HS Chapter 11

A/N: [[Spoken Klingon]] This chapter. No, seriously, this chapter. Fun to write, but also a challenge. Also of note: Some stuff about how the Federation works etc is probably not according to canon. I changed it deliberatey, because it's pretty clear from the movie that Starfleet at least is not the same in AOS as in TOS. Pike called it a *peacekeeping armada*, which is HELLA different from a primarily exploratory/scientific fleet.

(_)(_)(_)

The first thing Jim did the next morning was ensure the beta-shift Bridge, Engineering and Medical crews were up, on their toes, and at their stations. He didn't much like depriving the ship of its primary command crew, but this was one of those times where it would be required. Not only did they have to meet the Klingons on as equal a footing as could be managed, but Jim was willing to bet his commission that they'd want to hear the story of the fight from the people who'd been involved. Repeatedly.

Today was going to be a hell of a challenge. The night before had merely been the appetizer, so to speak. Dunking their collective toes in the water to see what it might be like. However someone wanted to phrase it.

"Alpha Command Crew, meeting in the Captain's Quarters in fifteen minutes." Jim announced once he'd checked on the Beta crew, and while he was still en route back to his own quarters.

Much to his amusement, Spock beat him there, and Uhura was only seconds behind Jim's arrival, both of them arriving well before the fifteen minute time limit was up. Jim let them in, and they both took the places they'd taken previously - Spock in one of the chairs, and Uhura on the far end of the couch from Jim.

Chekov and Sulu were the next to arrive, and came in together, both of them bouncing on the balls of their feet and Sulu with that determined and slightly crazed look in his eye he'd gotten before and during the drill thing. Sulu also already had his fold-away sword strapped to his back, but if Chekov was armed, Jim couldn't tell. Bones arrived next, looking sourer than ever, not that Jim blamed him. Scotty was the last to arrive.

Once everyone was there, Jim sat forward. "Right, I'll make this as short as I can since we have better things to do with our time today. First thing first - make sure you're armed if you know how to use a non-energy based weapon. Secondly, make sure you're all wearing all combat-related awards you've earned."

Thankfully, they all had at least one, thanks to the Narada mess. Scotty might well have more than that since he had been in Starfleet a while before he'd been exiled to Delta Vega.

"We figured out yesterday that Klingons have a definite ranking system, and who stands by who is an indication of rank. In keeping with the whole 'meet them on their level' idea, we're going to be imitating it." Jim continued. "So this is how we're going to walk in, and whenever it's possible and applicable after that." Jim pointed to Spock. "Spock will be on my immediate right. Sulu, you're behind or beside him, and Scotty, you're behind or beside Sulu." Then he pointed to Uhura. "Uhura will be on my immediate left. Bones, you're behind or beside her, and Chekov, you're behind or beside Bones."

Then Jim focused on Chekov. "You're going to come in for a good amount of heat." He admitted. "From what we saw, the guys on the left side were lower-ranked than the ones on the right. On top of that, you're young. So they're going to head for you first to see what we're made of. That said, I will happily kick someone's ass if they come on stronger than you can handle, so don't hesitate to yell for help if you need it."

Chekov grinned toothily. "I think they will be surprised at how much trouble I can give them, Captain." He said with a laugh. "I heard Borik. I am a 'child'." He rolled his eyes expressively. "I am not so helpless as they think."

"No shit." Jim agreed. "Though personally, I'm waiting for the Klingon who's idiot enough to try to take a chunk out of Uhura. That one's going to be fun."

That comment earned him a slap on the arm from Uhura, but she also had an amused/pleased expression on her face. "I seriously doubt any of them will, Captain. After all, I *am* female, and therefore inferior, and attacking me would doubtlessly sully their honor."

Jim snorted. "Yeah, and I'm betting there's going to be someone desperate enough to keep this alliance from happening that they'll try something, and you're the so-called 'weakest link' because of your sex. At least in their eyes anyway."

Uhura wrinkled her nose, but nodded. "You have a point." She agreed. "Chekov will probably have to watch out for that too, since he'll be in the 'weakest' position in the lineup, which will make him the next most likely target." Then she pinned Jim with a look. "Provided they're not desperate enough to go straight to the top."

