Star Trek is owned by Viacom, for as long as they will stand up for it. Star Traks is owned by Alan Decker, for as long as he can stand it. This story is owned by Don Rae, who is standing by it. But just barely.

Author: Don Rae
Copyright: 2002

Star Traks - Secondprize: The New Adventures!

“Seasons Gratings”

By Don Rae


“Captain’s Log, Stardate 51421.2 - En route to the Klingon diplomatic conference, the Secondprize suffered some kind of warp core breakdown inside the outer fringes of Klingon space. I apologize in advance for not having much more information than this for the ship’s log - but asking for any kind of detail from an angry Commander Scott Baird is most politely described as a pointless exercise, to say the least.

All I can say for sure is the ship is running on emergency power, the warp engines are shot, Baird is very ticked off with Ensign Walker, and we’re currently being towed by a Klingon cargo vessel to one of their remote outposts near the fringes of Federation space. We’ve been assured by the Klingons that this particular outpost can potentially fabricate anything we might need for our repairs. Baird has sent them a list of needed supplies, so hopefully they’ll be able to do something with it. We’ll know for sure when we get there, but in the meantime, it really doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere anytime soon.

Since we’re not going to make it to the conference, we have informed Admiral Wagner at Starfleet Command of our current situation. He had a follow-up formal diplomatic apology handy and ready to go on a moment’s notice, which he promptly forwarded to the Klingon government halfway through my report. I’m trying not to take this personally.

As a side note - it seems that our current problems are the least of the crew’s worries. Our downtime is proving to be a good excuse for many to celebrate the traditional Christmas holiday season as observed by ancient Earth custom. It looks like nearly everyone seems to be getting into the spirit of it, and is decorating the ship appropriately for the occasion. Of course, Baird isn’t getting much dedicated help for his engine repairs as a consequence, which really isn’t improving his mood at all.”


“Terry, get the f*** over here,” said Baird, snapping off the phase torch and darkly surveying the entire mess that was once the warp core system of the Secondprize.

“Yes sir,” replied Walker, stepping over to the dilithium containment unit.

“I think I’m finally ready to handle hearing your report. Can you please tell me how the f*** you managed to fry all of our f***ing dilithium crystals AND all of our f***ing plasma manifolds at the SAME time?”

“Like I said, it was an accident,” explained Walker.

“Oh I’m sure it was. Can you be a bit a more f***ing precise?”

“Well, I was replenishing the dilithium crystals in the warp core using the hot change system. I pressed the button for the crystal intake, but the displays didn’t seem to indicate any change in the warp energy flow. I figured the intake was sticking like it always does, so I pressed the button again. Still nothing happened. So I held down the button. Next thing I knew, we had that huge power surge, the plasma injectors went offline, and the warp systems shorted out.”

Baird opened the dilithium chamber. There was a very large chunk of blackened rock inside which seemed to be smoking.

“So you didn’t notice that all of our f***ing crystals went into the chamber at once, causing a cascade antimatter reaction which fused all of our f***ing dilithium and main power systems at the same time.”

“Yes sir. That about sums it up.”

“Which screen were you looking at again?”

“That one over there.”

“Let me guess: I suppose the f***ing thing is tuned into the f***ing warp simulation program instead of the engineering systems?”

“Uh, that’s right sir. I only realized it after all this happened. Someone else left it on by mistake, I suppose. It could’ve happened to anyone.”

“S***! Son of a f***ing b****!”

SMASH

The remains of the display screen emitted sparks and faint trails of smoke.

“Not any more it won’t! F***ing s***!”

Cursing as loud as human lungs could possibly manage, Baird stormed out of Engineering in a blaze of frustrated fury, totally forgetting to drop the torch off at the equipment station.

“He took the news rather well,” said Walker.


Baird stomped down the corridor. He smacked his commbadge.

“Baird to bridge. F***ing respond already.”

“Dillon here.”

“When the hell are we supposed to be arriving at that f***ing Klingon outpost?”

“We have just established orbit, and we have clearance to dock with their repair facility. You can beam over there anytime you like,” replied Dillon. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

“You can shut the f*** up and stay the f*** out of my way! Have you got that, you f***ing moron?!”

Baird cut off the communication abruptly before Dillon could get a word in edgewise.

“S***. Even if I can get the f***ing engines working again, it’s probably going to take me months to locate and replace every single circuit fried by the f***ing surge. And will I get any thanks for that? No, not f***ing likely. Then it will be someone else’s turn to f*** things up again.”

TROMP TROMP TROMP

Baird was forced to stop.

“What the f*** is this f***ing tree doing here? I’m trying to get f***ing through here!”

An ensign poked her head out from an open doorway.

“Sorry sir. I have a bit of a problem. I’m just trying to figure out how to fit this Christmas tree through the door.”

“So YOU think YOU have a bit of a f***ing problem do you? Do I ALWAYS have to do every f***ing thing around here!?”

Baird fired up the torch. He burned all the branches off the tree, grabbed the smoking remains of the trunk, and threw it into the room.

“So f***ing glad I could help,” said Baird to the speechless ensign. “Oh yeah, here’s a f***ing present to put under it, “ he added, handing her the torch.

Baird continued his march.

STOMP STOMP STOMP

At the end of the corridor, the turbolift doors opened. Baird stepped inside.

“Transporter room one.”

The doors closed.

“Seasons Greetings from Counselor Webber, everyone! Here is a little seasonal tune to provide you with some happy, holiday cheer while you smile and travel your little way to your destination! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh what fun to spread your arms and to hug someone today!”

“Computer, shut off that f***ing b****. Doesn’t she have anything else better to do with her f***ing time?”

“Recording terminated. Counselor Webber does not have any entries on her calendar for today. Would you like to reserve an appointment?”

“Computer, shut the f*** up.”

“Affirmative.”

The doors opened, and Baird stepped out. His right foot caught up in a tangled mess of wires as he tripped forward.

“S***! What the f*** is this!”

“Baird, see if you can try to summon some kind of decency into your pathetic, sorry life and get the hell off of my Christmas lights,” Sullivan snapped as she reached down to grab them.

Baird looked underneath his feet and glared wickedly at her.

“You mean these ones right here?” asked Baird as he stepped on a few more of them.

CRACK KAPOP

“Or these ones over here?” he added.

TINKLE CRUNCH

“You can be such an a**hole.”

“Like you f***ing care, so merry the what the f*** ever to you too,” said Baird, kicking off the strand and walking over to the transporter room.

“He’s got a point,” muttered Sullivan, picking up the busted strings and glaring at Baird’s retreating back.

The transporter room doors opened, and something pounced on Baird. He fought it off, giving it a solid punch to the ribs.

“Oof! You could’ve just said no thanks,” said Vaughn, rubbing her bruised midsection.

“What the f*** did you do that for?”

“You were standing under the mistletoe,” glared Vaughn.

Baird looked up at the ceiling. Mistletoe covered every square inch of it.

“Never miss a f***ing opportunity, do you?”

“If I had known it was you coming through that door, I would have fused it shut instead.”

“Look, I don’t have time for this f***ing s***. Listen up, Lieutenant. If you think it might be possible to keep your f***ing hands from groping other people’s a**es for a few whole f***ing seconds in a row, please feel free to transport me over to the f***ing repair facility. Unlike all the interior decorators and the other f***ing morons around here, I actually have a lot of f***ing work to do, all right?” said Baird as he stepped onto the transporter platform.

“Until now, I honestly thought it was impossible that you could be more repulsive than your usual self.”

“Tell someone who gives a s***. Just hurry the f*** up and energize,” he said.

“Enjoy the trip,” said Vaughn as she stabbed at the transporter controls.


Baird materialized two feet above the floor, horizontally, faced down toward the ground.

KATHUD

“F***ing b****,” muttered Baird, painfully.

Rubbing his nose, he picked himself up off the floor to face a very stocky looking Klingon who was wearing a pair of greasy coveralls.

