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Literature / Star Trek: Myriad Universes

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A series of short novels in the Star Trek Expanded Universe, collected in three volumes (Infinity’s Prism, Echoes and Refractions and Shattered Light). The series presents alternate histories, wherein the familiar Star Trek universe has been warped significantly. The series uses key moments of history as the springboard to create these altered timelines, presenting realities that result from different outcomes to established events.

There was also a Myriad Universes comic book, The Last Generation, set in a universe where the Klingon Empire had conquered the Federation.

This series contains examples of:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: An emissary of Species 8472 explains why his people tend to be this: Because fluidic space is one giant interconnected organic system, any contaminant is a danger to the entire realm. As the caretakers of the realm, the 8472s will not tolerate outside incursion. That said, they are willing to cooperate with some other species sometimes.
  • The Alliance:
    • The Delta Coalition, founded by the crew of Voyager and the Vostigye Union which takes them in, along with other refugee cultures in the region.
    • In a universe where Khan Noonien Singh won the Eugenics Wars, the empire he founded conquers much of local space. It's mentioned that Thallon, Danter and Xenex formed an alliance to stand against the human augments, only to be destroyed by this universe's version of Jean-Luc Picard.
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  • Alternate History: The series is essentially a collection of alternate histories, taking key moments in the Star Trek Myth Arc and offering hypothetically different outcomes, taking the Trek universe in different directions from the original. So, we have a history where Khan won the Eugenics Wars and took control of Earth, and another where Terra Prime succeeded in isolating Earth from the interstellar community (so The Federation formed without human participation). There’s one where Voyager turned back rather than cross Borg space, etc.
  • And I Must Scream: Annika Hansen versus the Borg implants. Annika momentarily gets shut out of her own body while Seven of Nine tries to assimilate the Doctor. However, since the Borg are much weaker thanks to Species 8472, she's quickly able to reassert her humanity.
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  • Angsty Surviving Twin: In Places of Exile, one of the Delaney sisters on Voyager is killed in a battle with Species 8472. The surviving twin leaves the ship and joins a nunnery.
  • Ascended Extra: Lieutenant Alaya, a literal Recurring Extra in Voyager, gets a few lines in Places of Exile. He's not important to the plot, but he still lives.
  • Brain Uploading: Happens a lot in Brave New World, based on the procedure used by Ira Graves in "The Schizoid Man", since in this universe the availability of "blank" positronic brains means he didn't need to take over Data.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Annika Hansen, due to her violent severance from the Borg while in Unimatrix Zero. She alternates between childishness and genius. Until her Borg memories are reawakened.
  • Crapsack World:
    • If Spock died in childhood (as was the case in the popular “Yesteryear” timeline in an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series), the 23rd century becomes a Crapsack World. As revealed in The Chimes at Midnight, Earth is devastated by the Whalesong Probe from The Voyage Home, and the Alpha and Beta quadrants are caught in an escalating arms race due to use of the genesis device. Also, if the Cardassians don’t withdraw from Bajor in 2369, the 24th century ends up in Crapsack World territory. A Gutted World presents the Dominion manipulating the Alpha and Beta quadrants into weakening themselves so significantly it looks as if Dominion takeover is inevitable. And all the main characters - DS9, Next Gen and Voyager - die.
    • In The Tears of Eridanus, Vulcan is a Crapsack World, due to literally thousands of years of constant warfare. In this universe, Surak never arose and turned his people to peace and logic; as a result, Vulcan is a primitive hell-hole.
  • Dramatic Irony: Happens a few times with the differences in universes.
    • In the "Prime" universe, Koval was a Federation spy in the Romulan military while Lovak is actually a Changeling. In A Gutted World, Koval is the Changeling who takes out a loyal Romulan Lovak.
    • Seeds of Exile has Dukat and Kira as lovers.
    • Both The Chimes at Midnight and A Less Perfect Union portray McCoy as the voice of logical reason on the Enterprise.
    • A Gutted World has Quark finally achieve his dream of owning his own moon...after the Dominion has taken over the Ferengi Alliance.
