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Fanfic / The Mysterious Case of Neelix's Lungs

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The Mysterious Case of Neelix's Lungs is a Star Trek: Voyager fanfic by StarSword and worffan101. Part Fix Fic, part Alternate Universe Fic, it contains a mixture of episode rewrites and original stories.

MCNL, as it's often shortened by the authors, poses two central What Ifs:

  • Instead of Gul Evek's Vetar being damaged by a plasma storm and losing track of Chakotay and the Val Jean, it keeps up with them and gets taken into the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker.
  • Everybody from the Federation and Maquis above the rank of lieutenant died in the transport, Janeway included.

Along the way, they also change or re-explain aspects of VOY's setting and characters that they find irritating (starting with Neelix being far less of The Load). There's also a recurring "home front" sideplot showing events around the disappearances of Voyager and Vetar from the perspectives of the Federation and the Cardassian Empire. And there's some obvious cross-pollination between MCNL and the authors' Star Trek Online fan fiction.

The fic completed its first season, eight official episodes and a Milestone Celebration Crack Fic parody, on 19 April 2015. Season 2 began on 15 August 2015, which was also the last time the fic was updated.

This fanfic provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Seska, whom the story retools so that instead of her joining the Kazon, she's an Obsidian Order agent who now serves on Voyager. In canon she joined the Kazon and was a recurring antagonist, while here she's more of a morally grey character on the side of the heroes, similar to the role of Garak over on Deep Space Nine.
    • The Vidiians, surprisingly, are given more depth. While not heroic, their situation is given more of an understandable excuse. They don't even like stealing organs, they just have no choice if they wish to keep their species alive.
  • Air Quotes: Captain Stadi uses air-quotes when chewing out Crewman Gerron Enek for trying to make modifications to Voyager's navigation systems without getting permission and while the ship was traveling at warp.
    "Well, your 'help'," said with air-quotes, "is going to cost us a day and a half of repair time before we can even go anyplace!"
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: "Factoring Primes", a rewrite of "Prime Factors", uses this in much the same way as the canon episode (the Sikarians use their version of the Prime Directive on the castaways), though with twists:
    • Harry Kim brings up the argument of Earth's history indicating that even well-intentioned interference in other cultures can be disastrous. Tom Paris disagrees, pointing out that most of the cases of interference in other cultures on Earth were either purely self-interested with people not caring about the other culture, or outright violent conquest.
    • Celes Tal, a Bajoran, gives a flat What the Hell, Hero? regarding the Federation using the Prime Directive as an excuse to not involve itself in the occupation of Bajor by the Cardassians.
    • Evek points out that his crew, being Cardassian Guard, is not bound by the Prime Directive, and it's the Cardassians and ex-Maquis who come up with the plan to make a back-room deal for the spatial trajector.
  • Alternate Calendar: Each fic gives the date as an Earth date, a Federation stardate, and a "Cardassian Unified Date". A section taking place on Deep Space 9 borrows StarSword's Bajoran calendar from his Bait and Switch continuity.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Averted. Evek belongs to the Fourth Order of Cardassia, which is basically the equivalent of the National Guard- they build infrastructure, respond to disasters, heal the sick and wounded, and allow for a view of Cardassians when they're not being antagonistic.
    • Played absolutely straight with the Kazon, who indulge in rape, murder, more rape, more murder, and making grandiose threats on how they will murder and/or rape you.
    • Averted with the Vidiians, who are portrayed less of their one-note nature as seen in canon and more of a morally gray race that had no choice but to do so in the face of their imminent extinction.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Alina t'Aimne replicates a Romulan honor blade (similar to a cavalry saber according to the author's notes) when the Vetar is boarded by the Kazon-Nistrim, and uses it to great effect while defending the bridge. In the next chapter she explains to the other crew members that the Romulan Military Academy mostly teaches classical swordplay to build aggression.
    "You’re not actually expected to kill with the sword in the field but there’s this old Rihan saying: ‘Aihnir ih'sanhaein khhya emael; rhadai ih'sanhaein khhya dvaer.’ Loose translation, ‘There are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous people.’"