“Your transporters are malfunctioning as well?” said the Klingon. “Ha! Then your Federation ship must really be in bad shape! I am not surprised at all. If your ships were built by the Klingons instead, you would know they would continue to work perfectly fine at all times, during all conditions of battle! That is, until something happened to make you dead! Ha!”

Baird wasn’t in any mood to discuss this at all, even though he would normally have had a few things to say about it under more ideal circumstances. Remembering that he was supposed to be diplomatic here, Baird barely suppressed his normal reaction and the desire to tell the Klingon to go f*** himself to boot.

“I’m Commander Scott Baird, head engineer for the USS Secondprize. Should I assume you’re the facility manager here?”

“Then you would assume correctly. My name is Kuveth, son of Kach, and I’m the resident engineering specialist here on Kapek IV.”

“Do you have the dilithium, the plasma manifolds, and the antimatter exchange systems we asked for?”

“We have the dilithium, but we will need to re-fabricate our manifolds and exchange systems in a manner that would be more compatible with your Federation technology. This may take some time, since we are not used to manufacturing such things that are so inefficient and childlike by comparison.”

Baird glowered, but kept it relatively civil.

“F*** that. We can probably do that job much faster than you can, since you’re not likely to be as familiar with our technology as we are. So if you will just give us the parts we need, we’ll be able to conduct our own modifications, thanks.”

“I do not think so. Our technology is so complex and sophisticated by comparison, that I highly doubt that a relatively unschooled and undisciplined one such as yourself would be capable of understanding it, much less work with it at all!” said Kuveth, putting his hands on his hips.

Baird decided to be a bit more diplomatic.

“Listen to me carefully, you self-important son of a bloated pregnant goatf***er! I have a f***ing schedule to keep, and not enough f***ing time in the universe to get it all f***ing done! So hurry the f*** up and give me the f***ing parts I need, as we already f***ing agreed upon to begin with, so that I can get on with my f***ing repairs and never have to see your f***ing hairy a**faced s***stained mug of a pus-swollen p****head again! Got the f***ing picture, s***brains?”

Kuveth growled menacingly, then tilted his head back and roared with laughter.

“You curse very well indeed, human! I have heard more than a few stories about Engineer Scott Baird of the Secondprize, and of his ability to swear like a proud Klingon! I made a little bet that you would prove those rumors to be true! Ha! Bitek now owes me a bottle of blood wine over that one! Ha!”

“Then there’s going to be no f***ing problems? I’ve got enough on my f***ing plate as it is!” snapped Baird.

“Do not worry, Engineer Baird. We will be able to ship everything you need to the Secondprize as soon as possible. All you have to do is come along with me to our supply center, where you may review the items you require. We will then arrange for some kind of suitable repayment, and then we will transport everything you need to your ship. We may even be able to offer the assistance of our repair crews for as long as you remain docked with our station, depending upon the kind of arrangement we negotiate.”

Baird relaxed a little, but not a lot more.


“Dillon to Rydell.”

Rydell slowed his slaloming progress down the snow covered mountainside and skated his skis to a stop. The powder floated around him as he reached over to touch his commbadge.

“Rydell here.”

“Captain, we have just docked with the Klingon repair facility station in orbit around Kapek IV. I just thought you should know.”

“Have you informed Baird that we’re here?”

“Yes sir. He’s already beamed over to their supply center. As far as I could guess from his rude comments, I think he’s engaged in getting our needed engine system supplies and related services. The only problem is - I know we’re going to be expected to provide some kind of compensation for the Klingons, but I don’t have any idea what it’s likely to be. They said they would settle this with us later on through negotiation. How do you think I should handle this?”

“Just use your best judgment, Dillon.”

But Rydell’s good sense throttled him.

“Wait a second, Dillon. Skip that whole idea. Just give the Klingons whatever they want. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be reasonable.”

“Yes sir.”

“Just handle it as best you can. You have the bridge until further notice.”

“Yes sir.”

“Now I’m going to back to my skiing, and I know you will have NO reason to bother me again, correct?”

“I think so sir.”

“Good. Please inform the rest of the crew that if they want to come over for some eggnog and some holiday sing-a- longs by the fireplace once they’re finished decorating the ship, they can join me in the ski lodge in holodeck two. That’s an order.”

“Yes sir.”


Baird sifted through the lists of available plasma manifolds and antimatter exchange systems. If the specifications were accurate, most of it was going to be easily converted to Federation standards.

“Have you found anything suitable, Engineer Baird?” asked Kuveth.

“F*** yeah. This stuff should do the trick, all right. It looks like there’s not going to be much conversion effort to do at all. Getting it all to work is going to be a lot f***ing easier than I originally thought. I’m kind of surprised. Some of these systems resemble Federation technology very closely.”

“How kind of you to notice. The warriors of this outpost have studied Federation technology for years, and we have managed to duplicate many of your standard systems independently on our own accord.”

“Huh. Why the f*** would you do that, since they wouldn’t be very compatible or comparable with Klingon style engineering systems?” asked Baird, genuinely curious.

Kuveth grinned.

“Kapek IV wasn’t always a repair and supply center, Engineer Baird. At one time, this outpost was the foremost listening post for monitoring Federation activities, prior to the Khitomer peace treaty. The Klingon Empire used this place to gather intelligence and information on our Federation enemies, of whom we assumed we would conquer in a glorious battle one day,” sighed Kuveth, thinking of the comparatively grander times of the past.

“Huh. I had no f***ing idea. That makes sense, I guess. I suppose the Klingons captured a lot of Federation technology over the years, and had it analyzed and reverse engineered here?”

“Yes, and more than that. We Klingons have always recognized the importance of understanding one’s enemy as much as possible, so that they can be conquered more easily. The intelligence services of this outpost maintained an extensive program of study on the human culture itself. As a consequence, it was this very place that provided information about humans to the rest of the Klingon Empire. Even today, this place has proven itself to be a useful enough facility…research on human culture is still being pursued by all the warriors who serve here, including myself. All of the Klingons on this outpost are considered to be the foremost experts on human culture within the Klingon Empire.”

“Why are you telling me this again?” asked Baird, suspiciously.

Kuveth laughed.

“Come now, Engineer Baird. We are allies! We share blood and drink together as friends! Besides, this place has been common knowledge between our peoples for a long time, for over well over eighty of your Earth years. Here is where we once trained diplomats to serve Klingon interests within your Federation, and where we would first receive Federation diplomats who would travel within the Empire!”

Kuveth paused for a moment in reflection.

“Times have changed, indeed. These days, this place only serves any Klingon warriors who wish to understand humans, which is often considered to be a relatively benign pastime for a warrior - so we do not tend to attract many of our own people here. Since you are not our enemy, we only tend to serve those who have an insatiable curiosity, such as myself. Contrary to other Klingon opinions, I tend to believe that it is wise thing to try and understand one’s blood brother. Do you not agree?”

“Huh,” replied Baird, losing interest very rapidly in the whole conversation.

“As for our repair and supply services - they just provide the means we need to keep this station operating. To me, it is just a means to an end - it is your human culture that continues to astound and fascinate me the more I study it.”

“Studying is one thing, but experiencing it all the time is another f***ing thing entirely. Take it from me, most people are idiots and f*** ups. If you hang around with humans long enough, you’ll begin to see why you should stay the f*** away from them instead. I’d like to inspect these parts now, so can we get on with this?”


“All right everybody, gather round the fire,” shouted Rydell, holding his mug up in a toast-like fashion.

Trinian had set up shop in the ski lodge, serving drinks to everyone inside the holodeck until they were all feeling quite merry indeed. Rydell addressed the assembled group, which eventually quieted down enough to listen.

“It is times like these that I want tell you just how much I’m proud of all of you. Everyone has worked so hard and accomplished so much in such a short time, and now we gather to witness the results of your efforts. Computer, create monitor displays to replace the entire east wall of the lodge in an eleven by eleven grid. Then take the center nine displays on the grid, and turn it into one display instead.”