    • During Places of Exile, Chakotay briefly wonders on what might've gone differently with the Borg. Later on, he actually learns.
  • Everyone Can See It: In Places of Exile, the Groundskeepers show the Voyager crew records from some of the alternate timelines they've seen, one of which is the "Prime" one from the show. Torres muses on how in that timeline, she and Tom are together and how she finds it unlikely. The Doctor openly snorts and informs her that everyone on the ship was taking bets on when the two were finally going to get together.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In The Chimes at Midnight, Thelin helps use a Genesis Device to repair a damaged Earth. Carol Marcus is going over the readings and is confused by several ion trails. They match those of what would have to be about a dozen large ships. Thelin tells her that all ships have been grounded for the test and if there were, they would have visual confirmation unless they were....cloaked. As in, a full-scale cloaked Klingon armada.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Bourget, one of the minor races of the Delta Coalition. Worker-caste Bourget are mentioned; given the hints we're given on the nature of Bourget biology, their caste system may have a biological basis.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Andorian Commander Thelin is on the receiving end of some, due to his part-Aenar heritage.
    • The reptilian Voth consider all endotherms, such as humans, to be lesser beings. They also show disdain for carnivores.
    • In A Less Perfect Union, Kirk has an absolute hate of Vulcans due to how a Vulcan commander destroyed a ship carrying Kirk's wife and son. He also throws a fit at the mere idea of a good friend drinking alien wine. T'Pol also shares a dislike of humans due to how her husband Trip died defending her from an anti-alien mob. At the story's end, both Kirk and T'pol acknowledge how their bigotry has warped them and find common ground together.
  • Fingore: In The Chimes At Midnight, David Marcus is tortured by the Klingons and has one of his fingers broken.
  • Flanderisation: Perhaps because he only gets one scene in The Chimes At Midnight, General Chang seems incapable of going a single sentence without quoting Shakespeare. Including the Title Drop.
  • For Want of a Nail: The entire point of the series as one small difference is enough to change everything.
    • A Less Perfect Union: Earth Prime succeeds in the attack to stop Earth from forging the Federation.
    • Places of Exile: Chakotay gives Janeway different advice on teaming up with the Borg in "Scorpion", leading Voyager to a new course that causes it to be almost destroyed. Lampshaded with the line "how often does history come down to a choice of words?"
    • Seeds of Dissent: Khan succeeds in conquering Earth and expands a genetically-enhanced humanity to the stars.
    • The Chimes at Midnight: Spock dies as a child, leaving Andorian officer Thelin to become First Officer and Kirk's friend.
    • A Gutted World: The Cardassians find the Bajor wormhole and an earlier alliance with the Dominion.
    • Brave New World: Dr. Soong manages to expand android research to the Federation.
    • The Embrace of Cold Architects: Data's construction of Lal takes place a few months later which leads to Picard killed on the Borg cube before Wolf 359.
    • The Tears of Eridanus: Surak is killed before he can begin his teachings and Vulcan remains a savage and primitive world.
    • Honor in the Night: The shuttle containing Cyrano Jones and the tribbles is destroyed before they can expose the Klingon plot against Sherman's Planet.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • In The Chimes at Midnight, we're told that in this universe Dr McCoy tries to give Kirk the pragmatic options, in order to counterbalance Thelin's Andorian passion. Yes, McCoy is The Spock.
    • A different trio forms in "A Less Perfect Union" as well, with McCoy as The Spock and Kirk as The McCoy to Captain Pike, who ends up as The Kirk.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: In Places of Exile, the Voth send an entire city ship to Vostigye space in order to make their demands.
  • Heel Realization: Happens to Bashir in Seeds of Dissent as Dax and the non-enhanced humans from the Botany Bay show him how Khan was not a noble figure who saved a fractured humanity but a murderous tyrant who was responsible for the collapse of the planet and centuries of ruthless rule. The story ends with Bashir taking in the holographic imagery of the past and realizing he's been on the wrong side all this time.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: At the end of Brave New World, we're told that Lore has had the errors in his programming corrected and is now a committed supporter of biological rights.
