KTF/The History of the Klingon Augment Virus

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The History of the Klingon

Augment Virus

by Deanna Rose Bressie

There is no doubt that the Klingon race is the most proud, honorable, bravest race in the galaxy. Their prowess in battle is legendary, their stories serving as both entertainment and as warnings of the fierceness of their warriors. However, there was a time when scientists of the Klingon Empire thought they could improve their race’s traits with genetic manipulation. Using Augment embryos leftover from Earth’s Eugenics War, Klingon scientists started experimenting with ways to enhance a Klingon’s already formidable strength. This had unexpected, disastrous results that almost led to the extinction of the Klingon race.

The history of the Augment Virus does not start in 2154, when Klingon scientists discovered augment embryos on a destroyed Bird of Prey in orbit of Qu’Vat. Rather, it begins with the origins of the Augments themselves. The Augments were designed to be five times stronger, remarkably agile, and twice as intelligent as a normal human, resistant to sickness and with enhanced senses, possessing heart muscles twice as strong and lung efficiency 50% better. ((1)) Along with twice the average life span and an improved resistance to energy weapons, the Augments were also aggressive, arrogant, ambitions, and a diminished sense of morality.

Khan Noonien Singh, 2285Khan Noonien Singh, 2267Klingon cranial ridges dissolve

While it is unknown exactly when the Augments were developed, the Augments rose to power and held dominance over a large portion of Humanity, beginning in the early 1990s. In 1992, Khan Noonien Singh took control of over one quarter of the Earth, mostly in Asia and the Middle East. During the following four years, known as the Eugenics War, the Augments seized power in over 40 nations. With overdeveloped egos to match their physical enhancements, they lead as tyrants, treating humans as little more than slaves. Entire populations were wiped out. Some cities were destroyed, while some were left untouched.

Khan Noonien Singh, 1996Doctor Stavos KenicliusSoong and the Augment embryos

Slowly but surely, the non-enhanced humans banded together and overthrew the Augments, with the last being Khan Noonien Singh in 1996. Unknown to the general population, when the Augments were overthrown over 80 (including Khan) were unaccounted for. The official number of casualties from the wars was placed at 30 million, although some historians believe it to be closer to 35 million, with another figure established as being 37 million. ((2)) After the Eugenics Wars, it would be determined that all remaining Augment embryos would be placed in cryogenic stasis.

Cold Station 12 asteroid Cold Station 12 Logo Cold Station 12 schematic

By 2130, the Augment embryos were stored on Cold Station 12, a top secret facility run by Humans and Denobulans under the Interspecies Medical Exchange. The facility was used to store hazardous viruses and pathogens for research purposes, as well as over 1,800 embryos of 20th century Augments, left over from the Eugenics Wars. ((3)) Doctor Arik Soong, a geneticist, was the senior medical director and facility chief of staff at Cold Station 12.

Doctor Soong believed that Humanity's abandonment of genetic engineering after the Eugenics Wars was a mistake, and hoped to show that genetically engineered Humans would not necessarily become tyrants like Khan Noonien Singh. He argued that the source of the problem wasn't, in fact, the technology, but Humanity's own inability to use it wisely. ((4)) While at Cold Station 12, he stole some Augment embryos and raised these ‘children’ on Trialas IV. He was subsequently captured and imprisoned for this in 2144.

Arik Soong in restraints Klingon augment virus Levodian flu

Ten years later, in 2154, Doctor Soong was recruited by Captain Archer to help capture his ‘children’, the Augments who had hijacked a Klingon Bird of Prey. However, the Augments were able to board the Enterprise NX-01 and rescue Doctor Soong, who promptly resumed work with the Augments. Doctor Soong returned to Cold Station 12 with the Augments in order to retrieve the remaining 1,800 Augment embryos. While the doctor wished to retrieve the embryos peacefully, one of the Augments, Malik, disagreed, killing a station scientist for the codes to open the embryo chamber. Doctor Soong’s displeasure soon cause dissention between him and his ‘children’; Doctor Soong had hoped to re-engineer the Augment DNA in the embryos to make them less violent, while Malik and the other Augments were planning on firing torpedoes of pathogens at a Klingon colony, hoping to incite war between the Klingons and Humans.

Doctor Soong and another Augment, Persis, had decided to join forces with Captain Archer in order to avert genocide; he did not wish to see his ‘children’ commit mass murder. They were successful in stopping the Augments and Malik destroyed the Bird of Prey.

Antaak before Antaak after

Later in 2154, Klingon scientists working under the direction of Antaak recovered several augment embryos from the hijacked Bird of Prey, which was destroyed in orbit of Qu'Vat colony. ((5)) These scientists believed if they could fill their ships with augmented Klingons, the Empire would become unstoppable. These new augments showed similar enhancements as the originals, but also began to show a range of Human characteristics from personality changes to physical changes, such as the dissolving of their forehead ridges. Ultimately, the subjects died agonizing deaths when the incompatible DNA resulted in neural system breakdown. ((5)) The scientists ran tests on numerous subjects in an attempt to stabilize the augmentation process, but were unaware that one of these subjects carried the Levodian flu. This flu virus combined with the augment DNA and created a transmittable, physiology-changing disease that became an epidemic, infecting millions within months.

While the Klingon scientists wanted to find a cure, the Klingon High Council was unwilling to wait. They had planned on destroying the infected colonies, starting with N'Vak colony. Stabilizing the augment virus became the goal, as it was more feasible in such a short amount of time. With the help of Doctor Phlox from the Enterprise, a method was developed that stabilized the process in the early stages – after the cranial ridges dissolved and some minor neural re-ordering had occurred (which caused personality changes), but before the enhanced augment abilities and fatal neural pathway breakdown. ((5))

It took Klingon scientists over a century to reverse the damage the augment virus had caused and to restore Klingons to their natural appearance. It is unknown if any of the damage was irreversible. To this day, Klingons do not talk about that time period with others outside of the Empire. Their attempt at improving on their proud race met with disaster, the near-extinction of all Klingons. It is just one more example of the adage “you shouldn’t mess with perfection”.

((3)) http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Cold_Station_12
((4)) http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Arik_Soong
((5)) http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Klingon_augment_virus

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