Literature: Star Trek: Myriad Universes
A series of short novels in the Star Trek Expanded Universe
, collected in three volumes (Infinity’s Prism
, Echoes and Refractions
and Shattered Light
). The series presents alternate histories, wherein the familiar Star Trek
universe has been warped significantly. The series uses key moments of history as the springboard to create these altered timelines, presenting realities that result from different outcomes to established events.
There was also a Myriad Universes comic book, The Last Generation
, set in a universe where the Klingon Empire had conquered the Federation.
This series contains examples of:
- Absolute Xenophobe: An emissary of Species 8472 explains why his people tend to be this: Because fluidic space is one giant interconnected organic system, any contaminant is a danger to the entire realm. As the caretakers of the realm, the 8472s will not tolerate outside incursion.
- The Alliance: The Delta Coalition, founded by the crew of Voyager and the Vostigye Union which takes them in, along with other refugee cultures in the region.
- In a universe where Khan Noonien Singh won the Eugenics Wars, the empire he founded conquers much of local space. It's mentioned that Thallon, Danter and Xenex formed an alliance to stand against the human augments, only to be destroyed by this universe's version of Jean-Luc Picard.
- Alternate History: The series is essentially a collection of alternate histories, taking key moments in the Star Trek Myth Arc and offering hypothetically different outcomes, taking the Trek universe in different directions from the original. So, we have a history where Khan won the Eugenics Wars and took control of Earth, and another where Terra Prime succeeded in isolating Earth from the interstellar community (so The Federation formed without human participation). There’s one where Voyager turned back rather than cross Borg space, etc.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: In Places of Exile, one of the Delaney sisters on Voyager is killed in a battle with Species 8472. The surviving twin leaves the ship and joins a nunnery.
- Brain Uploading: Happens a lot in A Better World, based on the procedure used by Ira Graves in "The Schizoid Man", since in this universe the availability of "blank" positronic brains means he didn't need to take over Data.
- Crapsack World: If Spock died in childhood (as was the case in the popular “Yesteryear” timeline in an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series), the 23rd century becomes a Crapsack World. As revealed in The Chimes at Midnight, Earth is devastated by the Whalesong Probe from The Voyage Home, and the Alpha and Beta quadrants are caught in an escalating arms race due to use of the genesis device. Also, if the Cardassians don’t withdraw from Bajor in 2369, the 24th century ends up in Crapsack World territory. A Gutted World presents the Dominion manipulating the Alpha and Beta quadrants into weakening themselves so significantly it looks as if Dominion takeover is inevitable. And all the main characters - DS9, Next Gen and Voyager - die.
- In The Tears of Eridanus, Vulcan is a Crapsack World, due to literally thousands of years of constant warfare. In this universe, Surak never arose and turned his people to peace and logic; as a result, Vulcan is a primitive hell-hole.
- Fantastic Caste System: The Bourget, one of the minor races of the Delta Coalition. Worker-caste Bourget are mentioned; given the hints we're given on the nature of Bourget biology, their caste system may have a biological basis.
- Fantastic Racism: Andorian Commander Thelin is on the receiving end of some, due to his part-Aenar heritage.
- The reptilian Voth consider all endotherms, such as humans, to be lesser beings. They also show disdain for carnivores.
- Fingore: In The Chimes At Midnight, David Marcus is tortured by the Klingons and has one of his fingers broken.
- Flanderisation: Perhaps because he only gets one scene in The Chimes At Midnight, General Chang seems incapable of going a single sentence without quoting Shakespeare. Including the Title Drop.
- Freudian Trio: In The Chimes At Midnight, we're told that in this universe Dr McCoy tries to give Kirk the pragmatic options, in order to counterbalance Thelin's Andorian passion. Yes, McCoy is The Spock.
- Gunboat Diplomacy: In Places of Exile, the Voth send an entire city ship to Vostigye space in order to make their demands.
- Heel-Face Brainwashing: At the end of A Better World, we're told that Lore has had the errors in his programming corrected and is now a committed supporter of biological rights.
- Hypocrite: In one notable scene, the Vorta Kilana reflects on how the Voth are rigid in their thinking and brutal in enforcing their doctrine; she considers them an example of everything the Dominion exists to stamp out. This is intended as insight into Kilana (and the Dominion's) own blindness, naturally.
- In Spite of a Nail: Happens a few times; for instance Thelin replacing Spock apparently didn't change much of anything until Spock didn't die in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. And Khan Noonien Singh winning the Eugenics Wars, leading to 400 years of eugenics and genetic alteration, results in the human DS9 regulars being supermen rather than not existing. They even all end up in Bajoran space. In The Last Generation, Worf, Klingon governer of Earth, has a quarter-human son. We never learn his real name, but his subordinates mock him by giving him a human nickname - Alexander.
