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Burdens of a Sunset
by Edison Kells
(September 1997)



                             - PREFACE -



           This is a story of two estranged Klingon adolescents:

      Alexander, son of Worf, and Toral, son of Duras.   It tells of their

      very different struggles as each seeks to find a place of honor

      and integrity in a decaying Klingon society.   Like all Klingon

      tales, this is one of triumph and tragedy.



            I got the idea for this story from thinking about open-ended

      episodes in the regular Star Trek canon.   Although "Burdens of

      a Sunset" takes place in the Deep Space Nine era, after Dax

      and Worf get together, the background for the the main character,

      Toral, can be found in the Next Generation episode, "Redemption".



           I finished this short story in September 1997 for entry in a

      Star Trek writing contest.   Much thanks to friends Dennis, John,

      and Cindy for proofing and details.   Needless to say I did not

      win the contest, or I wouldn't be posting the story here.   My

      friends tell me it that its still pretty good.   Let me know what you

      think...



***************************************************



"I propose nothing short of revolution--  Brace for change, 

or resign to death.  Encourage upheaval as you  would a 

child, embrace strife as you would a lover, and welcome 

change as you would a long, lost friend.   Demand 

revolution, for revolution alone can save our Klingon 

Empire!"                                           

	--Kosh, Son of Kronos

          from The Rise and Fall of the Klingon Empire 

 

	*** 1 ***

 

	Droq leaned across the table towards Worf, the edges of 

his grayed warrior's beard slopping in Dax's  drink.  

Lowering his voice, he delivered the punch line, "The 

Romulan screamed, 'I did not know that  cheese was food!'".  

 

	The pause was subtle; the ensuing laughter was not.  

Dax was the first to notice the disapproving  glances from 

Klingons at nearby tables, and soon caught the barkeep's 

condemning glare.  It was hard  to believe they were on 

Kronos, the Klingon homeworld. 

	She quieted herself and placed a hand on Worf's knee, 

"Better take it easy.  The proprietor seems to be  getting 

annoyed." 

	"Annoyed?", Worf boomed.  He turned his head to glower 

at the bartender, and continued in a loud voice, "I  haven't 

given anyone reason to be annoyed--yet!"  

	Worf slapped the table, and the two Klingons took up 

their raucous refrain again. 

	"Well, Worf, life must be treating you pretty well 

after all these years. I don't believe I've ever seen you  

more relaxed, peaceful -- even jovial!" 

	Dax smirked, "Careful, Droq.  Insults like that could 

lose you your beard." 

	"Bah!" Droq interjected.  "You asked how he resembles 

his father?  It's in his laughter that Worf  resembles his 

father the most." 

 

	Droq had been a close friend of Worf's parents, and 

even traveled to the Klingon outpost, Khitomer, for  Worf's 

B'raw Taq, the birthing celebration of the firstborn.  

Throughout his life, Worf had rarely heard from  Droq, and 

even saw him less frequently.  But he always appeared at 

pivotal times -- the times of honor  when his own father 

would have been present were he still alive.  It was Droq 

who first handed Worf a  bat'leth, pronouncing his manhood.  

And Worf remembered the surprise he had felt, and also the 

pride,  when he noticed Droq seated in the assembly at his 

Starfleet graduation.  Like a surrogate parent, Droq  always 

seemed to be present for Worf at important times -- but only 

at important times.  And Droq had  never requested a visit 

from Worf before. 

 

	That thought sobered Worf, and he began to wonder again 

about Droq's invitation for him to come to  Kronos "whenever 

it was convenient".  Of course, such a request obligated 

Worf to visit without delay,  demonstrating respect towards 

an esteemed elder and mentor.  Worf and Dax arrived on the 

Klingon  homeworld only hours earlier, and were startled at 

the deteriorated living conditions they found there.  Rumor 

had it that decades of economic depression were taking their 

toll on Klingon society, but they were  unprepared for the 

pervasive poverty they found.  Right now, more troubling to 

Worf than economics,  however, was why he was "summoned" 

there. 

 

	"Droq.  Why is it that you've asked me to come to 

Kronos?" 

	Droq looked down at the table, and sighed.  When he 

raised his eyes to meet Worf's, he spoke quietly.   "I guess 

we've done enough mirth-making for one night.  I need to ask 

of you a favor, Worf." 

	He paused and glanced at Dax, who stiffened defensively 

at his obvious disease towards her presence.  She squinted 

her eyes.  "I'm sure Kirzon would have found great humor in 

your asking favors of a younger Klingon." 

	"Of course!", Droq relaxed, "I somehow can't get it 

through my thick skull that that garish rascal now  holds 

counsel behind such -- engaging eyes.  Please, Dax, no 

offense intended.  The matters about  which we must speak 

require, shall I say, a desperate sensitivity."  He looked 

down at the table again,  and this time did not raise his 

eyes as he spoke.  "What do you know of the Civilist 

Movement?" 

	Dax's countenance grew stern as she crossed her arms 

and sat back in her chair. 

	Worf crushed the goblet in his hand. 

 

	*** 2 *** 

 

	He noted that there was only one other Klingon aboard 

the Terran Passenger Cruiser bound for Kronos,  and that she 

was seated in the rear of the cabin, a vantage point from 

which she was able to watch his  every move.  She had 

boarded where he did, at Mars Junction, and had disembarked 

at the same  stopover stations along the way.  Or at least 

it seemed that way. 

 

	"I'm getting so overly paranoid!", Alexander thought.  

"She's probably just an exchange student on her  way home to 

Kronos." 

 

	Alexander had his Stellar Travel Pass altered by his 

best friend and fellow student at Oxford  University, Terry, 

who claimed the pass was fabricated from some of the most 

indestructible materials  known to the Federation.  Terry 

was studying Cyborganics, and took great pleasure in being 

able to crack  the Federation's isotopic encryption 

mechanisms.  The credentials Alexander now carried 

identified him  as P'rak, a Cross-cultural Attache' for the 

Ferengi Interplanetary-trade Bureau, traveling on a business  

visa from Earth to Kronos.  In other words, he was posing as 

an errand boy. 

