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Throughout the Klingon Empire, very few had attained such importance as Koord, at least not without actually becoming Chancellor or Leader of the High Council. More importantly, very few ever got a second chance at command again, but Koord was such an officer.
Once posted to a worthless dust ball in the Neutral Zone, he thought both his career and life were over. At one time, things got so bad he pursued bottles instead of enemies and his only glories were those of the past. At that time, the future appeared so bad, that he even contemplated falling on his own ceremonial knife in order to avoid prolonging his miserable existence.
All of that changed with one chance encounter. The old Klingon proverb of 'Those who wait for opportunities are usually rewarded by success,' had finally come true.
In a matter of just a few days, he not only recovered his old status and honor, he had actually added to it, greatly. He had been promoted and became advisor to Chancellor Gorkon. He was part of the first mission to establish permanent, peaceful relations with the Federation.
During Gorkon's assassination, Koord had been injured. But shortly thereafter, his position in the Empire was strengthened and he became Advisor to Azetbur, Gorkon's daughter, when she was appointed to the office of Chancellor.
Koord recovered from his injuries in time to be present during the official peace treaty signing. Also, it was Koord who had personally pledged that from that day forward, the Empire's military forces would adopt a non-hostile status towards Starfleet.
Now and then, though, Koord actually missed 'the good old days' when he would occasionally engage the humans in battle. All-in-all, the Feds made worthy opponents, and he was never disappointed by their tactics or courage.
Life for his Empire had improved considerably since the Klingon/Federation peace accord. The Empire could now concentrate all of its resources on expanding the Klingon sphere of influence on other frontiers. More importantly, it allowed the Empire to improve conditions on the home world. The Federation had even provided information and advisors on how to protect the environment, increase food production and other improvements. He really liked the Feds. Of course, he had always known who the real enemy was, the Roms.
Romulans had no honor at all. Their world was conceived and operated in treachery and deceit. So many times throughout Klingon/Romulan history, the relationship had tragic consequences for Koord's people and home world. There had been more losses in the fleet with the Romulans than with the Federation. And this was while the Romulans were supposed to be allied with the Klingons!
Three years as a military liaison with the Romulans had taught him many lessons, all unsatisfactory. He tried many times to convince his own government to end the charade and cut off Romulan assistance and aide. Eventually he was recalled and he presented his idea for an alliance with the Federation. For that, he was sent to Nimbus III. He fell out of favor with Klingon's military council and was nearly forgotten. Forgotten sure, but it had almost been a blessing. With his reduced importance, he also became a lesser target for assassination. This allowed him to age in rank, a rank that would have normally meant many challenges from ambitious junior officers. After all, that was the way he had risen through the ranks. In his younger days, he handled all challengers with ease and of course, his military record was one of the finest.
When Gorkon became Chancellor, he sought the council of his old friend, Koord, who had recently reestablished his military career by assisting Starfleet in their hour of need. During the Nimbus crisis, Koord had gone from hostage to survivor. More importantly, during the process, he established a friendship with the most revered Federation officer, James Kirk.
The friendship served Koord and the Empire well. Eventually the old general had risen higher than ever before. In fact, he had even served as the first liaison officer to Starfleet, a genuine honor.
So much importance and so much prestige, it all seemed like too much. But he could handle it all. Just thinking about it made him smile. Things could not be any better. The great life cycle had been more than generous. He had outlived all of his enemies and, sadly, most of his friends as well. It was a simple fact that Klingons usually did not live this long, sometimes trough deceit and intrigue, but mostly as a direct result of being a true warrior.
He shook the thought from his head. No matter, he was here now, Supreme General of the Klingon High Command and the entire fleet to direct as he saw fit. Only the Council leader could change his position, and with over half of the Council members appointed with his personal approval, Koord's position was secure for a long time to come.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the intercom, signaling an incoming message. He reached across the broad expanse of a large and ancient wood table and thumbed the noisy device for an open channel. "Yes?"
The voice on the other end was Colonel Dar, his personal aide. "My Lord, I have a hyperspace message from Admiral Karn. It is encoded and flagged as personal. Shall I transfer it to you?"
"Yes, Dar, I will take it!" While Dar busied himself with setting up the necessary circuits, Koord opened the bottom drawer of his desk and activated a privacy screen. It would not only neutralize all built-in monitoring devices, but also shield the message from any 'curious' officers within Koord's staff and the entire command complex as well.
He turned his attention back to the intercom and thumbed the activation circuit again. "Is all prepared, Dar?"
"Yes, my Lord, the secondary channel, at your pleasure."