Jim gave her a toothy grin. "Yeah, don't worry, I got that covered." He refocused on everyone else. "Basically, everyone watch your backs, remember to not go anywhere alone if you have any choice in the matter. If you're not sure how to respond to something they're doing or saying, follow my lead." He got a bunch of nods. "Anyone have any questions?" A bunch of headshakes and audible negatives. "Right then, go get yourselves kitted out. We leave in fifteen minutes."

(_)(_)(_)

Maktor was looking forward to this. Last night had been entertaining in the extreme. The feast hall had practically exploded the moment Kirk, his woman and the Vulcan were out of hearing range. Granted only half his Councilors had been in the room when Kirk had left, but they'd still provided a look at the reactions of most of the camps on this matter. The most problematic camp - the one that wanted to kill Kirk and destroy the Federation so that Klingons reigned supreme, regardless of the complete unfeasibility of such an idea - had all left as soon as they could, eager to get the reek of human and Vulcan out of their noses.

Unfortunately, there was little Maktor could do about that bunch. Oh, he could, and would, foil any plots he managed to catch wind of, but the likelihood of them managing something that he couldn't stop was high. He just hoped that Kirk would be able to handle that sort of problem when it hit.

The rest of the Councilors had been various shades of impressed, delighted, and eager - though generally not for the same reasons. Maktor was fairly sure that most of the ones who'd been in the room after Kirk left hadn't gotten any sleep last night thanks to talking the whole event over with their compatriots and families, since they'd been in the room when he had finally forced himself to leave. They would doubtlessly have had hours of discussion just with their families when they got home, even if they'd left immediately, which he knew wasn't the case for at least some of them because they'd been deep in debate. Those Councilors might have been willing to forego a night's sleep before the 'battle', but Maktor knew he needed to be fresh and ready and on his toes today, so he'd finally left in order to get *some* sleep. Not all that much, sadly. He'd still had affairs of state to deal with, not to mention finalizing his plan for the day in light of the information he now possessed.

The best part, at least in Maktor's opinion, was that he had no idea at all what Kirk would do next. The Councilors were fairly predictable to him after having dealt with them a few years. Not so with Kirk. And evidently he wasn't the only one to be thinking along those lines, as the Councilors gathered at an unprecedentedly early hour to continue their debates and ensure they were on hand if Kirk arrived early. The gossip that Maktor was thusly privy to pointed to no less than four Councilors who were making bets on what Kirk would do next, among other wagers.

It turned out that what Kirk would do next was arrive in force with his entire command crew. Maktor nearly cackled. Kirk had obviously figured out - if he hadn't known already - that the right-and-left positioning had significance, and had run with it. They walked in in a very narrow V formation, just enough distance between the two arms and each person to be able to tell where they were supposed to be in the lineup.

Maktor had no idea if Kirk had placed his people the way a Klingon would, but he found himself wanting to judge them accordingly. If he was doing it, at least one other Councilor was, if not most of them. In that light it was a successful gambit, no matter how Kirk had set his people up in that lineup.

Kirk had kept the placement of the woman and the Vulcan from the night before, which inclined Maktor to believe that Kirk really did understand what the placements meant, since he knew the Vulcan was Kirk's second in command. Maktor eyed the others with interest, wondering who was who. Maktor knew, at least generally, what a Federation command crew would consist of since there couldn't be that many differences in how a ship was run. So among the men behind the Vulcan and the woman was a pilot, a gunner, an engineer, and a comm officer. Who did what was the question. The boy at the back left was probably their comm officer, Maktor eventually decided. He was too young for any other position. Other than that, however, Maktor couldn't guess.

[[Greetings, Captain Kirk]] Maktor growled. He sensed more than saw the subdued reaction from some of the Councilors at his speaking first.

While Maktor had greeted Kirk first the night before, and introduced his Council, the rules that governed pre-battle celebrations were different from the rules that governed the actual battles. It had been Maktor's duty, as the host of the celebration, to speak first.

Speaking first now was an entirely different matter. By speaking first now, he was putting Kirk on a nearly equal level to himself. As High Chancellor, this was his land, his Empire. He was the one in the position of strength here. He had but to speak, and every Klingon on the planet would, theoretically, rise up against Kirk and his crew. In a similar situation between two Klingons, the weaker would speak first, thus admitting their weaker position by opening the verbal battle.

