Fanfic: Red Fire, Red Planet

Red Fire, Red Planet is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword, adapting part of the Klingon Defense Force mission "Second Star to the Right, Straight on 'til Morning" into a Military Science-Fiction novella. It takes place in the same slightly altered verse as his other STO fic Bait and Switch. The fic has multiple third-person limited narrators, with subtle changes in tone and word choice for each.

On March 2, 2409, Lieutenant Commander Brokosh of the Klingon Defense Force and the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits on his command crew lead several Birds-of-Brey on a raid deep into the Sol System. Their target: Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards.

Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Meromi Riyal, first officer of the IKS mupwI'.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The section of the mission that is adapted lasts for a few chapters and adds in multiple Starfleet points-of-view.
  • Amazon Chaser: Norigom has been hopelessly pursuing Meromi Riyal ever since she beat the living daylights out of him for propositioning her, having mistaken her for the ship's "entertainment".
  • Artificial Limbs: Lieutenant Tiyerissel ch'Kreem has an artificial leg after losing his real one when his old ship, the USS Hamburg, came under attack by the IKS QarchetvI’. He was assigned to the listening post because the prosthetic didn't knit properly, leaving him in frequent pain.
  • Ascended Extra: Ensign Kaitlyn McMillan already went from a randomly generated duty officer to a Mauve Shirt in Bait and Switch, and now becomes a viewpoint character.
  • Battle Couple: Brokosh and Ba'woV. However, Brokosh is actually quite uncomfortable with this, because they have a son back home on Qo'noS to think about.
  • Blue Blood: Ba'woV is the grand-niece of the head of the House of Chel'toK, and second in line for the leadership behind her cousin Kidu. Brokosh likewise became a minor nobleman when he married her. Meanwhile General K'Bor is the uncle of Chancellor J'mpok.
  • Call Back: Kybok is the son of Chu'lak, the Vulcan Serial Killer from DS 9: "Field of Fire". He specifically tried to avoid frontline service because he didn't want the same fate.
  • Character Overlap: With Bait and Switch, and with some canon characters.
    • Ba'woV is stated to have been an engineer on a freighter called the SS Shargrash when she and Brokosh first met. The Shargrash was the freighter that the USS Bajor rescued in chapter five of B&S.
    • Ensign Kaitlyn McMillan, a sniper's spotter on the USS Bajor in B&S, is a security officer at Utopia Planitia and one of the viewpoint characters.
    • Will Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation makes an appearance and is now a fleet admiral. Deanna Troi also appears and is said to be the head of the Diplomatic Corps now, but she has no lines because she's still asleep in her only scene.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A mention in the second part of chapter one that the IKS Hegh'QeDp is having engine trouble and has to drop out of the formation of Birds-of-Prey. It is later discovered by the listening post after blowing up ch'Kreem and Bikog, allowing them to alert Earth that the Klingons are coming.
  • Colony Drop: The Optimum apparently dropped an asteroid on Mecca in 2060 (to make an example of them for resisting Optimum takeover according to the author's notes).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • OS1. Bikog Bu-Tal-Rek is a Choblik, the same species as Torvig Bu-Kar-Nguv from the Star Trek: Titan novels.
    • There's a mention of the Optimum movement and "the Thorsen incident in '66", both in reference to Star Trek: Federation.
    • Brokosh apparently opened a community center in a Qo'noS slum with a Romulan named Makus. Makus appeared in episode "Allies", mission "Memory Lane" as a Romulan Republic captain allied with the opposite side from the Player Character, with whom the Tal Shiar tried to set up a Let's You and Him Fight.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: Inverted when Meromi lists off the martial arts she's studied.
    "Klingon mok’bara. Andorian shan-dru-shaan. Human jujutsu."
  • Foreign Cuss Word:
    • Jacques Pierre, Kate's French Canadian fiance, drops a "Merde" when his superior interrupts their video call to demand he get back to work.
    • When the listening post spots the Bird-of-Prey IKS Hegh’QeDp after it destroys the shuttle, Crewman Sherazi's remark is "Kiopek oghlu", Azerbaijani for "son of a bitch".
  • Gratuitous French: Jacques ending his video call with Kate.
    Kate: All right, stay safe, hon. I love you.
    Jacques: Je t’aime. Au revoir, ma chérie.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: A lot of thlIngan Hol gets randomly thrown around.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Meromi wears red and black leather clothes, and see the entry for Pint-Sized Powerhouse.
  • Hero Antagonist: Everybody. The fic jumps between points-of-view on both sides of the battle and each one is treated as a protagonist when it's their turn.
  • Hero Does Public Service: One infodump mentions that Brokosh started a sort of community center in one of the slums on the fringes of First City on Qo'noS with two other KDF-aligned Lethean mercenaries and a Romulan Republic officer named Makus. Unfortunately he also doesn't think it'll do a whole lot of good without some help from the Klingon High Council.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Ba'woV has red hair, and Brokosh married her.
