Stardate 75701.9; September 13, 2398
Edited by Peter Bossley
Written by Chris Adamek
Ambassador Taylus Drayge
Admiral William Grayson
President Ghodan Makar
Admiral Alexis O’Connor
- IN MEMORY OF -
Suraya was the largest of three moons, a barren hunk of craggy, ashen rock that gracelessly spun around the oceanic world of Minos Tureth. Its ragged surface was pocked and scarred by eons of abuse, all of it attributed to the wayward asteroids meandering through the remote star system… And as Suraya eclipsed its twin sisters—Devoras and Luccius—yet another fiery meteorite streaked toward the barren landscape below…
The meteor flared red and yellow as it descended through Suraya’s nominal atmosphere, gradually breaking apart as it fell. Moments later, a flash of white light glinted across the starlit sky, and a rain of cinders sprinkled the surface below… The meteorite had incinerated, and the moon was spared—but as the fiery shards collected in the base of an immense, circular vale, it was obvious that Suraya’s safety was only relative.
The vale was perhaps the most ancient crater on all of Suraya, a barren ring of rock countless kilometers in diameter. The culprit, however, was no longer in evidence; the vast majority of the incredible asteroid undoubtedly vaporized upon impact, and any shards that managed to survive the initial onslaught were undoubtedly destroyed in subsequent strikes on the moon. In fact, the only hint of the killer asteroid came in the form of a small, barren tor in the depths of the murky crater—and it was here, deep in this cleft in the earth, that the Romulan Empire’s darkest deeds were being done…
General Kor’cha sat idly in his command chair, staring intently at the five domed structures situated atop the barren plateau. According to the data the Romulans provided to the Federation, eager scientists once used the base to study asteroids—and of course, the diverse and wondrous life forms on the planet below… Unfortunately, over the course of a few turbulent decades, the research dwindled until finally, the Romulan Empire collapsed.
What a shame.
Today, the base was allegedly abandoned. The last of the Romulan scientists purportedly vacated the site during the final—and glorious—battles of the Elorg War. And though Kor’cha really wanted to believe these reports—that countless Romulan scientists abandoned their precious research to partake in the glorious bloodbath that was the Elorg War—his beating heart told him otherwise. The Romulans were without honor, and these reports were undoubtedly teeming with lies and deceit.
During the great and glorious days of the Klingon Empire, the very notion of such treachery would have been justification for war with the Romulans. The warrior blood flowing through the veins of all true Klingons would have boiled with a raging fury, and the bloodlust to conquer the hated Romulans would have commenced immediately. But the glory days were long gone, and suspicion alone was not enough to justify war.
The Chancellor needed solid evidence of Romulan treachery before he would even consider going to war. And if that was not enough, the myriad members of the High Council had their own agendas, and if certain Houses found war with the Romulans inconvenient, even the most concrete evidence would be called into question. These days, the High Council seemed more like a pack of Romulans senators than Klingon warriors—and the very notion made General Kor’cha sick to his stomach.
“We are approaching their defense perimeter,” called Commander Na’grak from the tactical station. “There is no sign of activity—no indication they have detected us.”
Kor’cha’s beady eyes narrowed. In his heart, he knew he should linger under cloak for but a moment longer—then move to obliterate the entire moon. But that would only destroy his precious evidence—and without that, there would be no hope for further conquest; the bloodshed would end at Minos Tureth. Knowing his bloodlust would not be quenched until the bodies of countless thousands of Romulans were strewn across the bloodied battlefield, Kor’cha decided against the preemptive strike. “Bring us closer,” he grunted.
The helmsman immediately complied, punching the necessary commands into his console. Within moments, the ragged moons of Minos Tureth loomed ominously on the viewscreen, the lunar base on Suraya dead ahead.
“I am detecting numerous life signs within the compound,” gleaned Na’grak from his station. “Reman, Garidian, Romulan… There are 166 in all.”
“Slaves,” said Kor’cha almost immediately. The Romulans considered both the Reman and the Garidians undesirable, and there were likely enough Romulan outcasts to fill an entire planet. True to Romulan tradition, these useless citizens were put to work in the lunar mines, undoubtedly performing brutal slave labor in the most extreme and unpleasant conditions imaginable. “Bring us closer!”
As the ship veered closer to the ashen rock, small landing pads and passageways between the five domes became visible. There were a few communication towers atop the center dome, as well as what appeared to be a rudimentary defense grid. It was unfortunate those tactical systems would not be tested in the heat of battle.
“We are entering optimal range.” Na’grak’s curt announcement came just as the ship was approaching Devoras, the smallest of the moons. “Still no sign of detection.”
“Good,” said Kor’cha with a devious smile. “Begin collecting our evidence. The sooner we convince the High Council of the Romulan threat, the sooner we can obliterate this pathetic rock…”