Posted by Lieutenant Commander Kohr (Executive Officer) in Side Sim [Open]: Reflections in Moonlight
Lieutenant Commander Kohr
Executive Officer, USS Viking
It has been nearly a week since departing the USS Damocles, and I am quite looking forward to returning to my duties aboard the Viking.
The continued joint training missions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire are proceeding as expected, and largely without incident. While Starfleet may feel the Dominion War is truly over and there is little risk of reprisal, the Empire continues to press for vigilance. The Chancellor is still convinced that cloaking technology carried into the Gamma Quadrant could have found its way into Dominion hands; while there is much evidence to the contrary, the very nature of such technology makes irrefutable proof all but impossible. Whether or not Starfleet agrees with the Chancellor, it has wisely taken the opportunity to expand its knowledge in dealing with cloaked or otherwise undetectable vessels.
Despite the circumstances, it was good to see Captain Bordeaux. I had forgotten the command of her presence despite her rather diminutive size; I can see the similarity between Captain Asam and herself, perhaps why they seem so familiar despite only knowing one another in a professional capacity. I was relieved to hear that she had insisted I serve aboard the Damocles for the duration of the maneuvers rather than be transferred to any of the participating Imperial vessels. While I regret only seeing my people through a viewscreen or across a table at tactical briefings, we both felt it wise not to blithely tempt the past to manifest. If it is my fate to one day return to the Empire as a warrior, I will embrace it as a warrior should; until then, I shall serve it silently and with honor—both of which are wholly my own.
My traveling companions are likewise eager to return to the Viking, though less from the desire to return to duty and more with the urge to tell expansive tales to their peers of grand victories won on imaginary battlefields. The young and inexperienced are often boastful of such things even on my home world, and I find it almost a comfort that it is a trait shared across species. Given a choice, I would wish them to never have to learn how costly true victories in battle can be, and how little one who has survived feels like celebrating. Lieutenant Bradley has proven the most exuberant in his retellings… and the most-prone to embellishment.
“There we were, cut off from reinforcements and being harried by the Federation team. The Vor’khra‘s shields were failing, and we were venting drive plasma. With our warp drive down, we were out of options.” Lieutenant Bradley’s tone was somber, quiet. Distant, as if the man were facing grim defeat across the battlefield and not a bright-eyed Ensign Wallace.
Breathy with anticipation, she leaned closer and whispered, “How did you get out of it?”
“In a desperate manueuver, we cut our engines and let the lead ship—the Damocles—overtake us. The Vor’khra lights up its ventral shields as they pass, unable to slow in time. We scan for any advantage we could find, and there it is: a nearby nebula cloud! Acting quickly, we give ourselves just enough thrust to drift into the cloud without leaving a heavy ion trail. The cloud’s dense exothermic plasma field masked our presence, and so we decided to wait like a hunter in the bush. The Damocles swung around, determined to finish us off, but they couldn’t get a lock on us until it was too late! We emurged from the cloud, disruptors blazing, pounding their already-weakened underbelly again and again until the shields overload and collapse. The shock was so strong and the blows so fierce that it sent a surge through the warp plasma relays, triggering a warp core breach!”
Bradly clapped his hands together loudly as if to emphasize his point. “Kah’chra!“
Ensign Wallace applauded, a smile splitting her face. “Wow, the Klingons must have been proud!”
“Sadly there was no time for celebration,” Bradley lamented heavily. “So caught up in the surge of victory were we that none of us noticed the last-ditch volley of photon torpedoes the Damocles launched before exploding. Crippled as she was, the IKS Vor’khra was unable to withstand the attack. But it was a good death.”
The cabin erupted into cheers and laughter, then excited chatter. Ensign Wallace assaulted Lieutenant Bradley with barrage after barrage of questions; he returned with gilded glee, at times going to far as to pantomime his version of their encounter for his enamored crowd. Even the mild-mannered Lieutenant Andover chortled and blindly pelted him with jibes over her shoulder. Only Kohr remained silent, staring doggedly ahead as he piloted the runabout through warp space. When Bradley was spent and collapsed in his chair, the Klingon shook his head slowly to himself.