But this situation was somewhat different than two Klingons facing off. Kirk may have been out here alone, with just his ship and his crew, but everyone knew that he had the might of the Federation and Starfleet behind him. So while Kirk was of far lesser rank, and had come to Maktor's home turf, he was technically of nearly equal power. Not only that, but Kirk had acquitted himself well enough the day before to have earned this recognition. It was not something that had been accorded any other Federation emissary, despite that they too had technically been the then-Chancellor's equal in power.

This man, Maktor was willing to speak to, leader to leader. Equal to equal, or as near as could be managed, given the differences in their positions. And while surprised, it was clear that the Council largely agreed, or there'd have been a much more noticeable reaction. As it stood, there was only minimal grumbling from the hard-liners that wanted no part of joining the Federation.

[[Greetings, High Chancellor Maktor.]] Kirk returned. Then, clearly having exhausted his spoken Klingon, he switched to Standard, and introduced the crewmen that hadn't been present the day before.

Maktor didn't miss the fact that Kirk never once said what their positions were. He gave only their ranks and names. Clever. This way, anyone of a mind to do such a thing could not target a specific person for kidnapping or murder in order to gain particular knowledge or deprive Kirk of it. Better still, aside from the child at back left and the woman, it left them with no clear 'weak' targets. Maktor was even willing to bet that neither the boy nor the woman were the soft targets Maktor was inclined to think of them as being, either. Humans, after all, weren't Klingons. While that was in most cases a cause for derision amongst the general Klingon populace, Maktor was wise enough to admit that it could mean that humans had abilities that Klingons did not.

Introductions over with, Maktor got to his feet. [[Come. The treaty room awaits.]]

He led the way to the Treaty Room. The Treaty Room was a large stone room devoid of much of anything that could be used in a fight. There were metal chairs bolted to the floor and modern strip lighting up along the ceiling. This meant neither chairs not lighting could be easily converted into weapons if a fight broke out. There was literally nothing else in the room. This served two purposes. Firstly, it ensured that whatever combatants were using the room were as equal as could be managed while in the room. The lack of furniture or other items also at least lessened the damage done when a fight broke out, as Klingons went to negotiations armed to the teeth.

This treaty room was hardly the only one of its kind, though admittedly all the others were scattered around the capital city. There weren't such rooms anywhere else in the Empire. The capital city's status as neutral ground was the only thing that permitted the existence of such rooms. No Klingon in his right mind would trust a room in an enemy's territory to not be up to its ears in traps and hidden weapons.

The chairs were in a rough circle, each far enough away from its neighbors that it was necessary to either get up or throw something in order to attack someone. This made it easier to see when a fight was brewing, as throwing something was not exactly easy to do subtly, and getting up was painfully obvious. The rough circle also stopped any and all arguments about who got the position of importance at the head of a normal table.

This being the Treaty Room in the Great Hall, there were a lot more chairs than they needed for this particular meeting, but that was fine. The last time all the chairs in this room had been in use during a treaty negotiation had been nigh on to five hundred years ago.

(_)(_)(_)

Jim fought down a smirk as they walked into the room where they'd hammer out the alliance. So far, so good. Of course, they hadn't really even started for the day yet, but Jim would take every bit of good he could get. After all, they could easily have ended up having a brawl break out already. Such an occurrence wasn't even unique to the Klingons. The treaty negotiations between the Vulcans and the Andorians made for extremely entertaining reading.

Jim eyeballed the room as they entered, and made another risky call. He wasn't about to sit ten or fifteen chairs down from Maktor and have to yell just to be heard. Yeah, Klingons talked loud, and Jim intended to follow that lead, but having to shout just to be heard at all because of the distance between himself and Maktor was ridiculous.

So he stalled long enough for Maktor and the guy Jim had pegged as his second-in-command to sit their asses down, and then he sat down one down from the second in command. Spock, bless him, followed that lead and sat down to Jim's immediate right, though he didn't turn to face Maktor, instead sitting facing forward so he could see everyone else in the room. Uhura, equally as quick on the uptake, scooted into the chair between Jim and the second in command, where she would be in the best position to translate.

