Strange Times Are Upon Us is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword, part of the Bait and Switch-Verse. It was written for Unofficial Literary Challenge #6: "Gods of Lower Decks in Wintry Timelines". It stars Brokosh and his crew, who previously appeared in Red Fire, Red Planet.
General Brokosh, a Lethean mercenary who has now become a nobleman in the Klingon Empire, is commanding the Klingon Sixth Fleet in an operation against a faction of the Breen. Technobabble ensues and his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits are transported back in time to the Sol system in August 1859. Hilarity Ensues, the overall effect being something resembling Star Trek IV WITH KLINGONS!
- Affectionate Nickname: Brokosh once privately calls Ba'wov "chaparoy'li'", which translates from Klingonese as "my little songbird".
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Borrows worldbuilding from fellow STO writer sander233 for the Gorn. Females like Ila'kshath are just bigger.
- Call-Back: The crew borrows Scotty's trick from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, capturing radiation from fissile materials, to repair their dilithium crystals so they can warp-slingshot around Sol to get back to the future. Rather than try to find nonexistent "nuclear wessels", however, they just mine and refine naturally occurring thorium offscreen.
- The Cameo: Lucsly from "Trials and Tribble-ations" appears in the opening scene.
- Chekhov's Gun: Ba'wov notices a pair of heavily armed men with a dog in a tavern in Williamsport, and shortly after she interacts with a black man named Benjamin Smith who's part of the Underground Railroad. Meromi later encounters the men and dog as slave hunters pursuing several escaped slaves led by Smith.
- Cluster F-Bomb: From Brokosh after he finds out the dilithium crystals are busted and the spares fell out of the ship during a hull breach.Brokosh: (puts a fist through a screen) FUCK! FUCKING FUCKED-UP FUCK!
Meromi: Hey! Don't break my ship!
- Coup de Grâce: Meromi shoots a slave hunter she just beat into submission between the eyes.
- Diplomatic Impunity: Defied. As a member of the Klingon High Council, Ba'wov has full diplomatic immunity, and tries to invoke it to get out of their interrogation by the Department of Temporal Investigations. However, Agent Lucsly had already gotten the Klingon embassy to waive her immunity. Brokosh stops the interrogation by demanding a lawyer instead.
- Expospeak Gag:Ila'kshath: This is what happened. Our weapons fire mixed with the Breens' transphasic weapons, plus with the theta-verteron particles in the vicinity of that micronebula, produced a subspace distortion. A class four quantum singularity.
Brokosh: Okay, Ila'kshath, remember what I said about technobabble?
Ila'kshath: We accidentally made a wormhole, General.
- Frontline General: Brokosh leading the Sixth Fleet against the Breen.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Lucsly tries first a threatening tone to get Brokosh and Ba'wov to talk to him, then tries the "I'm just doing my job" angle. Brokosh doesn't bite and demands a lawyer.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: A few bits of tlhIngan Hol in otherwise all-English sentence.
- Great Offscreen War: The American Civil War, no less. The crew of IKS HoSbatlh arrive in Earth orbit in August 1859 and land outside Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and some of the causes of the coming war are on display: Ba'wov and K'Gan, undercover to gather information, are mistaken for escaped slaves by a free black man working for the Underground Railroad, and Meromi kills two slave hunters who are tracking him and his escortees.
- Homage: The story is in large part a Whole-Plot Reference to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Also, one segment of the opening space battle, where narration counts down how many Breen transphasic cluster torpedoes were diverted or destroyed by the countermeasures of the HoSbatlh, ending with "One got through", is an homage to one of David Weber's common shots in Honor Harrington.
- Humans Are White: The aversion is actually a minor plot point: Benjamin Smith, who's black, thinks that Ba'wov and K'Gan are slaves escaping from the South because of their coloring and secretive behavior.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Brokosh's reaction to finding out he's in a Stable Time Loop.
