[STO] New Featured Episode: Brushfire!

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Psia
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[STO] New Featured Episode: Brushfire!

Post by Psia » 07/13/17

"A First's Tale"
Paul Reed, Content Writer, Star Trek Online


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Kavat’kara was roused from his meditation by the sounds of combat – blows landing, feet shuffling, curses and the like filled the air of the cell block.

“qablIj HI’ang! Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam!”

A woman’s voice, filled with rage and defiance, so common for Klingons. The crack of a quick, strong blow follows her angry challenge. Guards asserting their dominance and authority. Expected.

“Nuchpu’! Ha’Dibahpu’!”

The dull thud of a body striking the deck in the cell next to his, accompanied by a low rumble of brutish laughter. The sibilant hiss of the cell door’s security field as it energizes. The sound of boots on the deck as the guards leave the area.

“Don’t strike that force field, warrior,” Kavat’kara called out to his new neighbor, making sure to do so in her language. “You won’t like what it does to your hands if you do.”

“You sound… strange,” came the slightly amused reply. “Where did you learn to speak Klingon?”

“The Gamma Quadrant.”

“Ah. You are Jem’Hadar?”

“I am First Kavat’kara… and I am dead. I have been dead for many a year now.”

“Hmph. None of the men I’ve killed were able to talk to me about it afterward, although I suspect they moan about it in Gre’thor from time to time.”

“And have you killed many men, warrior?”

“More than I have fingers and toes,” she said with a dry laugh. “And I am Grella, daughter of Krelm. If you are going to speak to me, you should know my name.”

“Grella,” Kavat’kara mused. “After the hero of Ten Days at the Gates of Kuvan’ba, if my memory serves.”

“It serves you well. A Jem’Hadar who knows of Klingon Opera - you’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?”

“Not enough to keep me out of this place, unfortunately.”

“In that, we are alike. I curse the day they took me and brought me here. All because I refused to lie with Torg… as if any woman would share the bed of a filthy taHqeq like that!”

“Just so.”

“And how did you come to be here, exactly?”

Kavat’kara opened his eyes and rose from the mat he used for his meditation, smiling as he did so. At my age, I should be feeling many aches and pains… and yet, I have the strength of the young.

“It is a tale of some length, and one without an ending… but I will share it with you if you wish it.”

“Do so,” she replied. “It will help to pass the time.”

“Very well. I came to this quadrant in the last year of the Dominion War, proud to serve the Founders.”

“Truly? I wasn’t even born then. How are you still alive – don’t Jem’Hadar die by their twentieth year?”

“Jem’Hadar seldom live to that age, but we do not die upon reaching it,” He chuckled to himself at that thought. “I have lived past that point by some time. I… may be the oldest Jem’Hadar in known space. What a curious thing.”

“An elderly Jem’Hadar,” Grella said with slight disbelief. “I suppose next you’ll tell me an honest Ferengi and a chaste Orion live in here!”

“Not to my knowledge, though I suppose anything is possible, given time.”

“I’m surprised you’re still here. Don’t you live to serve the Founders… your gods?” Grella sniffed with disdain.

“No longer,” Kavat’kara said. “I serve neither Founder nor Dominion now, only myself.”

“Is… is that even possible? I mean… isn’t serving those blobs something that is bred into your kind?”

“So it is said, and yet… here I stand. Free of mind, if not of body.”

“Keep talking, then. I would hear the tale of a Jem’Hadar who defies his gods.”

Kavat’kara moved to a position where he could see Grella’s cell. A few meters away, the Klingon woman stared back at him intently. After a respectful nod, he continued.

“My squad served with distinction during the war, fighting primarily in the Alpha Quadrant. We faced many foes - Federation, Klingon… even a few Romulans. An enemy’s origin mattered little to us. There was only the war. Victory was all we sought.”

“Right – ‘Victory is Life.’ That’s the Jem’Hadar creed, is it not?”

“Yes. A maxim we fought, lived, and died by.”

“Go on, then. You fought us, we fought you, then what?”

