"Captain's Personal Log, Stardate:53404.6. The Pershing has arrived in Klingon Space en route to Qo'nos. After the Cardassian incursion to the Sol system several months ago, Starfleet and the Klingon Defense Forces have committed to updating the operational war plan. Officially, our purpose is to attend a summit to discuss tactics and fleet deployment in the event of war with the Romulan/Cardassian State Alliance. The starship, Leonov, is transporting Admiral Paris and Admiral Murphy and they will rendezvous with us at the Homeworld. Unofficially, I am looking forward to seeing my home and family again. Torlek tells me that it's time for the ritual I have dreamed of since I first completed the Rite of Ascension. However, I never expected that it would be under these circumstances.
In any case, as we will not arrive at the Klingon homeworld for two days, I have decided to take advantage of the lull to allow the crew a chance to relax…"
The Pershing's mess hall was decorated from floor to ceiling in blue and white flags and tablecloths. A banner hung across the large, panoramic windows and proudly proclaimed:
"Willkommen zum Oktoberfest!"
The tables were pulled together in long rows and almost the entire crew of the starship relaxed and laughed with massive mugs of German beer. The replicators burst forth with pretzels, schnitzel, and other comfort foods from Earth's central Europe. Many of the crew chose to get further into the party spirit by replicating Bavarian clothing. Annabeth, tragically, was not among them. She sat alone in a corner nursing a glass of orange juice in a pair of grey sweatpants and a black t-shirt. The grimace on her face was matched only by the size of her pregnant belly.
Alex and Laria walked over carrying steins of beer. Both were dressed in dirndl. Tigranian followed closely behind in a pair of brown suede lederhosen.
"What's wrong, Number One?" the captain asked taking a seat next to his first officer. "You look somebody died."
"Somebody did die, Dan," Annabeth replied. "Her name is Annabeth Geist."
"Oh come on, Baby," Alex said curling up next to her wife and rubbing her back. "It's not that bad."
"You don't understand," Annabeth continued. "Munich is my hometown. Oktoberfest is MY holiday. I've consumed my weight in beer every year since I was sixteen. I even lost my virginity at the Festgrounds my senior year of high school."
Tigranian nearly spit up a mouthful of beer at that revelation.
"That explains why you like dirndl so much," Alex said rolling her eyes and taking a sip of her own stein.
"Your tits look amazing by the way, dear," Annabeth said staring at her wife's chest. "Yours too, Laria," Annabeth said taking a sip of juice.
"Thank you!" Laria said gratefully as she put a hand on her chest.
"Hey!" Tigranian said defensively.
"Relax, Dan," Alex said. "We gave up trying to convince her to explore when you two got hitched."
The captain grumbled as he took a sip of his stein.
"You want a sip?" Alex said passing her beer in front of Annabeth. "One isn't gonna hurt anything, and I am a doctor."
"No," Annabeth said. "It's just that I feel guilty. It's like I have to choose between being a mom and who I am."
"You'll be chugging beer by this time next year, Baby," Alex said planting a kiss on Annabeth's cheek. "And I'll take the next one."
"You two are so lucky," Laria said. "You get to choose who gets to do the hard work. This one is only good for the first five minutes of making a child," she said pointing at her husband.
"Whoah!" Tigranian said indignantly.
"You can't possibly understand the pain that women have to go through to make a baby, Dan," Alex said.
"I literally had eight Klingon warriors shove supped up cattle prods into my body in rapid succession," Tigranian replied. "I had internal hemorrhaging in my liver, a kidney, and both lungs. I think I know pain."
"Did they shove one of those painsticks into your balls for six hours?" Annabeth asked.
"Of course not," Tigranian said.
"Then shut up," Laria answered.
Chief Petty Officer Heinrich Müller, the only other German on the Pershing, stood up in front of the mess hall, raised his stein, and began to sing:
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
The rest of the crew raised their beers and sang along.
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Müller repeated the verse.
"He's not even Bavarian," Annabeth said clenching her jaw. "He's from Cologne!"
"Eins, zwei, g'suffa!" Müller shouted before taking a giant sip of beer. The rest of the crew followed along except, of course, for Annnabeth.
"He might as well be from freakin' Belgium!" Annabeth shouted. "Sit down you Prussian poser!"
"Hey," Alex said trying to calm her wife down. Chief Müller ignored his superior's outburst and continued to sing to the crowd.
As Annabeth cursed in perfect and very vulgar German, Scharr and T'les wandered over. Tigranian chuckled at the sight of a Vulcan and Andorian who were dressed like they just stumbled out of an alpine village.
"These are great!" Scharr said motioning to the lederhosen he was wearing. "Comfortable and supporting at the same time!" He crouched down low and then raised his blue legs. "This is the only piece of human clothing I would ever consider adding to my regular rotation."
"That's great, Tren," Alex said still trying to cheer her wife up.
"Even the blue guy from Planet Ice Cube looks more German than I do right now!" Annabeth said staring up at the ceiling.
"Pregnancy getting her down?" Scharr said taking a sip of dark beer from his stein.
