Scharr, T'les, and Chief Quinn stood at the entrance to the darkened engine room. To their front, the warp core loomed and filled their view from deck to ceiling.
"Sir," T'les said with as much nervousness in her voice as a Vulcan could allow. "This propulsion system has not operated in eighty years. Do you really believe it will function?"
Scharr crossed his arms against his chest. He stared into the chamber like he was at the entrance to the shrine of the patron saint of Engineering. With a smile and a slight curl of his right antennae, he replied:
"T'les, these are Montgomery Scott's engines. If there's any in the history of Starfleet that can fire up after all that time, it's these right here."
"You know, Blue Boy," Quinn said leaning on his cane. "That's the first damn thing you've said all day that hasn't made you sound like a dumbass."
"Man, I really like this guy…" Scharr muttered as he stepped into the engine room.
Tigranian and Whitecamp stood at the exit of the main gangplank. The captain held a long package under his arm. They turned around and gazed back at the Enterprise-A.
"So who's crazy idea was it to bring her back?" Whitecamp said with the same malaise in her voice as if she were watching her child being drafted.
Tigranian stifled a laugh.
"My wife's actually, Laria, the Bajoran one," he said gazing up towards the ship's bridge. "She was trying to convince me to let her visit here yesterday. Somehow, she's always able to get what she wants."
"You're married to one of your officers?" Whitecamp said surprised.
"I never thought I would be," Tigranian mused both to her and himself. "But I let myself fall in love with the right woman," he laughed as he looked down at the deck plating, "Actually, I let myself fall in love with all of them."
"You're scared aren't you?" Whitecamp said in a sudden statement of fact.
"What?" Tigranian said retreating back into defensive Klingon machismo.
"You're scared that they're not going to come back," Whitecamp clarified. "Kinda like how I'm scared that the Big E won't come back?"
"You're luck you're talking to a Starfleet Officer, Doc," Tigranian replied. "Not a lot of people would understand loving a ship as much as the people in it."
"I didn't mean to be insulting," Whitecamp said defensively.
"It's alright," Tigranian said, still gazing back towards his crew's new ship. "But I also got a baby on that ship…" he thought out loud before he caught himself.
"Wait, I thought you said you were married to Laria, not to Captain Geist…" Whitecamp said even more confused.
"Correct," Tigranian muttered after realizing he had revealed far too much.
"I'm not gonna ask," Whitecamp said shaking her head.
"That's probably best…" Tigranian retorted.
"By the way," Whitecamp added as she turned her eyes to the package in the captain's arms. "What is that?"
Tigranian unwrapped it and pulled out a glorious K'vel'kar bat'leth. Unlike most swords, this one had a phrase from the ancient Klingon bard, "Wil'yam Shex'pir" etched in tlhIngan Hol across the inner blade:
"HoHpu'mo' taHqeqvetlh, yo' qIDaq ghaH ngeH puqvam,"
or as it was translated into Federation Standard:
"A villain kills my father; and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven."
"That is the Chang bat'leth!" Whitecamp screamed in horror. "What are you doing with it?"
"Only a human would call this, 'the Chang bat'leth" Tigranian said grabbing the 150 year old sword by the grips and feeling its heft. "This is a bat'leth forged in the late Ta'QaQ style at K'vel'kar by the master smith, Yuho'irah, Son of M'Toq." He expertly spun it around in a low arc. He let the blade dance through his hands. Whitecamp was momentarily hypnotized by its rhythmic movements. Suddenly, he reversed the sword and swung one of its edges towards Whitecamp's neck. He stopped just before he separated her head from her torso. She quickly drew in a breath of air.
"And it could really use a cleaning," he said as a grin formed across his lips. "It's something to distract me while they finish getting the ship ready to sail. I've admired this weapon since I first saw it when I was eight years old. Ironically, it's a bit of a family heirloom now…"
"What?" Whitecamp said confused again.
"In any case," Tigranian said placing the sword in the crook of his right arm, "I'm no stranger to bat'leths. I thought I would hold onto it until the battle was over."
"That bat'leth is museum property," Whitecamp lectured. "I can't let you take it."
"The sword is the soul of a Klingon warrior. If he loses it to an enemy, or lets it fall into disrepair, it is a sin that can never be forgiven, and his spirit will never feast in Sto'Vo'Kor," Tigranian said quoting the ancient Klingon warrior text of Grand Master R'kuro, Son of Movar. Part of him secretly believed that Chang's spirit had suffered enough in Gre'thor. Maybe, with a little effort, he could redeem his family's old mentor just enough to let him enter the halls of the hallowed dead. "You're welcome to try to pry it away from me," Tigranian said, assuming the aire of a Klingon warrior, but I wouldn't advise it."
Whitecamp, unable to see the sword as anything more than an artifact, grimaced.
"Just make sure you bring that back when this is all over. It's in the brochure after all."
"Just as my crew will return your ship, I will return this sword, Doctor. You have my word." he said with a bow of his head.
"Is your word worth anything?" she said rolling her eyes.
Suddenly, Tigranian growled and took a step towards her.
"I respect you and your profession, Doctor Whitecamp. But understand this, my word is worth EVERYTHING! To challenge my word is to challenge my honor, and no one, including you, challenges my honor."
"Ok, ok!" she said holding up her hands defensively. "Jesus, if I didn't know I better I would say I was talking to a Klingon…"
Tigranian reared his head back and laughed.