The entire fucking room froze. Jim was deeply amused to see that more than one of the Councilors looked just plain confused. Of course, it was far less amusing to note that a couple of them looked like they wanted nothing more than to kill Jim and the rest of his crew right then and there. He'd have to watch those guys like a hawk. Maktor himself stared at Jim for a long moment, no easily understood expression on his face. Which was not to say he had no expression on his face at all. He did, but Jim didn't have the first clue on how to interpret that look.

[[Allow them to sit among us]] Maktor barked. He sounded distinctly amused.

Huh. Jim wondered at that. They were still missing things all over the place, thanks to the huge gaps in their knowledge of Klingon culture and traditions. So far, Jim's instincts were working in their favor. He'd just have to hope that continued.

There was more than a little grumbling among the Klingons at that order, but they obeyed. Seats were left empty in between the Klingons, allowing the Enterprise crew to mingle, rather than having to sit in a single block at one end of the circle or something. Jim almost laughed when Chekov, exuding innocent naivety like mad, plunked himself down right beside one of the Klingons that was pretty high in the power stakes of the Council.

Sulu plunked himself down next to the guys who deliberately sat as far away from the action as they could get. They were also the ones Jim had mentally tagged to keep an eye on, so Jim was betting that Sulu had spotted that problem as well and wanted to keep an eye out. Since Sulu was the second or third best fighter among them, it was the right place for him to be if all hell broke loose. Bones and Scotty picked seats more or less at random, Jim thought. Well, Bones had for sure, Jim knew him well enough to be sure of that. Scotty, he wasn't quite as sure of, since he didn't know Scotty anywhere near as well as he knew Bones.

"So." Jim said, once everyone was seated. "There's a whole bunch of fancy, stupid, utterly unnecessary shit I'm supposed to say here." He rolled his eyes. "Which I'll just skip, because it's stupid and unnecessary. It's better just to get right to the meat of it. What you guys want, what we want, and figuring out how to meet in the middle if there's differences between the two." He fought down a cackle as he paused to let Uhura translate. He could just *hear* the Admiralty now. His kingdom to be a fly on the wall when they saw the transcripts for yesterday and today. Hopefully, Chris would tell him all about it, or better still, have video of it.

Jim let Maktor lead off, since Jim couldn't exactly tell Maktor much of anything until he heard what Maktor wanted out of this.

Half an hour later, when Maktor finally wound down, Jim was torn between glee and horror. Glee because what Maktor wanted, what he was asking for/demanding, wasn't anything the Federation couldn't or wouldn't give. The horror was because it was fairly clear even to Jim from Maktor's tone (and Uhura's reactions to Maktor's phrasing) that he thought they *wouldn't get it*. It made Jim wonder just how much the Klingons knew/had been told about the Federation, and by who. He wouldn't put it past some asshole to give the Klingons erroneous information in an attempt to keep 'savages' out of the Federation. Jim sat forward a little bit now that it was his turn.

"Ok, the good news is, this is not going to be anywhere near as much of a problem as you think it will be." He told Maktor, opting just to speak plainly. Hell, it had worked so far. "The bad news is, I think someone, somewhere, gave your people erroneous information about how the Federation works. So I'm going to explain it."

Maktor cocked his head even before Uhura translated, which told Jim he knew at least some Standard. That said, Jim had a feeling the gesture had more to do with him listening to Uhura's translation of what Jim was saying that anything else.

"First and foremost." Jim said. "The Federation doesn't generally concern itself with the internal workings of its member races. We mostly don't force or try to force particular laws, cultural expectations or ways of life on anyone. We do have certain rules that everyone needs to abide by, but they're not all that complicated, and there aren't that many of them."

He lifted a finger. "First - no starting wars with other member races. You don't have to *like* all the other member races. We don't even mind if you're rude and snooty with folks you don't like. You just can't go starting wars with anyone else in the Federation. Second." He lifted another finger. "No starting wars with non-Federation races without Federation go-ahead. If someone attacks you first? Go right ahead and kick their asses, we won't mind a bit and we'll actually send backup if and when that happens and you need or ask for it. We've done that before for more than one member race. Just don't *start* wars. Third,"

Jim lifted another finger. "No slavery. From what I know of you guys, that isn't ever going to even approach being a problem. Fourth," a final finger. "No mucking about with the pre-warp capable races out there. It's Federation policy to just leave them alone and do their thing. Experience has taught that providing high-level tech or otherwise influencing the evolution of less-advanced folks does *not* end well, one way or another."

