Following the bloody Battle of Goralis (detailed in the earlier story Faces In The Flames), Captain Kanril Eleya of USS George Hammond returns to her home planet of Bajor and becomes embroiled in the travails of a group of traumatized Child Soldiers of the breakaway Moab Confederacy, most notably Sheri Walford, biologically a fellow Bajoran but raised on Moab III. All the while, Moab III itself edges closer and closer to Civil War.
- Air Quotes:LCDR. Phil Jackson: Youve been briefed on the Goralis Exercises?
Eleya: Is this channel secure?
Jackson: As secure as we can make it down here.
Eleya: Then, yes, I heard about the "exercises".
- Aliens Speaking English: Played with. It's noted in Sheri Walford's introduction that most Bajorans speak English as a second language nowadays, but you still often need to know Bajor'la to get around on the planet because many locales don't have English signage.
- Anti-Air: Eleya is woken up one fine morning by air raid sirens, followed by surface-to-orbit defense batteries firing on and destroying a Fek'Ihri warship that escaped the Battle of Goralis. The main weapon is a large surface-based phaser emplacement so powerful that surrounding vegetation ignites from the heat it gives off when it fires.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier/Tank Goodness: The Klevasa III tanks that are seen a couple times. The second time they're describing as having a rear hatch from which a squad of infantry disembarks (probably referencing the design of the Israeli Merkava IV).
- Enforced as the story was intended to pick up an Aborted Arc from Faces In The Flames. The story opens with Eleya returning to Bajor in the aftermath of the Battle of Goralis and observing the carnage wrought in the Federation-Cardassian border fleet in which she's stationed. Later she's woken up by Bajoran Militia anti-orbital weapons destroying a Fek'Ihri warship that escaped the battle. Other important characters include the survivors of MCDS Yoann Teena, which crashed on Bajor in FITF, and Sheri Walford, who was placed in her biological uncle's custody after being outed as underage.
- "The Canticle of Kern Dara", previously referenced in A Good Compromise, is given to Sheri by a MACO-turned-Bajoran priest.
- Citizenship Marriage: A variant. While the Federation citizenship of the Moab kids on Bajor is in question due to the secession, Eleya abuses the fact that the child of a citizen is a citizen to get Coxswain Pamela Bentine's six-year-old twins transported from Moab III to Bajor to reunite them with their mother. Their biological father is a currently incarcerated ex-Starfleet officer who fathered them on Bentine when she was a child prostitute.
- Courtroom Episode: Two on behalf of the Moab kids.
- The first after Sheri Walford gets into a fight at a religious school her uncle attempts to enroll her in.
- The second is when Eleya goes to court to stop the Federation Department of Justice from challenging the custody arrangements set up by Jesu La Roca in Faces in the Flames and taking the Yoann Teena crew offworld. She ultimately trades what she knows of a Government Conspiracy to get the kids immunity and legal residency.
- Driven to Suicide: Defied. Eleya starts to suspect that Lieutenant Commander Jackson is suicidal: he's a paraplegic due to battle wounds, has just given up custody of his daughter to his ex as part of a legal deal to give the Yoann Teena crew a fighting chance in court, and is drinking heavily. She promptly drinks him under the table and arranges psychiatric care while he's unconscious.
- Epigraph: Multiple songs are used as section headers in the story. In order, "Fortunes of War" by Iron Maiden, "April Rain" by Delain (which also provides the title of the story), "To Hell and Back" and "The Carolean's Prayer" by Sabaton, "Lost in Wars" by Battle Beast, and finally "Planet Hell" by Nightwish.
- Fantastic Legal Weirdness: Liberties are taken in the courtroom scenes with two justifications: one, these are Bajoran courts rather than American or even human, and therefore don't always follow a totally realistic protocol, and two, the setting allows for such things as telepathic examination of witnesses. It's mentioned that a warrant is needed to force the latter on an unwilling witness. Eleya also talks the judge into letting her telepathic examiner (her Vulcan operations officer, Lieutenant Commander T'Var) replace the witness on the stand after said witness, Amanda Nung, is proven by the examiner to have perjured herself.
- Fantastic Slurs: Sheri is called a Bajoran word that literally means "bland hasperat". In context, "Bajoran on the outside only".
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The native-born Bajorans in the story draw in a variety of influences, ranging from American "red states" (fairly agrarian, nationalistic, religious, suspicious of the national government) to religious/nationalist extremists in the form of the Circle. There's a particular point made that unlike the Federation at large, the Bajoran constitution guarantees the right to bear arms (though it's not completely unrestricted: the Bajorans ban depleted uranium ammo for environmental reasons and some locales don't allow open carry).
