April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “Soldiers Of The Empire”

Martok's return to command causes concern for both Worf and Dax.

So, here’s a thought I probably never had before:  what happens when a Klingon gets PTSD?

That’s not quite what happens here, but it’s close.  The basic plot has General Martok getting a new assignment to take a single Bird of Prey and see about rescuing another Klingon ship that disappeared near the Cardassian border.  Worf goes along as his first officer, and Dax…she somehow gets to go along as well as the science officer.  It’s a chance to see the two Klingons actually interact with other Klingons and show what they can do.  The problem is Martok seems to be a bit hesitant.

Now, the episode in question does establish that on a Klingon ship, a member of the crew can challenge superiors for their position, but only under the right circumstances.  Dax is quick to explain to the rest of the regular cast that it isn’t some sort of free-for-all.  If a Klingon superior is deemed sufficiently inadequate to do their job under the right circumstances, their subordinate can challenge them to ritual combat.  One of those criteria is cowardice because, you know, Klingons.  Worf respects the hell out of Martok, even crediting the older Klingon with saving his life by giving him a certain look before he went off to fight the Jem’Hadar again.  Worf can’t really explain it well to outsiders as it is a very Klingon concept that only really makes sense to them.  Basically, Martok’s look of understanding was enough to convince Worf to keep fighting.

Dax, on the other hand, well, she just wants to follow Worf I guess.  She won’t be staying in Worf’s quarters on the ship, but Dax actually seems to get along with the Klingon crew far better than either Martok or Worf.  That does make a certain amount of sense.  Dax’s biggest characteristic seems to be the ability to get along with everybody.  She’s a diplomat at heart and someone who just enjoys meeting new people on their terms.  Of course she gets along with the Klingons.  She actually has more experience dealing with Klingons than Worf does at this point.  Worf knows the lore and the culture but as an outsider.  That’s always been Worf’s problem.  He wants to be an idealized version of a Klingon, but he doesn’t know how to be a more practical one.

So yeah, Dax can eat in the Klingon mess hall, she brought a couple barrels of blood wine, and she tosses insults with the best of them.  She fits right in despite being the only one in a Starfleet uniform and the only non-Klingon.

So, she hears it when the crew start grumbling.  Martok wasn’t overly impressed with this crew to begin with.  They haven’t won a single battle with the Jem’Hadar, and the casualty list is high.  These guys don’t like what’s been happening to them, and the best that can be said about one is he has a necklace of Cardassian neckbones.  The reasoning for that in my mind is with Klingons, you always know where you stand.  They aren’t a subtle people.

But then again, maybe they are.  Martok doesn’t seem all that interested in charging into battle.  He avoids conflict, claiming it’s due to following orders from the High Council, but it doesn’t make him look good.  So, maybe Klingons are a lot more subtle than they let on because it does suggest Martok lost his nerve a bit.  His crew isn’t happy about it.  What can Dax do about it?  Convince Worf.  What can he do?

Well, there was a reason that the episode opened with, among other things, some information on Klingon battles for dominance on a ship.  He can challenge Martok when the old general refuses to just barely cross the border to rescue the warriors they were sent to find, and that bit where Worf says Klingons can communicate intentions through an intense stare means Martok will hopefully figure out Worf is only doing it to snap the older man out of his funk.  That works just in time as the Jem’Haddar have a warship on its way.

You know, there was some talk in this episode about how the Jem’Haddar have no honor.  I’m not sure I agree there.  The same episode that Worf cited as the one where Martok saved his life also showed a Jem’Haddar declare Worf a winner in hand-to-hand combat because Worf wouldn’t give up.  “I cannot defeat this Klingon.  I can only kill him.”  How is that not Jem’Haddar honor?  I asked a friend who is into all things Trek and pretty observant, and he suggested that the Jem’Haddar don’t get to live long enough to really develop an honor code of their own.  That makes a lot of sense, and the Founders and the Vorta don’t seem to allow them to develop much of anything in terms of culture and the like.

But I digress.  The battle is apparently victorious (it’s not shown) because Martok returns a hero, his crew having finally won a battle.  More blood wine flows, and Martok decides to adopt Worf.

Cool.  Maybe now Worf won’t be on the revolving door of whether or not he has any honor.

Also…with Worf gone, it apparently fell to Bashir and O’Brien to do his duties for a few days or so.  And it looks like Worf had a lot of duties, so…who was doing them all before Worf showed up anyway?