Captain Worf inspected the crowd waiting for him before walking forward again. He then turned to the ship awaiting him at the far end of the aisle. He wondered at the fact that he had risen through the ranks so fast. He was now the captain of the U.S.S War-bird, a Sovereign Class star ship, code NX-I5, the latest exploration ship since the Enterprise-NX-01, captained by Captioned by Jonathan Archer.
Could he live up to one of the world’s greatest explorers?
He took a deep breath and walked forward, cheers ringing in his ears. The aisle was crowded with on-lookers, anxious to see the U.S.S War-bird take to the air. His crew met him at the other end.
“Sir.” Lieutenant Johnson nodded to his new captain. Johnson and Worf had always shared an understanding, for Johnson was half Klingon.
The rest of the crew greeted him in the same manner. Except his first officer, Officer Tuvok. He greeted him with a solute and a little bow. Yes, it should be quite interesting working with him.
The War-bird took off from the planet called Earth toward the vast world called space. Worf stared through the viewer screen as they neared space at amazing speeds. Before they knew it, the crew was in space, surrounded by vast worlds and planets as far as the eye could see. They were off to explore, and do a little unanticipated fighting.
Lieutenant Johnson walked down the passageways until he reached the door inscripted with his name at the top.
“Computer, open Lieutenant Johnson’s ready-room doors, code Johnson 3112 Alpha.”
“Access granted,” came a robot-like reply.
The doors opened revealing a cozy room with a view screen and a bed, the rest empty, ready to be filled with Johnson’s little treasures he brought on board. He had just started to unload when the buzzer on his intercom sounded.
He sighed. Already? “Yes?” He said. Wesley Crusher, chief of security’s voice came through.
“Sir, the ship is under attack by another off our starboard bow. It has a Borg signature.”
Caption Worf stared at the view screen in amazement. A Borg cube in the Alpha quadrant? “Commander Tuvok, I was under the impression that the Borg were destroyed long ago by Captain Katherine Janeway. Is this not correct?”
“That it is, sir. I am just as confused as you are. However, one thing appears certain. The Borg have returned.” Tuvok said.
Lieutenant Johnson appeared on the bridge. “Sir.” He saluted.
“At ease, lieutenant. You’re needed at the status controls. Mr. Crusher, you have weapons control”
“Yes, sir.” He said officially. “Right away.”
“Sir, they’re hailing. Audio only.” Lieutenant Johnson announced.
“Hailing? The Borg?” Worf asked, confused. “The Borg don’t hail! Open a channel.”
“Channel open, sir.” Johnson announced.
“We are Borg! You will be assimilated! Your physiological and technological uniqueness will be fused to our own!”
“Channel closed, sir.”
“They’re charging weapons!” Wesley warned.
“Do the same. Target their weapons systems.”
“Johnson, give me a zoomed-in visual.”
The giant cube on the view screen got bigger as the screen zoomed in on the Borg vessel.
“How many are there, Johnson.” Asked the captain.
“Too many for our scanners to get an exact reading, but I’d say a full contingent of drones in the least.”
“Weapons charged, sir.” Wesley announced.
As if responding to Worf’s command, the Borg cube fired on them with highly advanced weaponry.
“Weapons systems offline, sir.” Wesley said. “They’re attempting to beam us all aboard!”
“That’s not possible. No tractor beam is strong enough to beam a whole Starfleet vessel-full of crew members onto their ship!” Worf objected.
“Tell them that!” Wesley said, pointing toward the ship.
“Excuse me?” Worf asked, annoyed as he turned just in time to see a giant tractor beam lock onto the vessel. He looked around to see his crew members start to fade away. He looked down at his own body and saw it begin to grow transparent. He let out a Klingon curse as he found himself begin to reshape once more on the Borg cube.
The Borg King walked forward, smiling a grotesque smile. “Welcome to my domain, captain. I will soon hear your voice amongst the others. I am the Borg King and you are my prisoners.” He rasped. “I am the new lord of the Borg.”
Worf gasped as he noticed ridges on his forehead.
“You were Klingon! You have shamed your honor! And your species.”
