Warp Trail of Blood

Chapter One

Aboard the Qo'nos shipyard Ago'Q stepped into the transporter room. The ruling house of the Klingon Empire had approached the shipyard about commissioning a new starship and Ago'Q, a renwl' (architect) of the shipyard, had been assigned to confer with a representative of that house about the proposed design. Shortly after entering the room the transporter officer looked to Ago'Q and told him a passenger from an approaching ship was ready to beam aboard. Ago'Q nodded in acknowledgement and turned his gazed back to the transporter pad.

When the representative materialized before him Ago'Q's eyes widened; reflexively he dropped to one knee, his head lowered he exclaimed, "Lord J'mpok! I had no idea the Chancellor himself would be coming!"

"I preferred it that way," J'mpok chuckled, "Please, stand up." He stepped off the platform as Ago'Q rose to his feet. Reaching into his cloak the Chancellor produced a PADD which he extended to Ago'Q, "These are the ship designs."

The architect took the PADD and looked the specifications over. It was not entirely unexpected for J'mpok to have envisioned a new class of starship, many noble-born Klingons imagined themselves great engineers- and as renwl' Ago'Q was one of the few who could safely dare to point out when their designs were more testament to their egotism than practical possibilities.

This time however, J'mpok seemed to know what he was talking about; this 'Chargh temporal cruiser'- as the designs called it, looked ambitious but feasible. Of particular interest was a new proposed weapon- one that theoretically could bypass an enemy ship's shields altogether.

Ago'Q looked up into the Chancellor's eyes, "This Entangled Quantum Bombardment- "he began to ask, "You are certain such a thing is possible?"

"The scientists loyal to my house assure me it is," J'mpok insisted.

"What you have here is intriguing," the renwl' admitted, "I think I can convince the yardmasters of the merits of your design."

"Excellent!" J'mpok replied with a deep belly laugh, "I already have someone in mind for her captain- someone who has repeatedly served the Empire well…"

"Captain's log," Zembeduma entered the current stardate, "We remain cloaked in orbit over Mempa II. The site of an abandoned outpost that once served the Duras family in the civil war that followed Chancellor K'mpec's passing, recent intelligence has indicated the outpost as a possible hiding place for a crew of renegade Klingons engaged in piracy. We've been waiting now for seven days."

Finishing his log entry Zembeduma looked to the main viewer, silently wondering how long they would stay here before the pirates showed themselves, or if they would come here at all. According to sensors the structures on the planet below showed no life signs; for all anyone knew it was still abandoned.

Zembeduma reflected on the story of Captain Koloth, whose hunt for the pirate ship the Taal had put him in a similar situation, cloaked and orbiting a remote planet for days on end, and wondered if he had Koloth's patience. He was still mulling this over when the tactical officer B'ellera called for his attention.

"Ship coming out of warp sir," she said, "Putting it on main viewer now."

On the viewer Zembeduma saw the K'Vort class ship- an upscaled version of the tried and true Bird of Prey. Identification markings labelled it as the IKS The'Ago, a ship last known to be captained by a squadron commander Larg. Like the vanished crew of the Mempa II outpost Larg too had chosen what ended up the losing side of the Klingon civil war; in defeat he had followed the example of the Duras sisters and taken his ship into hiding, lost to the Empire and to the ages- until now.

"Looks like she took some hits from her last raid," Ra'Gakk, the Gorn stationed on the science console reported, "Her cloaking device seems to be damaged, probably why she's still visible- her shields are at maximum, though."

'For all the good it will do them,' Zembeduma inwardly mused, "Prepare to decloak, and have shields and weapons ready the second we do so." Before the The'Ago's bridge crew realized it, they were staring down on the shape of a new, massive vessel.

"Open a channel," Zembeduma said; when it was done, he spoke, "This is Captain Zembeduma of the Imperial Klingon Ship Wild Targ- on the authority of the Klingon Empire you and your crew are under arrest."

On the main viewer the image of an elderly Klingon abruptly appeared, "This is Captain Larg…" He stopped and stared at Zembeduma's scaled face, hairless head, and the small sharp beak he had for a mouth.

"You're no…," Larg snarled, "Since when do Letheans command Klingon ships?"

"Much has changed since you went into hiding, "Zembeduma answered.

"I hide from no one!" Larg spat, "I served the rightful rulers of the Empire- who only lost because the thrice-damned Federation couldn't mind its own business!"

"Yes, you keep telling yourself that," Zembeduma snarked, "But in the meanwhile your ship is impounded, and you and your crew are to be returned to Qo'nos for trial."

Larg growled, "Try and take us! Disruptors!"

At that Larg vanished from the main viewer; less than a second later the The'Ago's disruptor cannons began blasting away at the Wild Targ's shields.

"Shields down five percent!" B'ellera shouted; an instant later another blast of disruptor fire rocked the ship, "Down another ten percent!" she yelled.

'Time to end this,' Zembeduma decided; reaching for controls in the right arm of his chair he activated the Wild Targ's secret weapon, "Unleashing the Entangled Quantum Bombardment," he said, 'Now we'll see if this works,' he thought.

A barrage of projectiles spat from the Wild Targ and closed in on the The'Ago, passing through the renegade ship's shields like they had not even been raised. On the main viewer Zembeduma and the bridge crew watched the series of explosions that peppered the The'Ago's hull.

"They've lost power to main disruptors," B'ellera reported; then she noticed something else, "Sir- Antimatter containment in one of their warp engines- it's failing…"

At that moment, in the The'Ago's engine room raw antimatter fatally reacted with the very air in the ship's interior. Before the eyes of the Wild Targ's bridge crew the renegades' vessel exploded from within.

"What a waste," Ra'Gakk commented, "The empire could have used another ship."

"Yes," Zembeduma muttered, then reaching for controls on the arm of his seat again he signalled an officer on his ship, "Captain to K'Gan- assemble a landing party to sweep the outpost on the planet below- let's see for sure if it's as deserted as it appears to be."

"Right away, sir," K'Gan answered; once that was settled Zembeduma rose from his seat and said, "I'll be in my office, reporting this skirmish to the High Council."