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Interstellar Space: Klingon Empire

Stardate: 44258.3

“Disruptors locked!” Tigranian said from the Sk’oh’s weapons station.

“Steady…Steady…” Torlek said slowly raising his right hand. The captain waited until his ship was in the perfect place for the kill. “BaH!” he said clenching his fist shut.

Tigranian let loose the full brunt of the bird of prey’s main canons. A brilliant orange explosion appeared directly off their bow.

“Second target bearing 280 Mark 3.5. Distance 780 kellicams.” Tigranian said refocusing the ships scopes.

“Ready photon torpedos.”

“Torpedos loaded, all warheads armed.”

“Helm adjust heading to 280 Mark 3.5”

“jIyaj,”the Sk’oh’s pilot said bringing the bow around.

“Torpedoes locked.”

“BaH!”

Tigranian fired two torpedoes. Both red spheres found the center of their mark and exploded.

“All targets destroyed! Qapla’!” Tigranian exclaimed in exaltation. The rest of the bridge crew chuckled.

“Calm down, Son of Tigranian,” Torlek said leaning back in his chair. “They were only practice drones. Save your celebration for an enemy that fires back.”

“The drill is complete. Stand down from alert status. Main shift, you are relieved until tomorrow morning,” Kentok said flashing Tigranian a sneer.

The bridge cleared except for Kentok and the captain.

“I must admit, his skills at the weapons station are growing rapidly,” Torlek said glancing over at his first officer. “You look like you wish to say something, Kentok. Don’t hold back.”

“He stands there in that Federation uniform pretending to be one of us. He says the words of a warrior, but he is not one. It makes a mockery of all that I stand for.”

“A true warrior respects another who tries to be more than he is, Kentok. You would do well to remember that.”

“Yes, Sir…” the first officer said stopping himself before he finished his thought. Torlek growled.

“But?”

“But, I hope you feel the same way about the human when we do face an enemy that fires back…”

Down in the Sk’oh’s mess hall, Tigranian picked up a large metal plate. Sliding down the food line, he grabbed a handful of wriggling racht, a side of zilm’kach, and a few taknar gizzards. After how the others reacted on the bridge, he wasn’t that hungry.

After dipping an empty tankard into the barrel of bloodwine, he took his seat at the end of the officer’s table. He poured some grapok sauce onto the still moving mass in front of him and started shoveling it into his face with his bare hands.

It still bothered him that the other Klingons gave him a wide berth. It bothered him even more that they talked about him like he wasn’t even there.

“I heard it was another glorious day for Daniel, Son of Tigranian, on the bridge. Is it true that he singlehandedly slew two target drones?” Vrox, the Sk’oh’s engineer said in a mocking tone.

“He did indeed,” K’vresh, the helmsman said chiming in. “He stood there, facing those ruthless machines like a legend of old. It made me proud to alter our course fifteen whole degrees so that he could obliterate them. I just hope that my unworthy accomplishments will be mentioned in the song that will be written about this day.” The Klingons at the end of the table snickered. Tigranian took a sip of bloodwine.

“If all the warriors of the Federation are as mighty as this Daniel…” Cholmek, the operations officer, said turning to look at Tigranian “…then perhaps we could learn a thing or two about battle from them!” At that comment, all of them burst out laughing.

Tigranian shot to his feet and hurled his plate into the wall with a tremendous crash. Racht flew everywhere and grapok sauce began dripping down the metal bulkhead. The entire mess hall fell silent. In the awkward silence, a Pheben jeghpu’wI steward appeared from behind a partition and began silently cleaning up the mess with a bucket and rag.

Before anyone could say anything, Tigranian stormed out in a rage.

Vrox reached down to his own plate and grabbed a handful of stewed bok-rat liver.

“Temperamental creatures those humans are…” he said calmly shoving the food into his mouth.

Tigranian stormed into the Sk’oh’s sparring room and grabbed a bat’eth off the wall. With a deep breath he began spinning it around his head at incredible speed. He became so engrossed in his form, he didn’t even hear the door open behind him. As he spun around to deliver a killing blow to an imagined enemy behind him, he was shocked when an actual bat’leth stopped his blade.

“Defend yourself!” Torlek snarled.

Tigranian slashed at his head, but the older Klingon easily parried blow after blow. Tigranian stepped back, spun the blade in front of him, and then leaped forward again. Torlek actually had to exert himself to stop this attack, and Daniel pressed on. The two fought back and forth for another minute, blades clanging in the darkness until finally Torlek managed to stop the reign of blows. Tigranian breathed heavily, completely tensed by rage.

“Your swordsmanship…much like your skills on the bridge, continues to grow everyday…” Suddenly, Torlek twisted his wrists and sent Daniel’s bat’leth skittering across the floor. He stepped forward and placed his blade at the human’s throat. Its gentle kiss drew a drop of blood from Tigranian’s neck. “…but anger is only the beginning of strength. It can never be the end.” He dropped his sword to his side and looked Daniel in the eyes. “What troubles you?”

“Nothing that is your concern, Sir,” Tigranian replied.

“EVERYTHING on this ship is my concern,” Torlek roared.

Daniel paused before he spoke.

“They will never accept me, will they?”

“You have only been onboard for a month…give it time.”

“I do know something that might speed up the process.”

“Really, and that is?”

“Grant me Ascension, Sir!”

“Ascension?” Torlek huffed. “You think you are worthy of Ascension? That honor is something that even many Klingons cannot achieve. Besides, you are human. It would probably kill you.”

“Don’t you think that should be my decision, Sir?”

“No, I do not!” he said angrily. “I will not let you die chasing some foolish childhood dream.”

“My only dream is to be what you are, Sir.”

A sound halfway between a sigh and a growl escaped Torlek’s throat.

“I will teach you the skills of a warrior, Daniel. I will even teach you our ways…but I cannot make you what we are.” He turned away.

“Why not?”

“Because you are not Klingon!” he said spinning back around. “You were born what you are, and that is not your fault…but that is your fate.”

Tigranian didn’t break Torlek’s gaze.

“Did Kortar the Mighty accept that it was his fate to live as a slave when he decided to climb the qo’sor?”

“No, but he did suffer greatly for it.”

“I never said I wasn’t willing to suffer, Sir.”

“A bold statement… from a bold heart.” Torlek said trying to sound as comforting as he possibly could. “However, my decision stands.”

Tigranian’s shoulders dropped.

“We have received new orders,” Torlek continued. “Three Klingon freighters have been attacked and plundered by Kreel pirates in the last month. Imperial Intelligence believes they have located their base of operations on a small planetoid on the edge of the Kavrot Expanse. In twelve hours, we will arrive to dispense justice in the name of the Empire.

We go into battle in the morning. Therefore, tonight is a night for wine and song. We do not know how many fine warriors will cross the River of Blood tomorrow, and I will not have my weapons officer hiding in the shadows sulking like a whipped grishnar cat. Am I understood?”

“Yes, Sir,” Tigranian said holding back his disappointment and anger. Torlek headed for the doors.

“Sir, if I die tomorrow, will I too cross the River of Blood to Sto’Vo’Kor, or am I doomed to pitiful mediocrity in the next life as well as this one?” Tigranian asked in a tone dangerously close to disdain.

Torlek looked back once more.

“What does your bold heart say?”

“It tells me that if there is any way a human can enter the gates of paradise to sit at Kahless’ table…I will find it.”

“If that is indeed possible for a human…I am starting to believe that you will.”


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