|Bait and Switch story|
|"The Last Battle"|
|Original post date:||11/19/2016|
|Year:||July 6th, 2409|
Much of the backstory is explained in-story. In an alternate timeline created by the mysterious disappearance of the USS Enterprise (NCC 1701-C), the Federation eventually proved victorious over its Klingon foes. Surviving the Dominion War thanks to increased military forces and a fortuitous alliance with the Romulans, the Federation has re-acquired a measure of peace. However, in the early 25th century, the Klingons have returned for another attack on the Federation. Led by the warmongering Chancellor Torg, son of Kormog, the Klingon Empire has annexed several nearby species and allied with the hated Orion Syndicate. The Federation response has been devastating, however, and the Federation's Romulan allies under Praetor Velal are pushing the Klingons back by mid-2409.
In July 2409, Federation MACO Lieutenant Rachel Connor is a special warfare officer aboard the Federation starship Vigilant, a stealth escort deployed as part of a strike force against Klingon warships led by Dahar Master Ch'zog, son of Garon, while the main Klingon and Federation/Romulan fleets clash near Khitomer. Ch'zog leads an atypical force, with several young officers, large numbers of fully-integrated vassal soldiers, and no allied Orion slavers, and has taken Zara IV, a recently-colonized Federation world in the Arucanis Arm. Leaving his protege, young officer K'vor, son of Tavok, in charge of the defense, Ch'zog leads his battle group in a successful repulsion of the Federation strike force's response. However, the Federation manages to deploy Connor's MACO unit and a Romulan strike team to the planet's surface, and Ch'zog is distracted by Federation-allied Cardassian reinforcements before he can reposition troops on the planet.
Lieutenant Connor, a heavily modified combat cyborg with a replacement eye and four cybernetic limbs, leads a rapid and devastating attack on weary Klingon defenders as they are still repositioning after their assault on the local capital. Connor's armor is heavily damaged and two of her MACO unit, Oran Talur and Aarno Kallio, are captured by the Klingons, but she successfully eliminates resistance despite heavy enemy fire and multiple Gorn shock troopers, and moves for the city hall.
Meanwhile, K'vor and an Andorian prisoner, Tha'tir th'Andras, clash over their respective cultures' philosophies on war. K'vor is outraged when th'Andras is confused by the unusual respect for sapient rights shown by the Klingon occupiers; the Klingon explains that "it is no victory to defeat a man unarmed and bound", and responds to his prisoner's question about the whereabouts of the Klingons' Orion allies by dismissing the Orions as dishonorable and unworthy of fighting alongside him. K'vor lays out the borderline religious significance of conflict and war to the Klingon people while directing the defense, explaining how the brutal early history of the Klingons shaped their culture as well as their famously durable bodies, and expressing regret that the Klingon Empire, now (as K'vor sees it) at death's door, has lost sight of the heritage and traditions that led it to its earlier heights.
Connor's team breaches the city hall, Connor herself leading and using her cybernetic enhancements to penetrate the sealed doors. K'vor attempts a suicidal last-ditch defense, but is swiftly disarmed and incapacitated by the superhumanly fast Connor. Surprised that the Klingons treated the Federation dead with respect and showed respect towards their prisoners, and tired of the years of senseless violence, Connor expresses grudging respect for K'vor and his defense of the town. When Romulan reinforcements arrive, announcing that the Klingon fleet has been crushed and the remaining Klingon military forces have descended into fratricidal conflict after Torg's death in battle, Connor encourages a despondent K'vor to return to the Empire as a leader, telling him that the Empire needs men of honor - now, more than ever.
Rachel Connor * K'vor, son of Tavok * Oran Talur * Andrew Lamont * Jose Luiz * Aarno Kallio * Ch'zog, son of Garon * Satali i'Ra'tleihfi ei'Card'has t'Tyrava * Ludwig von Bayern * Aman Evek * Tha'tir th'Andras * Trahak * Nveid i'Ra'tleihfi tr'Shaien
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Velal tr'Hrienteh * Torg, son of Komrog * Ivan Krasnov
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Third World War * Dominion War
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Bassen Rift * Khitomer * Hromi Cluster