Martok was a Klingon warrior who rose to the rank of general in the Klingon Defense Forces, and later became Chancellor of the Klingon High Council. His brilliant leadership during the Dominion War made him very popular both among other warriors and among the civilian population. As the leader of the House of Martok, he became a good friend of Worf while the two were stationed together on Deep Space 9.
Martok was born in the lowlands of Ketha Province on Qo'noS to a common family. Fifteen generations of Martok's family had served the Empire as warriors, but Martok's father had hopes that Martok could become an officer. It took some doing, but Martok was able to take the entrance exam, and passed.
However, when he went before the Oversight Council, his application was rejected. Kor, Dahar master, felt that it was inappropriate for a man without noble blood to become an officer in the Klingon forces. With the "mark of Kor" on his record, Martok was reduced to a civilian laborer and served on board General ShiVang's flagship from around 2345 to 2350.
Fortune smiled on Martok, however. During a battle with the Romulans, Martok's ship was boarded. Martok acquitted himself so well in the fighting that he earned a battlefield commission. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")
Sadly, his father did not live to see that glorious day. From there, Martok worked his way up the ranks until he became a general. He played an important role in commanding the forces loyal to Gowron at the Battle of Mempa during the Klingon Civil War in 2368, and began his steady rise to hero status in the Empire. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach", "Apocalypse Rising")
By 2372, Martok had become an important military adviser to Gowron, and was instrumental in convincing Gowron to attack the Cardassian Union, starting the Klingon-Cardassian War. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior")
However, it was not realized until early in 2373 that Martok had actually been replaced by a Changeling some time in late 2371, and the Changeling was attempting to foment war between the powers of the Alpha Quadrant as a prelude to Dominion invasion. This Changeling was discovered by a Federation covert ops team on Ty'Gokor in 2373. (DS9: "Apocalypse Rising")
The real Martok had not been killed, however. After he was abducted from Qo'noS while hunting Sabre bear on Kang's Summit, Martok was taken by the Dominion into the Gamma Quadrant and imprisoned in Internment Camp 371, where it was expected he would spend the remainder of his life.
There, he was forced to fight the Jem'Hadar in single hand-to-hand combat, as the Jem'Hadar were training for an invasion of the Alpha Quadrant. During one of the fights, First Ikat'ika maimed Martok by destroying his left eye, leaving him half-blind.
In mid-2373, Martok was joined in the camp by Worf and Elim Garak. Worf was also made to fight against the Jem'Hadar in daily combat, and Martok served as his "coach" and supporter. He even saved Worf's life in a moment of tova'dok (understanding between two warriors). (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")
Together, Martok's and Worf's actions in fighting the Jem'Hadar kept the Dominion soldiers occupied long enough for Garak to complete modifications to a secret transmitter that commanded a nearby runabout to beam the prisoners out of the camp. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light")
Fighting the Dominion
Following his escape from the prison camp, Martok returned with Worf, Garak, and Julian Bashir to Deep Space 9. There, with the approval of Gowron, Martok was made the commander of the detachment of Klingon soldiers assigned to the station. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")
Late that year, Martok was given his first field assignment following his imprisonment – command of the IKS Rotarran, with orders to locate the missing cruiser IKS B'Moth. Recognizing his uneasiness with command following his confinement, he invited Worf to join the mission as his first officer.
Martok was initially too cautious in his command of the Klingon warship. This, combined with the crew's already-low morale (thanks to a long string of defeats against the Dominion), made for a dangerous situation aboard the Bird-of-Prey. Martok exacerbated the situation by deliberately avoiding several opportunities to engage the Jem'Hadar in combat.
The situation came to a head when the crew nearly mutinied against Martok, but Worf changed the situation by challenging Martok himself, accusing his friend and commanding officer of being a coward.
During the fight, Worf, seeing that Martok's fear had transformed into the spirit of a warrior, let him win the fight and retain command; the general immediately gained the crew's loyalty, and he remembered his duty as a soldier of the Empire. In appreciation for what Worf had done, Martok accepted him into the House of Martok.(DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")
After the Dominion War broke out, Martok, along with Worf, was instrumental in convincing Gowron to lend support to Starfleet's offensive to recapture Deep Space 9 from the Dominion in Operation Return. Although Klingon forces were late arriving at the battle, they played an important role in defeating the Dominion fleet in that engagement. (DS9: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels")
Martok continued to serve as commander of the Rotarran. He was promoted to Supreme Commander of the combined Starfleet-Klingon Ninth Fleet in early 2374. Martok resented the position because of all the paperwork and bureaucracy involved in commanding an entire fleet, and also resented his elderly "assistant", Darok. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited", "Once More Unto the Breach")
Martok dispatched three squadrons of Klingon attack cruisers to the Dorala system's defense perimeter. Kira Nerys was confident that Martok would ensure the Klingons held the line until Starfleet reinforcements arrived. (DS9: "The Reckoning")
As commander of the Ninth Fleet, Martok led several of the most important engagements in the war, including the First Battle of Chin'toka, the Second Battle of Chin'toka, and the Battle of Cardassia. (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets", "The Changing Face of Evil", "What You Leave Behind")
Ascension to chancellorship
As one of the most prominent military leaders in the war, Martok gained immense popularity in the Empire for his near-heroic exploits against the Dominion. Gowron, ever the politician, feared Martok's popularity and devised a plan to discredit Martok and end any potential threat to his authority.
In late 2375, Gowron presented Martok with the medal of the Order of Kahless, and immediately assumed personal command of Klingon forces on the front lines, relegating Martok to a secondary command role. (DS9: "When It Rains...") Gowron then began ordering Martok on near-suicidal missions against Dominion forces, hoping that a string of defeats would weaken Martok's popularity and discredit him as a military leader, or that Martok would die in battle and thus cease to be a threat to Gowron's authority.