  • Hired Guns: Brokosh is a combat engineer who freely describes himself as a merc, and used to work for a PMC called Hanson's Harriers.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Norigom to Meromi. He's been hopelessly in love with her after she ever-so-gracefully beat the living daylights out of him for propositioning her.
  • Humans Are White: Averted. One Mauve Shirt in the first chapter (Crewman Yasmin Sherazi) is explicitly stated to be Iranian, while another (Chief Ops Specialist Sally Blackhawk) is Shoshoni Indian according to the author's notes. The C.O. of Starfleet Command is an Admiral Avaninder Singh, a Sikh apparently from Liverpool.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The House of Chel'toK's only holding of note is a nearly depleted segment of asteroid belt, and the house fleet consists of two Birds-of-Prey and an ancient D7 battle cruiser they can't even fully crew.
  • Inertial Dampening: Brokosh mentions keeping it set a little low on the bridge, "just enough to let some g-forces through so Meromi could feel the ship, not enough to turn everyone into blood pie."
  • Interspecies Romance: Brokosh, a Lethean, is Happily Married to Ba'woV, a Klingon, and has a son with her. Well, happily for them, anyway. Her great-uncle, the head of the House of Chel'toK, tried to kill Brokosh twice.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Played with. In the first two chapters the crew of Starfleet Listening Post 204RT pick up subspace anomalies, and Yasmin Sherazi is insistent that there's something going on despite the fact the others think there's just a problem with the warp drive on the USS DeWitt, a ship which was not on the schedule.note  OS1. Bikog gets really hyper when he insists there's nothing there. But then Kybok spots a tachyon burst in the logs and Lt. ch'Kreem decides to take the listening post's shuttle out for a look-see.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: ch'Kreem when the IKS Hegh’QeDp blows up his and Bikog's shuttle.
    "Take evasive action! Shields—"
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The "strike package" that Norigom came up with to attack the shipyard, a ten ton block of uranium-238 with a crude chemical thruster and radar guidance, dropped from the cargo bay of the mupwI' at 25,000 km/s. It apparently obliterates the shipyard control center and part of it keeps going to hit the planet. Norigom apparently did the same thing to the IKS HoSbegh during the Klingon-Gorn War, and sums it up quite well:
    "Basic physics. High mass plus high velocity equals ouch."
  • Mind Probe: Brokosh acquired the entry codes for the Sol system by using his telepathic powers on Captain Hollingsworth of the USS DeWitt.
  • Mugging the Monster: Meromi and Norigom's backstory. Norigom, a Nausicaan just conscripted onto the IKS mupwI's command crew from Rura Penthe, apparently decided his first order of business should be getting laid for probably the first time since the Klingon-Gorn War. And what better target for his affections than the 147 cm, 43 kilo Orion he thought was probably ship's "entertainment"?
    "Norigom came to half an hour later with four cracked ribs, two broken metatarsals and a nose that was somewhat flatter than it had been when he’d entered the room."
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Crossed with an inversion of Pardon My Klingon in the first chapter.
    "Kybok heard Blackhawk say a word he had been told humans considered very rude."
  • Nominal Hero: Brokosh has an ethical code of his own making, but he's a mercenary who signed with the KDF for the money (so he can support his family in the face of the House of Chel'toK's Impoverished Patrician status) and has no patience with Klingon "honor".
  • Non-Human Humanoid Hybrid: Brokosh and Ba'woV's unseen half-Lethean, half-Klingon baby son K’orTuH.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • The reaction of ch'Kreem and Bikog to a Bird-of-Prey decloaking in front of their shuttle:
      Bikog: Eltee, look!
      ch'Kreem: Take evasive action! Shields—
    • Shortly thereafter, a double one from Crewman Yasmin Sherazi and Chief Sally Blackhawk upon observing the above.
      Sherazi: Kiopek oghlu. That's a Klingon Bird-of-Prey.
      Blackhawk: (into radio) Starfleet Command, this is COS. Sally Blackhawk of Listening Post Two-Zero-Four-Romeo-Tango, authorization Charlie-Papa-Oscar-3255-Alpha-Whiskey-24827! Case Zulu! Repeat, Zulu, Zulu, Zulu! Details to follow!
  • One-Hit Kill: The USS Abraham Lincoln one-shots the IKS Qap'gargh with a phaser shot that punches right through the Bird-of-Prey's shields and actually overpenetrates the ship itself. A split-second later the reactors blow.
  • Only in It for the Money: Brokosh fights for the Klingon Defense Force because he has a particular set of skills for which they are willing to pay very well.
  • Orwellian Retcon: Lieutenant ch'Kreem used to be named sh'Kreem, but the author changed it due to making a mistake with Andorian genders.