The east wall vanished, and the one hundred and thirteen monitor displays materialized there instead, including a very large one in the middle.

“Computer, begin to randomly display all sections of the ship in five second intervals on each monitor. Tie in to the Klingon station’s sensor array, cycle in some exterior shots and include at least one exterior view in the center monitor at all times.”

Scenes of every deck began to appear on the monitors, along with several panoramic exterior shots of the Secondprize. Rydell grinned.

“All right. Computer, hit the lights!”

The entire ship lit up like a gigantic Christmas tree in all colors imaginable. On the large center monitor, rotating and cascading light displays spread across every exterior section, from the bridge to the engineering deck to the warp nacelles, in highly colorful patterns composed at whim by the computer. The interior displays showed every deck corridor lit up with strings of streaming and blinking lights, jingling bells, and happily waving elves.

“Oooooooh!”

“Aaaaaaaaah!”

Jaroch watched everything in genuine interest as the crowd enjoyed the show.

“An impressive display. Humans certainly have some interesting methods of celebrating their social customs. I suppose Baird will be very upset about the drain on our power systems?” suggested Jaroch, raising his mug up to his lips.

“Would anyone notice the difference anyway?” replied Sullivan.

“Point taken,” grinned Jaroch, taking a sip of eggnog.


Kuveth gazed thoughtfully through the view port while Baird picked up a plasma manifold, examining it carefully for stress marks. It wouldn’t do to use any kind of used parts, since they would just f*** things up even more quickly the next time around.

“Not f***ing bad at all,” murmured Baird. This stuff was going to do the trick.

“It must be the Christmas season on Earth,” said Kuveth.

“How the f*** did you know that?” asked Baird, who was unprepared for that remark.

“Is it not obvious?”

Baird turned his head to look out the supply center view port, just in time to see a series of lights on the exterior hull of the Secondprize form themselves into a prancing reindeer with a blinking red nose, then dissolving into a display of a snowman wearing a stove topped hat and smoking a corn cob pipe.

“What the f***! Those f***ing a**holes are going to burn out my f***ing emergency systems before I get a chance to repair anything! F***!”

Kuveth regarded Baird with a curious expression.

“A strange reaction indeed, when considering that this display honors the birth of Earth’s Greatest Warrior. You do not share your companions enthusiasm for the celebration?”

“Like I’d give a f***ing s*** about - wait a second. You said some f***ing thing about Earth’s greatest warrior?”

“You mean, you mean to tell me that you do not honor the history of the most inspirational and greatest warrior of all Earth’s history, Jesus son of Joseph?” stammered Kuveth, who was obviously flabbergasted by the whole idea.

Struck by his reaction, Baird thought this was something he might be able to leverage, somehow.

Klingons tended to be fanatical f***s about war and death and s***. The potential offer of receiving additional help from the Klingon service crews was still fresh in his mind. Maybe it was possible to squeeze out some free labor here, since it was plainly obvious that he wasn’t about to get much f***ing help from “the interior decorators and the other morons”. Baird figured there might be some kind of value in leveraging some kind of diplomacy here, if he could somehow manage it. Kissing a** wasn’t exactly his cup of tea, but it was worth the try.

“Don’t get me wrong there, bub. I know a thing or two about the f***ing guy. But, since you’re supposed to be a Klingon expert on human culture, perhaps YOU might like to tell me what you have learned about him?” said Baird, hoping he sounded sincere enough to be convincing.

“Me, tell you the story? You, who is from Earth? Would you not be insulted?”

“Hell no, it’s sure not like I took much f***ing interest in the whole f***ing thing before.”

“Then I would be gratified. I do not believe that such an honor has ever been offered to any Klingon warrior before! Please Engineer Baird, sit down. I will pour the blood wine, so that we may drink together and celebrate the honor of his memory as brothers!”

“I’m not f***ing thirsty.”

“So you do not want to share the honor of the tale as a brother? If you do not wish to do so, then I will not speak of it. Stories such as these are meant to be told among brother warriors who would share the offerings of their brethren, and I would not want to risk offending you by doing otherwise,” said Kuveth.

“All right all right, fine. Don’t get your b***s in an uproar. Go ahead,” said Baird. There seemed to be a f*** of a lot to this diplomatic s***.

They sat down at the parts desk. Kuveth filled two flagons full, and handed one to Baird. Kuveth raised his glass in a toothy grinned salute, and they both took a drink. Baird choked on the first swallow. He resolved to get himself a bottle or two before returning to the ship.

“The tale of the Great Warrior Jesus, son of Joseph, rivals that of Kahless himself, and I am deeply honored to recite the tale to you, as one who shares his heritage. Aside from our Kahless, I have never heard of anyone who has inspired so many generations of capable and fearsome warriors.”

Kuveth grinned again, raised his glass, and downed another drink. Baird followed suit, barely remembering to breathe a little first before swallowing. Potent f***ing stuff, this f***ing blood wine was.

“Such a grand history indeed for the one who was destined to lead you humans to greatness! He was born among the fiercest of your creatures instead of in some soft bed. Such a birth it must have been indeed, for his mother’s screams must have shook the Earth itself, warning the heavens of the arrival of the greatest of all Earth warriors! Earth’s ruling leaders recognized his fearsome potential, traveling from the far corners of your world just to offer their allegiance to the infant with the spirit of the wildest beast.”

There was going to be something worth salvaging from this conversation after all. Sullivan, that stupid b****, enjoyed the holiday season and its traditions too much for Baird’s comfort. About this time last year, while they were still together, she blathered on and on about Bethlehem this and Three Kings that, assuming that Baird gave a flying f*** about it. Every single f***ing minute of every single f***ing day, there was no choice but to endure her f***ing babbling, excruciating crap. And this was just the sort of thing that would get under her skin, so Baird filed this particular little information item away somewhere under “really p*** off Sullivan later on.”

Kuveth continued his tale.

“The boy Jesus grew quickly, challenged by none that would deem themselves worthy by comparison. He was taught the ways of any good warrior - honor, duty, and strength of courage and heart. Upon reaching the age of manhood, the Great Warrior Jesus wished to be tested by the greatest of all the other warriors known to him - the one named John, son of Baptist. They met in a river and battled each other with every ounce of their strength. John struggled valiantly to hold Jesus underwater, but of course, not even HE could drown him, for the Great Warrior was much too strong! He fought back to the surface with the ferociousness of a targ, thus proving his own worthiness to himself as well as to the others who had already recognized his greatness for what it was!

“From then onward, it was destiny that called the Great Warrior Jesus to duty. He taught his followers to face any kind of opposition bravely and with courage, and to fairly reward any of those who would follow his banner. The Great Warrior would make the impossible become possible. He would stand on the ocean waters, defying the very foundations of your Earth itself. And as Kahless forged his own bat’leth in the fiery pits of our own home world, the Great Warrior Jesus thus gathered his small army for the coming confrontation between the followers of his banner, and the opposing power of Pilate, son of Rome.

“Even though he was strong and powerful, the Great Warrior Jesus was also wise enough to understand that he was not invincible, since his tactical position was weak by comparison. He told his growing army to continue to fight in his name to the very last man if he were ever to be captured by the enemy - thus ensuring the one true path to honor at all possible cost. Ah, I see you are dry. Let me refill your cup, Engineer Baird,” said Kuveth, pouring some more wine.

“F***, yeah,” replied Baird, trying to focus on the hands that held the cup in front of him. Were they his? He wasn’t entirely sure.

Kuveth seemed to speak a lot more grandiosely now, raising his voice louder than before.