 

	Alexander's thoughts drifted to his grandmother, 

wondering if he should have told her of this jaunt into  the 

heart of the Klingon Empire.  But Helena Rozhenko would only 

have worried, and badgered him not  to go, and who knows?, 

probably think she was doing him a favor by informing the 

authorities--or worse,  his father!--of his departure.  

Since this was to be nothing more than a two-week fact-

finding mission,  Alexander saw no reason to upset her by 

telling her of it.  That left only three people who knew he 

was  taking this trip:  himself, Terry, and his Cultural 

Studies professor, Dr. Moki Trang.  "The fewer the people 

who  know, the more successful the trip will be," Trang told 

him. 

 

	Alexander recalled the first time he heard Dr. Trang 

lecture three years earlier.  The topic sounded so  dreary:  

"Cycles in Humanoid Cultural Experiences".  He expected he 

was going to have to do all he  could in order to stay 

awake, especially when Trang couldn't get the holo-projector 

to work.  But to the  surprise of the entire audience, the 

human was riveting.  Afterwards the students all agreed that  

holo-images would only have detracted from the doctor's 

lecture. 

 

	Trang's opening words were branded into Alexander's 

memory:  "Human culture dotes on war, Vulcan  on emotion, 

Romulan on anarchy, and Klingon on gentility."  He 

remembered the snickering that  peppered the lecture hall in 

the pause following that statement, everyone thinking the 

doctor was making a  joke.  But the room quieted as Trang 

stepped around from the podium and sat on the edge of the  

speaker's platform--sat and peered, it seemed, into each 

face one by one.  Alexander fondly recalled the  doctor's 

smiling eyes engaging his own, the dawning of realization 

tickling his thoughts, that his shame  and disdain for the 

militaristic bent of his people was -- honorable! 

 

	It was under Trang's tutelage that Alexander found 

inspiration and encouragement to explore his  feelings, 

develop his ideas, flesh out his convictions about "The 

Klingon Way".  The professor helped him  hone his thoughts 

to a singular statement:  "The Klingon Empire will 

inevitably self-destruct unless it  abandons its idolization 

of the warrior mentality." 

 

	But it was Trang who also had secretly published 

Alexander's writings under the pen name Kosh, Son of  

Kronos.  When the professor originally suggested Alexander 

publish his first treatise, "The Way of the  Artisan", 

Alexander stood adamantly against it.  On one level, he 

didn't want his works subjected to public  scrutiny, 

especially considering that Klingon scrutiny often involved 

bloodshed.  But on a deeper,  unspoken level, he feared lest 

he be the cause of even more disappointment, or "dishonor", 

to  his estranged father.  Great was his surprise when, upon 

perusing a copy of The Klinshai Gazette  (required reading 

under Dr. Trang), Alexander came across a Klingon rebuttal 

to "The Way of the  Artisan".  For months, he was outraged 

that his mentor would take such liberties without consulting 

or  informing him.  But as usual, Dr. Trang's reasoning 

prevailed, and since that time three more of Kosh's  

expositions were published, these with Alexander's consent. 

 

	Alexander turned to check on the female Klingon seated 

behind him.  Her seat was empty.   "Probably just gone to 

the fresher," he thought.  "Funny, I should have seen her 

pass by..." 

	Shaking off his nervousness, he lifted a stylus to his 

datapad, and added to his latest thesis: 

	"Museums are replete with relics of conquest-minded 

civilizations whose demises can be traced to their  love of 

aggression and conquest.  In fact, the Klingon Empire is 

already an anomaly amongst these  cultures for having lasted 

as long as it has.  In recent history alone, portents are 

mounting, signs are  ominous.  Consider the Praxis fallout, 

the Khitomer massacre, the Narendra incident, the failed 

invasion  of Cardassia..." 

 

	Alexander put the stylus to his cheek, and let his 

thoughts wander again.  Lately he was feeling the  

frustrations of trying to be two different people:  

Alexander the student, who enjoyed a good game of  Paresi 

Squares just like anyone else his age; and Kosh, Son of 

Kronos, whose prophetic words were  rumored to be inspiring 

people to sow seeds of revolution throughout the Klingon 

Empire.  He so wanted  to reveal himself, Alexander 

Rozhenko, as the true founder of the Klingon Civilist 

Movement.  But Trang  was right.  That would surely mean his 

death was imminent.  For already, boasts from would-be  

champions of "The Klingon Way" were becoming more frequent, 

promising to seek out and silence this  Kosh 'patoq'. 

 

	Alexander smiled sadly.  "How crazy it all seems, out 

here in space, thousands of light years from home.   And as 

if it wasn't bad enough trying to be two people, now I have 

to juggle being three -- Alexander,  Kosh, and P'rak!" 

 

	"Excuse me, you are civilian P'rak?", the cabin 

steward's approach caught Alexander off guard. 

	"Yes?", he responded cautiously. 

	"Secured communication for you in Holo-Booth Two in the 

forward cabin.  Will you receive a comlink  from the Ferengi 

Interplanetary-trade Bureau?" 

	Alexander froze. 

	The steward continued, "It's simple, sir, follow me 

please?" 

 

	The trip forward through several passenger cabins was 

nothing short of torturous for Alexander.  He  could only 

assume he had been found out, that they learned P'rak was 

not his real name, and now he  would be interrogated by 

Federation authorities.  Would his scholarship be in 

jeopardy?  Had his family  been informed?  Would Terry and 

Dr. Trang be implicated?  And worst of all, had they also 

discovered  that he was Civilist Kosh? 

 

	They came to the spacious, three-story Forward Cabin.  

