One of my ideas (that I laid aside when I began work on my main project) was in some ways a subversion: there was this great big section of the galaxy, many planets, each of them independent and practically its own sovereign nation, with minor roaming mercenary bands and navy vessels constantly engaged in skirmishes: in short, adventure.
However, the protagonist of the piece was a garbageman on a gigantic space station, one that had nation status, one who desperately desires to go beyond the confines of his home. His life is made considerably more exciting when the ship of one of these bands comes drops out of space near them and proceeds to take over the unarmed place with contemptuous ease. It's a complete shock since no 'disarrayed' group has ever gotten the resources to obtain a ship posing a threat of that sort; it turns out later to be a renegade military cruiser, but that's irrelevant.
The captain announces that he's merging the civilian and military populations of his ship. While the protagonist is excited initially, thinking that he gets to train with the 'cool guys', it really means that the soldiers help clean the garbage alongside him. This includes a new war hero (for whom the protagonist develops feelings), who was placed there by random choice in the interest of fairness, and the high commander of the ship infantry, whom everyone
regards as functionally a living god, who a) wanted to watch and mentor his protege, the aforementioned hero, and b) actually gets a kick from doing mundane jobs. By the end, it's wholesale confusion as the people declare revolution and the protagonist and his new companions aren't sure which life they really want.
Then everyone dies.
This is this.