“And then one day, the Great Warrior Jesus was captured by the enemy Pilate’s forces during a night raid on his encampment! They beat him and nailed his hands to a dead tree! But did he give up? No! While they mercilessly tortured him, he would laugh in the faces of his oppressors and enemies, for they could not hurt his fighting spirit at all! Thus, even the enemy grew to respect him greatly, although he was at their mercy. And just as he was about to die, the enemy was honorable enough to offer him one last drink of blood wine as a final gift to a warrior and leader who had fought his battle so valiantly to the very end! He drank it down in one swallow, grinned in satisfaction, and told them “it is finished!” The Great Warrior Jesus then died in honor, and his spirit went up to Sto- Va-Kor as a shining example to all that would live after him!”

“Sto-Va-Kor!” yelled Baird, clinking his cup against Kuveth’s and taking another shot as the room began to spin merrily around him.

“Sto-Va-Kor!” agreed Kuveth. He continued in a lower voice.

“The followers of the Great Warrior Jesus multiplied with each new generation, fighting and resisting all opposition they would encounter. In the Great Warrior’s name alone, they would fight the sons of Muhammad in a mighty crusade for honor and glory, taking their lands and their women as their own! And when there were no enemies left to fight, they would divide into factions and seek to conquer each other in countless wars over many generations, killing all of those who were weak and unworthy of the honor to speak of the great warrior’s name in reverence! In victory, they would stand on the graves of their opposition, and take what was rightfully theirs by claim of heritage and by right of combat - power, wealth, and women! In defeat, they would vow vengeance! In life, they would impose their warrior ways upon others! In death, they knew they would live among the other warriors in Sto-Va-Kor, no matter who was victorious or who was not!”

“Soundsh like a f***ing great f***ing battle,” slurred Baird, looking into his empty glass.

“It certainly was, for many other reasons. The others of your world, those of whom did not follow the Great Warrior, they would eventually learn to respect their opposition’s ways and adopt them for themselves, thus making them stronger. And, since they were faced with much stronger opposition, the Great Warrior’s followers forged ingenious new weapons to fight their enemies with! Then one would strike! And the other would strike back! On and on! All of this, all because of the Great Warrior Jesus, you humans learned to live in a constant, never ceasing conflict over hundreds of generations! As a result, your people gradually became the most effective warriors within your section of the galaxy! How glorious it must have been!”

“F***ing glorioush been it,” agreed Baird, grabbing the bottle for a little more input into the whole matter.

“Indeed. And throughout your history, many humans have celebrated the birth date of the Great Warrior Jesus in order to honor him. They would sing songs of praise and tell tales of fellowship. They would ornament their homes with shining lights, admiring them as they admired his shining example. They would cut down trees and decorate them, symbolizing personal growth at the expense of life itself. So great was the human celebration, that an immortal man was born from it, to serve it! A being that would supply the future needs of your warriors for all the generations to come - Santa, son of Claus! He is the Great Warrior’s immortal champion of the ages, a soldier of the highest honor - the one who would bravely answer all the challenges of all the warriors he would serve! Every year, on the eve of the anniversary of the Great Warrior’s date of birth, the Santa travels to all households of the faithful followers of the Great Warrior, giving their sons and daughters gifts of encouragement! The sons would be given toy swords and weapons to practice with, and games that encouraged competition and war. The daughters would be given ornaments that that would enhance their ability to attract a potential warrior for a mate, along with many other items that would help them learn how to support a future generation of capable new warriors. To this very day, the immortal Santa Claus still flies across the entire galaxy to answer all challenges made by the faithful following of warriors, and to entreat and serve all of their future needs, thus ensuring the path of the Great Warrior Jesus to endure for now and forever.”

“Reindeersh doesh f***ing transhwarp velocity,” explained Baird. Was it him, or was the whole f***ing room turning somersaults?

Kuveth got up and walked around the room, smiling and gesturing in a grand manner.

“Your battles, your wars, all glorious. It is an amazing history your people have, as sons and daughters of the Great Warrior! It is for this reason alone that you humans are to be respected in battle. War is bred into your very bones through your heritage! It is small wonder why we Klingons could never defeat you, for you are just as strong and worthy as us, if not more! HA!”

Kuveth clapped Baird on the back. He fell over like a bowling pin. It didn’t really matter too much though, since Baird had passed out long before he hit the floor.

“Ha! Not only do you curse like a Klingon - you drink like one too! Rest well, Engineer Baird, and sleep off your celebrations in honor. I promise to administer to the shipment and payment details during your slumber!”

Kuveth called an assistant in, and gestured at the drooling zonked human on the floor. The underling lifted Baird’s limp form over her shoulder and carried him out the door. Kuveth smiled and nodded his head in approval, then reviewed the final revisions to the requested parts list.

Kuveth could not help but marvel at the day’s events so far. The human culture was right here in their midst. And what a stroke of luck it was to have them here during their most important celebration of the Great Warrior! There was a very unique opportunity here, one that all of them couldn’t really afford to ignore, especially when it came to their human culture studies!

He had a great idea. There might not ever be another opportunity to experience a very important part of human culture, just like they had always dreamed of doing! A chance of a lifetime! He would discuss the idea with the other Klingons on the station first, of course, but he was already certain they would agree without question.

And, based upon Baird’s honorable sharing of the history of the Great Warrior together as brothers, Kuveth felt very sure the humans would not mind at all.


Dillon had the bridge to himself. It seemed like everyone tried to find excuses to leave the bridge whenever he was in command. He knew they were intimidated by his superior knowledge of Starfleet regulations. But it always really annoyed him that no one else on the ship seemed to place as much importance on the business of the day when there was any kind of excuse to party. Holiday season or not, there was still a ship to run here.

This time, everyone else was at the Christmas party in the holodeck. Great! Fine! At least the bridge was entirely his to command, even though the ship was docked with the repair facility. No Sullivan was around here to complain. No Carr was around here to contradict him. No Jaroch was around here to argue with everything he said, twisting his logic around in ways to make Dillon feel completely insecure with himself.

He was in control.

Rubbing his hands, Dillon relished the whole idea. He sat down in the Captain’s chair, noting how comfortable it felt to him.

The first order of business for the day, of course, was ship security. If something were to happen in dry dock, Dillon would be instantly ready to go to action. Given that whole idea, he felt an increased state of readiness should be in order.

“Computer, initiate yellow alert.”

“Yellow alert initiated,” replied the computer.

A siren sounded, and the ship’s shields powered up. Dillon’s communicator came to life.

“Rydell to Dillon. What the heck do you think you’re doing?”

“Well sir, I just thought we should be prepared to defend ourselves against this alien station, just in case they might try anything we’re not anticipating.”

“Dillon, the last time I checked, the Klingons were our friends. Turn off your paranoia, and turn off those shields. You’re ruining the exterior light display.”

“Yes sir. Right away sir.”

Feeling a bit humiliated, Dillon cancelled the yellow alert and wondered what to do next, since his hands were very obviously tied. He stared at the view screen, which currently displayed the garbage chute of the repair depot. He played with the buttons on the armrest. He got up, and paced around the bridge nervously, hoping fervently that nothing would happen in this state of total defenselessness. He couldn’t even come up with a second order of business for the day, since his mind was so wrapped up with worry.

Command was a very burdening responsibility.

“Kapek IV Outpost to USS Secondprize. Come in Secondprize.”

Dillon opened the communications channel, and the face of a Klingon appeared on the screen.

“Secondprize here, this is Commander Dillon.”

“I am Kuveth. Engineer Baird has verified the parts and supplies you require from us. It is time to name our terms for repayment.”

“Acknowledged. Go ahead,” replied Dillon.

“Our terms may seem a bit unusual to you, but for us, it is a matter of great honor. We would be rather…appreciative if you were to grant our request,” grinned Kuveth in a way that seemed rather threatening to Dillon.

Dillon panicked for a split second, but then he remembered Rydell’s order. Give them what they want.

“What did you have in mind?”

“We are aware that you are currently celebrating the human event you call Christmas. This is correct?”

“Uh, yes.”

“We want you to know that the Klingons of this outpost are admirers of the Great Warrior Jesus.”

