with a strange but reproducable sentence- "Kir tai k'navi ii t'raniir dae Old Tongue," Nevaha settled back on her haunches, smiling.
Kirk's eyebrows were raised at the end. "I... I honestly have never heard anyone switch between languages so fluently," he said at last.
A/N: I said I'd warn you, so here: Real Life has reared its ugly head and there's strange rehearsal stuff going on for me, the Internet has been shoved into a box and slightly forgotten for a while, and probably for the next week or so.