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Duncan leaned back in the chair beside the biobed, propping his feet on the bed - a dangerous manouver in a kilt! Fishing around in his sporran, he triumphantly pulled out the remains of last night's haggis.

"D'ye believe that stuff about there being a good day tae die?" he said before he bit off a chunk of the bulbous sausage.

The ragged breathing from the bed came a little faster before the old Klingon said, "Is that nice?"

The young man stopped chewing for a second to look reflectively at it before answering, "Ah've had better. Why d'ye ask?"

"Because if I could move from this bed I would take it from you and shove it so far up your..."

"Hey! Hey! Hey!" In his hurry to head off the insult, Duncan nearly sprayed his replicated meat substitute across the bed. "It was a fair question! Ah'm studyin' history, right? An' the Klingon race is held up as the quintessential example of the berserker ethic." He leaned back, "There are some who say that, in a society, it is a self-destructive ethic that can only lead to a volatile end to a society."

Again, there was a pause before the Klingon spoke. "And like a good historian you're recording this?"

Duncan laughed. “Of course!”

"We Klingon's love life - we live life to the fullest! - but to us, how we leave life is a statement that defines who we are and what we believe our life is worth. When a Klingon says it is a good day to die, it is not just a battlecry, it is a statement to the universe that he believes that what he will do this day will form a fitting end to his life."

Duncan nodded, "Ah'll pay that, as long as the end justifies the means."

The old man's voice grew softer but, at the same time, more intense, almost pleading. "It's more than that, it is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream! As children we are indoctrinated by tales of death and honour, it is true, but we are also taught to fear an empty, useless death. I have done great things, won great victories, wagered it all and lost everything in the gamble. I have known love and friendship, I have held some of those friends in my arms as they died."

Duncan could feel the ghosts of Kirok's past gathering. Were they whispering a welcome to him or was it they he was pleading with to join?

“Is it so terrible a thing to want to join my love, my friends and comrades in Sto-Vo-Kor? I am old and I do not want my life to ebb into nothingness. I can think of no better exchange for my life than to give it in exchange for that of my greatest friend.”

Duncan looked from the biobed to the door of the sickbay, quietly rose and left.

Redjac took his seat and buried her face in her hands.


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