Sunday, May 12, 2013

Captains Under the Bridge

Moa, son of Ahiqar, son of Moztar, followed in the footsteps of his uncle, a disgraced and forgotten warrior known as Gird.  Gird died as a crewman serving in Starfleet during the Dominion War, the victim not of a battle but Vorta experiments that were quickly abandoned.  He’d forsaken his own kind, an outcast who stumbled in his own way.  Moa was not yet at the age of ascension when his father told him.  He was born late in Ahiqar’s life, and thus the subject of a particular obsession to make him the perfect Klingon, anything but what his uncle had become.

Moa rebelled almost immediately.  He underwent the trial and then came up with the remotest colony in the empire to further his studies.  His father agreed, only because he had no idea how little Moa cared for his heritage.  When he was older, after spending time in the same Nyberrite Alliance fleet as his uncle, Moa decided to do his inspiration one better.  He applied to attend Starfleet Academy.

He excelled in his studies.  His unique perspective earned Moa the respect of his peers.  Within five years of graduating he had obtained the role of first officer aboard the Phoenix, serving under Lewis Rivera, who had once been first officer on the ship, the Copernicus, his uncle had been attached to at the time of his death.  Rivera was a generous man who took Moa under his wing, teaching him all the tricks necessary to navigate the realities of space.  When Rivera accepted promotion to field admiral at Epsilon Station, he made sure Moa was likewise shifted to the next available assignment, command of the Phoenix.

That was how he reentered Klingon affairs.  The Phoenix was assigned patrol duty around Epsilon Station, which sat along the Klingon border.  Ahiqar had died in the years since Moa’s departure, never knowing of his activities, although he was given to believing that his father wouldn’t have been as disappointed as he’d once believed.  It seemed that the role of ambassador to the Federation had given him opportunities to kindle tenuous respect for those who had once been rivals to the empire.

When he was given the mission to investigate claims that the late Duras Sisters had died trying to reclaim a sleeper agent, Moa at first didn’t take it too seriously.  Even among Klingons the name Duras had finally fallen out of favor, perhaps with the rise of Chancellor Martok, who was known to be a close friend of Worf, the only other Klingon to have walked between these two worlds successfully.  It wasn’t for several weeks that Moa learned the identity of the supposed agent: James Tiberius Kirk.

It was his own decision to call in some assistance to the investigation.  This was bigger than he cared to handle on his own, but he had to be discreet.  Not even Rivera knew about it.  He decided to cash in on an old favor from the captain of another ship, the Cusatis, Kit Quintane.  Quintane was human, like most of the officers in Starfleet, but his skin had a bluish tint to it, a gift of the Andorian DNA he carried.  He claimed that he could trace his lineage back to Archer and Shran, his father being the product of the marriage between their offspring.

Quintane always struck Moa as having far more Andorian in him than he let on.  He was the most ornery captain in the fleet.  He was another officer who had at one time served aboard the Copernicus.  Yet he could be trusted implicitly, something most of those officers couldn’t say for themselves, mostly because of the infamous reputation of that ship.  Rivera came out of it with his reputation intact mostly because he left well before the series of events that began during the Dominion War started to become common knowledge.

“You’re always finding yourself in trouble.”

“Only because I found it before you did.  This one’s serious, Kit.  It’s bigger than any of us and I don’t know what I should do.  Jim Kirk.  The legend of all legends.  A Klingon spy.”

“It doesn’t seem likely, does it?”

“We still have to take the allegation seriously.  Who knows what would happen if word of this got out.  Nearly a hundred years of history rewritten in an instant.”

“But who’s going to take it seriously?  His relationship with the Klingons is obvious.  They killed his son.  He stood accused of murdering Gorkon.”

“A son he barely even knew existed.  A murder that was part of a vast conspiracy.  You see how facts can be reinterpreted.”

“You’re grasping at straws.”

“That’s exactly the business of this enterprise.  The first thing is to examine the body.  There was once an incident where a Klingon agent was exposed thanks to the reaction of a Tribble.”

“Kirk was involved in that incident.  No report I’ve ever read suggests that the Tribble reacted to him any differently than the rest of the humans involved.”

“Or Vulcans.  Tribbles are born pregnant and apparently with an innate dislike for Klingons.  The feeling was mutual.  Did you ever hear about the Great Tribble War?  Probably not as much as I did growing up.”

“Those things disappeared for decades.”