“That was not how it happened,” Kohr announced matter-of-factly, not turning away from the runabout’s controls. “The Damocles managed to destroy the Vor’khra‘s drive, sending it drifting into the gas nebula. With its sensors scrambled by the cloud, you were unable to detect the malfunction in disruptor control. When the Vor’khra attempted to fire upon the Damocles as it passed—a heroic, but desperate, tactic—you inadvertently ignited the stellar gas that caused an eruption, destroying both ships.”
There was a heavy pause before Lieutenant Bradley made a dejected noise. “When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound heroic at all.”
“Also, it is pronounced ‘qapla.’” The Klingon turned slowly in his seat, eyes smoldering with chagrin. He leaned forward and bared his fangs, gripping his knees so hard the leather of his gauntlet creaked. “And if you ever insult my mother like that again, I will kill you where you sit.”
“I…” Bradley blinked at him, blood draining from his not-so-smug face. Stammering, he crab-crawled up the back of his seat to a standing position, then backed slowly away. “Sir, I… I mean, I’d never… I’m sure she’s a wonderful… We-We’ll be meeting up with the Viking soon so I should stow my gear. Excuse me.”
Kohr watched the lieutenant all but flee from the cockpit, staring daggers at his back. The air was suddenly very still, as were his remaining crewmates. The previously-enamoured Ensign Wallace looked like she was ready to shrink in on herself. With a satisfied twist of his lip, the Klingon swung back around and resumed control of the runabout.
“Sir.” Lieutenant Andover’s baffled voice drifted softly from the co-pilot’s seat. “My Klingonaase might be a little rusty, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t an insult.”
“It is true,” he murmured with a hitch of amusement in his voice. Then he glanced at her from the corner of his eye. “However, had I been forced to listen to another of his stories, I likely would have ended him.”
Before his words could sink in, the computer chimed softly. Kohr frowned and turned to the communications console. A quick sequence brought Lieutenant Yorba’s gentle smile to the monitor.
=^=”Hello, Commander,“=^= he said jovially. =^=”How was the training exercise?“=^=
Kohr arched a brow at the question, but did not hesitate. “Informative. We should arrive at the rendezvous point in four hours. Has something changed? I had not expected a check-in for some time.”
=^=”I never did have the best poker face, did I?“=^= Yorba’s demeanor slipped from casual to guarded, though his stance suggested it was more from inconvenience than anxiety. =^=”Starfleet is rerouting us to the Moab System. There’s been a bit of a shake-up between the colonists and the locals, and the Viking is the closest ship to serve in the event of an evacuation. We’ll pick you and the Muninn up on the way. Sending updated coordinates now. Viking out.“=^=
Rende was in her ready room going over the details, which were few, on the Moab System. Eldorin and she had spent some time there, oh 500 some years ago. The natives were a fierce and proud people. Welcoming of strangers, as long as they were respectful. When the call had come in to reroute the Viking, Rende had gone looking for Eldorin. Of course they had been there together, but she had learned many lifetimes ago to trust his power of observation. Eldorin had never learned to refine his empathy the way she had, too connected to his machines, but he had a unique way of seeing people and situations. She valued his opinion and insight.
Before she could try to determine what had gone wrong between the Moabans and the colonists she had to get her crew back. Kohr and a team had gone on maneuvers with the Klingons. The reports had come in and she could say she was pleased with the way her crew represented the Viking and the Federation. Before hunting down her husband she left orders with Yorba to alter course to intercept the Muninn.
There is an old Klingon saying: a warrior must walk the path carved by his own hand. It is a lesson in both determination and consequence, one that I did not fully understand as a boy. Now with many years and experiences behind me I believe that I more fully understand it, though I expect it is also a lesson never fully taught or realized. I conduct myself with that principle in mind, knowing that while I may not be able to control the battle ahead, I can control how I face it.
Such a confrontation greets me each and every day aboard the Viking: that of command. Many are those appointed the role of leader, but fewer can truly lead. It is my duty to be that leader, to direct from the van and to carve the path for those beneath me to follow; as an adjutant, I am to go where my captain sends me—the bat’leth of her will and the yod of her honor. I must earn the respect of my subordinates and the trust of my superiors, battles undertaken each and every day and with difficulty… and sometimes sacrifice.
