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Fanfic / A Good Compromise

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A Good Compromise is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword, set in The War of the Masters Shared Universe. It was written for Unofficial Literary Challenge #20: Coming Around Again on the STO forums.

Captain Tyria Sark, newly in command of USS Black Prince, is on vacation with her husband when she's called back to duty early to enforce Federation protection of the Teplan homeworld. The Teplans had previously appeared as a one-shot species in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, having been inflicted with a slow extinction by plague in retaliation for rebelling against the Dominion. With Julian Bashir providing a vaccine to prevent new cases, the Teplans began to recover, which has now attracted Dominion attention; the Teplan government has asked for Federation protection, which Tyria is ordered to provide... with not nearly enough resources that she can actually make a fight of it if the Dominion shows up.


This fanfic provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Tyria does cite the Prime Directive in her interactions with the Teplans, but puts a twist on it. Rather than using it as an excuse not to get involved, she seems to regard it as a guideline to be cautious when she does, such as being careful with the introduction of Federation technology to their technically warp-capable but still very battered civilization.
  • Brains and Bondage/Good People Have Good Sex: The fic opens with a post-coital Tyria (rising star in Starfleet with ten lifetimes of memories from her symbiont) and husband Jolin Tabris (attorney and former JAG officer) realizing they have to untie her.
    Jolin: Let's see, now how did this go together, again? (Beat) Just kidding.
  • Colony Drop: During their rebellion against the Dominion the Teplans apparently tried to warp a captured Jem'Hadar attack ship into the Karemma homeworld.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Word of God invoked confirms that the Excelsior-class USS Crazy Horse that appears in the fic is intended to be the same one that appeared occasionally in Star Trek: The Next Generation. There's also ships in the flotilla named McCoy and Yar.
    • The story takes place at around the same time as the Fek'Ihri invasion of Moab III from the Masterverse's main series, and includes an FNN report on the attack.
    • The Vorta character Kilana previously appeared in DS9 season 5's "The Ship".
    • Tyria refers to the Dominion occupations of Benzar and Betazed, as well as their attempted genocide of Cardassia.
  • Detachment Combat: USS Black Prince is a Hephaestus-class advanced escort, in-game an alternate skin for the Prometheus-class, so naturally it has multi-vector mode.
  • Epigraph: "Sacrifice" from the soundtrack of RWBY volume 2. Seemingly intended to refer to the Dominion.
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  • Fantastic Legal Weirdness: Tyria's husband Jolin Tabris is a lawyer, and he mentions he's fighting a probate case against a joined Trill whose previous host willed him half his estate. Tyria thinks the case could go constitutional, but Jolin jokingly suggests he might get the will tossed by citing legal precedent from the last time the same symbiont tried this.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Rear Admiral Nazariy Levchenko, strongly indicated to be Ukrainian, describes the political crisis surrounding the Moab Confederacy as a "povna sraka radoshchiv", something like "ass full of joy". And then we have Jasmine Velasquez with Spanish "pendejo" and "que puta tu madre!"note 
  • Gargle Blaster: Turns out Romulan ale even works on Vorta, who are normally immune to most toxins. Tyria bemusedly comments that "You're supposed to sip it a little slower", not drain your glass in one gulp.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: According to Lord Protector Julyeen, Kilana (possibly an earlier incarnation of her) originally gave the order to deploy the Teplan blight.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Crossed with Not That Kind of Doctor.
    Dr. Irim Valder: Sir, I'm a general practitioner, not a pharmacologist.
  • Language Equals Thought: Tyria apparently equates Vorta reincarnation-by-cloning to Trill symbionts' ability to Body Surf:
    Tyria: cut the crap and answer the comm before your next host has to explain this to the Founders!
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Levchenko refers to the Teplans asking for Federation protection "a new chapter in the story".
  • Location Theme Naming: The Sao Paolo-class escorts in Tyria's flotilla are all named for cities (Erbil and Cape Town are on Earth, while New Samarkand comes from Star Trek: The Lost Era, located on Alpha Centauri III). The two Dakota-class cruisers in the flotilla are named after Native American tribes, Tlingit and Croatoan.
  • ManEater: Velasquez was already established in From Bajor to the Black and "The Silence Ends" as a determinedly single Extreme Omnisexual. Here she tries to vamp on Ensign Newbie Gilad Ronson (intending it as stress relief for herself), but she comes on too strong and he panics and runs.
