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"Station Security. Drop it or I drop you."

SSgt. Morai: So we’re still not sure, Captain Kanril. Lieutenant Zara thinks the problem’s in the interface connections, Kora Lorn thinks it’s an EPS issue, and Captain Kurland is starting to think it’s a case of PEBCAC.
Capt. Kanril Eleya: ‘PEBCAC’?
Morai: “Problem exists between console and chair”.
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"The Road Not Taken" is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword, written for Unofficial Literary Challenge #7: "Skippy's List: Starfleet Edition". It is an Alternate Universe Fic of the Bait and Switch continuity.

In a What If? scenario positing that Kanril Eleya never transferred into Starfleet from the Bajoran Militia, in 2409 she now holds the rank of captain and is security chief for Deep Space 9, which is setting up for a major international summit seeking to form a multilateral force to combat the Borg. The proceedings are interrupted by the sudden appearance of a massive fleet of Jem'Hadar warships, and Eleya must fight her way to safety with the diplomats.

The story features a cameo appearance by Morgaiah t'Thavrau, acting as the Romulan representative to the conference, and partially adapts the Cryptic mission "Second Wave".

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Tropes:

  • Ambadassador: Ambassador S'taass, as in canon, literally starts tearing Jem'Hadar apart with her claws.
  • Bad Future: Played with. As discussed in the discussion thread, things are slightly worse overall here then in the prime universe (there's a mention that the Battle of Vega Colony ended in the complete destruction of the Starfleet side "because there wasn't a plot-armored player character present"), but Eleya actually seems to be happier.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit/Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: The arrival of the Jem'Hadar means Captain Kurland and Morgaiah t'Thavrau are fighting their way off the station in their dress uniforms (dress whites for Kurland, formal robes for Morgan).
  • Bayonet Ya: Eleya fits her phaser rifle with a bayonet when the Jem'Hadar attack, and kills at least one with it.
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  • *Click* Hello:
    Klingon: I’m going to bleed you like a stuck targ!
    Hadron: Nononononono don’t hurt meee!
    Eleya: (comes up behind the Klingon and sticks her phaser pistol in the back of his head) Station Security. Drop it or I drop you.
  • Common Ranks: The author has some fun playing with the fact that both versions of Kanril Eleya are captains, but the prime version is an O-6 and this one an O-3. Captain Kurland, the CO of Deep Space 9, notably refers to the version in "The Road Not Taken" as "Chief Kanril" ("chief" being short for "security chief" rather than "chief petty officer").
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Star Trek Online's backstory stated that Ro Laren joined the Bajoran Militia in the 2380s (after spending a couple years in prison for deserting from Starfleet to join the Maquis in Star Trek: The Next Generation). In 2409, she's a brigadier general.
    • Those familiar with the Rihannsu novels may recognize Eleya as having ordered hlai'vnau from the Romulan restaurant.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Eleya versus a Klingon warrior who's threatening to kill the Ferengi bartender Hadron. She tries to arrest him for assault, then adds "resisting arrest" and "assaulting a law officer" after tripping him and putting him in a hammerlock when he charges her.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: The Klingon whom Eleya arrests for assault? Gets released because he's a bodyguard for Ambassador S'taass (not that she needs one) and has diplomatic immunity.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Eleya visits a Romulan restaurant with her boyfriend Dirin Kos and orders in Romulan, then explains that she learned it in officer school.
    "Mnean stheirhn kre kheh’irhor u’hlai’vnau akhiy."Trans. 
  • Hollywood Atheist: Brigadier General Ro Laren is mildly derisive to her fellow Bajorans' reverence for the Prophets. (This is borrowed from the Star Trek Novelverse, where Ro is established as an atheist, and wears her earring on the wrong ear to keep clergymen from trying to feel her pagh.)
  • Literary Allusion Title: Named after a certain Robert Frost poem about two roads diverging in a forest.
  • Military Academy: Eleya mentions going to "officer school" to her boyfriend Dirin Kos, which the author's notes explain as being based on the Israeli Defense Forces' Kurs K'tzinim program rather than being university-style like Starfleet Academy.
  • Military Salute: The Bajoran Militia's right-palm-facing-out salute is used a couple times in the opening scene (a pre-conference security briefing), including by Starfleet Commander Karen Andrews, the station's canon XO, in a show of respect to the Militiamen present. Also shown is an example of the Teeth-Clenched variant, when Eleya's narration specifically mentions she's saluting General Ro's rank instead of the general herself, out of annoyance at Ro's attitude towards the Bajoran religion.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Unlike StarSword's other STO novelizations this one hews much closer to the plot of the mission, once the plot actually begins anyway. The main difference is that the protagonist isn't part of the actual conference discussion (it's implied that Morgan t'Thavrau is the actual Player Character here).
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Eleya to the Klingon she arrests:
    Klingon: Officer, this verengan
    Eleya: —is not worth ending up in ghe’tor for being shot in the back. Drop. Your. Sword.
  • Reading Your Rights: Eleya arrests a Klingon who's making trouble and gives an apparent Bajoran version of the Miranda warning. (The rights listed are similar to the Israeli version.)
    “You do not have to say anything, and anything you say may be used against you. Remaining silent may also be used as supplementary evidence. You have the right to contact a family member or acquaintance and an attorney regarding your arrest, and you may be held seventy-eight standard hours without charge. Do you understand these rights as I have explained them?”
  • Sword and Gun: Morgaiah t'Thavrau arrives on-station wearing a ceremonial sword belted at her hip, but when the Jem'Hadar attack it turns out to also be a combat weapon. She wields it in tandem with a Jem'Hadar pistol she looted from a corpse.
  • Up Through the Ranks: Like her prime universe counterpart, Eleya is now a commissioned officer. Word of God is that the Bajoran Militia doesn't allow you to become an officer any other way.
  • Walking Armory: Eleya confiscates two d’k tahg, a disruptor pistol, four throwing knives, a cosh, and a pair of grenades from the Klingon she arrests for assaulting Hadron.
  • What If?: The premise of the prompt this was written for was to do an AU Fic of your own stories. Here, instead of transferring to Starfleet, Eleya stayed in the Militia and was retrained as a peacekeeper.

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