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Fanfic / The Wrong Reflection

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The Wrong Reflection is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword, and part of the Bait and Switch-verse. It adapts episode "Cardassian Struggle", mission "The Other Side", and features the first-ever appearance of Eleya's family.

When the Terran Empire mounts an escalating series of attacks on the prime universe, Captain Kanril Eleya of the USS Bajor is assigned to transport the Orb of Possibilities into the Mirror Universe to switch it with its double and keep the Terrans out. As is typical for Mirror Universe stories, they run into Eleya's double. What's not typical is that the mirror version is Cardassian Guard.

This work provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: As usual for StarSword's STO novelizations. The additions include greatly expanded interaction between the protagonist and the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance and prequel scenes tying in the end of Reality Is Fluid, "Surface Tension", and the revamped version of "Mirror Invasion". It also moves the mission to 2410, after "Surface Tension".
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Eleya brings up the Prime Directive, along with an executive order from President Okeg, as a reason why she can't give cloaking tech to the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. But she then cites precedents for breaking the PD to fix past breaches and in cases of humanitarian crises (something she's called out the Federation for not doing in the past), and instead gives the Alliance some tricks to defeat cloaking devices and even the odds.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Eleya's mother asking her 29-year-old daughter if she and Gaarra are being safe. In the middle of her sister's wedding reception.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: At one point in the mid-battle comm chatter in chapter three somebody tells somebody else to "switch to attack pattern Shran Omega".
  • Back for the Dead: T'Var, who previously appeared in "The Universe Doesn't Cheat" and left the Bajor crew in chapter two of Bait and Switch to make room for Gaarra, returns for the attack on the Terran base. She dies stopping an enemy Defiant-class from ramming the Bajor.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The arrival of the USS Bajor decisively turns the tide of an Empire-Alliance border skirmish in the Alliance's favor. The chapter in question is even called "Big Damn Heroes".
  • Bizarre Alien Psychology: According to Chief Hospital Corpsman Anoeza Watkins, a part-Betazoid recurring character, Dal Kanril's mind feels like a born-and-bred Cardassian rather than a Bajoran.
  • Broad Strokes: The fic uses the broad plot of "The Other Side", but shifts it to take place in 2410, after "Surface Tension" and the Klingon/Federation armistice. It also transfers the player speaking with the Prophets at the end of "Crack in the Mirror" into "The Other Side". There is also a major battle between Terran Empire forces and a joint task force of Starfleet, Cardassian, Klingon, and Gorn ships on the prime universe side of the Arawath system.
  • Call-Back:
    • Eleya and Gaarra are still on light duty after the events of Reality Is Fluid, and the Bajor's still having repairs done in the deflector room.
    • When briefing Eleya, Admiral Riker references the Terran Empire story arc in the "Cardassian Struggle" episode, as well as the revamped "Mirror Invasion" with the Terrans attacking Vauthil Station. He also refers to a Gul Antos, the subject of a Clear My Name plot in the diplomacy mission "Standoff". Antos joins the fleet for the attack on the Terran station.
    • Admiral Kree remarks that the Terran base and its defense sats will be a tough nut to crack. Brokosh asks if she wants them disabled or plain gone. This is about a year after he completely obliterated the main control center of Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards with a kinetic strike in Red Fire, Red Planet. Sure enough, he takes out both defense sats and part of the Terrans' fleet, including a Galaxy-class starship.
    • Tess uses the question of why she joined Starfleet ("To piss off my thavan.") from "From Bajor to the Black, Part II" as a Trust Password.
  • The Cameo:
    • Fleet Admiral Will Riker makes an appearance over subspace.
    • Gul Macet from Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The Wounded", now promoted to jagul (roughly the Cardassian equivalent of a rear admiral in the Terok Nor series), is placed in charge of the Cardassian forces taking part in the attack on the Terran base.
    • Benjamin Sisko reappears as the Emissary of the Prophets, and Kira Nerys appears as the Kai of Bajor (briefly mentioned to be the case in "Boldly They Rode").