There was a circular food and beverage bar in  the center of 

the cabin, surrounded by tables of noisy, congregating 

creatures.  Some kind of ensemble  filled the room with a 

cacophony that somebody, somewhere in the universe 

considered to be "music".   Half-way through the room, 

Alexander saw the Klingon girl seated at the bar.  His knees 

started to give  out, and he reflexively grabbed the back of 

what he thought was a chair in order to steady himself. 

	"Ey, uda gabba?", a gruff voice thundered in 

Alexander's translator as the "chair" reeled around to face  

him. 

	The flight steward grabbed Alexander's arm.  "Just this 

way, sir, please?" 

 

	They approached a door which had "Holo-Booth 2" 

scrawled on it in Ferengese and Klingonese, and Alexander 

felt  certain this was his interrogation chamber.  Before he 

had time to reconsider going in, the steward had  him seated 

and shut alone in the dimly lit booth.  He heard a voice 

which reiterated the Klingonese  holo-message floating in 

space before him:  "Please unsheathe your Stellar Travel 

Pass for authorization  scanning."  He drew the flimsy pass 

out of an inside vest pocket as a violet beam scanned from  

somewhere beyond the holo-image.  "Authorization confirmed.  

Will you accept the charges for a  communication from the 

Ferengi Interplanetary-trade Bureau?  Please state yes or 

no." 

	Alexander teetered on refusing. 

	"Please state yes or no." 

	"Loq", he mumbled. 

	"Link established.  This transmission terminates when 

the booth's door is opened.  Thank you for using  Universal 

Holophone and Holograph." 

	The man's voice came through before his image.  "Hello, 

P'rak?" 

	Alexander sputtered, "Please, sir, let me expl--" 

	Just then the speaker's image appeared before him, and 

Alexander's eyes grew large as a life-sized  hologram of his 

friend Terry, grinning ear to ear, came into focus. 

	"I--could--kill--you!", Alexander glared. 

	"Now what kind of greeting is that from someone who 

preaches Klingons should forsake their violent  ways?", 

Terry teased.  "Had you going there for a minute, huh?" 

	"What in the galaxy are you doing?  I can't afford this 

comlink!", Alexander protested. 

	"Relax, this one's on the Ferengi Interplanetary-trade 

Bureau, and by the time they realize it, P'rak won't  exist 

anymore.  Now settle down, and listen.  I have some 

disturbing news to tell you..." 

 

	*** 3 *** 

 

	The lighting in the guest quarters, much like the mood, 

was subdued.  Worf's countenance clearly  communicated to 

Dax he needed to gather his composure, his thoughts.   Years 

of companionship taught  her not to tread on such private 

moments, but this time she intuitively knew he needed a 

rescue. 

 

	"We can sit here quietly, or I could leave, but I don't 

think either would do you any good," Dax began. 

	Worf didn't respond, but slouched further in his chair, 

head propped up in his hand.  He continued to  stare off 

into a shadowy corner of the room. 

	"If you can't tell me what you're thinking, tell me 

what you're feeling," Dax pressed lightly. 

	After a long moment, Worf began, "I feel...like my 

people will forever regard me as a renegade, a  second-class 

Klingon." 

	Dax winced and audibly drew in a deep breath. 

	Worf continued, "What Droq asks of me is to stand 

before all the Empire, and declare myself a misfit." 

	"That's not what I heard him ask you to do," Dax 

politely countered. 

	"No?", Worf slowly turned to face her.  "You heard his 

words:  'Because of your affiliation and  familiarity...'" 

	"'...with other cultures'," Dax interrupted.  "Yes, I 

heard clearly, and what he asks makes perfect sense to  me." 

	Worf raised his voice, "I won't do it!" 

	"Fine", Dax responded calmly, "Shall I tell Droq, or 

will you?  He's been waiting..." 

	"Who is this Kosh that I should make a public spectacle 

of myself to rebut him?  He might not even be a  Klingon!  

For all we know, he could be a Romulan, or a Cardassian, or 

even a disguised Changeling!   Should I make a fool of 

myself for that?" 

 

	Dax drew a deep breath to establish her composure.  "We 

knew that several organizations-- Klingon organizations-- 

had already formed to advance the ideals of Kosh's 

teachings.  What we didn't know was how widespread  his 

influence really is.  Droq said he even suspects that there 

are sympathizers on the High Council!   Worf, we've seen the 

billets all over this city.  Klingons wanting to 

democratically vote for who sits on the  High Council?  Like 

Droq said, if only one member of the Council concedes, there 

will be a bloodier  revolution than this Empire has ever 

seen." 

	She paused and quieted.  "You could be the one to 

prevent that.  The way I see it, it doesn't matter who  Kosh 

is.  What matters is that he, or they, or whatever, is 

spreading an ideology that tears at the core of  Klingon 

society.  And it tears at the core of your and my soul, 

too!" 

 

	Worf shook his head, turning back to stare into empty 

space.  Dax approached him.  "I think it makes  perfect 

sense for you to be spokesperson against this Civilist 

Movement.  Worf, you are a Klingon with  honor--one who 

upholds and embodies Klingon tradition." 

	"A Klingon with honor who lives amongst humans," he 

interjected. 

	Dax was warmed up now.  "But that's exactly the man we 

need for this hour!  You heard Droq.  So far,  every Klingon 

that speaks or acts against The Civilists just serves to 

further their cause.  Any words used  to criticize them, 

they cry rhetoric.  Any aggressive action taken to silence 

them, they turn into an  example of the intolerances of 

Klingon culture." 

	Dax knelt beside Worf's chair to face him eye to eye. 

	"You are unique in that you successfully live both 

sides of the issue -- a proud, traditional Klingon -- one  

who was raised, works, and lives in a non-Klingon world.  

Don't you see the impact you could have in  countering 

Kosh's claims?  You are living proof that the Klingon Way 

works inside and outside..." 

 

	The door chime sounded, and before either Worf or Dax 

could respond, one of Droq's battle-dressed  servants 

entered, eyes darting about the room.  Worf and Dax rose to 

the challenge. 

	"What is...," Dax began. 

	The Klingon cut her off, "Droq has disappeared." 

 

	*** 4 *** 

	 

	The Klingon warrior toyed with his younger opponent, 

staring menacingly into his eyes while swaying his bat'leth  

and skirting side to side.  His opponent stepped towards 

him, jabbing with his weapon.  But the Klingon  gracefully 

stepped aside, and taking advantage of his opponent's 

imbalance, knocked him on his face  using a back-swing with 

the blunt edge of his bat'leth.  The felled opponent 

scrambled to roll and rise, as  their instructor had just 

taught them, but the Klingon was too quick, and too good.  

Though his back was  to his rising opponent, in a singular 

motion he moved his two hands to grip the bat'leth at one 

end, and  with a gleam of malice, turned into his opponent 

as he swung the blade upward... 

 

	"Toral!", Pa'qal shouted, causing the rest of the class 

to turn from their exercises.   "Enough!" 

	The blade stopped centimeters from his opponent's chin. 

	"Civilist," Toral snarled under his breath to his 

adversary. 

	The rest of the young Klingon men began murmuring among 

themselves. 

	"Bakra, Toral, stand down.  The rest of you, back to 

your routines!" 

	With a prideful smile, Toral turned and began walking 

to a bench near the gymnasium's wall.   From  somewhere in 

the class, a voice yelled out, "For the Empire!" 

	Toral turned with fist in the air, "For the Empire!" 

	"Silence!", Pa'qal bellowed. 

 

	The room grew very still.  Pa'qal strode to where Toral 

stood, and looking up into his eyes, began softly,  "I run 

this classroom with the honor of Klingon tradition."  Toral 

stiffened at the perceived insult.  Pa'qal  looked around at 

the others, and spoke a little more forcefully,  "Something 

few of you know anything  about."  Returning his glare to 

Toral, he continued in a harsh voice, "I will not tolerate 

your playing out  your petty aggressions in my class," and 

turning sharply on the class, "Nor will I allow this to be a 

forum  for trite, political sloganing!" 

 

	Most of the young men dropped their gazes, 

subconsciously acknowledging and bearing the  transgression 

of their associates.  A few, however, defiantly locked 

stares with their instructor. 

	"Which of you dared shout out such drivel in my 

classroom?",  Pa'qal challenged. 

	No one moved. 

	"And you claim to uphold Klingon ideals!", he mocked. 

	One of the defiant stepped forward. 

	Pa'qal stared him down and hissed, "The rest of you are 

dismissed." 

 

*************** 

 

	"Bakra!  Wait up!" 

	Bakra slowed as Teqrel, one of the more popular 

students in their class, caught up to him.  "Hey, don't  let 

what happened in there get to you.  Toral resents having to 

be schooled with us younger guys.  You  know he carries a 

chip on his shoulder." 

	Bakra asked, "I wonder -- if I was the last surviving 

member of a dishonored House, would I be as bitter  as he 

is?" 

	"Probably would, especially if you had to put up the 

fight he did just to get admitted into school in the first  

place.  But remember, his is not just any dishonored House.  

The House of Duras is the Betrayer of  Khitomer!", Teqrel 

replied. 

	"I know, I know:  'The dishonor of the father dishonors 

his sons and their sons for three generations.'"   Bakra 

grabbed Teqrel's shoulder.  "I just have to say it.  To me 

it's just another example of how wrong our  Klingon ways can 

be." 

	Teqrel resigned, "Your concept of a child not having to 

suffer for the sins of his parent is quite revolutionary, 

but somewhat appealing." 

	"Unique, at least," another student chimed in.  A small 

gathering began to form in the hallway outside the  

gymnasium. 

	Teqrel continued, "But what happened in there today 

spoke louder than any of your Civilist propaganda  so far.  

That was pretty ugly.  In that sense, our culture does have 

certain -- shortcomings.  But whose  doesn't?" 

	"Shortcomings!", Bakra challenged.  "Did you ever 

consider, really consider, the first phrase Klingon  

children are taught before they can even comprehend what 

they're saying?" 

	"'Klingons are born to fight and to conquer'?" 

	"Exactly!"   Bakra continued, "And just look at what 

we're taught here in school.  It's all aggression-based  

education.  Our history, our literature, our sciences -- 

everything we learn here emphasizes that brute  conquest is 

the highest way to earn honor and integrity in our society." 

	"Half our day is taken up with combat training, or 

Military Science," another student complained. 

	Bakra continued, "Let me ask you this:  How many of you 

were guilted by your elders into learning the  Ways of the 

Warrior?" 

	"Well, I sure was.  I tried to say no -- once," one 

Klingon replied.  Another spoke up, "My father just  

presumed it for me.   I didn't resist, but inside I had my 

doubts."  There were grunts of assent all around. 

	Teqrel spoke up, "Now wait a minute.  I wanted to 

pursue the Warrior's way.  I had no doubts." 

	Bakra countered, "OK, but did you ever really have a 

choice if you didn't want to follow it?" 

	Teqrel nodded in acknowledgment, "I know what you're 

saying.  To not pursue Warrior status is to  become a 

second-class citizen." 

	"At best!", Bakra added. 

	Teqrel began walking, the others followed.  "Come on, 

we'll be late for Battle Strategies class.  Did you  say 

earlier that there's a Civilist meeting tonight?" 

	"Yes, at The Blood and Guts Pubhouse, just outside the 

east wall," Bakra answered. 

	"OK, maybe I'll see you there." 

	"Hey, do you guys really sleep on padded bed slabs?", 

one of the other's asked. 

	Bakra shook his head laughing, "Don't believe 

everything you hear, Chaq!" 

