Who Was T'Kuvma? A Star Trek Discovery Personnel Report

Captain Lorca, Cloaking Devices, Klingons, Michael Burnham, spore drive, Star Trek Discovery, USS Discovery, Voq -

Who Was T'Kuvma? A Star Trek Discovery Personnel Report

“T'Kuvma was a beacon, a messiah to unite us. Deliver our race to dominance over a submissive galaxy.”


T'Kuvma was a twenty-third century Klingon warrior that was the leader of his house and a devoted follower of the ancient teachings of Kahless, a tenacious traditionalist and also a Klingon superpatriot.



T'Kuma was born in the House of Girjah, and was the youngest in his family. He had three older brothers and one elder sister.

As a young boy, he was often bullied and intimidated by his elder brothers who always referred to him as a ‘runt’.

They would beat him up continuously with the belief that their beatings would make him strong.

One time, he escaped into the forest around the family estate and he found an abandoned Sarcophagus- A massive ship that was also known as the Ship of the Dead. It was a historical Klingon starship that served as T'Kuvma's flagship and continued to be used by members of the House of T'Kuvma and later the House of Kor. The class of ship was over 600 meters in length and possessed a type of stealth mode called a “cloaking screen.” 

 Klingon Sarcophagus

Pictures of a Klingon Sarcophagus

Pictures of a Sarcophagus

There he learned from his sister, J'Ula of its part in his family's history and their family's downfall from a once Klingon Great House and the corruption of the Klingon High Council degenerating the species.

His sister J'Ula had planned to rebuild the vessel and once completed, she would take it to Boreth to seek out Kahless' rebirth and hopefully restore the Klingon race. She made T'Kuvma swear never to disclose to his brothers or even his uncle what they had discussed.

 T'Kuma treated the Sarcophagus as though it was his true home,  his older brothers were quite afraid to enter the forest so he was safe from their bullying and torment. He had learned that the inhabitants of the vessel were descendants of the laborers loyal to the House Girjah.

He also learned true combat from the albino Klingon Khel.

 Whilst his uncle chastised Khel's father's craftsmanship of a sarcophagus for his late brother, he also decided it was time for his nephew to gain an apprenticeship. Hearing this, T'Kuvma immediately announced that he wished to study at Boreth. His uncle was quite amazed at his nephew's choice. He agreed to it, acknowledging it to be worthy of his ward.

 T’Kuvma studied at the monastery at Boreth. There he was regarded as a standard pupil under the monks.

When he endured the heat of the Cauldron of Tak’la Pokh far longer than any student he was believed to have received a message from Kahless.

When asked, T’Kuvma only expressed that he saw a bright light. The monks though perturbed at this as there was no mention of a light in their prophecies encouraged T’kuvma to have faith and report if the vision ever returned.

 During the Rage of Pakath two Klingons were left behind in the tundras of Boreth.

T’Kuvma however succeeded in rescuing them and was seen leading all the students back to the monastery.

Because of his selfless act, there were no results of any casualties during the trial. This made a good impression on the monks.

 T’Kumva claimed that he still saw a light. This made the monks believe that the light was actually Kahless and that he had been reborn inside the young Klingon, T’Kuvma.

He was then informed that he would have to leave Boreth because of his sister's wedding.

Although he had the urge to continue his studies, he agreed and decided to return to his home on Qo'noS.

Upon his return home, T'Kuvma met up with his siblings, and then he was taken to the Sarcophagus.

 There, he questioned J'Ula's marriage into the House of Mo'Kai. T'Kuvma was then shown the Sarcophagus's cloaking device.

 When he returned to his family's estate, he then spoke to his father at his Sarcophagus where T'Kuvma said that he would return to Boreth.

 J'Ula's fiancé, D'lor of Mo'Kai's House Sanar killed all of T'Kuvma's brothers. He then commanded that T'Kuvma must kneel before him.

T'Kuvma refused the absurd demand and requested that his sister should be released.

 D'lor already had several of his men prepared so as to kill T'Kuvma, but J'ula, his sister, convinced D'lor to allow her to kill her brother.

However, T'Kuvma was able to convince her to end it. T'Kuvma then allowed what was left of the House Girjah to her while he would keep their families sarcophagi and the Sarcophagus.

