Kyrja's Secret


Outcasts - a Star Trek Novel by Kyrja

Eleven - Danger


Deanna Troi and Jean-Luc Picard were in the captain’s ready room discussing the crew’s morale at being stagnant while they awaited word of Dr. Crusher’s progress, when the secure transmission from Worf came through.


Troi could immediately sense the anger in her former shipmate.  Gone was the frustration and doubt she had felt within Worf during their last conversation when Captain Picard had requested his official assistance in the situation on qo’Hegh.


Indeed, the former Starfleet Commander may have been the one to have slain Gowron, the formidable leader of the Klingon High Counsel, refusing the suddenly-vacant position for himself.  True, he had effectively placed the head of his own surrogate House, General Martok, in that role by his action.  He had subscribed to the Klingon way of life and its Code of Honor despite his having been raised by humans.  Yet his place among Klingon society was far from secure. Many were his enemies and those who would seek to dishonor or him.  Only through her ongoing association with the Klingon, did Troi know how frustrated Worf felt at his own perceived inadequacy in his new role as the Federation’s ambassador to Qo’noS.


His actions, while serving in Starfleet were often at odds with his preferred Klingon methods of dealing with hostilities and daily situations.  Yet he persevered, uniquely blending the best of both cultures despite his frequent frustration when the edicts of his chosen profession clashed with the demands placed on him because of his Klingon birthrights.

Troi could feel no vacillation from the Klingon at this moment, however.  He was absolutely focused in his clarity of purpose.  He barely allowed Captain Picard to greet him before he was stating the purpose of his transmission. 


“Captain,” the ambassador stated, the urgency of his anger compressed to a level where it was barely controlled within his skin, “We have a problem.”


“What’s happened, Worf?” Picard, in contrast to the Klingon, became quieter and even more poised than usual, as was his habit in times of duress.


“There has been an incident of disease found on Qo’noS,”  Deanna, immediately grasping the implications, covered her mouth with one hand and gasped.


“Is Doctor Crusher’s team in any danger?” Picard asked.


“I am uncertain,” the Klingon rumbled, displeased he did not know the answer to the captain’s question.  “I have tried repeatedly to contact qo’Hegh without success.  They may have already left the planet.”


“We will add our own efforts to yours.” Picard unclenched his jaw, beginning to relax with the relief that comes from having some action to undertake.


“There is more,” Worf continued, taking a sustaining breath.  Picard waited in silence, preparing for the worst.


“I have spoken with General Martok in private regarding the situation on qo’Hegh,” he paused.  “Although he was aware of that particular chapter in our history, there was nothing he could do about it before he became Chancellor.”  Troi could sense the previously focused anger in the ambassador slowly being replaced by frustration once again. 


“What are the Chancellor’s intentions, ambassador?”  Picard had hoped a quick resolution for the outcast Klingons would be in order once Martok was made aware of their plight, and the Federation’s willingness to assist in the matter.  One did not need to be an empath to discern such would not be the case if Worf’s posture was any indication.


 “Captain, you must understand that much is in turmoil here.  Gowron had many supporters who were loyal to him.” 


“The bottom line is that there will be no official recognition or assistance at this time,” the captain surmised.


Worf’s huge shoulders rose and fell with the sigh he allowed to escape, demonstrating his great disappointment.  “That is correct, sir.  However, General Martok assured me he would have those loyal to him look into the situation immediately.”


“And how do you think Chancellor Martok will react now that the disease has resurfaced on the Home World?” Troi queried.


“I fear, Counselor,” the Klingon’s brow creased with intensity, “that those looking into the situation will take matters into their own hands to ensure such a situation does not occur in the future.”


Picard tapped his combadge and said “Number One, set a course for qo’Hegh.  Warp eight.”


“Warp eight.  Aye, sir,” Commander Riker replied, not questioning the captain’s orders for a moment.  He knew an explanation would be forthcoming shortly.


"Engage,” Picard completed his instructions to his first officer, then turned his attention back to the viewscreen on the desk in his ready room.


“Worf, thank you for your help.  Let us know if you are successful in raising the colony.”


“Aye, sir.  Worf out.”


Captain Picard sat back in his chair, wondering how far his Chief Medical Officer had gotten towards a cure for the disease, and what other surprises were in store for him and the crew of the Enterprise.