  • Hypocrite: In one notable scene, the Vorta Kilana reflects on how the Voth are rigid in their thinking and brutal in enforcing their doctrine; she considers them an example of everything the Dominion exists to stamp out. This is intended as insight into Kilana (and the Dominion's) own blindness, naturally.
  • Identical Stranger: In A Less Perfect Union, Kirk is approached by Sarek to hand T'Pol over for a secret meeting. When Kirk tells this in a meeting with the Vulcans, Sarek claims to have no idea what he's talking about. Kirk assumes that Sarek has double-crossed him only to discover it was really Keras, the Romulan officer from Balance of Terror (who had also been played by Mark Lenard). T'Pol asks how long it took Keras to be surgically altered to look like Sarek. Keras informs her that, amazing as it sounds, this is his natural face and is as surprised as anyone he's a dead ringer for Sarek. At the story's end, Kirk apologizes to Sarek for the misunderstanding. Sarek tells him there's no need as he saw Keras himself and admits that his own son would have been fooled by the resemblance.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Happens a few times; for instance Thelin replacing Spock apparently didn't change much of anything until Spock didn't die in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. And Khan Noonien Singh winning the Eugenics Wars, leading to 400 years of eugenics and genetic alteration, results in the human DS9 regulars being supermen rather than not existing. They even all end up in Bajoran space. In The Last Generation, Worf, Klingon governer of Earth, has a quarter-human son. We never learn his real name, but his subordinates mock him by giving him a human nickname - Alexander.
    • In Places of Exile, Voyager never has the alliance with the Borg. However, after the Borg are wiped out by Species 8472, Seven turns out to be one of several Borg left alive and no longer a member of the Collective and thus turns human after all.
  • Instrument of Murder: The Andorian flabjellah is a combination sidearm/musical instrument. It exists in the mainstream Trek 'verse, but is more prominant in the Tears of Eridanus timeline.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The Founders wonderfully use this in A Gutted World with the Romulans. There had always been a clash between the regular Romulan military and the Tal Shire intelligence service. As the defeats against the Federation and Klingons pile up, the military blames the Tal Shire with giving them bad intelligence while the Tal Shire assume the military are just too arrogant to listen to their sound advice. Neither side realizes that liaison Koval has been replaced by a Changeling who ensures the information is botched on both ends to leave the Romulans weakened for a Dominion invasion.
  • Last Words:
    • In Honor In The Night, former Federation President Nilz Baris' last words, "Arne Darvin" kick off the story's plot.
    • Kirk's last words in The Chimes at Midnight: "So here it is...the no-win scenario. How did I do?"
    • In The Gutted World, just as he ignites a super-nova to wipe out the Dominion fleet, Worf intones "today is a good day to die...and revenge is a dish best served hot."
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In The Gutted World, the Founders brilliantly set the Romulans and the Klingons into declaring war on each other with the Federation also dragged in on the Klingons' side while the Cardassians start intruding on Federation territory. The Founders have replaced key figures on all sides to ensure mistakes that will keep the war going longer and leave all four parties far too weakened for when the Dominion finally invades.
  • Meaningful Name: The S'paaphonn (Many sci-fi fans will be familiar with the exclamation "Spa Fon!").
  • Me's a Crowd: The Doctor gets uploaded into several thousand bodies in Places of Exile. This different perspective makes him different, but the sarcasm and love of music are still there, if nothing else.
  • Microts: Among other interesting little facts, we learn that 6 human months equals about 4 Vostigye ronds, and nearly 40 Talaxian niziks. Neelix likes using varying time measurements because it gives him more excuses for anniversary parties. As well as ronds, Vostigye use lants, apparently their equivalent of minutes.
  • The Missing Faction: Two of the stories start with the assumption that one of the founding races of the United Federation of Planets wasn't involved. A Less Perfect Union shows a xenophobic Earth withdrawing from the Coalition of Planets due to the actions of Terra Prime, leaving only Vulcan, Andor and Tellar. Humans wind up in a cold war scenario with this "Interstellar Coalition". In The Tears of Eridanus, meanwhile, Vulcan never turns to logic and remains a primitive warlike culture, leaving Andor as the galvanizing force behind the formation of a Federation-equivalent.
