A History of the Klingon Empire
The modern Klingon Empire was founded some 1500 years ago
by Kahless the Unforgettable, the brilliant strategist
who killed the tyrant Molor, whom he killed with the first bat'leth,
the sword of honor, thereby unifying his people. His legendary
stories of valor and courage still stirs emotions of pride in
his descendants, now warriors of the Klingon Empire.
Kahless was a philosopher of sorts, and his work is still
studied by Klingons centuries after his death. During his day,
he came to realize his race was so consumed with victory that
they resorted to treachery, to which he warned, "Watch
your back. Friends may become enemies in less time than it takes
to draw a dagger." But he did not heed his own advice,
for he soon proved to be too popular -- too dangerous to a leader
-- and was murdered by K'ashked, the Klingon Emperor, in 2125,
leaving the Klingon High Council in command of the Empire.
The Klingon Empire has had a colorful and violent history,
with many bloody conflicts such as the battle of Tong Vey,
in which the ancient Emperor Sompek ordered the destruction of
an entire city. By 2069, the empire was controlled by the
Klingon High Council, which had grown so powerful that no emperor
headed the empire from that year until the ascension of the second
Kahless in 2369.
By 2215, Klingon technology allowed them to maintain a speed
of warp 4 on their interstellar vessels. First contact between
the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets took
place in 2218, a disastrous event that led to nearly a century
of hostilities between the two powers. In 2267 negotiations between
the Federation and the Empire were on the verge of breaking down.
The Klingons had issued an ultimatum to the Federation to withdraw
from disputed areas, claimed by both the UFP and the Klingon
Empire or face war. The hostilities came to a head at the planet
Organia, the only Class M world in the disputed region.
Unknown to either side, the Organians incredibly advanced non-coporeal
lifeforms who imposed the Organian Peace Treaty on both
parties, thus effectively ending armed hostilities.
Around 2268, the Klingons entered into a brief alliance with
the Romulan Star Empire, when an agreement between the two powers
resulted in the sharing of military technology and spacecraft
designs, providing the Romulans with Klingon battle cruisers.
By the mid 2280's, Klingons were using ships described as birds-of-prey
(traditionally a Romulan term) that were equipped with cloaking
devices. Utilizing photon distortion fields to bend light around
the vessel to render it visually undetectable, and a cloak of
particle scattering fields, the effect creates a impenetrable
camouflage so a vessel cannot be picked up by traditional EM
sensor sweeps. This alliance was more of a friendship of convenience,
and when both side got what they wanted, the alliance was dissolved
in 2292. The terms on which the two sides parted remains unclear,
but they would become bitter foes for the next 75 years.
Early Talks & the Tribble Menace
Bilateral talks between the Klingons and the Federation continued
through 2289, taking place at the Korvat Colony. Even though
the meetings did not result in any breakthroughs, some small
progress was made when Federation negotiator Curzon Dax earned
the respect of his Klingon colleagues. However, encounters
with the Federation remained unpleasant at best, when the Klingon
Empire launched a covert operation to poison emergency quadrotriticale
supplies crucial to the Sherman Planet. The K-7 plant that was
storing the hybrid wheat sent a distress call answered by the
Enterprise. With the help of numerous tribbles, the Klingon sabotage
was revealed and terminated. Klingon hatred for the furry and
enormously prolific creatures was immediate after their first
contact. The Klingons considered tribbles to be an ecological
menace, a plague to be wiped out. In the latter part of
the 23rd century, hundreds of Klingon warriors were sent to track
them down throughout the galaxy. An armada obliterated the tribble
homeworld, and before the 24th century, tribbles had been eradicated.
The Praxis Incident
In 2293, a catastrophic explosion on Praxis, one of the moons
of Qo'noS, caused serious environmental damage to the Klingon
Homeworld. In the economic disarray that followed, Chancellor
Gorkon found that his Empire could no longer afford its massive
military forces. He therefore launched a peace initiative, offering
to end 70 years of hostilities with the Federation. Just prior
to a major peace conference, Gorkon was assassinated by Federation
and Klingon interests who sought to maintain the status quo.
The peace conference was then moved to Camp Khitomer, a planet
near the border of Romulan space. Gorkon's successor, his daughter
Azetbur, took over the role of Chancellor and continued her father's
work and opened the conference which lead to the landmark Khitomer
Accords. The Khitomer Conference of 2293 would later be seen
as the single most important peace treaty in Federation history,
ending the period of open hostility between the two major powers
of the Alpha Quadrant and beginning an era of cooperation and
joint ventures. However, it was only after Spock forced the truth
out of his traitorous protege Valeris, that the Enterprise and
the Excelsior (under command of Capt. Sulu) prevented another
assassination attempt -- this time on the Federation President
-- from succeeding. After exposing the villains within each party,
the talks continued and an era of peace resulted.