    • Brokosh from Red Fire, Red Planet joins the fleet sent to take out the Terran base in the prime universe.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Master Chief Wiggin mentions that Terran warp drives look just like Federation drives from a distance and says it feels spooky. Turns out the Alliance can't tell the difference either, allowing for a surprise Big Damn Heroes moment from the Bajor.
  • Conscription: According to Dal Kanril the Cardassians practice conscription of enlisted, officers, and civil servants based on high school test scores.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Gorn flagship GHS S'slee gets its name from what the EU decided was the name of the Gorn that Kirk fought in TOS: "Arena". In chapter three another Gorn ship is identified as GHS Xrathis, after the previous Gorn king in the STO continuity (father to the current king, Slathis).
    • One of the ships assigned to guard the Bajor in the Terran prime universe base attack is the USS Laporin, after a classmate of Ben Sisko's who was said to have been killed by the Klingons in DS9: "Apocalypse Rising". Meanwhile the USS Jadzia Dax, previously mentioned in Bait and Switch takes part in the battle in chapter three.
    • Gul Ekoor, commanding the Cardassian Second Order forces taking part in the battle, was one of the Cardassian soldiers who joined Damar, Garak, and Kira for the attack on the Dominion military headquarters in DS9: "What You Leave Behind".
    • Gul Morag's CDS Koranak appears to be the mirror universe counterpart to a ship that took part in the Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar attack on the Founder homeworld in "The Die Is Cast".
    • Chapter five has Eleya explaining to Dal Kanril how she got into Starfleet from the Bajoran Militia, from From Bajor to the Black, and then they give an overview of the Dominion War arc from DS9.
  • Curse Cut Short: Eleya's mother scolds her for swearing about her wine glass being empty, leading to this line:
    “Sorry, Mother. Where’s that d”—I catch myself—“springwine bottle?”
  • Cyanide Pill: Mirror Kanril carries one in a back molar in case of capture by Terran forces. Warragul convinces her to let him remove it (using a jumja stick as a bribe) and identifies the contents as promazine, a poison issued by the Obsidian Order to their operatives in the prime universe. He also puts the lie to the Obsidian Order's canonical claim that it kills painlessly, saying that "it feels like your whole head is on fire until you cark it."
    Dal Kanril: (narrating) Despite my brave face to Damar, I know what the Terrans do to female prisoners.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: Provides the page quote. T'Var and Eleya are catching up at the start of chapter three, but Eleya has to break off the conversation to change into her vacsuit and says they'll continue the discussion later. T'Var dies fending off a Terran ramming attempt against the Bajor.
  • Double-Meaning Title: In addition to the traditional mirror joke in the title (a franchise Running Gag for mirror universe episodes), the author mentioned in the fic's thread on the STO forum that readers shouldn't expect a straight-played "same crew as our side but EVIL" storyline (hence "wrong reflection").
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Eleya shuts up Dal Kanril by doing her best drill instructor Death Glare, "the look that says, I don’t give a flying phekk if you’re Shakaar Edon himself; as far as I’m concerned you’re just another brainless boot who can’t tell which end of a combat knife goes into the other guy." Dal Kanril automatically snaps to attention despite herself, and later mentions she felt like she was back in basic training.
  • Drop Pod: The Cardassians launch a drop pod assault on the Terran surface base after the Terrans erect transporter scramblers, and not without casualties. Several pods are shot down, the dalin who joins them, the XO of CDS Tavracet, crashes and dies, and the commander of Eleya's MACO unit breaks a leg.
  • Enemy Mine: In order to complete her mission Eleya allies herself with the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, but they both openly admit to not liking each other at all.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Eleya's father Torvo lost an eye fighting in the Resistance during the Cardassian occupation, and wears an eyepatch over the socket.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: In addition to Eleya having posters on the wall of her old bedroom for The Fifth Element and Mass Effect, there's one for a work called Adrian's Curse.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: What Eleya calls "Cardassian military boxing" and compares to Krav Maga, Dal Kanril calls chakar daran.
