Leminora System: Non-Aligned Space
The troop bay of the nentay was packed with four hundred Klingon marines readying their equipment. Colonel Te-Raw and his pack were in the middle of things. They sharpened their blades and painted fierce patterns into their fur that complemented their tattoos and armor. Klingon pilots in flight gear were readying twelve assault ships for final loading for the trip towards the planet's surface. Tigranian's fleet was already in position under cloak just out of weapons range of the planet. As soon as Dyoldas and his fleet arrived, they would be ready to strike.
General Tigranian walked in with Laria and the three Federation observers. He carried his bat'leth in the crook of his arm.
"Is everything ready on your end, HoD?" he said turning to Laria.
"Yes Sir," Laria replied. "All ships report combat ready. Troops are Defense Condition Two and ready to load on your order."
"What about our Federation guests?" Tigranian said turning to Mukwotho and her small entourage. "Is there anything else you need before we depart?"
"No General," Mukwotho said confidently. "We've already made contact with Admiral Murphy and headquarters. They're standing by to receive our reports."
"Good," Tigranian said. "I guess it's time for one last thing…"
He turned and walked over to an assault ship. Without a word, he climbed up the side of its outrigger wing and jumped onto the roof.
"What is he doing?" Quan asked confused.
"You'll see," Laria muttered.
Tigranian looked down at Laria. She walked over to a control panel mounted on the far wall and pressed a series of controls. Suddenly, three huge holographic screens appeared in the air hovering beneath the vaulted ceiling of the bay. One was a direct link to Dyoldas' bridge on his flagship. The next two showed the troop bays in the other Klingon transports. The first was packed with Phebans busying themselves on two long rows of heavily armored ground tanks. The squid-like humanoids were dressed in grey jumpsuits smeared with grease. Their third eye-stalks poked out through holes in the top of their black, padded helmets. The final screen showed another other transport packed with a regiment of felinoid Ferasans in armored tunics with a pair of goggles strapped across their fur-covered foreheads. They were performing final checks on several dimounted pulse disruptor cannons.
"I've never seen anything like this before," Richey said.
"Only noble houses are allowed warships," Laria explained. "Most jeghpu'wI' serve in the ground component."
"Funny, I always thought the Klingon Defense Forces were composed only of Klingons…" Quan muttered.
"Look around, Captain," Laria said. "Not everyone who calls themself Klingon has forehead ridges…"
When the three Starfleet officers finally examined the jeghpu'wI' more closely, they realized that their uniforms and equipment all proudly bore the sign of the tIqghob.
Tigranian banged his bat'leth against the metal hull of the assault ship. The bay immediately quieted down. Everyone turned their attention towards their general.
"Warriors," Tigranian began while speaking in tlhIngan Hol. Mukwotho and the others tuned their universal translators so they could understand. "The time has come."
Tigranian looked to each of the screens and then to those assembled in person at his front.
"The 6th Regiment, Imperial Klingon Marines, The 5th Pheban Armored Hussars, The 21st Ferasan Hoverdragoons, now joined by the 4th veS'ay' of San-Tarahan Janissaries…"
Te-Raw and his men yipped loudly.
"Do you see the might of the Klingon Empire now? Do you see our strength when we join together?" Tigranian shouted. A massive cheer erupted across the three ships. Dyoldas and his Cardassian crew looked on with silent admiration. "Our Cardassian allies have called for aid, and we have answered with all the strength of our worlds!"
Another cheer erupted from the assembled Klingon forces. Mukwotho and her Starfleet companions exchanged glances.
"We cannot be defeated!" Tigranian yelled. "For we are many races!"
"WITH ONE BLOOD!" the KDF troops responded back in one unified scream.
"We are many spirits!" Tigranian continued.
"ALL UNITED UNDER KAHLESS!" the KDF troops replied.
"When you land on the planet below, sell your lives dearly," Tigranian said dropping his gaze to meet the crowd's eyes. "But if you must die today, know that you die striking terror into the hearts of those oppose us. You die to free those in oppression. You are the hunters! The Cardassian State is the prey!"
More shouts and cheers erupted from the crowd. Laria crossed her arms in front of her chest and grinned.
"TILL STO'VO'KOR!" Tigranian roared holding his bat'leth in the air.
"HURRRAAAHHHHH!" the KDF troops yelled back holding their weapons high.
"TILL STO'VO'KOR!" Tigranian repeated.
"TILL STO'VO'KOR!" the general said for the third and final time.
Tigranian turned around, looked up at a large Klingon flag hanging from the roof of the troop bay, and placed a fist over his heart. Instantly, all the other Klingon troops snapped to attention and saluted in kind.
Nearly a thousand soldiers of the empire: Klingons, Phebans, Ferasans, and San-Tarahans began to sing as one. Laria belted out the words in perfect tlhIngan Hol as Mukwotho, Quan, and Richey were awestruck:
Unbreakable union bound by Mother Qo'noS,
Strong and invincible, reign forever in glory!
Kahless, guide our empire!
Reign to make our foes tremble,
Reign to make our families strong!
Kahless, guide our empire!
Out of many, we have become one,
United by faith in you, our honor is eternal!
Kahless, guide our empire!
Slowly, Tigranian turned back around.
"Board your assault ships! The time for glory is here!" he screamed as his troops sprang into action.
"What do we do now, Captain?" Mukwotho said turning to Laria.
"They get ready to land, Admiral," she said plainly. "We're heading to the bridge."