Peace didn't come about overnight, but through the years a better
understanding of the Federation and what they stood for changed
the perspectives of many Klingons. The courageous efforts of
the Enterprise-C, under the command Captain Rachel Garrett, in
defending the Narendra III Klingon outpost in 2344 from Romulan
forces solidified the pact further. To the Klingons, a Federation
starship defending Klingons from destruction was proof that they
were truly an honorable ally.
In later years, the Klingons remained on friendly terms with
the Federation. In 2364, Lieutenant Worf, son of Mogh, made history
by becoming the first Klingon Starfleet officer. His first post
was aboard the Galaxy-Class starship Enterprise-D, as a lieutenant
in security, when it was launched out of space dock.
Assassination of Chancellor K'mpec
The High Council was a hotbed of political intrigue that nearly
plunged the Empire into civil war in 2367, when Chancellor K'mpec
died of poison. Such a death and the dishonor of the murder had
been foreseen by K'mpec, who knew very well it could plunge the
Empire into civil war. To counter such a disastrous possibility,
K'mpec took the precaution of having appointed an Arbiter of
Succession. However, he broke convention by choosing Federation
Captain Jean-Luc Picard as mediator in choosing the next head
of the Klingon Empire. It came down to two candidates, Duras,
partly responsible for the discommendation of Worf, and Gowron,
a rising political figure. A web of intrigue and betrayal resulted
in the death of Duras, son of Ja'rod. Worf actually wielded the
knife that killed Duras and was reprimanded for his conduct afterwards.
He had avenged the death of Emissary K'Ehleyr, who confronted
Duras with his family secret of responsibility for the Khitomer
betrayal before she was killed. With no other challenger, Gowron
emerged as Council leader, leaving the Duras line extremely unsatisfied.
The Klingon Civil War
Forces loyal to the powerful House of Duras unsuccessfully attempted
to block Gowron, plunging the Empire into a brief, but bitter
civil war in early 2368. The Duras family tried to reinstate
their power in the Klingon Empire by pulling their connections
and attempted to put Toral, the son of Duras, into Council leader.
Certain High Council members who were allies of the House of
Duras, opted to side with them, and a deep rift in the Empire
was formed. In the following civil war, the Duras family secretly
utilized Romulan forces to aid their cause, promising a split
with the Federation when they succeeded in deposing Gowron. Gowron
issued a formal statement for assistance from the Federation,
but dutifully observing the Prime Directive of non-interference,
Starfleet declined to involve themselves in the war.
A conflict that could have ended in disaster for the Empire
was averted when it was discovered that the Duras had colluded
with Romulans, who had quietly supplied them with weapons and
other resources. The Romulans wished the Duras to take control
of the High Council, for that would truly see an end to the Federation/Klingon
alliance, a combined superpower the Romulans have long wished
to disassemble. But the coup failed as the supply source was
ultimately cut off by a blockade of more than 20 Starfleet vessels
utilizing a tachyon detection grid to scan for cloaked Romulan
ships attempting to cross the border, for the Federation had
duly recognised the Romulan/Duras connection.
Fall of the House of Duras
When word got out, support for the House of Duras fell and Gowron
was placed firmly into power. The war quieted with the escape
of the Duras sisters, Lursa and B'Etor, and the Romulans returned
home, foiled once again by the Enterprise-D's interference. Young
Toral was spared from death by Worf, whose father Mogh was at
last cleared of wrong-doing. Honor was restored to the House
Space marauders without hope of returning to Qo'noS anytime
soon, Lursa and B'Etor made other attempts to gain power. Their
exploits brought them to the Deep Space Nine where they sold
bilitrium explosives to a Bajoran Kohn-ma terrorist who planned
to use it to blow up the wormhole and drive away the Federation.
The last time the Duras sisters were reportedly seen was when
they associated with Dr. Soran, ferrying him to the Nexus while
he provided them with trilithium weapons capable of mass destruction.
The Enterprise-D interfered and destroyed the Bird-of-Prey, presumably
killing the sisters in the process.