  • Fantastic Slurs: Brokosh says he can't sit on the Klingon High Council, despite being the head of House Chel'toK now, because he's not a "ridgeface". He also calls Lt. Cdr. T'Var, a Vulcan, a "pointy-ear".
  • Flying Car: Apparently 30 or so years ago they were a luxury item on Bajor, but now the air lanes over the capital city are crowded.
  • For Want of a Nail: The established differences between the prime universe and the Mirror Universe mean that the typical "same crew as our side but EVIL" trope in Mirror Universe Star Trek stories doesn't apply to the USS Bajor. There is no ISS Bajor because Bajor is part of the Alliance, and because most of Prime!Eleya's command crew are members of Terran-allied species, there's no mirror version of them either. Frankly they were lucky to even get a Mirror!Eleya, and she's an officer in the Cardassian military rather than the Imperial Starfleet.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Eleya forcibly stops the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance from summarily executing Terran prisoners of war and gives them political asylum... except for the one that really was guilty of war crimes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: T'Var flies her badly damaged ship into the path of a Terran Defiant-class to stop it from ramming the Bajor, and is killed in the collision.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: The Terran Empire has reportedly been using raids by cloak-capable ships to disrupt the Alliance's attempts to rebuild their forces after their previous war.
  • Hollywood Atheist:
    • Very heavily downplayed with Eleya. She is a Prophet-worshiper, but she mentions that she turned more secular and started skipping holy days after she looked upon one of the Orbs of the Prophets and saw absolutely nothing.
    • Played straight with Mirror Eleya, whose objection mirrors one raised by some Bajorans in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
      "Okay then, if [the Prophets are] so great, where were they when the Terrans showed up a century ago?"
  • If I Had a Nickel...: From Eleya's internal monologue in chapter two.
    "Theoretically it’s impossible to have an accident with every air vehicle in the city fully computer-piloted, but if I had a credit for every time the phrase “theoretically impossible” was juxtaposed with some version of “oh, phekk”, I could retire."
  • Insert Grenade Here: Eleya does this to a Terran tank because they don't have any Anti-Armor weapons with them.
    SCPO. Athezra Darrod: Showoff!
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Admiral Riker calls to talk with Eleya right as she and Gaarra are in the middle of foreplay.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Mirror Kanril says this to her CO, Gul Morag, when they expect to go down fighting against three Terran cruisers, and he returns the sentiment, saying there's no officer he'd rather have with him. But then one of the Terran ships opens fire on the others, since it's actually the USS Bajor.
  • Kill and Replace: Defied. In chapter 5 the possibility of Dal Kanril replacing Eleya is brought up and immediately discarded. Eleya has old scars that her counterpart doesn't, is a centimeter taller, and her counterpart was raised mostly Cardassian and her thought patterns are different enough to be a giveaway to Chief Corpsman Watkins, a part-Betazoid empath.
  • Killing Your Alternate Self: Defied. See the example for Kill and Replace, above. Just as well, all things considered.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: Discussed. Gaarra asks Eleya why, as established early in Bait and Switch she likes Turn of the Millennium Earth sci-fi. Eleya responds by asking him why he likes Trill mystery novels.
    Gaarra: Touché.
  • Likes Older Men: * Implied. The work opens with viewpoint character Kanril Eleya's younger sister Teri marrying a vedek named Armen Aldos. Eleya mentions offhand that her new brother-in-law was a teacher's aide for her when she was in school (and Teri is four years younger than 29-year-old Eleya, which puts Aldos in his late thirties, minimum).

  • Meet the In-Laws: The first chapter has Eleya introduce her operations officer-slash-boyfriend Gaarra to her family while attending her sister's wedding. Her parents are mildly annoyed that Eleya isn't planning to marry Gaarra anytime soon (it's because they're already in violation of fraternization rules as a commanding officer loving one of her senior staff).
  • Multi-Ethnic Name: An unseen Terran admiral named Dzhabrail Mahadeo (Chechen given name, Hindi surname).
