Not related to the RWBY fanfic of the same name, Something Wicked This Way Comes is a Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic, set during the first five year mission.
It is not unusual for ships to disappear in the mysterious ocean that is Deep Space. But it is somewhat unusual for such a ship to reappear again, years later.
Ten years ago : The USS Wanderer, devastated by an Alien Plague and desperate to reach the nearest source of the required antidote, uses a piece of untested alien warp drive technology, according to the recommendation of the Chief Science Officer Commander Quinlan. The ship, which launched with a skeleton crew (excluding Quinlan who was left back on the planet in command of the remaining crew) to fetch the antidote, vanishes mid flight. It is assumed that the alien device somehow caused an explosion, destroying the ship and its crew.
Now: The USS Wanderer, stuff of space legend, reappears lightyears away from where she vanished, in the midst of a star desert region. The Enterprise is sent to investigate. Quinlan who had spent the past years in desperate research trying to work out what had happened to his Captain and crew is along as civilian observer. Despite Quinlan's hopes, the Wanderer contains only corpses of his crewmates. However, the Enterprise crew soon discovers that not everything aboard the Wanderer is dead...It has been down some shady alleys, and something may well have come back with it...
Star Trek Something Wicked This Way Comes contains examples of the following tropes:
- Boarding Party : The Enterprise sends several aboard the Wanderer through the course of the story. In typical style Kirk leads the team in all the risky ones, though only after taking the precaution of having the Transporter room maintain a lock on the party (How effective this proves to be varies...)
- Butt-Monkey : Kevin Riley.Riley: (on somehow managing to get lost going from the Shuttle Bay to Engineering): Why does this always happen to me?
- Distress Call : An automated Mayday code from the Wanderer is what sets the plot in motion. As the call is automated (and, well, the ship has been missing for a decade) it is assumed that there are no survivors. However, that is not a certainty, besides, the Alien Technology the Wanderer employed is of considerable interest to Federation and other parties, so the call is responded to as soon as possible.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom : Well, not Earth, as in Terra, but Athendal VI, thanks to Klingons who landed on the planet before Federation teams could secure claim to it. It's assumed that the Klingons found some of the native cache of weapons and "ignored a warning label or something." In either case, three days after Klingons got involved, Athendal system has only five planets. This had the side effect of preventing Federation scientists from finding just what happened to the Wanderer.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Athendal warp device worked by sending ships through a parallel dimension populated by these. The natives who actually designed and used the device had a way to shield their ships from attacks by said abominations. The Wanderer however was far more vulnerable.
- Eldritch Location : As mentioned above, the Athendal tech launches the Wanderer into such a dimension. Even without extremely aggressive and xenophobic inhabitants, the place by itself is bad enough to drive a few of the unfortunate crew to suicide. When Kirk and team gets a look at the Other-Space via Wanderer's logsNo one, not even Spock, could handle more than a quick glimpse of that view (Kirk had, after a couple of minutes spent staring at the recording back on the Wanderer, spent the next few minutes being violently sick ) a swirling, multicolored mist was how Uhura would later explain it to Christine Chapel, but it was more than that, something for which even she couldnt find the right words. It was made of light. Light that could think. Could blend in dizzying, nauseating mixes. It was a living thing, that mist, or so it seemed.
- Ghostly Chill : Several of the Enterprise characters who went aboard the Wanderer mention feeling this. It's not clear whether this is a reaction to whatever could be hanging around the ship or simply the normal reaction to finding a shipful of corpses.
- Ghost Planet : Athendal VI, the planet Wanderer was exploring before the disaster.It's assumed that there was a war using biological weapons that wiped out the natives, and The Plague that the Federation crew got hit with was a lingering microbial weapon.
- Haunted Technology : Chekov freaks out when a music recording begins to talk in a ghostly voice. Of course, once he gets his friends and plays it back, nothing abnormal is found.
- Heroic Suicide : A yeoman, Audra Hopkins aboard the Wanderer. When one of the entities in the parallel dimension offers to get the crew back into their universe if they performed a Human Sacrifice Captain Neill opts to let himself be the sacrificial victim as he cannot let that happen to any of his people. While the other, higher ranking crewmembers are arguing against it, Audra sneaks off to offer herself as sacrifice before any of the others can notice and stop her. This actually leads to the defeat of the entity - it expected to feed on the negative psychic energies of murder and instead got hit with plain selfless heroism and is weakened, making it easier for the Enterprise crew to deal with.
- Higher-Tech Species : The natives of Athendal were this, having perfected an extremely fast system of space travel, far beyond the capacities of Federation warp drives. The tech didn't help them stave off extinction, though.
- Human Sacrifice : The only one of the parallel dimension entities willing to communicate with the Wanderer crew demands a human sacrifice in exchange for helping them escape the prison dimension. The Enterprise team that goes over the ship is horrified to find the remains of an obvious ritual sacrifice. The entity actually intended to boost its own power via the negative psychic energies of murder, but didn't count on almost every member of the crew volunteering to be the victim rather than kill a comrade.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place : While normal warp space is fine, the parallel dimension Athendal natives used as a shortcut really really doesn't play well with humans...Or anything in this universe, for that matter.
- Mental Fusion : A badly injured Spock uses the Vulcan Mind Meld to get some pertinent info on the alien hi-jacker entity they are dealing with to Kirk.This is risky as Spock is near death at the time and if he did die while they were in the Meld, Kirk, being psi-null, would probably be killed too.
- Mind Rape : The entity apparently did this to several Wanderer crew members while they were trapped in its universe. On screen, it happens to Spock when he tries to protect Kirk from its psychic assault. It is bad enough to make the notoriously stoic Vulcan scream in horror and agony, and it nearly kills him.
- The Plague : What kickstarts the Wanderer's troubles. While exploring the Athendal planet, the crew is stricken down by a rapidly spreading and rapidly fatal disease as the de-con procedures miss a particularly nasty alien microbe. The necessity of getting the antidote (rather, the ingredients for the antidote) in time forces the crew into a very risky gamble of using the native technology. Things only get worse from there.
- Send in the Search Team : When the Wanderer sends out an automated Distress Call, the Starfleet admiralty sends in the nearest starship - the Enterprise. Everyone (except Quinlan) acknowledges that there is next to no chance of finding anyone alive, but since bizarre things are a way of life in unexplored space, the mission is officially classified as Rescue and/or Salvage.
- Survivor Guilt: What drives Quinlan after the Wanderer's disappearance. He has resigned from the Fleet and spent the past decade trying to understand what went wrong, and more importantly, trying to figure out some way to rescue his captain and his crew. This later makes him easy prey to the Eldritch Abomination that has tagged along with the ship.
- Taking the Bullet : When the alien entity launches a psychic attack on Kirk, Spock steps in to shield him. This has the double benefit of not only saving Kirk's life, but also Spock managing to get some important info from the contact with the entity's mind. Vulcan standards on telepathy would have prevented him from actually entering a mind without permission, but as the entity attacked first, he is allowed to defend himself as he sees fit.