Twelve - Tynal

Having taken Tynal as his mate, Kessec removed his entourage from Tolar’tu to Qa’yarin, where Kahless and his successors had lived during their reigns as emperor.  With its imposing iron-bound gates and all those he had called to his banner, he felt Tynal would be as safe as any consort to a Klingon emperor could be, while he continued his conquest of the stars and saw to the ongoing details of uncovering, and employing, the riches of Praxis. 


Tynal, for her part, was content.  She no longer feared the rising of the sun each day, wondering what punishment she would bring upon herself for some transgression, real or perceived, against her uncle.  In truth, she had brought many of the beatings upon herself through her defiance of Dervak.  The first year she had tried to run away several times, only to be brought back, kicking and fighting, by the thugs Dervak had hired to replace the workers her father had employed. Each time she was caught, she was savagely beaten.  Undeterred, she set fires in the fields before the harvest so Dervak would reap no profit.  She refused to allow Dervak the spoils her parents had worked so hard to bring about.  That act had cost her a week’s worth of food, in addition to another beating.  But Tynal was determined to free herself of Dervak’s slavery.  So, despite the wounds Dervak inflicted, or the withholding of food, or her imprisonment in the lower cellar, Tynal continued to find ways to undermine his every effort to derive profit from her family’s deaths. She suspected he was only waiting until she was of age before he turned his more base attentions upon her.  They fell into a kind of deadly rhythm over the years, each trying to outmaneuver the other as to what the other’s next move would be, with Tynal always wondering why Dervak didn’t just kill her outright, as he had the other members of her family. 


One day, word reached them that a new threat was coming from the east.  A new warlord by the name of Kessec, was sweeping like the wind to overtake many of the nearby provinces.  It was said no man could stand before him and his terrible band of warriors, that he seemed to possess some strange demon power which enabled him to overcome any foe.  If her father had been alive, she would have been terrified  of her future.  Now, Tynal only hoped the warlord would overtake the lands and estate which had become her prison.  She vowed to escape in the chaos that would certainly accompany such an attack.  Or die in the effort.  She searched the horizon day after day, waiting for the day the warriors would come.  And come they did. 


Tynal, however, was never afforded the opportunity to flee, as Dervak locked her in the cellar once again.  For four days and three nights she paced her dark cell, waiting for the outcome of the events above her.  It was several long days after sounds of battle had died when the door at the top of the stair finally opened, blinding her with unfiltered sunlight.  Dervak was a different man.  A broken man.  But he was alive.  He informed Tynal that he would be leaving for Tolar’tu within two days to pledge his lands and surviving warriors to Kessec’s cause.  He told her he hoped to retain possession of the estate itself, and that she was to accompany him when he spoke to Kessec.  Though her face remained impassive, her heart leapt at the chance to escape.  Dervak said she was to remain in the cellar until their departure, and if she hoped to remain alive she would do exactly as he bid when he went to parlay with the new emperor. 


And now this new lord was her mate.  Kessec treated her kindly, providing for her every need.  While still in Tolar’tu, he told her of his plans to reshape the universe to his design.  The Empire would expand beyond Qo’noS to include all of the inhabited planets in this sector and then beyond.  There seemed to be no limits for Kessec and his vision. 


Not so for Tynal, however, who was born with only one liver, instead of the usual two. Klingons, like all humanoid species, are susceptible to various, naturally-occurring germs, viruses and bacteria.  But the enzymes, acids and redundancies of the genetically-superior Klingon elimination system are so toxic as to easily eliminate almost all bacterial and gastrointestinal threats in the known empire.  Because of the natural development of their species, most Klingons are immune to many poisons, making assassination through poisoning not only dishonorable, but also expensive, and therefore, one of the least likely avenues to be pursued outside of Klingon political arenas. 


Unknown to all but the very few victims who were still being claimed by it, the virus which had produced the plague during Kahless’ reign had not been completely eradicated.  Unlike diseases produced by bacteria, and despite the many technological advances made throughout the decades, a cure for this insidious viral infection remained undiscovered.  