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Referenced when Biri asks Koren, daughter of Grilka, if she pronounced the name of Koren's ship correctly. Koren confirms she did, and Eleya comments in her Internal Monologue that it was a good thing, considering what "QuHvaj’Qob" turns into if you miss the glottal stop (the apostrophe).
  • Mythology Gag: A throwaway joke where Kai Kira makes tea for Eleya and Eleya goes, “That better not be Earl Grey. Tried it once, can’t stand it.”
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Several starships.
    • In keeping with Star Trek tradition of naming Starfleet shuttles after space scientists, Eleya's shuttle Shoemaker is named for astronomers Gene and Carolyn Shoemaker.
    • In chapter three there's a Freedom-class starship named the USS Patrick Henry.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Gul Morag blames Starfleet for the resurgent Terran Empire. It's mostly accurate, but Eleya refuses to be held responsible for it because all it happened before she was born and Julian Bashir and Kira Nerys were only doing what they had to do to escape Alliance imprisonment.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently Eleya's in hot water with the Federation brass right now because she cussed out Tuvok, three ambassadors, and Proconsul D'Tan (presumably during the conference in "Surface Tension"). Word of God on the forums is that the Fix Fic for "Surface Tension" explaining this is in development.
    • Brokosh and Eleya apparently fought each other at Regulus IV when she commanded the George Hammond. Also references to the IKS QarchetvI', a Negh'Var taking part in the attack on the Terran base, leaving the USS Hamburg for dead and nearly blowing up the Hammond even after Eleya tried to surrender.
    • Eleya is confident that Commander Roxy will give her a unit of MACOs because Roxy owes her a favor. All T'Var will say about the matter is that they "extracted her from a predicament eighteen months ago." The rest is classified.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: After Brokosh becomes the third person in the fic to refer back to Eleya cussing out Tuvok's conference in "Surface Tension", Eleya wonders aloud if she's ever going to live it down. Brokosh says probably not, but he actually agreed with her feelings on J'mpok.
  • Pardon My Klingon:
    • Eleya's usual phekk.
    • From Lieutenant K'lak, when he thinks a Cardassian security guy needs to be more respectful to both him and Kate McMillan.
    K'lak: I have sworn my honor to the service of the Federation. I would suggest you do not make an issue of it, qarDaSngan. (Beat) And if you call my parmaqqay "scum" again, I will have your moQDu’ as a trophy for my quarters.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: Eleya and Gaarra have a quickie in the locker room before the big battle in chapter three.
  • Pulled from Your Day Off: Eleya managed to attend the event she got leave for (her sister's wedding), but she had another day or two afterwards which get cancelled because the Terran Empire is causing trouble in the prime universe.
  • Quieter Than Silence: Discussed in chapter seven. Eleya explains that on a starship, even when everything else is quiet you can still hear the background hum from the life-support systems, but a drop pod is completely silent except for the soldier's own breathing until it hits the atmosphere.
  • Rank Up: Gul Morag is apparently set to be promoted to jagul and replace Mekor Dukat as head of the Seventh Order.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Played with. After she apparently set off a political shitstorm back home during Tuvok's conference, her ship gets posted to Deep Space 9 to get her away from Earth. The tricky part's that it worked in her favor since it meant she could attend her sister's wedding.
  • Rules Lawyer: Eleya sidesteps any potential trouble with Starfleet Command on her request for a MACO unit by cutting them out of the loop and going straight to the regional commander, which is allowed according to a strict reading of the rules.
  • Russian Reversal: The chapter title "Storm Before the Calm", as opposed to "Calm Before the Storm".
  • Screw Yourself: Defied. Eleya walks in on Dal Kanril in a Toplessness from the Back scene in sickbay.
    Dal Kanril: (sarcastically) See anything you like, Captain?
    Eleya: I don't swing that way. Just saw you, is all.
  • Secret Relationship: Eleya and Gaarra are keeping the fact that they're an Official Couple now a secret largely because their relationship is against regulations. So far only Eleya's family has actually been told, although it's implied in the first chapter that Tess knows and isn't saying anything.
