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“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Søren Kierkegaard, quoted in the epigraph

"Past Continuous" is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword and gulberat, taking place during the mission "Of Bajor". It was written for the "Odd Couple" prompt of Unofficial Literary Challenge #13: "In A.D. 2410, War Was Beginning".

With Deep Space 9 under occupation by temporally displaced Dominion forces, Captain Kanril Eleya is tasked with helping coordinate the fractious Federation-Klingon fleet responding to the attack, in the face of strong opposition from the inhabitants of Hathon. This becomes even more complicated with the arrival of Admiral Tayben Berat, a Cardassian Defense Force gul with a dual commission in Starfleet and command of the joint Starfleet-CDF 77th Fleet (an import from gulberat's earlier Sigils And Unions Verse).

The story is written to be compatible with The War of the Masters Shared Universe.


Tropes:

  • Acceptable Professional Targets: Invoked by Eleya as a joke.
    "Hey, there's an idea. Shoot all bureaucrats."
  • Bar Brawl: The Militia reportedly imposed a curfew after the Klingons half-destroyed the best pub in Hathon.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Eleya and the Militia are called collaborators for being in or working with Starfleet, whom the protesters view as occupiers.
  • Enemy Mine: As in canon the Federation and the Klingons are technically still at war throughout the 2800 incident (though active hostilities have died down), but they're working together to eject Loriss from Deep Space 9. Eleya remarks to Kagran that after the Jem'Hadar are dealt with "we can go back to hating each other, but until then, I want your word you'll keep K'men's people in line."
  • Fictional Political Party: The Bajoran Nationalist Party from From Bajor to the Black reappears, this time as the organizers of the anti-Federation/Klingon protests in Hathon. Eleya remarks that they use the colors green and gold, colors she herself used to wear.
  • First-Person Smartass: The first and last thirds of the fic are told from Kanril's perspective using her customary snarky first-person narration style, contrasting with the middle third, told in a more standard prose style by Berat.
  • Food Slap: Somebody in the crowd starts throwing moba fruit. One hits Eleya's window when she bellows out at them to shut up, another hits Berat in the head for Being Cardassian in the First Degree.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Eleya needs one, and offers one to Berat as an apology, after she mouths off to him. She also quotes a Bajoran poet as having said "spring wine is the Prophets' way of showing us they love us."
  • Idiot Ball: Lampshaded. Eleya remarks they could've avoided a lot of trouble by putting the temporary command post in a nearby Bajoran Militia base instead of the middle of a major city.
  • Noodle Incident: Eleya says the True Way put a six-figure bounty on her after "that business on Algira III" (likely a reference to the mission "Forging Bonds").
  • Not So Different: Despite their Red Oni, Blue Oni personality differences, Kanril and Berat quickly find they have more in common than not. They both dislike the Klingons for similar reasons (namely past Klingon war crimes), and they share their disdain for their respective species' Renegade Splinter Factions (the Circle and the True Way, respectively).
  • Operation: [Blank]: Played for Laughs. Eleya comments that "Operation Whimsical Targ" doesn't translate particularly well into Klingon.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The fic doesn't follow "Of Bajor" precisely but it makes multiple references to events of the mission. A stand-in for the Klingon Player Character, a fellow named Commander Yarik, is captured trying to bug Starfleet or Bajoran Militia areas for Klingon Intelligence (it went off without a hitch in the actual mission), and there are anti-Federation and anti-Klingon protests going on in Hathon accusing them of creating a renewed Occupation. There's also an appearance by Ensign Jirelle Kav, who appears in the mission and later becomes the ops officer of the USS Enterprise-F.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Eleya isn't overly fond of the Cardassians but she notes early on that CDF officers like Berat should be involved in the operation to eject Loriss because they saw Dominion War-era Dominion tactics and planning as friendlies, meaning they have a potentially useful perspective the Federation and Klingons don't have (demonstrated by Berat seeing a detail in Loriss' formations that Eleya and Admiral Marconi couldn't). She comments that a bit of the Vulcan "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations" mantra rubbed off on her from a Vulcan operations officer (probably T'Var).
  • Sacred Hospitality: Part of Cardassian culture, touched on in Berat's narration. He avoids using a particular pronoun so that he doesn't give offense to Eleya as host and accepts her offer of a drink, though he does reprimand her for mouthing off slightly to him as her superior officer; she apologizes.
  • Shout-Out: Eleya's quotation that "spring wine is the Prophets' way of showing us they love us" is a slight modification of something Benjamin Franklin said about beer.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Said word-for-word by Eleya when her question of whether the Cardassian elements of the 77th Fleet would be participating comes out mouthier than she intended.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: A variation. Eleya views the Nationalist-led demonstration outside the Bajoran Militia station as a peaceful, if very raucous, protest. Poor Berat had to enter the station passing right in front of what he considers a full-blown riot and got hit in the head with a piece of fruit.

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