“Ah, Captain Worf. You are so imperfect.
“You are dishonorable, ya creep!” Wesley shouted.
“I grow weary of this talk. Soon we will be hearing each other through our thoughts. Soon you will be Borg. Soon you will be perfect.”
The Borg turned on his heal and left the crew to be assimilated.
Borg drones surrounded them, their assimilation tubes already out of their knuckles.
“We are Borg! You will be assimilated! Your technological uniqueness will be fused into our own! We are Borg!”
“We are Starfleet and you will be unassimilated.” Wesley said.
“Resistance is futile!”
Suddenly the sensation of being half there and half somewhere else swept over the crew once more. They found themselves once more on the War-bird.
“(*phew*) That was close.” Said Johnson.
“How did you manage to stay on board?” Grunted Worf irritably.
“I didn’t. for some reason the tractor beam didn’t transport me all the way. It was like being in two realities, aware of both. In other words, half of me stayed on board and half of me went to the cube. I was able to access tractor beam controls on the cube without being noticed. The Borg were too busy to notice a translucent man. I accessed tractor beam controls on both ships and combined their strength to beam you back.” He explained. “But what I don’t understand is why the tractor beam didn’t beam me all the way to the cube, but merely half of me.”
“There’s no time to find out!” Wesley said, pointing urgently at the view screen. “They are charging weapons.” He said. “But they’re holding fire.”
“They’re hailing.” Johnson announced.
“Open a channel.” Worf ordered. “But this time, set a course for the heck out of here, just in case.” He rubbed his hands through his neatly braided, graying hair. A fine first day, he thought. Just fine.
“Worf, Worf, Worf. Now you make me angry!” Said a raspy voice as a slimy and grotesque face appeared on the view screen. “You will be punished for your deed. Now I will not give you the privilege of being perfect. Now you will forever stuck in your pitiful, imperfect bodies.”
“I’m so sad.” Worf mumbled sarcastically. “Get us outa here.” He said to the pilot, Lieutenant Joseph. “Of course, sir.”
The War-Bird soared quickly away.
The king stood amongst his Borg. He smiled to himself. His children were all here. He could here all their voices in his head. “My children, the time has come to regroup our forces. And perhaps more.”
“We will comply. We are Borg.”
Worf frowned. How could an honorable Klingon warrior become a Borg drone? He was a dishonorable Klingon! He would forever be known as a traitor to his race!
He lay down on his bed, in his ready room, to consider the day’s mission. If you could call it that.
Johnson sat on the chair in his ready room. He wanted more than anything to end this new Borg conflict. How had he been half in the ship and half in the borg cube? It all didn’t make since.
“We’re under attack, sir.” Wesley said as he burst in.
“Ever heard of knocking?” Johnson asked irritably. “You could have just used the intercom!”
Wesley blushed a dark shade of what appeared to be purple and green intertwined. He was always trying to do everything perfect and was not used to messing up.
He rushed with Wesley to the bridge. Worf stood, looking out the view screen. “Do you see anything wrong with that ship, commander?” Worf asked Tuvok.
The Vulcan opened his mouth to reply but before he could speak, a beam of a fazer struck the ship hard.
“To your stations, everyone!” Worf ordered as another beam hit the ship. “To your stations!”
A fierce space battle followed, Worf shouting orders. Then the shouting stopped. The crew turned to look and saw before them a transparent Worf.
The Borg vessel suddenly broke away from the fight.
“Captain!” Wesley shouted in dismay.
“Follow that vessel!” Tuvok ordered. “Do you have their coordinates?”
“Yes sir.” Johnson replied.
“Then what are you waiting for?”
“Yes sir. They are heading for a space station just off our starboard bow.”
The star ship soared down toward the station’s surface.
“The Borg vessel is just below us, sir.”
A phaser beam struck the ship, sending sparks off its surface. Then once more the crew grew transparent, eventually disappearing. But even if it were perhaps just by chance Wesley was not transported like the rest.