Emperor Kahless II
Though their nation is called Empire, it had not been ruled by
an Emperor for more than three centuries. This situation changed
in 2369, when Kahless the Unforgettable returned to Qo'noS,
as he declared he would before his death. After some research
it was revealed he was a clone of the original Kahless, brought
back by clerics of Boreth. Gowron knew his people hungered for
the spiritual leadership of Kahless, and conceived an idea that
would give Kahless the position to use his influence while keeping
the real political power to himself and the High Council. This
clone was regarded as the rightful heir to the throne, and, with
the support of Chancellor Gowron, was installed in the honourary
position of the ceremonial Emperor of the Klingon people.
The Klingon-Cardassian War
In early 2372, concern over reported Founder infiltration into
the Quadrant's political arena mounted, and certain Klingons
were greatly disturbed by the overthrow of the Cardassian Central
Command, something they interpreted as the work of the Founders.
Voices shouting for war and glory pressured Gowron into action.
He gave orders to invade Cardassia on the premise of rooting
out the Founders Klingons believed had replaced the Cardassian
Detapa Council. Fearing that the Cardassian government had been
taken over by the Dominion, Gowron's forces, commanded by a changeling
agent impersonating General Martok, invaded Cardassia Prime,
intending to execute the Detapa Council and install an imperial
overseer to rule. Although this Changeling Theory was
later disproved by Starfleet, the Klingon Empire continued the
attacks. The UFP, having signed a peace treaty with the Cardassians
only some years ago, had no choice than to intervene against
Captain Sisko and Lt. Commander Worf got wind of the Klingons'
intentions and warned against such a rash and unprovoked attack,
one which could mean the dissolving of the long-standing Khitomer
Accords with the Federation. Gowron disregarded the warning and
proceeded with plans. General Martok led an armada in the attack
on Cardassia, nearly wiping out the its infrastructure in the
process. Despite Gowron's firm resolve to go to war with Cardassia,
there were several Klingons within the Empire who did not support
the invasion, not the least of whom was Emperor Kahless and Worf's
brother Kurn, now a member of the High Council.
The Klingons did a great deal of damage after they penetrated
Cardassian defense lines. The civilian council members were saved
from certain death only by the unified efforts of Gul Dukat and
Captain Sisko, who placed them in the relative safety of DS9.
When demands to release the council members were not met, the
Klingon fleet bombarded Deep Space Nine with heavy fire, resolved
to force them out or destroy the station. Sisko had the foresight
to reinforce the defensive and offensive capabilities of the
station a year ago, and the station withstood everything the
Klingon fleet could launch at it.
The attack on DS9 ended when Sisko made Gowron see that this
turn of events was manipulated by the Founders, who turned allies
into foes to weaken them for the Dominion invasion. By then,
Klingons had already occupied several Cardassian worlds, and
even as they engaged in peace talks with the Federation, they
were engineering an eventual conflict by killing Bajoran and
Cardassian nationals meeting for peace talks and by setting up
Worf to make an unprovoked attack on a Klingon transport. At
the end of 2371, talks between the Federation and Klingon Empire
ended with mutual dissatisfaction. The Klingons were insulted
by the incessant demands to retreat from Cardassian territory,
and soon after the Khitomer Accords were officially annulled
by Gowron, expelling all Federation citizens from the empire
and recalling all Klingon ambassadors.
Soon after, a high ranking member of the Klingon military,
General Martok, was discovered to be a changeling, and Dominion
spy. The infiltrator was instantly killed on discovery, and without
his damaging influence disrupting Alpha Quadrant affairs, stability
between the Federation and Klingon Empire was ensured once more.
One possibility is that the Martok influence may indeed have
had something to do with the earlier concerns that the Cardassian
government had been taken over by the Dominion, with him campaigning
for war. One primary tactic the Dominion used was to turn the
Alpha Quadrant powers against each other, fuelling internal rumour,
distrust and suspicion.
Widespread scuffles and skirmishes ensued with Federation
forces for a short while thereafter, but after an incident at
Ajilon Prime a cease fire was established, and the alliance reformed.
The Dominion War Begins
But the damage was done. Neither the Federation, Klingon Empire,
Cardassia Union, nor the Romulans could summon a fleet to defend
from the imminent Jem'Hadar invasion through the wormhole. Having
taken everything in consideration, the Federation decided to
use modified graviton emitters to seal the wormhole without damaging
the Prophet inside. However, sabotage from another Changeling
in disguise (this time as Doctor Bashir) prevented them from
closing the wormhole, and the Jem'Hadar fleet poured through
to the Alpha Quadrant.
However, this was nowhere as stunning as the announcement
Gul Dukat that the Cardassian Union had joined the Dominion.