  • Artificial Limbs/Cloning Body Parts: After the Vidiians steal Neelix's lungs, T'Pai and the Doctor implant him with cybernetics and start growing him cloned replacements. They later trade the latter technology to the Vidiians for safe passage through their space and Vidiian information on immune biology.
  • Author Appeal: Shows more of the alien races such as Cardassians, tones down Neelix, and puts actors from "Firefly" in.
  • Author Avatar: Tom Paris, in the "parody." He spends less time acting as a spoof of Tom's character than vocalizing everything the author's dislike about the show and it's cast. As soon as he says that he likes the Doctor, it becomes clear that his role has nothing to do with the actual character of Tom Paris.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Played With, surprisingly. Worf, who was known for complaining on The Next Generation, specifically saying that they should prepare military responses or show suspicion for things that were suspicious, was frequently shut down by Picard on that show because he was more of a diplomat. When Worf questions the validity of the Starfleet Data taken from the crew of Voyager and Vetar from twenty years ago thanks to a wormhole, Picard again prepares to tell him not to be so paranoid... only for the admiral to tell Picard that Worf actually has a very good point- Romulan MO tends to be "Lie, lie, lie, and lie some more." This is the race that invented cloaking devices, after all. Ultimately played straight, as Picard was right and the data hadn't been tampered with, but Worf was right in that such a thing is something that Romulans had previously done (even to the crew of the Enterprise), so his suspicion was justifiable precaution.
  • Continuity Nod: to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock— the Klingons are obsessed with getting their hands on the Genesis Device because they can turn this terraforming device into a weapon. This story's version of "Jetrel" had the Haakonians use a terraforming device of their own (not Genesis based) on the inhabited moon of Rinax as a weapon, similar to how the Klingons planned to use Genesis (but never got the chance).
    • One of the pieces of literature that is shared with the Siikarians is "The Neverending Sacrifice." The book had previously been discussed between Doctor Bashir and Garak over on Deep Space Nine, and the complaints about how it's repetitive and boring to everyone else are largely mirrored.
  • Court-martialed:
    • Defied in "Factoring Primes". Stadi mentions that Celes Tal should have been court-martialed for punching out Hogue Marritzanote , but she doesn't have any way to actually contact JAG for it so she resorts to a captain's mast, busting her down a grade and putting her on Punishment Detail.
      • It also doesn't hurt that since both ships have lost so many people, taking more out of the rotation would only hurt shipboard productivity. It is a defied trope, but it is defied for pragmatic reasons.
    • Also averted with Tom and Torres, who despite doing basically the same thing, were much higher rank and more useful. Since it takes time to train people up to that level, both received an off-screen talking to and much more minor punishment.
    • The "home front" portion of "Revelations" has a mention that Will Riker is going through a court-martial for losing the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: Generations.
      • Which makes sense, as this is SOP in the Federation- Even Jean-Luc Picard was court-martialed after he lost the Stargazer, his first ship, even though he invented brand-new tactics and fought harder than anyone could have been expected to given the odds.
  • Crack Fic: Season 1, episode 9, "ChuckTrek: They Made Seven Seasons of This Show?", shamelessly borrows the SF Debris Psycho!Janeway, Poor Dumb Harry, Omnicompetent Tom Paris. Oh, and it has No Fourth Wall, either.
  • Crossover: The "home front" sideplot heavily incorporates Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which was running concurrently with Voyager both in the real world and in continuity.
    • One chapter deals with a Founder trying to hijack Voyager to fly it to the Gamma Quadrant, where the Founder Homeworld is.
  • Dead Fic: Last updated in 2015, just after the start of Season 2.
  • Death by Adaptation: Everyone above the rank of lieutenant and up on Voyager dies in the incident that brought them to the Delta Quadrant, including Captain Janeway. Chakotay also dies in the crossing as well.
    • Durst both appears and dies much sooner in this timeline, getting accidentally gunned down by the Kazon during a boarding action.