“Now you know why.”

“Of course, they came back.”

“Rumor has it based on the same incident.  His body is still on Veridian III.  There were calls to have him interred on Earth, with full ceremony, but to have a whole planet dedicated to his memory seemed more appropriate.  There’s a memorial in Iowa purporting to possess his remains, but that’s a lie.  Those who know the truth flock to Veridian III”

“There were rumors of Romulan and Borg intrigue involving his body.”

“Rest assured those were only rumors.  Veridian III has more security than the Genesis Planet did in his day.  Every visitor is subjected to greater security precautions than Rura Penthe.  Kirk’s memory lives on in virtual prisoners.”

“Such are the quirks of life.  How do you propose we visit this peculiar shrine?”

“As Starfleet officers paying their respects.  We’ll have the necessary equipment to carry out the scans without anyone detecting our activities.”

“Equipment that your heavily-secured shrine won’t notice.”

“That’s the idea.”

“You’re still the craziest person I’ll ever know, and thank God I do.”

“Likewise, Kit.  You’re the only captain I’d trust for this.  Because of the security clearance needed, I’d have gone with any other officer, if only to avoid the scandal just to be seen with you, but it’s an acceptable compromise.”

“You’re the only person I know who can turn a compliment into an insult.”

“Klingons value honesty.”

“You’re as much Klingon as I am Andorian.”



The plan went without a hitch.  They traveled in Moa’s yacht, just the two of them.  The rusted framework of the El-Aurian scientist’s scaffolding was still intact.  Breaking away from the tour group, Kit guided them to spot deep into the cliffs where Kirk had fallen.  There were still traces of his blood.  Moa used his modified tricorder to collect a sample.  As they waited for analysis, the two captains took a moment to rest.  The sunlight was brutal.

“You ever wonder if it was true?”

“From the moment I was informed of the allegation.  The truth is usually far more interesting than fiction.  Kirk’s career is as famous among Klingons as within the Federation.  Still, imagine if all of his achievements were refracted through the career of a spy.  The House of Duras has tried this trick before.  It’s nothing new, and it smacks of the desperation of failure.  If it were true, the irony is that winners would be all Klingons.  The offspring of Duras would become an afterthought.”

“I bet they didn’t even consider that.”

“They were always fools.”

“Indeed.  I almost wish it was true, just to spite them.”

“Although this would still be a troubling development.”

“I get that.  But after all this time, it would still have to compete with the popular narrative.”

“In time, it could supplant it, even if it’s fiction.”

“Tricorder telling you anything?”

“Not yet.  Let’s head toward the grave.”

“No, let’s stay here in the shade.  I don’t know how anyone would have survived this.”

“Picard’s career is doing just fine.”

“You mean the Romulan spy?  That’s what some people say.  They claim Shinzon survived and Picard died.  Or that Shinzon was discarded by the Romulans because an earlier version had already proved successful.  You understand now why this is so dangerous.  Picard was kept out of the Dominion War because of it.”

“Shinzon’s existence wasn’t exposed until later.”

“Officially.  Section 31 always knew.  He’s been under constant surveillance since Wolf 359.”


“Inconclusive.  These results won’t tell us anything.”

“It’s like finding changelings all over again.”

“Or Suliban enhancements.”

“Or biomemetic duplicates.”

“Starfleet knows too many ways to make this plausible.  That’s why it’s being taken seriously.  Okay, let’s head off.”

“Fine.  This is starting to make me crazy.”

“You always were, Kit.”

“Thanks.  You always know how to cheer me up.”

“You Andorians thrive on conflict.”

“I’m human, you Klingon targ.”

“Targs make excellent pets.”

“You’re digging your own grave now, Moa.”

“There’s Kirk’s grave.”

“Those are the stones Picard laid down, aren’t they?”

“The originals.  I’m running my scan now.”

“When you’re done, we’re headed back down.”

“Agreed.  Okay, ready.”

“When this is over, we’re going to take time to relax and catch up.”

“That’s much of what we’re doing now.  All told, this is an easy assignment so far.”

“I wouldn’t mind complications.”

“I fear that Klingons and Andorians shouldn’t socialize.  You have me agreeing.”

“Anything yet?”

“The results are coming up now.  It’s clean.  Jim Kirk was fully human.”

“I never doubted it for a second.”

“You doubted it the whole time.”

“You know me well.”

“That means we’re done here.”

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