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Fanfic / Beat the Drums of War

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Beat the Drums of War is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword and Worffan 101, set in the Bait and Switch (STO) universe. It is a novelization of the mission "Blood of the Ancients".

The Alpha Quadrant Alliance mobilizes for war with the Iconians. While the Federation scrambles to add other regional powers to the coalition that is all that stands between the Heralds and trillions of lives, Captain Kanril Eleya of the USS Bajor is assigned to a joint task force led by Admiral D'trel of the RRW Vengeance. But after Starbase 234 falls and the Iconians land on New Romulus, events take an unexpected turn.


  • Adaptation Expansion: In addition to the canon battle scenes from "Blood of the Ancients", the Iconians also hit several other planets. Enforced because the authors were in the section of STO's playerbase that were profoundly disappointed with the limited canonical portrayal of the Iconian War.
    • They attack Qo'noS and are challenged by a fleet led by Chancellor J'mpok (stated to be inspired by the STF "Gateway to Gre'thor"). The IKS Bortasqu' is knocked out in the first volley, J'mpok's flagship is trashed, the fleet is decimated due to J'mpok's poor tactics, and the day is only saved by Brokosh, Ja'rod, and Worf leading a ragtag fleet of vassal races, mercenaries, and dishonored warriors in a surprise attack on the Heralds' flanks.
    • Tuvok gets the Undine to help out when the Heralds attack Vulcan, completing the Heel–Race Turn from Reality Is Fluid and "Mindscape". The Undine bring over a thousand bioships and destroy the entire Iconian fleet in minutes with minimal casualties.
    • The Iconians land on Bajor and are met by the full force of the Bajoran Militia. Turns out Herald Harbingers are no match for main battle tanks. Oh, and then Dominion forces led by Odo join in.
    • A joint Romulan/Delta Quadrant force stays behind to defend New Romulus against a renewed Herald attack. Then the Romulan Star Empire joins in as The Cavalry.
    • The Iconians attempt to attack Earth, but are redirected into a black hole.
    • Another battle is mentioned at Tellar, while the Cardassians withdrew to Cardassia Prime in expectation of an attack that never came.
  • All of Them: During the battle over New Romulus, Obisek goes to evacuate Proconsul D'Tan. They're interrupted by the ambassador from the Romulan Star Empire.
    Ambassador tr'Ethian: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?
    Reman Shadow Guard: What are you saying, ehl'alha?
    tr'Ethian: The fvillhunote  has sent the Galae!note 
    D'Tan: How many ships, Llairhi tr'Ethian?
    tr'Ethian: No, you, don't understand, lhhei, he sent the Galae, the entire Galae!
    (Followed by a fleet of Star Empire warbirds decloaking in orbit and laying a metric ton of whoop-ass on the Heralds' rears.)
  • The Alliance: The Federation sent envoys begging for help to pretty much every major power in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. In addition to the canonical members (the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Republic), troops from the Delta Alliance help defend New Romulus eventually assisted by the Romulan Star Empire, while the Dominion joins in the defense of Bajor.
  • Ascended Glitch: More like Ascended Typo. Star Trek Online has long had a mistake in the title of a doff assignmentnote , "Investigate Rumors of Klingon Intelligence". This was meant as "Klingon Intelligence has infiltrated your ship" but led to jokes about Klingons being rumored to be intelligent. Including one made by Eleya on Lae'nas III in-story.
  • Bad Boss: Crossed with Stupid Evil in the case of Venerated-Beyond-Measure. He vaporizes one of his henchmen not because You Have Failed Me, but for interrupting him to share mission-relevant information. Gives him a Karmic Death when a different henchman interrupts him for the same reason, only he doesn't have time to do anything about it because the IRW Lost Road thalarons all of them immediately afterward.
  • Bayonet Ya: Eleya kills a Harbinger with a thrown rifle bayonet on Lae'nas III.
  • Blood Knight: As in Peace Forged in Fire, Played for Laughs with Koren, who flies her ship straight into an Iconian dreadnought's main gun, with predictable results.
  • Continuity Nod: Admiral Yarlin Dao comments that the rendezvous point for the evacuees from Starbase 234 is Narendra III because "the local Klingons owe us a favor." This seems to refer back to the loss of the Enterprise-C defending the planet ("Yesterday's Enterprise").