Unnamed except for its results being referred to as “The Plague,” the virus progressively infected the cells which made up the protective coating of certain nerve receptors of its host.  Without this protection, the virus would bind itself to the nerve membrane, breaking down normal communications within the body.  Soon many of the body’s responses would begin to become sluggish.  One side of the body might  become weakened or unresponsive, and vision could be blurred, doubled, or lost.  Memory loss, confusion, disorientation or a loss of balance would eventually accompany other symptoms, such as loss of speech, and lethargy, until the virus had fully established itself as a disease, shutting down the body’s involuntary systems such as breathing and cardiovascular activity.  If that wasn’t a gruesome enough death, the virus also produced huge purplish welts on the surface of the skin, leaving open wounds and ravaging scars.  It was impossible to hide the effects of the disease, or the fact that you had been infected.


Tynal found that, although she was physically strong, her constitution, thanks to her single liver, was weaker than many of her peers.  She had always taken extra care in the selection of her food, so as not to subject herself to constant pain and illness.  Before their deaths, her parents took care to have on hand many of the foods which Tynal could consume without fear.  While held captive by Dervak, Tynal kept this weakness secret, harvesting a small, hidden patch of vegetables, and raising a few of the livestock herself.  Since she was solely responsible for the preparation of their meals, she often took her meals separately, providing Dervak with more traditional Klingon fare.


It was the offspring produced by the mating of Kessec and Tynal where the disease, which had once been The Plague, was reborn with a vengeance.  Tynal gave Kessec five male children.  Tynal watched anxiously for signs that any of her sons might also be susceptible to her aversion to raw meat or fresh gagh.  Her firstborn, Mohtr, along with Gistad, second-born, joined their father in displaying a normal healthy Klingon appetite for the finer delicacies of their culture.  But her third and fourth sons, Dalef and Tagre, often paid for their folly of mimicking their elder brothers’ appetites with gut-wrenching twists of their internal organs.  More than once she had found one or the other doubled-over in pain after sharing in a meal with their father’s guests.  And, while the older boys were tolerant, if not respectful, of their mother’s difficulties, they often taunted their younger brothers’ inability to consume normal meals. 


Durrall, the youngest son, never had a chance.  As an infant, he often spewed even his mother’s milk across the room.  While Tynal hated this weakness in herself, she worried for those of her sons who had inherited only the one liver, instead of the customary two.  How would they fare among their peers, when so much of Klingon tradition and camaraderie centered around the hearth and a shared kill?  Perhaps, observing the shame Dalef and Tagre shared, and sensing his mate’s unease in the matter, Kessec took Durrall under his personal tutelage.  With time, Durrall became a fierce warrior in his own right.  Few it was, indeed, who rose to challenge this ferocious warrior, let alone his choice of beverage or meal.


And that would have been the end Tynal’s concern.  She and her affected offspring would have endured the disdain and scorn of those who viewed their discriminating diet as a weakness.  Perhaps it would even had been whispered among the populace that Tynal was not a worthy consort for the emperor.  Or there might be conjecture that she and her haughty sons thought themselves above the local peasantry.  But Tynal never concerned herself with the gossip surrounding her within her own walls, nor in the adjoining villages.  She knew rumors would abound even if she shouted the truth from the tallest parapet.  


She didn’t know it yet, but the local prattle wasn’t the worst of her worries, as Tynal was the first of Kessec’s family to fall victim to the plague. 


Thirteen - Benia

Accustomed to daily training routines and pitting her skills against her bother’s, Benia found herself quickly bored as a captive deep in the bowels of Co’Mas’ fortress-like home.  She had been behind this transparent forcefield for at least two weeks, but was no longer certain how long she had been imprisoned.  


At first, she simply didn’t care because she was in deep mourning for her brother.  Her hero.  Her beloved Kelsron.  She often felt he should have been born to another race.  Although daring and dangerous when pushed, his heart was simply too large, forgiving and complex to understand that others - many others - did not hold the same beliefs as he did.  It had proven to be his undoing.  


Benia had warned him repeatedly of the dangers he was facing in asking to meet with the sons of their father’s enemy, but Kelsron insisted it was time to heal old wounds.  Benia knew it was never his intention to hurt or dishonor their father.  Nor was he hoping to gain glory for himself.  Kelsron, in the deepest recesses of his Klingon soul, only desired to ease the burden of his father’s own heart by eliminating his oldest enemy.  Kelsron’s way of doing this was through negotiations.  His father’s was through battle.  How he had so desired to please his father!  Yes, Benia reflected, Kelsron should have been born to any other race but Klingon.  


