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Great Hall, First City: Qo'noS

Thirty-Six Hours Later

Laria leaned on a cane outside of the High Council chambers. Elessa continued to dote on her much to her chagrin. What the Klingons called 'doctors' had at least prevented her leg from getting any worse, but she definitely looked forward to seeing a Starfleet sickbay again. Torlek brooded outside the large wooden doors to the Klingon Upper House of Lords. Martok had convened a special joint session of the High Council as soon as they made their final report via subspace. The result of the legislative body's deliberations infuriated Torlek. The Klingon warrior's grey dress stole whipped back and forth along the floor as he paced.

"This is an outrage!" he grumbled for the hundredth time.

"No, it's not," Laria said furrowing her brow.

"They can't do this!" he muttered.

"Yes, they can," Elessa chided. "They are the High Council."

"I didn't do anything!" he replied.

"Yes, you did," Laria said. "I was there."

"You were the one who deactivated the force field, you were the one who hacked the fire suppression system, and you were the one who put a blade in the traitor's back. Not to mention, to my everlasting shame, a Tigranian has now saved my life TWICE," he said as if the words tasted bitter. "It should be you."

Laria shook her head.

"I wasn't the one who fought their way up those steps and I wasn't the one who delivered the killing blow. I wouldn't have even been there at the end if you hadn't carried me like a sack of Zilm'kach," she said using her cane to tap her bum leg. "Besides, the Klingon Empire is willing to tolerate an alien being a lot of things these days, but not this. Accept it for me."

"Very well," Torlek snarled. "But I don't have to like it."

Elessa rubbed her eyes.

"However," Laria said, "There is one thing I ask."

"Anything," Torlek replied.

"As soon as this is over, put me on your fastest ship to the Federation. We're up against the clock here."

Torlek knew enough about his brother's culture to understand.

"As you wish," he said with a grin.

"Oh, Laria," Elessa said. "I've baked a few rokeg blood pies for you and Daniel. Do you mind taking them with you?"

"It would be my honor, Your Lady," she said. Elessa chuckled.

The doors to the Council Chamber opened and M'ert, the High Council's adjutant, appeared.

"Lord Torlek," he said with a bow of his head. "The Council is ready. I will announce you."

Torlek nodded and walked inside the chambers. The councilors stood at rigid attention along the sides of the hall. Martok stood on his dais with his arms crossed at the head of the assembly. His one eye glared at Torlek.

"Presenting Lord Torlek, Son of Ro'vagh," Me'rt shouted to the assembly. "Governor of Ty'Gokor, Chief of Staff of the Defense Forces."

"Lord Torlek!" Martok's voice boomed through the silent chamber. "Come forward!"

As Torlek marched towards the Chancellor's seat, Elessa led Laria inside. They silently slipped towards one of the side galleries to watch the proceedings.

Torlek stopped at Martok's feet and saluted with a fist over his heart. Martok returned the gesture.

"Kneel," the Chancellor ordered. Torlek obeyed and dropped to one knee, his eyes on the rough-cut stones of the floor.

"Lord Torlek," Martok began. "Under your leadership, seven warriors stood against one hundred enemies of the Klingon Empire on Subik IV…and won total victory. By all accounts, you fought with poetic and pure valor: worthy of story and song. For a thousand turns, all will tell the tale of your triumphs and praise your courage. Fathers and mothers will teach their sons and daughters using your example. You truly have the heart of Kahless the Unforgettable beating within your chest.

Therefore, on behalf of all Klingon Peoples, by special vote of their High Council and ascent of their Chancellor, we grant you immortality."

An aide stepped forward carrying a red pillow. On it was a neck order: a black marble ball supported by a chain forged from golden blades. Martok lifted the medallion, stepped forward and placed it over Torlek's head. The Chancellor stepped back onto his dais and gazed down at his Chief of Staff. "Rise and be recognized, Torlek, Son of Ro'vagh: Dahar Master of the Klingon Empire."

Torlek rose to his feet and the chamber shouted in unison:


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