The Volant was ordered to divert course and rendezvous with a Federation craft in orbit of the Klingon colony world B’el’th paH. They were told to expect a squadron of the Klingon Defense Force to also be in orbit, possibly from the ‘quvHa,’ dishonoured Klingon warriors striving to regain their honor. Ancient K’tinga class Klingon vessels, worn down and in disrepair, were there in orbit, the quv’Ha’s naval force.
Upon arrival, Science officer Commander Natalie Sigmund came aboard with a strange piece of technology, and briefed the command crew, medical teams, and science teams.
In 2154, Klingon scientists attempted to create their own Augments, using Human Augment DNA. These efforts failed dreadfully; while it did cause some enhanced intelligence and strength, the Klingons took on a more human appearance, went mad, and eventually died. One of the test subjects was unknowingly infected by the Levodian flu, and the flu virus was incorporated by the augment DNA, causing the experiment to become a contagious epidemic. The Klingon Empire was soon facing potential extinction.
The Klingons kidnapped Doctor Phlox, a Denobulan doctor who was serving on the Enterprise NX-01 during its historic mission. Phlox worked with the Klingons to develop a cure, one which stabilized the disease after causing some physical changes in appearance and mindset. Those infected became Klingons known as QuchHa’, or “The Unhappy Ones,” which was passed down family lines. While still accepted as Klingons, they did face some prejudice within the Empire, and they were often forced to serve on segregated vessels. A full cure, which restored their appearance and mind, was eventually developed in the mid 2270s, and most QuchHa’ were soon restored to standard Klingon appearance, though House Tsost, Khurron’s house, was known to be resistant to this full cure.
Records of the disease were mostly purged from historical records both by the Klingons and Humans, due to shame, with only limited references kept beyond restricted levels. Unfortunately, the disease appeared to have emerged once again on B’el’th paH, and the population was growing ill and dying.
Sigmund happened to bring the computer core from the NX-01 Enterprise, the vessel of Dr. Phlox, with his notes and data. If they could find a way to connect the ancient device to the Volant’s computer systems, they could hopefully find a way to synthesize the cure once again. K’mir immediately ordered the Volant to begin sifting through planetary records, to see if any unusual visitors had come to the world in the previous two weeks, potentially releasing the virus in the process. Ensign Ara sensed that Commander Sigmund was hiding something, but was genuinely interested in curing the plague.
Khurron and T’rel teleported to the planet’s surface in full biohazard gear to help keep the peace on the planet’s surface; Bisha joined them to organize medical support, and Nala followed to help with organization. They soon discovered that this plague seemed to be infecting other species as well, as a group of Naussicans were showing symptoms as well.
Kritassin and Klynn, joined by Commander Sigmund (and her escort, Commander Barret), set about trying to find a way to connect the computer systems together. They decided to get assistance in this process through going to the Holodeck and recreating the medical lab on the ancient Enterprise… along with a holographic Dr. Phlox.
Barret began to question Sigmund, suspecting holes in her story. Sigmund drew him aside and admitted that she was actually from Starfleet Intelligence, and they needed to keep a tight lid on this disease. Still, she assured him her top priority was to stop the spread of this disease and to cure the population.
Down on the surface, Nala was horrified as an infected Klingon attacked those organizing relief efforts, attempting to chew his way into a Klingon security officer’s hazmat suit. She drew her phaser and dropped him rapidly, before another Klingon could draw his disruptor. The other Klingon scoffed at Nala’s frailty, noting that it would be better for the Klingon to die in battle than in a sick bed.
Back aboard the Volant, K’mir realized that several of the Klingon vessels were moving towards population centers and activating weapon systems. K’mir contacted the leader of the Klingons, Martok, who insisted that there would be no attacks on civilians, and any who attempted such an attack would face his wrath. The stray Klingon vessels returned to their previous position.
Kritassin and Klynn, along with the holographic Dr. Phlox, managed to connect the ancient computer system to the Volant’s systems, at which point the system began to run a number of predictions. It reported, sadly, that the cure once created by Dr. Phlox was non-viable — it would instead kill the patient within minutes.
Unwilling to risk infecting the Volant, Kritassen teleported down to the surface to work with Bisha, remaining in contact with the holographic Phlox over communicators. The three of them began working hard to find a new cure.
