Star Trek The Next Generation: A Time for War, A Time for Peace

Overview

On the cusp of their epic battle with Shinzon, many of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's long-time crew were heading for new assignments and new challenges. Among the changes were William Riker's promotion to captain and his new command, Riker's marriage to Counselor Deanna Troi, and Dr. Beverly Crusher's new career at Starfleet Medical. But the story of what set them on a path away from the Starship Enterprise™ has never been told.

UNTIL NOW.

...

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Star Trek The Next Generation: A Time for War, A Time for Peace

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Overview

On the cusp of their epic battle with Shinzon, many of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's long-time crew were heading for new assignments and new challenges. Among the changes were William Riker's promotion to captain and his new command, Riker's marriage to Counselor Deanna Troi, and Dr. Beverly Crusher's new career at Starfleet Medical. But the story of what set them on a path away from the Starship Enterprise™ has never been told.

UNTIL NOW.

Following the scandalous Tezwa affair, the Federation president's resignation forces an election, with the future of the United Federation of Planets to be determined by who emerges victorious from a hotly contested vote. But it is the fate of the entire galaxy that may actually be decided on Qo'noS, as the Federation embassy is seized by terrorists whose actions expose intrigue reaching the highest levels of Klingon government — and it will take all of Ambassador Worf's skills to keep the fragile Federation-Klingon alliance from collapsing. And while this potential intergalactic chaos looms, Commander Riker finds his plans for command and marriage soured by a brutal, high-level inspection of the ship from which the crew may not escape unscathed....

The epic miniseries comes to a shocking conclusion — one that will leave the Star Trek universe changed forever!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743491792
  • Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation Series , #9
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 613,291
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 4.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Keith R.A. DeCandido was born and raised in New York City to a family of librarians. He has written over two dozen novels, as well as short stories, nonfiction, eBooks, and comic books, most of them in various media universes, among them Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Marvel Comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Resident Evil, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Farscape, Xena, and Doctor Who. His original novel Dragon Precinct was published in 2004, and he's also edited several anthologies, among them the award-nominated Imaginings and two Star Trek anthologies. Keith is also a musician, having played percussion for the bands the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players, the Boogie Knights, and the Randy Bandits, as well as several solo acts. In what he laughingly calls his spare time, Keith follows the New York Yankees and practices kenshikai karate. He still lives in New York City with his girlfriend and two insane cats.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Qo'noS

Sunrise on Qo'noS had lost its appeal for Ambassador Worf.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the best part of his day was the very beginning, when he would enter his office in the Federation embassy and watch the sun blaze over the horizon through the huge picture window that took up most of the office's back wall. In the almost four years he had served as Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire, the one part of his daily routine that he could count on enjoying was the spectacular view of the sun casting its fiery glow across the First City at the top of the day.

Recent events had dimmed that enthusiasm considerably. The actions of others less honorable had forced Worf into a position where he had to compromise himself in order to serve the greater good. The alternative was to allow an even greater evil, and he could not permit that to happen, regardless of the consequences.

It was a state of affairs that was all too familiar to the son of Mogh.

A little more than a month ago, he had used his position — as an ambassador, and as a member of the Klingon chancellor's House — to give his former crewmates on the U.S.S. Enterprise a weapon of sorts that they could use to prevent a Klingon Defense Force fleet from engaging in a suicidal attack on the planet Tezwa. Officially, no one could prove that he provided the Enterprise with the prefix codes that would disable the fleet; unofficially, it couldn't have been anyone else.

How many times? he asked himself. How many times have I sacrificed my own honor to protect the unworthy? And how many times will I have to do it again?

"It's supposed to be fairly hot today," came a voice from behind him.

Sighing, Worf turned around. Another part of the routine: his aide, Giancarlo Wu, would enter the office and make some offhand comment about the weather, thus signaling the start of the workday. Wearing his usual monochrome shirt, matching pants, and different-colored vest — today he went for red and green — Wu stood in the doorway to the office, reaching into the vest's pocket.

However, he did not pull out his padd, as Worf had expected — that padd was always either in Wu's hand or in his vest pocket, to the point that the ambassador honestly believed that his aide would suffer withdrawal symptoms if separated from it for any length of time. Instead, Wu removed an optical chip and walked it over to where Worf sat at his desk. "I think you'll want to see this first thing, sir. It was sent to you on a secure channel by T'Latrek."

