Spoiler warning for The Wrong Reflection."To Absent Friends" is a one-shot Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword, written for Literary Challenge #68: STO Halloween on the STO forum.
Instead of doing a straight Halloween Episode as suggested by the prompt, StarSword and Takeshi 6 collaborated on a Bajoran equivalent of the Latin American Day of the Dead to produce a crossover between the Bait and Switch series and The War of the Masters Shared Universe, "Remembrance of the Fallen". StarSword then took the background material produced and applied it to the prior Heroic Sacrifice of Kanril Eleya's former operations officer Lieutenant Commander T'Var in The Wrong Reflection. The result was "To Absent Friends".
It's two months after The Wrong Reflection and the USS Bajor is between adventures. By the Bajoran calendar it's also the Fourth of Kadera, a Bajoran holy day called the Day of Remembrance, where fallen friends and family are mourned and remembered.
- Alternate Calendar: The Bajoran calendar pioneered in From Bajor to the Black reappears. The story apparently takes place on 4 Kadera, Seventh Era 957, the Year of Distant Travails.
- Arranged Marriage: Discussed in the flashback. Vulcans typically use these, per canon, but T'Var's parents thought it more logical to let her seek her own mate.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Bajor's Pretentious Latin Motto? Not so pretentious. It's a Discworld reference: "We who are about to die don't want to."
- Comically Missing the Point:Eleya: Doc? Care to explain the piano?
HMC. Anoeza Watkins: Fairly simple, ma’am. You press one of these keys and—
Tess: Ha ha. She meant how did you get it on board and where have you been keeping it.
- Culture Clash: Dul'krah comments on Eleya and Gaarra's relationship.“It was not a secret, Commander Reshek,” Dul’krah says. “The only question I had was when your first children would be born.” There’s an oddly musical clunk from Warragul dropping his guitar. I feel my cheeks burning and Dul’krah has the good sense to start looking embarrassed. “My apologies. Clearly I have run afoul of, I believe the term Lieutenant Commander Bo’tok at the Academy used was ‘culture clash’.”
“Phekk’tem understatement,” somebody female in the crowd mutters in Perikian.
“Watch it,” I warn over my shoulder.
- The Dead Have Names: There are forty-five Starfleet chevrons on the USS Bajor's memorial wall. We get about five, and Eleya complains a bit that she doesn't remember most of the people behind the names.
- Epigraph: The first two verses of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain".
- Everybody Knew Already: Yeah, Eleya, your Secret Relationship with Gaarra? Not so secret. This line comes after the others catch the two of them slow-dancing to Warragul, Dul'krah, and Watkins playing Sarah McLachlan.Tess: Oh, for Uzaveh’s sake, Captain, just kiss him already!
- Halloween Episode: More like Day of the Dead Episode.
- Happy Flashback: Eleya remembers her, T'Var, Birail, and Tess going on vacation at the beach and somehow getting onto the subject of sex and of how T'Var is apparently a virgin. When queried by Gaarra Eleya insists that she has absolutely no idea how they got on the subject. Tess theorizes:“Some combination of booze and the natural tendency of soldiers to turn roughly anything sexual if you leave them alone long enough.”
- Pretentious Latin Motto: Not so much. The Bajor's crew-chosen motto "Morituri Nolumus Mori" means "We who are about to die don't want to."
- Shout-Out: To Jayne and Book's conversation in the Firefly episode "Objects in Space" when Biri has trouble believing that T'Var's a virgin.Biri: What, never?
Biri: "Not ever", never?
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: Warragul, Dul'krah, and Chief Corpsman Watkins play Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You". T'Var reportedly enjoyed McLachlan.
- Title Drop: In the last line of the fic Eleya and her crew raise glasses to the names on the memorial wall:"To absent friends. Rest with the Prophets."
- To Absent Friends: The Bajoran Day of Remembrance is part this, part Día de los Muertos. It's focused on celebrating the memory of friends and family who are no longer with us, telling stories about them, and eating their favorite foods. Eleya also offers the trope and fic name as a toast.
- Unexpected Virgin: T'Var in a flashback. The other ladies are surprised at this, but she calmly explains that she's was able to break her pon farr through meditation, and her parents had decided not to arrange a match for her.