“Great Warrior Jesus?”

“Yes, one cannot speak his name enough. As repayment for our supplies and services, we, as admirers of the Great Warrior, wish to experience the honor of meeting the immortal Santa Claus. I assume he will be visiting your ship within the day?”

“W-What?” Dillon stammered.

“The Santa Claus. According to your human calendar, he is due to arrive very soon. We simply wish to meet with him when he arrives.”

“B-But you can’t, I-I mean, there’s not…”

“ARE YOU IMPLYING THAT KLINGONS ARE NOT HONORABLE ENOUGH TO MEET THE SANTA CLAUS?” Kuveth shouted angrily.

“No-of-course-not,” replied Dillon as quickly as he could.

“The terms are settled then! When the Santa Claus arrives, we will receive him. He will visit our homes, he will honor our sons and daughters, and we will honor him and the Great Warrior Jesus in return. Then you will receive your supplies. In the meantime, we will inform our people to expect him shortly, and to prepare for his arrival. Kaplah!” The Klingon pounded his chest and saluted, then the view screen winked off.

Dillon stared at the blank screen and wondered what he was supposed to do now? What was the best way to handle this?

One thing was for sure: he wasn’t about to consult with anyone else on this one. He would handle it on his own initiative. Dillon was the commander today. The authority. The man. Numero uno. The big honcho. The head cheese.

So of course, it took him a very long time to figure out an appropriate plan of action.


“Dillon to Baird.”

Five seconds.

“Dillon to Baird.”

Five seconds.

“Dillon to Baird.”

“Ooooh my f***ing head,” Baird moaned.

He found himself lying on a cement slab in a private room. A standard Klingon bunk, from the looks of it. No one else seemed to be around.

“Dillon to Baird.”

“Dillon to Baird.”

“F***!”

“Dillon to Baird.”

Baird smacked the commbadge hard.

“What the f*** do you want, you f***ing moron!”

“I’ve been trying to find you for the last five hours. You and I have a problem to resolve.”

“F*** you. Problem solved.”

“With the payment terms for the engine parts, I mean.”

“What did you f*** up this time?”

“Uh…the Klingons are expecting a visit from Santa Claus in exchange for the engine supplies. They won’t accept anything else.”

“You’ve got to be f***ing joking.”

“You were the one handling the negotiations,” tried Dillon.

“Look, you f***ing moron. I just reviewed and approved the available inventory, since that was my f***ing job. You’re the first officer, so you were the one who was supposed to take care of the f***ing payment details. So don’t you f***ing blame me for your latest f*** up.”

“This isn’t my fault,” Dillon protested a bit defensively, feeling a bit chagrined.

“Like I f***ing care. So what are you f***ing proposing here? Why is this MY f***ing problem all of a sudden? Am I somehow supposed to take care of this whole f***ing problem for you too?”

“Well, something like that. I was ordered by the Captain to give the Klingons anything they wanted in exchange for the supplies, so that’s just what we’re going to do.”

“What the f*** do you mean by WE?”

“You are going to handle some of the details. I’m beaming some things down to you to help you facilitate this purpose. Call me back when you’re ready. That was an order. Dillon out.”

The whine of a transporter beam sounded from behind him. Baird turned around to look at the bright beam of light on the floor, which eventually formed itself into a red suit, a floppy red hat, a black belt, a big red sack, and a fake white beard.

“I’m going to kill that f***ing p****,” growled Baird.


The fireplace crackled and sparked as the revelers continued their festive cheer in the ski lodge. Someone was playing the upright piano in the corner. A small group had gathered around it, singing “Auld Lang Syne” at loud volume.

“Merry Christmas everyone!” shouted Rydell, clinking a shot glass with Walker and Sullivan, all downing the contents simultaneously.

“Mistletoe? Anyone need any mistletoe?” said Vaughn, who was walking around the room and carrying an armful of the stuff around with her.

“Gak!” Jaroch’s eyes bugged out, caught entirely by surprise as Webber latched a big holiday hug on him from behind.

Hawkins was starting to get a little bored with the party. Dillon wasn’t here to share in the festivities. Maybe she would go up and wish him a Merry Christmas.


“Baird to F***ing Idiot.”

“Computer responding. There is no one named F***ing Idiot aboard the USS Secondprize.”

“Don’t be so sure about that. Search your database of all crew personal logs and cross reference them to the officer most referenced by that name.”

“Searching. Fifty three thousand four hundred and six entries found. Transferring your communication to Commander Dillon.”

“Dillon here. Have you put on the suit yet?”

“I’m not putting on anything until you tell me what the f*** is going on here. What the f*** do you think I’m supposed to do with all of this?”

“You’re going to visit all the Klingons on the repair station, and give gifts to all of their children. Since they want to experience the Christmas holiday for themselves, we’re going to give it to them.”

“What? That’s f***ing ridiculous! How the f*** am I supposed to that?”

“Easy. Just keep this communications channel open at all times. All you have to do is talk with the Klingons and find out what their children want for Christmas, while I sit here in the transporter room and replicate the things they ask for. I will beam the gifts directly into your sack, which has a receiving pattern transponder built right into it. You just reach in to the sack and give the gifts away.”

“This is your f***ing plan.”

“Have you got a better one?”

Baird thought about it. Unfortunately, he didn’t. And he was still too f***ing hung over to think about it in a more realistic manner.

“F*** this. I’m not doing it.”

“Then we won’t get any of the engine supplies we need, and we’ll be stuck here indefinitely with a bunch of angry, disappointed, and insulted Klingons who just might decide to dismantle the ship piece by piece in exchange for unpaid docking fees.”

“Oh all right! Just don’t f***ing blame me if this f***s up! This is the stupidest f***ing thing I’ve ever been f***ing asked to do! It’s f***ing humiliating! You’re the f***ing moron who f***ed up here, so it should be you in this f***ing suit, not me!”

Baird reluctantly put on the Santa suit, cursing Dillon with every breath.

“All right. I’m in the f***ing suit. I’m wearing the fake f***ing beard, which f***ing itches all to f***ing hell. Are you f***ing happy now, you f***ing moron?”

“One more thing. Santa Claus is supposed to be merry. Do you think you can manage that?”

Santa Baird replied with the biggest stream of the most vicious verbal abuse he could imagine.

“Okay, just do the best you can then. Just remember, your performance is what is going to get us our supplies, since they are going to think you’re the real thing. Just act the part of Santa, and you’ll do fine. As for me, I’ll be standing by as your helpful elf at Santa’s Workshop.”

“Have you got any candy canes replicated already?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Be sure to save one, so I can stuff it up your a**.”


Hawkins stepped outside the holodeck and touched her commbadge.

“Hawkins to Dillon.”

There was no response.

“Hawkins to Dillon.”

“Computer here. The receiving channel of the designated commbadge is currently locked on an external transmission.”

“Computer, locate Commander Dillon.”

“F***ing Idiot is currently in transporter room two.”

“I beg your pardon, computer?”

“Commander Dillon is currently in transporter room two.”

“Computer, doesn’t Baird have anything else better to do right now, other than tampering with your programming?

“Commander Baird is currently not aboard the Secondprize.”

Hawkins wondered what the hell was going on here. Her security chief instincts started to kick in. Baird didn’t normally stay away from engineering during a warp systems failure. Why wasn’t he working on the engines? Why had he been off the ship all this time? Something was definitely up.

And the most likely possible answer for it came to her in a flash:

Dillon.

What kind of trouble was he stirring up now? She turned on her heel and made her way to transporter room two.


Santa Baird scratched his face underneath the itching beard, swore one more time at Dillon for good measure, and then stepped out into the hallway. From the looks of things, Kuveth must have put him in some kind of guest quarters within residential section of the station to let him sleep off his hangover.

It certainly wasn’t a successful rest at all. His head still throbbed painfully as he dragged the f***ing sack to the nearest door.

“Are you ready for this, s***head?” he asked of his elf.