I am reminded of one of Captain Bordeaux’s favorite Earth expressions: no man is an island. As a Klingon warrior, I am afforded a separation by virtue of our reputation—of our prowess and bloodthirst, of the strength of our arm and our zeal for battle. While this ghij may keep a junior officer off-balance and therefore at a distance, it is not something I desire from my peers or my commander. Those I must allow within that distance that they can come to trust my skill and courage. But being Klingon, it is a path of obstacles and battles—not with opponents of flesh and blood but culture and understanding.
The proper perception and perspective can mean the difference between success and defeat.
Sitting in her quarters, Rende was reading (while also pulling the PaDD closer and then further away while she squinted at it) a report on a small colony world of Delotha. It had no significant tactical use or purpose. It had started off as a mining colony and had once been an inhabited world, millennia ago. Rende had absolutely no interest in it except that it’s where her son had chosen to settle, for the time being, with his children. After squinting and blinking a few times she looked around…Eldorin was no where around and she snagged a pair of reading glasses he kept around for her, where he thought she didn’t notice, and slipped them on. AH! Much better. Keeping an ear out for her approaching husband (it would not due for him to catch her with the glasses on) she went back to reading. Her son had adopted them from an orphanage there, so the decision to return made sense to her. She was still reeling over the news that he was alive. She and Eldorin had to talk about it, but they were both still too much in shock to know where to begin.
=/\=Yorba to Rende. The Muninn has docked.=/\= Rende set the PaDD in her lap momentarily and tapped her combadge, =/\=Thank you Yorba. As soon as your ready proceed to the Moab system at warp 8. Rende Out.=/\=
Kohr stepped from the turbolift with all the determination of a targ on the hunt. A pair of ensigns conversing over a PaDD blinked and nearly stumbled out of his way; the Klingon simply strode past with a brief, gutteral acknowledgement, barely losing speed. While Kohr had never been as harsh or prone to bouts of unbridled wrath traditionally attributed to his kin, he was well-known for a certain sharp and direct manner when the occassion pressed. Rende had lovingly coined it his “resting Klingon face,” whatever that meant. Most of the junior officers—and even some of the command staff—knew when to give him a wide birth simply by the furrow in his cranial ridges. Rumor had it that newcomers to the Viking were given clear directives on how to avoid Kohr’s darker moods.
Lieutenant Bradley, it appeared, had yet to pass that particular course.
“Whatcha got there, Commander?” the man huffed, slipping between the closing turbolift doors and jogging up beside him. If he’d noticed Kohr’s glare, his lopsided grin never betrayed it.
“A gift from Captain Bordeaux to Captain Asam,” the Klingon grumbled, lips tightening to a razor line. He placed his free hand over the small laquered box tucked beneath his arm protectively, suggestively.
Bradley either did not see the gesture or have the good sense to interpret it in a way beneficial to his health. “Oh yeah? What’s inside?”
“I do not know.”
“Well, you must have some idea.” The man’s grin only widened, like a Ferengi that had caught a whiff of profit. “Think it’s anything good?”
“I do not know, nor is it my place to speculate.”
“Aww, c’mon, Commander,” Bradley whined playfully. Unexpectedly, he leapt ahead of Kohr and into his path, throwing his hands up defensively. Or apologetically. Kohr had never managed to fully grasp human body language, save in combat. Thankfully for the lieutenant, this was not a fight—though something deep inside the Klingon twitched with the urge to change that.
As massive as Kohr was compared to Bradley, he managed to stop without knocking the man prone. A scowl bore down on the lieutenant, but his knees held. Impressive, Kohr thought bitterly.
“Sir, I just—”
The lieutenant’s demeanor shifted, and suddenly he was glaring back up at the Klingon. “Have I done something to offend you, sir? Beyond the misunderstanding in the runabout?”
“You are in my way,” Kohr nearly growled.
“And you haven’t answered my question!”
Perhaps it was Bradley’s earnest manner that caught Kohr off-guard and brought him up short of laying into the man. It could have also been the stares of about half a dozen junior officers along the corridor at the raised voices that gave him pause to rein in his temper. Whatever it was, Kohr prefered to think of it as self-discipline and training that helped him swallow the thundering in his neck and loosen his grip on the box. Bradley jumped as the Klingon drew in a deep, sharp breath.