- Macross Missile Massacre: From a squadron of Ferengi D'Kora-class ships that pitch in fighting the Breen at Free Haven. In-game the Ferengi sell a rapid-fire missile launcher that does this.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Go-Go Enslavement is kind of Orions' Hat, but Meromi Riyal despises slavery, having been Made a Sex Slave at the age of fifteen.
- Non Sequitur: Part two opens with a 19th century American boy going deer-hunting. Seems a perfectly normal Slice of Life scene until:Quietly as he could, he unslung the much-loved flintlock longrifle his great-grandfather had fought with in the Revolution and loaded it, tearing the cartridge open and pouring the powder down, followed by the paper and the bullet with the ramrod. Then he added the priming powder to the pan, which was when the dinosaur dropped out of the oak tree.note
The deer never knew what hit it.
- Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Discussed. Ba'wov espouses this in the opening when she and Brokosh are being interrogated by the Department of Temporal Investigations. Brokosh correctly points out that you always get a lawyer regardless of your guilt or innocence.
- Pardon My Klingon: Ba'wov sees sparks flying from the telegraph poles and drops a Klingonese curse word.Ba'wov: Ql'yah!
Boy: What'd you say?
Ba'wov: Something I shouldn't have.
Boy: Yeah, my papa tells me not to swear all the time.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Discussed. Brokosh admires the Breens' behavior as Proud Soldier Race Guys.He’d always admired the ethos of Breen soldiers, their willingness to sacrifice for the mission, not glory. Not unlike Starfleet, come to think of it. But Starfleet didn’t share the Breens’ sheer bloody-minded military pragmatism and cold calculation.
- Real Event, Fictional Cause: Brokosh et al. cause a solar flare to destroy the Breen ships that got dragged back in time with them. The flare hits Earth, causing the Carrington event.
- Refuge in Audacity: Ila'kshath's answer to Brokosh complaining about him talking to a 19th century American boy:“Who’d believe it? Seriously, think about it—a giant reptile that talks? He’d be laughed out of the room before he got three words out.”
- Repeating So the Audience Can Hear:Koren: Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!
(Koren and Ferengi attack; Breen dreadnought explodes)
Brokosh: Actually, looks more like a good day for the other guy to die.
- Roundhouse Kick: Meromi kills a slave hunter with one to the top of the head. Helps she was wearing steel-toed boots.
- Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Somewhat ironically, it's Meromi, the Orion member of the Command Roster, who believes this. She unapologetically kills two slave hunters to keep them from recapturing an Underground Railroad group, and screw the Temporal Prime Directive. Justified later in that she was Made a Sex Slave at the age of fifteen.
- Solar Flare Disaster: Brokosh et al. set one off to destroy a couple Breen warships, but accidentally hit Earth with it, which causes the solar storm of 1859.
- Space Is Noisy: An early line explicitly states the ship is generating battle noise through the speakers for the crew's benefit.
- Stable Time Loop: Ila'kshath thinks the crew is part of one because they have historical records from their future regarding the 1859 solar storm.
- This Is My Name on Foreign: Ba'wov and K'Gan -> Bowie and Keegan.
- Time-Travel Tense Trouble:Brokosh: Wait, back up. Are you saying we went back in time and caused a historical event that was going to happen anyway? Had already happened?
- We Will Not Use Stage Make-Up in the Future: Ba'wov and K'Gan deal with the fact that they're Klingons, not humans, by wearing native clothes and headscarves over their Rubber Foreheads. Brokosh later alludes to dealing with the fact that he's a Lethean by claiming he's a Pacific Islander who got burned in a fire. They also say that Meromi can't pass as a human because, as Norigom put it, "She's green."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Brokosh calls out Meromi on killing a pair of slave hunters. Meromi, however, retorts that he thinks Orions are all the same, and she hates slavery because she was given to a Klingon nobleman by Melani D'ian as a "housewarming gift" at the age of fifteen.