“The war, for most, came to an end. Dominion forces withdrew, returning to the Gamma Quadrant. It was not so for us.”

“So you rebelled?”

“We remained under orders, in defiance of the armistice. We were to disrupt enemy shipping, supply lines. We were told that the armistice would be broken, and that the Dominion would return to mount a new offensive.”

“The Founders told you this?”

“Yes… and no.”

“Don’t speak in riddles. I find it tedious.”

“The orders came from the Vorta officer who commanded us, although she did so in the name of the Founders. We believed her at first… and well, she had control of the White. Thus, we remained obedient, though many of suspected the Vorta’s motives were not the same as those of the Founders.”

“Intriguing. So you fought on?”

“Yes. For eighteen months, first in the Alpha Quadrant, then in Beta. Our campaign came to an end in Klingon space. We had received faulty intel and fell into a well-laid trap. It was… a brief conflict.”

“But here you stand. Don’t Jem’Hadar usually fight to the death?”

“That is not uncommon. It was not an option for most of us on that day, however. The Klingons we fought took as many of us alive as possible.”

“And then?”

“They brought us to this place to study us, to learn of our strengths and weaknesses. This place is more than a prison.”

“I’ve heard,” Grella spat in disgust. “Torg lets his scientists and the face-stretchers play their cruel games. He’ll be wailing in the deepest bowels of Gre’thor for it.”

“Just so,” Kavat’kara said. “One by one, we were given to these scientists. They were particularly interested in how we would cope without Ketracel-White under local conditions.”

“What do you mean?”

“They call it ‘metaphasic radiation.’ It has regenerative properties. It allowed us to survive for extended periods without the White.”

“But don’t you eventually go mad without the stuff?”

“Under normal conditions. The Son’a have a supply of White. They made it during the war for the Dominion, and they continue to make it now.”

Grella decorated her cell floor with spit once more. Her opinion of the Son’a was quite clear to the Jem’Hadar nearby.

“That being said, they dole out the White sparingly. Between that and the radiation, I have managed to endure.”

“You don’t sound pleased about that.”

“The process is… tortuous at times. Several of us succumbed to madness while they watched us, waiting to see if the radiation would cleanse us of a need for the White completely. To date, that has yet to occur.”

“That is no way to die,” Grella replied. “Warriors should die in battle, enemies or not.”

“Several of us did. When it was clear what they wanted with us, we who remained attempted to escape. Even the Vorta took up arms.”

“Huh. A Vorta with a spine.”

“Yes. She fought well. She was one of the lucky ones - those who fell in combat. The rest were brought back to their cells, and to the labs.”

“What happened after that?”

“The scientists continued to work on the ‘withdrawal process,’ as they called it. Their work has taken the lives of all the Jem’Hadar who remained, save one.”

“You.”

“Yes. Of my company, only I remain. I am both First… and last.”

“Well. If you still have fight in you when the time comes, fight at my side. I do not plan on being here long. I am Klingon! I will not suffer this dishonor!”

Kavat’kara smiled sadly and nodded in silence. What was the Klingon proverb? ‘Always it is the brave ones who die.’ He hoped, when the time came, that he stood amongst their number.
"The food is good, the wine is excellent, the staff timely. All that is lacking is your company." - EQ2 Raven Mythic FAQ

"Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference." - Kirk to Picard, Star Trek Generations

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Psia
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Re: [STO] Brushfire!

Post by Psia » 07/13/17

"Tale of the Witch"
Paul Reed, Content Writer, Star Trek Online


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“Husband,” B’irja said through gritted teeth as she trudged over a dune. “If I never have to look upon this place again, I shall be grateful. ‘Planet of Galactic Peace’ – bah! ‘Planet of Eternal Misery’ is a more fitting description!”

Rodek, son of Noggra, smiled beneath the filtration mask he wore. Nimbus III was many things, but pleasant was not one of them. He took a tricorder reading to get his bearings, and then pointed toward a massive rock formation jutting out of the sand nearby. “Our destination is near, be’nal. Behold Koord’s Rock.”

