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Military Demarcation Line, Erdalgas System: Republic of Cardassia

Stardate: 54801.1

"Status," Laria said on the bridge of the Vor'cha class attack cruiser, IKS nentay.

"Approaching orbital interface with Erdalgas II, HoD, " Lieutenant Berga, her operations officer, replied from his station. "Cloak is holding. No signs the enemy has detected us."

"Scan the Objective," Laria commanded.

"No change from our scout ships' reports," Berga answered. "Enemy deflector shields and transport inhibitors are still active and functioning. We can't beam down."

"Well then," Laria said with a deep breath. She reached down to her belt and felt the handle of her disruptor pistol. "That narrows down the courses of action." Then, she slammed the intercom button on her command chair's armrest. "Laria HoD to Lord Daniel."

"Lord Daniel here," the general replied from deep below deck.

"We are approaching orbit of target planet. The objective is confirmed hostile. Conditions check is met for spaceborne assault."

There was a brief pause on the other end.

"jIyaj," Tigranian finally replied.

"Ten minutes till green light. May the Unforgettable guide you all as you fall from his stars," Laria added as she sat back down.

"I'll be back in time for dinner," her husband replied. Laria couldn't see his face, but it sounded like he was smiling.

"Very good, My Lord," she chuckled back at him. "You'll be the one making it."

"How about hasperat and a simple salad?" he chuckled.

"That sounds just right," Laria replied. The transmission disconnected and she sighed.

"What is it, HoD?" Berga asked.

"He only offers to make hasperat when I've had a trying day."

"Has it been a trying day?" Berga said.

"We'll find out soon enough…" Laria muttered.


The IKS nentay's lower assault bay was located against the ship's belly halfway between the two warp nacelles. The metal chamber was a box one hundred meters long, twenty meters wide, and ten meters tall. Today, it was absolutely packed to capacity. Two rows of fifty Klingon marines in armored space suits, bulky high-altitude parachute packs, and full combat gear lined the port and starboard bulkheads. A single row of five light-infantry support tanks were loaded onto flat metal pallets and locked into sliding tracks built into the bay's deck plating. Thick nylon ratchet straps secured the tanks' weapons and turrets tightly to their hulls in anticipation of the atmospheric turbulence of a hundred-kilometer long plummet to the ground. The Pheben tank crews had already completed their final pre-drop checks and were smoking hand-rolled mahorka cigerettes on the tops of their turrets. Normally, smoking was forbidden before a drop, but considering the danger of the operation, no one denied them the final luxury of a rough hit of burning nicotine.

Tigranian stepped away from the intercom panel. He was also in his hard-bodied assault suit with a chute on his back. His razor sharp bat'leth was secured in a padded case tightly strapped to his right leg. The cumbersome equipment gave him a strange gait almost like an ancient Earth pirate with a peg leg.

The general called out to a Pheban tank commander who reached down four tentacles and pulled him up onto the top of the nearest vehicle. With his suit and equipment on, the general weighed over 150 kilos in one "g" and trouble climbing on his own. Tigranian looked down the dim bay lit with yellow and red lights and screamed out in tlhIngan Hol:


"OOOOORAAAAAHHHHHHH!" a massive cheer echoed from the metal bulkheads as every soldier proudly raised their disruptor rifles and helmets into the air.

"Ten minutes! Helmets on!" Tigranian added before jumping back down to the deck.

The Pheban QaS DevwI' signalled to the other tank crews in his platoon. In an instant, the janissary troops snuffed out their cigarettes while shouting a final exultant cheer at the Klingon dismounts. Many of the ground marines replied with encouraging words, "jeghpu'wI' HoS!" as the three-eyed, multi-tentacled Phebans dropped into their tanks and secured their hatches with a loud "hiss" of pressurized air.

Tigranian genuinely admired the Pheban spaceborne tank crews. They would be making the long fall to the planet's surface completely sealed inside their armored tracks with absolutely no control over their descent. If anything went wrong with their pallet's inertial dampeners or cargo parachutes, they would slam into the surface as miniature meteorites. The task took great bravery and warranted respect even from the most gruff of the Klingon soldiers. After all, the tanks crews did it to support the troops on the ground with their heavy firepower.

Before putting on his own helmet, Tigranian stepped over to two individuals completely out of place in their bright white, unarmored Starfleet space suits.

"Are you ready?" Tigranian grinned at Commander Richey, operations officer for Federation Forces Cardassia, and a nervous-looking lieutenant from her staff.

"I think so," she said a bit apprehensively. "I can't believe I'm doing this," she said trying to steady her breathing.

"It will be fine, Stephanie," Tigranian said putting his gloved hand on the padded arm of her suit. "Just keep right behind me and stay out of the way. Nine times out of ten, there are no problems."