  • Pardon My Klingon:
    • A fair amount of tlhIngan Hol profanity gets bandied about, and as early as the first chapter.
      Norigom: And a very good morning to you, Meromi.
      Meromi: yI’ meQ, petaQ.translation 
    • ch'Kreem tells Bikog to "calm the frak down or I’ll have Kybok pinch you."
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Chel'toK tried to prevent his grand-niece Ba'woV from marrying Brokosh, a Lethean mercenary. Fortunately for the happy couple, according to Klingon tradition, right to marriage approval belongs to the lady of the House, and K'Ronu didn't have a problem with it.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Meromi is barely 147 centimeters tall (a bit less than 4'10") and weighs 43 kilos (95 pounds). When Norigom propositioned her, he came to half an hour later "with four cracked ribs, two broken metatarsals and a nose that was somewhat flatter than it had been when he’d entered the room."
  • Racist Grandma: Ba'woV's great-uncle Chel'toK didn't want her marrying a member of the servitor races and tried to kill Brokosh twice.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: The Sol system listening posts are viewed as dead-end assignments since Sol rarely sees any action. Although that's exactly why Kybok likes it there.
  • Red Alert: Twice in chapter three.
    • First, when the KDF's deception is discovered and the IKS Hegh’QeDp destroys the shuttle carrying two of the crew of the listening post.
    "And for that brief moment, Kybok’s Vulcan composure slipped. Case Zulu was a code phrase that had not been heard in Sol since the Breen attack thirty-four years ago. It was never, ever given during exercises to avoid crying wolf, and had only one definition: 'Enemy invasion imminent.'"
    • Two segments later, Brokosh orders his Bird-of-Prey to come to general quarters
  • Sex Slave: Meromi Riyal was one of the 1,500 Orion slave girls that Orion Syndicate head Melani D'ian gave as gifts to the Great Houses of the Empire. She had enough and ran off to join a smuggling ring, where she learned to fight and handle ships.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There's a mention of a freighter called the SS Ayanami, skippered by a Captain Ikari.
    • "Case Zulu" as an "enemies inbound, This Is Not a Drill" message is a reference to the Honor Harrington books.
    • When Norigom mouths off to General K'Bor, Brokosh borrows a line from the pilot of Firefly:
      Brokosh: Norigom, you will keep a civil tongue in that mouth when speaking to a superior officer or I will sew it shut. Do we have an understanding between us?
      Norigom: You don’t pay me to talk pretty. Just because—
      Brokosh: NORIGOM!
      Norigom: (meekly) Yes, Captain.
    • There's a MACO petty officer in chapter four named Gordon Freeman. The liner notes say that it was either that or "Django Freeman" and the author thought "Gordon" was funnier.
  • Soldiers at the Rear: OS2. Kybok specifically tried to avoid getting posted anywhere near the front lines because his father was driven insane by the Dominion War.
  • Stealth in Space: The first three chapters combine Star Trek cloaking devices and their known flaws from the shows with misdirection. Brokosh gets a fleet of Birds-of-Prey into the Sol system to attack Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards by having his own BoP the mupwI' generate an oversize warp field to pretend to be a Starfleet battleship. This mostly hides the minor fluctuations produced by the other BoPs using cloaks at warp (DS 9: "The Search, Part I") in the interference. One BoP has to fall out of the formation due to reactor trouble and is spotted because of a gravitic anomaly it's giving off (implied to be the Artificial Gravity). Its captain chooses to blow away the shuttle that picked it up, blowing the KDF's cover (but not soon enough to do any good).
  • Surprise Pregnancy: A one-shot MACO named Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Haellh mentions to Admiral Riker that she's six weeks pregnant. Another MACO, Petty Officer Freeman, complains about her not saying anything, but Haellh says she herself only found out a few hours earlier.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes:
    • Norigom was conscripted from Rura Penthe.
    • Meromi is likewise a conscripted criminal, a former member of an arms dealing ring that was broken up by Imperial Security. When she was caught and subdued by Ba'woV while hiding out in the basement of the Chel'toK estate, Ba'woV convinced Chel'toK to offer Meromi a deal: She gives them five years' service, she gets a full pardon and citizenship and they don't hand her over to Imperial Security, who quite literally want her head.
  • We Will Wear Armor in the Future: Lampshaded. Norigom is described as clanking his way onto the mupwI's bridge, and Brokosh has no idea why he goes everywhere in corroded durasteel armor.
  • Wrench Wench: Ba'woV serves aboard the mupwI' as chief engineer, and part of the reason Brokosh started dating her is that she was fun to talk shop with.
  • You Are The Translated Foreign Word: Brokosh expositing on Chel'toK's feelings on him marrying Ba'woV.
    "Not right, having a member of the kuve, the servitor races, getting into a position where he might someday get to be head of the House."