This was not a warning klaxon that J’mpok had ever heard. He believed he knew every inch of his flagship, the I.K.S. Kri’stak, had heard every sound it could make. But this was...new.
“Report!” he barked!
His operations officer – Kahless' blood, what was the man's name again – snarled back at him. “Chancellor! It's some kind of virus! The systems are not responding. Our shields are down!”
“What treachery-” J’mpok began, but stopped himself. There was only one person who could be responsible for treachery like this. J'Ula was here, at Khitomer, and she had somehow disabled his ship. The mighty Chancellor of the Klingon Empire was stuck, floating in space like a legless targ, waiting for his enemy to strike.
In a way, he had known this day would come. J’mpok had plotted his takeover of the Klingon Empire to the last detail. He had moved every piece into place to remove Martok from power, even going so far as engaging with the utter fool, Torg to ensure the job was done. When that simple, easy request had been mangled, when Martok had risen from the grave like some kind of hero of the old stories, J’mpok had known his time as Chancellor was coming to an end. He did not like the fear that wrapped around his heart like an icy serpent, fear that had driven him to run from combat with the Hur’q, to ally with the Federation in the hopes of increasing his own strength. For months now, J’mpok had believed that Martok would step into his chambers and challenge him at any moment.
But to die here, in the cold of space, from his enemy's trickery – that was almost more than J’mpok could stand.
“Prepare for battle!” He roared, unsheathing his D'k tagh and jabbing it into the air. “J'Ula's starships will be here soon!”
“Chancellor!” The operations officer growled, “Beam in detected!”
J’mpok heard the sound behind him before the man finished. He stood from his chair and spun, expecting an entire cadre of warriors to materialize.
Instead, he found himself facing one man. Aakar, J'Ula's lapdog. The warrior was tall, young, and strong. He was known to be a fierce combatant, a challenge for any warrior. And while it had never been confirmed, there was no mistaking those eyes. J’mpok had grown up in an empire ruled by a mad tyrant with those same eyes – whoever this Aakar was, he was clearly connected to Gowron by blood.
J’mpok tightened his grip on his D'k tagh. This was it, then. Not at the hands of Martok, the man he failed to kill, or J'Ula, the woman he failed to stop. At the hands of a lackey, his story would end. So be it, he was prepared to face his death in a true Klingon way. He steeled himself for Aakar's charge.
But Aakar dropped to one knee.
“Chancellor,” he said, his voice like gravel dipped in honey, “I would speak with you.”
J'mpok's warriors had disruptors trained on the man. He could have him killed in a moment, and deal a blow to J'Ula and her pitiful rebellion. This was clearly some trick – but perhaps one that he could take advantage of. Hoch ‘ebmey tIjon – “capture all opportunities,” as the old Klingon proverb said. And J’mpok had not survived this long as Chancellor without capturing every opportunity that presented itself. He waved his soldiers back.
“Disarm him,” J’mpok said. The warriors stepped forward and removed the Mo’Kai warrior's weapons – and there were many. Aakar stayed perfectly still, allowing himself to be searched – but he kept his eyes locked on J’mpok.
“There is little time, Chancellor,” Aakar said, softly, as if it was only the two of them on the bridge. “We have but moments before the greatest opportunity of your reign slips away.”
“Walk with me,” J’mpok said.
He did not take Aakar to his briefing room. There might have been eyes, or ears, there. Instead, J’mpok took him inside a turbolift, and immediately shut it down.
“A bold move, Chancellor,” Aakar said. “What assurances do you have that I will not kill y-”
J’mpok plunged his D'k tagh into Aakar's stomach. His words stopped immediately.
“You said you were in a hurry, Aakar,” J’mpok smiled through his teeth, “I thought I'd give you some... motivation to speak quickly.”
To his credit, Aakar did not flinch. He put a hand on the handle of the wicked looking knife, and smiled. “Very good...Chancellor,” he coughed, “My virus disabled your ship. My men are inside...your engineering room. What happens next is up to you.” He coughed, and a little bit of blood spat out onto J'mpok's arm. The Chancellor resisted the temptation to twist the knife.
“What are your demands,” J’mpok asked.
“No demands.” Aakar coughed again, further ruining J'mpok's sleeve. The Klingon physiology would prevent this wound from being fatal for several days, but talking would swiftly become more difficult. J’mpok relished the idea. “We have brought you... a gift,” Aakar continued, “J'Ula's weapon is...on board your ship, and ready for installation. On the planet below are Martok, J'Ula, and many more enemies of the Empire. All for the taking.” He grinned at J’mpok, and there was blood in his teeth.
“Why would you do this?” J’mpok hissed.
The pain of the wound was getting stronger, but Aakar kept smiling. Without the blood in his teeth, you might never have known he was wounded. A lesser Klingon would have lost the power to speak already. Despite himself, J’mpok was impressed. “J'Ula...not willing to do...what is necessary.” Aakar managed to spit. “You... are. Unite all Klingons...with me....at your side.”
With a sharp tug, J’mpok wrenched the knife free from Aakar's stomach. He wiped it on a cloth, and returned it to its sheath. Then he reactivated the turbolift. Aakar did not collapse, as J’mpok might have expected. He stayed perfectly straight, his hands holding the blood inside his body, and stared at the Chancellor with those mad, mad eyes.
J’mpok thought for a moment. He had thought this warrior was a snake. Now, he knew his suspicions were correct. No doubt, Aakar was using J’mpok for his own gains. But that was a game that could be played both ways.
He pressed a button on the turbolift's communications panel. “This is the Chancellor. Medical team to my position,” he said. At last, a bit of Aakar's bravado faded, and he took a half step back, to lean against the wall of the turbolift.
Then the Chancellor took a step forward, close enough to whisper to Aakar. “If I do this, no one must know,” J’mpok asked. “How can this be done?”
Aakar’s eyes widened, the look of a madman. For a moment, J’mpok saw not the Mo’Kai warrior… but the haunting visage of Gowron. He knew Aakar’s words would be treacherous, even dishonorable, but he prepared to listen to them nonetheless.
Hoch ‘ebmey tIjon… capture all opportunities.
Aakar looked to him with a wicked, bloody grin. “Kill them all.”
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