Dukat was made the new head of the Union, and the Dominion soon
removed all Klingon presence from their territory as well as
summarily slaughtered all Maquis terrorists. Having tasted victory
upon victory in so short a time, Dukat soon revealed his plans
to reclaim Terok Nor for Cardassia.
The Klingon fleet, battered by Dominion ferocity, withdrew
to the Bajoran system, where Captain Sisko persuaded the Empire
to consider a resigning of the Khitomer Accords, arguing that
the Dominion would be easier to fend off through a joint effort.
So whereas suspicion of Dominion involvement initiated the string
of events and severed Federation-Klingon ties, the confirmation
of Dominion involvement in Cardassia would restore the peace
accords and end the conflict.
Re-Signing of the Khitomer Accords
The re-signing of the Khitomer Accords marked the beginning of
close strategic cooperation on the part of the Federation and
the Klingon Empire. Klingon fleets joined Federation vessels
in protecting the Bajoran system from a possible Dominion invasion,
and a Romulan fleet joined the defense line as they waited for
the Jem'Hadar ships approaching fast ahead on their sensors --
only there was no Dominion fleet. A Changeling posing as Dr.
Bashir tried to make the Bajoran sun go nova, but Major Kira
and Lt. Dax uncovered the plot and destroyed the runabout Yantzee,
which was ferrying the Changeling and his explosives, before
he could succeed.
Later, when Worf and Garak were thrown into Internment Camp
371, the place where enemies of the Dominion were confined, they
discovered the real General Martok and Doctor Bashir as
well as Enabran Tain, who survived the disastrous joing Obsidian
Order and Tal Shiar attack on the Founder homeworld a year earlier.
After their safe return to the Alpha Quadrant, Martok was made
commander of the Klingon forces stationed around DS9 as part
of the new Khitomer Accords.
In the following months, more Dominion convoys were sent through
the wormhole into Cardassian space. It was soon apparent that
the Dominion was planning to take over the whole Quadrant when
they had everything in place. Captain Sisko convinced Starfleet
that the wormhole entrance must be mined to prevent more Jem'Hadar
from entering the Alpha Quadrant. With the help of Klingon ships
as cover, the self-replicating cloaked mines were successfully
placed and activated just seconds before the Federation personnel
were forced to abandon DS9.
The next three months inflicted terrible losses for the Federation.
Whole fleets were destroyed and the war proved to be a very bloody
affair for both sides. When news came through that the Dominion
had almost dismantled the minefield and was ready to send through
massive reinforcements, Captain Sisko knew they could wait no
longer. He convinced the Federation to launch a risky strike,
sending three fleets from Starbase 375 to Terok Nor in a gamble
that could reclaim the station if successful.
The Prophets Step In
Meanwhile, an armada of 2,800 Dominion ships queued up to enter
the wormhole into the Alpha Quadrant. The Defiant broke through
the Cardassian/Dominion line, but was obviously no match against
the Jem'Hadar fleet. Right before the Defiant came into weapons
range of the Jem'Hadar, the alien entities within the wormhole
spoke to their Emissary "the Sisko" again, but with
more urgency than before. Sisko made clear to them what the devastating
result would be if such an enormous fleet were to reach the Alpha
Quadrant. Not wishing their Emissary to die, and aware of the
outcome should the Jem'Hadar ships reach the Alpha Quadrant,
the Prophets decided to act, and made all 2,800 ships vanish
without a trace.
Gul Dukat, who was with Weyoun and the Founder female in Terok
Nor Ops, was already celebrating his glorious victory. When the
reinforcements vanished without a trace from the sensors, and
the Defiant alone emerged from the wormhole, he could not comprehend
what had happened. Everything was lost, and more Federation ships
were on their way. The Dominion had no choice but fall back to
Romulans Enter the Dominion War
The Romulans, who had signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion
prior to this, was pulled into the war when they were "convinced"
the Cardassians murdered Romulan Senator Vreenak. Thus, the Klingons
found themselves fighting alongside the Federation and Romulans
against a common enemy.
Among the first joint campaigns of the Klingon/Federation/Romulan
forces was the taking of the Chin'Toka System. Targeted for its
thin defenses, the fleet led by Sisko encountered resistance
only in the orbital weapons platform deployed there. After destroying
the main power source, the aystem came under Federation control.
Dukat, who escaped from a Federation prison escort ship when
it crashed in a remote planet, returned to Deep Space Nine to
destroy the Orb of Prophesy and in the process unwittingly killed
Jadzia Dax, who was praying in the Bajoran Temple at that time.
