"The latest casualty reports are in, sir." The Klingon woman was twisting the PADD in her hands. She was loyal and capable, but no warrior. K'men knew she would fight for her Empire, but she had never shown the thirst for glory that surged through most of her people.
The point of her ears showed mixed ancestry. A Vulcan grandparent, perhaps?
T'Kora was an outsider among her own people. So K'men had made her one of his own. Let the Klingon Defense Force have the bravest and the boldest. Here in Klingon Intelligence, K'men prized keen minds that could analyze a tactical situation or see the secrets behind the smiles at a diplomatic conference.
All of life is combat, he liked to tell his people. But not all battles are fought with disruptors.
"I take it they aren't good," K'men grumbled at her as he took the tablet from her hands.
"No, sir. The Heralds haven't been able to push any deeper into the First City, but … in a war of attrition, we will lose."
"Men die in battle," K'men said. "It has always been so."
"Yes, sir," T'Kora said. "But personnel are a finite resource. And you've always told us to look for potential weaknesses in our enemy. We should also find those weaknesses in ourselves."
"Agreed," K'men said, pleased that his young protégé was showing initiative.
"What do you suggest?"
"A different approach," the younger Klingon said. "If you can't defeat your enemy in a face-to-face battle, try coming at him from behind."
"There are many who would say that would be dishonorable," K'men said.
"And what does honor mean to the dead?" T'Kora challenged.
"A great deal, they would say. The difference between a glorious afterlife in Sto'Vo'Kor or endless torment in Gre'thor."
"The Empire must live," she said. "Someone must be willing to risk eternity to save it."
"Say you are correct. What then? We cannot poison the Iconians. A blade in the back will be meaningless to them. What do you propose?"
"Delta Flight recovered some data from the Solanae station before its destruction," T'Kora said, handing him another PADD. "These coordinates aren't of one of their normal bases. It's important to them, but not as unassailable as their Dyson sphere.
"Here," she continued. "Look at those energy readouts. The Iconians need incredible amounts of power to fuel their gateways. That's why they use Omega. But if we turned this power against them …"