And now his body was long cold.  An empty shell, devoid of the quick smile and hearty laugh.  And what an excellent singing voice he had possessed!  Those dark brown eyes would never gaze her way in mischief again, nor challenge her by their mere intensity, to push herself beyond her current limits.  It had taken a very long time for Kelsron to convince his sister to consider his plan of reconciliation with Tykar.  Benia was much more like their father, j’Wel, and not as inclined to forgive the murder of their mother as Kelsron was.  


And yet, here she was, herself at the mercy of her father’s enemy.  After her initial grief for her brother had passed, she was surprised to find she was still alive and took advantage of that fact.  Despite the fact she had very little room in the confines of her cell, she resumed her exercises and weapons forms.  Since she had nothing else to do, she practiced several times a day, stopping only to sleep or eat.  She ignored the overt glances and outright stares of her captors, picturing Kelsron with her instead.  


Sometimes, while she feigned sleep, she listened to the guards.  In this way, she was able to learn that Tykar, Kelsron’s greatest hope as an ally, had been taken ill, and it had something to do with a terrible disease which all of the warriors were afraid of catching.  An incurable disease.  Benia also learned of their plans to capture those on the planet of qo’Hegh who might have a cure.  The warriors were very unhappy with the prospect of bringing even more people here who had the disease, and held out very little hope for a cure, or for Tykar.  


As a result of her eavesdropping, Benia was not surprised when a mixed group of Klingons and aliens suddenly materialized, surrounded by Co’Mas’ armed warriors.  She was surprised, however, when Co’Mas himself appeared next.  He immediately asked after Tykar and seemed to shrink in stature when no good news was forthcoming.  


Over the next two days, the newcomers were kept very busy using scanners and other devices to determine if any of the warriors were infected with the deadly disease.  Several times Benia heard the words “The Plague” whispered in undertones of great fear.  


She also spied Rok’ta from time to time speaking with some of his warriors, but the bulk of his time was spent in another part of the house; presumably with his brother, Tykar. 


Benia knew Rok’ta and his clan thought Kelsron had betrayed them and tried several times to talk to Rok’ta.  He ignored her at every turn until Benia was ready to pound sense into the pigheaded young warrior.  


“Coward!” she hissed when Rok’ta walked near her cell.  


Anger flickered in the Klingon’s eyes, momentarily replacing the great weariness Benia had observed lodged there like an unwelcome guest who had taken up residence.  Rok’ta stopped his trek and stood in front of Benia’s cell.  He looked at her for the first time.  Really looked at her.  He had only seen her as a target to be acquired in the absence of her traitorous brother, Kelsron.  The last time he had looked at her was when she was brought aboard his ship during his retaliatory attack on the House of j’Wel.  


Nor had she been an easy acquisition as he recalled.  She had gone absolutely berserk with a bat’leth.  It had taken three of his warriors working in concert to bring her down.  He remembered he had been impressed at the time, but he’d had much on his mind since then.  Mostly his brother’s health and the hatred he felt burning in his chest for the traitor Kelsron.  Here, in front of him, was the enemy’s sister.  His prisoner.  It had been his plan to abandon her on qo’Hegh to face the disease.  And his hope she would be ravaged with the horrible scaring and die very slowly, with a great deal of pain and dishonor.  


As these thoughts and memories ran through his mind, Rok’ta ran his eyes over his enemy’s sleek form, taking in the well-honed muscles, the delicious curves, the defiance in the tilt of her head and the set of her eyes.  Despite being surrounded and imprisoned by her enemies, she showed no fear.  Suddenly he wondered what she would look like if she smiled.  Rok’ta shook himself internally, chastising himself for his lapse in judgement, shrugging it off to fatigue.  Still, her eyes were the most beautiful shade of mahogany brown…  


Benia held herself still during Rok’ta’s scrutiny, knowing she need not prepare herself for battle, since he could not reach through the forcefield without first deactivating it.  


“Kelsron did not betray you,” she stated simply.  She saw the beginning of a snarl form on Rok’ta’s rugged features and pressed on.  “My father’s advisor, Monar, discovered your plan and killed Kelsron for his betrayal.”  


Rok’ta saw the immediate pain in his captive’s face, and was struck speechless.  


“I did not think so at first,” Benia continued, “but I came to agree with Kelsron.  It is time to heal old wounds.”  


Suddenly, Rok’ta heard a familiar voice ring out across the expanse of the cavernous room.  “And what of the Code of Honor, Co’Mas?” Colna challenged.