 

	Their laughter was interrupted as the gymnasium door 

slammed open.  The Klingon who had yelled out  to Toral in 

class came through first, holding the door for Toral.  But 

when Toral saw the onlookers, he  snarled, pushing him 

aside.  Toral walked slowly over to the gathering with a 

limp in his stride that he did  not have before.  The 

Klingons made way for him as he approached. 

	Toral came face to face with Bakra.  "You had better 

hope I don't catch you alone, Civilist."  As he limped  

away, Bakra wiped the spit from his face. 

 

	*** 5 *** 

 

	Alexander focused on the Klingon boy with the torn 

strip of white rag tied around his upper arm.  He was  

posting a notice for an upcoming meeting of the Disciples of 

Kosh.  Within moments, a band of hostile  peers gathered, 

badgering the boy with insults, the words soon turning to 

blows.  Alexander stepped in to  break up the fray. 

 

	"What are you, a sympathizer?", one of the boys jeered 

at Alexander.  Another added, "Yeah, a Civilist coward  

sympathizer."  "Afraid to wear your dishonor on your sleeve?  

You ought to be!" 

	Alexander watched the retreating boys, amazed at the 

public display of disrespect.  On a deeper  level, he began 

struggling with the thought that he was the cause of this 

small skirmish -- and worse, of Dr.  Trang's murder that 

Terry had just informed him... 

	"Are you?", the battered boy asked from behind him. 

	Alexander turned, "Am I what?" 

	"Are you a coward?" 

	"I am no coward," Alexander asserted. 

	"Where do you stand, then, Klingon?" 

	The boy's arrogance amazed him.  But then he recognized 

his own childhood rebellion in him.  Was that  an inherent 

Klingon trait?  He referred to the handbill the boy had hung 

up. 

	"I'm a visitor to these parts.  Where is this Blood and 

Guts Pubhouse?", Alexander asked. 

	"Come.  It's nearly sundown.  I'll take you there." 

 

	They moved slowly along the crowded walkway of the high 

East wall as the Klingon sun was setting over  the great 

city of Klinshai.  Though there was much going on around 

him, and the majesty of the city grew  even more mysterious 

in the twilight, Alexander's thoughts turned inward.  But 

they were a blur.  He had  only been on the planet for 

several hours now, and already he felt, amidst the blatant 

poverty, the public  tensions that the Civilist movement -- 

his movement -- was causing.  He was having a hard time  

reconciling the idea that he was at the vortex of recent, 

violent events.  One thing he was certain of,  though:  this 

was not what he intended.  Not at all. 

 

*************** 

	It had been a long time since Worf saw the sun setting 

over Klinshai.  He considered it's pale to be a  fitting 

match for the rampant societal decay so obvious throughout 

this once great city.  Dax and Worf  confined themselves to 

Droq's empty home, waiting for news about his disappearance. 

	Worf believed no one was aware of the request Droq had 

made of him -- to speak as an expatriate  Klingon against 

the Civilists.  He told the inspector that he and his wife 

were merely on a personal visit to  an old friend, which was 

largely the truth.  If Droq's disappearance was related to 

his anti-Civilist stance,  anyone could be suspect.  Worf 

and Dax agreed that to be declared on either side of the 

issue was  potentially dangerous -- even fatal.  Worf still 

had not made up his mind.  He wanted to see for himself the  

impact Kosh and the Civilists were having on the Klingon 

homeworld. 

 

	While Dax rested in the guest room, Worf watched the 

interplay of shadows and red-golden sunlight  reflecting off 

the spires and talons of the great city, and found in 

himself a renewing sense of  determination and pride.  It 

was good to be "home".  The door chime sounded, and Worf 

called out,  "Who's there?" 

	"Worf, son of Mogh?," a Klingon stood in the opening  

doorway. 

	"Yes?", Worf responded. 

	The Klingon approached him with a document in his hand.  

"A confidential message from the High  Council." 

	As Worf took the document, something pinched his hand.  

He looked in time to see the needle retract  back into the 

messenger's leather glove.  Two more Klingons entered the 

room, just in time to grab him  as he passed out. 

 

*************** 



	Elsewhere in the great city, from the sole window of a 

dark and ill-kempt apartment, another Klingon  brooded in 

the twilight of the setting sun.  He heard footsteps 

approaching from the outside hallway,  followed by the 

apartment's door opening and closing.  Without turning, he 

spoke in a low voice,  "So,  Pachqua, you have returned 

empty handed." 

	"Wrong, Toral.  We both arrived only a few hours ago," 

a younger Klingon woman answered. 

	Toral raised an eyebrow, "Kosh is here?  I'm curious, 

Pachqua.  I did not think you would find him so  easily." 

	"It was not as easy as you suspect.  As you can see, it 

took some time and expense to locate him." 

	Toral turned and snapped at her, "You will be well 

compensated for your troubles, if it is truly Kosh you  

bring me, sister!" 

	"His name is Alexander," Pachqua offered. 

	"A human name?", asked Toral. 

	"He's a Klingon, at least in appearance, about my own 

age.  It seems he was raised by adoptive human  parents on 

Earth," she responded. 

	Toral exploded, "Bah!  What has The Empire come to? -- 

falling for the rantings of one who's not even a  true 

Klingon!" 

	"That's how I found him," Pachqua spoke calmly.  "Since 

we knew that Civilist teachings were obviously  Federation 

propaganda, I investigated Federation publishing sources 

with ties into the Klingon Empire.   Eventually, my search 

led me to a Dr. Trang, a professor -- or should I say ex-

professor -- at a Terran  University.  At first I thought 

Trang was Kosh.  But it was not difficult, as it never is 

with humans, to extract  the requested information." 

	"Where is Kosh now?," Toral asked pensively. 

	"Upon our arrival, I followed him, to learn where he 

was staying.  He wandered in the streets and upon  the walls 

for several hours."  Pachqua handed him the paper she was 

holding.  "I believe you'll find him  here tonight..." 