  • Electric Torture: Evek uses this on a captured Kazon, who tells him about the Trabe leading the Kazon-Nistrim under torture.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: invoked Used in the "Chuck Trek" parody with Chakotay. In reality, the authors felt that the character of Chakotay was one of these and couldn't figure out a way to make him not be one while still being recognizably Chakotay, which is why he was killed off in the story proper.
  • Famous Ancestor: In-Universe example with two of the Cardassian characters. Kerani Ocett is the niece of Gul Malyn Ocett (TNG: "The Chase"), while Hogue Marritza is the nephew of Aamin Marritza (DS9: "Duet")
    • Interestingly, and though it's not noted in the fic, the Deep Space Nine novels state that Gul Ocett was actually Gul Dukat's cousin, making Kerani distantly related to one of the primary antagonists of the Dominion War.
    • Chapter Nine, while non-canon, has Tom implying that Nicholas Locarno (from the TNG episode "The First Duty") is his uncle. More humorous is that Nick was not only played by the same actor, but the character of Tom Paris was initially created as "Nick Locarno with the serial numbers filed off" as a way to use the character without paying the royalties to the creators of Nick.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: The crews start holding hand-to-hand combat classes for the non-Security members of Voyager's crew. The Vetar crew teaches chakar daran, a Cardassian martial art, while Alina t'Aimne teaches llaekh-ae'rl (from the Rihannsu novels).
  • Fix Fic: Created with the intent of rewriting the canon to avoid some of the more egregious flaws in the canon, such as some of the sillier episodes (such as Macrocosm or Threshold) as well as removing Chakotay (whom the authors consider an offensive ethnic stereotype) and making Neelix more tolerable.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Ayala is fond of "Madre de Dios," Spanish for "Mother of God". An Israeli member of the crew once drops the word "Chara", Arabic for "shit".
  • Going Native: Played for laughs. After being outed as a Cardassian spy, Jiana Seska at one point uses a Bajoran curse, then ruefully remarks, "Been undercover as a Bajoran for too long."
  • Groin Attack: Harry tries to subdue Torres when she starts fighting with a Cardassian while staying with the Ocampa. Turns out that when dealing with an enraged, half-klingon terrorist who doesn't really have a concept of playing fair, and you yourself don't have hand-to-hand combat skills, things tend to not go well for you, and Harry is soon curled into a fetal position on the ground, whimpering.
    • In another case, somehow also involving Mister Kim, during a training session on the holodeck, he slips due to a glitch, his leg goes up... and his Cardassian sparring partner now has a bruised bladder that requires him to take it easy for the next two weeks.
  • In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: averted. In opposition to how Star Trek would often portray humanity, we are not all united with the same opinions, thoughts, tastes, and likes. Harry likes extremely spicy food from his asian ancestors, there are Orthodox Hebrews who still believe in their faith (despite Trek's anti-religion stance at times), and people of multiple backgrounds, colors, and creeds.
    • In contrast to Trek, where people of only one race would man alien ships (Klingons only on Klingon ships, Cardassians would be the only ones on Cardassian ships, Romulans the only ones on Romulan ships, etc.), Gul Evek has a Trill as part of his bridge crew and a Lethean working for him, and as such both are dragged with him into the Delta Quadrant. Later a member of the Romulan Navy joins, having been pulled into the Delta Quadrant before they were.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Harry Kim (gay in this fic as an Actor Allusion) briefly carries a torch for Tom Paris, but late in the first season he complains to Emil Tarak that Paris isn't into men. Harry also has to rebuff advances from a female Sikarian in "Factoring Primes".
  • Inter-Service Rivalry:
    • Alina t'Aimne speaks of the well-established hatred of the Romulan Grand Fleet for the Tal Shiar, and the Cardassians refer to a similar hatred between the Cardassian Guard and the Obsidian Order.
    • Kerani Ocett says that the rest of the Cardassian Guard looks down on the Fourth Order (which Vetar is part of), whose job is to be the Home Guard rather than contribute to expansion of the Empire.