After regarding the chip for a moment, Worf plugged it into the slot on the side of his terminal. Besides representing Vulcan on the Federation Council, T'Latrek served as the councillor for external affairs and was, in essence, Worf's superior.

The screen lit up with the logo of the Federation News Service. Odd, Worf thought. Why would T'Latrek send me a news story?

A female Pandrilite face replaced the logo. "The top story is the surprise resignation of Federation President Min Zife. In a move that has shocked the entire quadrant, President Zife, his chief of staff, Koll Azernal, and Nelino Quafina, the secretary of military intelligence, have stepped down from office, effective immediately. This statement was issued across the Federation this morning."

The image then cut to Zife sitting at his desk in the presidential office in Paris, his arms placed in front of him, resting on the large desk, which was currently empty of anything save the Bolian's blue-skinned hands. The flag of the Federation hung on a pole behind the president, in front of the huge window that provided a panorama of the City of Light that made Worf's own view of the First City pale in comparison. The Tour Eiffel was the only landmark in sight.

"It is with a sense of both regret and joy that I announce my resignation as president of the United Federation of Planets, as well as the resignation of Koll Azernal, my chief of staff, and Nelino Quafina, my military intelligence secretary. Regret because achieving this office has been the culmination of a lifetime of service to the Federation, and one that has been incredibly rewarding for myself and, I hope, for the Federation, particularly during the dark days of our war against the Dominion.

"Joy because I feel that this resignation is perhaps the greatest of those services that I can now give to the Federation. While my chief of staff and I were able to serve our nation well in war, we were, it seems, less suited for peace. As the war grows more distant in our past, it has become increasingly obvious that Koll and I need to step down for the good of the Federation. The model by which we survived during the war, and even during the first few months afterward, is no longer tenable as we and our allies attempt to bring a new era of peace.

"One of the truisms of sentient life throughout the galaxy is that different leadership is required for different circumstances. On Bolarus, one of our most revered historical figures is a monarch from a time before the planet was united, named Queen Vaq. She led the nation of Alnat to its most prosperous era after winning several consecutive wars. What most forget is that when Alnat became the greatest power on Bolarus, and all her enemies were defeated, Vaq was forced to abdicate, for without an enemy to fight, she led the nation to economic ruin.

"Unlike Vaq, I will not wait for a coup d'état to remove me from power. I was given a mandate from the people of the Federation — not once, but twice — to lead them through uneasy times, to make quick and difficult decisions for the greater good. Now, though, serving that mandate has proven more problematic. Quick and difficult decisions are not what is best for the Federation, nor for our allies. The time has come when I can best serve the people's mandate by stepping down, by allowing the people to choose someone who can lead us in peace as effectively as I was able to in war.

"As per the Federation charter, an election will be held within the month. The Federation Council will continue to administrate on a pro tem basis until a new president has been elected.

"I thank you all very much for your support, your patience, and your understanding. Good-bye."

Back to the Pandrilite: "The Federation Council made no comment regarding the resignations, but did release a statement: Councillor Ra'ch B'ullhy has been appointed president pro tempore, and the Council will be accepting petitions for presidential candidates immediately. The ballot containing the names of those who fit the criteria for candidacy will be announced by the Council one week from today. The election will be held at the end of the month.

"At present, the front-runners for presidential candidacy include T'Latrek of Vulcan, the current councillor for external affairs, who has held that position for eight decades; Nan Bacco, the planetary governor of Cestus III; Fel Pagro, the chief special emissary for Ktar; and Admiral William Ross of Starfleet. Naturally, speculation is already running rampant as to what led President Zife and Chief of Staff Azernal to their decision at this particular juncture, especially with the next election less than a year away."

The screen reverted to the FNS logo, then went blank.

Worf leaned back in his large leather chair. "A — convincing fabrication."

"Sir?"

"Zife and Azernal's reasons for resigning begin and end with Tezwa."

"I suspected as much, sir. Still, the general public can't very well be aware of that, can they?"

Worf folded his arms. "No. This willing resignation is a far more palatable solution than admitting to secretly arming the Tezwans." If Martok or the Klingon High Council ever found out that the Federation president armed an enemy of the empire, it could lead to yet another abrogation of the Khitomer Accords, and possibly war between the Federation and the empire. Neither nation was in a position to wage a prolonged war against the other, and the collapse of their alliance would destabilize the Alpha Quadrant at a time when it could ill afford such a thing.

