War between the Klingons and the United Federation of Planets broke out after the Klingons cited that the Federation were bringing too many civilisations into the UFP fold, civilisations who were living very close to Klingon territory.
Admiral Todd: The Klingons didn’t like that the Federation was expanding and so they decided that the way to stop us was to try and kill us all as we wouldn’t be a problem to them if we were extinct.
The Klingons threw everything at Starfleet early in the war and they were handsomely rewarded as system after system fell to the Klingons while Starfleet’s losses were extensive with the loss of many experienced ships and their crews.
Admiral Todd: We took many losses in the early part of the war, the Klingons got the jump on us on where our ships would be and early on they had superior ships and warriors.
The Klingons were making threats to take even more territory, they wanted to take the nonaligned planet Axanar and its system for their resources as well having a clearer path to bring the conflict directly to the Federation’s strongest races and their planets of Earth, Vulcan and Andor.
The Axanarian government requested the help of the United Federation of Planets as they they had no eagerness to be subjugated by the Klingons.
Admiral Todd: Everybody knows what happens when a planet’s population is subjugated by the Klingons and the Axanarians were not chomping at the bit to become slaves for the Klingon Empire.
The Axanarians asked for the Federation’s help and we were very happy to help them despite the situation we were in regarding ship availability.
Starfleet was stretched thin as they were fighting the Klingons in multiple star systems but Starfleet wasn’t doing things alone as the Axanarians had six ships that could help out if things got really desperate.
Starfleet sent five vessels to the planet with more en route with Starfleet quietly confident that the help would arrive in time.
Captain Wilson of the USS Nelson was ordered by Admiral Todd to head up the fleet that comprised of Captain Hilton’s starship the USS Parkes, Captain Rogers’ starship the USS Savannah, Captain Lee’s starship the USS Canberra and Captain Garth was in command of the starship USS Heisenberg.
Captains Wilson, Hilton, Rogers and Lee were all older and experienced Starfleet veterans while Captain Garth was a young but still experienced Captain who had a thirst for no holds barred battle making him an automatic choice to be in this fleet though questions were raised about him being too eager for bloodshed.
Captain Wilson: Admiral Todd had given me the assignment to defend Axanar from Klingon attack, we did not know how many ships were coming but we all knew that we had to be there and put up a fight to show everybody that we had no intention of backing down against the Klingons.
I knew Captains Hilton, Rogers and Lee really well by the time the Axanar mission came along as we had done missions together over the years so there was a level of familiarity there but the wildcard was Captain Garth, reports from other captains at the time was that he seemed to be trigger happy but when it came to a fight, he always done alright.
The fleet arrived at Axanar ahead of the Klingons and they set up a defensive pattern, the plan was to spread out the Klingons and try get a two on one situation allowing one starship to fire phasers and the other to fire torpedos for maximum damage in a charge and retreat pattern that Captain Wilson learned about in history books.
Captain Wilson: I had read about an Earth conflict from 1939 to 1945 called the Second World War and one bit that interested me was this vicious naval battle between the United States and Japan.
The United States had these small vessels fight against bigger Japanese vessels and so they continuously charged at them and they did a good job, I thought that maybe history would repeat itself for us at Axanar if we had done something similar.
The Axanarians along with their six ships had some basic planetary defence platforms around their planet and Captain Wilson decided to keep the Klingons away from those as long as possible and instructed the Axanarians to power down the platforms, hide their ships and wait for the signal to spring into action.
Captain Lee: The defence platforms weren’t Starfleet like but if they weren’t found or they were ignored then they had the potential to cause some serious damage and that’s what Captain Wilson was counting on happening when the going got tough and we had to pull back towards Axanar.
The Klingon fleet of six ships arrived and the Starfleet crews were worried, these ships were Cruisers and not the Destroyers that Starfleet had but Starfleet had speed and nimbleness on their side and were confident of having even odds.
Captain Hilton: It was showtime and we felt that we had arrived at Axanar early enough and prepared ourselves for battle long enough that we weren’t going to be pushovers for the Klingons.
Captain Wilson ordered a charge at the leading two Klingon ships with three starships targeting one and remaining two targeting the other, phasers and torpedos cut through space as the Starfleet ships got in range first and blew one Klingon ship straight to Sto’Vo’Kor.
Captain Rogers: We couldn’t believe our luck, we blew one of those ships straight to hell and suddenly even the gloomiest of our people felt that a victory was entirely possible.
