I joined the Klingon Assault Group immediately after meeting Kerge (Damien Burmeister), Commanding Officer of the Dark Justice. I even had a name already. Years before, I was involved in a Star Trek RPG (FASA). In that particular game there were several groups; a Federation group, a Romulan group, an Orion trader and, of course, the Klingons. I had always been a fan of the Klingons so, of course, I joined the Imperial ship.
The captain's name was Krouton. His executive was Kevlar. They answered to an Admiral K'thulhu. I had little choice but to sign on with a similar name. I chose Kordite, and no, it has nothing to do with the paper products company of the same name ("The garbage bag so good it has my name on it.") Cordite is a gunpowder made from nitroglycerin, cellulose nitrate and petrolatum.
Years later, after hearing the gunpowder explanation a female Klin commented, "I love the smell of Kordite in the morning. It smells like victory." She didn't catch her double-meaning immediately.
After a year in KAG I finally completed my uniform. That very evening I went to a local pub having a costume party, the glue on my uniform still wet and the last bits were stapled together.
After several hours in attendance the smoke began to really get to me so I decided to go outside for some fresh air. As I walked through the crowd, an inebriated patron said to me, "Great costume! Are you the Rocketeer?"
After a stunned moment of silence and the canned response "Rocke-who?" I raised my voice, saying "I am a Klingon warrior and you should be glad I do not disembowel you where you sit!"
I felt much better.
As part of a publicity event celebrating the arrival of the trucks bringing the Star Trek: Federation Science exhibit, the crew of the Dark Justice assaulted the Carnegie Science Center.
We piled on to a cargo elevator and, when the doors opened, we stormed out, yelling and brandishing weapons for the assembled press. They had been told that something was going but didn't know what. The Science Center staff were also kept in the dark as to what was going to happen.
We immediately split up and began working our way through offices, collecting Science Center employees and marching them down the ramps. There they were corralled into an area and subjected to a 'motivational indoctrination seminar,' getting them excited about the upcoming exhibit.
One staffer, suspecting that something Star Trek was going to happen, wore a Feddie uniform shirt. He was singled out for special attention. Lt. Mek'tor (Matt Henkel) was escorting him down the ramps with the Feddie's arm twisted behind his back. He was reminded that we had been asked by the planners of this event not to actually force or even touch any staffer lest they be offended. "That's OK," the Feddie said, "this is cool." This comment earned him even more arm twisting.
That same evening, there was an introduction session for those who would be volunteering for the exhibit. When the Science Center people told the assemblage what had gone on earlier in the day, they were astounded. None of the other clubs in the area (Feddies all) had been invited.
Unfortunately, all the footage of our storming off the elevators and menacing the Science Center was preempted on the nightly news by O.J.'s slow speed chase.
There was a special showing of the Science Center exhibit for members of the press. The Dark Justice was the only representative of fandom. The next night at a volunteer training session, volunteers from all the other Feddie groups in the area were told, "If you're really lucky you'll get to work with the Klingons."
At a Pittsburgh science fiction convention, Confluence, I won Best Presentation and Best of Show in the costume contest. Afterwards, I assembled quite a crowd of spectators who wanted me to teach them the song and dance I had performed for the contest.
nach, volchaHDu', qIvDu', yaDDu'... qIvDu', yaDDu'.Hear Kordite Sing! (wav, 157k) Don't forget to point out each body part as you sing.
nach, volchaHDu', qIvDu', yaDDu'... qIvDu', yaDDu' je
mInDu', qoghDu', nuj je ghIch.
nach, volchaHDu, qIvDu, yaDDu... qIvDu, yaDDu.
"The Klingons have Landed" feature article appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Three full pages of text and color photos detailing the crew of the Dark Justice, both in uniform and off-duty. There were quite a few errors but what do you expect from the liberal press. Then again, Saturday's Tribune Review only had a fifth of a page on the neighboring USS Galloway. (As you can see from the picture, I was having a bad hair day. Not unusual for a Klingon.)
Captain Kerge was approached, while working at the Carnegie Science Center, by a director of something-or-other. After some discussion she revealed that her daughter was really 'into' Star Trek and, in fact, was having a 'Star Trek theme' wedding that weekend. Kerge and as many Klingons as he could muster were invited to the reception.
