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Star Trek Online

"A First's Tale"

By Ambassador Kael
Fri 23 Jun 2017 10:00:00 AM PDT

Kavat’kara was roused from his meditation by the sounds of combat – blows landing, feet shuffling, curses and the like filled the air of the cell block.

qablIj HI’ang! Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam!”

A woman’s voice, filled with rage and defiance, so common for Klingons. The crack of a quick, strong blow follows her angry challenge. Guards asserting their dominance and authority. Expected.

“Nuchpu’! Ha’Dibahpu’!”

The dull thud of a body striking the deck in the cell next to his, accompanied by a low rumble of brutish laughter. The sibilant hiss of the cell door’s security field as it energizes. The sound of boots on the deck as the guards leave the area.

“Don’t strike that force field, warrior,” Kavat’kara called out to his new neighbor, making sure to do so in her language. “You won’t like what it does to your hands if you do.”

“You sound… strange,” came the slightly amused reply. “Where did you learn to speak Klingon?”

“The Gamma Quadrant.”

“Ah. You are Jem’Hadar?”

“I am First Kavat’kara… and I am dead. I have been dead for many a year now.”

“Hmph. None of the men I’ve killed were able to talk to me about it afterward, although I suspect they moan about it in Gre’thor from time to time.”

“And have you killed many men, warrior?”

“More than I have fingers and toes,” she said with a dry laugh. “And I am Grella, daughter of Krelm. If you are going to speak to me, you should know my name.”

“Grella,” Kavat’kara mused. “After the hero of Ten Days at the Gates of Kuvan’ba, if my memory serves.”

“It serves you well.  A Jem’Hadar who knows of Klingon Opera - you’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?”

“Not enough to keep me out of this place, unfortunately.”

“In that, we are alike. I curse the day they took me and brought me here. All because I refused to lie with Torg… as if any woman would share the bed of a filthy taHqeq like that!”

“Just so.”

“And how did you come to be here, exactly?”

Kavat’kara opened his eyes and rose from the mat he used for his meditation, smiling as he did so. At my age, I should be feeling many aches and pains… and yet, I have the strength of the young.

“It is a tale of some length, and one without an ending… but I will share it with you if you wish it.”

“Do so,” she replied. “It will help to pass the time.”

“Very well. I came to this quadrant in the last year of the Dominion War, proud to serve the Founders.”

“Truly? I wasn’t even born then. How are you still alive – don’t Jem’Hadar die by their twentieth year?”

“Jem’Hadar seldom live to that age, but we do not die upon reaching it,” He chuckled to himself at that thought. “I have lived past that point by some time. I… may be the oldest Jem’Hadar in known space. What a curious thing.”

“An elderly Jem’Hadar,” Grella said with slight disbelief. “I suppose next you’ll tell me an honest Ferengi and a chaste Orion live in here!”

“Not to my knowledge, though I suppose anything is possible, given time.”

“I’m surprised you’re still here. Don’t you live to serve the Founders… your gods?” Grella sniffed with disdain.

“No longer,” Kavat’kara said. “I serve neither Founder nor Dominion now, only myself.”

“Is… is that even possible? I mean… isn’t serving those blobs something that is bred into your kind?”

“So it is said, and yet… here I stand. Free of mind, if not of body.”

“Keep talking, then. I would hear the tale of a Jem’Hadar who defies his gods.”

Kavat’kara moved to a position where he could see Grella’s cell. A few meters away, the Klingon woman stared back at him intently. After a respectful nod, he continued.

“My squad served with distinction during the war, fighting primarily in the Alpha Quadrant. We faced many foes - Federation, Klingon… even a few Romulans. An enemy’s origin mattered little to us. There was only the war. Victory was all we sought.”

“Right – ‘Victory is Life.’ That’s the Jem’Hadar creed, is it not?”

“Yes. A maxim we fought, lived, and died by.”

“Go on, then. You fought us, we fought you, then what?”

“The war, for most, came to an end. Dominion forces withdrew, returning to the Gamma Quadrant. It was not so for us.”

“So you rebelled?”

“We remained under orders, in defiance of the armistice. We were to disrupt enemy shipping, supply lines. We were told that the armistice would be broken, and that the Dominion would return to mount a new offensive.”

“The Founders told you this?”

“Yes… and no.”

“Don’t speak in riddles. I find it tedious.”

“The orders came from the Vorta officer who commanded us, although she did so in the name of the Founders. We believed her at first… and well, she had control of the White. Thus, we remained obedient, though many of suspected the Vorta’s motives were not the same as those of the Founders.”

“Intriguing. So you fought on?”

“Yes. For eighteen months, first in the Alpha Quadrant, then in Beta. Our campaign came to an end in Klingon space. We had received faulty intel and fell into a well-laid trap. It was… a brief conflict.”

“But here you stand. Don’t Jem’Hadar usually fight to the death?”

“That is not uncommon. It was not an option for most of us on that day, however. The Klingons we fought took as many of us alive as possible.”

“And then?”

“They brought us to this place to study us, to learn of our strengths and weaknesses. This place is more than a prison.”

“I’ve heard,” Grella spat in disgust. “Torg lets his scientists and the face-stretchers play their cruel games. He’ll be wailing in the deepest bowels of Gre’thor for it.”

“Just so,” Kavat’kara said. “One by one, we were given to these scientists. They were particularly interested in how we would cope without Ketracel-White under local conditions.”

“What do you mean?”

“They call it ‘metaphasic radiation.’ It has regenerative properties. It allowed us to survive for extended periods without the White.”

“But don’t you eventually go mad without the stuff?”

“Under normal conditions. The Son’a have a supply of White. They made it during the war for the Dominion, and they continue to make it now.”

Grella decorated her cell floor with spit once more. Her opinion of the Son’a was quite clear to the Jem’Hadar nearby.

“That being said, they dole out the White sparingly. Between that and the radiation, I have managed to endure.”

“You don’t sound pleased about that.”

“The process is… tortuous at times. Several of us succumbed to madness while they watched us, waiting to see if the radiation would cleanse us of a need for the White completely. To date, that has yet to occur.”

“That is no way to die,” Grella replied. “Warriors should die in battle, enemies or not.”

“Several of us did. When it was clear what they wanted with us, we who remained attempted to escape. Even the Vorta took up arms.”

“Huh. A Vorta with a spine.”

“Yes. She fought well. She was one of the lucky ones - those who fell in combat. The rest were brought back to their cells, and to the labs.”

“What happened after that?”

“The scientists continued to work on the ‘withdrawal process,’ as they called it. Their work has taken the lives of all the Jem’Hadar who remained, save one.”

“You.”

“Yes. Of my company, only I remain. I am both First… and last.”

“Well. If you still have fight in you when the time comes, fight at my side. I do not plan on being here long. I am Klingon! I will not suffer this dishonor!”

Kavat’kara smiled sadly and nodded in silence. What was the Klingon proverb? ‘Always it is the brave ones who die.’  He hoped, when the time came, that he stood amongst their number.


Paul Reed

Content Writer

Star Trek Online

 

 

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