I think this question can be objectively answered, considering the large amount of information we have on Klingon psychology, etc.

To run in battle would seem to be completely without honor for any Klingon. Even against a superior opponent, like the Crystalline Entity. It seems impossible to me that Worf and his Klingon friends would run away as fast as they could.

But staying and firing upon the Entity with energy weapons would also seem pointless. The Klingons would surely perish. Would fighting and dying when the odds are so stacked against them be honorable? Or would retreating be more honorable in that instance?


2 Answers 2


Running from a superior enemy is not dishonourable, as long as it's a strategic withdrawal (e.g. so that you can regroup and return in future).

KURN: Transfer auxiliary power to shields!

WORF: Aft shields are gone! We cannot win. We must withdraw.

TNG: Redemption, Part II


KURN: Our forces in the Mempa sector are now in full retreat. They will need to regroup near Beta Lankal.

TNG: Redemption, Part II

While there's a certain charm in getting yourself killed in glorious battle, honour doesn't seem to preclude retreat.

WORF: I say fight, sir. There's nothing shameful in falling before a superior enemy.

PICARD: And nothing shameful in a strategic retreat, either.

TNG: The Last Outpost

And, as Medic Kirby points out, they certainly don't enjoy it.

JAKE: What happened?

KIRBY: They had to retreat. Klingons hate that.

DS9: Nor The Battle To The Strong

Fighting an animal (which the Crystalline Entity would be viewed as by the Klingons) to the death has its own merits, but that's usually a single-combat kind of deal rather than something that might result in the loss of an entire ship.

Note that Klingon has words for both retreat (HeD) and tactical withdrawal.

On the other hand, {-chu'} does not add this meaning to all verbs. {HeDchu'} ("retreat perfectly") means simply that there is a full withdrawal; though death may occur as part of the retreat, it is not necessarily implied by the verb.


Klingons would certainly attack a large threat such as the Crystalline Entity. Whether they would persist in attacking, and whether the attack could be considered a fight, is another matter.

In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, three Klingon battlecruisers approached the much larger V'ger. One of the cruisers fired three photon torpedoes. When the torpedoes had no effect, the cruisers fled. V'ger destroyed two of the fleeing ships. The last ship fired on V'ger's weapon ineffectively before being destroyed.

The Klingons tried to retreat from a battle they saw that they could not win. Since they likely suspected as much on approach, their initial attack may have been more of a test of the potential threat's strength than an outright engagement of battle.

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