((USS Nahendra – Ready Room))
Taybrim: Charlie company is at your disposal and you are named the CO of it for the foreseeable future. Captain Luthas will be stepping back to specialty work and Lieutenant Meeks will be stepping up as the Marine CO within the next week. I just have to get the paperwork through. I’ll introduce you to him. That should settle the 292nd. Now intel… there is quite a bit to share.
Tatash nodded in response, mentally ticking off that requirement from his list as he continued to look down the page at the various tidbits of information that Intelligence had carefully and methodically curated for him. Some of it was superfluous, some of it was damned near terrifying. His yellow eyes flicked up from his PADD to the Commander as she spoke.
DeVeau: I admit, I’m not as up to speed as some about what’s been happening. I’ve read about fairly recent events, the Cult of Molor. I’ve been given a bit more information this morning. ::She inclined her head to her captain.:: I’m assuming from what has been said that things are only escalating and conflict is imminent.
With a press of a button, the room was lit for a second by a visible sweeping light that scanned through them all. It didn’t need to be visible, but it was designed to be a reassurance that the anti-monitoring scan had worked as intended.
Taybrim: To say that there is more to this is an understatement. To say that we – the crew of StarBase 118 – are connected to it is like saying we had a small dip in the pool when we are up to our necks in water. Needless to say, this next conversation is confidential, but I will approve pertinent details to be shared with the Hegemony.
There was no complaint from Tatash, he often found himself straddling between the side of him that followed the rules and tradition of his uniform and the responsibilities to look out for his people’s interests. Sometimes, certain details were best left under wraps until they could be fully appreciated.
Tatash: Understood, Sir.
Sal settled back, taking a sip of his cider. Tatash knew what he was doing, he was collecting those threads together in his head as he always had done before he needed to deliver a burst of rapid fire information.
Taybrim: So the Gorn are not wrong. Not at all. The Klingons have been making threatening advances into the territory between the Hegemony and the Klingon Empire. Most notably several cloaked warbirds attempted an attack against the Gorn colony of Ishnag. That was thwarted by some advanced intelligence and some help that wasn’t supposed to be there.
Tatash: I can probably assume that the circumstances were not as fortuitous as they seem.
Sal nodded, Tatash chuckled. Of course it would be something the gang from the blue mushroom would have done. It was no secret that somehow, despite not even being really one of the mobile fleet, Starbase 118’s merry band of meddling miscreants somehow popped up in the most unlikely places and circumstances.
Taybrim: Yes, we did thwart them. That might have been us. Off the record. ::dark eyes twinkled for a moment:: So let me give you an overview. We were originally contacted by Councilor Dempok about large amounts of a suspicious chemical being smuggled into the Klingon Empire. Silicone Platinochloride, it’s street name is ‘Death Fog’ – easily aerosolized, this stuff will destroy lung tissue on most any humanoid species within days of exposure. Except for Klingons. While it’s horrible stuff to everyone else, it’s especially deadly to Klingons – killing them in a matter of minutes, tops. Hence Dempok’s concern. We joined him on his family’s targ hunting grounds and the information was passed to us off the grid. Since then Dempok himself has been very quiet – he has to be. He understands the threat going on is internal and they are fully willing to destroy any Klingon that might threaten them.
Tatash scratched his chin. Dempok was trustworthy, he was a stalwart ally and he’d even go so far as to call him a friend, not just to 118 but to Tatash directly. The fact that he himself had felt the need to go to ground, considering his political power -and- his reputation of being a fearsome warrior spoke volumes.
More concerningly, the prospect of anyone using weapons of that nature and trying to wrap them under the banner of the Gorn was a terrifying prospect, a Pandora’s box to open, to borrow from Human mythology.
Tatash: We’re talking about weapons of mass destruction being deployed on Klingon soil. It’s assumed this Cult is our primary suspect?
Taybrim: Yes. We found that the Death Fog was being amassed, along with multiple caches of weapons by the Cult of Molor – insane followers of the Tyrant Molor, defeated by Kahless the Unforgettable. The Cult of Molor wants to plunge the Klingon empire into war with the Gorn so they can use the division of focus to stage a coup and take over the High Council, reshaping the Empire in the name of their dishonorable figurehead. And Klingons, being Klinsgons are too damn stubborn to see the Cult as a threat.