I’ve got to save them. He thought as he began preparing to fire on the Borg vessel. Then he beheld an amazing site. Drones marched off their ship into the station, leading the War-Bird crew ahead of them. Wait, he thought, that is no Borg cube. That ship’s not symmetrical! It can’t be Borg! That’s what the captain was trying to tell Tuvok!
His mind racing, he fired on the Borg below. Actually, they weren’t that far below now. But how could that be? With a fright, Wesley realized that there was no pilot! He would have to guide the ship into a crash landing! He raced forward to the controls, his heart pounding inside his rib cage.
Worf looked on in dismay. Why had the Borg taken them to this station? Then he recognized it. This was Far Point, the place of his old ship’s first encounter with Q, the god-like being that had thrown them through space to the Borg territory. Had he returned?
Worf winced as a drone kicked his knees. Worf suddenly put on an extra burst of strength and freed himself from his bonds. He then grabbed a drones phaser rifle and began dropping them one by one.
“Bravo!” Said an unpleasantly familiar voice. “You immortals aren’t as helpless as I thought!” it said as everyone around them began to disappear.
“Where did you teleport my crew, Q?” Worf demanded.
“Oh, they’re nice and cozy in a time loop.” Q said, smiling.
“What do you want with me?”
“You’re not in the position to be asking the questions now are you?” He said smugly. “First of all, how did your pitiful mind figure it out?”
“Well, my first clue was the fact that Lieutenant Johnson wasn’t transported all the way. Obviously, a transporter’s malfunction. Real Borg would never make such an imperfect mistake.” Worf said a bit smugly. “My next clue was the fact that the “Borg king” said that I made him angry. Even the Queen wouldn’t have that kind of emotion. And the fact that the only possible explanation for the giant tractor beam was that you “cleverly” created it.” He said. “Then came what was perhaps your biggest mistake. The Borg vessels weren’t quite symmetrical. All Borg vessels are symmetrical.” He finished.
“Except for the scout ships.” Q corrected. “So, now that you’ve answered my questions, I’m all ears.”
“Why in the name of The Klingon Empire do you want with me? Why all this senseless war?”
“One question at a time, baboon head! First, this “senseless war” as you call it is a test of your courage and strength. You’ve passed! So, to answer your first question, as your reward for passing I have decided to give you what you’ve always wanted: a chance to change your path.”
“Whatever it is I’m not interested.”
“Perhaps you do not understand, my friend. I am giving you the chance to live as you would have if you hadn’t joined Starfleet. To be the warrior you truly wish to be.”
“I said I’m not interested!”
“This is a once in a life time choice! I’m not going to let you throw it away so easily. You shall experience life as it would be for five days. Then you may state your decision.”
“Wait no!” Worf shouted, but it was too late, for Q snapped his fingers and Worf disappeared for the third time since take off. He cursed in Klingon. He hated Q. Well if they were to play a game together then let it be so!
“Nov-Daj Pe’ Hugh.” A Klingon was telling a ten-year younger Worf.
“What? You want me to cut that alien’s throat? You don’t understand! I don’t belong here! I already told you!”
“Why do you speak in this Earth tongue, warrior Worf? It is a disgrace to your culture.
Worf sighed and said, “I don’t belong here!”
“Whatever. Just kill that alien and you can leave the bar!”
“I don’t just mean the bar, but the whole Klingon Empire!”
“You are a fool, Worf. A big fool. You just don’t want to do your duties.”
“No, it’s that I want to do my duties! Oh, you don’t understand. I am not who you think I am! I am not Worf the warrior; I’m Worf, captain of the U.S.S. War-Bird!”
“U.S.S.? Starfleet! That’s a disgrace! You have gone too far! I challenge you to a battle to the death!”
“Stop! You don’t know what you’re doing!”
“Are you implying that you could beat me? I’ll see you at sun up tomorrow. Be there or you won’t have a sun rise to wake up to!”
Worf could not contain his anger and so he said, “Tomorrow?” He taunted. “Are you too frightened to face me now? Why wait?”
The other Klingon growled and drew his bat’leth, a curved blade with three handles, two at each end, one at the middle. Worf looked down at the Klingon uniform that Q had placed on him and found a bat’leth hanging at his side. He drew it and lunged at the Klingon, by this time all eyes were on them.