"Among other things," Tigranian muttered.
"There's an old Andorian saying, Alex, that maybe you should listen too," Scharr said leaning against a chair. "A Thaan's place in pregnancy is at the tavern.' It's served me very well over the years," he said drinking another gulp of beer.
"That seems incredibly lazy and offensive, Tren," Alex replied.
"It's extremely useful when the man is only a quarter of the marriage," he replied. "You binary gendered species are just plain out of luck."
Tigranian couldn't help but laugh.
Suddenly, the sound of hands pounding on tables echoed through the mess hall.
"Das Boot! Das Boot! Das Boot!" the entire crew chanted in unison.
"Oh dear," Laria said looking over her shoulder. Katie stepped onto the top of a table in the center of the party. She raised her arms over head and threw her hair back. Phil stood on the floor next to her with a worried expression on his face.
"What is happening?" T'les asked with her trademark Vulcan skepticism.
"Not sure," Scharr said, "but I think it will be awesome!"
A security crewman appeared carrying a glass boot filled with three liters of beer. He passed it up to Katie who raised it over her head.
"What is she gonna do with that?" Laria asked.
"She's gonna act like an Andorian! Chug you human stick! Chug!" Scharr shouted.
Katie put the massive glass container to her lips and began to drink. Beer poured down her throat as well as down the front of her red Bavarian dress.
"That could be me right now…" Annabeth muttered.
"I'm glad it's not…" Alex said shaking her head.
After 30 seconds of the most impressive display of gustatory mastery the crew of the Pershing had ever seen, Katie calmly lifted the empty glass footwear over her head and held it upside down. The crowd exploded in cheers. She moved to step down from the table, but would have collapsed to the carpet if Phil wasn't there to hold her up.
"That was a rush!" she shouted as her words began to slur.
"Jesus, Katie, you're soaked to the skin," Phil said feeling her dress.
"Now, I see why the krauts make women wear white shirts under these dresses," Katie said laughing. "They make great beer, but they're real perverts. Phil, if you were a real English gentlemen," she said struggling to stay on her feet, "you would help me out of these wet clothes," she replied laughing and biting her lip.
"What's a kraut?" Laria asked turning to her companions.
"It appears to be some kind of human designation for the group responsible for this celebration," T'les said raising an eyebrow. "Annabeth, is it an honorific term for your ethnicity?"
The first officer pinched the bridge of her nose and tightly shut her eyes.
"Not really, T'les," she replied trying to remain calm. "It's actually a comparison to a condiment."
"Fascinating," the Vulcan said cocking her head to one side. "That must be a remarkable culinary achievement if it encompasses an entire culture."
"Ach du lieber Himmel…" Annabeth muttered. "Scheiße!"
"Ok…." Tigranian said with exasperation before standing up and walking over to Katie. "Phil, I think it might be time to help Katie back to her quarters."
"Yes Sir," Phil said still supporting his fiancée's weight in his arms.
"That sounded like an order to me!" Katie said leaping over his shoulders. "Schnell, Herr Lexington!" she shouted slapping a hand on his backside. "Schnell!"
Phil stumbled out of the mess hall doors balancing Katie on his back.
"Be careful!" she shouted through heavy laughter. "I'm full of beer!"
"I love you, but please don't throw up or pee on me…" he whispered in her ear as Katie raised her arms triumphantly. The rest of the crew cheered and continued to beat on the tables.
"Luckily, I don't think she'll remember this in the morning," Tigranian said sitting back down next to Annabeth, Alex, and Laria while rubbing his eyes.
"I wouldn't bet on that," Annabeth said shaking her head and taking a sip of her orange juice. "I don't think it's her first time with Das Boot."
Tigranian took a deep breath.
"The summit on Qo'nos should only last two days," he began cautiously. "We might have same time to head out into the country…"
"And you and Laria should totally do that," Alex said very derisively taking another sip of beer.
"Alex," Annabeth cautioned. "We did say that we'd talk about this."
"YOU said we'd talk about this," Alex grumbled. "I didn't."
"Alex," Laria said trying to be understanding. "Before I learned about their culture, I didn't understand Klingons either, but Torlek really is a great man. At least give him a chance."
"Forgive me if I don't consider a feudal warlord who commands people to conquer other worlds for their own gain 'great.' We signed up with Starfleet for different reasons, Dan. You can't command me to change my mind about Klingons and my child."
"No, I can't," Tigranian replied. "But I can always hope."
"Keep hoping…" Alex said rolling her eyes.
"Babe," Annabeth said placing one hand on Alex's forearm. "He did come alive when her heard the name of Kahless," she said pointing at her stomach.
"Have you never heard of a coincidence?" Alex said. "He could have just have easily started kicking when someone said 'pancakes.' That doesn't mean he wants to be raised as breakfast food!"
"reH'ebtu'lu'," he said smiling.
"What does that mean, Dan?" Alex asked.
"It means that I respect your beliefs, but there's always hope."
"This is gonna be a long trip," Alex muttered.