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Part of the Star Trek Novel Verse.
With the end of Star Trek Voyager in 2001 and the flop of Star Trek Nemesis in 2002, the canonical Star Trek franchise changed its focus from the 24th century back to the 22nd and, ultimately, 23rd centuries. The upshot was that the bleeding edge of the Star Trek mythos was completely abandoned...with, for the first time in decades, absolutely no new developments planned on the horizon.
Needless to say that the way was paved for a more activist Star Trek Expanded Universe, where writers of novels were finally free to really shake things up and the status quo no longer held the sway it once did.
All of this culminated in late 2008 with Star Trek Destiny, an epic novel trilogy by David Mack, detailing the final war between The Federation and the Borg Collective. After suffering one defeat after another at the hands of Starfleet, the Borg have finally decided to cut their losses and wipe out Humanity once and for all. To this end, they send an armada to the alpha quadrant using a network of interstellar tunnels, left behind by a Sufficiently Advanced Alien race. Things look bleak for Starfleet, but the wreck of a ship, lost mysteriously centuries earlier, may hold the secret to the Federation's survival.
The story is spread out over three novels (Gods of Night, Mere Mortals and Lost Souls). It fundamentally changes the Star Trek universe, and is well worth the read.
Tropes seen in Star Trek Destiny include:
- Actual Pacifist: The Caeliar. They would rather die in the millions than harm another being, or even allow harm to come to others if they can prevent it. When the human characters they're holding captive rebel, they're convinced to co-operate when a human shoots his own colleague.
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Axion, the Caeliar capital.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Former President Zife, a Bolian, greatly admired Monet's Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lillies. He left the painting in a prominent position in the Presidental wardroom, considering it a symbol of all the art and culture of the Federation, which he was intent on preserving.
- All Powerful Bystander: The Caeliar. Not literally all-powerful, but incredibly advanced technologically, and capable of resolving the Borg threat relatively simply. However, their culture is stagnant, xenophobic and isolationist in the extreme, apathetic about the wider galaxy. It takes Erika Hernandez to pull them off the sidelines, after first rediscovering her own humanity.
- Alone in a Crowd: A very effective example in Mere Mortals, with Erika Hernandez among the Caeliar. The scene leads into Hernandez' attempted suicide.
- And I Must Scream: In general, the fate of those poor souls who run afoul of the Borg. Also, what happens to Hernandez's three remaining crew members when faced with spending their whole lives imprisoned with the Caeliar with absolutely nothing to do and no one to talk to (not even themselves). Fletcher handles it somewhat better than the other two.
- Ass in Ambassador: Tholian Ambassador Tezrene.
- Apocalypse How: By means of Borg cubes annihilating planetary biospheres, apparently.
- Back for the Dead: T'lana, who had been written out of the series she appeared in shortly before Destiny, and Charivretha zh'Thane, who hadn't been seen for some time (and several years earlier in-universe).
- Blood on the Debate Floor: When President Bacco calls the ambassadors from the major galactic powers together, Klingon ambassador K'mtok and Romulan ambassador Kalavak end up fighting. After a series of accusations and insults regarding events in prior novels (particularly in Star Trek Articles of the Federation), the two begin to physically scuffle, until separated by Federation security.
- Can't Argue with Elves: The Caeliar, who have evolved almost completely beyond the need for physical bodies, have no crime, poverty, or want, and are devoted completely to artistic and scientific pursuits. They have just enough respect for others' beliefs to not try to convince other races that the Caeliar's way is correct, but no amount of cajoling will convince them that the Caeliar's way is wrong. They are severely isolationist, but are Actual Pacifists, which leads various characters who stumble upon their home planet to become permanent "guests". Not a bad place to be, all things considered, but don't argue too much. Make too much noise or disrupt their work and the Caeliar will teleport you to a nice uninhabited planet a few billion light years away, just to make sure you never get home with information about them.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Hirogen energy dampeners.
- Continuity Nod: A great many, to the entirety of the Star Trek Novel Verse continuity.
- Crisis Crossover: (although it would probably count as only a Bat Family Crossover, if not for the inclusion of Ezri Dax from Deep Space Nine and Erika Hernandez from Enterprise.)
- Crystal Spires and Togas: The Caeliar.
- Curb Stomp Battle: The Borg versus anything, but particularly the Battle of the Azure Nebula. A combined fleet of 10 major powers is destroyed without doing any appreciable damage to the invading Borg Armada.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The Borg, obviously. However, one scene in particular is notable. Star Trek: Titan character Torvig Bu-kar-nguv is from a race of non-humanoid cyborgs (Choblik), who owe their intelligence and civilization to their implants, being a race of Uplifted Animal. In previous novels, Torvig initially had difficulty comprehending the full horror of the Borg Collective. Now, though, the implications finally hit him, and he ends up perhaps the most horrified of all; this trope, and thus the Borg, are essentially the anti-Choblik, their most primal horror. He makes his friend Ranul Keru promise that he won't let Torvig be taken by Borg.
