Stardate 74154.7; February 26, 2397
Written by Chris Adamek
“Two years ago, an evil like no other descended upon our peaceful galaxy. Since that time, the Elorg Bloc has mercilessly endeavored to conquer our space, eradicate our people, and strike fear in the hearts of all that are good. And though we have courageously stabbed into the heart of this great darkness, the Elorg have prevailed.
“On February 4, 2397, a fleet of nearly one thousand Elorg destroyers converged upon Starbase 241, the very heart and soul of our presence in the Beta Quadrant. In the fierce attack that followed, hundreds of good men and women gave their lives to protect our freedom, an act of sacrifice that gave thousands of individuals time to evacuate the starbase for safer grounds—and as the Elorg began to retreat, it had seemed our resolve to take a stand against the darkness had succeeded.
“But in an act of heinous desperation, the Elorg used one of their vessels to ram Starbase 241, destroying not only our command center, but our sense of security as a whole…”
As he watched Admiral William Grayson address the Federation and its allies, Overseer Xi’Yor couldn’t help but smile. The assault on Starbase 241 had proven more successful than the Overseer’s most optimistic projections, and as the pallid Grayson rambled through his mindless speech, the success seemed to bolster.
Tens of thousands of Federation citizens dead; dozens of their puny starships obliterated; severe disruptions in commerce and communication hindering their war efforts; perhaps best of all, it seemed that the once unflappable Federation spirit had been thoroughly decimated with waves of fear.
And fear was a wonderful thing.
Of all the weapons of war, fear was the most powerful. It consumed everything in its path, crushing kindred spirits and sparking panic in the hearts of those it touched. It was manipulative. It was devious. It was everything Xi’Yor could ever want…
Peering at Fel’duin through vivid orange eyes, the Overseer could tell that he was not alone in his feelings.
Sheets of heavy rain fell from the darkened skies of the Klingon Homeworld, pelting the Great Hall with its watery wrath for the fifth straight day. For some weaker races, such a deluge would dilute their blood with boredom--but for a Klingon, it was the ultimate battle cry. Rainfall was seen as the tears of some pathetic race ready for conquest—and five days’ worth would undoubtedly herald the beginning of an epic struggle.
Standing at the threshold of the massive gateways leading into the Great Hall, Chancellor Martok could already hear the cries for glorious battle echoing throughout his mind. “All in good time,” he assured himself as a faint rumble of thunder stirred overhead.
Martok knew little about the enemy—only that they were an archaic race of warriors intent on conquering the Beta Quadrant. Perhaps more importantly, he knew they were a treacherous, deceitful people who knew nothing of honor. That alone was reason enough to strike at them with the might of the Klingon Empire, and Martok deployed his troops accordingly. But the Chancellor was not yet ready to go on the offensive; he needed an honorable cause from the heart of the darkness to bring them into this epic battle.
And he was about to get one.
Tendrils of vivid lightning crawled across the darkening sky amidst a cacophony of sonorous thunder. The rain poured from the skies above with the voracity of a thousand Klingon warriors, and a stiff wind blew into the Chancellor’s face. Quickly, he turned on his heel and marched back into the Great Chamber, where the High Council sat in a collective silence.
“Chancellor.” It was the voice of Krotak, Son of Dur’eth. Martok considered him a valued friend, and the eerie tone in his voice gave the Chancellor reason to be concerned.
“What is it?” asked Martok, training his lone eye upon the rugged Krotak.
The Son of Dur’eth remained silent, but his beady dark eyes slowly made their way to the viewscreen mounted above the doors behind the Chancellor. Intrigued, Martok came about just in time to see an Elorg Destroyer ram into the side of the massive Federation Starbase 241. As the facility burst into a sea of flames, Martok’s jaw suddenly clenched in anger. “How many Klingon warriors were on that starbase?”
Krotak slowly came up alongside the Chancellor and sighed. “Too many,” he grumbled. “And they have all been denied an honorable death in battle. Denied passage to Sto-Vo-Kor. Their deaths must be avenged.”
Martok turned to his subordinate. “And they shall...” he proclaimed. “This is a dark day indeed...”
As she watched the destruction of Starbase 241 on the Lollipop’s viewscreen, Erin Keller could feel her stomach begin to churn. The sight sickened her. The death and destruction sickened her. The Elorg sickened her. “How could someone do this?” she asked.
She was, of course, not surprised by the silence that greeted her inquiry, for it was a certainty that they were as dazed and confused as she—perhaps more so. For many of them, this was their first time to see war in all its wretched glory. And this war was one that would not soon be forgotten; in all her military experience, Keller had never been witness to such carnage. But to her chagrin, some sixth sense told the Commander that this was only the beginning.
How many more days would be consumed by fire? How many friends would fall in the name of freedom? How many more innocent lives would be lost to this war?
In Erin Keller’s mind, the answer was all too clear: too many.
The Federation was on its knees, beaten by a potent nemesis called the Elorg. Sitting in his opulent office in the Tarlak District on Cardassia, Legate Natarr’s sympathy was hardly stirred. The Federation had never done anything for Cardassia. Yes, they provided much aid to all of Cardassia after the Dominion War, but had the eternally nosy Federation kept to their own business, many of the 800 million Cardassians killed in the final battle would still be alive to see this dark day—perhaps celebrating.
Perhaps not. One can never know what might have been. And since he was not the type to dwell on such things, Natarr quickly dismissed the very notion of what might have been, and instead concentrated on the situation at hand.
The Federation got what they deserved. That much was clear. For decades they assumed themselves the apex of all galactic powers, an invincible force destined to rise above its neighbors and shine as the beacon of light throughout the entire galaxy. Nothing could touch them, and if some force tried, the Federation would ultimately smother them with kind words until forced into submission. The Klingons, for example. In a way, the Elorg was exactly what this galaxy needed.
But it was possible to have too much of a good thing, and with the threat of Elorg invasion expanding to include the Alpha Quadrant, Natarr was certain that the Elorg was nearing the overindulgence threshold. They had to go...
“Legate,” came a stern, yet curiously wavering voice a moment later. It was that of Natarr’s aid, Glinn Batal, and for the second time on this dark day, his voice was filled with concern as he approached.
Fearing the worst, Natarr quickly put up an emotional firewall. “What is it?”
Batal made his way to the edge of Natarr’s sleek obsidian desk, and then produced a bulky padd. “The outpost on Omekla III has picked up some interesting sensor data. I thought you might be interested in seeing it.”
Natarr quickly took the padd from Batal’s hand to inspect the data. He expected an Elorg tactical wing to be on its way to Cardassia, or worse yet, an armada ready to obliterate the Union once and for all. To his relief, no such armada existed—but the data on the padd was still distressing.
Natarr nervously pulled in a lungful of the warm Cardassian air and held it. “Contact the Federation at once,” he ordered. If this tactical data proved true, the Federation was about to have a two-front war on its hands...
“...and so,” Grayson continued, “I call upon all empires—big and small, friend or foe—to stand united with the Federation in defense of our galaxy... in defense of our freedom... in defense of our home. This may be a dark page in our collective histories, but I assure you, together we shall prevail.”