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Federation National Symphony Hall: London, Earth

Stardate: 53390.2

"This is bullshit," Scharr whispered to Annabeth and Alex in the second row of the concert hall's mezzanine. The one thousand seat auditorium was packed with diplomats, socialites, Starfleet officers, and Klingon expatriates.

"It's almost over, Tren," Annabeth replied, careful to keep her response below a whisper. Alex rolled her eyes from the seat at Annabeth's right. Somehow, the doctor had concealed a PADD inside and was on her twentieth game of Klondike.

Annabeth looked forward to the first row of the mezzanine. Tigranian was sitting on the edge of his seat, watching the performance next to the assembled Starfleet Admiralty. Laria was to his left, but Admiral Paris was to his right. Every few minutes, Paris would ask the Captain a question about the performance which Tigranian would eagerly explain. The officers were in dress uniforms and extremely uncomfortable in the warm air of the darkened hall, everyone except Daniel Tigranian,, who was savoring every minute.

"I'm not Klingon, and this isn't even my planet!" Scharr said slightly louder.

"If Terrans couldn't get out of this, Sir," Katie said leaning in from his other side, "You don't get out of this."

The Men's Choir of the Klingon Defense Force was conducting a good will tour of the Federation for good will and cultural exchange. The stop on Earth was by far the choir's largest performance, and the Federation National Symphony Orchestra was providing the musical accompaniment to fifty Klingons in black leather armor standing rigidly at attention and belting out a two hour long program of Klingon Opera, folk songs, and some of the more benign drinking songs. Behind the orchestra and the tiered choir stands, a huge holoscreen hung from the rafters and projected panoramic images of Qo'nos and other scenic vistas from across the Empire.

The Klingon Ambassador to the Federation, The Federation Secretary of State, and the Starfleet Chief of Staff were all guests of honor. Admiral Paris, knowing that the crew of the Pershing would be back on Earth had extended an invitation to them all. Tigranian had eagerly accepted on his crew's behalf.

To anyone with a fascination with Klingon culture, it was a remarkable experience, but to most of the Federation audience, the Pershing's senior staff especially, it was like listening to a dying cat stuck in an old fashioned washing machine.

The final strains of an old Klingon ballad about love lost to battle came to an end and the audience executed a polite applause. The Betazoid conductor of the Federation Symphony brought the instruments to a silent pause with a wave of his hands, and graciously motioned for the Klingon Choir Director to speak at his microphone.

The ancient Klingon warrior wore a huge sash emblazoned with strange medals stepped over and bowed to the audience. He spoke no Federation Basic, but a translator hidden in the wings conveyed his words to the crowd over the hall's loudspeakers. The guests quieted down.

"We have been honored to perform for you this evening. Music and song play key roles in Klingon culture and history, and by listening to our performance, you each have a deeper understanding of who your closest allies really are. In return, we now have a greater appreciation for your country and its people. For that, we are grateful."

Another burst of applause sounded out.

"We only have one more song to sing tonight…"

A single person cheered wildly from the mezzanine. Admiral Paris and Tigranian turned around and shot dagger eyes at Tren Scharr. The Andorian merely looked back at them and shrugged.

"I thought that was good news," Scharr said leaning back in his chair. Annabeth rubbed her eyes while Katie and Phil laughed.

The Klingon choir director ignored the outburst and continued to speak through his translator.

"We are all proud, active duty members of the Klingon Military, which means we are warriors first, and musicians second. So, we end every performance with "The Song of the Klingon Defense Forces."

So, as we close this evening, we invite any veterans of the KDF that might be in the audience this evening to rise and join us in the singing of their song."

There was a final burst of applause. Several audience members climbed to their feet: the Klingon Ambassador, a few older Klingon diplomats and dignitaries scattered through the auditorium, and Daniel Tigranian. The captain of the Pershing rose to attention and threw his shoulders back.

Admiral Paris chuckled and the looked down the row of Admirals who all shook their heads and grinned. All of them were willing to let the captain have a little fun. After all, he had just come back from Cardassia.

Tigranian looked down and saw that Laria was still seated. He pointed to the "Order of the Bat'leth" on her white jacket and beckoned for her to stand.

"I don't know the words," she said embarrassed.

"It doesn't matter," he said smiling. "It is OUR song."

She blushed and stood next to him.

"Go get 'em, L!" Katie said with a chuckle. Tigranian glanced over his shoulder and scowled.

The Betazoid conductor received a nod from the Klingon and raised his hands. The orchestra snapped their instruments to the ready. The Admirals tuned their individual universal translators to Tigranian. They were eager to see if the human sung in Klingon as well as he spoke it.