“Heh,” replied B’irja. “It’s almost as large as old Koord was before he passed. They say they had to rebuild the gates of Sto-vo-kor so they would be wide enough for him to pass through them.”

“Perhaps, but his fighting spirit was larger than his frame. I read of his triumphs when I was just a bekk at the Academy.”

“You can regale me with his exploits later. If that petaQ Horace Jones was speaking truly, the one we’ve been looking for lives in a cave here.”

“Yes. The so-called ‘Witch of Koord’s Rock.’ She has put a fear in the hearts of many on this planet.”

“Cowards and superstitious fools! If there is a single being with a shred of honor on this piece of baktag, I will be greatly surprised!”

“Regardless of that, keep your disruptor at hand. This woman has survived for many years in this place, alone. That takes cunning, and prowess in battle.”

“She’s not the only woman with Imperial Intelligence training in this misbegotten desert. If this ‘witch’ wishes to test me, my knives are at the ready.”

Rodek nodded and walked toward Koord’s Rock. “The tricorder has picked up several caves ahead. The most defensible lies to the northeast.”

“Let’s go, then,” B’irja said tersely. “We wouldn’t want to keep the witch waiting.”

A small metal sphere burst from a nearby dune without warning. As the two Klingons spun to face it, weapons drawn, a holographic image shimmered into view before them. The visage of a Klingon woman, her head shaved, with numerous rings and piercings visible upon her lined face, smirked at them.

“Then stop chewing ligament and make your way to my home,” the hologram said. “You have gone to so much trouble to find me, why waste time talking about the fearful bleating of fools?”

Rodek and B’irja exchanged a quick glance. B’irja was the first to reply.

“You are Adet’pa?”

“I am. I am also hungry, and have prepared a stew I wish to introduce to my stomach. Come forth, warriors, and I will share it with you… if you are brave enough to eat with a witch.”

With a nod, the two warriors began to march toward Koord’s Rock once more.

***

“I take it you two are not here to investigate the legends of Nimbus III.” Adet’pa plucked a piece of meat from her bowl of stew and chewed it with relish. “I wager you have come to speak of a certain duel of honor, and its little-known aftermath.”

“We are,” Rodek said. “It is said that you know the truth. If that is so, we would hear your account of the battle.”

“No matter the cost of such knowledge?”

“We are here. That is proof of how far we are willing to go to learn what happened.”

“Very well. I will not waste words on the battle. I am no loresinger. The story of what happened after J’mpok struck the final blow is what you wish to hear, yes?”

“It is,” said B’irja. “Is J’mpok a liar? Did he not kill Martok in honorable battle?”

Adet’pa ran a calloused hand over her shaved head and chuckled. “In this matter, at least, J’mpok is not a liar…not completely. He did, in fact, strike Martok with a killing blow. And, as he left the chamber to proclaim his victory, the forces of House Torg began their treacherous work.”

“Go on. What did they do, specifically?”

“They injected Martok with a number of very illegal and very effective substances; substances that kept him at the brink of death. To medical instruments, he was dead… but to House Torg, he was very much alive. A long-sought prize, won at last.”

“To what end? Why would Torg commit such a dishonor?”

“I see you do not know Torg well,” Adet’pa sneered. “He is capable of treachery that would make a Romulan blush. Torg wished to remove a capable Chancellor – Martok – and replace him with someone more… malleable. In time, he would undermine Martok’s replacement and ascend to the Chancellery himself. Once there? Well. Torg has long believed that the Empire should be led by an Emperor.”

“Madness,” Rodek said grimly. “But why would Torg keep Martok alive? The blade of J’mpok removed him from his position in a very final manner.”

“Because a hatred for Martok burns inside of Torg,” Adet’pa replied. “It consumes him, and he wanted to punish Martok for sins real and imagined. Repeatedly. In this, Torg has succeeded, unlike so many of his other schemes.”

“And where is Torg keeping Martok,” B’irja asked sharply. “Where does the taHqeq hold one of the Empire’s greatest warriors?”

“I shall tell you,” said Adet’pa as a sly smile crept across her face. “But that knowledge comes with a price.”