	Toral read the meeting notice and turned his gaze in 

the direction of the Blood and Guts Pubhouse.  He  watched 

the shadow of nightfall rise to consume the last of the 

sunset on the eastern wall of Klinshai.  As  he crumpled the 

page in his hand, he swore, "Soon, the glory of the House of 

Duras shall be restored!" 

	 

 

     *** 6 *** 

 

	Everything was blurry.  Worf blinked his eyes, and soon 

his vision cleared to reveal a Klingon peering  down into 

his face.  Worf tried to get up, but found he was paralyzed, 

unable to turn even his head.  The  Klingon spoke, but Worf 

heard nothing.  Soon, an older Klingon came into his field 

of vision.  It was then  that Worf remembered he was on 

Kronos. 

 

	The younger Klingon set a hypo-spray to Worf's temple.  

He felt a pins-and-needles sensation begin to  slowly crawl 

around in his head, quickly turning into a hammering pain as 

a loud roar burst open his  eardrums.  Worf tried to cry 

out, but as he opened his mouth, a mere whimper emerged.  

The elder was  speaking, but all he heard was a roaring, a 

roaring... 

 

	"...--vinced you to become a sympathizer?" 

	"Your questions must have yes or no for an answer," the 

younger stated. 

	"Primitive!", the elder growled back at him.  "Are you, 

Worf, Son of Mogh, a Civilist sympathizer?" 

	As if a reflex, Worf's mouth formed the word, and in a 

long, drawn whisper, he shouted, "Noooooo!" 

	"Satisfied?", the elder challenged the other Klingon.  

"Now bring him to!" 

 

	As soon as the hypo-spray was removed from his neck, 

Worf felt sensation painfully returning to his  limbs.  When 

he tried to move, he found he was strapped down to the 

table. 

	"And remove his restraints!", the elder ordered. 

	"What is the meaning of this?  Who are you?", Worf 

demanded. 

	"These are very troubled times, my friend.  I am Tegra, 

minister of the High Council," the elder replied as  he 

moved away, "and one cannot be too careful, especially with 

one who fraternizes with conspirators." 

	"Conspirators?"  Worf swung off the table to find two 

armed Klingons flanking Tegra.  He gestured  towards the 

table, "Have our fears caused us to assume the dishonorable 

ways of Romulans, then?" 

	"Worf, hear me out first, and you will understand why I 

spared you this way.  What business do you have  with Droq?" 

	Worf answered, "Droq!  What have you done with him?" 

	"Done?", Tegra turned to Worf with a puzzled 

expression.  "I've done nothing with this..." spitting to 

the  side, "...Civilist sympathizer.  Now I know from your 

confession under sedation that you do not support  the 

Civilists.  So, what is your business with Droq, then?" 

	Worf grew confused, and leaned back on the table.  

"Wait a minute!  Droq, a...?  Why would he lie?" 

	"That we're hoping you can tell us," Tegra said as he 

walked nearer to Worf, "since he obviously  summoned you 

across thousands of light years for some subversive reason.  

What did he tell you about  his involvement with the 

Civilist Movement?" 

 

	Thoughts of Droq's request to speak against the 

Civilist Movement flooded Worf's mind.  Droq had  warned 

that some on the High Council were Civilist sympathizers.  

Could Droq himself be one of them?  If he  was, then... 

	Tegra drew close to Worf and spoke forcefully.  "Are 

you even aware that Droq is a Civilist sympathizer?" 

	"Not possible!", Worf responded with confusion.  "He 

wanted me--"  Worf cut himself short. 

	Tegra jumped on his words.  "Wanted what?" 

	Worf hesitated.  "I will say nothing more." 

	"Are you aware," Tegra continued, "of Droq's intents to 

force democratic elections on the High Council?   He has 

become a mere political opportunist, looking to abscond the 

power of the Council, not according  to Klingon honor or 

tradition.  No, instead he intends to pose as the 

Councilmember who sympathizes  with Civilist ideals..." 

	Worf came face-to-face with Tegra.  "I will say nothing 

more until I speak with Droq myself.  I will  determine if 

these allegations are true, and for your sake..." 

	"Spare me your threats!," Tegra hissed. "Come with me 

now, and I'll show you where the betrayer of The  High 

Council has disappeared to!" 

 

	*** 7 *** 

 

"With our great empire on the brink of imminent collapse, we 

cannot afford to not take action.  Look  around you at the 

poverty.  Look around you at the decay.  Not only are our 

buildings and streets in  shambles, but so are the lives and 

souls of our people.  I realize many of you are young, and 

have no  memory of the incredible glory and prestige that 

was once embodied by this great city, this great world,  

this great empire.  But left in the hands of this ragged 

band of battle-mongers, who spend the fruits of our  blood 

and sweat on war machines, who spend their efforts and 

energies on the intergalactic border  skirmishes of other 

races, who turn deaf ears to the outcries of the 

impoverished Klingon people, who  choose to neglect the dire 

needs here at home-- Left in their hands, we are a doomed 

empire, a lost race,  and a hopeless people." 

 

	As the speaker stepped down from the makeshift podium,  

hundreds of Klingon arms bearing the white  rag of the 

Civilist movement were raised, and cheers filled the crowded 

Blood and Guts Pubhouse.   Alexander was dumbfounded as he 

watched speaker after speaker mount the podium during the 

last  hour, expounding on Kosh's ideals, quoting Kosh's 

writings-- which were his ideals, his writings. 

 

	This last speaker, however, caused Alexander concern.  

Not only was his speech emotionally charged,  but he implied 

stronger socio-political ramifications to the writings of 

Kosh than Alexander had ever intended.   But Alexander 

considered, in light of the dire conditions here on Kronos, 

perhaps he would have come to  some of the same allegations 

and conclusions this speaker had. 

 

	The crowd inside the pubhouse continued to swell, and 

some were even standing in the street to  overhear the 

goings-on inside.  Alexander noticed that there were quite a 

few, like himself, who did not  wear the white Civilist rag 

around their arm.  But so far, to his surprise, no one had 

heckled the speakers. 