While they worked, however, tempers began to flare. On the surface, some of the infected began to blame the Federation… or house Tsost. But as panic grew on the surface, it also began to spread among the Klingon vessels in orbit. More quv’Ha vessels began moving out of position, to prepare to fire on the population centers on the surface. K’mir and their Klingon ally Martok were doing what they could to prevent bloodshed, but they were running out of time.
When Bisha, Kritassen, and the holographic Dr. Phlox realized that this variant of the disease had been altered with Romulan RNA, Commander Sigmund immediately insisted that the entire affair must be classified at the highest levels. K’mir noted that they outranked Sigmund, and this was their vessel and command, and began to question Sigmund further; Sigmund’s answers continued to not add up. Finally, she asked K’mir if they were familiar with the original charter of Starfleet, specifically Article 14, Section 31, which allowed for extraordinary measures to be taken during times of great threat. Sigmund noted that this was a great threat, and as such, extraordinary measures must be taken. When K’mir questioned her further, Sigmund asked if K’mir intended to defy Sigmund’s orders regarding classification. K’mir sighed and acknowledged that everything would be classified.
Soon enough, the K’tinga battlecruisers were moving back into position. The Volant maneuvered to be between one of the vessels and its target, while Martok’s vessel moved to intercept three others. K’mir hailed the Klingons, who demanded the Volant move out of the way. K’mir refused, informing them that if they fired, they’d be in violation of the Klingon’s treaty with the Federation, as Federation officers were below on the surface. The Klingons scoffed, insisting that the Federation was weak, and was relying on a weak, honorless member of House Tsost. K’mir informed the Klingons that Khurron had more honor than they, and that if they did not power down their weapons, K’mir planned to take them alive to live the rest of their lives in a Federation penal colony. Martok, who had successfully destroyed the three other vessels to prevent them from firing, laughed at the other Klingons, noting that K’mir was far crueler than he would be — he intended to simply destroy the rogue Klingons if they did not move back into their position by the time he got there. But he would instead support the Volant in capturing such honorless slime if they forced him. The remaining vessel stood down and returned to its position on the blockade.
While the Volant was dealing with rogue Klingons, Commander Sigmund received a private communication, then left the Volant with only a note that she’d been called away and would be in touch soon, and that she expected K’mir to support highest-level classification on the entire event. Barret reached out to her before she was out of range, noting, “Going without saying goodbye?” Sigmund replied, “I’m needed elsewhere, and I’ll always do whatever is necessary to protect Starfleet.” Barret noted, “I’ve found that people who say that the most strenuously forget what Starfleet is really about.” Sigmund responded, “I know what Starfleet’s really about. Do you?”
K’mir, however, chose a different classification, restricting it to Captains and above. K’mir also found evidence that a vessel from House Duras had visited the planet of B’el’th paH a few days before the plague began, with a small team of Vulcans aboard. K’mir immediately suspected the “Vulcans” of being Romulans, with whom House Duras had previously worked.
Meanwhile, Bisha, Kritassen, and the holographic Phlox developed a new cure, one which would save the lives of the infected. Working with the Klingons and the planetary government, the cure was quickly distributed. K’mir then called Khurron into his ready room. They explained that there was circumstantial evidence that House Duras worked with the Romulans to deliver this new variant of the plague to B’el’th paH. Khurron replied, horrified, that such news, if it got out, could lead to war between the houses, and potentially with the Romulans as well. He also noted that, unless ordered otherwise, he planned to report what he’d learned to others, including General Kargan of Narenda Station. K’mir nodded, that he understood, then, looking Khurron in the eye, dismissed him with no further orders.
K’mir then followed up with Admiral Marta Keith of Starfleet Intelligence, asking about Commander Sigmund. Admiral Keith asked how Sigmund had performed, and K’mir noted that, while she was capable, she seemed to include some unnecessary lies and omissions, including a whole identity that did not play to her strengths on the mission. Keith explained that, sometimes, Intelligence officers can get carried away, and noted she would follow up with Sigmund, to express the importance of honesty and clarity when working with others. Keith acknowledged that she did not know Sigmund well, and had assigned her for the mission based on the recommendation of others.
Elsewhere, Commander Barret received a message from Sigmund, a simple text including the original charter of Starfleet, with Article 14, Section 31 highlighted. Down on the surface, Klynn was invited drinking by the cured Naussicans, and he invited other command crew to join them.