- Fictional Document: "The Canticle of Kern Dara", previously referenced in A Good Compromise, is given to Sheri by a MACO-turned-Bajoran priest.Sheri: Whats it about?
Prylar Len Robari: People. Good people working together to save what they can while some very misguided people try to destroy each other. It was written in a time of great strife around two thousand years ago. The Kingdom of Bajor had gone hand-in-hand with the Temple for thousands of years and dominated the entire planet, but it was collapsing, which eventually led to the founding of the First Republic after the last king abdicated. But while it was going on a terrible plague broke out in Wyntara Mas Province, the epicenter of the civil war. Kern was a priest who left his safe parish in Salos Province and organized something akin to Doctors Without Borders Interstellar. He saved thousands of lives on all sides, and even though he eventually succumbed himself, one of his disciples found a cure.
- Gargle Blaster: Jero juice in the finale. Even hard-drinking Eleya is reduced to tears by the Moabite beverage.
- Great Offscreen War: The Occupation of Bajor ended 43 years before the story begins, but it still casts a long shadow over Bajoran culture. Eleya's apartment is in a redeveloped Cardassian officers' barracks, and Sheri's uncle Alenis Cashard carried messages for his mother's Resistance cell as a child.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Played for Laughs when the Moab kids pull this on Gaarra with respect to Eleya at the end of the story. He pretty much says they won't need to because she'll kill him herself.
- Insanity Defense: Reconstructed. Sheri Walford gets into a fight at a religious school and the police are called; she's ultimately charged with six counts of assault and battery and two of assault on a law enforcement officer. At her arraignment, her defense attorney enters a plea of "not guilty, due to reason of self-defense and traumatic mental impairment" (she was defending herself when the fight started, and afterwards got caught up in a flashback to her military career). The prosecutor, citing consultation with the defense, partially concurs, recommending Sheri's charges be reduced to misdemeanor assault. The judge accepts a psych eval submitted by the defense and briefly interviews Sheri, who can't even accurately count or describe her attackers, and agrees with the prosecutor, sentencing her to community service and mandatory psychiatric counseling. It's strongly implied this is a fairly standard practice for the Bajoran criminal justice system.
- Invented Linguistic Distinction: Eleya notes that Reshek Gaarra has a Dahkuri accent when they meet for the first time.
- Just Following Orders: Subverted. Eleya is a master of the chain of command, shutting down Commander Lastagee by pointing out his refusal to provide her with the text of his orders means she has no proof they actually exist, and since she outranks him that means she can legally order him to pound sand. Later he returns claiming to have orders from Starfleet to take custody of materials, but she takes one look and points out that what he actually has is a request that should be delivered to Bajor's ministry of state, and in the same remark tells the Starfleet crewmen Lastagee brought with him to contact their line COs and request clarification of their orders. It turns out Lastagee is actually a shapeshifted Undine, and after Eleya and the Moab kids capture him, she remarks that the real Lastagee had written a paper at Starfleet Academy on this very topic.
- Kinda Busy Here: A Running Gag, discussed: Eleya remarks that Admiral Alcott used to joke that Starfleet probably gets a bonus for calling you in the middle of "a nice bath, about to have a romantic dinner, or otherwise at the worst, and most inconvenient time". Eleya is actually not busy the first time Lieutenant Commander Jackson calls her to Hathon, but the second time she's in bed with Gaarra. The third time, K'Ragh returns a call while Eleya is on the toilet (he calls back). Another time, Eleya herself catches her JAGO in the middle of a bowl of spaghetti.
- Loophole Abuse: Eleya repeatedly uses irregularities in the chain of command to deal with problems, starting with an interaction with a Starfleet Intelligence commander where she points out that if he can't provide her with his orders, she has no proof that they actually exist, under which circumstances she as his superior officer in rank can basically tell him to pound sand.
- Meet Cute: The Masterverse incarnation of Eleya's Love Interest Reshek Gaarra is introduced in this story. He's an officer stationed at the ROTC Armory at Ashalla Temple College who volunteered for the salvage and rescue efforts at the Yoann Teena crash site, and helps Eleya up after she trips and faceplants. It being local nighttime, he asks her to breakfast in Hathon when they finish up. She propositions him afterwards but he declines, saying he never has sex on the first date. The second date turns out differently and they've become a couple by the end of the story.Eleya: (teasing) Presumptuous, Commander, you assume there'll be a second date.
Gaarra: Well, was I right?