  • A Mistake Is Born: Downplayed. In an emotional moment prompted by the description of a five-year-old boy infected with the Teplan blight, Tyria Sark describes the conception of her daughter Sameen as "selfish" due to conveniently neglecting her contraception while honeymooning with her husband. The implication is not that she actually thinks Sameen was a mistake, but rather that she thinks she shouldn't have impulsively brought a child into that kind of world.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: Tyria is mentioned to be an "Iklani" once, and Ronson says that they revere Gaunt in a manner suggesting that he himself does not.
  • Multiethnic Name: Jasmine Anne Velasquez Candemir. She's a Mexican-swearing American with Latin American and Turkish surnames, cast as a black actress in the author's notes.
  • Noodle Incident: Tyria alludes to having met Q once, as well as implying she met her husband when he was sent to get her, then an Ensign Newbie, out of lockup.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Tyria (and Birail Riyannis in the author's other series Bait and Switch (STO)) tends to swear by Gaunt and his forty hosts, whom Gilad Ronson explains to be a legendary Trill symbiont reputed by Tyria's host's ethnic group to be the first to ever take a Trill humanoid as a host.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: Another captain in Tyria's task force, Merdok, apparently had several years seniority over her but was passed over in favor of the only very recently promoted Tyria because he wasn't certified to command in combat (he command's the fleet's hospital ship, McCoy). Tyria warns her own chief medical officer not to step on his toes.
  • Powerful People Are Subs: Implied with Tyria: she's the one tied down in their post-coital scene at the start of the story.
  • Pulled from Your Day Off: Tyria is vacationing with her husband when she gets the call to lead the mission in the Gamma Quadrant.
    Tyria: You know how it is. We're always on duty, especially when we're not.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Upon describing how screwed-up the assignment is, Dr. Irim points out to Jazz Velasquez that a "shiny new advanced escort" has to count for something. Velasquez sarcastically retorts, "Yeah, shiny."
    • Gilad Ronson's excuse for why he doesn't want to sleep with Velasquez includes a vague reference to needing to do some calibrations.
    • The Artificial Intelligence Edward is assigned to a ship named after Edward the Black Prince of England, and is cast as James Purefoy. Purefoy played the actual Prince Edward in A Knight's Tale.
    • The sensor-lock dogfight between the Starfleet flotilla and Jem'Hadar attack ships borrows bars from Top Gun ("We're engaged with five! Repeat, five! We're in deep shit!") and Honor Harrington (the term "painting the hull").
    • To The New Jedi Order. Tyria says she (probably actually her last host Adril Sark) worked on bioweapons to target the Jem'Hadar genome during the Dominion War, a project codenamed "Alpha Red". Alpha Red was the name given to a bioweapon developed by the New Republic to target Yuuzhan Vong and their creations.
  • Shown Their Work: StarSword admitted to surprise at how easy it was to map the behavior of the Teplan blight to real virology. In the fic, the characters describe the blight as a lysogenic virus that remains dormant until its repressor genes deactivate, at which point it kills its victim.
  • Take a Third Option: Tyria puts herself in a bind in part one, which is lampshaded by her comms officer Azira Shelon. Her orders say she's supposed to abandon the Teplans if the Dominion makes an issue of it, but she promises the Lord Protector "I'll do right by you." When the Dominion comes, a third option presents itself: turns out neither side wants to fire the first shot, and Tyria is able to work out a diplomatic solution.
  • Title Drop: The title turns out in the end to be borrowed from a quote by Larry David: "A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied." In the context, the Dominion had to accept Teplan independence and that its presence on-planet would be limited to an embassy, but the Federation cannot arm the Teplans or fortify Yarmta.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Dr. Irim Valder is the only outwardly religious named character, as one might expect from a Bajoran.
  • We Interrupt This Program: FNN interrupts a Denobulan-Earth soccer match to report on the Fek'Ihri attack on Moab III.
  • You Monster!: Tyria calls B.S. on the Dominion's attempt to paint itself as the aggrieved party in the conflict with the Teplans.
    Kilana: Yes, [the Teplans triggered the Dominion's original response] when they rejected the beneficence of the Founders and tried to warp a commandeered attack ship into the Karemma homeworld.
    Tyria: Well, I don't condone that. (Death Glare) Any more than I condone the deaths of 47 million Benzites, 70 million Betazoids, and, oh yes, eight hundred million Cardassians.
    Kilana: We were at war.
    Tyria: What happened in the occupied territories went well beyond war and you know it. I can't speak for the Teplans, but if what I saw at Weller's Star after the Jem'Hadar came through is your idea of 'beneficence', I'd've taken my chances.