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The Gorn Hegemony were mourning the death of King Xrathis. His son, Crown Prince Slathis, ascended to the throne. One of his first acts was to re-enforce their border with the Klingons. Several skirmishes were reported between the two powers. The Klingons responded to the buildup by the Gorn by sending more ships of their own to the border. The standoff escalates into open conflict on Stardate 63504.74, when a Klingon fleet bombards the Gorn colony on Gila VI. Klingon troops land on the planet two days later, and after a bloody battle with Gorn defenders they succeeded in taking the planet.
For the last two years there had been little fighting between the Gorn and the Klingon since the battle for Gila IV, but in 2389 conflict erupts again when the two powers struggle for control of the Gamma Orionis system. The Gorn take the advantage when King Slathis negotiates with the Nausicaans, who agreed to contribute ships and weapons to the Gorn war efforts in exchange for rights to several asteroid belts and a substantial payment. The Klingons refused to give up the fight for Gamma Orionis, winning several battles even when outnumbered.
When the Federation withdrew from the Romulan border, Chancellor Martok agreed to honor his promise to participate in Federation-mediated peace talks with the Gorn. Representatives from the Klingons, Gorn and Nausicaans converged on Deep Space K-7 for the conference, and the Federation sent some of its most celebrated diplomats to facilitate the talks.
Initial progress appeared promising, but two days into the conference an explosive device hidden in a serving cart seriously injures Ambassador Zogozin of the Gorn. The Klingon, Gorn and Nausicaan delegations make plans for immediate departure, but were blocked from leaving the station by Starfleet security, who locked down the station during the hunt for Zogozin's attacker.
Two days after the attack, J'dah, a Klingon with ties to extremist groups opposed to Martok's rule, is found dead. Security officers determine that J'dah was killed by a disruptor blast at close range and shoved out an airlock hours after the explosion that injured Zogozin. If J'dah's body had not snagged on a piece of the station, it may have been lost. Forensic evidence proves that J'dah was the person who planted the explosive that injured the Gorn ambassador, but his killer is not found. Journals left behind in J'dah's quarters indicate that his intended target may have been the Federation negotiation team, who all escaped unscathed.
After the attack, talks between the Klingons and Gorn break down. The Klingons push their advance into Gorn territory, and the Gorn, mindful of the need to protect their homeworld, move ships away from their outlying territories. King Slathis approaches the Letheans for additional assistance, but the Gorn do not have the spare resources to hire Lethean mercenaries and still pay the prices commanded by the Nausicaans for their support.
On Cestus III, where the Klingon Empire had agreed to a new round of Federation-moderated talks aimed at ending their war with the Gorn. But neither the Gorn or the Klingons were willing to budge on their demands which causes the talks to drag on. Three weeks into the talks, representatives for the Klingons and Gorn are still haggling over the official agenda for negotiations, and even a personal appeal to Chancellor Martok by Federation Ambassador Worf has failed to speed up the process. The Federation Council met in a emergency session to debate possible incentives the Federation could offer the Gorn and Klingons, but all peace efforts collapse on Stardate 69259.56 when a Gorn and Nausicaan fleet attacked the Klingon world of Ogat.
Fighting raged around Ogat for more than two weeks before Klingon Defense Forces push the Gorn and Nausicaans out of the system. The Klingons denounced the attack as dishonorable and Martok formally pulls the Empire out of all peace negotiations. Klingon and Gorn ships now attack one another on sight, and when the U.S.S. Montana tries to intervene in one skirmish it is heavily damaged by Klingon disruptor fire.