- The Mole: Commander Lastagee turns out to be a shapeshifted Undine. His capture by Eleya and the Moab kids leads to the arrest of another mole in the Federation Foreign Office.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Eleya mentions that she was named after one of Saint Kern Dara's followers, Prylar Sheran Eleya, who discovered a cure to a plague.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Strongly averted, this being Bajor. Eleya even thinks that opening court with a prayer to the Prophets might give her clues about her adversary she can use (she doesn't notice anything useful).
- The Purge: Discussed. Eleya comments in her Internal Monologue that the Klingons have purged three entire Houses for having one or two Undine in them, which she compares to the Federation approach requiring probable cause before targeting a suspected infiltrator."I don't know if our way is better, but there's certainly less collateral damage."
- Reality Ensues: Commander Lastagee attempts to use secret orders to justify seizing materials from the MCDS Yoann Teena crash site. However, Eleya's orders (which come indirectly from Captain James Kurland, the base commander of Deep Space 9 and therefore positionally the ranking Starfleet officer in the star system) conflict with his, and he refuses to either allow Eleya to see the text of his orders or identify his superior officer. Which means that she has no proof his orders actually exist, and as the ranking officer on scene is therefore legally allowed to order him to back off.
- Shellshocked Veteran: Sheri fought as a Moab Marine in several of the bloodiest battles in the Masterverse's recent history, including Fek-Day, the 2411 Fek'Ihri invasion of Moab where over 100 million people died. She's only sixteen and experiences frequent flashbacks, as well as hallucinating her dead friend Kim.
- When a commander from Starfleet Intelligence declines to inform Eleya, a full captain, of his mission, her response is to theatrically ask if it says "captain" anywhere on her uniform.
- "Ram Molah", the Circle-affiliated priest, is one letter and a name reversal off from Mola Ram.
- The Irish revolutionary folk song "The Foggy Dew" appears in the story, with the lyrics changed to reference the Occupation of Bajor. The rewrite is apparently a drinking song among Bajoran expats, written to curry favor with Federation border colonists in hopes of getting the Federation to intervene.
- Red Skies Crossover: The story takes place around the time of the pre-Soft Reboot Masterverse story "The Only Way to Go", but doesn't reference it beyond repeating its Remember the New Guy? explanation of Eleya's absence from Goralis due to being embroiled in a border spat with the Tzenkethi.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Eleya to the Undine masquerading as Commander Lastagee, after it drops the racial catchphrase "The weak will perish."Eleya: Remind me, which one of us is on the inside of the cell? You know what defeated you, you ugly assfuck? Your own arrogance. You were just so convinced that us weak races would just roll over for your "strong" race. You're not strong enough to convincingly steal Commander Lastagee's form: that man had a distinguished twenty-year career in Starfleet, he was decorated six times for valor in extracting high-value assets from foreign territory. More to the point, he understood the concepts of a chain of command and civilian control of the military, even did his Academy dissertation on it. You not only blew your own cover and that Circle cell you'd ingratiated yourself with, you also blew the cover of your mole in the Foreign Affairs Office: he was arrested by Starfleet Security two hours before you launched your attack. The real Lastagee wouldve used proper channels and probably won. So tell me, which of us is really the weak one? The physically weaker one? Or the one who panicked when things didn't go his way?
- Universal Universe Time: Averted, as the story takes place in at least two different time zones on Bajor itself: Eleya's apartment in Kendra City is on the other side of the planet from the main action in Ashalla and Hathon, and it's late morning for her when it's after midnight in Hathon. She spends a fair amount of the story zipping between them in a shuttle.
- Up Through the Ranks: Dieter Fuchs, a petty officer when we last saw him in Don't Say Goodbye, Farewell, attended Officer Candidate School in the Time Skip and appears in this story as a newly commissioned ensign.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Alluded to, as the Occupation still exerts a strong influence over current Bajoran society. The Bajorans in The Verse are hardly unified in support of the Federation: Eleya notes that they have a fairly strong pro-secession movement, and she herself is sympathetic to the Moab Confederacy (to a point: she opposes many of their post-independence actions, including the use of Child Soldiers). At the same time, while Eleya is somewhat notorious in Starfleet for having fought the Klingons with IEDs on Gamma Hromi IV during the war, she openly refers to the Circle as terrorists, describing them as "the unholy trinity: religious extremists, ultranationalists, and bigots". Meanwhile, Sheri's long-deceased biological father was a member of the Kohn-Ma and fled to Moab with his lover to escape the authorities; she herself is aware of it but seems to have no opinion.