To his credit, Kohr released it slowly before speaking in a measured tone. “You were given the opportunity to represent Starfleet during this exercise, yet your reckless actions aboard the IKS Vor’khra left much to be desired. As weapons officer you should have paid more attention to your captain and your ship rather than blindly playing at hero. Captain Kototh had much to say on the matter.”
“Sir,” Bradley sighed, his smile held together by sheer force of will, “I made a mistake. I get that, but—”
“A Starfleet officer learns from his mistakes with humility, Lieutenant.” Kohr retorted flatly. “He does not boast of them or paint them as boldly as you have.”
After a long, sullen moment the man made a sour face and nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Kohr gave the barest shake of the head. Loathe as he was to admit it, the Klingon could see much of his younger self in Lieutenant Bradley: brash, eager, and with far more ghojmoH than brains. Perhaps the harshest lesson he himself had been forced to learn was that one often found issue with that found most keenly within one’s self. Kohr’s pride said that he would have acquitted himself as a warrior should have had he been in Bradley’s situation, but his experience laughed bitterly. It was a moment of real reflection, an opportunity for him to pass that experience on to others that they would not succumb to similar pitfalls.
“While I will have to give an accurate account of the engagement to Starfleet Command,” the Klingon rumbled thoughtfully, “your… flourishes on the return trip were made on personal time. Therefore, I am disinclined to speak of your manner unless directly questioned. I am certain the captain will be pleased to hear of your commitment to continued tactical exercises, which will show your determination to improve as befitting an officer of the Viking.”
Bradley looked up at him, befuddled. “C-Continued… tactical… exercises…?”
“It will not be easy,” Kohr continued, placing his bare hand on the lieutenant’s shoulder, “but your resolve to excel is commendable. And honorable.”
Giving Lieutenant Bradley what he hoped was an encouraging smile and not merely a baring of fang, the Klingon sent the other officer on his way. As the other man stumbled around the corner and between a pair of confused engineers, Bradley’s quavering voice drifted back to him.
“W-What just happened?”
With the situation settled to satisfaction, Kohr continued on his previous course and speed. A part of him expected another interruption to spring up at any moment, but he arrived at his destination without further incident: the captain’s quarters. He paused only briefly to check the box placed in his care by Captain Bordeaux. Its simple and polished surface had been unmarred in the altercation with Lieutenant Bradley, and the small brass latch was still secure. Klingon honor still intact, Kohr pressed the call button with a gloved digit and waited patiently for a response.
—Kohr, Executive Officer—
Rende didn’t have to guess at who was on the other side of the door. Kohr was an efficient officer and, even though he was allowed time to stow his kit, he would report in immediately. Snatching the reading glasses off her face and tucking them back into the hiding spot Eldorin had for them, “Enter!” Rende set the PaDD down on the coffee table in front of her. The door swished open, “Cmdr Kohr, come in and have a seat.”
The quarters were slightly bigger than his but the layout was the same though with Eldorin’s engineering and tinkering there were some alterations. Like the more full sized kitchenette complete with refrigeration unit and the old fashioned coffee pot rather than just a replicator. There were photographs dotted around the room, all containing one common theme. Either a younger version of Rende or Eldorin with a child, a boy, at various ages, who looked remarkably like both of them. There were various keepsakes some very human, some very alien, and a couple of boxes with medals. One was hers and one was Eldorin’s. Eldorin had this nasty habit of wanting her to take pride in her accomplishments and always put them out to be seen, so she did the same with his. It drove them both up the wall and gave them a lot of joy to annoy the other. The far wall was a display of some rather strange and archaic weapons. More museum pieces than anything.
The works station was beside the door, massive desk and shelves upon shelves behind it, along with a large display screen. The rest of the area was taken up with a very comfortable living space. A couple of small couches and several chairs along with the coffee table and a handful of end tables. It was, by comparison very luxurious. Rende figured she’d earned that in her old age, but that’s what Asam Estate back on Earth was for. This was…preposterous compared to how things used to be. Maybe she was getting to old for this?
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