The wormhole inverted and collapsed, sending the Bajorans into
panic about the disappearance of their Celestial Temple. Three
months later, Captain Sisko restored the wormhole by rediscovering
the Orb of the Emissary on Bajor.
Death of a Hero
Kor, the D'Har master and legendary hero of the Klingon Empire,
felt the time had come for his final, glorious death to usher
him into Sto-Vo-Kor, where his beloved friends, Kang and Koloth,
had already gone. In 2375, he asked for Worf's help in securing
a position on General Martok's ship where he could go into battle
and hopefully die a fitting death for a warrior of the Empire.
Martok, though resentful of the man who had refused him entry
into the Klingon Guard, allowed Kor to remain Third Mate when
Worf appointed him the position on the Ch'Tang, Martok's flagship.
During the attack run on Trelka Five, Kor succeeded in the end
by sacrificing his life in slowing down the wing of Jem'Hadar
fighters on the tail of the Ch'Tang, and he entered Sto-Vo-Kor
in a blaze of glory.
Ascent of Chancellor Martok
In 2375, the Klingons fought alongside the Federation
and suffered the most damaging losses when the Breen used their
energy dissipater weapon against power-hungry attack vessels
the Federation, Klingon, and Romulans at the second battle of
Chin'toka, and the System once again fell under Dominion control.
Shortly after the attack, Chancellor Gowron came aboard DS9 to
induct Martok into the Order of Kahless, the highest honor possible
for any Klingon. But afterwards, Martok was relieved of his post
as commander of the Klingon fleet, and Gowron repeatedly asked
him to waste men and ships in suicide missions. Martok was too
proud and too loyal to disobey the commands of Gowron, but eventually
Worf came to see that Gowron had his own political motives for
the waste of resources. He challenged Gowron's tactical decisions,
and in the ensuing duel killed the man he helped install into
Chancellorship. Worf refused the mantle of the Chancellor, instead
throwing it over Martok, who reluctantly accepted his new role
as Chancellor as well as regained his old role of Fleet Commander.
With a countermeasure against the Breen weapon developed by
the Federation, the Dominion pulled back into a tight perimeter
around Cardassia Prime, where they hoped they could rebuild while
the Federation and the other enemies would cease pursuit and
be content to return home. Chancellor Martok voted to strike
the Dominion down once and for all, before they have time to
rebuild, an opinion Sisko shared. The Romulans eventually went
along with the Federation and Klingon Empire, and a full-out
Back on Cardassia, Damar, whose formal military resistance
movement had been crushed by Weyoun, ignited a civilian rebellion
that succeeded in taking out power on Cardassia Prime for the
duration of the Federation/Klingon/Romulan attack on Dominion
forces. With communication cut, Weyoun and the Female Founder
could not contact their fleet, and the Founder was so incensed
she ordered Lakarean City, 2 million in population, destroyed.
She also ordered every house levelled in Cardassia if necessary
until Damar and his rebels were found. The Jem'Hadar were about
to kill the trio when the Cardassian soldiers that had come along
with the Jem'Hadar killed the Dominion soldiers and pledged their
loyalty to Damar.
The Tide Turns
Sisko, Martok, and Ross lead the attack, and they clearly were
losing ground when the Cardassian ships suddenly turned to fire
on the Dominion. Soon, it was the Dominion whose line was faltering
rapidly under the firepower of all the hostile ships. It was
only then that long-range communications returned to Weyoun and
Founder. Knowledge that the entire Cardassian fleet had turned
against the Dominion angered the Founder into declaring that
all Cardassians untrustworthy. She immediately ordered the extermination
of the entire population on Cardassia Prime and sent Jem'Hadar
ships to level every inch of Cardassia Prime. The Breen general
volunteered to fight in the front lines, leaving Weyoun and the
Founder almost entirely alone on the planet surface.
The Founder, alone in the command center and a dead Weyoun
lying at her feet while under Kira and Garak held her prisoner,
would not call off her Jem'Hadar, content to let every last Dominion
soldier die fighting. Odo convinced her to surrender and stand
trial as a war criminal when he healed her disease and imprinted
on her his experience of solids.
Peace with the Federation
Worf was reassigned to become Federation Ambassador to Qo'noS.
The new Chancellor and new Federation ambassador mark another
turning point in the long history of the Empire. Having gone
through the wages of war side by side, the Empire and the Federation
will no doubt be allies, realizing the Organians' prophecy of
lasting peace and friendship.