The shadow that was starting to grow larger on the conversation made Tatash shift in his chair, two races with two very different appetites for conflict. On one hand you had the Klingons who fought for the pleasure of it, who accepted nothing less than victory and honour. On the other, the Gorn, who fought to destroy their opponents down to the last man.
Tatash: How in the hell does an organisation like this suddenly have access to this kind of material? Shipments like this draw attention, most importantly it costs money. Money can be traced. ::he paused, peering at Sal’s furrowed brow:: Which judging by that look, you’ve already done.
Sal nodded grimly.
Taybrim: Of course there is more. And you won’t like it. The Cult of Molor has been around for over eight hundred years, always a crazy splinter sect that crops up, is quickly quelled and then fades away. So why do they now have several dozen old B’Rel class cruisers, multiple bases hidden in the Azure Nebula and a stockpile of weapons? They’re being bankrolled by our old friends… the Orion Syndicate.
Of course, the Orions. Who else in the galaxy would have no issue payrolling death and destruction in the billions, if not trillions? Who else would sell out morality and use even the most horrific of words, genocide, to further their own goals?
Tatash didn’t respond beyond letting out an almost pained groan, a sound born of pure frustration.
DeVeau: Sounds like we’ve got some preparations to make.
Taybrim: That we do. About five months ago we fought a decisive battle against the Cult of Molor around Vankoth II, where a lot of secrets were uncovered, not the least of which was that General Krala of House Kravzo'ch was a traitor to the cult. This has caused massive ripples in the politics of the Empire that we need to address.
Tatash: Exposing Krala could easily be used to the Cults advantage. They have proven they can fit people in at the highest levels, which means by them being exposed there is likely to be distrust between others.
Tatash nodded and looked back down at his device.
Tatash: What I’m about to say is going to sound genuinely terrifying. It’s meant to be. Intelligence want’s to make it very clear why they are taking a stance of ‘whatever the cost’ on this one.
Tatash took a deep breath, looking them both in the eye before reading down the page.
Tatash: There has been some speculation and simulation as to what would happen if this cold war turned hot, just to give you an idea of what’s at stake. The Klingons would be expected to deliver, in their traditional manner, a massive strike force throwing everything they have at the Gorn’s forward defences. Casualties of this opening sortie stand at roughly six hundred thousand. Intelligence expects that the Gorn defences would be quickly overwhelmed on the front line before falling back to a stronger, secondary line.
He let that sink in, before continuing.
Tatash: The Gorn however did not sign the second Khitomer accords, therefore it’s pretty reasonable to expect them to utilise subspace weapons in the counter attack in an effort to not only inflict massive devastation, but to make warp travel to and from Klingon space no longer possible to prevent the flow of reinforcements. This would force the Klingons to resort to using long range strategic weapons with high yield warheads, which are fully expected to be targeted at major centres of industry and other area’s that support the war effort with near-hit accuracy. Most of these centres would be near population centres. The casualty count, by this point, is projected to be three and a half billion lives.
Tatash continued, despite the looks of horror. He hadn’t even mentioned the appendices that included a ‘What if the Federation is dragged in’ projection.
Tatash: The Gorn would retaliate by launching subspace weapons at Qo’noS as a major target, both industrially but also as a method of shattering morale. A world which relies heavily on external supplies of food due to it’s limited agriculture. The population, without supply by warp capable ships, would be… ::he paused, before tossing the PADD on the desk with a clatter:: We can’t fail this Sal. We simply can’t. I was instructed specifically to give you this information because when I say this has a ‘whatever the cost’ clause attached to it, we’re fully expected to get our hands dirty if required. Just like we did on Tilanna, just like we did with Arrhimen, and just like we did with Chennel.
Tatash offered a thin smile to DeVeau.
Tatash: They were all people that stood against us Commander, terrorists and drug pushers on Tilanna. Traitors with Romulan technology in the case of Arrhimen, and murderous criminals that tortured our crew in Chennel. We lost lives, we lost ships but we beat all of them firmly and put them all in the ground to rot for their crimes and I know we won’t fail this either. If any group of do-gooders can get this done, we’re the right ones for the job.
Marine Intelligence (Charlie Company)
Starbase 118 Ops