  • Crisis Crossover: Between StarSword and Worffan101's characters. The fic trades off perspectives between Eleya and D'trel. Brokosh and Morgan t'Thavrau also make appearances.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Min'tak'allan is killed instantly by shrapnel when the Vengeance is hit by the Heralds.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe example. Jak goes too far in being Vitriolic Best Buds with Eleya when he makes a sarcastic remark about the Bajorans needing "a bleeding-heart Federation handout". She gets him back by kicking his ass in the sparring ring after the battle.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Supreme High Lord Inevitably-Fated-for-Greatness is noteworthy for the sheer laughable arrogance of his introductory speech, but all Iconians fit this trope. Worffan 101 has repeatedly stated his dislike of STO's portrayal of the Iconians, and reacted by taking the hammy Sufficiently Advanced Aliens of the game to their logical extreme.
  • Fantastic Ship Prefix: A Benthan Guard ship is given the prefix BGV, likely meaning Benthan Guard Vessel.
  • General Failure: Due to being racist, lazy, astoundingly arrogant fools, all Iconians fit this trope to a T. Supreme High Lord Venerated-Beyond-Measure manages the most impressive case of this, due to executing one of his minions for interrupting him with warning of a flanking attack by Romulan reinforcements.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Captain Jojo Appiah of Starbase 234 gives his life in a holding action against the Heralds to cover the fleet's retreat from battle, finally self-destructing his station to avoid capture.
    • Double Subverted with Rear Admiral Zandra Taitt. She planned to use technobabble to make the Heralds gate into a black hole and then bail out of the USS Caelian before it was destroyed as part of the plan, but the Heralds showed up too early so she didn't have time to get off.
    • The heavily damaged Benthan flagship sacrifices itself to shield the Bloodwing from a Herald ramming attack. At least some of the crew get out in the Escape Pods, though.
  • Humans Are White: Averted, as usual for these authors. Captain Jojo Appiah of Starbase 234 is black with a Ghanaian name.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Servitor 18754, to Inevitably-Fated-for-Greatness. He plays SHLIFFG's arrogance and ignorance like a harp in Chapter 2, convincing the Iconian to read "The Art of War", pulls SHLIFFG's ship out of the Lae'nas III battle after Kanril blows up the command chamber with a torpedo, and manages to make the Iconian understand military tactics. All this while technically being just a low-ranking engineer. Inevitably-Fated-for-Greatness makes 18754 his Grand Vizier in the epilogue
  • Incoming Ham: Played for Laughs. Multiple Iconians give hammy introductory speeches; even some of the Heralds get in on the action. Of special note is Supreme High Lord Inevitably-Fated-for-Greatness's opening rant, which is mostly a description of SHLIFFG's titles and parentage. At one point SHLIFFG starts to do this, only to have Eleya's communications officer mute the transmission.
  • Karmic Death/Revenge: Admiral Satali t'Tyrava of the Romulan Star Empire views using thalaron weapons in a surprise attack on the Heralds as vengeance for the destruction of Romulus and the death of Spock.
    t'Tyrava: Today we avenge the Loss, and the Sacrifice. Today we avenge ch'Rihan.
  • Lampshade Hanging: D'trel wonders why nobody thought to mine the Preserver Archive for information before the Iconians invaded, and later President Okeg says he'll launch a full investigation. (The complaint about that Plot Hole in the canonical mission was originally raised on the STO forums.)
  • Large Ham: All Iconians, but especially Supreme High Lord Inevitably-Fated-for-Greatness. Lampshaded by multiple characters: in one case Eleya's communications officer just mutes him mid-speech and he keeps going in the background.
  • Large Ham Title: All Iconians, but taken up to eleven with SHLIFFG's father, Eternal Grand Supreme High Emperor Destined-for-Glorious-Deeds. And that's just the shortest version of his formal name: The full version is stated to have more titles attached than is practical for even the Iconians to use, and the bit that is shown is a nonstop train of pretentious honorifics.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • D'trel's flagship, the Vengeance. This refers to D'trel's personal revenge on the people who cause her life to be a Trauma Conga Line, rather than to the concept as a whole; Romulans do not normally name starships after abstract concepts. After Vengeance is damaged beyond repair, she gets a new ship, Sword of Hope, signifying some Character Development.
    • A Preserver refers to Eleya as an "Insh'alhalan" rather than a Bajoran, explained as the name the Bajorans used for themselves in ancient times before the nation of Bajora began to expand across the planet Bajor. "Insh'alhalan" is close to the Arabic word "inshallah", "God willing", which fits the Bajorans' main Hat of being the only major overtly religious species in Star Trek.
  • Named After Their Planet: Actually subverted. A Preserver refers to Eleya as an "Insh'alhalan" rather than a Bajoran, explained as the name the Bajorans used for themselves in ancient times before the nation of Bajora began to expand across the planet Bajor.
