Post by General Kapact on Jun 26, 2009 11:59:21 GMT -5
Computer, read back log to this point...
taHGor felt the blade cut into his leg, and dropped to the ground. Then six silent, red Klingon transporter effects appeared. Nothing mattered before then. Not the Jem'Hadar warship dropping out of warp just in front of them, or the shields exploding around them. He remembered feeling the ship shudder underneath him, and hearing the captain say that the ship had lost structural integrity. There was an explosion behind them, and the entire bridge seemed to fall towards the surface of Ekos 3. taHGor was proud to die for the Empire, but he would have been happier dying with the blood of his enemy on his hands. Instead, he would die, burning up in the atmosphere of a Federation planet. But somehow they survived the crash.
On the dark, blackened surface of Ekos, the ten survivors watched as the Devisor, a K'tinga class battlecruiser, burned up in the atmosphere. They had only survived because the boom separating the command hull from the rest of the ship had snapped, as it was designed to do in an emergency. They had ridden it down, safely atop the bulb that housed both weapons and sensors. The Jem'Hadar followed them down.
They held out for two weeks, as scores and scores of Jem'Hadar swarmed their makeshift encampment. The soulless, honorless creatures were furious, savage, berserk almost. They fought like starved targ, appearing from thin air and not only hacking the Klingons to bits, but breaking and burning anything they could. He didn't know why at the time, but it was because the Founders, their Gods, were dying. The Jem'Hadar were mad, and had nothing to lose.
Finally, his crewmates were dead and his disruptor was empty. His bat'leth had been broken over the head of an enemy, and the shell of what been the bridge burned by nitronium flares. The Jem'Hadar made a final push... hundreds of them, it seemed. They swarmed in, screaming bloody murder. taHGor grabbed a fistful of greasy hair, and yanked at tubes that fed the demon its ketracel white drug. Another scream, and its knife plunged into his shoulder Then he felt a blade slice into his leg. He dropped, prepared to die. Then six silent, red Klingon transporter effects appeared. And nothing that had happened before mattered.
He woke up expecting to be dead. He was supposed to be dead. That would have made it worth the fight. But he was alive. Clean, white sheets. "Where am I?"
A short time later, pain in his legs woke him up. He tore the sheets away, and found no legs. No legs! taHGor shouted for a doctor. He was finally seen by a bald human, who told him that he had lost his legs, but was otherwise perfectly healthy. taHGor cursed anyone and everyone around. He wanted a knife, and a warrior to help him end his life Then he passed out from the pain.
It took taHGor a year to finally accept that he had lived, but he could no longer fight. Six months after that, he stopped asking his comrades for maHtovar. He could no longer ask for something he had no hope of receiving. He could only wait to die. In the meantime, taHGor read every book he could find, in an effort to gain perspective. How had the ancients survived hardship and loss? Trapped in an antique mobile chair that the humans called a wheelchair, taHGor would learn that so he could face every dreary endless day with his eyes open. He even refused a powered chair. If he could not walk, he would still move under his own power. And if he could not fight, he would at least be strong in his heart.
And still, some days he found himself lost in conversation. He might be talking to someone... arguing with the clerics in the monastery, or explaining basic philosophy to cadets, and he would suddenly he would be on Ekos, watching the Jem'Hadar swarm his burnt-out shell of an encampment. When he returned, he was always alone, grasping at where his legs should be, and chilled to the bone. Then came a day when the old man who ran the war college called upon taHGor. "Professor taHGor, you will teach our warriors to fight anew. Teach them where we come from."
taHGor looked at HetaQ as if he were mad. "Professor taHGor? Are you drunk, or senile?" He knew in the back of his mind, however, that HetaQ was correct. He had studied the teachings of Ox'Sul, and the deeds of Sompek and L'ang'tu. He had written paper after paper and treatise after treatise, and he knew the old masters as if he had lived alongside them. But he wouldn't give the old man the satisfaction. "You're delusional. Why should I waste my time lecturing children on war when we're at peace?"
But of course, in the end, he agreed. Because he cared. Eventually, taHGor found that the teachings of war were dissatisfying and somehow stale for one who could no longer participate. He finally convinced himself to explore Klingon spirituality. And that he did, in an ancient outpost on the frontier.
taHGor heard the door struggle open, and turned in his chair. A robed figure entered and stopped just inside the door. "Where is the klingon taHGor?"
"I am he," taHGor answered. "Who are you?"
The figure pulled back his cloak to reveal the angular face of a Vulcanoid, but marked with an angry blotch of alien script that seemed to surround his left eye. "My name is Enek."
"You are a Romulan."
"And you are a Klingon. Why are we having this civilized discussion when tradition dictates that we should be at each other's throats?"
"Considering that your facial tattoo indicates a period of mourning, and the fact that you asked for me by name, I would suggest that you are here to kill me. So I would guess that the civilized tone will not continue for long."
"I came here to kill you, cripple. But tell me-"
"Why don't you tell me why you want to kill me. What has taHGor done to put that angry mark on your face?"
"Very well. My son was a prisoner on that Dominion ship that you helped destroy so long ago. The Dominion soldiers are long dead. The rest of the Klingon crew is dead. You are the only one left."
