The fiercest battles and proudest warriors throughout Klingon history are said to reflect the honor and glory of the race's first emperor, Kahless the Unforgettable. But history is not always truthful. And for both the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets, the real truth may be too difficult to accept.
In the pages of a novel disclaimed by Starfleet, an enemy offers his perspective on events that transpired during the formative years of Klingon-Federation relations in the early twenty-third century. Chronicling the life story of Krenn, a Klingon war strategist who learns of peace while on a mission to Earth, the novel is a testimony to his efforts to preserve the honor of his people...by preventing total war against the then-struggling Federation.
Nearly a century later, a clone of the revered Kahless oversees the Klingon Empire. But when the myths and legends associated with the original emperor are disputed following the discovery of an ancient scroll, the new Kahless faces treason from within his own council, and impending civil war that could tear the empire apart. His sole chance for restoring his people's shattered faith must come from the outside -- specifically, from Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Lieutenant Worf of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
November 15, 2004
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from The Star Trek: Signature Edition: The Hand of Kahless by John M. Ford
Chapter 1: Tactics
The children of the Empire were arming for the Game.
Vrenn was a Lancer. He tested the adhesion of his thick-soled boots, adjusted a strap and found them excellent. He flexed his shoulders within their padding -- the armor was slightly stiff with newness; he would have to allow for that.
Vrenn's Lance still hung on its charge rack. He leaned into the wall cabinet, read full charge on the indicator, and carefully lifted the weapon out. The Lance was a cylinder of metal and crystal, as thick as his palm was wide. He rested its blank metal, Null end on the floor, and the glass Active tip just reached his shoulder. Then he hefted it, spun it, ran his fingers over the controls in the checkout sequence, watching flashes and listening to answering clicks. The crystal tip glowed blue with neutral charge.
It was a fine Lance, absolutely new like his armor. Vrenn had never before had anything that was new. He wondered what would happen to these things, after they had won the game...if there would be prizes to the victors. He took a deep breath of the prep room's air, which was warm and deliciously moist; he lifted his Lance to shoulder-ready and turned around.
Across the room, Dezhe and Rokis were helping each other into Flier rigs, shiny metal harnesses and glossy boots with spurs. Rokis tightened her left hand inside the control gauntlet, and rose very rapidly, almost banging her green helmet on the dim ceiling. Dezhe snorted, grabbed one of Rokis's spurs and pretended to pull her back down.
"G'daya new stuff." That was Ragga, who was struggling his immense bulk into the even greater bulk of a Blockader's studded hide armor. "Not a g'dayt crease in it, can't khest'n move." He did a few squats-and-stretches, looked a little more satisfied, but not much.
"Who said you could move anyway " Gelly said. Ragga swiped at her; she danced out of the way without the slightest difficulty. "You'd better not move. You might fall down, and I don't think the rest of us together could get you up again."
Ragga showed his teeth and arched his arms, roared like a stormwalker. Gelly skittered away, laughing. Ragga was laughing too, a sound not much different from his roar.
Gelly sealed up the front of her uniform, a coverall of shiny green mesh, with gloves and boots of finely jointed metal on her slender hands and feet. She was the best Swift of their House: the House Proctors said she might be the best Swift of all the Houses.
Others said other things, about her slimness, her smooth forehead, the lightness of her bones and flesh. Vrenn felt a little sorry for her: when they were younger, he had called her "Ugly, ugly!" with the others. But she couldn't help being ugly, and if it was true that some of her genes were Vulcan or Romulan -- or even Human! -- that was not her fault either. He did not think she was part-Human, though. Vrenn had killed a Human in the Year Games, when he was six, his first intelligent kill, and Humans were slow, not swift.
There had been the one who called Gelly kuveleta: servitor's half-child. Zharn had killed that one, and done it well. They had all killed, Zharn and Vrenn and Ragga many different races, but Zharn was the best.
But they were all the best, Vrenn thought. Their positions had not been randomly chosen, nor they themselves: of the three hundred residents of House Twenty-Four, they were the nine best at klin zha kinta, the game with live pieces.
Now Zharn was sitting against the wall of the prep room, in full Fencer's armor: smooth green plates and helmet, slender metal staff across his knees. He was humming "Undefeated," a favorite song of House Gensa. Segon, a lightly armored Vanguard, was near him, keeping time with his bootheel. A little farther away, Graade and Voloh, the other Vanguards, held hands and kept harmony.