 The Sarcophagus was repaired and T’Kuvma used it as his base of operations. He also developed cloaking devices which he installed on his fleet.

 T'Kuvma, Khel, and their followers then took the sarcophagi to the Sarcophagus. On board the Sarcophagus, T'Kuvma placed his family's sarcophagi on the ship as part of its Black Fleet. T'Kuvma then started to share his understanding and knowledge of Kahless with his followers.

 He then decided that it was time for him to leave Qo'noS. He mentioned to Khel that he would not return to Boreth, but they would instead search for Kahless' beacon.

T'Kuvma was then given an armor breastplate to signify himself as leader of his followers and T'Kuvma and his followers then left Qo'noS aboard the Sarcophagus.

T'Kuvma acknowledged the Federation's claim of "we come in peace" to be a lie and saw it as a threat to Klingon species, their culture, and individuality. He wanted to use the threat of the Federation as a means to merge and unite the twenty-four Great Houses of the Klingon Empire by focusing their attention on a common enemy.

T'Kuvma cast his movement as messianic and millenarist. He was able to acquire the Beacon of Kahless –a historical artifact that, according to prophecy, would unite the Great Houses when lit–.

 T'Kuvma had assembled a  group of Klingons who shared the same ideology with him under his leadership. Unlike other Klingon Houses though, T'Kuvma accepted outcasts such as the albino, Voq.

 In 2256, seeking to stimulate a general conflict in the binary star system between several of the Klingon Great Houses and a fleet of Starfleet ships, he placed the Beacon of Kahless in a binary star system near the verge of Federation space, and damaged the interstellar relay there just to attract the attention of the Starfleet.

 The USS Shenzhou was then dispatched to investigate it, and the first officer, Commander Michael Burnham, made a spacewalk to investigate the Beacon. While there, Commander Michael Burnham was ambushed and attacked by T'Kuvma's Torchbearer, Rejac, whom she killed in self-defense.

 When the terrible news of the death of Rejac got T'Kuvma, he proclaimed Rejac a martyr and made Voq the new Torchbearer.

 T’Kuvma gave Voq the honor of activating the Beacon. He dismissed an offer of negotiations from Captain Philippa Georgiou and proclaimed it as an example of Federation infidelity.

Several members of the Klingon High Council appeared in the system with their ships in reply to the signal from the Beacon. And T'Kuvma altogether addressed them as Starfleet reinforcements came to support the Shenzhou. Uniting a number of the Great Houses to his cause, T'Kuvma launched an attack on the gathered Federation vessels, beginning the Battle of the Binary Stars.

 After a crucial number of casualties on both sides of the party, the senior Starfleet commander, Admiral Brett Anderson, ordered a ceasefire. T'Kuvma accepted this truce and asked him to prepare for the arrival of his representative. However, T'Kuvma instead used the truce to his own advantage and ordered one of his cloaked vessels to ram the admiral's ship, the USS Europa. This led to its wreckage.

 After declaring victory over the Starfleet vessels, T'Kuvma instructed the High Council members to return to Qo'noS to spread the news of the united Empire.

He was declared to be "T'Kuvma the Unforgettable" by his supporters L'Rell and Voq.


 Staying behind to collect and consecrate the Klingon dead, the Sarcophagus was suddenly disabled by the USS Shenzhou which was evidently crippled. Captain Georgiou and Commander Michael Burnham beamed aboard, seeking to capture T'Kuvma and frustrate the Klingon war effort.

T’Kuvma and Captain Georgiou engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand combat and T'Kuvma slew the Starfleet captain. He then was shot in the back by a phaser blast from Michael Burnham, which eventually killed him, and she escaped the Sarcophagus.

The dying T'Kuvma was told by Voq that he would be remembered and known forever by all Klingons, and that his death would be the cause to unite the Empire.

T'Kuvma had certainly succeeded in unifying the Klingon Empire against the Federation. But, his followers were largely abandoned and renounced by the rest of the empire.

The already crippled and disabled Sarcophagus was left in the binary star system for several months after his demise with only Voq, L'Rell, and a handful of other Klingons still on the vessel.

Voq afterward, was overthrown by Kol of the House of Kor, who repaired the vessel and took it for his own to lead the war against the Federation.

Voq and L'Rell remained loyal to T'Kuvma's memory.

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