Jim took a deep breath before continuing. "Other than those four big rules and a couple smaller ones - the smaller ones mostly have to do with technological advances that a member race has discovered are VERY dangerous to the health of all and sundry being off limits - you guys can do what you want with yourselves. If you run into a problem you can't fix, whether that's an internal argument between factions, a huge natural disaster, or something else, the Federation will step in and help if they can. Sometimes we can't, because whatever's wrong just can't be fixed for any of a number of reasons. But if it *can* be fixed, you can bet we'll get it fixed if you can't."

Maktor nodded when Uhura finished translating.

"As for your worries about representation ... don't worry. Every member race has two representatives on the Federation Council. Representatives have to be changed out a minimum of every twenty years, but it can be more frequently than that if the member race wants it to be." Jim explained

"The reason there are two representatives is because the President of the Federation, who is elected from the Council, is changed out every five years. No President is allowed to serve two consecutive terms. That law was put in place both to make sure that no one President could wreck the Federation too badly, and to ensure that at least theoretically, everyone could get a fair shot at having a representative become President."

"Every member race has the right to put one of their representatives forward as the potential new President during the election process. If your guy gets picked, the second representative controls both votes for the Empire until the five year term is over, since the President has to be neutral in Federation matters, and thus cannot vote for his member race on anything that comes up for a vote during their tenure." Jim blew out a breath once he'd gotten that explained.

[[And how long before our representative could be put forward?]] Maktor wanted to know.

"You can put someone forward after you've had representatives on the Council for a full five-year President's term. That's mostly in place so representatives from a new member race have a chance to figure out how things work in the Council. Usually, representatives don't get voted into the President spot until their society has been a Federation member for at least ten years, though." Jim told him. Vulcans and humans had been the exception to that rule, but then again, they had been the 'parent races' of the Federation, and thus had been there right at the start.

[[That seems fair. And wise.]] Maktor allowed.

"You'll also be provided with a parcel of land on Earth, in a location of your preference. That land will hold the Klingon embassy, and will be sovereign Klingon soil. Which means that your laws, culture, etc, are in effect there, rather than Earth or general Federation laws etc. Embassies elsewhere in the Federation will be at your discretion, but in each case, the embassy is Klingon territory, and your laws operate there in full." Jim told Maktor.

[[A location of our preference?]] Maktor asked.

"Yeah. For instance, the Vulcan embassy is located in the hottest, driest part of Earth, where they would feel most comfortable. Several other embassies are located in environments congenial to the member race it belongs to. So if you guys would prefer specific environmental conditions, we'll situate your Earth embassy somewhere that either matches, or comes as close as Earth is capable of managing." That explanation got another nod.

"In addition to all of that, Klingons will have the right to visit, live on, and do business with every Federation planet, colony or space installation of any description. If any of them are interested, Klingons will be able to appeal for citizenship of a particular planet, rather than the Empire. They will also be able attend any scholastic institution of interest to them that they qualify to attend, including Starfleet Academy."

Jim grinned a bit. "Klingons will also be able to join Starfleet, whether through the Academy, or as already trained officers. That said, it'd have to wait until next year sometime, maybe a bit longer than that. The reason being that Starfleet would want to institute an officer exchange program between the Klingon fleet and Starfleet. That means that one of our officers would would work aboard a Klingon ship, living by and obeying Klingon Fleet rules and regs, and one of your officers would come work on a Starfleet ship, living by and obeying Starfleet rules and regs. After a minimum of six months, those two officers would become the primary advisors for both sides, so that adjustments can be made by both sides so that Klingons would be comfortable serving in Starfleet."

[[What do you mean by adjustments?]] Maktor wanted to know.

