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Fashion Misunderstanding


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OOC: Obviously, this is slightly un-canon, but it came out of a friendly speculative discussion when I was in grad school.


K'tal looked at the Trill man, his mouth slightly open in shock.

"You want to know what?" he said.

"I said I want to know about the forehead thing. If I help you, you tell me," Azulay said matter of factly.

He was stuck. He had to have the Trill Ambassador's help procuring the wine for his wedding, but the subject of the foreheads was not something that his people talked about ever. The prohibition was especially strict when it came to non-Klingons. He resolved to put it off as long as he could.

"Deal, but I decide the place and time."

"On your honor?"

"Yes."

The Trill man died only a few weeks later and K'tal thought he was safe, the secret of his people protected from the deal he had made with the Trill man. He had mourned Azulay's passing, but secretly thanked fate that he did not have to talk about his people's secret shame.

That was, until that fateful day in San Francisco, almost three decades later.

-----

K'tal suppressed a groan. Whenever he met with Joanna Wilde, the meetings always took interesting turns. This would likely be no different. It wasn't that he disliked her, really, but she was... well... too human.

"Liaison Wilde, it has been far too long," the Ambassador said, taking the woman's hand in his own gnarled one.

"K'tal," Joanna said with a smile, "I'd like you to meet my future daughter-in-law and Starfleet officer LtCmd Idril Mar."

The Klingon turned towards her and nodded in greeting. Why was it that the name sounded familiar?

Idril smiled, knowing he had no idea who she was. "Ambassador. You're looking a little older and a little more round in the middle, but good overall."

The Klingon responded in his gruff voice. "I'm sorry, you have me at a disadvantage. Do I know you?"

"We've met before," the Independence's Chief Engineer said with a smile, "but it has been about 25 years."

She could see the recognition dawn on his face.

"Mar... the Trill. Ah yes, how could I forget?" He slapped Idril on the shoulder. "You are looking much more attractive these days. Obviously the 25 years have been kinder to you than to me." He patted his rather rotund belly with a laugh.

The redhead chuckled. A couple hours later, the two old friends found themselves at the bar, sharing a bottle of bloodwine and memories. The Trill's new host, though, seemed to be a much less capable drinker than the one with whom he had been friends.

"Sho... I remember a promish you made to Azulay," Idril slurred out.

"Oh? I remember no promise. Enlighten me, Mar."

"The shmooth heads," she said.

"What?" K'tal make a puzzled face, even though he knew exactly what she was talking about.

"A censhury ago, lotsh of Klingons had shmooth heads you know, no ridgeshes or bumpies," she giggled. "How come you guysh had shmooth heads?"

His demeanor changed from the boisterous and laughing to much more serious. "That is a complex story, Mar, and one we do not share."

“A promish ish a promish, my old frend,” Idril slurred and slapped the Klingon on the shoulder.

He sighed and took a long drink off his mug of bloodwine, then poured another.

“I know. You must swear to never tell another.”

“I schwear.”

“Well, it began with the Enterprise.”

“Kirksh ship?

“No, before that. Archer’s ship, the first one."

Idril looked puzzled, but stayed quiet.

“The Empire was at war with the…”

“The Shooliban. Yesh, yesh but what does thish have to do with the forehead bumpies?”

“Well, remember, that Archer was the first human that the Empire had come across. His dealings with the Suliban impressed many on QonoS.” Ktal nodded, almost to himself. “He was seen as cunning and skillful and, incorrectly I might add, it was assumed the Archer was indicative of all humans.”

The Trill woman, still a bit fuzzy, repeated her question. “What doesh thish have to do with the forehead bumpies?”

“Remember, that only a few years after first contact, war broke out between Romulus and Earth as well.” The Ambassador took a drink of his wine, then continued. “For more than a century, even the Vulcans had been unsuccessful at taming their more aggressive cousins. They were considered one of the greatest threats to the Empire, an existential threat. Now consider that, within a few short years, Earth crushed the Romulan war machine and ended their threat to the whole quadrant. An epic victory. Some, especially among the youth, looked at the humans and saw a mighty warrior culture, one worthy of emulation in every way. Food… clothing… even literature.”

The Klingon dropped his voice to a whisper.

“Some whisper that the Empire organized a time-travel expedition to plant a translated Shakespeare in our history so that we could claim him as our own.” Idril hiccupped, then giggled at the notion.

“Even after we and Earth began our own war, the fascination continued.”

By this point, the drink and the heat in the room were obviously getting to the woman, and K'tal reached over to save her from falling unceremoniously off the chair. Joanna Wilde would not have appreciated her future daughter-in-law coming back with bruises.

The drunk engineer waved off his help. “Ok, ok... sho the kidsh liked Earth. Why the smooth headsh?”

“Then, in the late 2200s, cosmetic surgical practices began to be available on the homeworld. It became popular to… alter one's appearance to look more... human.”

The Independence's Chief Engineer just gawked at the Klingon, her mouth open in shock. Then it began, a quiet giggle at first, but slowly building into full-out hysterical laughter. For more than a few minutes, everyone in the bar stared as K'tal shifted uncomfortably on his seat, wishing he was anywhere but in front of the manically laughing Trill woman. Idril fell off her chair and the thump on her backside seemed to sober her up a bit, at least so much as allow her to start catching her breath.

“So you're shaying… it… it was a a fad?” she gasped out.

“A fad,” the Klingon admitted.

“And when you realished that humanity washn't a warrior cultushure…” she started, climbing back into her chair unsteadily.

“Imagine our disappointment,” he finished.

Idril’s mind was awash with images of dour Klingon warriors in blue jeans and bright orange mohawks and slipped into a fit of drunken giggling again.

K'tal sighed, getting up and walking over to the bar to get a new bottle of bloodwine. When he got back, the redhead was passed out on the table. He poured another drink for himself and contemplated the evening’s revelations.

-----

The next morning, Idril woke up on a couch that she recognized as one of the ambassadorial suites. Her head, though, felt like it was trying to hold in an out-of-control warp core.

“Uuuuuuuugh,” was the only sound she could manage.

“Here. Drink.” The voice, soft as it was, still set her head ringing. She took the drink: water with lemon in it. “You handled your wine much better when you were Azulay.”

“I was fifty pounds heavier and male,” she replied, wincing at the sound of her own voice. “And I drank more then, too.” She took another sip of the lemon water, and opened her eyes the tiniest crack that she could manage. “I don’t remember anything from last night after we got to the bar. We were talking about something, weren’t we?"

K'tal shrugged and responded without skipping a beat.

“It wasn’t important.”

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