- Darkest Hour: The Borg invasion is a weighty contender for the darkest hour of the entire Star Trek franchise.
- Despair Event Horizon: Picard crosses this when his decision to finally start a family with Beverly Crusher coincides with the Borg launching what looks to be a final, all-out attack on the Federation - a war that by conventional means can only be won by the Borg.
- Discontinuity Nod: while the events of Before Dishonor remain in (novel) continuity, various characters in this trilogy make a point of noting that it was only the one prototypical Borg cube which possessed the absorptive capability that allowed it to EAT PLUTO!
- Divided We Fall: Averted. Martok's nemesis Councillor Kopek agrees this is no time for politics. When Martok, leading the Klingon fleet, calls Kopek back on Qo'noS to warn him of impending Borg attack, Kopek assures Martok his throne will be waiting for him upon his return. Martok replies "with you sitting in it, I imagine?" However, Kopek for once isn't planning anything, and says so. It's the first time the character has been presented as anything other than a selfish Complete Monster; he understands the severity of the situation. He also dies defending Qo'noS, so possibly Redemption Equals Death.
- Dying Race: The Caeliar lost the ability to reproduce when they advanced to their current form. They didn't think it would be a problem, but when 98% of their people are lost in an Earthshattering Kaboom, it eventually forces a reexamination of their cultural ideals.
- Empty Shell: Sedin.
- Emergency Transformation: Erika Hernandez, after she began to die of old age. It was also recommended for, and eventually forced upon, Graylock, Pembleton and Thayer.
- Fighting for Survival: The Borg intend to utterly erase every civilization within - or within reach - of the Federation. Therefore, President Bacco tries to get the neighbouring powers to put aside politics and mistrust and fight as one for their mutual survival. She tells the assembled ambassadors that this is about life and death, and whether they care about the Federation or not, they'll have to do the sensible thing and join the effort against the Borg.
- Genocide Dilemma: This once again surfaces with the Borg.
- Godzilla Threshold: The situation gets so bad that Starfleet seriously considers holding the Borg off with thalaron weapons and evacuating the Federation's population to another galaxy. In fact, Seven of Nine coldly deduces that the Federation cannot hope to win, and must embrace such desperate tactics to survive at all.
- Going Native: After nearly a millennium in the Caeliar capital and an Emergency Transformation, Erika Hernandez is finally able to admit that she is, indeed, a Caeliar.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Subverted. President Bacco does indeed call for aid from all other powers in the Alpha and Beta quadrants, but their response is tepid and the combined fleet is annihilated within minutes anyway. All that her efforts really accomplish is to antagonize the Tholians.
- Heroic BSOD: Captain Picard.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Many. Among the more notable examples: The crew of the Imperial Romulan Warbird Verithrax, who destroyed themselves saving planet Ardana from destruction, Captain Pachal and the crew of Ranger, using their ship as a missile to take out a Borg cube menacing Khitomer, and six million Caeliar to save their human “guests” during the destruction of Erigol.
- Lt. Lonnoc Kedair's attempt to do this fails, but she's still freakin' awesome anyway.
- Hidden Elf Village: Erigol, the Caeliar homeworld. After the switch to New Erigol, they keep to the tradition, rejecting contact with the outside galaxy and hoping to keep their world concealed.
- Hive Mind: Star Trek Destiny presents two different versions; the nightmarish, all-consuming collective of the Borg and the vastly more benign "Gestalt" of the Caeliar. The one is derived from the other.
- Hive Queen: Subverted. The Borg Queen is revealed to be a mere puppet of the fundamental drives at the heart of the collective -- and then unsubverted, because the drives at the heart of the collective are derived from the millenia-old remnants of the personality of Inyx's ex-wife.
- I Am a Humanitarian: The first thing that Sedin does after assimilating the three Humans is to force Greylock and Thayer to "disassemble" Pembleton and consume his edible components presumably while he was still alive
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Martok, after his flagship is crippled during a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from the Borg, and he can only sit and wait for repairs as the Borg fleet moves on to Qo'noS.
- Ironic Echo: The little speech pointing out that "Caeliar" is both noun and adjective. Given to Erika Hernandez by Inyx after Hernandez arrives at Erigol, it is later given to the visiting crew of Titan. Hernandez and Inyx share a quick amused glance.
- Kill All Humans: The new goal of the Borg Collective. As well as all Vulcans, all Andorians, all Tellarites, all Romulans, all Klingons, all...
- Killed Off for Real: Owen Paris, Charivretha zh'Thane, T'Lana, Kopek, as well as the planets Deneva, Khitomer, Risa, and Coridan,among others.