"What I meant." Jim said. "Is things like Vulcans not being big on physical contact. We figured that out, and disseminated that information throughout Starfleet. With everyone knowing about that, it reduces the likelihood of people getting physical with a Vulcan, which makes them more comfortable. Betazoids need a certain type of shielding in their personal quarters to give them a break from the mental noise they deal with all day. We make sure to add that shielding. So if Klingons have something in particular, whether it's a cultural thing or something you guys need to maintain your health, we need to know so we can make sure it's available or allowed. Likewise, you guys would be able to tailor the education of any Starfleet hopefuls so they have the best chance of excelling in Starfleet."

Maktor grunted wordlessly as he thought that one over, then nodded. [[That seems wise.]] He admitted. Then he sighed. [[And what will we be required to relinquish for this largesse? Our cloaking technology, I presume?]]

Jim fought down an exasperated smirk. Maktor'd hit the nail dead on the head. The Admiralty hadn't quite demanded that Jim wrest cloaking tech from the Klingons, but they'd come remarkably close to it. Jim had promptly ignored that. The Klingons and Romulans had been very protective of their cloaking tech. Hell, they'd both been willing to go to war over it. Asking for it to be handed over before the Klingons could join the Federation would ensure they *wouldn't* join the Federation. Jim wasn't anywhere stupid enough to think that the strongest proponents for demanding the cloaking tech in exchange for Federation membership hadn't known that.

"No." Jim said. "I won't deny that my superiors would like to get their hands on it, but no, it's not required. You wouldn't be the first member race to have a proprietary technology, medical or scientific technique, or some other thing or other that they refuse to share, and are still in the Federation without being required to share it. You'll have plenty else to offer. "

Jim grinned. "You'd be surprised at what people think is viable trading goods, sometimes. Foods, spices, fabrics, domesticated animals, and much, much odder things than those are offered by various member races. I know you specifically stated you'd be willing to share your dilithium resources, which quite frankly, everyone is thrilled with, because dilithium is hard to find, and we don't have very many mines of it."

"Other than trading," Jim continued. "We'd ask you to be willing to back up Starfleet and the Federation member holdings closest to your borders if some idiot decides to cause trouble. I know that's a problem for you guys right now due to the lost ships, but I've been authorized, if you agree to join, to arrange with some of our biggest suppliers of metal ores and the like to send shipments here so you can rebuild faster. Personnel too, if you need them and are willing to accept extra hands from outside sources."

(_)(_)(_)

The more Maktor heard from Kirk, the more he liked the man. He spoke plainly, clearly, and bluntly. All traits a Klingon could appreciate. There were no attempts to lie, or muddy the waters. Maktor knew this wouldn't be quite as simple as Kirk was painting it, but the fact remained that if Kirk was being even half-honest (which Maktor was sure he was) the peace process would not be anywhere near as difficult as Maktor had feared it would be.

He also agreed with Kirk. Someone, somewhere, had lied to the Empire as to how the Federation functioned and treated its member races. The Federation had rather been painted with a bad brush, as usurpers who meddled in every aspect of their member races lives and decreed how they could live. Who the guilty party for that view was, Maktor did not know, and would probably never be able to discover.

He and the other Councilors had, of course, debated long and hotly over what they'd be willing to share with the Federation. Hearing that they would be permitted to keep some things to themselves went a long way to easing most of Maktor's concerns. He had little doubt that Starfleet and the Federation would keep trying to get their hands on cloaking technology. Provided the whole thing didn't fall apart in the first ten years, Maktor might just consider letting them *have* it at that point, if he was still Chancellor then.

They hadn't actually considered things as simple as foodstuffs and textiles as viable offerings. All their possibilities had been technology, ores and gems of various descriptions and uses, a few mining techniques designed for nigh-impossible mining conditions and the like. The idea of targhs or any other domesticated Klingon animals being acquired as pets by others was amusing.

The offer of ores and other materiel to build ships with was tempting as all hell. They had resigned themselves to a disturbingly lengthy period of time with next to no fleet, as even if they could crew each ship instantly, which was not guaranteed with the loss of so many of their personnel, they would still only be able to produce two to three ships a year with native resources. Which meant their fleet would not be back to full strength for fifteen years at the absolute least.

[[I think an equitable trade can be arranged]] Maktor said. Which more or less said 'yeah, we're in.' even though they hadn't gotten to the nitty gritty details, and wouldn't today. [[Your ores for our dilithium]]