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Video Game / Star Trek: Klingon Academy

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It is a good day to die.

A space combat simulator released in 2000, and the Spiritual Successor of Star Trek: Starfleet Academy.

Like its predecessor, the game is set in the early 2290s, though this time is structured as a direct prequel to the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, with Christopher Plummer and David Warner reprising their respective roles as General Chang and Chief of Staff (later Chancellor) Gorkon. Whereas Starfleet Academy was set entirely in the simulator room (aside from the very last mission) however, only the first half of Klingon Academy is actually set at the titular institution, with the second half of the storyline having the player character, Torlek fight alongside Chang in a three-way civil war between the newly-installed Gorkon, the traitorous Melkor, and Chang himself.

This game contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Colonel Poktarl's biography describes how one of his earlier commanders made the near-fatal mistake of trying to evade a Romulan squadron by diving into a gas giant's atmosphere at full impulse while cloaked (which necessarily meant his shields were down). In the game, entering any kind of atmosphere while above one-quarter impulse will cause damage, and doing so with shields down will exacerbate the problem.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • The final academy mission features what can only be described as General Chang's wet dream of an assault on Earth, which ends with the Klingons unleashing a modified Genesis Device which rips apart matter at the molecular level, without bothering with that tricky "rearranging it into life-sustaining patterns" stuff.
    • In the latter stages of the game you get an all-too-real example of this trope, when Melkor uses a supernova weapon on the star system that is responsible for the production of 80% of all the Klingon Empire's dilithium. This in turn sets up another example in the sixth film, as the only other place with enough dilithium to serve the Empire's needs is the moon of Praxis, which goes kablooie at the start of that film.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Gorkon may be one of the more diplomatic and reasonably-minded members of the Klingon leadership from this era, but even he doesn't hesitate to order Melkor's entire family executed for the damage his attempted coup inflicted on the Empire. Note that even Gorkon's more militaristic predecessor didn't go this far after Melkor's elder brother attempted his own coup the previous year.
  • Big Bad: Melkor takes up this role after his brother is killed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the game ends with you successfully ending Melkor's attempted coup, the Empire has suffered massive infrastructure damage, is being forced to overmine the moon of Praxis to keep things up and running, and Torlek is assigned to a deep-space exploratory mission, after which he never sees Chang again.
  • Book Ends: The game starts with Chang stopping an attempted coup by Melkor's older brother Kalnor, and killing him in orbit of Qo'noS. The final mission has you taking on and destroying Melkor, also in orbit of Qo'noS.
  • Collapsing Lair: All ships have ratings for their various subsystems – weapons, shields, warp drive, etc. – that, as they take damage or are repaired, range from 100 (fully functional) to zero (irreparably destroyed). The number of living crew on the ship works the same way (if too many of your ship's crew are killed, it starts to react more slowly to your orders). When a ship's hull value reaches zero, it becomes uncontrollable and is overwhelmed by explosions as it starts to fall apart – as this happens, all system ratings start an irreversible drop towards zero (including the number of living crew).
  • Continuity Nod: Apart from mentioning that Maltz was absolutely not captured by the Federation after the events of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the manual notes that Captain Klaa was demoted to a record-keeper on Qo'noS.
    • In Starfleet Academy, Vanda M'Giia is the daughter of a prominent Andorian ambassador. Said ambassador is listed as a target for capture in one of Chang's missions involving an incursion into Andorian space.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: One of the academy missions has you having to take on a Federation battle station, something way out of the league of your K't'inga-class cruisers. Your first squadmate, K'Poraq derides the task as being completely impossible, while your second, Jaghjech suggests it might be doable with skillful use of your cloaking devices. At that point the third squadmate, K'Mpec speaks up and suggests hijacking a Starfleet vessel and carrying out a Wounded Gazelle Gambit that involves getting the battle station to lower its shields, then blowing up the ship. While the other two squadmates mock this idea, it turns out to be by far the best way to complete the mission.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Chang gives us an explanation for why he hates the Federation and it amounts to the fact he loathes democracy, multiculturalism, and peace. He states a proper empire should be ruled from the top down and conquer their foes rather than reach accords with them.
  • Dirty Coward: This describes Melkor to a tee. Firstly he dupes Chang's forces into capturing a starbase which is then set to self-destruct, and later on he lures Chang into an ambush in a nebula filled with Romulan forces.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Surprisingly enough, this is mostly averted by the instructors at the academy, who have a firm but very even-handed teaching style. Except for Poktarl, who takes great delight in belittling and insulting you, thus making it satisfying as hell when you end up handing him over to the Tholians to prevent them getting involved in Chang's simulated war with the Federation.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Not only do we see Chang and Gorkon before the events of the sixth film, but one of the side characters is a young version of K'Mpec, the initial Klingon chancellor in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In a variant, a side-mission during the academy phase of the game has you taking Chang's experimental fire-while-cloaked Bird-of-Prey on a test run.
  • Enemy Mine: A variation on this becomes apparent in the Civil War arc; while Chang refuses to support Gorkon's ascension to Chancellor, he makes it clear that he hates Melkor and his actions more.
