Helping charities a matter of honor
Klingons true to warrior creed
And the costumes are pretty amazing
by Robin Harvey, Life Writer
How many Klingons does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One to chop off the hand of the mak'dar who asked the stupid question. And another to light the torch attached to his bleeding stump.
And then there's the Klingon proverb that says: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and prepare to die!
Klingons — pretty much the bad boy biker-types of the sci-fi universe — aren't big on humor.
But the same can't be said of Klingon fans. There are about 100 members of them in Canada who belong to the KAG — theKlingon Assault Group — which operates within the Crimson Knight Fleet, under the command of L. Lt. Col. Krikor sutai-jechwI' (Krikor Ajemian).
The KAG unit in Ontario, called the Scarlet Shield Quadrant, is led by Lt. K'Tallia vestai-jechwI' (Lori Lightfoot).
Being heroic must be part of the attraction. This species, first encountered in Star Trek, believes that a warrior must never turn his back on a battle. It's not surprising that Klingons are frequently assigned to security details at science fiction conventions. But despite their bumpy foreheads, frightening demeanor and warlike
get-up — not to mention their reported love of eating live worms and beating each other with pain sticks — Klingons are active charity fundraisers.
At this month's Toronto Trek Convention, Klingons were running a "Jail and Bail" event — where for $5 you could have a friend arrested and detained by Klingon security. Or, for another $5, you could bail yourself out and get your friend arrested for payback. All the proceeds went to the Toronto Humane Society.
About 30 warriors showed up for Saturday's Klingon General Assembly. First the ceremonial Batleth (battle-axe) and sword of Kayless, their spiritual founder, were placed in a spot of honor. Then, after three rings of a ceremonial gong, the meeting began. L. Capt. Chil zantai-devwI' (Harold Connell) read greetings from the North American leadership, after which L. Lt. Col. Krikor outlined the group's recent accomplishments.
"As you know, it's the charity events that we are all about, " he said. "And we've done much of which to be proud."
Each member was awarded a special crest, to be attached to his or her ceremonial sash, for every charity event they had taken part in over the past year.
Among other things, members of the group had manned water stations at numerous walkathons, charity bikeathons and a run for breast cancer. They sold flowers to raise money to fight multiple sclerosis on Mother's Day and took part in the Gay Pride festivities.
The group will go to parties, charity events and even tractor pulls to raise money for a good cause, says Ajemian — er, Krikor.
"Face it, we do this for the attention, but also because we love to connect, have fun and do some work for a good cause.
"If you're dressed up like a Klingon, it adds to the experience. And believe it or not, kids really do like us."
But all is not money and warfare. Klingon spirituality has been deemed a valid field of study by some academics, including Stephen Martin, a Dalhousie University chaplain. Martin, who focuses on Star Trek to answer some of life's age-old questions, says Klingons are deeply spiritual. The Klingon sense of honor and duty and strong belief in the afterworld mean the fans find a code of ethics with hope and a moral framework lacking in much organized religion.
Arts are also part of the Klingon tradition.
Three books have been published in Klingon: Hamlet, ghIlghameS (Gilgamesh) and paghmo' tIn mIS (Much Ado About Nothing). There is also a translation of Edgar Alan Poe's The Raven.
Most of the Toronto members speak some Klingon and hold regular Klingon poetry readings. At the convention, they held a workshop on Klingon poetry and basic Klingon language.
But Ajemian says their literary work is not so much artistic as a "testament to honor and glory in battle."