Yet another secret I must keep from a man I have called brother, Worf thought bitterly. "I sometimes regret the day I chose to enter the realm of politics," he muttered.

Wu tilted his head. "I should think that after all these years, sir, you'd be used to it."

Glowering at his aide, Worf said, "The time since I accepted the ambassadorship is hardly 'all these years.' "

"My apologies, sir, I thought you said you regretted entering the realm of politics. That happened when you entered the Great Hall thirteen years ago in order to defend your father against accusations that he aided the Romulans at Khitomer."

Worf's glower intensified. "Excuse me?"

Wu put his hands in his vest pockets. "You accepted discommendation in order to cover up the crimes of the House of Duras and preserve unity on the High Council, but kept your brother — a high-ranking officer in the Defense Force — shielded from the dishonor. When Gowron needed help during the civil war, you were then able to use Kurn's position to restore your House and keep House Duras from gaining power." He removed his hands from his pockets, taking the padd out with his right hand. "Each of the last two chancellors, not to mention the emperor himself, owe their positions directly to you. You've probably had more impact on the face of Klingon politics than any single person in the last twenty years. Your accepting the ambassadorship was simply the continuation of a process you'd begun long before."

The aide's words mirrored similar ones spoken to Worf by Ambassador Spock three years earlier on a shuttle trip to a diplomatic conference. He had dismissed them then as exaggeration. He was tempted to do so now, but hesitated. Neither Spock nor Wu were prone to such things. Indeed, Wu had always, at Worf's own insistence, been completely honest with the ambassador.

"This — analysis is your interpretation of what I have done over the years?" he finally asked.

Wu shrugged. "Not really — simply the facts as I and many others see them. I had always assumed that it was why you were given this position in the first place. You've always been an excellent politician, sir."

Although he had worked on Qo'noS and among Klingons for over a decade, Wu was still a human. For that reason alone, Worf let the insult pass. That, and he'd never find an aide as talented.

As was Wu's wont, he noticed that Worf was not pleased with the way the conversation was turning, and so stared down at his padd and changed the subject. "There was a personal message accompanying T'Latrek's transmission, sir. She wishes to assure you that she has no intention of running for president, any more than she has the other dozen times an election has occurred since she joined the Federation Council, and also that she will contact you with further instructions on how to present this new information to the High Council within the hour. This is useful, as the council has requested your presence in the Great Hall at high sun."

"Naturally." Worf felt a growl build in his throat, but he tamped it down.

"I took the liberty of clearing all your appointments for today, save one, so you would be free to speak to T'Latrek and the council. I assume that that particular business will preclude all others."

Worf rose from his chair. "You assume correctly." He started to pace the room, walking toward the window. "What is the appointment you did not clear?"

At this, Wu smiled. "The Ya'Vang was recalled to Qo'noS for maintenance yesterday, and its crew granted shore leave. Your son will be here in twenty minutes."

Once, Worf might have greeted that news with apprehension, even anger. Alexander was born to K'Ehleyr, Worf's first love. When K'Ehleyr was slain by Duras on the Enterprise-D, Worf had avenged her death in the proper manner, and also taken responsibility for their son. Alexander was raised alternately by Worf on the Enterprise and by Worf's human foster parents on Earth; neither solution proved tenable. Sergey and Helena Rozhenko did the best they could, but they were too old to raise yet another child, and Worf was simply unsuited to the role of father.

It was the Dominion War that gave Alexander purpose. He enlisted in the Defense Force, serving on several ships during the conflict. Though the youth would never be mistaken for a great warrior, he did eventually grow into a decent soldier.

In the years since the war, father and son had come to a certain peace, for which Worf was grateful. His failures with Alexander had always gnawed at him, made him feel as if he had betrayed K'Ehleyr in some way. She deserved better than that — as did their child. To make matters worse, the Ya'Vang had been at the forefront of the fleet that the Defense Force had sent

to Tezwa. Though Worf's actions in stopping the fleet were primarily committed in order to preserve the peace and save Klingon lives, that he was able to rescue his son from a pointless death was never far from his thoughts.

The intercom on Worf's desk beeped. The voice of Damir Gorjanc, one of the embassy staff, spoke: "Sir, you have a coded message from Earth."