    General Chang: I will fight the House of G'Iogh, but I cannot in good conscience support you!
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Played with, since from the player's standpoint it's the Federation which is "evil"; the reason why Jaghjech and K'Poraq mock K'Mpec's idea to use a hijacked Starfleet ship in a "trojan horse" tactic is because a Klingon starbase would not lower its shields in such a situation, therefore they don't believe a Federation one would either. If the strategy is carried out however, the battle station does lower its shields, with fatal consequences for them.
  • Exact Words: In one cutscene, Chang asks the trainees what the weapons on a Klingon Bird-of-Prey are. K'Mpec begins rattling off the ship's technical specifications, only for Chang to cut him off and say that on a Klingon starship, everything is a weapon. K'Mpec actually takes this idea to heart and comes up with the aforementioned plan to take down a Federation battle station.
  • Eye Scream: Despite winning his duel with Kalnor and thus ending his attempted coup during the opening cutscene, Chang loses his left eye in the process.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Your main squadmate at the academy, Jaghjech decides to defect to Melkor's faction early in the conflict and unsuccessfully tries to persuade you to do the same.
    • An unwilling example is Brigadier K'Mak, an instructor at the academy, whose elder brother decides to join Melkor, forcing him to do so as well. This ends up having tragic consequences when K'Mak is chosen to set off the supernova weapon that destroys the system containing nearly all of the Empire's dilithium mines.
  • Foreshadowing: The game is basically a prequel to Star Trek VI, so naturally it features a ton of this, particularly in the ending with the mention of Praxis now being massively overmined, and Chang revealing his conspiracy to Torlek.
  • Foregone Conclusion: All of the game is building up to Chang's treason against Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
  • Gaiden Game: Technically it's this to Starfleet Academy, as the two games are set simultaneously.
  • Game Mod: Like Star Trek: Armada, which was released just a few months earlier, this game developed a sizeable modding community.
  • General Ripper: Played with by General Chang, who wants nothing more than to obliterate the Federation and wipe the human race off the face of the galaxy, but is also smart enough to know that such a war can only take place when the circumstances are absolutely right — in other words, not when the Empire has an elderly, dying chancellor, or when it's involved in a civil war.
  • The Ghost: Chancellor Lorak, Gorkon's predecessor as the head of the Klingon government, is frequently mentioned in the first half of the game, but never seen in-person. Justifiable, since he's mentioned as being severely ill and barely able to rule at the start of the game.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Gunnery Officer Garlok, despite playing no vital role in the game, joins Chang's side when learning of Melkor's treachery by Torlek.
  • Honor Before Reason: Par for the course with the Klingons, but it gets taken to extremes when K'Mak sets off the supernova weapon in the Tal'Ihnor Gates system purely because his honor and duty to Melkor demand it. But averted in some respects. Chang's curriculum clearly emphasizes that a warrior's pride should not be synonymous for foolhardiness - there is no shame in calling for help when facing a fight you can't win alone, and a warrior should be willing to come to the aid of a brother in arms who needs assistance.
  • Identical Great-Uncle: Thok Mak, the brother of Colonel Worf from Star Trek VI. He doesn't actually appear in person, but is voiced by Michael Dorn and sounds identical to both his brother and his better-known Great-Nephew.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Chang mocks the Klingon Empire's Fantastic Racism (while engaging in a good deal of it himself) by stating that Captain Kirk is actually a Klingon. Becauee he's defeated the Klingons before, he can't possibly be "merely" human. He then gives a "Just Joking" defense and says humans used to be warriors but we fell from the path.
  • Klingon Promotion: Chang created the Academy to get around the consequences of this trope: invoking it too often results in ships being commanded by people skilled in dueling rather than shiphandling, so Chang created a school for advanced shiphandling skills to counter this problem. In the backstory, Poktarl got his first command this way - during a battle, after which he took command of the ship and won the fight.
  • Live-Action Cutscene: Like Starfleet Academy, this game features live-action cutscenes involving actual Star Trek actors.
  • Military Academy: Half the game takes place at a n academy for prospective commanding officers that Chang founded. Success means instant promotion to Captain and one's own command. Failure means return to one's original posting, without any black marks on one's future prospects (one can always work up the ranks the hard way).
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In the prologue cutscene, Chang uses the Klingon rite of Blood Peace to bring a quick end to Kalnor's attempted coup, as fully defeating the House of G'Iogh would be far more costly to the Empire from a military standpoint. Not only does Chang end up losing an eye in the ensuing duel, but the failure to properly put down the House of G'Iogh ends up leading to Melkor's own coup attempt, which proves far more devastating to the Empire in the longer run.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: Jaghjech barely graduated, and as such did not receive a particularly impressive command upon graduation. He goes over to Melkor when Melkor promises to give him a squadron command.
  • Predecessor Villain: Melkor's older brother, Kalnor. His own coup attempt ends during the game's opening cutscene, with Chang beaming on-board his flagship and defeating him in one-on-one combat.
