Why anybody thought "Bring Your Ancestor or Family to Work Day" was a good idea was beyond Clerk. Still, he didn't want to go against a long-standing Fleet tradition, especially one that was so popular with the crew. So there he stood, in the "Meet and Greet with the Captain" area that Yeoman Rind set up in Reception Room 14A. No putting on a disguise and escaping this year.

Things were going pretty much as expected... until Clerk saw an entire family of clowns walking around.

"Let me guess," he said under his breath to Rind.

"Yep. That's Ensign Kazoo's family."

"So... they're all like that? I thought he was just wearing make up on his own. So, like, is that their skin? Are they an alien race? I never really--"

"No sir, they're from a human colony. I forget where. It's a cultural thing, apparently. Everybody on the planet wears that stuff."

As the family excitedly made their way over, Clerk said one last thing:

"You need to stop me when I start asking questions, Yeoman."

"Hi Captain!" Kazoo exclaimed. "This is my family! Here's my dad, Bongo..."

Bongo honked his horn.

"...my mom, Wazoo..."


"...and my younger brothers, the triplets, Yahoo, Bobbo, and Chad."

Three honks in unison.

"Well, I must say... It's a pleasure to meet you all. So, where are you from?"

"Barnumia! It's a colony on the south side of Baileya Prime!" Honk.

Everything makes sense now. Everything I've ever seen finally makes sense.

Before Clerk could fashion a response, he noticed a series of loud thumps, accompanied by screaming in Klingon, and a commotion centered on an unseen person on the other side of the room.

"If you'll excuse me, I need to attend to this."

The Captain walked over to the vending area to find an old, extremely senile Klingon (in full battle armor) threatening the soda machine with a cardboard tube. He kept swinging and missing, thus making himself even angrier. The Klingon continued to stagger around until...

"What dishonor is this?"

Clerk turned around to see his First Officer, Klaa'ck, keeping as cool as possible while letting some of the ol' Klingon Battle Rage build up.

"Dishonor? The Mighty Laa'ck has never committed a dishonorable deed in his life!"

"Until now!"

This must be some sort of routine. Hope it breaks the senility rage.

"Tell me, Mighty Laa'ck, did the soda machine strike first?"

"It did, but it has not defeated me!"

That does it. Next year, we're screening the visitors.

"Well, Mighty Laa'ck, defeat it in combat, so you will not lose your dignity!"

"Yarrrrrr!" yelled Laa'ck as he turned to face the soda machine again, continuing to swing, miss, and stagger.

"So..." Clerk said as he stood beside Klaa'ck. "Is this your father?"

"No. My father is Staa'ck, the Great Ambassador. This is my grandfather, the Mighty Laa'ck."

"This may sound out of the blue, but did you happen to have the nickname 'Barrel' as a kid?"

Klaa'ck actually looked kind of surprised. "Why yes... how did you know?"

"Call it an educated guess."

The pair, along with everybody else, continued to stand and watch. After several minutes, Clerk finally spoke again.

"So... should we stop this at some point?"

"Yes, eventually... but it's best to let him tire himself out first. Prevents it from happening again for a while."

"End it too quick, and it kicks in again?"


I'm beginning to regret what I said about how you can never have too many Klingons around.

Like many people, Clerk doesn't handle uncomfortable silences well. And yet, it's not easy to engage in small talk while a "Great Warrior" is fighting a vending machine in front of you. And losing.

"I thought your father was coming," the Captain finally got up the gumption to say. "Could he not make it?"

"Sorry, sir, but he was detained at the Andorian Embassy. He sent Grandfather here instead, to my mother's relief and my chagrin."

"How does she put up with this?"

"We have the necessary meds at home. Regrettably, they were not included in his luggage."

Senile, battle-hardened, and off his medication. I couldn't raise the stakes if I tried.

"Captain!" Lt. Whatsisname said as he hurriedly walked up to Clerk.

"Yes, Lieutenant. What is it?"

"Some of the guests are asking if this sideshow costs extra."

Clerk and Klaa'ck looked each other in the eye.

"Yes," said Clerk. "20 extra credits each. 10 for children."

"Aye, sir!"

As Whatsisname walked away to collect the money, Clerk turned back to Klaa'ck.


"Sounds fair."

Another thirty minutes passed, and the old war hero finally exhausted himself. As the guests made their way out, Whatsisname reported to the Captain that he had collected over 1100 credits.

Klaa'ck finally got a hold of his grandfather and brought him over for a proper introduction to the Captain.

"Captain, may I present to you my grandfather, Laa'ck."

"You may call me General," the gruff-voiced Klingon sneered.

Clerk got even more nervous. "Pleasure to meet you, General."

"Can you believe this kid?" Laa'ck said as he elbowed his grandson. "Takes me to all these functions and never lets me do anything. Model of a stone drag, he is. Must be the Vulcan in him. I told that son of mine, don't ever get mixed up with--"

"Grandfather! Our personal business is none of the Captain's."

"I guess you're right, for a change. Fine. Get me back to the guest room so I can take a nap."

The two walked away, leaving Clerk alone and speechless. Just before they exited the room, however, Laa'ck stopped, then proceeded to whack Klaa'ck upside the head as hard as he could with the cardboard tube.

"And get a haircut, you hippie!"