- "This ship belonged to my father. Upon his death, it lay abandoned until... I discovered it and vowed to restore honor to my House."
- — T'Kuvma, 2256[src]
The Sarcophagus, also known as the Ship of the Dead was an ancient 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 m in length and possessed a type of stealth mode called a cloaking screen. The ship had a layer of armor formed by thousands of interlocked metallic pods (coffins). It was equipped with multiple tractor beams, and was armed with both torpedoes and directed energy weapons. The class possessed enough firepower to render a world uninhabitable.(DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Choose Your Pain")
It belonged to T'Kuvma's father and the House of Girjah until it went missing. During her and T'Kuvma's youth, J'Ula claimed it to have been built centuries earlier. It was eventually discovered landed, hidden, on the surface of Qo'noS. (DSC episode: "The Vulcan Hello", DSC - The Light of Kahless comics: "Issue 1", "Issue 2")
On May 11, 2256, T'Kuvma assembled a fleet of Klingon starships, led by the Sarcophagus, in the Binary Stars system, and engaged a Federation fleet. Captain Philippa Georgiou and Commander Michael Burnham of the USS Shenzhou boarded the Sarcophagus to stop the Klingon assault. T'Kuvma and Georgiou were killed, and the Ship of the Dead disabled. (DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars")
Six months later, Voq & L'Rell were able to repair the Sarcophagus by installing the Shenzhou's Dilithium processing unit. Despite that, Kol of the House of Kor unseated Voq, T'Kuvma's protégé, as commanding officer, and took the ship with him. (DSC episode: "Choose Your Pain")
Later, Starfleet specialist Michael Burnham, now serving on the USS Discovery, led a mission to sneak aboard the Sarcophagus and plant sensors on board the vessel which would enable Starfleet to gather data regarding the ship's cloaking device. She was eventually discovered, and challenged the vessel's commander, General Kol, to ritual combat. During the battle, Burnham was transported away by the Discovery, which subsequently destroyed the Sarcophagus with a barrage of photon torpedoes in the Battle of Pahvo. (DSC episode: "Into the Forest I Go")
Nearly 200 years later, in 2410, the Klingon archaeologist Tortoth reassembled the Sarcophagus, and upgraded its technology to 25th century-standards. As the lead ship of the reborn Sarcophagus-class dreadnought carrier, Tortoth unveiled his re-creation at a press conference on Risa. When the Sarcophagus appeared in orbit, it dwarfed all present Risian starships. During the conference, Tortoth offered the ship and its class for sale. (STO - Emergence short story: "Step Right Up")