  • Oh, Crap!: High Lord Fated-for-a-Glorious-Life has one of these when the Undine arrive at Vulcan to kick his ass.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Mostly from Eleya, as per usual. Turns out she can cuss in Nausicaan in addition to Bajoran, English, and Klingon:
    Eleya: What was that?
    Jak: Sexual themes, sir. Sexual themes. Too delicate for your Federation sensibilities.
    Eleya: Try me, jok an chak shattuk noj.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Deconstructed and Reconstruction. The Klingons take massive casualties in the initial Iconian attack on Qo'noS, as their "honor and glory" tactics of flying straight into Herald main guns are...less than effective. It's Worf, who considers honor to be fighting for the right cause rather than fighting in a particularly straightforward fashion, who launches a massive flanking attack against the Heralds' unprotected rear, eventually beating them back from Qo'noS.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Alliance fights off the Iconians, killing multiple Iconian commanders and overcoming vast numerical and technological disadvantages, but the Klingon military is crippled, the Tellarite home fleet is obliterated, the Romulan Republic took heavy casualties, the Preserver Archive was destroyed with only four relatively unimportant Preservers surviving (meaning that the Alliance now has to spend a substantial amount of time decoding the Preserver data), and several senior Alliance commanders are dead. More personally, D'trel loses her sensor officer, her ship, and almost half of her crew.
    Eleya: We hold the field, but this isn't a victory.
  • Ramming Always Works:
    • Supreme High Lord Venerated-Beyond-Measure comments in an Internal Monologue that Romulan ships are surprisingly destructive in ramming attacks, seeing as how their power supply is a confined black hole.
    • A series of ramming attempts by the Heralds is what finally disables the Vengeance.
  • Red Shirt: Admiral Yarlin Dao is introduced as Eleya's former superior (he was the Commandant of Bajoran Militia Space Arm, then transferred to Starfleet when his home service was shut down), only to Go Down with the Ship a page later.
  • Refusal of the Call: The Alliance reaches out to the Vaadwaur in hopes of getting them to come into the war, but Overseer Eldex refuses because he plain can't risk the losses after the events of Delta Rising (though he does wish them the best of luck).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Benthan flagship, which is destroyed over New Romulus, is the BGV Destiny Ascension.
    • SHLIFFG's flagship is the Unyielding Hierophant.
    • The Iconian's arrogance, hamminess, and tendency to kill their soldiers seem to have been inspired by Visser Three.
  • Shown Their Work/Target Spotter: The scene on Bajor is told from the perspective of a Bajoran Militia artillery spotter, using accurate lingo. Both authors prefer to avoid Hollywood Tactics as a rule, being avowed fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and its relatively realistic depiction of military action.
  • Smash the Symbol: D'trel's motivations have been gradually developing beyond Roaring Rampage of Revenge since Peace Forged in Fire. The culmination comes when her ship, Vengeance, is damaged beyond repair over Lae'nas III. She takes a new ship in the epilogue, an Ar'Kif-class carrier named Sword of Hope.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: The Klingons' tendency to charge in for glory and honor leads to bloody head-on attacks that do absolutely no good at Qo'noS. In contrast, the Andorians, a Proud Soldier Race, use Hit-and-Run Tactics, Space Mines, and ballistic missiles to overwhelm the Heralds in stages, the Bajorans fight fire with fire using heavy armor, airstrikes, and artillery from long range, while Starfleet uses technobabble and foils the attack on Earth altogether by forcing the Heralds to gate into a black hole. (StarSword is not a fan of post-TNG Klingons.)
  • Stupid Evil: Supreme High Lord Venerated-Beyond-Measure is especially pointlessly and self-sabotagingly cruel, but all Iconians are this to some extent. Star-of-Glorious-Majesty even kills his own bodyguards because he hit one by accident during a temper tantrum, with predictable results.
  • Tank Goodness: In one scene Bajoran Militia infantry are having to retreat from Herald ground forces, and the Harbinger leading the Heralds starts monologuing about how they cannot stand before the might of the Iconian Empire. He's Killed Mid-Sentence by a shot from a Bajoran tank two kilometers away.
  • Technobabble: Subverted. Zandra Taitt starts to explain her plan to stop the Heralds to Jorel Quinn, but he stops her because he didn't understand it the first time.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Star-of-Glorious-Majesty kills the Heralds that were using their bodies to shield him from enemy fire because he accidentally hits one during his temper tantrum. He is killed seconds later. By 5 people shooting him at once, and a grenade launcher.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Iconian dreadnoughts have these as their main guns. Captain Kanril actually calls it a Wave-Motion Gun in chapter 3.