"That," Wu said, "will no doubt be T'Latrek."

"No doubt." To Gorjanc, Worf said, "Put it through."

Expecting the Vulcanoid features of T'Latrek, Worf was surprised to instead see the teal-hued face and horned head of another member of the Federation Council, one Worf had first met almost a decade earlier.

"Councillor Ra'ch. It is good to see you again."

"Likewise, Mr. Ambassador." Ra'ch B'ullhy, the former governor of Damiano, smiled. "We've both come a long way since you saved my life at my inauguration." Worf, then security chief of the Enterprise, had prevented an assassination attempt on Ra'ch's life when she took office. "You're an ambassador, and I'm the president pro tem."

"Congratulations."

Ra'ch's face went sour. "Easy for you to say — you're safe on Qo'noS. Believe me, I didn't want this. But since I'm stuck with the responsibility, I wanted to let you know how this needs to be presented to the High Council."

Worf wondered if this was why Ra'ch rather than T'Latrek was making the call. While the notion that Vulcans never lied, much like the notion that Klingons never did, was more ideal than reality, that didn't change the fact that most Vulcans were uncomfortable with falsehood.

"I assume," he said dryly, "that the truth is to be avoided at all costs."

"Good assumption. As far as Chancellor Martok is concerned, this is a decision that both Zife and Azernal have been contemplating for quite a while, and they felt that the time was right to make the announcement."

"And if they ask why there were no indications of this — contemplation prior to now?"

"The fact that the president and his primary aide are about to resign is hardly something they want to spread around. The tightest possible security was kept on this to maintain stability and not jeopardize the president's ability to do his job."

Worf nodded. "He did not want to appear to be a lame duck."

Ra'ch frowned. "I'm sorry?"

Shaking his head, Worf said, "My apologies. It is a human metaphor, applying to someone in a position of power whose days in that position are known to be coming to an end."

"Oh." Ra'ch was still frowning. "I don't see what a maimed waterfowl has to do with that."

"It is a human metaphor. They are often abstruse."

"True. Is there anything else you need to know, Mr. Ambassador?"

There were, in fact, several things, but Worf had other sources he could call upon for them, ones less busy than the person temporarily serving as president of the largest governmental body in the quadrant. "No. I will be speaking before the council at high sun."

"Good. I have every faith that you'll continue to serve the Federation with honor."

Worf wasn't entirely sure he had always done so up until now, but said only: "Thank you, Madam President."

Ra'ch winced. "For Ho'nig's sake, don't call me that. I'm still a councillor, and I plan to stay one. Call the poor unfortunate who wins the election that — they're welcome to it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have about a dozen other ambassadors to talk to." She smiled. "It's good to see you again, Worf."

"Likewise, Councillor."

With that, the screen went blank.

Worf turned to Wu. "Have Bey write an official statement incorporating Councillor Ra'ch's comments. I wish to see it within the hour." Diplomacy included a great deal of written composition, which was not Worf's strong suit. He could write a Starfleet report that was the envy of other officers for its completeness and attention to detail, he could write decent verse if the poem's subject was sufficiently inspiring, but the language of the official statement from the ambassador's office continued to elude him. Thankfully, such skills were not required. Bey Toh had been a speechwriter for two first ministers of Bajor, and he joined the embassy staff shortly after that planet had joined the Federation. It hadn't taken him long to adapt Worf's particular style of address to the written word.

Making notes on his padd, Wu said, "Of course, sir. Anything else?"

"I assume the resolutions that you had for me yesterday are still needed by the end of the day?"

Wu smiled. "It's possible that they've fallen down the priority queue a bit with this morning's events, sir, but I haven't heard anything specific."

"Very well. I will review them while I wait for my son. Have someone send up some gagh from the galley."

Wu nodded. "Anything else?"

"That will be all."

"Very good, sir."

The aide took his leave. Worf turned back to the terminal and called up the resolutions he had mentioned. If nothing else, it was probably best to get them out of the way; with Zife resigning, there would be a great deal of new business that would require Worf's attention. In particular he was concerned about how some on the High Council might view the fact that there was a vacuum in the Federation's power structure, however temporary. There were many in the empire who believed that, with the Dominion War over, there was no longer a need for the Federation and the empire to remain allies, some who even believed that there should be a return to the days before Praxis, when the Federation was just one of a list of enemies the empire intended to crush under its heel.

