In 2327, Admiral Frennier was enjoying a drink in Bonestell Recreation Facility on Starbase Earhart. As usual, he was wearing his Klingon baldric and other items along with his Starfleet uniform. A group of young ensigns fresh from Starfleet Academy were there as well, awaiting their first duty assignments, and a small group of them crowded around him.
Although there was peace with the Klingons, they were still not a common sight within Federation space, so his outfit was a novelty. He enjoyed speaking with the young officers, remembering the time when he was a fresh ensign himself sixty years ago; and yet he did not look much older then they did.
Some of the other new officers had been losing at dom-jot to a group of Nausicaans for the past several days. The Admiral chuckled to himself; they were young, and losing their credits would bring them wisdom for later in their careers. One of the young women he was chatting with was very forward, and he turned back to speaking with her. After a time, he excused himself to leave the bar.
As he was reentering the room, harsh words and the sounds of a brawl filled his ears. He saw a female ensign knocked unconscious; one of the Nausicaans pulled out a concealed sword and plunged it through the back of one of the men. The young ensign fell to his knees, and laughing, slumped onto the floor. The Nausicaans ran for the exit, but were blocked by the admiral.
“Now that you have finished playing with the kiddies, how about trying me.”
Admiral Frennier rammed his dk’tahg into the stomach of the first Nausicaan. The other two drew their own swords, but not fast enough. The admiral slashed the second one’s throat. The third tried to run, but the thrown Klingon dagger appeared between his shoulder blades and he fell dead.
The admiral rushed over, and knelt beside the wounded ensign. He had seen death too often, and this boy would die soon. He had to do something. Shouting for someone to contact sickbay he turned to one of the frightened ensigns.
“What’s his name?”
“What?” The young man seemed confused.
“What is this boy’s name?”
“Johnny. Um, Johnny Picard, sir”.
Lifting the dying ensign by his lapels, the admiral shouted to him, “Ensign! Ensign Picard. Listen to me! This is Admiral Frennier. Stay with me.”
The young man laughed again, and started to fade into sleep.
“Damn it, Ensign! Don’t you die on me. That’s an order! Do you hear me!?”
Ensign Picard opened his eyes and nodded. “Aye, sir.”
The admiral knew that he could not remove the sword or else the boy would surely die; but he did his best to staunch the bleeding.
“Stick with me. No sleeping on the watch. What is your First General Order?”
The young man struggled to remember.
“Well, what is it!? Hurry up!”
“No, no starship may interfere with the normal development of any alien life or society.”
“Good. Very good. Stay awake. What is the Second General Order?”
“My second general order is…”
Medical technicians rushed in and took charge of the wounded young man. The blood-stained admiral stood up. The boy’s life was in their hands now.
Security officers with drawn phasers surrounded him.
“Don’t move, Admiral.”
Cursing under his breath in Klingon, the admiral raised his hands.
In the Base Commander’s office, Captain Norris struck his desk.
“You murdered three Nausicaans on my station!”
“After they tried to murder a Starfleet officer on your station! Which your security detachment failed to prevent. How the hell you were so stupid as to allow Nausicaans to come armed onto your base is beyond me.”
The security chief looked sheepish. “They were searched when they came aboard.”
“They’re Nausicaans. Of course they would be armed.”
“You were only allowed to carry your own knife as a courtesy.”
“But you killed them all, even the one who was fleeing.” said Captain Norris.
“Because they’re Nausicaans. If you let them get away with that, you would have had several more deaths at their hands over the next few weeks. That ship they were on is an Orion Syndicate vessel. I sent them a message: mess with Starfleet, and die at my hand.”
The others said nothing.
“I will be turning in a complete report to Starfleet Command, and if that boy dies, I will have you and your security chief up on charges.”
Retrieving his dagger from the desk, the admiral strode from the office.
That evening, Admiral Frennier visited the young ensign in his hospital room. The admiral was wearing a fresh uniform.
The doctors had been forced to operate, and Ensign Picard now had an artificial heart. But he would live.
The admiral sat at the side of the bed. Touching the young man’s arm lightly, he said “Ensign Picard. Jean Luc.” The young man’s eyes fluttered open. The admiral smiled.
“How are you feeling?”
“Better, thanks to you, sir. When I first saw you in that mixed uniform, I thought that I was dreaming.”
The admiral laughed. “Always remember, that your life was saved by a Klingon warrior and his dk’tahg.”
“I shall, Admiral. After today, I intend to make a real study of Klingon culture.”
“Good. Good. I wanted to know; why did you laugh when you saw the sword sticking out of your chest?”
“I thought how stupid it was that I was getting killed in a meaningless bar fight before my career in Starfleet had even started.”
“Well, Jean Luc, I want you to make me a promise. I want you to swear that you will make something of that career. Be the best damn officer Starfleet ever had; discover new worlds and new civilizations. And always remember what happened here today.”
“I promise, sir.”
The Admiral stood up, and tugged on the bottom of his tunic to straighten it.
“Then, carry on, Ensign Jean Luc Picard.” The admiral raised a salute to the bedridden young man.
“Aye, aye, sir. And thank you.”
Admiral Frennier turned and left the ensign to his own thoughts.