The warrior sidestepped the attack, launching his own. Worf met his blade and did a back flip attack sequence, causing a great gash in the warrior’s side. He growled in pain and anger and tried his own flip sequence, but Worf caught his stomach in mid air, the weight of his fall almost cutting him in two.
By this time, the warrior was no longer howling in pain but gasping for air.
“That is what happens when you mess with Worf the hunter!” He said as he raised his sword for the killing blow. Then he stopped in mid-strike. He was becoming what he feared the most! He kicked at the wounded warriors chest and said as an excuse to the on looking crowd, “You are unworthy of such an honorable death! May Kahless have mercy on your soul. And may Kor have pity on your wounds!” The crowd went wild at this speech.
“My lord, would you care to be checked for wounds?” asked a Cardassian slave.
“Did Kahless have his wounds checked when he fought his brother, Moroth?”
“No my lord but…”
“Then why should I?”
Worf walked away towards his long-left-behind Klingon hut. He wondered what he’d find there. He had a son . Would he still be waiting for him there?
When he reached the hut, he was greeted by a small Klingon child running toward him.
“Alexander! My son! Are you well?” Worf said.
“Why wouldn’t I be, daddy? I’m glad you refused Starfleet’s offer! Now we can be together forever and ever!” The rather cute little warrior said.
When Worf finally found words he said, “How is your training coming?”
“I learned how to parry blows today!” Alexander said.
Worf couldn’t help smiling at the boy’s excitement. He remembered how happy he had been as a child.
He caught a whiff of Klingon perfume and he looked up from his place, sitting by Alex, to see his wife, k’Ehleyr.
“You’re alive? How can that be? It’s impossible!” Worf looked up at her with wide eyes. Then he remembered; if he had been there, she most likely wouldn’t have been killed by Duras, a Klingon counsel member.
k’Ehleyr looked at him in shock.
“What is wrong, Worf?”
“Uh… nothing. Nothing at all. I am filled with joy!” He couldn’t help himself. He was amazed and a bit frightened at the same time. Perhaps staying would not be so bad after all.
Worf stood, looking at the sunset. He had had a wonderful day. He was confused and a bit unsure. Would he, in the end, decide to change his destiny? Would it be so bad? He didn’t know any more. He just didn’t know. Would he be refusing a chance of a life time if he chose to return to his ship? What did he want most? He didn’t know. It was frustrating to have to make this choice. If he stayed he would be violating the prime directive and many other Starfleet protocols.
His thoughts were interrupted by a loud scream from within his hut. k’Ehleyr! No! Worf ran into his hut to behold a bloody scene before him. k’Ehleylr was dead, Duras standing over her, dagger in hand.
This time took place before she was murdered! He would have to relive the tragedy!
He lunged at Duras, drawing his bat’leh from its place on the wall. He killed the murderer for the second time in one stroke. He cried out in anguish as he kneeled over his mate.
“Q! Q, send me back! Send me back now, Q! I’m done! My answer is no! Nothing you can say will change my mind! Please! I wish to see no more of this! Send me back, now!”
There was a snap and Worf disappeared.
Q stood in the room, eyeing Worf. “You’re sure?”
“My mind is made up! For, you are a despicable, horrible… whatever you are. I am shaken as I’ve never been before and it is you to blame! I hate you!”
Q considered him for a moment. “I will never understand your ways. You are free to go back to your pitiful ship! Farewell!”
“Good riddance!” Worf shouted at him. There was a snap and he was back on his ship.
He saw his crew experiencing the last five seconds over. Then they seemed to come out of a trance.
“Sir? What just happened?”
“Q.” That one letter sent chills down the crew’s spine.
“A being that defies logic,” Tuvok said, “Is a being without purpose.”
“Well said, my friend. Well said.” The captain said wisely. “Q thinks his purpose is to help man-kind, but in truth he is a disgrace to the universe!” He then opened his personal log.
“Captains log, star date 2056.4; the Q entity is gone, to mope over his loss. Perhaps he shall learn a thing or two… but I doubt it.