    • It's mentioned that pre-Wolf 359, Starfleet would actually issue demerits for not taking Science Courses. Add in the words of Michael Eddington in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Sisko about the Federation, and it implies that the Federation science divisions and non-science divisions don't like each other much.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: Alina t'Aimne has a soft spot for Surak's writings, which gets a lampshade hung on it since it's so odd for a Romulan to enjoy the writings of the man the Romulans left Vulcan to avoid.
    • Averted with "The Neverending Sacrifice." Just like on Deep Space Nine, people who aren't Cardassians tend to find it intolerably dull.
  • Large Ham: The Trabe. Every scene that they're in has them acting dramatically to impress their Kazon underlings and keep them in line. It doesn't hurt that the Dramatis Personae from the chapter where the Trabe overlord appears says he's played by Christopher Lee.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Trabe are this to the Kazon, using them as a layer of stupid, misogynistic, ablative meat between their space and all the horrors of the Delta Quadrant, such as the Borg, Haakonians, Talaxians, and Vidiians.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Dereth the Vidiian wrote fantasy novels and children's books before he caught the phage.
  • Mythology Gag: Durst first shows up in the story when the Vidiians are encountered. In canon, Vidiians were the ones who killed him.
  • No Fourth Wall: The Crack Fic at the end of season 1 has an extended scene of Tom Paris and Veronica Stadi—'scuse us, Lieutenant Expendable—complaining at length about how she's slated to die for no good reason because Michael Piller, Rick Berman, and Jeri Taylor wrote the script.
  • Out-of-Character Alert:
    • At one point, while hunting a Changeling Infiltrator, it's impersonating a Hebrew crew member. They catch it because when startled, it exclaims "Jesus!" Said crewmember never used the name of Jesus as an exclamation.
    • What finally gives Seska away as a Cardassian is that when fighting off Kazon boarders, she uses near-textbook perfect Cardassian martial arts... which an expert in the style notes.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "Ishae'e h'rau Areinnye'ri, ataen Kaezan!"note  Also "shtel", which seems to be the Cardassian equivalent of "shit" or "damn", and some Bajoran cursing from Celes Tal and Seska Harani.
  • Politeness Judo/Blatant Lies: When Evek is talking to Susperia, he's doing his level best to tell her that he's pissed at her and if she doesn't do what they want, they will blow her to hell. But only because of an "Unfortunate Accident" due to "Untested Equipment," that he will have to do an investigation into... not that Suspiria will see it, because, well, accident. It's just this side of a gangster shakedown. Notably, Suspiria finds this hilarious.
  • Precision F-Strike: Stadi rarely swears except when she's really upset.
  • Punishment Detail: As part of Celes Tal's punishment for assaulting Hogue Marritza, she gets her replicator privileges suspended and is ordered to spend six months manning a mop. (Marritza starts helping her later.) Gerron Enek is later sent to join her after he wrecks the navigation systems.
  • Rape as Backstory: Alina t'Aimne is strongly implied to have been used as a Sex Slave by the Kazon-Ogla (it's known for a fact her CO was raped to death). She harbors a special hatred for them. The other female survivors of the Kazon-Ogla have this as well.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: For Evek especially, as a man with three daughters of his own. He sends Maje Jabin to the electric chair for it in the first chapter. Stadi also privately admits to absolutely hating the Kazon for this.
  • Real Name as an Alias: Seska uses her real surname while undercover as a Bajoran for the Obsidian Order. After being outed she says her real given name's Jiana, not Harani.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: Call of Duty 104. 'Nuff said.
  • Servant Race: The crew of Voyager and the Vetar quickly come to the conclusion that the Ocampa were created to be a race of sex slaves, with an extremely short life span, a style of birth that is extremely complex and likely to kill the fetus, and extreme genetic similarity, not to mention that the race only has one baby in their lifetime, dooming the race- under literally ideal circumstances- to halve the population every generation. Susperia confirms this and says that she is trying to find a way to fix them, but it's an extremely long process.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spiritual Successor: To SF Debris' Voyager Reviews. After watching reviews of the episodes that this fic decided to cover, it's not hard to see how the fic was influenced by the reviews. Special mention goes to "Jetrel," where Chuck's idea- that of Jetrel being genuinely remorseful for the horrors he had unleashed in a genocidal war between his people and the Talaxians- is taken and ran with. And then there's chapter nine, which is written as if the real show had used Chuck's Alternate Character Interpretations of the cast of Voyager...