- Instrument of Murder: The Andorian flabjellah is a combination sidearm/musical instrument. It exists in the mainstream Trek 'verse, but is more prominant in the Tears of Eridanus timeline.
- Last Words: In Honor In The Night, former Federation President Nilz Baris' last words, "Arne Darvin" kick off the story's plot.
- Kirk's last words in The Chimes at Midnight: "So here it is...the no-win scenario. How did I do?"
- Meaningful Name: The S'paaphonn (Many sci-fi fans will be familiar with the exclamation "Spa Fon!").
- Microts: Among other interesting little facts, we learn that 6 human months equals about 4 Vostigye ronds, and nearly 40 Talaxian niziks. Neelix likes using varying time measurements because it gives him more excuses for anniversary parties.
- As well as ronds, Vostigye use lants, apparently their equivalent of minutes.
- The Missing Faction: Two of the stories start with the assumption that one of the founding races of the United Federation of Planets wasn't involved. A Less Perfect Union shows a xenophobic Earth withdrawing from the Coalition of Planets due to the actions of Terra Prime, leaving only Vulcan, Andor and Tellar. Humans wind up in a cold war scenario with this "Interstellar Coalition". In The Tears of Eridanus, meanwhile, Vulcan never turns to logic and remains a primitive warlike culture, leaving Andor as the galvanizing force behind the formation of a Federation-equivalent.
- Muggle Power: The third story in the Infinity's Prism collection features a universe in which Khan Noonien Singh won the Eugenics Wars. He then proceeded to create The Empire, which subjugated the rest of the Trek 'verse. The story concerns "Princeps" Julian Bashir of the Defiance (who is also genetically enhanced in the "normal" universe) finding the Botany Bay. In the TOS episode Space Seed, the Bay carried Khan and his followers, but in this universe, it carried regular humans on the run from the Wars. Does What Measure Is a Non-Super? ensue? Oh, yeah.
- Off with His Head!: In The Tears of Eridanus, Evil!T'Pau executes Dax and presents his head as a trophy.
- Pose of Supplication: The Voth demand this from others as their due, particularly when bestowing their benevolence. As the eldest race in the Delta Quadrant (or at least they assume so), they consider themselves its rightful rulers. When agreeing to spare Fluidic Space from destruction, their condition is that the Species 8472 representative bow before them and pledge his loyalty to the Voth Council.
- Pride: “Boothby” the 8472 Groundskeeper has to swallow his in order to save his people. The Voth, who are themselves the most prideful race around, agree to spare his realm from their doomsday weapon if he declares his loyalty to the Voth Council and bows before them. Chakotay convinces him to do so.
- Sdrawkcab Name: The Romulan Commander from "Balance of Terror", played by the same actor as Spock's father Sarek, is named...Keras.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: In The Chimes at Midnight, this gets played rather straight between Saavik and David Marcus:
- Sharpened to a Single Atom: The blades used by the Children of Khan in Seeds of Dissent.
- In The Tears of Eridianus, the only hope for a war-torn, hellish Vulcan where Surak never existed is the katra of the ancient poet S'task, who teaches a philosophy called mnhei'sahe. In Diane Duane's non-canonical but beloved Rihannsu novels, S'task was Surak's former pupil, who abandoned his teacher's pacifism and left Vulcan with his followers, the Rihannsu (aka the Romulans)... whose culture's guiding principle is a concept called mnhei'sahe.
- Places of Exile sees Tom Paris refer to the Species 8472 planet-destroyer weapon as a wave-motion gun. Janeway promptly assumes the description was another of Tom's obscure twentieth-century cultural allusions.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: According to Word of God, planet Coridan's prosperous status in The Tears of Eridanus is an example of this, seeing as in the mainstream Star Trek Novel Verse Coridan is the Federation's Butt Monkey planet.
- Unwitting Pawn: Kirk in A Less Perfect Union. His attitude towards aliens makes him relatively easy to steer into a Romulan plot aimed against the Earth/Interstellar Coalition negotiations. Also, in A Gutted World, the entire Alpha and Beta quadrants end up Unwitting Pawns to the Founders of the Dominion.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One of the stories is set in a timeline where androids like Data are mass-produced for Starfleet. They are considered more disposable than organic officers. Also, in a universe where Khan was victorious, the human augments have established themselves as the dominant power in known space, fuelled by this belief. Some of the racist humans in A Less Perfect Union show a form of it, too.
- What Measure Is a Non-Super?: The empire founded by Khan Noonien Singh.
- Whole Plot Reference: Honor in the Night tells the story of a journalist trying to find out the meaning behind a famous person's last words, by talking to a lot of people who knew the deceased, and the whole thing is told in an interlocking non-linear flashback structure. Sound familiar?