Tezwa would only add strength to those radicals' positions.

As the Federation's representative in the empire, it was Worf's job to ensure that the empire remained a steadfast ally. His position as a member of the chancellor's House, and Martok's own strong feelings about the need for the Federation alliance, would make that job easier, but that did not make said job in any way easy.

At some point, his office chime rang. "Enter."

A young Klingon woman entered the room, carrying a tray. Worf glanced to see the vermicular creatures in the bowl that sat in the tray's center. Though the replicators could provide adequate sustenance when necessary, sometimes there was just no substitute for live gagh.

Worf did not recognize the steward. Since he prided himself on knowing the entire embassy staff by sight, he asked, "Who are you?"

The woman stood with her arms folded in front of her. "I am Karra." No mother, no House, which meant she was a commoner — hardly surprising, given her position as an embassy steward. Those of noble blood would not serve in such jobs, leaving them either to commoners or to jeghpu'wI'. "I began my employment here a week ago."

A statement that he was not aware of any changes in the kitchen staff died on Worf's lips. He usually left such minutiae to Wu, more so in the past few months. "Very well," he said. "You may leave."

Karra nodded and left the room.

Frowning, Worf called up the embassy staff records. Karra had indeed been hired seven days earlier. In fact, fifteen members of the kitchen staff had been hired in the last month. Those positions tended to have a high turnover, so it probably wasn't all that untoward — still, Worf made a mental note to speak with the head of personnel, a cantankerous old Klingon named Mag, about it after he got back from the Great Hall. If nothing else, that quick a staff turnover constituted a security concern, if not an out-and-out security risk.

The intercom beeped. It was Gorjanc again. "Sir, your son has arrived. He's coming through security at the front gate now."

Worf allowed himself a smile. There will be time for security concerns and politics later. "I am on my way."

He switched off his computer and proceeded to the narrow hallway outside his office. The embassy was shaped like an inverted pyramid, and Worf's office was located on the second floor, taking up the entirety of the south section of that level. The north section contained Wu's office and the embassy library, a narrow hallway between them, ending on the west side with a turbolift and on the east with an emergency stairwell. In the center of the hallway was a large desk, where Carl Murphy sat. The human handled Worf's in-embassy appointments.

As Worf nodded to Murphy on his way toward the turbolift, another steward ran up to him. Worf recognized him only because he had just seen the boy's personnel record. His name was Kl'rt, and he was hired only four days previously.

"Mr. Ambassador!"

"What do you want?" Worf asked by way of greeting.

"Supervisor Vark needs to see you right away, sir." Vark was the head of the kitchen staff.

"Regarding what?"

"I don't know that, sir, I only know that it's urgent."

Worf turned his back on Kl'rt. "I have an appointment that is more urgent. Tell Vark to make an appointment with Mr. Murphy."

"Sir, Supervisor Vark told me to fetch you and not come back without you. He'll kill me if I disobey."

Closing his eyes, Worf thought, I do not have time for this. He turned to face Kl'rt. "Then you will die, for I will not see Vark now."

Then he saw it.

All the stewards in the embassy wore the same two-piece white outfit, a simple shirt and pants. They were generally formfitting, though Kl'rt's was a bit loose on him. Too loose, in fact — the quartermaster was generally more competent at getting the sizes right.

Kl'rt's service record, which Worf had just been perusing, along with those of the other new arrivals to the kitchen staff, indicated no injuries or deformities of any kind. Such things were always listed in the records — for example, Vark's record noted that he was missing two fingers from his left hand, which happened either in glorious battle against the Kinshaya or after an accident in the kitchen of the House of K'mpec, depending on how drunk the kitchen staff supervisor was when he told the story.

Yet there was no indication in the records of the bulge Worf now saw on Kl'rt's right hip.

Worf hesitated for only a moment, but that was apparently enough for Kl'rt, who removed the small weapon from under his shirt and fired it at Worf. The life of a diplomat had done little to dull Worf's reflexes, and he was able to duck to the floor to avoid the weapons fire, which he recognized as being that of a Breen disruptor.

Murphy, to his credit, immediately pressed the panic button on his desk — one of many security procedures instituted by Worf. The panic button would alert the security forces throughout the embassy of a breach, and also set off an alarm throughout the building.