“Proceed,” replied Dillon.

He rang the door chime.

“Kaplah!”

The door opened. Baird droned his lines as sarcastically as possible.

“Hah hah hah. I am Santa Claus from Earth. Merry f***ing Christmas. Yada yada.”

“He has come! The Santa Claus has come!” shouted a gruff Klingon voice from inside. “Come inside, come in, faithful servant of the Great Warrior!”

Baird couldn’t help but notice the décor as he walked inside. All around the interior of these living quarters, bat’leths, daggers and swords were dangling all over the walls and ceiling from what looked like some kind of tinsel-laden spiked wire. In the far corner of the room, a dead targ was impaled on the top of some kind of thorny looking tree, which was decorated with blinking red lights that resembled the emblem of the Klingon Empire. As Baird watched, the tongue of the dead targ sprang back and forth as the electrical feed jolted its carcass with every fresh blink of the lights.

There was a family of six Klingons inside, a male and female adult, with four children. Santa Baird noted they were all lined up in an organized row, each holding onto a baton that was raised up in a salutary fashion towards him. The adult male spoke.

“I am Kurn, son of Bu’Tak. This is my wife, Chakina, and these are our beloved offspring. The house of Bu’Tak stands ready and honored to receive you, Santa!”

“Uh yeah. Hah hah. So, what do ya f***ing want from old Santa then?”

“We would wish to honor the Santa Claus as the servant of the Great Warrior first, before you would do us honor in return. Will you permit this?”

“Uh, I guess so.”

“Honor the Santa Claus,” commanded Kurn. All of them leaped forward in unison, and jabbed Baird with the batons.

“YYYEEEEAEAARARRGHHHH!” Baird screamed in agony as the Klingon painsticks glowed white hot against his body.

“Have we pleased you enough, Santa Claus? Would you like to experience more honor from us?” Kurn asked in a conversational tone.

“ARRRRRGH NOOOO F*** STOP IT ARRRRRGH ALL F***ING READY!”

“We have honored the Santa Claus, the servant of the Great Warrior. Step back now children, and respectfully ask him for your gifts in exchange for the honor we have bestowed upon him,” ordered Chakina.

The blinding pain ended as suddenly as it began - only to be replaced by a vastly increased throbbing of the hangover in Santa Baird’s head. He groaned as he fell to his knees on the floor. This was sure not going as f***ing planned.

The first child, a young male, defiantly stepped up to Baird.

“I am going to be a great hunter. I will need a new spear for the targ hunt.”

“I’ll - see - what - I - can - f***ing - do,” Baird grunted between throbs of agony, standing up slowly and picking the sack up from the floor. A transporter whine sounded inside it. Baird reached inside and pulled out a four-foot long spear. He gave it to the kid.

“BE’HOQ MEK!” shouted the child, swinging the spear underneath Baird’s right leg.

THUD

“F***! Son of a f***ing b****!” Baird exclaimed from the floor as the kid scooted off to practice with his new weapon.

“Yes, we are very proud of him too,” replied Kurn. “We truly expect him to become a very great warrior some day.”

The next child, another young male, stepped forward and demanded a new toy Bat’leth. The transporter hummed inside the sack, and Baird remembered to dodge backward after he gave the Bat’leth to him. It was a good thing he did, since it missed by mere inches. The kid raced back underneath his mother’s protective arm.

“F***ing little p****,” Baird said.

“Yes, he will need more practice,” agreed Kurn. “You notice how he missed you so easily? Terrible aim that one. No patience at all. He has much to learn.”

Chakina smacked the young male over the head as he ran away to play with his new toy. The next child stepped up. A little Klingon girl.

“I suppose you want a f***ing dolly, right?” asked Santa Baird.

“I want a new dagger to stab my mean older brothers with,” replied the little girl.

“Just make sure it’s one that won’t rust too soon,” added Chakina.

Baird tried to smile, but failed completely.

“All right. But if I give one to you, will you f***ing promise not to attack Santa with it?” asked Santa Baird warily, who was beginning to catch on here.

“Yes Santa, I promise,” replied the little girl.

The transporter hummed. Baird reached into the sack and gave her the dagger. She immediately turned and flung it straight at her elder brother who was practicing with his new spear. It missed his head by a hair’s width, and it thunked into the wall beside him. He screamed a challenge. She screamed right back. He dropped the spear and charged at her, bellowing loudly. She swung her fist straight into his jaw, knocking him out cold with one stroke. The boy fell face down to the floor, head bouncing off the ground.

“Very good,” approved Chakina. “Now go away and play, and do not cut open any major arteries with your new toy.” The little girl scampered off to pull the dagger out of the wall.

The last child, another young female, shyly looked up at Santa Baird.

“Do you have a skipping rope, like the ones the human girls play with?”

Baird glanced up at her parents, who looked completely embarrassed.

“No family is perfect,” explained Kurn.


“Travis, are you in here?” said Hawkins as she walked into the transporter room.

“Patricia? I’m just around the corner by the replicator. Hang on a second, I’ll be right there.”

Hawkins looked at the transporter room, which looked more like a spilled weapons locker. Daggers, swords, and several small suits of armor to service a small army of midgets…scattered all over the place?

“Uh, Travis,” started Hawkins.

“Coming,” said Dillon. He came around the corner, lightly swinging an eight-pronged club. Its spikes looked incredibly vicious and sharp.

“As much as I hate to ask, Travis - what exactly are you doing in here?”

“I’m just helping Santa Claus give presents to the Klingons so we can get our engine parts in exchange.”

“Okay. Back up. I think you should start this story right from the beginning so I know exactly what’s going on here,” sighed Hawkins, sensing the inevitable confirmation of trouble already.

Dillon quickly explained everything. The orders from the Captain, the Klingon demands to visit with Santa Claus, the outfitting of Santa Baird and his gifts, and all.

“What’s wrong?” said Dillon, seeing the concerned expression on her face.

“Dillon, it really sounds like you’re trying to get Baird killed! You’re supposed to be the academic golden boy here. Didn’t you attend that lecture on Klingon-Human cultural relations?”

“I think I was in the academy hospital that day,” admitted Dillon. “From what I can remember about it, my roommate Worf had just finished giving me a personal lesson in Klingon-Human relations.”

“That’s not an excuse, Travis. You lived with a Klingon long enough to know they value honor above everything else! Think about it. What do you think will happen to Baird if they happen to find out he’s a masquerading fraud? If he doesn’t keep his wits about him at all times, or if he somehow manages to screw things up in some way, he’s as good as dead!”

“Uh, well, I guess I never really thought of it in that kind of way,” Dillon replied as he felt the beginning of a sinking feeling descending over him.

“Baird should know better than to do something as stupid as this! Whatever possessed him to go along with the whole idea?”

“Um…I guess I didn’t give him much of a choice,” Dillon admitted.

“In other words - you were being spineless, and you felt backed into a corner. So you decided to go along with this nonsense and force Baird to help you with it, instead of challenging their demands and telling them the real truth, like you should have done to begin with.”

“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“I don’t believe this. Computer, interlink with the Klingon outpost’s computer. Download all available information from the Klingon database concerning the subject of Santa Claus and display it here.”

Hawkins read the information with growing alarm.

“This is worse than I thought. It looks like the Klingons have misinterpreted our holiday customs in a very twisted kind of way. Baird is in real danger over there.”

“How was I supposed to know?” Dillon said, worried.

“Let’s see…you could have conducted some actual research before committing him to a suicide mission. For starters.”

“I was just trying to follow the Captain’s orders. I’m sorry. It’s just that Jaroch wasn’t around to help me out and…” Dillon’s voice trailed off quietly, having caught himself saying these words to his own personal humiliation. Waves of anxiety washed over him.

“It looks like it’s too late to do anything about it now,” sighed Hawkins. “The Klingons have a very distorted view of what Santa Claus is supposed to be, and now we’re stuck supporting the whole idea. You just keep on doing what you’re doing here, while I monitor the situation and figure out ways of keeping Baird alive, just in case he screws this up. Got it?”