Unfortunately, only myself, him and his consort, Katrene (Chrissy Mayes out of uniform) could attend due to the short notice and conveyance difficulties.
We arrived with trepidation, unsure if we had found the right place. The cardboard cut-out of Worf answered our question and the entertainment began. No one, excepting the mother of the bride, knew that Klingons would be attending. We felt like we were crashing the event. "I didn't expect Klingons!" someone said. "No one expects the Spanish Inqui. . . sorry. Wrong line."
The wedding party and other guests were falling over themselves to have their pictures taken with the Klingons. Not really knowing anyone there, I felt a little like a circus side-show performer. At least at conventions there are mobs of people just like you so you don't feel out of place.
To counter the 'outsider' feelings I was able to offer my congratulations to the bride and groom, "Daghaj. Dughaj. lInISDI' vay', yIHoH." (With thanks to the guys at the Klingon Language Institute, "You are her's. She is yours. If anyone hinders you, kill them.")
Things settled down a bit once most everyone was done getting their pictures taken. The guests were very accommodating and suitably subservient, offering to get us drinks and food while we socialized. Indeed, nearly lining up to get us drinks. The Humans were impressed with our uniforms and makeup. I commented that the Humans were dressed amusingly, like tall penguins or waiters. The only outward sign of the Star Trek nature of the occasion (aside from our presence) were the chirping Feddie com badges worn by the wedding party.
Then came the time for the best man's toast. It was, of course, "Live long and prosper." (Ugh!) If the occasion hadn't been so. . . formal, if we had been more comfortable with the people there, I would have offered my own toast: "jachchoHmeH 'Iwraj penaghtaH!" ("Mate till your blood screams.") It's probably better that I didn't.
We stayed quite a few hours until it grew too dark for decent picture taking. We tried to leave twice but got caught up in new conversations on our way towards the door. We passed out cards and were told to expect invitations to several Halloween parties. We never got those invitations.
The Science Center had a special appreciation for members only. Myself and Lt. Kazj (Annette Woods) were representing the Dark Justice. Two crewmembers from the USS Galloway were also in attendance.
I arrived an hour early and started work right away because there were already patrons in the exhibit and no one to help them. I got called down by the volunteer director for a quick organizational meeting. The people from the Galloway arrived exactly on time, Capt. Craig and his wife Capt. Linda. I extend these ranks to them because they were wearing silver oak-leaf ground-pounder ranks on their sleeves. What ranks they've actually earned, one can only guess. Now, I will give them credit for having nice looking uniforms. Styled like the Starfleet uniforms in the movies but in black with the tunic worn open (a Mirror, Mirror/ Next Gen ship, so they claim). Unfortunately, in Capt. Craig's case he ruined the 'tough-guy' image he desperately wanted to project by having the collar and trim of his uniform in fuchsia. "Hot pink. Very becoming," I said. He responded to my, albeit sarcastic, compliment on his color choice by badmouthing my 'classic' Klingon uniform. "We'll go to Toronto-Trek and see who wins the costume contest," he said.
Anyway, the volunteer director asked if anyone wanted to do 'carts', little science exhibits on wheels. They require a lot of courage and confidence for the volunteer must constantly interact with and engage the interest of the patrons. Capt. Craig stated imperiously, "I don't like to do carts." No courage. Kazj volunteered.
So, we began. Capt. Craig went directly to the transporter exhibit. The transporter requires no explanation, no knowledge, no interest, merely a minimal knack for queue control. It is, otherwise, a perfect opportunity for recruiting new members as just about everyone wants to go through and must wait in line to do so. A captive audience.
Capt. Linda went to the bridge exhibit and remained rooted in one spot for an hour, after which she joined her husband at the transporter for the next two hours. With Kazj locked at a cart I was left to attend to the remaining 6,000 square feet of exhibit on my own. A task I enjoyed thoroughly.
"They didn't even feed us," Capt. Linda complained to Kazj as closing time approached. "It's almost 9:30. Why haven't they started kicking people out?" Tragic. We're volunteers. We're not here to get fed, we're here to work, and if you can't make it through 3 hours of standing around doing nothing without stuffing your face. . . Well, the clock struck 9:30 and the Galloway people fled into the night having accomplished the barest minimum of their duty. I'm surprised they didn't turn into pumpkins. Kazj and I worked another forty minutes when they finally cut the power and probably spent another hour talking with other volunteers and staff.