"And then what?" taHGor knew the answer. Any Klingon who had lived through any of their wars knew about vengeance. He also knew that he was very close to death, and wondered if he would have his legs again in the afterlife.
"And then I go back to my work."
"And what is that?" At Enek's raised eyebrows, taHGor continued. "If you are going to kill me, at least tell me what drove you before I became the focus of your life."
"I was a scientist," Enek answered softly. There was almost a wistful quality to his voice.
Even in the dim, red-shaded light of the hall, taHGor could see the tattoo standing out, almost in bass-relief on the green tinged face. "And you'll go back to being a scientist?"
"Yes. Please don't embarrass us both by appealing to my better nature. That died with my son."
"Then why are you still talking to me?"
"Because I don't understand why you haven't killed yourself yet."
"You mean this thing?" He rapped on the arm of the wheelchair. "The warrior who cannot fight, and all of that?"
"Yes. Exactly. What kind of a Klingon are you?"
"Not as great a warrior as I should be, perhaps, or I'd still have my legs. But still a Klingon"
"I don't think so," Enek answered. "You depend on a wheelchair. You hold polite conversation with a Romulan. You cannot fight."
"I am quite capable of pulling myself across the groundwithout the chair. I am conversing respectfully with a visitor who has asked me a question. And there are forms of combat, even for those of us without legs. Would you like me to demonstrate?"
"As I said before, don't embarrass us both. My point is, you have abandoned what passes for your culture, and then you make excuses. You're trying to talk your way out of a fight."
"I am conversing respectfully with somene who asked me a question." taHGor deliberately turned his back on the Romulan and wheeled away as he continued. "Nowhere in the writings of Kahless is it said that an honorable warrior must be ill-mannered."
"Kahless? Which Kahless? The one who died a thousand years ago, or the one who was born in a laboratory?"
"Does it matter?"
"Shouldn't it?" Enek asked. "One is dead, the other is a fake."
taHGor stopped to look at an empty throne, with a bat'leth lying across it, set against a far wall. "Do you see that?"
"It is an empty throne, but an important one. It symbolizes our faith in something that we cannot see or touch. And this-" he tapped a control built into the arm of his wheechair, and the darkened ceiling was illuminated with the light of a thousand distant stars. "This is important to us too."
"Heaven," Enek said with a sneer.
"Hardly. The afterlife isn't a place. It is a realm of the spirit. No, the stars are just that. Stars."
"Something that Kahless gave us to think about. '...all things done before the naked stars are remembered...'. That means that what you do has an effect, whether there is a witness or not. You are responsible for your actions, whether there is a witness or not. They will stay with you forever."
"A concept not always so carefully observed, Klingon. Words are easy. Actions are not." Enek walked past taHGor and leaned against tbe throne. "Weren't your people evercurious about why we attacked Narendra Three or Khitomer?"
"The 'why' wasn't important to us. Revenge was. The same reason you're here."
"Revenge is a dish best served cold. You didn't create the concept, you know."
"No, we didn't. But again, Kahless gives us something to consider on the subject. There was a warrior against whom Kahless had a grudge. A spy of the tyrant Molor named GinoQ had betrayed Kahless's small band of rebels and led to the death of many. Kahless flew into a rage and spent a year pursuing GinoQ. He finally caught him and killed him. Only then did Kahless learn that Molor had long since cast GinoQ out as untrustworthy. And during the year that Kahless was bent on revenge, many provinces had lost faith in the movement and fallen under the yoke of the tyrant. Lives had been lost, and the fight prolonged. Thereafter, he set into practice a concept known as GinoQ."
"And that is?" Enek asked dryly.
"That the grieving party is responsible for the life that they take in revenge. One way that GinoQ is practiced is that a murderer is cast into a river. The grieving family can either act and save the killer, or fail to act and allow the killer to die. Either way, they are responsible."
"How noble. But it doesn't bring my son back to me."
"Nor will killing me. But you are free to take the risk as you please."
"Risk? Are you saying you pose a threat to me?" At that, Enek pulled a long dagger from his cloak.
"I warned you that I am not defenseless. But that is not of what I speak. I speak of poison."
"Poison? What would the naked stars think of you poisoning me?"
"I'm not poisoning you, you're poisoning yourself."
"That tattoo of yours. It may vanish from your skin eventually, but all dyes soak into the surface. It may be years, and it may just be a mild irritant then. But someday, long after my memory is gone even from you, your grief; your revenge will come back to you. And only you will be responsible."
Enek sheathed his dagger and bowed to taHGor dramatically. Then he clapped loudly several times. "I salute you, taHGor. That was a magnificent performance. Truly."
taHGor raised his eyebrows at the sneering Romulan. "You aren't going to kill me?"
"Perhaps. Someday. Dye is still dye. It will not be kinder to me for having spared your life. But killing you now would preclude the possibility of more fascinating discussions just like this in the fuure." He moved past taHGor again, walking so swiftly that his cape billowed out behind him like a wraith. But as he got to the door, he whirled around. "Allow me to introduce you to a human concept."