The horns of the orchestra came to a laugh in a bombastic fanfare. The timpani drums at the rear of the stage roared to life, and a percussionist with a snare drum began a military beat as the strings began to crescendo. Then, the Klingon choir joined in. Tigranian matched them word for word, belting out the lyrics loud enough to echo off the ceiling. The pride in his voice was immediately apparent as the non-Klingon's UTs made his alien words intelligible:

Enemies lurk in shadows abound and threaten the Empire again.

But the Children of Kahless, brave and true, will keep our nation safe.

Let those who oppose us know, that the Klingon Army cannot be defeated.

So, raise your bat'leth high with an armored fist. Let them hear your song!

For, from Morska's sands to Kavrot's Expanse,

The Klingon Army is the Strongest!

The images on the holoscreen behind the choir changed from pastoral landscapes to violent scenes of military training. Paris' eyes immediately grew wide as dinner plates as he looked up at one of his officers shouting along to the carnage with a huge smile on his face.

Under wing of warship or with march of boots, our righteous fury will be known.

We thrust our weapons forward with mighty blows. Our disruptors roar!

Let those who oppose us know, that the Klingon Army cannot be defeated.

So, raise your bat'leth high with an armored fist. Let them hear your song!

For, from Morska's sands to Kavrot's Expanse,

The Klingon Army is the Strongest!

On the holoscreen, three Klingon battlecruisers blew a space vessel apart with a spread of torpedoes. They sailed passed the flaming debris towards their target. A wing of birds of prey flew past at full impulse and into the atmosphere of a Class M planet. Their wing-tip disruptors blasted at a series of buildings on the surface that bore more than a passing resemblance to a Federation border colony.

Several audience members gasped in horror as the blue sky of the planet darkened with a brigade of Klingon landing ships. As soon as their skids hit the ground, wave after wave of Klingon commandoes jumped out. Their leader urged them forward in dramatic slow motion as he fired his disruptor rifle at the unseen victims of the assault.

Quite simply, it was 23rd Century Earth's worst nightmare, and there were a few blue bloods in the audience old enough to remember those days. Tigranian continued to sing as the other Starfleet officers stared at him, dumbstruck.

They mass at our doorstep, waiting to be conquered. Their downfall brings us glory.

Too late, they will learn, that to fight the Klingon Empire is a death sentence.

Let those who oppose us know, that the Klingon Army cannot be defeated.

A wave of Klingon tanks drove forward through a massive series of explosions. Their disruptor cannons blasted everything in front of them to bits, and their tracks turned the of buildings beneath them to rubble.

A Klingon shock trooper, his face painted with grey tiger striped camouflage, looked into the camera. In one hand, he held a bloody bat'leth, in the other he held a waving Klingon flag that he triumphantly thrust into the smoking ruins beneath him.

An older woman on the ground level placed a handkerchief over her face and dashed for an exit. The Klingon veterans scattered through the audience ignored her and sang even louder as the song reached a triumphant climax. A pair of Federation musicians had produced a pair of electric guitars and repeated the strains of the chorus, this time with a rock beat.

So, raise your bat'leth high with an armored fist. Let them hear your song!

For, from Morska's sands to Kavrot's Expanse,

The Klingon Army is the Strongest!

The holoscreen panned out from the battlefield, revealing that the entire display had been an image in the eye of a young, Klingon child holding a toy bat'leth. The lad clutched his small fist over his heart as he longingly looked on a column of Klingon Soldiers marching past him in lockstep formation. As each heavily armed warrior passed the boy, they returned the salute with their own fist over their heart.

The choir, veterans, and Tigranian sang the final strains of the chorus as the music ceased:

So, raise your bat'leth high with an armored fist. Let them hear your song!

For, from Morska's sands to Kavrot's Expanse,

The Klingon Army is the Strongest!

The song ended and a message written in both Federation Basic and tlhIngan Hol appeared on the screen:

THE KLINGON DEFENSE FORCE:

For our children, for our Empire, we fight and we conquer.

The performance ended and the few veterans in the audience cheered. Tigranian raised his arms triumphantly and howled at the stage. The rest of the audience was completely silent.

The Klingon choir director bowed his head and spoke into the microphone.

"This concludes our program. Good evening and Qapla'."

"Qapla'!" Tigranian shouted back still clapping and cheering.

The hall began to rapidly empty as people rushed to their taxis and waiting holocars, eager to escape.

"That was incredible!" Tigranian said turning to his crew. "Such a powerful performance."

"That's…certainly a word for it, Sir," Annabeth said looking down the line at their staff. Alex looked over to Laria who silently shook her head, desperate to show that she had no idea that was about to happen.

Admiral Paris looked down at his colleagues, still too stunned to react. Once Tigranian's back was safely to him, Paris motioned to his aide seated a few chairs away.

"Yes Sir?" the lieutenant commander said pulling out a PADD.

"Take a note," Paris whispered. "Remind me to ask to Admiral Yoshizaki tomorrow about the next time Captain Tigranian's security clearance is up for review…"


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