DS9: S4E08: “The Sword of Kahless”

In which Percival, Gawain, and Bedivere retrieve Excalibur. 

"It doesn't count as finishing the cup if it's never empty."

“It doesn’t count as finishing the cup if it’s never empty.”

Kor is back on the station, telling stories of his exploits with Kang and Kolos, and Quark doesn’t appreciate Klingon battle-sagas at all. Worf seems a bit put off by it, too. Really only Miles and Jadzia appreciate the way he spins a yarn. As it turns out, Worf just doesn’t want to make Kor uncomfortable with the presence of an Exile, but as it turns out, Kor hates Gowron too. Kor is on a quest now, to retrieve the Sword of Kahless. The Klingon Excalibur, lost for a thousand years. This is too much for Worf to pass up, and he joins the quest. Kor has an artifact cloth that appears to have once held the Sword. Step one, is to verify the authenticity of the Shroud. Sadly, on his way back to hsi quarters, Kor gets accosted by a Lethean who zaps his brain. Never trust an alien named after a Greek myth.

Kor’s still alive the next morning, and seems to remember everything of value. Jadzia’s analysis has returned evidence of Klingon an Hur’q DNA on the cloth, and various other signs that point to the authenticity of the cloth and dating it back to 1400 years ago. Now it’s time to go to Sisko for permission for a Cultural Sabbatical.

The Hur’q (which is just the Klingon word for Outsider) invaded the Klingon homeworld back in the day, stole the Sword, whose return is prophecied to bring a new age of glory. As a symbol, Kahless’ Clone wielding Klingon Excalibur would be too powerful to ignore. And if Starfleet helps return it, that could do a whole lot for Klingon-Federation relations. Not enough to be worth sending the Defiant, though, apparently.

"Dahar Masters do not snore. They growl in their sleep."

“Dahar Masters do not snore. They growl in their sleep.”

Runabout scenes are wonderful. The characters are cooped up with each other, and tensions always run high. Worf doing calisthenics in the main compartment, accidentally bopping Jadzia, and then being silently but unmistakably offended at her lack of respect for the Dahar master. When Kor wakes up, he tells the story of his glory dream, where he’s reunited with Kang and Koloth, which isn’t ominous and portentous of his chances at surviving this trip at all.

At their destination, they find only Hur’q ruins, but Kor knows roughly where their target is – basically the Hur’q version of the British Museum, a central repository for plundered culture. It’s protected by a force field, as well, which may prove problematic. Or not. Even though Kor didn’t tell Jadzia what equipment to pack, the Runabout comes standard with the right tools for the job. Sadly, the main chamber has already been looted. Kor’s completely depressed, but Worf passes his Detect Secret Doors check. The door has a biosensor on it, so Jadzia programs the tricorder to emit Hur’q lifesigns based on the DNA sample from the cloth. And for some reason, Kahless’ sword is the only thing worth such protection. No Lost Cardassian Interrogation Kit or Original Ferengi Cash Register. Just the Legendary Klingon Godslayer Blade. With the treasure in their possession, they leave, and are ambushed by Duras thugs.

"Could be worse. Could be Arby's."

“Could be worse. Could be Arby’s.”

Seems Kor drunkenly boasted about his quest, and Torel of Duras followed him to take the blade and become the Emperor himself. There is, of course, a fight. Worf gets himself a little stabbed, but they manage to trap Duras inside the force field on their way out. That said, apparently they have very little time – despite a Vulcan archeological survey not being able to bypass the force field, Word expects Torel to manage it in sufficiently little time that they need to hurry. There’s only just time for mutual recriminations. And sustenance hunting.

Worf’s having a bit of culture clash with Kor and Jadzia. He’s not down with embellishing the tale in any way, or using the Sword of Kahless as a kebab skewer. Kor believes that swords are meant to be used, for whatever they can be used for – skinning meat, ploughing fields. Worf wants only to use the sword as a symbol to unite the Klingons. Worf still has this idealized version of Klingon culture, and it messes with his head when Kor succumbs to the Will to Power as well. Worf does concede the point that the Emperor is not strong enough to stand against Gowron, whereas Kor’s aura demands respect, and even awe. And then Worf talks himself into wanting to take the sword for himself.

The cave system keeps throwing obstacles in their way, and when Kor slips on a narrow ledge and is only held up by the bat’leth, Worf’s urging for him to drop down to a ledge below him is not taken at face value. Even Jadzia doesn’t trust the ledge, and has to check on it after they pull Kor back up. The next best plan is for Jadzia to carry the horcrux Sword of Kahless, because no matter what, she couldn’t use it to become Emperor.

It’s many hours later and they’re still wandering around in the cave. They stop for a rest, but the classic problem of who takes the first watch when nobody trusts anyone pops up. After a few hours of Jadzia sleeping, Worf and Kor nearly come to blades, but the Duras thugs manage to choose the best possible time to reunite the two protagonists against a common ene- nope, I lied. That’s a human reaction. The Klingon battle-lust is upon them and Dax has to stun them both and wrangle the jamming device out of Toral.

Imagine bumping into that at Warp 9.

Imagine bumping into that at Warp 9.

Back on the runabout, Worf and Kor resign themselves to losing the sword again. They beam it out into space, for when it’s destined to be found again. If it made Worf and Kor fight, there’s no chance it could unite the whole Empire. So they cast Excalibur back into the lake until Fate decides its time has come.

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