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Outskirts of the Korma System: Klingon Occupied Zone, Cardassian Space

Stardate: 53189.4

Two weeks of searching the Lissepian trade routes and nothing to show for it. Two star systems gone over with everything at the ghargh’s disposal: subspace probes, active sensors, even tachyon scans to check for traces of cloaked ships. Perhaps this was a dead end.

Tigranian had kept Torlek informed with regular reports. The General had as much luck as Daniel in making contact with the Chancellor. Wherever he was, he was keeping clear of the normal Klingon Defense Forces. Torlek instead had been employing the Suk’Valt in attacking starbases, fleets, and supply convoys supporting Morjod’s forces. In yesterday’s transmission, Torlek said he felt more like a privateer than an honored warrior. When Daniel requested permission to break off the search and join him in Klingon space, however, Torlek flatly refused.

“No, brother, you can do more good there still searching for the witch’s sources outside of the Empire. Another battlecruiser would be of little use now.”

Tigranian often disagreed with the head of his house, but he had always obeyed…almost. He knew the ghargh’s crew was getting restless. Unlike a Federation ship, Klingons thirsted for battle, and this glorified oogh hunt was fast losing its appeal. They needed blood…and quickly. Their loyalty for Torlek was admirable, but there were already occasional grumblings in the lower ranks that Morjod’s appeals for a return to conquest and glory might not be so terrible. Of course, the Qas DevwI’ made quick work of those remarks before they got out of hand. However, Tigranian knew even his seasoned non-commissioned officers couldn’t keep Klingon warriors under control forever…especially with a human in the captain’s chair.

“Daniel HoD,” Loktan, the operations officer said. “I’m picking up a slight sub-space variance in Sector 3.”

“Analysis?” Tigranian said turning towards him.

“It is very faint. However, it could be the plasma coil of an older cloaking device.”

Tigranian knew that Morjod’s forces were bold and full of desire to engage enemy ships. He also knew they would be even more anxious for a fight against a vessel with a Federation citizen in command. For that very reason, they had been running de-cloaked the entire search.

“Helm, change course to 193 Mark 3.”

“Sir?” Atvos, the helmsman asked.

“Are you deaf, helmsman?”

“No, Sir!”

“Then do it!” Atvos complied. “Loktan, status of the subspace variance.”

“It has just changed course to match, Sir.”

“Finally,” Tigranian thought as a grin crept across his face.

“Sir, incoming message from General Torlek.”

“Loktan, keep monitoring the variance. Put the General on main viewer.”

An image of Torlek appeared on the screen.

“My brother, Glorious news! We have found the Chancellor and he has located the traitor and his mother on Boreth!”

“Boreth, the planet of Kahless’ return?”

“Yes, the same! Martok is calling all loyal Klingons to his banner. The final battle is about to begin.”

“We are four days away at maximum warp. We will join you as soon as we can.” He flashed Torlek a look. Tigranian knew that ship out there was probably monitoring the transmission. He didn’t want to reveal he knew it was out there. Luckily for Tigranian, the Tova’dok between them was still strong.

“Good, my brother. We will arrive at Boreth in two days. We will keep a few honorless glob flies alive for you…if we can. Torlek out.”

“Sir,” Loktan interjected. “The subspace variance is changing course and pulling away at full impulse. I believe they heard the General and may be preparing to leave the system.”

“Options?”

“If we transmit a reverse tachyon pulse from the main deflector, it could destabilize their cloak as long as they are within 3000 kellicams.”

“Do it.”

“Main deflector charging. Initating burst in five seconds.”

“They’ll be out of range in two seconds! Helm match course and speed of the variance.”

“Understood!”

“Firing the burst.” A pulse of green light emanated from the ghargh’s deflector. It struck an object which slowly transitioned into view. It was a D12 Class Bird of Prey.

“Sir, they’re raising shield and charging weapons.”

“Alert Status 1!” Tigranian ordered. “Shields up, power to forward disruptors, and arm photon torpedoes.”

“I’m detecting a large quantity of biomimetic gel in their cargo hold.”

“Got you…” Tigranian muttered. “Hail them.”

An angry Klingon appeared on screen.

