Episode Number: 3×14
Written by: The authors of the Shackleton Expanse Campaign Guide
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 13th January 2024
- Commander K’rigosh: Akul’s first officer, broadly supportive of Gowron’s policies.
- Lieutenant D’relk: Hulking chief engineer aboard the MupwI’.
- Lieutenant Ruskerg: Tactical chief aboard the MupwI’, possessing an air of Vulcan-like calm.
- Jaresh-Inyo: President of the United Federation of Planets.
- Gowron: Chancellor of the Klingon High Council.
Violent incidents with the Klingons have become more common since Chancellor Gowron’s demand that the Federation give up the Archanis Sector, and the Admiral fears war is imminent. In the hope of keeping some civilised form of contact open with the Klingons, I have agreed that my senior officers will take part in Captain Akul’s pre-combat ritual.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 49969.4
Plot: The Lexington command crew continues its competitive ritual with the senior officers of the MupwI’, its members finishing somewhat battered and, in some cases, wiser. Unfortunately, this seems to be just the calm before the storm.
The ‘A’ Plot: The two team contests continue, with the Klingons becoming a little irritated by Azonan’s ingenuity.
Captain Akul finally joins his officers in carrying the rocks to their destination, but half-way along the route, he trips and staggers several steps sideways. He drops the rock as he tries to regain his balance, but it lands on his foot, before rolling into and demolishing Azonan’s crane. Wincing, Akul apologises, but they get the impression it was not totally an accident. The Klingon is obviously injured, so Konin offers medical assistance, but is waved off.
Commander K’rigosh, taking part in the marksmanship contest, is visibly angered by the contraption, and accidentally misfires his disruptor. Azonan narrowly avoids being grazed by a “misaimed” low-power bolt as he bends to pick up a rock to join the labour. K’rigosh is unapologetic, accusing the Andorian of being a coward, “afraid of his own warrior heritage”, and backs down only when Akul forces him to. Both Azonan and K’rigosh appear eager to match weapons in the individual combats.
The two team competitions soon come to an end, with the Lexington crew taking the prize in both, although the marksmanship contest is close. Ignoring the glaring match between K’rigosh and Azonan, D’relk compliments Quinn on his marksmanship.
Akul announces it is time for the now tired participants to begin a series of individual combats, and the two commanders begin allocating opponents. The Klingon commander notes that while a variety of Klingon melee weapons are available, they will only be used if the Starfleet officer in each fight so chooses.
First up are Konin and Akul, an obvious pairing. Konin has the advantage in the early exchanges, despite his taller opponent’s reach, using the Klingon’s momentum against him and concentrating his attacks on the injured foot. Eventually, however, Akul topples him with a powerful double-handed swing, leaving him briefly unconscious.
Zepht then takes on the oddly calm Ruskerg. The Klingon meditates for some time before their bout, then climbs to his feet, bows, and suprises Zepht by simply charging. The Denobulan puts up a good defence, but Ruskerg’s innate toughness wins out in the end. They finish by bowing to each other in the traditional fashion of Terran martial artists.
Next, Raynor faces off against D’ghov. Konin attempts to coach him beforehand on his observations of her fighting style, but it turns out that this isn’t needed. Raynor simply steps to one side as the Klingon woman charges and trips her. D’ghov is somewhat annoyed, but mostly at her own lack of skill.
Quinn’s match against D’relk is similarly brief, despite both choosing to fight with weapons: sgian-dubh vs d’k’tagh. Quinn’s initial lunge is deflected and he suddenly finds himself on his back with the Klingon woman astride him. Grinning ferociously, she growls – then bites him. Quinn nods and she drags him into the bushes. No-one is quite sure who won that bout, but Konin opts to invoke the holosuite’s privacy filters.