	An elder, battle-dressed Klingon took the podium next, 

leaning forward against it as he peered out over  the crowd 

through squinting eyes.  Soon, the room was quiet again.  

The Klingon stood for several  moments, unmoving, 

unspeaking, letting the uneasiness of silence fix upon the 

room.  Several coughed  nervously.  The speaker smiled, and 

began. 

 

	"It is time," he said calmly, and then he paused again. 

	"Right now, throughout the Klingon Empire, the 

Disciples of Kosh are gathered in hundreds of groups,  very 

much like this one.  We are growing, we are learning, we are 

speaking.  But our numbers go  unheeded, our ideals scorned, 

and our words ignored.  So, it is time--time for us to take 

the next step.   Kosh teaches that, if the powers-that-be 

continue to suppress the masses..." 

	"What's this?," Alexander wondered. 

	"...even limited and controlled acts of aggression, if 

need be.  It is time." Alexander thought, "I never even 

alluded to anything of the sort!" 

	Several low grunts of approval could be heard around 

the room, but Alexander saw some shifting  uneasily in their 

places.  Tension increased as the murmurs in the room began 

to grow.  Alexander  caught pieces of scattered whisperings:  

"...uprising...", "...demand justice...", "...assert our 

rights...",  "...revolution..."  Alexander saw in the crowd 

the bloodied face of the boy who led him to the pubhouse,  

and then thought of his now-dead professor and friend, Dr. 

Trang. 

	The speaker began again, this time shouting, "It is 

time!" 

	"Wait!," Alexander shouted as he jumped from his seat. 

	It seemed a million Klingon eyes turned on him as the 

room fell into an icy stillness. 

	"You have something to say, stranger?," the challenge 

came from the podium.  Alexander trembled  physically as he 

pushed himself forward.  The boy who brought him tugged on 

his vest as he passed,  face warning, "Don't!"  But 

Alexander pressed on until he stood just beneath the 

imposing speaker. 

	Voice quivering, and hardly audible, he began, "These 

are not the teachings of Kosh!" 

	"What!  Are you calling me a liar?", the speaker 

boomed. 

	"I call myself Kosh!", Alexander retorted with 

confidence. 

	After a brief moment of shocked silence, the room burst 

into an uproarious protest, people throwing  accusations at 

Alexander and at each other.  The speaker raised his hands 

in the air and yelled, "Quiet!" 

	The room fell to a simmer as he moved from the podium 

to stare Alexander down.  "Your life should not  be spared 

for uttering such blasphemy," the warrior snarled. 

	"And that from one who calls himself a Disciple of 

Kosh?," Alexander asked with confident defiance. 

	"How would you prove yourself, blasphemer?," the 

flustered Klingon challenged. 

	Alexander pulled his datapad from an inside vest 

pocket, and thrust it at the Klingon.  "You'll find my  

writings in the original here." 

	"This proves nothing," the Klingon replied as he threw 

the datapad to another nearby.  "Electronic  documents are 

easily forged." 

	The Klingon holding the datapad began, "Says here your 

name is Alexander Rozhenko.  You're not even  a Klingon!" 

 

	The room burst out in protest again, when suddenly a 

Klingon rushed towards Alexander, wrenched one  arm behind 

him, threw a sack over his head, and held a kut'luch dagger 

to his throat. 

	"Back off," he yelled, "or your beloved Kosh dies!" 

	Three other Klingons pulled disrupters on the crowd 

while protectively surrounding the attacker and  hostage, 

who were moving slowly towards the doorway. 

	"I am Toral, Son of Duras, here to restore the honor of 

the Klingon Empire!" 

	Scattered about the room, several shouted, "For the 

Empire!" 

	"Toral," the speaker growled, "don't be a fool!  How 

can this be Kosh?" 

	"I have good reason to believe he is, Councillor Droq," 

Toral responded coolly as he paused in the  doorway, "so he 

will be my hostage until you convince yourselves that your 

Klingon savior is -- neither!" 

 

	A heavily disguised Worf and Tegra arrived to see 

people flooding from the Blood and Guts.  Worf  overheard a 

quick conversation between two passing youths. 

	"Teqrel!  I don't care if it's Kosh, or Alexander, or 

whoever -- we can't let Toral get away with this!" 

	"Don't worry, Bakra, I know where to find him." 

	Worf stopped dead in his tracks and turned to engage 

the youths, when Tegra grabbed his shoulder with  one hand, 

and with the other pointed to a figure exiting from the door 

of the pubhouse.  "There's your Droq, Betrayer of  the High 

Council!"   

 

	*** 8 *** 

 

	Dax started as the door into Droq's quarters flew open.   

"We must pack our things," Worf offered as a  greeting.  

	He strode towards their guestroom as Dax protested, 

"Wait!"  She followed and watched perplexedly  from the 

guestroom doorway as he began throwing their personal 

articles into carry bags. 

	"We are not staying in the home of a Civilist," he 

continued with disgust in his voice. 

	"Civilist?  Droq?!," Dax asked. 

	Continuing to pack, Worf answered, "It's a long story, 

and I do not want to be here when Droq arrives.   It's time 

to leave Kronos." 

	"But I don't understand," Dax continued as Worf secured 

the two carry bags, and moved towards the  door.  Dax 

blocked his exit. 

	"I will explain it to you on the way, but we must leave 

now," Worf pleaded as he pushed past her. 

	"Worf," Dax rushed to intercept his path, "stop one 

minute!" 

	As Worf continued towards the exit from Droq's 

quarters, Dax maneuvered herself in front of him, and  with 

a quick motion of arms and leg, landed him on his back.  She 

stood over him with a stern expression  and yelled angrily, 

"Your mother called while you were out!" 

	"My mother?  Helena?  Called here?", a twice-startled 

Worf asked. 

