Starfleet

Star Trek: Worf Was NOT Starfleet’s First Klingon Officer

Although Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Worf is Starfleet’s most famous Klingon officer, he wasn’t the first alien to hold the position.

As the main antagonists of the original star trek series, the Klingons were a feared warrior race without many redeeming qualities. With Star Trek: The Next Generation, fans gained a better insight into Klingon culture. The new series also introduced Starfleet’s first Klingon officer, Worf. However, a Klingon officer appeared before Worf in DC’s 1984 star trek comic series, three years before The next generationis the first.

The comedy series took place right after the events of the film Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. In star trek #1 – by Mike W. Barr, Tom Sutton, Ricardo Villagran, John Costanza, and Michele Wolfman – Captain James T. Kirk and his crew travel the universe when they discover a group of Klingons in hidden Federation space behind a wormhole. Through this encounter, the first Klingon officer, although non-canon, was introduced: Konom.


In many ways, Konom was an ideal Klingon. Its history has been marked by all the great and respectable ideals of Klingon culture. He was pushed by his powerful family to become the best of the best. While still young, his brilliance showed when he became very adept at Klin zha – a Klingon strategy game. When he started his first term of service, he found a disconnect with some Klingon practices. During a raid, he discovered that he didn’t want to be a killer but was pushed into it anyway.

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Konom first encountered Captain Kirk and Ensign Nancy Bryce as a member of the Klingon crew behind the wormhole. Following this meeting, he decided to join Starfleet. Konom found the battles and warfare strategically interesting, but was appalled by the continual loss of life. Starfleet would provide mental stimulation while hopefully preventing deaths.


After joining the crew of the Enterprise, Ensign Konom had mixed encounters with his fellow officers. Some of the humans aboard weren’t comfortable with a Klingon living as one of their own. Due to their fear of other cultures, they targeted Konom with sectarian attacks. However, he made several human friends on board. He became particularly close to Nancy Bryce. Their relationship turned from friendship to romance and the two got married. Konom also became the guardian of a young half-human/half-Klingon named Bernie. Bernie later took the name “Kobry”, a combination of Konom and Bryce, to honor his friends.


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Unlike Konom’s traditional Klingon upbringing, Worf’s early life was very different. As a child, Worf was orphaned and adopted by a human couple. Raised by humans in a farming community, Worf had a unique life experience compared to many other Klingons. Although Worf was separated from others like him, he still tried to adhere to Klingon customs. At the age of 15, he went through the coming-of-age ceremony of the Rite of Ascension. During the ceremony, Worf had a vision of the great Klingon warrior Kahless the Unforgettable who told him to do something no other Klingon had done. Pondering the meaning of the vision, Worf decided it meant he should join Starfleet. Eventually, when he joined the crew of Jean-Luc Picard’s Enterprise, Worf had reached the rank of junior lieutenant and was a bridge officer.


Beyond the fact that they shared the same heritage, there were some similarities between Konom and Worf. Both were father figures to children of mixed species, although Worf’s child was his biological son. Both Konom and Worf married women from different planets who were Starfleet officers. Konom married the human Nancy Bryce and Worf married the Trill, Jadzia Dax. Both men had a complicated relationship with their Klingon ancestry. As they tried to follow the paths set by their ancestors, there were some things they could not reconcile with their personal moral codes. They looked for something more by learning about other cultures and other ways of life. Konom and Worf have proven that the Klingons are a deep, layered people, and not much different from the humans who once feared them.


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