Koord activated the appropriate channel and spoke to his oldest and most trusted of friends. "Karn, I am honored! Are you treating my old quarters with proper respect and reverence?"
The admiral responded with a deep laugh and then countered the barb. "You old targ, you left the place a mess. It took a dozen Feds a week to get your old quarters clean enough to use again!"
Koord laughed as he remembered the farewell party thrown in his honor. Karn was probably not exaggerating the scope of the damage. "Tell me, Admiral, why does a Klingon with so much to do, call on an 'old targ' like me? Are the Feds trying to kick you out for dishonoring one of their females?"
Karn responded with a belly laugh. "Koord, you never change!" Then the admiral's voice became serious. "Is your Comm channel secure?"
The Supreme Klingon General furrowed his brows at the sudden shift in conversation. "Of course, old friend, why do you ask?"
The admiral lowered his voice as if to emphasize the importance of what he had to say. "Do you recall the room, the one you used for 'special' meetings?"
Koord knew exactly what the admiral was referring to. During the general's first tour of duty with Starfleet, the room was used often to ensure that special meetings and communications were kept secure. He had seen to its construction himself. "Yes, I remember it well. Many rewarding hours were spent there. Are you there now?"
"Yes, so you understand, right?"
This was serious, thought Koord. Many communications were conducted 'in the clear' as a courtesy to the Feds. Karn's use of a scrambled channel and the secure room made the general curious. "Yes, Admiral, proceed."
"It is most important that you come to Starfleet Headquarters as soon as possible. I ask this because the honor of the Empire demands it. Only you can ensure success in a matter of utmost importance. I ask this in the unspoken name of an old and most honored friend. Will you join me?"
His mind raced. What the devil could Karn want? The old admiral was one of the few officers in the Empire that was completely trustworthy. Koord genuinely liked the man and dismissed any possibility of a trap or a power play. "Karn, are you sure this is important enough?"
"I would give my life to see this --" he searched for the right word "-- situation brought to a satisfactory conclusion."
That tore it! "Then you have my pledge, Karn. I will use my fastest ship and will be at your side in a day. Can you clear my arrival with Starfleet?"
"Already done, my friend. Use the code word 'Phoenix' and when you arrive, contact Admiral Kensington. One more thing, I must ask if you still have access to the 'silent stalker.'"
Koord smiled slyly, "All is available to me, my friend."
"How about its creator?" countered Karn.
"Yes, he is close by."
"Then bring them both. Believe me, you will agree with my reasons why when you arrive."
Koord was both confused and excited at the same time and wasn't sure how to respond. "Very well."
"One last word, security is paramount. Use caution, if there are any inquiries about your travel, say this: The Feds are arranging a large reception as part of a new planet membership. This celebration is to include the launching of a new Starfleet vessel and, at the request of both Starfleet Special Operations and myself, your attendance is requested."
"Consider it done; I'm already leaving! Koord out!" He sat back in his ornate chair and thought, 'What could Karn be planning? Why would he request the silent stalker and its inventor? Who was the old friend that remained nameless? And why was he, General Koord, so vital to this operation?' No matter, all of his questions would be answered soon.
He deactivated the electronic privacy screen and jumped up from his seat. Slapping the intercom control with a vengeance, Koord began slipping on his dress tunic. "Dar!" He could almost picture the colonel snapping to attention and smiled at the thought. It is good to have an aide who is on his toes and quick to serve.
"My Lord, you require something?"
Putting the bright ceremonial sash over his tunic, Koord lost his smile and growled in his usual manner. "Quick, what is the status of the Firestorm?"
"Firestorm, my Lord, is completely ready and at your disposal." There was just a hint of curiosity in the colonel's voice.
"What about the new warp drive system? Is it up to a sustained high speed journey?"
Now Dar's voice was blatantly excited. "As I said, my Lord, it is fully functional. Shall I make preparations to get underway?"
"Yes, and have my personal belongings transferred at once. Contact the research labs and tell them to prepare a silent stalker for transport. Kef will accompany me and, Dar?"
The colonel sounded disappointed. "Yes, my Lord General?"
"You will accompany me as well."
"You honor me, General. May I know the destination?"
"Yes, Dar, once we are underway." He cut the comm channel before his aide could ask any more inconvenient questions.
Yes, this just might be a most satisfactory journey. At least he would be back in Firestorm's command chair and Karn had provided a spark of mystery and adventure. That was just the thing that Koord needed right now. He rubbed his hands together and checked his uniform for proper fit and thought, 'By the Gods, Koord, you may actually get back into battle once again!'