	"Yes!," Dax continued, "Alexander has come to Kronos.  

He is here, now!" 

	Just then, Droq arrived. 

 

	*** 9 *** 

 

	A Klingon warrior entered the High Council chamber, 

strode briskly to the Chancellor, spoke privately to  him, 

and departed the chamber. 

	"We are convinced," the Chancellor declared, "This is 

indeed Kosh you hold." 

	"Lord Chancellor, on behalf of The House of Duras, my 

sister and I formally wish to offer this  'patoq' as a gift 

to the High Council," Toral spoke as he shoved Alexander 

towards the Chancellor. 

	Pachqua stood guard over a pair of battered young 

Klingon warriors lying unconsciously several paces  away.  

The nearby fallen Kut'luch daggers and bloodied faces of 

Bakra and Teqrel told of a recent  struggle. 

	The Chancellor approached Alexander, circled him, and 

as he examined him, addressed Toral. 

	"Do you know whose son this is you've brought me?" 

	Toral responded, "Alexander, Son of Rozhenko!" 

	"Ah, Son of Rozhenko, yes!," the Chancellor continued 

smiling into Alexander's face.  "He doesn't know  who you 

are, Alexander, Son of Rozhenko.  Tell him whose son you 

are, then." 

	Alexander spoke assertively, "I am Alexander, son 

of..." 

	"Worf, Son of Mogh!" 

	Their eyes turned to the chamber's entranceway to see 

who spoke these words. 

	"Father?," Alexander asked with surprise. 

	Worf took several steps into the room.  The startled 

Toral moved to block his way, realization  transforming his 

expression. 

 

	"Alexander -- your son?  Well, well, what a day can 

bring!  Pachqua, guard the prisoner," Toral began as  he 

sauntered slowly towards Worf.  "First, I deliver Kosh, 

Traitor to The Empire, regaining honor for the  house of 

Duras.  Then, into my hands falls the one who stole my 

personal honor, who robbed me of the  fate which was 

rightfully mine to bear.  I think I'm beginning to piece it 

together -- Civilist sympathizer!"   

	Toral reached a hand behind to grab his Kut'luch. 

	"Father, watch out!," Alexander warned.  But as he 

began to move towards Toral, Pachqua felled him  with a blow 

to his stomach.  Worf started forward, but Toral was on him 

in an instant, kut'luch drawn to his  throat. 

	"I was hoping you'd try that," Toral snarled. 

	"Chancellor," Worf called out, "spare my son!" 

	But he replied, "Your honor is challenged, Son of Mogh.  

The Council will not interfere." 

	Toral snarled, "Your duty was to take my life, Klingon!  

Instead, you choose to spare it.  It's no mystery to  me 

where Alexander, Son of Worf, gets his Civilist ideas from!" 

 

	Alexander started to rise, but a breath-taking kick 

from Pachqua landed him on his back.  Bakra roused  at that 

moment, and struggled to grab the Kut'luch that lay nearby.  

"Alexander!", he distracted Pachqua  as he called out.  With 

gasping effort, he tossed his dagger near Alexander, who 

reached out for it.  But  Pachqua turned and crushed 

Alexander's hand with her foot.  She picked up the weapon. 

	"Nice work, my sister," Toral spoke.  "Finish him.  His 

death will be the beginning of my revenge, and his  father's 

fading memory." 

 

	Pachqua grabbed Alexander's hair in one hand, and 

raised him to half height.  Worf struggled in Toral's  grip, 

and the two fell to the floor, wrestling for an upper hand.  

As Pachqua stabbed her dagger towards  Alexander's breast, 

Bakra cried out, "No!"  In the distraction, Toral was able 

to wrestle Worf to his back,  and now knelt over him, 

Kut'luch in both hands as Worf reached up with both of his 

to stop it's descent.   "Revenge...," Toral began, "...is a 

dish...", the struggling dagger was nearing Worf's throat. 

	Pachqua's Kut'luch did not penetrate Alexander's tunic, 

and in the moment of both their surprise,  Alexander felt a 

burst of fierce determination he had never known before.  

Clasping his hands together, in  one swift movement, he rose 

with a roar, knocked the dagger from Pachqua's hands, and 

delivered a  forceful blow upward to her jaw. 

	"...best...," Toral continued the proverb as his weapon 

inched closer to Worf, "...served..." 

	"Cold!," Alexander growled from behind him as he sunk 

Pachqua's Kut'luch into Toral's back. 

 

	Just then, Dax and Droq appeared in the entranceway to 

the Council chamber with Tegra in tow, bound  as a prisoner. 

 

	*** 10 *** 

 

	"Again, Droq, my apologies for ever doubting your 

honor," Worf humbly offered as he clasped Droq's arm  in a 

farewell gesture. 

	Droq replied warmly, "Think no more of it, my son.  I 

would have drawn the same conclusions were our  roles 

reversed.  I'm sure the High Council's plan to cripple the 

Disciples of Kosh by sowing dissension  from within would 

have succeeded, if," he turned to Alexander with a smile, 

"Kosh himself hadn't shown  up!" 

	"Fortunately for you," Dax interjected, "that Worf 

realized Tegra's false intentions, or things could have  

gotten pretty messy for the Council." 

	Worf replied, "No honorable Klingon would use sedation 

to learn truth.  His actions betrayed his lies." 

	"And fortunately for Alexander the Federation makes 

such sturdy travel passes," Droq laughed as he  patted 

Alexander's chest. 

 

	"Launch shuttle 109," the Spaceport terminal's intercom 

announced, "departing for the Neutral Zone, is  now 

boarding." 

 

	Dax, Worf, and Alexander lifted their travel bags. 

	Droq grabbed Alexander's shoulders with both hands.  

"We don't need to agree on every point of Klingon  culture, 

young Alexander.  But remember this:  Honor is more 

important than life itself." 

	Alexander smiled, "I will consider it, sir." 

	"Qapla'!" 



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