  • Propaganda Piece: The manual (written in-universe as if for a Klingon cadet) spares no effort to paint the Federation in a bad light. The Starfleet Prime Directive is called fraudulent and hypocritical. Also, instead of stating what actually happened during the events of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, they accuse Admiral Kirk of killing Kruge's crew and stealing the Bird Of Prey so that the Federation can study the cloaking device.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Gorkon is as much this as he was in the sixth film. Unfortunately, Chang refuses to support him due to his desire to hold peace talks with the Federation. That said, Chang himself is very much this as well, knowing full well what a disaster it would be for Melkor to rule the Empire.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After playing a key role in the civil war against Melkor, Torlek's star is rising pretty high. Then Chang — supposedly because he's still smarting over the fact that Torlek forced him to ally with Gorkon, though implied to be actually because he doesn't want Torlek to get caught up in the conspiracy that will eventually come to fruition in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country — blocks Torlek's promotion to the High Command, and Torlek spends the rest of his career commanding an exploration/survey fleet searching unclaimed and unused star systems for resources to replace those that were lost in the system that Melkor destroyed.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Melkor, rather than seeking the Chancellorship of the Klingon Empire, decides to declare himself Emperor. While this seems like an insane political move to Chang, it frees him up from needing the support of the Klingon High Council and means he can rule directly if he defeats the Empire militarily.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Torlek, who becomes Chang's protegee, yet is never seen or mentioned in Star Trek VI. So, the dramatic tension there lies in whether he survives the events of the game or not. He does, but Chang pulles the aforementioned Reassigned to Antarctica ostensibly to punish his pupil, but more likely to prvent Torlek from getting caught up in what will become the Khitomer Conspiracy. This thus explains why we never saw Torlek during the final TOS film.
  • Sequel Escalation: Even if it's not a true sequel to Starfleet Academy per se, it really ramps up the scale of things compared to its predecessor.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The entry on Maltz in the library computer, as well as the manual's entry on the B'rel Bird of Prey (Kruge's ship), go out of their way to insist that Maltz died with the rest of Kruge's crew on Genesis. He absolutely did not get captured by the Federation and then assist them in translating the Klingon language.
  • Theme Naming: As befitting a far-flung conflict, many systems in the simulated Klingon/Federation war are named after World War I and World War II personages and battle locations (such as Eisenhower, Ypres, and Somme).
  • Throw It In!: An in universe example as the instruction manual is written in-universe style. The assumption being that it was likely that Federation spies were also reading this manual, the Klingons are so badass, they include in the introduction a special message for Federation spies along with guidelines for converting Klingon dates to Federation (Julian/Gregorian calendar) years.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In the third-last mission you save Chang's life by calling on Gorkon's aid to save him from an ambush at the hands of Melkor and the Romulans. Except that in doing so, you make Chang honor-bound to serve Gorkon and allow his faction to be absorbed. Chang thanks you for this by throwing you off his task force and assigning you to an unimportant mission on the fringes of the Empire... though it actually turns out to be fortunate for all involved, as in doing so you find out Melkor's next plan.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: During the first half of the game in the simulated campaign; after entering their space in order to retrieve an Andorian embassador, the Tholians react aggressively, forcing the cadets to deter the strength of the Tholian Strike Group and by all means prevent a war. You could choose to turn in the commanding officer (Poktarl) responsible for leading the violation of the Tholian territory or otherwise engage the Tholian Strike Group. When Torlek goes to seek justice for this mission, Chang lets him know that the mission turned out to be a Secret Test of Character as it puts a Klingon's duty and honor in direct conflict and make them see which they would sacrifice first in such a conflict. Chang appears friendlier when you question the injustice of the situation; otherwise he would let Torlek believe he had failed...
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Chang and Gorkon can't agree on anything, which is why the Empire is badly divided against Melkor.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Torlek has a moment of this with his former squadmate Jaghjech in the final mission, which quickly turns into Roaring Rampage of Revenge and ends with Jaghjech being blown into atoms for his betrayal.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The game expands on Chang's depiction in The Undiscovered Country and gives a better, more detailed look at his motives; basically, he's an honorable conservative who genuinely fears Gorkon's moderate policies will lead their race to their doom.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: K'Mpec abruptly disappears without any explanation late in the academy segment of the game. Presumably he screwed up, got kicked out, and figured he was better-suited to politics than starship command, eventually leading to his becoming chancellor.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: General Chang calls you out and demotes you for bringing in Chancellor Gorkon's forces as reinforcements during the battle in the Tal'Ihnor Nebula against the Romulans and letting Melkor escape, forcing Chang to pledge his loyalty to Gorkon and abandon his opposition to his policies.
  • You Are in Command Now: Part of K'Mak's backstory. He was a junior officer who wound up in command after his ship took a direct hit to the bridge, killing the captain and first officer and preventing the second officer (who had been in Engineering at the time) from reaching the bridge due to debris. By the time they had managed to cut through the debris to restore access, K'Mak had already crippled the Tholian ship which had engaged them, whereupon he dutifully turned over command without even attempting a Klingon Promotion.