That alarm did not sound.

Worf reached into the pocket of his floor-length leather coat and pulled out a small Ferengi phaser and fired it on Kl'rt —

— just as Kl'rt turned his disruptor on Murphy.

Both men fell to the ground a moment later.

"QI'yaH," Worf cursed. He ran over to Murphy's desk. Worf had stunned Kl'rt — he would need to be questioned — but the human was quite dead. Carl Murphy was a good man who had served the Federation well. Worf swore that those responsible would pay for his life.

A quick check on Murphy's computer revealed that the security system was down, which tracked with the malfunctioning panic button. Worf then entered the code that only he had — indeed, that only he and Wu knew about — which would reactivate the security system.

The system obligingly came online a moment later. Before pushing the panic button a second time, Worf called up the views from the security recorders in the embassy. He needed intelligence before he proceeded further.

In every room, he saw people in the white shirt-and-pants outfits of kitchen stewards, armed with Breen disruptors, rounding up the embassy staff.

One member of security unholstered her Starfleet phaser and tried to fire it, only to have the weapon fail. In another part of the embassy, two more security personnel, armed with Klingon disruptors, did likewise, and their weapons also failed.

The perpetrators of this assault not only disabled security, but must have engaged a scattering field to neutralize any Federation or Klingon weapons. Worf offered silent thanks to Nog. The first Ferengi in Starfleet, the young lieutenant had given Worf the phaser as a going-away present when Worf departed Deep Space 9 to become ambassador. Nog had promised that it was immune to most known forms of tampering and might come in handy someday. He was right.

Growling deep in his throat, Worf examined the security monitors. As unthinkable as it may have seemed, the embassy was under siege and in imminent danger of being taken over.

Worf assumed that the fifteen new members of the kitchen staff were the primary instigators. The security monitors revealed that a dozen Klingons were herding the staff to the large meeting room at the center of the embassy's top floor. With Kl'rt down at his feet, that left three unaccounted for — assuming that Vark is part of this. Mag, the head of personnel, apparently was not, as he was one of the ones being walked at gunpoint to the meeting room.

So, Worf noticed, was Alexander, currently being brought to the stairwell on the ground level.

Then the screens all went blank again. Whoever tampered with security is keeping an eye on those systems. He attempted his personal reactivation code a second time, but it had no effect.

I will have to make do with the intelligence I have so far.

Running back into his office, Worf retrieved a tricorder and his Starfleet combadge from the drawer of his desk and shoved the former into his pocket. They functioned independently of the embassy systems and wouldn't be affected by the sabotage.

To his total lack of surprise, use of the combadge garnered no reply. If they are capable of a scattering field to neutralize weapons and of deactivating embassy security, they are equally capable of blocking communications. Still, he pocketed the combadge in case he might need it, and moved back out into the hallway.

"Kl'rt, respond." Worf recognized the voice as that of Vark, coming from Kl'rt's prone form, indicating a communications device somewhere on the stunned steward's person. "He isn't answering."

"All right," said another voice that Worf did not recognize. "Gitak, Akor, get to the second level and find out what happened to Kl'rt."

A third voice, that of Karra, spoke: "Why send two people to stop a mere diplomat?"

"He's not a mere diplomat, he's a decorated warrior who served in Starfleet for fifteen years in security and strategic operations. He's the most dangerous person in this embassy."

Vark growled. "Damn you, Rov, if you had waited until after Worf was gone like I suggested — "

"Then we wouldn't have our most valuable hostage, would we?"

Worf wondered if Rov knew that they already had their most valuable hostage's son. If he didn't, he would soon; Vark knew Alexander from the latter's many visits.

The ambassador needed to get off this floor immediately.

Checking his tricorder, he saw that the only life signs in the building that weren't in the meeting room were the two on this level — his and Kl'rt's — and thirteen moving about the embassy.

This has been a very efficient operation. Worf knew he had to conceal himself in order to plan a counter-attack. Fortunately, I have the perfect place to go.

Worf took a moment to find the com unit, which was in Kl'rt's ear. Worf inserted the device in his own ear.

Even as he did, Rov said, "Close the channel, wait for Gitak and Akor to check in." Then the device went dead.

Worf kept it in his ear in any case. It might prove useful.