  • Shipper on Deck: Eleya's family in the first chapter, for her and Gaarra. Note that by now Gaarra and Eleya are already the Official Couple, it's just that they're keeping it quiet.
    Kanril Torvo: So, when are you two getting married? (Spit Take from Eleya)
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spit Take: Eleya sprays a mouthful of springwine when her father asks when she and Gaarra are getting married.
  • Stealth in Space: In exchange for their help, Eleya teaches the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance every trick for defeating cloaking devices in the Federation arsenal.
  • The Stoic: T'Var, Eleya's Vulcan former ops officer (made a brief appearance in chapter two of Bait and Switch, reappears after the fleet her USS Olokun was assigned to took 92% casualties trying to keep the Undine away from Earth during "Surface Tension". In the typical Vulcan manner, she shrugs off the losses and says that they gave as good as they got and that she is "satisfied with our performance." She's equally calm when she makes her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • A Storm Is Coming: There's a thunderstorm going in Bajor's capital Ashalla when Eleya turns up to get the Orb of Possibilities. The chapter in question is also titled "Storm Before the Calm".
  • Space Mines: The Terrans lay a minefield ahead of the oncoming Klingon/Cardassian fleet. Master Chief Wiggin spots it and the Bajor is able to stop in time, but a quarter of the fleet ends up inside it and General K'Bor dies with his carrier, and the Koranak takes serious damage.
  • Taking the Bullet: T'Var uses her own ship as a shield against a Terran attempt to ram the Bajor.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Captain Kanril Eleya, a Lad-ette, wears one for a time during shore leave.
  • Three Stooges Shout-Out: Lampshaded by Kate McMillan when Eleya calls three of Gul Morag's guards "Larry, Curly, and Moe." Kate wonders where in the hell her captain heard of The Three Stooges.
    Eleya: Academy roommate was a fan. Her payback for me dragging her off to a Serenity screening.
  • The Triple: When Dalin Bastra advises Gul Morag that they could just take Eleya's data on Klingon-derived cloaking devices by force, Eleya pulls one of these.
    "First of all, in your current state the Bajor outguns both of your remaining ships put together. Second, our cyberwarfare tech is way better than yours so you’ll have to physically board us. My XO has orders to erase the files if they pick up any unauthorized transporter signatures, and you’ll never get a shuttle docked in one piece. Third, quit testing my patience, you moron."
  • Trust Password: Played for laughs. Tess randomly demands of Eleya at gunpoint why Tess joined Starfleet, to make sure Dal Kanril hasn't tried to replace her. After going "WTF?" Eleya answers, and then asks Tess if she really thought Eleya wasn't herself.
    Tess: Terrans managed it with Kirk.note 
    Eleya: Kirk didn’t have a ten-year-old scar on his belly, Tess. Next time you’re not sure, just ask me to pull up my shirt.
  • Unishment: Due to a Noodle Incident where Eleya "cussed out three ambassadors, a rear admiral, and the Proconsul of the Romulan Republic", Eleya gets a massive black mark on her service record and is told by Admiral Riker that she'll probably never make admiral now.
    Eleya: Respectfully, sir, can you see me stuck behind a desk directing fleets or running a research office?
    Riker: Mm, no, I can’t.
    Eleya: Then I think I’ll survive. Sir.
Then the author's note went ahead and quoted Kirk's advice to Picard in Star Trek: Generations, just to drive it home.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Eleya avoided being cashiered for gross insubordination mostly by way of being a Bunny-Ears Lawyer ("I kinda helped save Earth Spacedock after."), but she still ends up with a massive black mark on her service record.
  • You Are in Command Now: Brokosh ended up as a general and the head of the House of Chel'toK because Chel'toK was killed when the Klingon High Council was incinerated by an Iconian, and the heir Kidu was killed fighting the Undine over Qo'noS.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Applied Phlebotinum variant after Eleya and Gaarra watch The Fifth Element together in chapter one.
    Gaarra: That was … pretty good. Science was way off, of course.
    Eleya: (bursts out laughing) Well, what do you expect? They didn’t know how this shiel worked back then!