“So it is true,” he said through a scowl. “This is how far Martok has let the Empire fall. A human, barely more than jeghpu’wI, in command of a Klingon Ship. How do you warriors tolerate such dishonor?” He cried out to the rest of the ghargh’s crew. “Kill this worthless petaQ and join the banner of Morjod! Your emperor needs you!”

“My Emperor…” Loktan said to the screen, “…is Kahless. Yours is a traitorous fraud who will die very shortly.”

“Fine, you all die at our hands.”

“You speak very bravely, but my ship is far more powerful than yours.” The other Klingon began laughing. Daniel felt something was wrong. “What is so funny?”

“That you think you can win against me, human.”

Three more ships de-cloaked behind the bird of prey: all K’Tinga class battlecruisers.

Tigranian looked at his tactical display as they moved to encircle him, but did not display a hint of concern. He looked back to the Klingon on the screen.

“Before this day is over, I am going to kill you.”

“Now YOU speak very bravely, human.”

“Sir!” Loktan said from behind him. “Another ship is de-cloaking 10,000 kellicams to port!”

“Another one?” Tigranian thought. He knew he was way overmatched as it was, but now his bluff was just looking ridiculous. “What type? Bird of prey? Battlecruiser?”

“Federation…”

The Pershing pulled alongside the ghargh and raised its shields.

“The captain is hailing both us and Morjod’s ships.”

“Put her onscreen,” Tigranian said with a smirk. The viewscreen split and Annabeth’s face appeared next to the other Klingon’s image.

“Klingon vessels, this is Commander Annabeth Geist of the Federation Starship, Pershing. Drop your shields and power down your weapons. Federation and Cardassian constabulary authorities are en route to take you into custody for violation of Article XII of the Khitomer Accords and Article VIII of the Treaty of Bajor.”

“This is the Klingon Zone, Human!” The other Klingon spit at her. “We are representatives of the legitimate ruler of the Klingon Empire!”

Tigranian snorted in derision.

“In any case, this is none of your concern! Leave now or be destroyed with this ko’tal.”

“You’re wrong, Captain. It is very much my concern. My science officer has detected large amounts of illegal biomimetic and bio-genic compounds in your cargo holds. Under the Authority of the Treaty of Bajor, which was signed by the Klingon Government, I have the right to confiscate your cargo and detain you. Any attempt to prevent that operation would be unwise on your part.”

“Kahless bless you and your sensor array, Laria,” Tigranian thought. At that moment the Klingon cut off the transmission. “Didn’t expect to see you here, Annabeth,” he said with a bit of annoyance.

“Sir, I…” Annabeth began.

“Later, when people aren’t trying to kill us. Take up a position on our left flank. They’ll try to get behind us.

“Yes, Sir,” Annabeth said as she disappeared from the screen.

“The Bird of Prey and one cruiser are coming to bear on us. The other two cruisers are heading to flank the Pershing,” Loktan said.

“Come right to 270 Mark 3. Lock disruptors on the cruiser. Target their impulse drives and fire!”

Green bolts shot forward from the ghargh’s cannons and blasted into the nearest battle cruiser.

“Damage to their starboard impulse drive. Their aft shields are at eighty percent.” At that moment, the bird of prey fired a spread of torpedoes. They slammed into the ghargh’s superstructure causing the whole ship to rock violently.

“Report!”

“Heavy damage to the aft conning tower. Emergency bulkheads have sealed. Dorsal shields at forty-five percent.”

“Keep firing on the cruiser! Once we have them disabled shift to the bird of prey!”

“Understood!”

Daniel looked at his tactical display. The Pershing was taking a beating, but still holding her own. Katie had already landed several withering phaser hits that were starting to destabilize the battle cruisers’ structural integrity fields. She then fired a spread of quantum torpedoes which blew a warp nacelle off the battle cruiser to their port.

Another blast of disruptor fire caught the ghargh. A console exploded at the aft of the bridge.

“Hull breach on deck seven! Dispatching damage repair crews.”

“Helm, change course 285 Mark 6, full impulse. Weapons prepare a spread of torpedoes, deactivate arming safeties and prepare them for point detonation!”

“Sir!” Loktan exclaimed.

“DO IT!”