However, Worf and Benjamin Sisko recognized that Gowron was jeopardizing the entire war effort to satisfy his political ego. Worf tried to convince Martok to challenge Gowron for the leadership on the grounds of dishonorable conduct in orchestrating the discrediting of Martok.
Martok refused to betray his loyalty to Gowron, despite the latter's treachery. Worf then challenged Gowron himself, accusing Gowron of being a coward for squandering the Empire's resources on a petty act of vengeance.
Worf killed Gowron in the ensuing combat, becoming the new chancellor. However, he immediately abdicated in favor of Martok. Martok tried to refuse, claiming he did not seek the leadership, but Worf responded by quoting Kahless: "Great men do not seek power, they have power thrust upon them." (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind")
- "Hail Martok, leader of the Empire! Leader of destiny." – Worf
Following the successful conclusion of the war, Martok returned to Qo'noS to assume the role of leading the Empire and finally purging it of the corruption that had so weakened it in the past. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
Martok was married to Lady Sirella, a noble woman, and they had at least one son, named Drex. Martok was by all rights a traditional Klingon; he viewed marriage as another form of combat, albeit one disguised and more subtle than most and although Sirella was completely different from the woman he thought he married – he thought of her as a mercurial, arrogant, prideful woman – he loved her deeply. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "You Are Cordially Invited", "The Changing Face of Evil")
When he was young, Martok had a pet targ; "a filthy, mangy beast" as he once said. As Sirella was moving into Martok's house following their marriage, she "accidentally" left the door open and the targ escaped, and Martok never saw him again. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited")
Martok preferred to keep his injured eye as-is. Doctor Julian Bashir once suggested an ocular implant to Martok; he was adamant that he did "not want an artificial eye!" (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")
Martok once disciplined K'retok, a member of DS9's Klingon contingent, by throwing him off a crossway on the Promenade. Odo had Martok arrested for doing so, but Benjamin Sisko ordered him to be released. (DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs")
During the time they spent serving together on Deep Space 9 and on the Rotarran, Martok became close friends with Worf. He invited Worf to join the House of Martok as a friend and brother in late 2373. He also later invited Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko as well. Jadzia Dax joined the house as well when she married Worf. Martok would come to consider Jadzia's successor, Ezri Dax, a worthy one and considered her a part of the House as well. (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire", "Sons and Daughters", "You Are Cordially Invited", "Tacking Into the Wind")
In late 2375, after becoming chancellor, Martok requested that Worf be appointed as the Federation's ambassador to Qo'noS (as payback for Worf making him chancellor). Worf accepted, something that pleased Martok to no end – he observed that he had someone to go targ hunting with. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
|Leaders of the Klingon Empire|
|Emperors||Kahless I • Reclaw I • Reclaw II • Sompek • Mur'Eq • Kahless II|
|Chancellors||2151 Chancellor • 2153 Chancellor • M'Rek • Mow'ga • Gorkon • Azetbur • K'mpec • Gowron • Worf • Martok|
- "The Way of the Warrior" (Changeling) (Season Four)
- "Apocalypse Rising" (Changeling) (Season Five)
- "In Purgatory's Shadow"
- "By Inferno's Light"
- "Soldiers of the Empire"
- "Blaze of Glory"
- "Call to Arms"
- "A Time to Stand" (Season Six)
- "Sons and Daughters"
- "Favor the Bold"
- "Sacrifice of Angels"
- "You Are Cordially Invited"
- "Tears of the Prophets"
- "Image in the Sand" (Season Seven)
- "Shadows and Symbols"
- "Treachery, Faith and the Great River"
- "Once More Unto the Breach"
- "The Emperor's New Cloak"
- "Strange Bedfellows"
- "The Changing Face of Evil"
- "When It Rains..."
- "Tacking Into the Wind"
- "The Dogs of War"
- "What You Leave Behind"
- Martok was played by recurring actor J.G. Hertzler. In an audition, he threw a chair against a wall, losing a fingernail, but gaining the role.
- Ron Canada also auditioned for the role, but lost to Hertzler, who is a friend of his. The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine production staff remembered Canada and he appeared as Ch'Pok in the later fourth season episode "Rules of Engagement".
- Martok was originally written to be a one-show character ("The Way of the Warrior"), but the producers were so impressed with Hertzler's performance, that they decided to bring him back the following year, for the fifth season opener "Apocalypse Rising". At the end of that episode, Martok is supposedly killed, but again, the producers were so impressed with Hertzler that they decided they had to figure out a way of getting Martok back onto the show as a recurring character. The fact that the Martok killed in "Apocalypse Rising" was actually a Founder played into this, as it allowed them to simply introduce the real Martok in the episode "In Purgatory's Shadow". From that show onwards, Martok became a regularly recurring character, not to mention a firm fan favorite.
- Martok has appeared in several novels, including The Left Hand of Destiny, Book One and Book Two and A Time for War, A Time for Peace. Hertzler also voiced him in Star Trek: Armada and Star Trek: Armada II.
- In the alternate future of the DS9 book trilogy Millennium, Martok devised a plan to destroy the Bajoran Ascendancy with Project Looking Glass. Project Looking Glass involved moving the entire Klingon fleet into the Mirror universe, having the fleet go to the Mirror Universe Bajor, reappearing in the "our" universe, and bombarding Bajor, destroying it and the Ascendancy. However, the Ascendancy allied Grigari intercepted the Klingon fleet, destroying it, killing Martok.
- In Ronald D. Moore's new series Battlestar Galactica, there's an area on Caprica called Martok Valley named for this character.