“We shall now go to seek out new civilizations and explore strange new worlds… to boldly eliminate the enemies of the federation!”
“Sir? We’re under attack.”
“Report!” Ordered Worf.
“Sir… it’s a Klingon vessel!”
A gloating voice rang out on the bridge. “This is what happens when you mess with The Q! If you are not with the Klingons, you’re against them!”
“They’re charging weapons, sir!” Wesley Crusher of security warned.
Worf took a deep breath and gave the order that would change his life forever. “Fire.”
A phaser beam struck the ship, causing a warp core breach. It blew. It happened so fast. It blew into a zillion pieces to float in space until they came into contact with something.
Worf stood there, ecstatic. Q the ruiner of lives had done it again. He had made it appear to be Worf’s fault. That would cause a lot of dispute amongst Klingons. And it was all because of Q. He sighed. This was not going to be easy to explain to Starfleet.
The War-Bird soared away from the sad scene.
“If Q is to leave us alone, we must ignore him until he loses interest. We shall go about our duties as we normally would.”
“Captain’s log, supplemental; it has been three days now since the Klingon encounter and we’ve heard of something that is of some significance. We have received a distress signal from Tillius Prime, an Alpha Quadrant planet. The federation has sent us to investigate the call. The question is: is it a trap set by Q…” Beep! The noise echoed a bit before fading.
“Computer, end log entry.” Worf said. “Come in.”
The ship’s second officer, one of Worf’s old ship mates, came in.
“Commander La Forge. Sit down.” Worf said, motioning to a chair in front of his.
“Sir, I just was thinking you might want some company.” Goerdi La Forge said.
“I would like that much, thank you. How are your new duties going?” Worf asked as he replicated a mug of blood wine for himself, tea for Geordi.
“To be honest, I never thought I would be given the rank of second officer. I was so surprised when I was assigned to this vessel.” Goerdi said as he rubbed his hands through his dark gray hair. “But as I was aging, I thought it would be nice to work as a doctor when I was old. And I am, Worf. I am old.”
“Not as old as me.” Worf showed the closest thing to a smile that he could manage.
The two of them talked for some time, every once in a while their conversation would be of the old times on the Enterprise. They had been close friends ever since the landing of the Enterprise.
Then there was a beep at the door catching Geordi in mid-sentence.
“We have arrived at Talos IV, sir.” Jack Moor, chief engineer announced.
“Very well. Beam down an away team onto the surface. We’ll orbit the atmosphere.”
The away team, which included Johnson, Tuvok, Goerdi, Wesley, and Jack Moor, set out, phasers on kill. They walked on, not knowing what they’d find. They found out all too soon.
In the distance they saw a ship. In fact the very ship that gave theirs its name, the U.S.S. War-Bird. It was the Romulen Warbird.
“What in the blazes of the sun…” Jack started.
“Tuvok to the War-Bird, five to beam up.”
Tuvok started at the voice that came through.
“Q will conquer! My game has begun and you are the pawns!”
“Qu’vagth.” Johnson cursed in Klingon as he heard the reply. He would have cursed many more times, if he wasn’t busy with running for his life.
The Romulen Warbird was closing in on them now, phasers firing. Wesley drew his phaser rifle and began firing at the closing vessel. Tuvok and the rest began to do the same
Worf struggled against his captor. But Q just smiled smugly.
“You’ll never escape that way, now will you. You’ll struggle until your tragic death and by then your crew will be dead too. I’m now teleporting all of them to the planet’s surface. Once there they will all meet their tragic dooms.”
“You can’t do this!” Worf spat. “You will pay! You will pay!”
“I doubt it, my friend.” Q said. “None can threaten the Q continuum! None dare try!”
Worf then thought of something. The continuum! To get to Q, he must get to the continuum! If there was one thing the continuum valued it was honesty. He had to trick him into making a promise he couldn’t keep.
“Q! I’ll bet you that I can complete any challenge of yours!”
“You? Oppose me? Bah! You are a worthless dog!”
“You are much more worthless than I!” Worf said, his anger erupting.
“I’ll bet you that you will fail!”
“Fine! Then it’s settled! If I prevail, then you must let my crew go!”
