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WORF’S DECISION TO
DURING A TIME OF WAR
by George Pimentel
In 2375, Commander Worf of the House of Martok challenged Gowron, Chancellor of the Klingon High Council, to combat. His decision was a controversial one. Many believed that it is a Klingon’s duty to support the chancellor as commander-in-chief, regardless of the circumstances. Others believe that no Klingon, even the Chancellor, is more important than the Empire. It is my belief that Worf acted correctly and within the bounds of Klingon law when he challenged Gowron.
General Martok’s success during the Dominion War is the backdrop to this event. His success as a General of the 10th Fleet stationed on DS9 had brought him fame across the empire. Gowron, seeing Martok’s growing popularity, feared that the General might challenge him for leadership of the council at some time in the future. As a result, Gowron came to DS9 under the guise of inducting Martok into the Order of Kahless; however, he relieved him of command shortly afterward telling the General that he would be taking personal command of all Klingon forces. (DS9: “When it Pours”)
Interestingly, Martok had no political aspirations and was always mindful of his non-noble birth, which he believed would prevent him from serving as chancellor even if he desired. Gowron’s plan was to discredit Martok by sending him on reckless missions and then blaming Martok for the defeats. After one such attack, which landed Martok in sickbay with critical injuries, Captain Sisko asked why Gowron would squander valuable resources risking the entire defense posture. Worf responds that Gowron is politically motivated. It is at this point that Worf asks Martok to challenge Gowron because he is needlessly sacrificing troops for political reasons. Martok refuses and tells Worf that it would be treason to challenge Gowron during a time of war. However, Worf believes that to place your personal needs above that of the Empire is treason, as Gowron is doing, but he is unable to convince Martok make the challenge. (DS9: “Tacking into the Wind”).
Finally, Gowron orders an attack that is beyond reason. He orders an attack on the headquarters of the Cardassian Twelfth Order despite the misgivings of his generals. When Martok objects, Gowron questions his courage and Martok once again backs down. It is at this point that Worf, unwilling to see the war lost for Gowron’s petty political fears, challenges Gowron. (DS9: “Tacking into the Wind”). Worf’s decision to challenge Gowron was the correct decision because once Gowron put his own interests above that of the Empire he was unworthly of his postion as chancellor. As chancellor, the needs of the Empire must come before his own personal gain. Clearly, Gowron had lost sight of this and risked losing the war and endangering the empire to satisfy his own political ambition.