The metallic doors at the aft of the nentay's bridge parted. Laria walked straight towards the vacant captain's chair mounted on a central raised platform.
"Captain on the bridge!" a gruff warrior wearing commander's stripes called.
"As you were, Volorg" Laria said examining a PADD of tactical information. Mukwotho and Quan took places to the rear of Laria's perch while Richey walked over to a console next to the nentay's operations station. She pulled out a headset and fastened it around her head.
"Do you have Starfleet on Cardassia Prime?" Mukwotho asked.
"Yes, Ma'am," Richey replied. "They acknowledge our position and await further reports.
"What do you think, Shu Yin?" the admiral asked.
"Standard stealth orbital approach. We're in a assembly position awaiting the arrival of Legate Dyoldas. The Cardassians are probably holding just out of sensor range until they are ready to begin the coordinated attack."
"While I love the sense of ambiance you both bring to the bridge," Laria said turning towards them, "if you're simply going to repeat everything that's happening, could you do it in a place where you're not getting in my way?"
"My apologies, Captain. It's your ship," Mukwotho said with a glare as she signaled for Quan to step closer to Richey.
"Tactical Analysis, Lieutenant Berga" Laria commanded.
"Eight Cardassian State cruisers in a picket formation surrounding Leminora. It seems the secret of our attack might be out, HoD," the operations officer replied.
"Baktag," Laria muttered. "Open a channel to Legate Dyoldas."
"Legate, this is Captain Laria on the nentay. Are you seeing what I'm seeing?"
"Captain Laria," Dyoldas replied through the bridge speakers. "Affirmative. We are in our attack position, but I only have five combat ready cruisers in my fleet. It may not be enough to break through their lines unassisted."
"What do you want to do, Sir?"
"We didn't come this far to turn and run now."
"Understood," Laria replied. "Open a fleetwide channel."
"Open, Ma'am," Berga replied.
"Attention all Klingon vessels: this is Laria HoD on the nentay. I am taking command of the fleet. Battlecruisers voQ and ja'chuq will now assist the Republic of Cardassia vessels when the attack begins. The nentay will escort the troop transports till we are landing range of the planet."
Quan walked up to whisper in Laria's ear.
"Do you think that's wise? That means the Cardassians will still outnumber you. The nentay can…"
"You are here only to observe…" Laria said raising a finger in Quan's direction. "Question me again, and it will not be pleasant for you. Do you understand?"
"Of course," Quan said retreating back towards Mukwotho.
"The fleet has acknowledged, HoD," Commander Volorg replied. "They are standing by."
"Legate Dyoldas, you have operational control of my battle cruisers. We are ready."
Richey updated Starfleet with her headset of the updated battle plan.
"Acknowledged!" Dyoldas said. "We are jumping to warp in five, four, three, two…"
Five flashes emerged from warp as the Republic cruisers flew towards the State ships in battle formation. The CS ships broke into four attack pairs and attempted to surround Dyoldas' fleet. Then, just as it seemed that the enemy would take the upper hand, two Klingon K'Tinga battlecruisers decloaked and fired a volley of torpedoes directly into a pair of flanking CS Galors. Both CS ships lurched at the unexpected assault. One exploded immediately while the other drifted away totally disabled.
"Remind me to speak with Grask HoD about his weapons officer's proficiency," Laria said to Volarg. "Both ships should have been destroyed."
"Yes, HoD," he replied. Mukwotho chuckled as the Bajoran who was barely hold enough to replicate a beer in the Federation was now commanding an entire Klingon battle group.
The Republic ships began pounding away at the remaining CS vessels with powerful support from the battlecruisers' disruptors.
"Inform the transports to hold five kellicams off our nacelles and prepare to decloak. We're punching through," Laria said.
"Now?" Quan said shocked. "We don't even have a breach yet!"
Without a word, Laria drew her d'k tahg and clicked the blades open. Quan immediately fell silent.
The nentay appeared from behind its cloaking shields with two heavy troop transports directly alongside. It accelerated to full impulse and flew directly at Leminora.
"Two Cardassian State cruisers are altering course. They are attempting to intercept the troop ships," Lieutenant Berga reported.
"Range?" Laria asked calmly.
"Six thousand kellicams."
"Lock photon torpedoes. Priority of fire: weapons arrays then warp cores. Fire when ready."
"Acknowledged, HoD," the weapons officer shouted from her console. Six red spheres flew out from the nentay's torpedo bays. All found their marks on the Cardassian State ships. Their hulls began to buckle and crack as burning plasma poured out of their deflector arrays.
"If you hit one of their modified Galors in the power grid, they have a tendency to blow up…I learned that a few weeks ago with the Lorkrana at Lissek," Laria said to Mukwotho. The Admiral stared back at her uncomfortably. "Status of the battle?" Laria asked turning back towards the operations console.
"Three CS cruisers destroyed, two disabled," Berga said. "It appears they were not expecting Klingon forces in addition to the Republic ships."
Laria grinned as she pressed a button on her chair.
"Laria to Lord Daniel," she said. "The Cardassian State fleet is no longer a problem. We're pushing through. Orbital interface in three minutes. Watch yourself down there. Weather report says its hovering around zero degrees with a fresh pack of snow"
"jIyaj, My Lady," Tigranian replied. "Well done. We'll unpack our long johns."
Laria turned her chair to face Mukwotho and Quan. Richey was still speaking into the headset with Starfleet.
"Now the real fun begins," Laria beamed.