Finally, Azonan and K’rigosh face off, in what seems more of a formal duel. The Klingon selects a bat’leth, so Konin produces the Andorian’s ushaan-tor, previously confiscated after the events on Zeta Gracha VII. Azonan aims to end the fight as quickly as possible, but with minimal bloodshed. Charging at K’rigosh, he knocks his bat’leth aside, and sidesteps, stabbing the Klingon in the leg. With pink blood gushing from his wound, K’rigosh is forced to yield, although it is clear he is far from happy.
Akul praises the Starfleet officers for their efforts, complimenting the captain on their unorthodox but successful tactics, and they break out the blood wine for a celebration. Hours later, the two crews stagger back to their quarters, somewhat the worse for wear. Quinn is suffering from several injuries that don’t seem to have been caused in combat.
The ‘B’ Plot: Across the Federation, tensions continue to rise over the potential war with the Klingons.
Konin is increasingly involved in planning meetings with Hebert, her advisors and other Starfleet commanders. Hebert advises him that the strategic operations team has agreed with his idea for a supply route around the far side of Romulan space, and that he may be involved in pathfinder operations to make it work. The station’s engineering team reports that work on the Lexington is taking longer than planned due to the deep structural damage suffered on earlier missions, and the resulting emergency repairs.
As he leaves the office after one such meeting, he is contacted by Zohir, who wants to talk to him in private. Worrying about the implications, Konin chooses a quiet bar, and Zohir begins by placing an odd device on the table, which he says will hide their conversation from eavesdroppers. Konin looks sceptical, but the Risan goes on to explain that a “contact” has informed him that Klingon engineers have been active in unmanned access ways, and he’s concerned that they may be engaged in sabotage. Konin asks who the contact is, but Zohir refuses to say, and the Betazoid can tell he’s trying hard not to think of the name. He agrees to pass the information on to Raynor anonymously and act on his recommendations. Raynor puts a plan in motion to investigate the problem, working out which of these locations house access to systems essential in battle. He arranges with Zepht and Azonan to investigate.
Quinn finds that his Klingon paramour is not responding to his messages. When he investigates, this appears to be due to enhanced security amongst the Klingons.
On stardate 49989, Konin exits a meeting with the admiral just as the Federation News Service broadcasts a speech by the Federation President, refusing to accede to Chancellor Gowron’s demands. As it concludes, General Kargan stalks out of his office, accompanied by his guard, and leaves the operations centre, followed by all of the Klingons present.
Three hours later, Gowron issues a single statement from the bridge of Qo’noS wa’, “Qapla’!” And hundreds of Klingon warriors surge out of the lower levels of the station.
The Arc: The war with the Klingon Empire has begun.
Observations: When conferring with Admiral Hebert, Konin requests a list of armed Starfleet vessels in port, or nearby. The list includes the U.S.S. Golden Hind, U.S.S. Kumari, U.S.S. Courageous, U.S.S. Thunderchild, and the runabouts U.S.S. Cass, U.S.S. Severn and U.S.S. Rhine.
Qo’noS wa’ is the latest flagship of the Klingon Chancellor, a Negh’Var-class battlecruiser.
Quinn possesses a genuine Highland dirk, the sgian-dubh, which he sheathes in his boot.
Dialogue: President Jaresh-Inyo’s speech:
Over the last few days the Council of the United Federation of Planets has been in closed session as the delegates considered the requests of the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council regarding the status of the Archanis Sector. It is with great regret that I must inform you that these requests… no, demands… are being refused.
Furthermore, any move by the Klingon armed forces to occupy this, or any other, region will be met with force. We cannot allow a return to the galaxy of two centuries ago when Klingon aggression ran unchecked.
To that end I am authorising Starfleet to respond to any act of force accordingly, and to reactivate its reserve forces in case the Klingon Empire chooses the path of war. Additionally, I am calling on the member worlds to bring their own defence services to readiness. Historically, the Klingons have achieved their greatest successes in the opening stages of any conflict, and we must be ready for this.
We will not fire the first shot, but we will deliver the last…
Gowron’s response: “Qap’la!”
References: The war with the Klingons begins in “Apocalypse Rising” (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).