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New Lhasa

USS Darwin

Darwin TNG

Season Two
206 Open Season
M'Kress: I fought an honour duel.
Suvell (mother): That is an oxymoron.
M'Kress: It went on too long.
Suvell: That is a tautology.

Velt'ra visits the home of Kath'lar and Kar'al to be trained by Kar'al - but he's not in. Kath'lar insists on training him herself (against Kar'al's wishes), and on sharing her low opinions of M'Kress - that she fights without emotion, with her eyes closed, and shooting them from afar. Kar'al arrives home to find them sparring, and furiously attacks Loras Veltr'a. Kath'lar is knocked over, which halts the fight - but she turns out to be unhurt. When Kar'al extracts a promise from Veltr'a not to let Kath'lar hold a weapon to teach him, she storms out.

Kath'lar's complaints about M'Kress' performance in training reach a few other Klingons, not to mention Loras Veltr'a. Some of the young Klingons start heckling M'Kress when they pass her in the street: they are amused to find someone who has the ridges of a Klingon but who replies to "Your father is senile and toothless" with "Can you substantiate that fact?". Unsurprisingly, they fail to goad her into fighting a duel (which, within limits, would be legal* on New Lhasa).

At one point, M'Kress is taunted within sight of Stadi. Stadi angrily challenges one of the Klingons to a duel, but tries to back down, saying "you're not worth it", when they agree. Later, Kar'al calls her to convince her to fight the duel. He explains that Klingons would mostly respect somone staying true to their own code of honour, but once she started following the Klingon codes she should have followed through. Stadi disagrees.

Ambassador K'Vuse - M'Kress' Klingon father - contacts M'Kress on the USS Stevenson and explains that her reputation has got back to Qu'onos. He more or less orders her to fight for his honour. The next time a group goads her, she proclaims, matter of factly, "You have besmirched my father's honour. I believe a duel is called for.". And challenges the bunch of them to a duel.

As local law* requires a cooling off period, there are a few days for word to spread and for spectator seating to be arranged. Ashook Quayn invites senior figures to the re-opening of his bar, which turns out to be on the same night. Petersen and Stadi will go the bar: Kath'lar, Kar'al and Veltr'a will go to the fight.

At the bar, Petersen is alarmed to see Stadi on Ashok Quayn's arm.

At the fight, M'Kress calmly defeats the first few combatants. Kath'lar storms off in disgust. A larger and more skilled Klingon named Koroll pummells M'Kress down, however. Enraged, she struggles up. Koroll, impressed, tries to yield, but the grieviously wounded M'Kress is offended at the suggestion and insists on continuing to fight. To the delight of the crowd, she fells her opponent. She remains conscious long enough to hear the remaining Klingons praise the honour of her family and yield the duels.

M'Kress contacts her mother on Vulcan, Suvell, and confesses that she lost control: and that she seriously injured her opponent. She asks her medics not to prevent her wounds scarring over, and suggest to Stadi she should be court martialled.

The next day, Petersen tells Stadi he is concerned about her relationship with Quayn. She is furious. At her reaction, he decides to summon a meeting of senior officers to discuss it.

* New Lhasan Legal note: Injury that does not threaten life or limb is legal in officially sanctioned 'duels', rather like some contemporary Terran 'boxing'. To qualify, the duel must be registered, everyone concerned will have signed their consent, a recognised leader from the relevant community must have signed for it, and medical and traditional supervision must be present. And the duel itself must be registed at least a week in advance, to give the participants a chance to cool off. Not that this often happens with Klingons. I figured that even Klingons would figure out the sense of not getting arrested every time they fight in public, and usually go along with this. But only usually: the Klingon officiant should have stopped the fight when M'Kress was injured, and the injuries Koroll sufferred were too serious for the duel license to prevent prosecution.

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© Ian McDonald 2001