- Knight Templar: Picard tends towards this.
- Mind Rape: The Borg respond to Hernandez's attempts to hack the collective by corrupting her favourite childhood memories. It's basically the psychic equivalent of a "scorched earth" campaign, leaving her nowhere to retreat to while facing the nightmare of the collective mind.
- Near Villain Victory: The Borg certainly came lightyears closer to total annihilation of the Federation than Captain Nero, Khan, and the Dominion combined.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It is heavily implied that the invasion occurs thanks to the actions of future Janeway back in "Endgame".
- Obi-Wan Moment: Both T'Lana (see Star Trek: The Next Generation Relaunch) and Charivretha zh'Thane (of the Star Trek Deep Space Nine relaunch) die like this, peacefully accepting their fate when they are caught in the bombardment of Vulcan and Andor, respectively.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Subverted: The Admiralty seems really stupid for not distributing transphasic torpedoes throughout the fleet. Turns out that they were right.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Borg Collective, following the loss of the transwarp network. The Borg's new goal, until they are stopped/saved is simply "destroy everything".
- Perfect Pacifist People: The Caeliar see themselves as this. They're certainly not actually perfect, mind you.
- Poisonous Person: The Chelons' natural poison defenses come into play at one point (having been established in Star Trek: Vanguard). A Hirogen hunter is quite embarrassed to find himself defeated by a dead man, having released the toxin while killing a Chelon crewman.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The Borg war, pretty much. Yes, the Federation won, the Collective was liberated, the darkness has been lifted, there is peace, but Deneva, Risa, Coridan and several other major worlds are gone, many other major worlds are damaged, and 70 Billion people are dead. There isn't any mood to celebrate.
- Rousing Speech: Martok gives one to the assembled High Council:
"Blood shed for a friend is sacred, a debt of honour. And if you won’t stand and fight beside a friend in blood, then you are not a Klingon. You are not a warrior. Run home to your beds and hide, I have no use for you! I won’t die in the company of such petaQ’pu. The sons of our sons will sing of these battles. Time will erase our sins and fade our scars, but our names will live on in songs of honour. The Borg are coming, my brothers. Stand and fight beside me now, and let us make warriors born in ages to come curse Fek’lhr that they were not here to SHARE OUR GLORY!”
- Screw You, Elves: The Human characters are somewhat unimpressed by Caeliar claims of cultural superiority.
- Sequel Hook: The Children of the Storm. Indeed, they've since been followed up on in the Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch books. The trilogy also sets the stage for the rise of the Typhon Pact. See A Singular Destiny and Star Trek: Typhon Pact.
- Start of Darkness: The origin of the Borg is finally revealed. It is extremely complicated and involves a French Canadian, alien whalers, and Inyx's ex-wife.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The Caeliar.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: President Bacco tries to pull off a joint operation between the United Federation of Planets, Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire, Imperial Romulan State, Cardassian Union, Gorn Hegemony, Breen Confederacy, Talarian Republic, Ferengi Alliance and Tholian Assembly. Eventually, everyone except the Tholians agrees.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Borg.
- Throwaway Country: Not that anybody really cares about Acamar or Barolia mind you. Averted later on in the series by having some important planets get destroyed as well.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: So the Columbia meets with the Caeliar in the twenty-second century. When Erigol is destroyed, portals are created going to different times and places. Captain Hernandez ends up in a distant part of the alpha quadrant, 800 years earlier. Another city-ship is sent to a far corner of the universe, near the beginning of time (eventually causing the catastrophe which destroyed Erigol in the first place). A third goes back in time to the delta quadrant seven thousand years earlier, where they give rise to the Borg...are you taking notes?
- Turtle Power: A Chelon character wins one for the team even in death.
- Villain Pedigree: The Borg recover nicely from their Villain Decay.
- Was Once a Man: The Borg collective itself, based on a synthesis of the worst aspects of a Caeliar and her Human victims
- Wham! Episode: By the end of this trilogy 40% of Starfleet has been destroyed, 70 billion people are dead, and the Borg are gone.
- What the Hell, Hero?: La Forge tells Captain Picard off for plotting to annihilate the Borg with a Weapon of Mass Destruction rather than considering Hernandez's approach.
- Indeed, a Weapon of Mass Destruction that Picard has always condemned, which if used would have the Klingons and Romulans up in arms (quite justifiably) and which Picard's crew and friends fought - in some cases to the death - to prevent being used elsewhere. Most importantly, Picard's approach wouldn't have worked anyway. He had totally given up, and was fixated on a "go down shooting!" apocalyptic mindset whereas Hernandez, Dax and Riker were legitimately trying to put a stop to the destruction.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Implied to be the origin of the Borg