  • Mole in Charge: In The Gutted World, Starfleet is wary of Kira and Odo's claims the Founders have been replacing key leaders on all sides to keep the war going. Kira proves it by activating a device that destabilizes a Founder's ability to control their shape which turns Odo into a pile of goo...and to the shock of everyone the Federation President also turns out to be a Changeling.
  • Muggle Power: The third story in the Infinity's Prism collection features a universe in which Khan Noonien Singh won the Eugenics Wars. He then proceeded to create The Empire, which subjugated the rest of the Trek 'verse. The story concerns "Princeps" Julian Bashir of the Defiance (who is also genetically enhanced in the "normal" universe) finding the Botany Bay. In the TOS episode Space Seed, the Bay carried Khan and his followers, but in this universe, it carried regular humans on the run from the Wars. Does What Measure Is a Non-Super? ensue? Oh, yeah.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Said verbatim by Thelin in The Chimes at Midnight after he detonates a Genesis Device weapon on the Klingon moon of Praxis.
    • Also Darvin in Honor in the Night as he was dismayed watching the damage done by the poisoned grain on Sherman's Planet. He found it a dishonorable move and spent the rest of his life trying to make amends.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: In The Chimes at Midnight, David is jarred that Starfleet wants to use the Genesis Device as a weapon against the Klingons if they don't agree to leave Earth. David snaps on how the Klingons will never surrender and will "call your bluff." The silence to his words lets a horrified David realize Starfleet fully intends to actually do this.
  • Noodle Incident: In A Gutted World, Kira goes to help from Quark who had bought a small moon off a big payday. He grouses about getting involved, assuming Kira knows why Garak told her to seek Quark out. He's surprised she doesn't and when Kira presses on why he's doing this, Quark just tells her to ask Garak. He never goes into detail on just why he owes Garak so much that he's willing to risk his life for no profit.
  • Off with His Head!: In The Tears of Eridanus, Evil!T'Pau executes Dax and presents his head as a trophy.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Abounds in Places of Exile. Harry Kim isn't impressed to learn his show counterpart remains a Static Character. Annika Hansen is horrified by Seven of Nine (especially her belief clothing is irrelevant. Annika hates the Doctor's catsuit ). And Species 8472 take this to its extreme, due to the bizarre nature of Fluidic Space meaning every infiltrator sent out into regular space comes back getting into a scrap with themselves.
  • Pose of Supplication: The Voth demand this from others as their due, particularly when bestowing their benevolence. As the eldest race in the Delta Quadrant (or at least they assume so), they consider themselves its rightful rulers. When agreeing to spare Fluidic Space from destruction, their condition is that the Species 8472 representative bow before them and pledge his loyalty to the Voth Council.
  • Pragmatic Evil: Kilana betrays the Voth and has her Jem'hadar duff them up, but not kill them, if only to absolutely avoid burning all bridges with them.
  • Pride: “Boothby” the 8472 Groundskeeper has to swallow his in order to save his people. The Voth, who are themselves the most prideful race around, agree to spare his realm from their doomsday weapon if he declares his loyalty to the Voth Council and bows before them. Chakotay convinces him to do so.
  • Properly Paranoid: A Gutted World has this a couple of times.
    • Obviously, Garak carries this but given how he's one of the few who knows the Founders have infiltrated the Alpha quadrant, it's justified.
    • Worf breaks regulations to bring a weapon into Starfleet Headquarters for a conference. When the Federation President turns out to be a Changeling, Worf is the one officer properly armed and ready to fight it.
  • Rank Up: The benefit of being in an alternate universe means Harry Kim gets a promotion. Just not in Starfleet. By the end of Places of Exile, he's actually managed to make commander.