“Which is?”

“Take me from this place. Take me to Martok’s wife. She will want to know what I have told you. I would have asylum with her noble house in return. Once I have it, I shall give her – and you – Martok’s location.”

“This can be arranged,” Rodek said. “But why now, after so many years have passed?”

“I have kept this secret for too long. I grow weary of it. Torg did what he could to discredit me, and J’mpok did nothing to stop him.”

“Why would he? To reveal that Martok still lived would come with many uncomfortable questions and demands. Blood oaths.”

“Indeed. And so J’mpok remained silent when Torg’s efforts led to my… banishment. They thought to kill me, quietly, once I was publically dishonored and out of view. They have learned I am not so easily disposed of.”

“Returning to the Empire may expose you to any number of assassins, and their blades.”

“Perhaps. Making such a move will be harder under the protection of House Martok. I’m willing to take my chances on such a gambit. If I am to die, I would die a warrior’s death worthy of song.”

“And we will stand at your side,” said B’irja. “We will see your honor restored, Adet’pa.”

“Good. Then let us finish this stew and leave this place. Nimbus III may lose its witch, but the House of Torg shall gain one, and she has many a cold, vengeful dish to serve them.”
"The food is good, the wine is excellent, the staff timely. All that is lacking is your company." - EQ2 Raven Mythic FAQ

"Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference." - Kirk to Picard, Star Trek Generations

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Psia
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Re: [STO] Brushfire!

Post by Psia » 07/13/17

New Featured Episode:
Brushfire


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Rodek oversaw the loading of I.K.S. Kor. This mission was too important to leave to his quartermaster. An error would be inexcusable – too much was on the line. Martok was believed lost once already; it would be a tragedy for him to be lost again. If all went according to plan, Lieutenant Kord will have earned a promotion after smuggling the uniform being carried onto the ship at this exact moment.

“Bridge to General Rodek. A message from High Command.”

Rodek hit his communicator, impatiently. “This is Rodek. Speak.”

“Sir, the High Council has approved our mission. Even J’mpok himself. And your friend has agreed to help us. We are to rendezvous in the Briar Patch in six days’ time. We should be able to make it there in five at Warp 8.”

Rodek smirked. “Good. Once we are done loading, gather all crew in the mess hall and bring a barrel of bloodwine. Only one barrel. The other barrel is for when we’ve succeeded.”

“Yes, sir!”

“It would appear that House Martok may soon be in your debt, Rodek, son of Noggra.” A familiar voice surprised Rodek from behind.

“Lady Sirella, I was not expecting you.” Lady Sirella, head of House Martok in her husband’s absence, discussed many details of this plan with Rodek before the plan was brought to the High Council. Rodek was certain that she was the one who pushed this operation through. “I promise that I will bring your husband home to you.”

“Yes. You will, General. However, should it come to it, send your ship to the edge of the Briar Patch and that petaQ Torg will learn the fury of a Klingon forced to bury her grandson before his time.”

“Understood.” Rodek offered a Klingon salute as she quietly left him to his duty.

____
  • As the Tzenkethi threat menaces the Alpha Quadrant, a new hope presents itself in the Beta Quadrant. On Tuesday, July 18th, experience our latest featured episode “Brushfire” and seek the aid of one of history’s greatest Klingon generals. “Brushfire” comes out with Season 13.5, and continues our “New Frontiers” storyline. It includes great rewards that you can earn over the course of several weeks.

    Join forces with Rodek, played by Tony Todd, and venture into a secret Son'a prison to rescue the legendary Klingon hero Martok, played by J.G. Hertzler, in our latest featured episode, Brushfire!

    For a limited time, “Brushfire” will be available to all players level 10 and up (Romulan players must have selected a faction). After this, it will be in our normal mission journal progression.

    Ryon “Melange” Levitt
    Staff Content Designer
    Cryptic Studios
"The food is good, the wine is excellent, the staff timely. All that is lacking is your company." - EQ2 Raven Mythic FAQ

"Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference." - Kirk to Picard, Star Trek Generations

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