“And if you lose I can keep your friends to do my bidding!”
“It’s settled then!”
A smile curved up on Q’s lips. “So it is decided. Your challenge shall be… to defeat the foe which I give you to do battle with.”
“Ha! I lust for a fight! I will defeat what ever enemy you assign to me!”
“Kor! The legendary klingon warrior! Come on Worf, you are a sad klingon if you do not know of Kor!”
“Know of him! Of course, I know of him! You dare question my honor as a klingon! I accept!” Worf’s anger rose within him. He hated Q. Oh, how he hated Q.
Suddenly Worf found himself in a huge arena. A figure of klingon legend stood before him, bat-leth in hand. Worf looked on in amazement. As a child, he had been put to sleep with stories of the warrior legend. Now he would either live or die in glorious combat! If he did die, his death would be an honorable one.
The away-team ran, phasers flashing. The Romulen Warbird was now dangerously close, its phaser cannons firing furiously.
“Sir,” Wesley said to Tuvok, “I have an idea that just might save us!”
“If we change our phasers to adaptable setting, then we might be able to use them to amplify the ship’s transporter to beam to the Romulen ship. We can try to reach our ship once aboard.”
“How?” Tuvok barked.
“If our phasers are set to adaptable, then if we could set our phasers to the transporter’s exact frequency, the interference may trigger the transporter array. No guaranties.”
“Alright. Everyone, set your phasers to adaptable.” The tension was in the air as they waited for results. “Come on, come on!”
Then it happened. All of a sudden their phasers began to vibrate and they began to transport.
Worf breathed heavily. Kor never seemed to tire!
The two bat-leth swords clashed again, this time Worf able to parry Kor’s strike and land an attack of his own.
“You fight with honor.” Kor said, showing the first signs of fatigue.
At last! Worf thought. He tires at last.
He took the moment to strike. In normal circumstances, he would have acknowledged Kor and said the same of him. But his friends’ lives were on the line.
He stabbed Kor in the side, blood spraying from him.
“You dishonorable toDSaH! You are a dishonorable klingon!”
“I am klingon!” Worf said.
Tuvok led the away team through the hallways of the Romulen ship.
“Set your phasers to kill.” Tuvok ordered.
“Intruders!” The away team heard behind them.
“Qu’vatih!” Johnson cursed.
Romulens suddenly surrounded them on all sides.
“Got any more bright ideas, Wesley?” Johnson said through his teeth.
Worf roared in pain. A great gash now showed through his armor.
The battle had gotten fiercer, and there was heavy breathing from both sides.
Worf parried and did a flip attack sequence. There and then, as sudden as the sun rises at dawn, the legendary Kor was killed, his carcass laying before Worf. He stooped and lifted the illusion of Kor’s eyelids back. A growling started at the back of his throat, which turned into a howl.
“Why do you warn the evil of his coming to Sto-Vo-Kor if he is already there? He was merely an illusion.” Q asked as he appeared beside him.
“I know. All dead should be welcomed to Sto-Vo-Kor, real or not. Besides, all klingons, even illusions, have honor if they died doing battle.” Worf said. “Now, I believe we had a deal.”
Q growled. “Fine.” He vanished. A voice said after, “But I cannot promise I will not return.”
The Romulen warriors closed in but their weapons hit nothing. The intruders were gone.
The away-team arrived on the bridge, bewildered. Worf stood before them.
“Well?” He said. “To your stations! Moor, set a course for the Gamma Quadrant, full warp. There is yet space to explore! So… let us boldly go where no man has gone before!”
Beep! The noise came from the door to Worf’s ready-room.
Geordi then came through the door. He said, “I know you’re probably tired, but I just wanted to say thanks for fighting for us up here.”
“Commander, klingons find joy in that aspect! Come now, La Forge. We did kill our own gods when they got out of hand!”
Geordi laughed and, to Geordi’s surprise, so did Worf. He laughed a typical klingon belly laugh. So begins Star Trek: War-Bird, a vessel not just for exploration.
The end… for now.
I dedicate this story to my father and to his friend, Davide, the true klingons.