"Shortest War Ever" is a Star Trek Online fanfic by StarSword, set in the Bait and Switch shared universe. It was written for Unofficial Literary Challenge #36: "Rhyme Directive" on the Arc Forums.

With the Milky Way Galaxy finally in a relative peace following the end of the Iconian War, Captain Kanril Eleya of USS Bajor is dispatched to observe a Nuclear Age civilization on the planet Volante. Though she intends to stick around only long enough for a science vessel to arrive, fast-moving events on the surface put her on a collision course with nothing less than the Prime Directive itself.

Though originally planned as a one-shot, after requests from other authors StarSword hinted at a miniseries, eventually naming it Case Nightmare Red when "Shortest War Ever" was reposted to


Epigraph: "So Long, Mom" by Tom Lehrer

In the Confederation of Samar on the planet Volante, the Supreme Cabinet meets regarding a confrontation with the rival People's Syndicalist Dominion over a nuclear missile base on the island of Valdemar, which ends with the decision to mount a naval blockade against the island.

High above them, USS Bajor monitors planetary communications while awaiting the arrival of the Rhode Island-class starship USS Karelia. Kanril Eleya is irritated at best by a Dominion propaganda video, but Commander Birail Riyannis is intrigued by a rudimentary mathematical proof on warp theory.

At that moment, Petty Officer Martin Karlsson detects the Samarian naval deployment. Riyannis comments that the Sabek have had one limited nuclear war already, noting a crater left by a megaton-range thermonuclear explosion. Eleya orders some computer simulations be run to predict possible outcomes, then with little else to do, goes off-duty. Riyannis gives her some Sabek novels acquired by an away team from a Dominion library.

Later, Reshek Gaarra comes to get Eleya from her quarters. She is engrossed in the novel Egg and Excelsior by Va'sheft of Tabriz, and decides privately that if just one of their writers is that good, the species is worth saving.

The results of the simulations are not favorable: Riyannis predicts a one-in-six chance of an extinction-level event within 48 hours. Eleya asks for options and the Prime Directive is pointed out in response. Lieutenant Dul'krah, Clan Korekh reacts angrily to this, blaming the law for the near-extinction of his own species and pointing out that it was also used to justify Federation inaction in the Occupation of Bajor. Eleya agrees with his point but points out that they don't know yet what is going to happen, and that she'd rather seek permission to intervene from up the chain of command.

Eleya requests this permission from Admiral Eric Velasquez, who is reluctant to grant it. Eleya argues that she is only planning to act in the event of an extinction-level war, but they are interrupted by an alarm from the bridge: that war is happening now. Eleya sounds battle stations and demands that Velasquez authorize her to intervene. He refuses to do so without consulting Starfleet Command, and Eleya swears and disconnects him.

On Eleya's orders, USS Bajor begins a targeted orbital bombardment combined with shuttlecraft airstrikes and use of tractor beams, transporters, and deflector shields against the nuclear forces of both the Alliance for Global Unity and the People's Syndicalist Dominion. A mere 22 warheads out of tens of thousands get through, causing an estimated 60 million deaths. Eleya orders the ship's electronic countermeasures dropped and breaks into planetary communications, announcing to the Sabek:

“Citizens of Volante, this is Captain Kanril Eleya of the United Federation of Planets. Your war is over.”

In the aftermath, Admiral Velasquez argues with Eleya about her actions. She initially uses a creative interpretation of General Order 24 to justify her actions, arguing it to be in conflict with the Prime Directive when it came to a planetary extinction event, before admitting that "I did the only phekk'ta thing that was going to let me sleep at night!" Velasquez expresses his sympathies for her position but orders her suspended from command of Bajor pending a board of inquiry into her actions, effective upon the arrival of Rear Admiral Pekara Rader with additional ships. While waiting for her to arrive, Eleya begins first contact protocols with the leaders of the two Sabek blocs.

To be continued.

Memorable quotesEdit

"Commander [Quataris sh'Thash], shut that crap off. Prophets, I haven't seen ham like that since the Iconian War."
Captain Kanril Eleya on a PSD propaganda video
"Thirty minutes after it began, the Third Alliance-Dominion War ceased with a whimper, not a cataclysm, as generals, statesmen, merchants, and laborers raised bleary, shellshocked eyes to the perfect, impassive blue sky over their lands, collectively wondering what the bloody hell just happened?"
— narration



BenraRachel ConnorArak EsplinAlicia GantumurKanril EleyaKar'tanMartin KarlssonKinloDul'krah, Clan KorekhTesjha PhohlRagenRek'narReshek GaarraBirail RiyannisTer'grafQuataris sh'ThashTro'drahtVa'krehtEric VelasquezPeter Wiggin
Referenced only 
Zefram CochraneKanril TorvoPekara RaderChiga RiyannisVelar ShanVa'sheft of Tabriz


Third Alliance-Dominion War
Referenced only 
Iconian War


Volante (Confederation of Samar: IbakaValdemar)

Races and culturesEdit

AndorianBajoranHumanPe'khdarSabekTrill (Trill symbiont)
Referenced only 

Ranks and titlesEdit

admiral (Royal Lord Admiral) • captainchief of the boatcommand master chief petty officercommandercryptologic techniciangenerallieutenantlieutenant commanderlieutenant junior gradepetty officer second classSecretary of Intelligence AffairsSecretary-GeneralSibling High Ministertactical officer
Referenced only 
rear admiral

Starships and vehiclesEdit

ballistic missile submarinebomberfrigateUSS Bajor (Galaxy-class)
Referenced only 
Al-Birjandi (Type-7 shuttlecraft) • Hubble (Starfleet shuttlecraft) • USS Glyrhond (Yellowstone-class) • USS Karelia (Rhode Island-class) • Vell-os (Starfleet shuttlecraft)

States and organizationsEdit

Alliance for Global Unity (Sabek) (Confederation of Samar: Supreme Cabinet) • People's Syndicalist Dominion (Valdemar) • United Federation of Planets (Starfleet: Starfleet Command)

Technology and weaponsEdit

ballistic mesh vestballistic missiledeflector shieldelectronic countermeasuresPADDphaser arrayradarquantum torpedosonartractor beamtransporter

Other referencesEdit

General Order 24novelPrime DirectivepropagandaReckoning of Dala KorThe Thrawn Trilogy

External linksEdit