"Last Rights" is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword, written for Unofficial Literary Challenge #5: "Back from the Dead?" on the STO forums.
They say, "Don't worry about the disruptor blast with your name on it. Worry about the shrapnel addressed to 'Occupant'." When the Kobali ask to resurrect Senior Chief Security Officer Athezra Darrod, a recurring USS Bajor crewman slain in the defense of Kobali Prime against the Vaadwaur, Captain Kanril Eleya must choose whether to allow this to happen.
- Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Infantry and tanks compared to starships, for the simple, unchanging reason that you need boots on the ground in order to hold territory."Doesn’t matter if you’re a Dakhuri warlord trying to keep his territory from being overrun by Bajora, an American general battling the Russians in World War II, or a Starfleet officer trying to block the Klingons’ ethnic cleansing in the Hromi Cluster, there’s one single constant: If you want it back in anything resembling the state it started, you need boots on the ground."
- Armchair Military: In the canon game Kobali General Q'Nel is a hypocritical, out-of-his-depth bureaucrat. He's not portrayed at all sympathetically here. Lyndsay Ballard calls him an "overranked bean-counter".
- Artificial Limbs: Lieutenant Kate McMillan, another recurring security officer, apparently had to go under the knife for a new liver and left arm after the ground battle. This is in addition to the loss of a leg in Red Fire, Red Planet.
- Blatant Lies: When Athezra is hit by Vaadwaur shrapnel he asks Eleya how bad it is. She tells him it's just a flesh wound before yelling for the medic. He has four compound fractures of the ribcage and an obvious sucking chest wound, and dies less than a minute later.
- Bothering by the Book: Attempted twice, failed twice.
- Tuvok tells Eleya that if she can find some legal justification to keep the Kobali from getting three of her dead crew members, he'll support her. She finds a will for one of them specifying cremation, and another's family wants the body shipped home, but SCSO. Athezra Darrod has no family left, didn't leave a will, and was a secular Foundation Reformist where religion was concerned.
- Tess suggests invoking the Prime Directive and washing their hands of the Kobali altogether, since the Vaadwaur have a legitimate grievance (in the canon game the Kobali have been using Vaadwaur soldiers in stasis as reproductive stock). Eleya says the brass will never go for it and even if they did, what happens when the Vaads start using Kobali resurrection tech?Tess: Ouch, good point.
- Call-Back: Jhet'leya/Lyndsey Ballard from VOY: "Ashes to Ashes" is now the Kobali Armaments Minister, and adopts the Kobali created from Athezra Darrod.
- Closest Thing We Got: Eleya ends up helping out in sickbay after the battle because she's had training in basic field medicine and they need all the help they can get with the current caseload.
- Culture Justifies Anything: Lieutenant K'lak calls bullshit on that.RALH. Tuvok: (answering Capt. Kanril Eleya's rant about the Kobali wanting to turn her dead crewmen into more Kobali) I do not disagree on any particular point, Captain. But Kobali culture does consider it a great honor to be specifically selected rather than merely scavenged.
LTJG. K'lak: Yes, and my species’ dominant culture* considers it honorable to attack unarmed passenger liners from cloak.
- Death of Personality: When Athezra is resurrected, he has little memory of his past life due to brain damage from perimortem oxygen deprivation. The Kobali consider this outcome preferable to what happened to Lyndsay Ballard in VOY: "Ashes to Ashes", since it's easier to transition into your new life as a Kobali if you can't remember your old one. Eleya says it makes it harder on her.
- Epigraph: The first two verses and chorus of "Say the Same" by Hoobastank.
- Fantastic Slurs: "Zombies" for Kobali.
- Future Imperfect: Eleya makes a minor goof in her opening monologue about the nature of surface warfare, saying that the Americans were fighting the Russians in World War II. The author's notes confirmed this was Eleya's mistake, not the author's. Could be her conflating two or more wars, could be the simple fact that she's Bajoran, not human.
- Human Resources: Dul'krah says that his people process their dead into water and fertilizer, since they live aboard asteroid habitats. He views the Kobali reproduction process as little different."Better, perhaps, since our dead will bring joy to others rather than mere sustenance."
- Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath: Averted. Warragul Wirrpanda, the Bajor's chief medical officer, would be perfectly happy to leave the Kobali for the Vaadwaur after the discovery that the Kobali were killing Vaadwaur soldiers in stasis and using them for reproductive stock. It's the Delta Alliance brass who are being inconvenient.
- The Last Thing You Ever See: Eleya threatens Jhet'leya that if Athezra Darrod/Q'Taal wants to rejoin the Bajor's crew and she doesn't let him, the last thing she sees will be a certain Galaxy-class starship.
- A Mother to Her Men: Eleya goes into full Mama Bear mode to extract a promise from Ballard that if Q'Taal wants to rejoin the Bajor's crew, she'll let him.Eleya: I will personally blow any Kobali ship that pursues him clear back to the Celestial Temple if I have to; I don’t give a flying phekk what the treaty says. He stays here of his own accord or not at all.
Eleya: No, understand, after what your government pulled the word of a Kobali is worthless to me. I want your word as a sworn officer of the Federation Starfleet that you’ll respect his wishes.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: When Athezra is wounded in the first scene Eleya drops "a particularly vile Kendran oath".
- Nicknaming the Enemy: "Vaadwaur" is truncated to "Vaad" by nearly everybody.
- Opening Monologue: An Infodump explaining why surface armies are still relevant in an era of starships that can glass planets (i.e. you need boots on the ground to capture and hold territory if you want it in anything resembling the state it started), which then segues into the actual story.
- Pardon My Klingon: Besides Eleya's customary "phekk", Dul'krah calls General Q'Nel a "schro’jdrogkh’dokldirkh".
- Plot-Triggering Death: SCSO. Athezra Darrod dies in the first scene, and the story deals with the disposition of his body: To wit, should the Kobali be allowed to turn him into one of them?
- Precision F-Strike: In Eleya's Internal Monologue."The thing I hate most about surface warfare? It’s the smell. I’ve showered twice and I still can’t get that awful stench of earth, smoke, fuel, blood, ozone, and shit out of my nostrils."
- Pun-Based Title: Pun on "last rites" and "rights of the deceased".
- Shoot the Medic First: Offscreen, Chief Hospital Corpsman Anoeza Watkins apparently got hit in the arm while dragging a gut-shot Klingon into a crater (she's got one arm in a sling in the present).
- The first line is Fallout's customary "War. War never changes." opener, albeit applied more literally than Fallout usually does (the following lines talk about the necessity of surface armies even in an era of starships that can glass planets, rather than exploring human nature).
- The same monologue borrows a line from TV Tropes, specifically How to Invade an Alien Planet."You can bomb it, you can strafe it, you can cover it with poison, you can turn it into glass, but you don't own it unless your army's on it and the other guy's isn't."
- The author apparently couldn't resist throwing in a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference when Athezra is hit by Vaadwaur shrapnel.
- Tank Goodness: Starfleet T-204 Hayes main battle tanks, carried aboard the Bajor for the Kobali Prime land war, are tracked vehicles a little bigger than an M1 Abrams or T-90, but weighing half as much and powered by a miniature fusion reactor. Armaments are sponson-mounted Type V phasers (shuttlecraft-grade) and a phaser minigun on the turret, with the main gun being a 120mm coilgun that will put a bunker-buster through eight meters of ferrocrete. The author's notes spoke disparagingly of the Spider Tanks and Mini-Mecha used respectively by the Vaadwaur and Voth in the canon game (they're Awesome, but Impractical, as are Hover Tanks), and envisioned something looking like the bastard offpsring of a Russian T-90 and a Leman Russ.
- Teleporter Accident: Petty Officer Chan Salris wishes one on General Q'Nel for wanting to turn some of the fallen Bajor crew members into Kobali, on top of their previous canon conduct.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Nobody ever misses an opportunity to call out the Kobali for using living Vaadwaur soldiers locked in stasis as reproductive stock.