DS9: S7E07: “Once More Unto the Breach”

In which legends never fade away. 

Kor is the Bruce Campbell of Klingons.

Miles and Julian are arguing about the historicity of Davy Crocket in his last stand at the Alamo, doubtless for their simulation. Julian asserts that Crocket must’ve surrendered, but Worf sets them both straight – the important thing is the Legend, and what it means to them. Klingons have a very pragmatic approach to their heroes. And speaking of heroes, Kor is back on-station. He’s here, at least in part, to pay his respects for Jadzia, and as they’ve both lost people important to them, they drink to abesnt friends before discussing the reason for Kor’s visit. The war isn’t going well – he does not have a long list of new victories, due to his failure to play the politics game. He has no friends in the Empire. Only Worf, and he wants help to die in glorious battle.

Martok is really not happy with his new position as a desk jocky. His aide hates it too. When Worf shows up to ask for the favor for Kor, it turns out there’s bad blood between Kor and Martok, for reasons we do not yet know.

Martok and Sisko coordinate their war efforts, discussing a series of marauding strikes using hit-and-run tactics to cause maximum damage with maximum mobility using swift strike cruisers. The two generals are excited about the prospect. While Martok tours the Ch’Tang worf asks again about Kor, and Martok orders the bridge cleared, so at least they can talk about the subject. It turns out that young Martok was sponsored to become an officer, but his application was denied by Kor on the approvals board. Because of class friction, apparently. Because of that, he couldn’t even join the regular army until he got a battlefield commission during a Romulan attack. Martok’s father never had the chance to see that success. Unfortunately, Worf already made Kor an officer in the Ninth Fleet, and Martok makes sure Worf will be the one holding the bag.

“Oh my god, Kor, you are SUCH a Samantha.”

Worf finds Kor hanging out with Ezri and talking about old times. She knows to leave when Worf shows up, even though they’re at least behaving civily these days. Kor doesn’t recall the insult he gave to Martok all those years ago, but doesn’t deny it. And he still believes in the nobility of houses, and chides Worf for his adherence to the ‘democratic rabble’ ideals of the Federation. He’s also showing some signs of his age.

When Kor shows up to his station on the bridge, the other crew are… annoyingly reverent for the D’Har Master Kor. What should be a fun moment as they depart for battle is instead the opening minutes of an exercise of frustration and misery for Martok. Literally everyone but him and Worf are starstruck.

Ezri and Kira discuss how endlessly annoying it is to be compared to previous hosts. Kira’s pretty good at talking Ezri down. She’s also having vivid dreams of going adventuring with Kor, but Quark walks in on the middle of it and pretty clearly assumes she’s talking about Worf romantically rather than Kor nostalgically. Odo’s even a bit sympathetic.

Worf does an admirable job trying to distract Martok from his detestation of Kor by discussing their tactics, but Kor can’t help himself but to take credit for the tactic in a prior battle. Some people can’t see death an inch from their face, but I bet in Klingons that’s a point of pride. Martok does not blow his top… yet. And soon they make it to their strike target, and Kor has another Senior Moment on the way to the bridge.

Time to analyze dominion construction philosophy!

The raid is spectacular, although they take some losses when a Cardassian cruiser opens fire on the smaller Klingon strike fighters, and we get to see what the Dominion base looks like. It’s mostly recessed into the rock, with just enough surface area to bristle with weapons and ventilation. It looks very defensive, but a lot of that borrows from the Da Vinci fort design – low and domed to reflect cannon fire. The circular ring of weapons works, however. It’s also delightful to see how the base was clearly just dropped into a hole in the rock that was obviously bored for it. Modular and efficient!

On the follow-up strike, the Ch’Tang takes heavy damage. Martok and Worf get knocked out, and Kor steps up to take command, orders them in for another pass in defiance of Martok’s plan, but then finds himself back in his old battle with the Federation. Eventually the more lucid command-staff regain control, but not before everyone aboard understands the problem with Kor.

Quark, meanwhile, has screwed up the courage to warn Ezri off of pursuing a relationship with Worf and making an adorable fool of himself. She sets him straight, and Quark will be walking on air all day.

When Martok walks in on Kor, eating alone and in shame, he’s quick to turn the tables, twist the knife, and other metaphors. The other crew, the ones who were just worshipping him, join in. Only Martok’s sardonic butler doesn’t find the inevitable infermities of age to be worth a chuckle. Possibly because he’s also somewhat old, but also because he’s in a profession that does not carry with it the same heady tides of glory, and has to make do with a different sort of honor. Also, Kor’s really good at taking the joy out of mocking him.

At this point, Martok has what he’d always wanted. Kor is at his lowest, and somehow it doesn’t make him feel better. He and Worf are going to try to shuffle him off to as honorable a retirement as Klingons can manage, once this is all over. Before that, however, the pursuit they were expecting to tail them to DS9 has been spotted. The Dominion have a long-range scanner that can spot a cloaked ship, and they have ten ships in pursuit. How fortunate that Kor was just a few days ago bragging about knowing the cloaking device inside-and-out for his raid on Caleb 4 all those years ago. And would it be just a touch ironic if his raid on the Federation allowed him to do some typically Federation jury-rigging technobabble to save the day?

No, honestly. Would that be ironic? I can never remember what qualifies thanks to that song.

The pursuit is going to catch up with them only just barely before the Klingon strike force will meet up with the Federaiton reinforcements. Someone’s ship is going to need to take their most-wounded ship to make a Heroic Sacrifice with six volunteers to stop the pursuit. The butler, overhearing this, takes a meal into Kor’s quarters and lets slip the plan, and that Worf is going to do it. Kor already has a tactical plan to manage it, so he hyposprays Worf on the way to the Ning’tao and takes command.

We hear their comms officer relay the minutes of the battle. They hear the Jem’Hadar drop out to engage Kor, and they wait with baited breath until the deadline passes and they can no longer be caught, then drink to Kor’s courage and success, and his noble death befitting a true Klingon warrior. Because the imporant thing is the Legend.

Did we miss something awesome?