The ghargh charged forward and then turned ninety degrees: closing to point blank range.

“BaH!” Tigranian shouted. Loktan fired three torpedoes at the battlecruiser less than ten kellicams away. “Roll right, emergency thrusters!” The ghargh barrel-rolled away from the enemy cruiser as the torpedoes found their mark. Without distance safeties, they exploded with their full yield directly into the enemy’s rear quarter. The warheads exploded in a brilliant fireball that rocked the entire ship.

“Enemy ship destroyed. Our warp core is offline, major damage in the secondary hull! The bird of prey is still closing.”

Tigranian looked at his display. He evened the odds a little more, but it was at a cost. His ship was damaged and could no longer escape. The Pershing was still grappling with the other two cruisers that had also closed to point blank range with Annabeth.

“Lock disruptors on the bird of prey and fire!”

The ghargh and the bird of prey charged directly at each other, each firing as fast as they could. They passed each other keel to keel, barely avoiding a collision.

“Forward shields down to forty percent.”

“Status on the bird of prey?”

“Their forward shields are at fifty percent. Minor damage to their port disruptor array.” Suddenly another shockwave hit the ghargh. The battlecruiser with the damaged nacelle had exploded after another torpedo barrage from the Pershing.

“Come about! Arm another spread of torpedoes and prepare to engage!” The gargh turned around to face their foe just in time to see the bird of prey fire two torpedoes directly at their bow. With their forward shields weakened, it would cripple them. “Evasive” but Tigranian knew it was too late.

Suddenly, a grey streak appeared in front of them as the Pershing raced between the two ships. It took the full force of the torpedoes on its ventral armor. The starship rocked violently, but was able to keep moving.

“Damage to the Pershing’s primary deflector array. Their phasers are offline, but their structural integrity is holding,” Loktan said to reassure Tigranian.

“Hold together, Blackjack,” Tigranian silently prayed before he saw the bird of prey still directly ahead. “Fire full spread of torpedoes.”

Three glowing orbs shot from the ghargh and impacted on the bird of prey’s weakened shields. In an instant, it detonated into pile of debris.

“Status on the third battlecruiser?” Loktan activated the sensors.

“Intact, but adrift. They are completely disabled. The Pershing is hailing.”

“Onscreen. Annabeth, is everyone alright?”

“Couple of minor scrapes and bruises, but nothing that Alex can’t cure with a dermal regenerator and a few lollipops. Though Mr. Scharr is already complaining about all the repairs he’s gonna have to make…”

“HoD, what is a ‘lollipop’?” Atvos asked Daniel confused.

“It’s not important,” Tigranian said before turning back to the screen. Annabeth was chuckling. “I suppose I owe you one.”

“You could at least begin with ‘thank you for saving my life.”

Tigranian glanced around to his Klingon crew. He knew he couldn’t be as emotional as he wanted to be.

“Thank you for saving my life…” he said with a little reserve. “However, I do have to ask. How long have you been following me?”

“Only a few days,” she said with a grin. “Things were pretty uneventful in the Federation Zone and if I remember correctly, Admiral Murphy’s orders were only not to leave Cardassian Space.”

Tigranian couldn’t help but smile.

“Now, if I remember correctly, the General’s transmission said you are due at Boreth, are you not?”

“We are, but our warp core is offline.”

“Engineering reports it will be repaired in four hours, Sir.” Loktan added. “We can proceed at full impulse.”

“Very well,” Tigranian said. “Lay in a course.” He turned back to Annabeth. “Tell the crew how grateful I am….and tell Phil I’m impressed with that little bit of flying. I’ll see if I can get the “Lexington Maneuver,” added to the ‘Advanced Tactics’ Curriculum at the Academy.”

“He heard you, Sir. Good luck.”

The ghargh had barely made it out of the system when they received another transmission from General Torlek. The Chancellor’s forces were victorious on Boreth. All had seemed lost until a mysterious figure appeared on the battlefield carrying the Sword of Kahless, the legendary weapon that had been missing over five centuries. Then, the battle had turned as if the sword itself was guiding the fate of the Klingon people. The Hur’q fell, Morjod was slain, and Gothmara was dead. The Empire was safe.


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