The door to the stairwell opened to reveal two more Klingons. Worf snarled, leapt behind Murphy's desk, and fired his phaser, now set to kill. I need only one prisoner.

As he crouched behind the large metal desk, he heard the thump of a body falling to the floor, meaning his aim was true and he had only one foe to face.

Two disruptor blasts whined as they went over Worf's head. Then he heard a voice both in his ear and from across the room. The shrill report of the disruptor meant that Worf actually heard the Klingon's words more clearly over his stolen com unit.

"This is Akor. Kl'rt's down, and the ambassador's still here. He took out Gitak. I need backup."

"I'm sending B'Eko and Kralk."

Allowing himself the tiniest of smiles, Worf took out the tricorder even as another disruptor blast fired over his head, this one on a different trajectory. Akor was not staying in one place, keeping Worf pinned behind the desk while he moved closer. Worf would have given him credit for good tactics, save for his breaking radio silence. That meant Worf could use his tricorder to home in on the transmission.

A moment later, he'd done so, backtracking Akor's movements in order to predict where he'd be in a moment.

Disruptor shots continued to fire over his head, even as Worf crawled around to behind the desk, right under the chair on which Murphy's dead body sat. He aimed his Ferengi phaser through the legs of the chair at a spot just past the other side of the desk.

Five, four, three, two, one.

He fired just as Akor came into view. The shot only glanced his shoulder, unfortunately, and so Akor was able to return fire even as he fell backward. Fortunately for Worf, the shot hit harmlessly on the metal chair. The type of Breen disruptor the stewards were using affected only living tissue, doing no damage to inorganic objects.

Worf fired again, taking advantage of the larger target presented by Akor when he fell. This time, his aim was dead-on; Akor got off one shot that fired into the ceiling before he died.

"Akor, what happened?" Rov asked over the com unit. "Akor!"

Climbing up from behind the desk, Worf bent over to pick up Kl'rt's unconscious form and slung him over his shoulder in a firefighter's carry. Rov's voice continued to blare into his ear as the ambassador brought Kl'rt to the turbolift doors.

The embassy had only one turboshaft on the lower levels, though there were two turbolifts. As the structure widened in all directions, the shaft forked, providing passage on both the east and west walls from the sixth floor up. At this second level, however, there was just the one and, according to Worf's tricorder, both lifts were stopped at the top level and had been deactivated.

That suited Worf fine. He needed only the shaft, not the lift itself.

Utilizing the manual override, Worf pried the lift doors open, then picked Kl'rt back up. The shaft had emergency ladders inset into the walls on the three nondoor sides; Worf grunted from the weight of his prisoner as he clambered over to one of them and then started climbing down.

If one inspected the plans for the Federation embassy, one would see, besides the aboveground portions, an extensive basement level. If one had security clearance above a certain level, one could see a different set of plans, which included a subbasement that wasn't even accessible to all those who had clearance to know about it. Worf was among the latter.

However, there was a second subbasement that almost nobody knew about and wasn't on any plan of the building that existed. Worf suspected that the number of people who did know of it could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The ambassador himself was aware of its existence only because of a family connection. A high-ranking member of Imperial Intelligence named Lorgh was a friend to Worf's now-defunct House, and had let Worf know of the secret bunker that had been placed beneath the embassy, under the control of people who seemed to be Starfleet Intelligence, but in fact had a much more shadowy agenda, and no oversight that Lorgh could determine. In order to aid Captain Picard at Tezwa, Worf had gone to that sub-subbasement to ask the commander working there for help. Shortly thereafter, the room was cleared out, with not even subatotomic traces of the base that Worf had seen. It was just an empty room that nobody even knew about.

Which made it the ideal place for Worf to begin planning to take back the Federation embassy.

Copyright © 2004 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    GREAT BOOK!!

    This was an awesome ending to a perfectly written series! I have read the entire series, and have loved it. I am a Trekkie, so naturaly I watched all the telivion series af Star Trek...The Original Series, The Next Generation, Star Trek:Enterprise, Deep Space 9, and Voyager. I also have a very extensive home library of TNG and TOS books,(my top two favorite series) so when I found out about this series, I HAD to buy it! This series helped to answer some questions that had been posed to me after watching and reading TNG. This was a most fabulous book series that I am very proud of owning, and I hope that other Trekkies will enjoy it as much as I did!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2006

    excellent

    a great conclusiom to a great series.

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