"What about the tenth time, General?" the nervous human lieutenant with her asked.

"There's a problem," Tigranian chuckled as he put the bulbous Klingon helmet over his head and sealed the neck collar. The two Starfleet officers exchanged terrified looks, put on their own space helmets, and proceeded to triple check their parachutes and portable heat shields.

"Three minutes to orbital interface," Laria's voice announced over the intercom speakers in the metal ceiling. "Standby for depressurization and ramp drop."

Tigranian grabbed a nylon cargo net hanging from a bulkhead to steady himself. Then, he looked back over his shoulder. The marine QaS DevwI' squad leaders all flashed him a thumbs up to indicate their troops were safely sealed inside their own suits. Tigranian then pressed a button to let the bridge know it was safe to depressurize.

Loud alarms echoed and yellow lights flashed all around them. Then, the feel of rushing air let them know that the atmosphere was being sucked out of the entire bay until it was the same vacuum as open entire room lurched as the floor dropped out beneath them. The entire length of the bay lowered to form a ramp gently angled down and away of the ship. The two mighty impulse engines of the nentay roared directly overhead and immediately caused a powerful vibration in their ears despite the lack of atmosphere.

Tigranian grinned from ear to ear as he looked out at the blue green sphere of Erdalgas II directly beneath them. There was no glass or forcefield, nothing between them and the void anymore. The ship turned its belly to directly face the planet and provide the right exit angle for the jumpers.

"One minute till orbital interface," Laria's voice said through the intercom. "Prepare for stage one vehicle pallet unlock and drop on my mark."

"Do you see how close to the bulkhead I am?" Tigranian said turning around to look at Richey and her lieutenant. They both nodded back in the affirmative. "Be sure you stay closer than that, because when those things go," Tigranian said pointing to the tanks, "they'll take anyone who is careless or stupid with them. It's dangerous enough to make this jump. You don't want to do it with every bone in your body shattered. Understand?"

The general laughed inside his suit as the officers pushed so close to the adjacent metal wall, he thought they might stick to it.

"Ten seconds to vehicle release," Laria said from the bridge.

"STANDBY!" Tigranian shouted over the roaring engines as he steadied himself on the edge of the ramp. He peered down to see the surface of the planet below rushing by at 28,000 kilometers per hour.

"wej…cha'…wa'…VEHICLE RELEASE!" Laria shouted through the intercom. A chemical rocket shot out from the last loading pallet straight into the aft impulse wash of the nentay while trailing a long line. In less than a second, the rope snapped tight and began dragging the tanks down the ramp into space with incredible speed. The clattering and vibration made the entire ramp heave up and down. The Starfleet officers were nearly knocked off their feet, but Richey held onto the nylon cargo netting with one hand and her lieutenant with the other. Like a miniature freight train, the five tanks flew out into the void still strapped down tight to their pallets. They missed crushing the dismounted troopers to paste by only a few centimeters.

"HOLY SHIT!" the Starfleet lieutenant shouted on the verge of hyperventilating.

"BRADY!" Richey commanded. "Get a hold of yourself. Don't freak out in front of the Klingons!"

Tigranian didn't have time to chuckle. He crawled out until nearly half his body was outside the nentay. He observed the tank platoon floating silently for a few seconds. Finally, they caught the edge of the atmosphere and slowly descended down and away from the ship. Their hulls and turrets began glowing white hot as they cut through the thickening atmosphere. The only thing preventing them from all instantly incinerating was their polarized hull plating. Tigranian saluted silently one more time as his Phebans began their long ride to the surface inside a private set of shooting stars.

"Lord Daniel to bridge," he said keying his intercom, "vehicles are clear and away. Good release. Goo descent."

"Acknowledged," Laria replied. "Thirty seconds to personnel drop. Qapla'."

Tigranian set his headset to speak to all the Klingon troopers.

"Remember," he commanded over his shoulder, "you are Klingon warriors. Every piece of soil your boots touch is soil you conquer! When you hit the ground, destroy anything that stands in your way. Even if you are the only survivor, fight on! Soldiers die! The Empire lives forever!"

"OOOORAAHHHH!" the marines replied with another roar.

"My bat'leth will always be in front of you! Qapla'!" Tigranian added before turning around and poking the edge of his boots over the abyss.


"Oh my God… Oh my God…" Brady repeated under his breath again. "We're really doing this…"

"Is he gonna be alright?" Tigranian asked Richey while rolling his eyes.

"I got him, Sir," Richey said shaking her head inside her helmet.

"wej…cha'…wa'…" Laria said steadily. "GREEN LIGHT!"

"LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" Tigranian roared and he leapt forward into blackness. Richey grabbed Brady and leapt out after him. The two files of marines quickly followed. In the blink of an eye, the entire Klingon invasion force was spaceborne and falling from Kahless' stars…

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