“Y-Yes dear.”


Beat up, bruised, and battered after several visits to various Klingon households, Santa Baird limped over to the next doorway.

So far, he had encountered the most vicious f***ing children imaginable. All of them wanted weapons for Christmas! All of them attacked him when they got them! What f***ing kind of Christmas was this supposed to f***ing be, anyway? This was f***ing insane!

He nervously braced himself before he rang the next doorbell, silently vowing for the umpteenth time to kill Dillon for putting him in this whole f***ing situation.

“Kaplah!”

He warily entered the small domicile, watching carefully for swinging swords, thrusting painsticks, and flying objects. He listened for the sound of scraping metal, clanking armor, and unsheathing daggers. There were none. He made one last check, searching the floor for any trip wires, spiked targ traps, or scorch marks - he found nothing. He went inside, stepping very lightly, ready to jump aside at a moments notice.

“Greetings to you, Santa Claus! I would like to do you the honor of…”

“Can we just skip the whole f***ing do me honor part, this time? I think I’ve had my f***ing fill of it today. Oh yeah: hah hah hah to you.”

“As you wish, Santa Claus. I am Bitek, son of Worg. As you can see, I have no children of my own anymore. They have all died honorably in battle. But as for me, I am just an old warrior who somehow survived over the years, just like you. You honor an old man with your visit. Would you care for some blood wine?”

Baird’s head throbbed at the mere mention of it.

“I’ll pass.”

“Do you have many more Klingon families to visit after myself?”

“Not f***ing really. Just your next door neighbor after this, and then I’m outta here,” Baird breathed a sigh of relief.

“Ah, then you refer to Kuveth’s household. A fine warrior, he is. He has but one child, and he seems to be turning into brave young warrior. He is almost at the age of ascension, and I am very certain you will be very pleased with him and his combat abilities.”

“Do you think they are going to get f***ing violent with me too, just like all the rest of them?” asked Baird somewhat fearfully, somewhat mortified with the whole idea of anticipating one more fight to battle. It had been a very long and terrifying day. Baird didn’t think he could look at any child, Klingon or otherwise, quite the same again after all of this.

Bitek’s eyes narrowed a little in suspicion.

“Have you not enjoyed the challenges we have offered for your benefit, in celebration of the birthday of the Great Warrior?”

“F***, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle another f***ing challenge. I’ll just be f***ing happy when I climb back into my f***ing sleigh and blast off.”

Bitek smiled suddenly.

“Perhaps you should hurry and visit Kuveth’s household, so you can finish up your stay here. After all, you still have to visit all the young human children. You must be a very busy man on this day of all days.”

“Yeah, that’s f***ing right. Hah hah hah to you, and I’ll be on my merry f***ing way. Merry f***ing Christmas to ya!” Baird exclaimed with some real enthusiasm, very relieved he got through this place unscathed. He left Bitek’s quarters, and the door closed behind him.

The old Klingon touched his communications panel.

“Kuveth speaking,” answered the voice on the other end.

“It is Bitek. I have had my visit with the Santa Claus. I am concerned. He just said something to me that suggests that he might be an imposter.”

“WHAT? SPEAK NOW!” Kuveth ordered.

“The Santa Claus seems reluctant to honor the challenge of battle. Although I am not entirely certain about this, I suspect that it might be true. The real Santa Claus would not do such a thing, as you well know.”

“Where is he?”

“He is about to enter your household.”

“Then he will receive our challenge,” replied Kuveth darkly. “If he really is an imposter, and is not the immortal Santa as he claims, I will shed his blood upon my Bat’leth for lying to us all.”


“Damn it!” exclaimed Hawkins, who was listening in on the whole conversation with Bitek. “Baird just blew it!”

“What do you mean?” asked Dillon, not really understanding.

“Baird just complained about not wanting to accept the challenge of an honorable fight. To any Klingon, this would be a sign of weakness. This is especially so, since they all believe in this distorted immortal warrior myth concerning Santa Claus. He doesn’t have any clue what he just did. They are going to kill him if we don’t do something about it!”

“Are you sure?”

“Does a cardassian croc bite your leg off when you pet it?”

“Oh no,” Dillon moaned. This was not going to look good on his report. “Let’s beam him out of there now, before it’s too late!”

“We can’t! If we do that, the ship will instantly be crawling with a pile of angry Klingons looking for a fight! Our warp drive is shot, so we can’t escape! And if we fight back, we will just end up breaking the peace treaty, and then the Federation will end up going to war over it! All because of your stupidity!”

“But but but but but,” Dillon stammered in anxiety laden confusion. He felt very faint.

“Hurry up and replicate a Santa style suit for me. Size nine!”

“W-What are you going to do?”

“I’m going over there to save Baird’s rear end and ours at the same time. Just stop whining and do it, will you? Snap to it!”

Confused and feeling powerless, Dillon did as he was told.


Santa Baird stood at the door of the last Klingon residence, which was Kuveth’s household. The door opened for him, just before he got the chance to mentally prepare himself for it.

“Come inside at once, Santa Claus!” bellowed an angry sounding voice from within.

It was much darker inside this place, and he couldn’t see very well through the gloom. Santa Baird sighed, braced himself for the worst as best he could, and dragged the sack inside. The doors closed behind him. He heard an audible click of a lock latching itself into place.

“Hah hah hah, Merry Christmas!” he said, just a little nervously. He could see two dark humanoid shapes at the other side of the room, but not very clearly.

“We are honored to meet the Santa Claus, immortal champion of the Great Warrior Jesus. We trust that you have been impressed with our people so far?” said the voice, which he recognized as Kuveth’s.

“Er, yeah. You guys have been f***ing great. Couldn’t be f***ing better.”

“An immortal such as you must be well seasoned in the gift of combat, after hundreds of years. It must please you greatly to meet so many capable warriors, and to help them become better ones. My eldest son Jupek has been very eager to receive you since he first heard of your coming. “

“Always f***ing ready to help. So lad, what do you f***ing want from Santa? A brand new disruptor perhaps? A custom made bat’leth? A barbed choke wire? A double bladed dagger?”

“BE’SHUK!”

The lights rose. Kuveth and Jupek stood there frowning, dressed in full battle armor, each carrying a bat’leth. Kuveth swung his sword lightly in front of him

“As you can see, he really needs nothing of the sort. He merely wishes to test himself in battle against the Santa Claus, the immortal representative of the Great Warrior himself. As do I!” Kuveth’s eyebrows rose menacingly. “For such a great warrior as yourself, the two of us should pose no threat to you at all. Is that not right, Santa Claus?”

Both Klingons stepped forward towards him, grinning maniacally.

“Oh s***, sure whatever the f*** you say, “ Baird said as he felt the blood drain out of his face. He backed himself slowly towards the door, even though he was certain it was locked. He was trapped with no way out.

A transporter whine filled the room, and a red suited figure materialized directly in front of Baird. A female Santa Claus? She whirled to face him, looking very angry.

“Hawkins?” said Baird.

“DON’T YOU CALL ME BY MY PET NAME, YOU USELESS WORM!” Hawkins screamed straight into his face.

Kuveth and Jupek stepped back a little, just a bit unsure of THIS development. Hawkins continued her tirade unabated.

“YOU SON OF A F***ING B****! YOU SPEND ALL NIGHT LONG ON THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THE YEAR, PARTYING AND CARRYING ON WITH THE KLINGONS, AND YOU DON’T EVEN THINK TO INCLUDE ME! OH SURE, MISSUS SANTA CLAUS IS ALWAYS LEFT BEHIND TO FEED THE F***ING REINDEER AT HOME, WHILE YOU GO OFF AND GALAVANT AROUND THE ENTIRE F***ING GALAXY! I OUGHT TO KILL YOU RIGHT NOW!”