Fourteen - T'Tala

“You are not exhibiting any signs of the disease,” Dr. Selar dryly informed the Klingon in front of her, in typical Vulcan fashion.  


The warrior merely grunted, in typical Klingon fashion, taking the opportunity to leave the area the doctors were given to perform their scans.  


Selar stored the results of her latest scans in the tricorder she was given by the Klingons and went to compare her findings with those of her colleague and former shipmate, Beverly Crusher.  


She found Crusher conferring with the young female Klingon from qo’Hegh who had been kidnapped along with Dr. Motar and her own assistants, T’Tala and Tomar.  Colna had proven to be valuable in organizing the colonist while on qo’Hegh, and in providing information regarding needed supplies in the medical facilities there.  She appeared to be resourceful and determined to be present during as much of the testing as her disease allowed.  Now she was assisting Dr. Crusher by interpreting the readings on the Klingon tricorder.  Co’Mas had not allowed them to gather their own equipment before transporting all of them directly from the medical bay to his ship orbiting qo’Hegh.  He had provided them with exactly two of the scanning devices.  Selar, fortunately, required no assistance in translating Klingonese.  


From time to time, Selar spoke with T’Tala, showing her the results of the scans.  She saw T’Tala was now standing by herself, with Tomar.  Selar hoped she was discussing the findings with Tomar, but had serious doubts in that regard.  The logical conclusions was Tomar was prepared to threaten Selar’s young assistant at this stage of his mission.  Selar was prepared to intervene only when it became necessary, so merely continued on her way to speak with Beverly.  


Indeed, Selar’s Vulcan logic was exactly correct.  From outward appearances, the two Vulcan assistants were calmly discussing matters of no grave importance.  Appearances could be deceiving.  


Under normal circumstances, Tomar towered over T’Tala.  Right now he was using that fact to his advantage to increase his intimidation of her.  He knew the Klingons, with their volatile and demonstrative natures, would never observe the subtleties he was employing, but strongly suspected the Vulcan doctor, Selar, would.  So he kept his gaze distinctly on her.  If necessary, he was prepared to abandon his physical displays to gain his objective, and felt certain his words would be more than enough to force T’Tala to bend to his will.  


“I strongly recommend you redouble your efforts in gaining the code to the virus,” Tomar stated flatly, moving closer to T’Tala than any Vulcan would feel comfortable with, especially with one so subordinate as Tomar was supposed to be.  


“The bulk of our research remains on qo’Hegh,” T’Tala stated, looking straight ahead, her mind racing at the implications of the arrogance of her shipmate.  


“You are aware of your responsibilities,” Tomar pressed, again in that flat voice of his.  


T’Tala could feel fear beginning to creep beneath the layers of her hard-won stoic demeanor, although her face betrayed no emotion.  If she were still a Romulan, she would have already assaulted an underling of Tomar’s rank for daring to reproach her in this matter.   


If she were still a Romulan?  Of course she was still a Romulan!  She was working for the glory of the Empire, wasn’t she?  Wasn’t she??  Where were these thoughts coming from?!  


“Doctors Crusher and Selar will proceed in an ordered fashion regardless of our circumstances,” T’Tala stated passively, hoping she was wrong in her conclusions as to why this demeaning conversation was taking place.  


She was not wrong.  Except in her insistence to hope.  


“Your father is depending on your speed in the completion of your mission,” Tomar arched one elegant eyebrow as he looked directly into her eyes with menace painted clearly, if only briefly, on his face.  


For one small moment, T’Tala wanted desperately to laugh.  Laugh right out loud at the absurdity of the situation.  Two Romulan spies, dressed up to fool each other into thinking the other was a Vulcan.  In the middle of a large group of armed Klingons, no less.  T’Tala entertained the notion that, perhaps, Dr. Selar was also a Romulan!    


T’Tala suppressed the laughter, of course, but the short respite had given her a moment free of fear.  A delightfully free moment of no pain or humiliation.  It made her stronger and more able to face the man beside her who was surely her superior in Romulan rank, despite his assuming such a minor role on the Vulcan science vessel.  


Verda had learned her lessons well during her transformation into T’Tala.  She would, in no way, let Tomar (or whatever his real name was) know she had gained a measure of strength from their conversation.  Instead, she bowed her head slightly in acquiescence to Tomar and said simply: “Of course, Tomar, I will redouble my efforts immediately.”  She paused for a moment to ensure the Romulan had nothing further to add, then made her way to where the doctors were conferring.  


