Issue #67
Spring 2004


Friends Don't Let Friends Sign Treaties

by KwISt

"The crew of the DaSlargh sat at the conference table, grinning proudly at the parchment they'd signed in blood.  They felt victorious in having cornered their foes into a surrender by Klingon terms.  From these chambers, the news would spread of the greatest victory yet scored by the DaSlargh... or so they thought... for nearly eight more hours..."
  - from "The DaSlargh's Folly," Parables of Kahless.


    KAG has flourished for fifteen years, and in that time our forces in the Klingon Empire have learned many lessons.  Lucky for us, our every Thought Admiral had the wisdom and foresight to head off the bureaucracy that had killed off many older regimes.  He instated the Five Rules we use to this very day.  To a free spirited Warrior, rules and boundaries may seem evil, but when they get to be as battle-tested as the Five Rules are, they grow to earn respect.

Let's take Rule #3.  "Sign No Treaties, Make No Alliances."  Sounds restrictive, doesn't it?  I mean, wouldn't treaties or alliances be useful in some circumstances?  Yet this one restriction has saved KAG from thousands more restrictions waiting to happen.

We're Klingons, last I checked.  Even our IXL members who aren't quite Klingons are still Klingons where it counts.  Fictional race or not, we play in character as the exciting Warrior species of the stars, charging forward in frenzied hoards against our adversaries.  What Klingon could ever imagine that force being stopped by a lawyer citing the contractual obligations in an alliance or treaty? 

Don't get me wrong... personally I favor harmony among all living things.  I've fought for the rights of our members to share their hobbies as they see fit (e.g. dual memberships), and I've produced things to be shared across fan boundaries and beyond.  But contracts are not the path to understanding.

As an organizational entity, KAG exists only in our imaginations, which is a good thing.  Oh sure, we are indeed real people with real activities, but beyond the constitution of our Five Rules, we don't make people do stuff.  Not as far as contractual obligations, anyway.

Remember, we don't need unfun complications in order to show professionalism in what we do.  Good showmanship is our hallmark.  And every ship captain's desk needs an incinerator.

    "It simplifies things enormously when claims of honor are not present."      - Krenn, "The Final Reflection" by John M. Ford


    Ya wanna know how to obligate a party to War when War is the last thing they want?  Write it up in a treaty of course!  This is exactly how the Blood Oath War started, and finished, nine years ago.  You think I'm kidding?  You think someone can contractually obligate themselves to the very thing they fear the most?  Yes, they can.  Some people have no clue how stupid their words really are until someone else reads them aloud.

"There are two things that are infinite: The universe and human stupidity. But with the universe, I am not entirely sure." - Einstein

It started with some playful fans in California, innocently enough.  The first KlingKon was coming up, and some guys, members of UFPI and RSE,  thought they should commemorate the occasion with (drumroll, please) a treaty!


    I must admit, they demonstrated an amazing skill in hierarchically outlining their thoughts.  I just wish they had first thought their words through.  How do you deter someone from violations that threaten the peace?  You threaten to declare war, of course!  Invade the Neutral Zone?  That's an act of War!  Federation cloaking devices?  War!
Standing too close?  WARRR!!!!!  

How clueless!  Klingons don't view War as a deterrent... it's a pastime! An enticement! The word Qoj means 'to make war', and we like to use it.

KAG declined any signing of this Treaty.  In fact, the local KAGster, Ort Sev, showed his contempt by drawing blood from his hand and dripping it. (As memory serves, the same was done earlier that week on Babylon5 by G'Kar.)  That's how the ensuing challenge became known as "The Blood Oath War."

KAG's Demon Fleet was still wet behind the ears, but their skills for impish parody were already shining.

When the text copy of 'The Treaty of Peace' got circulated on the Klingon Fidonet echo (that's how we did things back in prehistoric times) it was adapted as 'The Treaty of Peas' of KAG's Pirate Fleet.

When we read that Ort Sev's protest was twisted into 'signing it with his blood,' we decided to test how good their word really was.  Sure,  the structure was spiffy.  But the legalistic doubletalk was self-defeating.

[They weren't good trivia buffs, either.  Klingon's don't have a vacated Neutral Zone... that's for those introverted Romulans.  Instead they have a cohabited Organian Treaty Zone, where both Feds and Klingons compete to colonize that space.]

By the coming Camp Dover Peace Conference, the RSE and UFPI had failed to meet their signed obligations, so we gave them the War they asked for.  Thought Admiral Kris issued the declaration, and like most KAG Wars, the win-win activity would benefit charity.  This time, it was a contest for who would donate the most blood, and a year and a half later, KAG won.  Yep, win-win... but KAG didn't look so foolish.  It wasn't the charitable work or the ability to act the role... it was that we did it without bureaucratic lawmongering.  We did it for FUN!


The moral of our story is that simple is good.  KAG doesn't ask you to memorize a regulation manual and the Magna Carta, just Five Rules.  Keeps it Fun.  Fun is good.

Treaties complicate things enormously, and can unravel like a bad sweater when the first loose thread gets tugged.  Treaties are bad.  Even alliances and similar verbal promises carry bad baggage.  Better not to make promises and have nothing to keep.

Friendships are good.  Interclub camaraderie and activities can be great fun.  Boundaries can also help... good fences make good neighbors.   But is a friendship that requires prenuptial agreement really worth the complexity?  Where's the Klingon spirit in having to read the fine print?

- KwISt "the fly-by-my-eye guy"
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