Baird caught on real fast, since he had to.

“YOU WERE NOTHING WHEN I FIRST MET YOU, YOU F***ING WENCH! I DID YOU THE FAVOR OF MARRYING YOU, AND ALL YOU EVER DO FOR ME IN RETURN IS B**** B**** B****! YOU HAVE NO F***ING IDEA WHAT I GO THROUGH EVERY F***ING DAY! I’M ENTITLED TO A LITTLE F***ING FUN EVERY ONCE IN A F***ING WHILE WITHOUT YOU COMING ALONG TO F***ING SPOIL IT ALL THE F***ING TIME!”

Hawkins screeched right back at him.

“FUN? YOU CALL THIS FUN DO YOU? LOOK AT YOU! PICKING ON THESE POOR F***ING KLINGONS! YOU’RE JUST A F***ING BULLY, THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE! GIVE ME THAT F***ING SWORD!”

Hawkins snatched the bat’leth away from Jupek. The young Klingon staggered back quickly, having been caught completely by surprise. She turned her head back toward Baird to scream at him some more.

“SEE HOW F***ING EASY IT IS TO PICK ON THEM? SO YOU THINK YOU’RE A REAL HE-MAN, DO YOU? I’LL SHOW YOU JUST HOW MANLY YOU REALLY ARE!”

Hawkins attacked Kuveth angrily, smashing the bat’leth at him over and over again. Incredibly surprised with the ferocity of the attack, Kuveth barely parried the thrusts in time as she came at him faster and faster.

“LOOK AT THESE WIMPS! THE GREAT WARRIOR HIMSELF WOULD BE SUPREMELY OFFENDED IF YOU KILLED THEM SO EASILY! DID YOU NOT TELL THEM THAT EVEN YOUR WIFE COULD TAKE ON TEN OF THEIR MEN? JUST WHAT KIND OF A MAN ARE YOU, ANYWAY?” screeched Hawkins.

Kuveth grunted in exertion as the blows came at him, barely managing to hold on.

WHAP BAP KLANG BADING

Hawkins continued the barrage, still screeching shrilly at the top of her lungs.

“LOOK AT THIS ONE! SEE HOW UNWORTHY HE IS? WHY DO YOU ALWAYS INSIST ON PRETENDING AND CATERING TO THEIR FRAIL CHALLENGES? JUST SO YOU CAN FLAUNT AND PROVE YOUR SUPERIORITY OVER THEM? YOUR MOTHER WOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOU IF SHE WERE STILL ALIVE TO SEE THIS!”

Hawkins swung the bat’leth in a loop, catching the interior edge of Kuveth’s sword, flinging it from his grasp. It flew through the air and stuck into the wall.

“THERE. YOU SEE? THAT’S ENOUGH HUMILIATION FOR ONE DAY! WE ARE LEAVING RIGHT NOW, MISTER CLAUS! YOU HAVE A LOT MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO TONIGHT BEFORE A VERY BUSY DAY TOMORROW! YOU STILL HAVEN’T FIXED THE F***ING FENCE LIKE I ASKED YOU TO DO, AND THAT DAMNED FURNACE HAS BEEN ACTING UP AGAIN! YOU’RE COMING WITH ME, YOU LAZY A**!”

Hawkins grabbed Baird by the ear and dragged him painfully toward the door.

“OUCH! YOU F***ING B****!” yelled Baird, a bit more honestly than he intended.

“YOU! KLINGON! UNLOCK THAT F***ING DOOR SO WE CAN GET THE F*** OUT OF HERE! OR IS TODAY A GOOD DAY TO DIE?” Hawkins screeched.

“Y-Yes Madam Claus, right away!” stammered Kuveth.

The doors opened, and Hawkins dragged Baird out the door, both of them screaming at each other all the way out. The doors shut behind them as their bellows echoed through the corridor.

Kuveth was more than a bit shaken as he turned to his son.

“That was a close one. I would never have realized it. All I can say is, I’m certainly glad that I’m not the Santa Claus,” he shuddered.


Dillon energized the beam, and a red suited Hawkins and Baird materialized on the transporter platform.

“F***! That was really f***ing amazing! Thanks a lot for saving my a** down there!” said Baird, very relieved and very honestly meaning it.

“Don’t mention it. It’s what I do. Security really isn’t a job for everyone, but someone’s got to do it,” replied Hawkins wearily. She was completely exhausted.

“I’m just glad you’re both all right,” added Dillon.

Baird looked at Hawkins. Hawkins looked at Baird. They didn’t even have to exchange the words. Baird looked back towards Dillon.

“F*** you,” he suggested.

Hawkins started unbuttoning the Santa garb.

“Look you guys, I’m beat. That workout took a lot out of me, so I think I’m going to go and have a very hot shower. I really need some quiet downtime here…so can I simply assume that neither of you is going to do anything severely stupid within the next few hours?”

“Uh…no,” replied Dillon.

“F*** that,” replied Baird.

“Good! Because I think I would have to kill you both if you did!” said Hawkins. She took off the Santa hat last, tossed it to Dillon, and walked out of the transporter room.

Dillon waited until she was completely gone before he allowed himself a grin. With a regained sense of confidence, Dillon lightly twirled the Santa hat around and around his index finger.

“The plan worked like a charm, didn’t it?” Dillon said.

“F*** you,” Baird suggested again, glaring at him.

“Come on. You really can’t argue with the results. Because of your Santa performance, we’re getting our engine parts and supplies! Why aren’t you happy? You managed to pull the wool over the Klingons eyes, and live to tell about it! That’s got to be worth something to you, right? Just think about it!”

Baird thought about it, all right. He said absolutely nothing as he strode purposefully over to where Dillon was standing.

“Uh, uh, Mr. Baird, w-what are you doing?” Dillon asked nervously.

Santa Baird grabbed the sack, and shoved it over Dillon’s head.


“Captain’s Log, supplemental. The Klingons have provided the needed engine parts and supplies, and they have been actively assisting Commander Baird with the repairs to the Secondprize’s warp systems. Baird expects they will be completed in short order, and we are expected to be underway within the week. He is hereby commended for his efforts.

Baird is in a much better mood, it seems. Surprisingly, on his own initiative, he even invited a small Klingon delegation aboard to partake in some traditional Christmas festivities. Who knows, Baird might even develop into a sociable sort of person someday. Here’s hoping for the best.”


Baird led the small group of Klingons down the corridor, smiling from ear to ear.

“Engineer Baird, we are very delighted to partake in more of your festive celebrations of the Great Warrior. You have done so much for us already. We have met the Santa Claus, and he was everything we imagined him to be, and more. We are deeply honored by your demonstrations of goodwill. Really, you have been too kind to us,” said Kuveth.

“Not at all. It’s my f***ing pleasure.”

“So what is this celebration we are about to take part in? Even though you described it, we are unfamiliar with the history and details behind it. This is something new to us.”

Baird led them into the gymnasium. A large sack hung from a ceiling rope, while something inside of it struggled futilely to escape.

“What you see over there is something that the ancient Mexicans of Earth called a piñata. To celebrate the birth of the Great Warrior, their children would get to attack the swinging sack as practice, hoping to spill the contents open. Inside it was a prize for the one who was able to break it open with a good blow. All f***ing good fun for a budding young warrior, don’t you think?”

“Ha! It certainly does sound like fun! May we try it?” asked Kuveth.

“Sure! You’ve all brought your ceremonial painsticks, just like I asked you to?”

The Klingons nodded, and held them up to show him.

“Good. Just hit the f***ing sack as hard as you f***ing can with them. Let’s see which one of you can break it open and get the prize inside!”

WHACK KATHUD

“ARRRRRRRRRRRRGH!”

THWACK POOM

“REEAAEEAEAAARRRRRRRRGH!”

The screams grew louder and louder from the sack as Baird leaned against the wall, crossed his arms, and grinned.

It was a very Merry Christmas indeed.



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