  • Redemption Equals Death: The conclusion of The Chimes at Midnight has the Klingons refusing to accept peace, even after a Genesis Device is used on them, and fully intend to fight on. Already filled with guilt over using the Device, Thelin offers to turn himself in to the Klingons. As he argues, the Klingons can use him to save face with their people by putting Thelin on trial in exchange for the peace agreement. Thelin knows full well he will be executed but sees it as a way to redeem for his actions and prevent more war. The Klingon Chancellor even notes that future generations of his people will appreciate Thelin's sacrifice.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The Romulan Commander from "Balance of Terror", played by the same actor as Spock's father Sarek, is named...Keras.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: In A Gutted World, before leaving on seperate missions, Kira tries to confess to Odo how she killed Vaatrick in "A Necessary Evil". To her surprise, Odo reveals he learned a while ago about it but forgives her, knowing she had no reason to trust him back then.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: In The Chimes at Midnight, this gets played rather straight between Saavik and David Marcus:
    Their lips met, and in perfect unison their bodies slowly sank down to the ground. On the distant horizon, another volcanic mountaintop erupted, its hot magma shooting forth into the air. And the ground once again trembled, shaken by nature's primal throes.
  • Sharpened to a Single Atom: The blades used by the Children of Khan in Seeds of Dissent.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In The Tears of Eridianus, the only hope for a war-torn, hellish Vulcan where Surak never existed is the katra of the ancient poet S'task, who teaches a philosophy called mnhei'sahe. In Diane Duane's non-canonical but beloved Rihannsu novels, S'task was Surak's former pupil, who abandoned his teacher's pacifism and left Vulcan with his followers, the Rihannsu (aka the Romulans)... whose culture's guiding principle is a concept called mnhei'sahe.
    • Places of Exile sees Tom Paris refer to the Species 8472 planet-destroyer weapon as a wave-motion gun. Janeway promptly assumes the description was another of Tom's obscure twentieth-century cultural allusions.
    • In Seeds of Dissent, the Botany Bay passengers whose cryo chambers fail are all named after Doctor Who companions.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • While many worlds have much darker fates for major characters, The Chimes at Midnight has a much happier fate for Sybok. It seems that the loss of Spock pushed Sarek to reach out to Sybok to repair their relationship and be a good father. This has led Sybok to be accepted on Vulcan and do good work as an ambassador in his own right.
    • In Honor in the Night, most of the events of A Voyage Home still happened...although Kirk's son, David, is still alive when Kirk is on "trial" for saving Earth.
    • While not openly stated, it can be assumed in The Embrace of Cold Architects that because Picard died before the Battle of Wolf 359, all the Starfleet crews that would have perished there survived (notably Ben Sisko's wife).
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: According to Word of God, planet Coridan's prosperous status in The Tears of Eridanus is an example of this, seeing as in the mainstream Star Trek Novel Verse Coridan is the Federation's Butt-Monkey planet.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Kirk in A Less Perfect Union. His attitude towards aliens makes him relatively easy to steer into a Romulan plot aimed against the Earth/Interstellar Coalition negotiations. Also, in A Gutted World, the entire Alpha and Beta quadrants end up Unwitting Pawns to the Founders of the Dominion.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: In Brave New World, Picard is thrown to find that Data and his robot city have sent robot agents to infiltrate not just the Federation but Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian, Breen and other races. Data defends it on how his agents have secretly worked to end crises that could have erupted into conflict. Picard fires back that it isn't that much of a stretch for Data to impose more "order" by overthrowing those governments. Data, who had seen his work as perfectly logical to aid the galaxy, realizes Picard has a point.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One of the stories is set in a timeline where androids like Data are mass-produced for Starfleet. They are considered more disposable than organic officers. Also, in a universe where Khan was victorious, the human augments have established themselves as the dominant power in known space, fuelled by this belief. Some of the racist humans in A Less Perfect Union show a form of it, too.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Super?: The empire founded by Khan Noonien Singh.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Honor in the Night tells the story of a journalist trying to find out the meaning behind a famous person's last words, by talking to a lot of people who knew the deceased, and the whole thing is told in an interlocking non-linear flashback structure. Sound familiar?


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