The Path Less Used

Posted on Fri Apr 7th, 2023 @ 6:52pm by HoD Kalja & lagh B'mala

Mission: A New Challenge
Location: Loqat II

Kalja stepped out of the shuttle into the twilight. The surrounding villa the shuttle landed in was beautiful. The large stone buildings were covered by flower blooming vines. Trees filled the open areas between buildings. The Villa was set on the side of a hill, a sweeping view of a blue ocean was in the distance.
Kalja had been here before, this was the largest villa owned by House Otlhoq. It had been almost twenty years since Kalja had made her last visit. She had forgotten how beautiful it was. It was also a bit overwhelming, as Kalja had a hard time recalling where the main hall was.

She was asking herself why had she been called to see Nasha, the lady of the house. Kalja herself had just left service in the KDF. She grew tired of the petty infighting and house maneuvering the officer corps engaged itself in. While she had enough resources to live a comfortable life, she had no plans for her future. There was some talk that maybe Nasha would seek to have her appointed as governor of the small frontier world Kalja lived on. While that would be an honor, that was just moving away from the military political circle to a frontier political circle. More squabbling and dealing with fragile egos. Kalja didn't relish that future.

Maybe they wanted her to come back as an instructor at the academy? Depending on the position and the location of the school, Kalja might consider that. Dealing with cadets would be far easy than politicians. At least cadets knew that they were ignorant. The only pitfall would be if a troublesome cadet from a powerful house tried to have strings pulled.

Would Nasha offer Kalja a new ship? Kalja was doubtful. There was never a shortage of officers to command ships. Then she would have to deal with generals that didn't like the way she ran a ship, especially after she would remove a sycophant that received their position through nepotism. And then there were junior officers that wanted to challenge her position with a blade. Kalja had killed her share of would be upstarts, but that grew tiresome and she was getting older.

After a short search, Kalja waited patiently in the main hall. The walls of the hall were decorated in ornate tapestries that illustrated the long history of House Otlhoq. Kalja was transfixed by one tapestry the displayed an ancient battle of Klingons fighting the Hur'Q.

"Aunt Kalja?" the voice of a young woman broke the spell on Kalja.

The older Klingon turned to see a young Klingon with her bandaged arm in a sling. The younger Klingon was avoiding eye contact. "B'mala, nice to see you." Kalja's tone was friendly. "I see you are still active?" Kalja noted B'mala's arm.

"My mother is very busy. We apologize for keeping you waiting." B'mala avoided Kala's question. "She is now ready to see you."

Kalja was led into an upstairs chamber. The room was an office that was comfortably furnished. Decor of part military conquests as well as art hung from the walls. A window gave a view to the ocean, the planets twin moons reflecting off the surface.

In the corner was an ancient wooden desk. Several PaDDs lay on the top. The soft red light from one of the PaDDs illuminated the face of a middle aged Klingon woman. She looked up and smiled.

"Kalja!" She moved to embrace her sister. "It is good to see you."

"I am glad to be here, Nasha. You have kept the House estate up well. You do us proud." Kalja replied. "I see B'mala has been her usual self?"

Nasha's demeanor became a little more serious. "Yes. A duel with an officer from House Mugoro. B'mala nearly lost her arm from a bat'leth wound. She severed the Mugoro girl's neck. I had to arrange a blood price to settle the matter."

"What was the cost?" Kalja asked.

"A recently updated K't'Inga class and an old D-10 cruiser." Nasha admitted.

"That sounds a bit high for one daughter?"

"House H'rus was goading Mugoro to start a blood feud with us. I would rather pay a high price now, lose a bit of face, rather than start a deeper war down the path." Nasha explained.

"Again, you do our House proud, Nasha." Kalja praised her sister. "I assume you did not summon me here to discuss your daughter?"

The matriarch gave let slip a short smile. "Let me pour us some wine."

Nasha went to a nearby wood and iron cabinet. She retrieved two large glass goblets and a bottle. "The wine is Human made. From the Federation colony of Nova Languedoc." She explained while pouring.

Kalja gave soft nod as she accepted the goblet. "Very nice." She told Nasha after taking a sip. "You failed to answer my question." Kalja added in a friendly tone.

Between sips, Nasha replied. "I want you to command a ship for me. Actually for the House, the KDF, and the Empire. She is the IKS Ro' Jach."

"We have been over this, Sister. I no longer desire to command a vessel."

"This just is not any ship." Nasha continued. " She has been updated with Federation technology. We want you to take her across the Hollow Murk."

Nasha's words surprised Kalja and caused her to think. "What? Any ship we have sent out across that area has been lost. We just do not have the technology to make it that far out."

"We believe we do have the technology." Nasha smiled. "Starfleet is sharing some of their engineering with us. That and helping the Empire raise or level of science."

"That sounds a bit generous?" Kalja replied. "I assume they want something in return?"

"They want a joint expedition." Nasha admitted. "We disclose anything we discover. And share in any resources."

Kalja snorted. "The Humans will find a way to keep most of what they find to themselves. I am skeptical of this venture, Sister."

"Your concerns are understandable." Nasha empathetically replied. "That said, the Empire is stagnate. We are headed for yet another civil war. We need to break this cycle of violence and decay. This is an opportunity for expansion. We can raise the living standards for the average Klingon. Yes, the Humans may exploit our efforts, but the Empire will be better off in the long run."

"As will House Otlhoq." Kalja added, skepticism laced in her voice.

"Would you object to that?" Nasha asked rhetorically. "Or would you rather see H'rus rule over the rubble of our Empire?"

Kalja silently took in her sister's words.

"We need a level headed and competent captain to lead this mission. She has to be able to work with Starfleet and keep her own crew in line. It will be arduous, but she is a Klingon and a noblewoman. I can think of none better than you, Sister." Nasha told Kalja.

Kalja stared into her goblet. Nasha knew how persuade people, her sister was no exception. "Very well. I will captain the ship."

Nasha had a wide smile on her face. "I knew the Empire could depend on you, Sister."

Nasha and Kalja embraced.

"One more small request, Captain?" Nasha asked in a soft voice. "Bring B'mala with you. She has too much of her father in her to stay in the Empire."