Having enjoyed - truly enjoyed - the moment of freedom, T’Tala began to reassess her objectives.  Logically, she could do nothing to save her father from his fate.  He may already be dead.  She had to accept that.  Even if she completed every mission, every minuscule task assigned to her, she would never see him alive again.  She was sure of it.  Further, she would always be at the mercy of her Romulan captors, no matter the physical distance.  If, however, she remained with Dr. Selar, she and her crew would be in constant danger once she had defected.  


Defected.  It was not the first time the thought had crossed her mind.  But it was the first time she didn’t feel a surge of panic and fear.  She had once been the daughter of a War Bird’s Commander.  She could do anything once she put the considerable power of her mind behind it.  T’Tala instantly knew she was right.  She would complete the mission Dr. Selar had given her, but not the one Subcommander Tentak had.  Then she would find a way to disappear.  


One day, T’Tala silently vowed behind a perfectly serene expression devoid of all emotion, she would be free to smile and laugh again.  Regardless of the price.  


As she moved closer to the doctors, she saw the Klingons Co’Mas, Colna and Dr. Motar had joined them.  She observed Dr. Crusher calmly explaining the facts of their situation to Co’Mas, and Dr. Selar echoing the logic of Crusher’s observations.   


She was surprised, however, when the young female Klingon suddenly shouted “And what of the Code of Honor, Co’Mas?”


Fifteen - Honor

 Having just dismissed the last of Co’Mas’ warriors, Beverly Crusher heaved a sigh of relief and pushed a lock of hair behind her ear.  She was dead on her feet.  Between treating Tykar the best she could, and scanning Co’Mas’ entire staff and contingent of warriors in two days, she could hardly see straight.  Being forced to do it all with Klingon materials and equipment was about to make her cross-eyed.  She offered silent thanks for Colna’s presence.  


Dr. Motar had been a tremendous help while they were on qo’Hegh, but seemed to have withered to someplace within himself once they had been transported off the planet.  He was very withdrawn and had barely uttered a word since the time they had found themselves aboard Co’Mas’ ship.  Crusher was determined to speak with him as soon as she had the chance.  But right now, she needed to compare her findings with those of Selar. 


Crusher nodded at Colna, indicating the Klingon should follow her, when she spotted Co’Mas entering the room.  She immediately took a detour to intercept him.  Since their arrival, Beverly had discerned she and her team were invaluable to Co’Mas and had decided meekly playing along with his demands would not get any of them the answers they so desperately needed.  Klingons always seemed to favor the bold.  It was a theory Crusher was about to put to the test. 


“Co’Mas, “Beverly challenged with her best I’m-the-doctor-and-you’ll-do-as-I-say voice, “We need to return to qo’Hegh.”  She was careful not to be overtly demanding, without sounding like she was pleading either.  A simple statement of facts, tinged with the anger she felt for having so much time wasted.


“Preposterous,” Co’Mas replied.  “Tykar is here.  He is too sick to move.”


“All our research is at the medical facility on qo’Hegh,” Crusher continued. 


“Not true.  You have gathered new information here,” Co’Mas countered. 


“We don’t have the equipment we need here,” the Federation doctor insisted. 


“Tell me what you need and I will get it for you.” 


“Doctor Crusher is correct,” Selar dispassionately enjoined, “Your prime consideration is the health of your son.  If he is moved, he may die.  If he stays here, he will die, as we do not have the time to rebuild the necessary equipment in order to continue his life, nor to cure him.” 


Co’Mas was stunned.  There was no doubt in his mind that these people were going to save his favored son and heir.  He absolutely knew by bringing them here, he had saved precious time.  He was convinced they had a ready-made cure and were simply withholding it from Tykar for some political advantage.  He was about to order one of their number tortured for the information when the young female Klingon with the ugly purple scars startled them all with her question: “And what of the Code of Honor, Co’Mas?”


When the warriors had materialized in the medical bay on qo’Hegh, Colna had been thrilled.  Here was the very embodiment of all her dreams.  Her people, her true people.  Untouched by the disease all their lives, they had had the opportunity to pursue their destinies.  Unencumbered by its crippling grip, they were tall and strong and proud.  Despite her own weakness imposed by the disease, she had felt an immediate surge of kinship.  When Rok'ta had spoken, she had recognized his voice and instantly understood the reason for his return to the planet of her birth.  Perhaps she should have understood the lengths his clan was will to go to in order to restore Tykar’s health - and felt fear.  But her heart was aflame with vindication and her soul submersed in the glow of having those of her Warrior Spirit close at-hand for the first time in her life. 


And now she was actually on the Home World!  A huge step closer to having her dreams fulfilled.  What she could not understand - refused to comprehend - was Co’Mas’ actions.  She had studied the recorded histories of warriors all her life.  Held herself true to the demands and edicts of the Code of Honor.  Colna had ignored her own pain in stoic silence so as not to burden others.  She was unwavering in her faith that the Klingon’s Way of the Warrior was her salvation. 


When Co’Mas had come to qo’Hegh, she had understood his motivation, but it was unthinkable for him to have exposed all of his warriors to the disease.  And now he was refusing to allow the doctors access to their best weapons against the disease.  Against the Plague. 


There, she had said it.  The histories of battle were not the only records Colna had read.  She knew as much about the disease called the Plague as anyone alive.  She considered it her greatest enemy and had battled it with all her strength and knowledge.  Refusing to face your fears was about as dishonorable as a Klingon could get.  And that’s exactly what Co’Mas was doing now.  Colna was determined to fight her enemy with her last breath, and was going to ensure this healthy leader of warriors did no less.


 “You have endangered Qo’noS and all Klingons by bringing us here,” Colna thrust her arms into the air, exposing the disfigurement she had endured because of the disease.


 “I should kill you where you stand,” Co’Mas snarled, reaching for his dagger. 


“Killing me will not restore your honor, or cure your son,” Colna stated, refusing to be intimidated.  


“Colna,” Crusher took a step forward to protect her young protege, and was surprised when Selar touched her arm in a staying gesture. 


“Do not,” Selar stated simply.  Vulcans have long been accused of having no emotions, when, in fact, quite the opposite was true.  Their emotions were of such intensity that their race had been forced to master them or perish by them.  Selar was not convinced Colna would be successful in her bid to sway Co’Mas, but recognized the need in the young Klingon to determine her own fate.  Co’Mas was too overwrought by his own emotional needs to listen to a dispassionate recitation of obvious facts.  Perhaps he would heed the words of another consumed by emotion. 


“When Tykar first appeared on our world, I knew the disease would be spread to the Home world.  I did all I could to get a warning to the High Council, but no one would listen to me!” her heart pounding with fury, Colna raged on, not allowing Co’Mas a chance to speak. 


“But what can one pathetic Klingon who was the Plague do?” There was a collective gasp as she shouted aloud the word that others around her feared to whisper. 


“Our families were abandoned long ago so your families might live to fight another day.  So you,” she pointed directly at Co’Mas’ “could strengthen the Empire with your glory!” 


“You have said enough.  Rok’ta,” he raised his head to seek out his son, “put her in the cell with the other brat.” 


“You have no honor Co’Mas!” Colna spat with vehemence.  “There is no cure.  Did your mother have a smooth forehead?  If these doctors do not finish their work, Tykar will die and all your warriors will have to be abandoned on qo’Hegh.  They’ve all been exposed to the Plague!  Think Co’Mas!” Colna was shaking with rage, spittle flying from her lips.  “You will bring greater glory to the Empire by helping these people than by forcing your will on them.”  Colna began to cough.  She was starting to tire from the effort of venting her rage. 


“I will not bow to their demands.  They are lying.  The cure already exists!” Co’Mas thundered, seizing Colna by both arms, lifting her off her feet and shaking her. 


“The Empire must be preserved, Co’Mas,” Colna said quietly, not bothering to fight against the very large and very angry Klingon.  “The Empire is more important than you and even more important than a warrior as great as Tykar,” she looked deep into Co’Mas’ blazing eyes, willing him to remember the most important of all Klingon edicts.


They stood like that, locked in an internal battle for what seemed like an eternity.  Nobody moved.  Then slowly, Co’Mas released Colna, and bowed his head.  He released a cleansing breath and looked once more to Rok’ta.  What he saw in his son’s eyes was hope.  When Co’Mas ordered Rok’ta to gather his brothers and all his warriors to prepare to return to qo’Hegh, that hope was replaced by pride.  Co’Mas hoped he was not being a fool by listening to the young female.  He just wanted his son returned to health.  Nothing more.