Based on our recent publicity with the Science Center, the mayor's office of the City of Pittsburgh asked if we could sing Klingon Kristmas Karols in the subways to celebrate the so-called "Sparkle Season," the official beginning of the holiday shopping season. It used to begin just after Thanksgiving but each year seems to get pushed back earlier and earlier.
Klingons do not celebrate Christmas but we accepted anyway. Unfortunately, the impact was lessened because only myself and Mor'tah (Chris Henkel) arrived to sing. We drafted several Feddies into the choir and sang anyway. After going through the list, we trooped onto the subway, rode to the next station and did it again. We actually acquired 'groupies,' people who followed us from station to station to hear us sing. By the last stop we had quite a crowd.
Also at this time was the premiere of "Star Trek: Generations". This was my first opportunity to set up a display table to promote our ship. The Feddies also had an opportunity to set up a table at the theater. The Klingon display put theirs to shame. All they had were club flyers and a few posters. They were so embarrassed that they didn't even show up the next night (Saturday being a bigger draw) or even Sunday. Their loss.
My first Dover Peace Conference. After somewhat of a detour to Cleveland (Don't ask. It's a long story.) we arrive. I don't know or recognize anyone so I sort of sit around and spectate. Admiral Kishin recognizes me from a picture I sent her and announces, "Hey! This is Kordite!" Suddenly there are many people who know who I am or have heard of me through my Dear Kordite series of advice columns on the Internet. I tell those that have heard of me through Kishin that half of the lies she tells about me aren't true.
On Saturday I get to participate in the Rite of Ascension ceremony. I consider it my true initiation into Klindom after over two years of relative anonymity. At some point afterwards the call goes up for the so-called Pringles Challenge. Torg takes up the challenge. Now, Torg is from my area but is not a member of the Dark Justice. He is from a Feddie ship and has been 'Borgified.' Anyone foolish enough to inquire will hear how he was captured by the Borg and eventually was able to single-handedly destroy over half the Borg collective. (Insert foghorn of derision here: "Yea, yea.")
Anyway, he steps forward to take the 'Pringles Challenge' only to discover that this involves retrieving the chip from the cleavage of a female warrior without the aid of his hands. He balks, fearing that his Romulan mate would take offense. The taunt of 'Tribble' immediately goes up. Feeling emboldened by my recent ascension ceremony, I call out "I know this man! He is from my area and is a coward! I will take the Pringles Challenge!"
And I did.
Robert (Gowron) O'Reilly showed up. My first chance to schmooze with the stars.
This next tale requires a little background information. There is in our area a Trekkie who claims to be a Klingon. He also claims to be part Vulcan, Bajoran and Scottish (so he can wear a kilt) and a bunch of other things. He said that he should start in our club as a full Commander because he had taken classes and earned equivalent rank in some Feddie club. It was very frightening. Well, Mek'tor (Matt Henkel) was doing a cartoon of this character, compiling a huge list of bloodlines and wanted to add. . . you know. . . those big aliens that stabbed Picard in the chest.
"Snausagen", Kerge offered.
I corrected him, that he wanted to say Nausicaan but we were soon laughing ourselves sick saying 'Snausages' like the dog treat commercial for that product.
Now it's Dover 95 and Admiral Klag is proposing the Imperial Xeno Legion. This is a place for all those who want to be like Klingons and been seen with Klingons but not actually be Klingon, to still be part of KAG. We from Dark Justice are somewhat derisive of this idea and I begin the cry of "Snausagen" during the meeting, much like the call of "Tribble" went up earlier. Many people didn't understand the full meaning of the term but did understand it held disdain for the "non-Klingons in KAG" idea. Mek'tor did a cartoon of 'Klagzilla' later that evening.
I don't remember what precipitated this next discussion late on Saturday night (or perhaps it was early Sunday morning by that time) but the conversation turned to the art of hand kissing. Mudj and his assembled comrades did not believe that I had once taken a course in hand kissing so a female acquaintance of his became the object of my demonstration. I admit to being somewhat out of practice and don't recall all the classroom particulars but it is agreed that I did a fine job.
|http://www.tasigh.org/kordite/events-1992.html -- Revised: 18 May 2002
Copyright © 2002 Kevin A. Geiselman