The Klingons answered with disruptors and torpedoes with the USS Canberra taking a couple of hits but it was not knocked out of action, Captain Lee reported that the ship was ship was still in the fight and the ship quickly scored hits on a Klingon ship as it pulled back.
Captain Lee: We took a few hits and we had lost some very good people, our ship’s name was historically known for having brave crews and my crew at Axanar were no exception, they were heroic in every way at a time where things could have gone very bad for us all.
It was five on five as the ships continued to fight, the USS Savannah was rotating phaser fire on two Klingon ships while the USS Canberra and USS Parkes were playing tag with a Klingon cruiser with the Klingon ship’s captain angrily threatening the Starfleet crews on subspace.
Captain Rogers: We were working well as a team and were really frustrating the Klingons which was great, you could hear the communications flying and the Klingons tones were getting louder and snappier in their messages but then it all changed….
A brace of torpedoes slammed into the USS Nelson and all lights went out on the starship as the USS Heisenberg covered the ship from Klingon fire while the Nelson crew desperately tried getting the ship stabilised.
Captain Wilson: We were doing great avoiding Klingon fire when suddenly a brace of torpedoes found us and ripped into our engineering section, we lost our Chief Engineer and dozens of crew members in an instant but the crew got to work on saving the ship and succeeded though we weren’t out of the woods.
The USS Nelson was heavily damaged and was incommunicado, Captain Garth after getting no response to his hails assumed command of the remaining Starfleet ships and changed up the battle plan to try throw off the Klingons.
Captain Hilton: Captain Garth took over, we didn’t know if Captain Wilson was dead or alive but somebody had to take Captain Wilson’s place as leader of the fleet until we could find out what happened to the ship and Captain Garth took it upon himself to be that leader.
Captain Garth changed the battle plan in an attempt to encircle the Klingons using the Starfleet vessels superior speed and nimbleness to evade fire and keep hitting the Klingons in return, there was no time for the other Captains to come up with a new plan or debate keeping the previous plan of Captain Wilson’s.
Captain Garth: The plan that Captain Wilson had was a good one but we needed something bolder to take the fight to the Klingons, something to ensure that we brought Admiral Todd more time to get reinforcements to Axanar.
The Klingons had left the USS Nelson alone, they wanted prisoners and had planned on boarding the ship after the battle was over to take the prisoners and intelligence material that they had wanted and make examples out of some of the crew.
Captain Nelson: We were adrift in space, we could see what was going on but we were in no condition to fight, we knew there was a possibility of a boarding party coming to get us so we prepared our security teams and waited while our surviving engineers worked on getting us going again.
The Klingons were now confident of victory and perhaps they got a little too eager as they spread their ships out and decided to hunt down the Starfleet ships one by one for maximum glory for their houses.
Captain Garth: Klingons love glory and they believed that they were going to get it from us once the Nelson was out of action but that quest for glory had opened up an opportunity for us to thrawt their plans.
Captain Garth remembered that the planetary defence platforms and signalled the other ships to get closer to them while still circling the Klingons who were turning rapidly trying to keep a lock and fire on the Starfleet vessels who were getting hits on the Klingon vessels.
Captain Hilton: Captain Garth had ordered us to pull back towards the defence platforms, the Klingons were too busy fighting us or ignored the potential of the platforms to do anything about them.
The Klingon ship chasing the USS Savannah was hit by torpedoes by the USS Parkes and their port shields were down, the closest Axanar planetary defence platform was signalled to power up and fire on the Klingon ship as it passed by which it would in just a matter of seconds time.
Captain Garth: The Klingon ship fell right into our trap and there was great satisfaction in the knowledge that this battle was about to be our glorious day instead of theirs.
The defence platform powered up and fired a brace of torpedoes at the Klingon ship, they slammed into the ship and hull breaches formed sucking many Klingon warriors out into space.
Captain Rogers: That platform did its job beautifully and watching that ship rip open brought a cheer to the crew as everything was in the balance up to that point.
The USS Parkes was in range of the platform while out of Klingon fire range and immediately beamed the platform’s crew aboard before the Klingons could destroy the now automated platform.
Captain Hilton: It was a race to get to the platform crew and get them beamed off, they risked their lives for us so it was fair and right for us to risk our lives to save them from Klingon retribution.
The Starfleet ships fired everything at the damaged cruiser and it was destroyed with debris from that ship hitting another cruiser, soon the other Klingon cruisers were in range of the other platforms and they were damaged in quick succession too allowing Starfleet to hold the line against the Klingons.