  • Sports Hero Backstory: Bill Hannity, a Pompous Political Pundit featured in "Setting the Curve", was apparently an Olympic boxer in his prior career. His nose never quite healed right.
  • Stupid Evil: The Kazon. They don't know when to shut up, they are mysoginistic, murdering, rapists, and if there is a fight where the combined crews can't take them on in odds of less than ten-to-one then it's a sign that something's up. Even in canon, the Kazon were so subpar that the Borg outright refused to assimilate them. Fortunately, they're just Dumb Muscle for the Trabe.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While Stadi and Evek are allies, it's easy to forget that the Cardassians are not nice people at times. Then, you get a scene where Evek is brutally executing or torturing Kazon...
    • Seska is a member of the Obsidian Order, but remains a part of the Voyager crew. The Obsidian Order is a spy organization that also serves as internal security, and from their actions in Deep Space Nine, we see that they are not a nice organization by any means.
  • Token Heroic Orc: On the other hand, Evek and the crew of the Vetar are very much the "Good Guys" of the Cardassian Union. They're the Fourth Order, which in comparison to the Cardassians seen most often over on Deep Space Nine or The Next Generation, are basically the National Guard mixed with the Army Corps of Engineers. Their job is law enforcement, responding to disasters, and helping to build infrastructure.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Kazon, despite receiving painful defeat after painful defeat, don't seem to get the memo that messing with the Federation or the Cardassians is a bad idea. They also keep mouthing off about how they plan to murder and/or rape the women, even after several of their kind have been shot right in front of them for saying such things.
    • Maritza tries to hit on Celes Tal... a Cardassian attempts to hit on a Bajoran woman. That he only got away with the wounds he did is miraculous.
  • War Is Hell: The story adds some shades of grey to the war between the Haakonians and the Talaxians by showing that it wasn't what the perceptions said it was, that the Talaxians were trying to fight off the monstrous Haakonians, or that the Talaxians were innocent. Both sides committed war crimes and did horrible things to one another, and the perception of Jetrel as a war hero is only because the Haakonians were ultimately the victors in the war. In reality, no one who actually fought in the war (that we see onscreen) was in favor of it, and no one knows how it began. Jetrel feels like a monster because of his actions, and hates himself deeply.
  • Weak, but Skilled/Unskilled, but Strong: The relationship between the Voyager and the Vetar. Voyager is faster, and has way better technology, but is a science vessel meant for scientific exploration. The Vetar, on the other hand, is slower, and has less advanced technology, but is a purpose-built Cardassian Warship, with all that implies. By combining their strengths, the two vessels form a potent combination.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The reason the Vetar was chasing the Maquis through the badlands was because the crew of the Val Jean had bombed a government building on a Cardassian Colony in the demilitarized zone, inadvertently killing fifteen children in a school house. Some of the Maquis crew think that this is justified, as they were fighting Cardassians, and others do not. It is to be noted that the school being destroyed was an accident, though.
  • You Are in Command Now: The events of chapter one (i.e. the transport to the Delta Quadrant) force a lot of Field Promotions.
    • Veronica Stadi, Voyager's helmswoman, who canonically died, becomes acting captain, with Tuvok agreeing to be her first officer.
    • Canon Mauve Shirt Ayala, here given the first name Kepa, replaces Chakotay as head of the Maquis contingent and becomes security chief.
    • T'Pai, a Vulcan nursing officer who canonically died (the name is fanoninvoked), is advanced to acting chief medical officer and works in tandem with the Doctor.
    • Hogue Marritza replaces a nameless Cardassian Red Shirt as Vetar's tactical officer.