Captain Garth: We ganged up on that ship and sent it to hell, I think the Klingons discovered that we were fanatical as they were and they didn’t know how to handle it.
While we were destroying the Klingon cruiser, I had my communications officer send a signal to the Axanarians to get them to send their ships in and join the battle.
The Klingons were shocked by the heavy damage to their remaining cruisers and were more eager than ever to punish Starfleet for what they have done to their ships and to their warriors.
Captain Lee: Those Klingons were angry, really angry and you should have heard what they were saying to us on the radio and they had no idea that things were just about to get worse for them too.
The space around Axanar lit up with flashes of light as additional ships arrived on scene, it was the six Axanarian ships that Captain Wilson had hidden before the battle.
Captain Hilton: Those six Axanarian ships were brought in by Captain Garth at the right time and it really threw the Klingons off their game as they had thought that the Axanarians cowardly withdrawn their ships from Axanar.
The battle raged on with fiercer intensity as the Klingons found themselves fighting against two space forces instead of just the one though the Axanarian ships were not as strong as the Starfleet vessels, they were fighting well.
Captain Garth: The Axanarians fought well, they worked with our communications officers to be in the right places at the right time and never gave up despite the damage the Klingons inflicted on their ships.
The Axanarians lost one vessel and had two more severely damaged by the Klingons but they continued to fight alongside Starfleet.
The area around Axanar lit up once again as more ships were coming, it was the starships that were promised by Admiral Todd to arrive at Axanar and they were more than a match for the damaged Klingon cruisers.
Captain Garth: Relief, sweet relief as I saw those fresh starships on the viewscreen, those Klingons hated us but now they were scared of the new starships that were ready to fight, victory was ours.
The Klingons took stock of the situation and came to the conclusion that retreat from Axanar would not be dishonourable and that the Klingons would have other glorious plans in the future that would involve the ships and they immediately set a course for Klingon territory.
The reinforcements raced over to their fellow starships, the USS Nelson was in rough shape having taken dozens of casualties after the earlier torpedo barrage hit their engineering section and medical teams were beamed aboard to assist.
Captain Wilson: The medical teams of the other ships saved many lives on the Nelson, our medical staff was overwhelmed by casualties and a number of our crew would have died if they didn’t receive prompt help.
The defeat of the Klingons at Axanar was followed up by a series of other victories as the Admiral Todd led Starfleet turned the tide and forced the Klingons to come to the negotiating table.
Admiral Todd: Our win at Axanar bloodied the Klingon nose and the lessons learned at Axanar ensured that we knew how to stop the Klingons in other systems too.
For those commanding the Klingon ships at Axanar, life was not going to be easy for them as they were all stripped of honours and busted down to the lowest rank and they were lucky the Emperor was in a forgiving mood otherwise execution would have been a foregone conclusion for those commanding officers.
All Starfleet officers received the Defence of Axanar Medal for their service at Axanar and the Axanarians awarded the Starfleet crews their Medal of Honour for their service.
Captain Lee: The Axanarians were very grateful to us but we as Starfleet didn’t do it all by ourselves, the Axanarians played a role and they lost ships and crew, they were heroes as well, all of the fallen are.
Captains Wilson, Lee, Hilton and Rogers became well known throughout the Federation while Captain Garth’s adventures were making him both legendary and feared in the known universe as he racked up a string of successes in combat in the months after the Battle of Axanar.
Captain Wilson: Captain Garth eclipsed us all, he was feted as the saviour at Axanar but we all played a part in the victory, we went on a tour of starbases to boost morale as our ships got repaired and then it was back to work as the war wasn’t over for us.
Captain Garth: Life changed for me at Axanar, victories became easier, the rewards for success became greater, I couldn’t get enough of it, I just wanted to have more.
The Battle of Axanar become required learning at Starfleet Academy and the lessons learned from it aided Starfleet personnel for centuries to come with one of those personnel being the legendary Captain James T. Kirk.
Admiral Todd: Captain Garth’s actions did seal victory at Axanar but it came at a price, he started to believe in the legend that the public had turned him into and it started to erode his mental health which would tragically collapse a couple of years later.
It had taken some time but the Klingons and the United Federation of Planets came to terms and the Klingons abandoned all gained territories as the Federation done the same with captured Klingon territory that it has gained towards the end of the war.
That was the Battle of Axanar and it’s aftermath, a major part in the history of the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet.