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Old September 3 2011, 04:10 PM   #1
Bry_Sinclair
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Location: Along the border of Talarian space
Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

Hello all,

This is a little teaser for my latest work on the Border Service cutter U.S.S. Silverfin. It follows on a few weeks from the events of "The Ties That Bind".

I hope you enjoy it.

* * * * *

Chapter 1


Office of Rear Admiral T’Rona, Star Station Freedom
Tamsen System, Talarian Border
Stardate: 55201.1 (March 15th, 2378)

Rear Admiral T’Rona, Commander of the Third Border Cutter Squadron, sat in her office looking over the latest reports on the Squadron’s anti-smuggling operations—the largest such mission that had been undertaken since before the Dominion War had broken out. The operation had lasted for seven weeks and had been officially concluded, but during that time the four teams had searched eighty-nine ships, seized thirty-seven that were transporting contraband, whilst the actions of the U.S.S. Silverfin had uncovered the reappearance of the Chanok—a brutal species banned from Federation territory over a century ago, who now appeared to have a considerable involvement in the illegal activities along the Talarian border. A very successful mission. She had noted several commendations for crewmembers that had performer above and beyond the call of duty during the time.

Of the eight ships involved in the operation, both Aerie-Class patrol scouts as well as the Silverfin would be putting in for crew R&R as the ships were re-supplied, whilst the U.S.S. Lobo would need some repairs after chasing a Ferengi merchantman into a asteroid belt—fortunately no on had been injured and they had secured the ship, which had been carrying Ketracel White, Zyth-Raan B and various other narcotics. She had already spoken with Lieutenant Commander Greta Weir, the Squadron Maintenance Officer, who said that the Lobo would be back on active duty in five days. Whilst Squadron Quartermaster Henry Mitchell assured her that the Silverfin, H’krii and K’Shod would all be restocked within a few hours of docking—though all three ships had a minimum of seventy-two hours R&R at Star Station Freedom, the Talarian Incursion the previous year showed that they needed to be ready for any situation as quickly as possible.

Before she could dwell on the events of last year the intercom chirped. “Kasan to T’Rona,” came the voice of her attaché, Lieutenant JG Azaal Kasan, a highly efficient young Trill who had held the post since the beginning of the year.

“Go ahead Lieutenant.”

“Admiral, you have an incoming transmission from Starfleet Headquarters, the office of Vice Admiral Bouvier.”

Deirdre Bouvier was the Border Service Commander, although she had never served a single day on a Cutter or a Star Station—something T’Rona found most illogical for someone in her position (T’Rona herself had spent forty-nine years on Cutters before she’d accepted her promotion to the admiralty). However, Bouvier was the ranking officer and T’Rona respected the chain of command, even if she did not personally agree with Starfleet’s decision.

“Thank you Lieutenant. Put her through.”

On her screen the image of the Border Service logo replaced the report she had been reading, a moment later it was replaced with the severe visage of Bouvier. “Admiral,” T’Rona said by way of greeting.

“Rear Admiral,” Bouvier began, “I trust that your crack down on smuggling was successful.”

“Yes sir. I was in the process of reviewing and compiling the reports for you.”

“As soon as possible Rear Admiral,” she stated, then glanced at a PADD lying on her desk. “I have been looking over the Third Squadron complement and decided to redeploy several ships.”

T’Rona’s right eyebrow lifted, the closest she got to an expression of total shock and disbelief. “Admiral that may not be advisable—given the actions of the Talarians last year. We lost two cutters and two others were severely damaged. Had it not been for elements of the Fifth Fleet on tactical manoeuvres in the region, their incursion into Federation space would have been far more severe.

“Our present deployment may only have minimal effectiveness if they attack in force, with their improved weaponry,” she finished, though going by the stern expression on Bouvier’s already pinched face, she suspected that her logic would not be heeded.

“Rear Admiral, their attempted invasion was a year ago and in all that time they have shown no signs of trying again. Your Squadron will be returned to its previous levels, and the other ships will be reassigned.”

“Sir, there was no signs of aggression prior to their incursion fifty-four weeks ago. Although my Intelligence Officer is being extremely fastidious in monitoring their movements, there is always the chance that they will act out with the realms of probability and ‘blindside’ us once again.”

“We repelled them before Rear Admiral, we will do so again,” she said with an edge to her voice. “This isn’t a consultation, it’s an order.”

T’Rona held back her continued argument; she knew that there would be no chance of convincing the Vice Admiral, now that her mind was made up. “What ships will be redeployed?”

“The Medusa and Thunderbird will remain with the Squadron, to replace the T’Vor and Cyclops. But the Hercules, K’Shod, Lobo, Satyr and Kukui are all being redeployed—effective immediately.”

Removing the four cutters and one scout would return the Third Squadron down to its previous level before the incursion. Though it had proved to be sufficient during peacetime, the attack last year (now combined with the re-emergence of the Chanok) showed that the hostile forces in the region were testing the strength and capabilities of the Federation. She told Bouvier as much.

“Admiral, this may not be the time to reduce our forces in the region. We must also follow up on the Starfleet technology and weaponry that was being smuggled by the Orion freighter Xeros—which battlefields the equipment was scavenged from and its ultimate destination.”

That brought Bouvier up short, and she seemed to mull over the point T’Rona had made. There was every chance that the Starfleet Criminal Investigative Service or Starfleet Intelligence would be given the assignment, but in order to get fast results a thorough knowledge of the region would be needed—and no one could beat the Border Cutter in that regard.

“Other squadrons are in need of those ships,” Bouvier mused.

“I understand that, sir. However, reassigning all five ships may be presumptuous, given recent development. May I suggest that the Third Squadron retains the K’Shod and Kukui whilst the other three ships are reassigned. Not only were the weapons and hardware heading into neutral space in this region, but the two battlefields from which the equipment was scavenged are both within close proximity to our patrol routes.”

She saw that Bouvier didn’t like the suggestion; however T’Rona knew it to be the best compromise available. “A scout could be sent to inspect each site and monitor them for any further non-sanctioned salvaging operations, whilst the Kukui has the speed and capabilities needed to tackle the last remnants of this smuggling operation.”

“I will consider leaving the K’Shod under your command, however Rear Admiral Fitzharris has asked for additional ships for the Fourth Squadron, so I was planning on dispatching the Kukui to Star Station Destiny.”

That didn’t surprise T’Rona. Quentin Fitzharris, her peer with the Fourth Squadron, was one of Bouvier’s strongest allies among the Border Service command structure, and as such got special treatment from the Vice Admiral.

For her part, T’Rona raised an eyebrow in a surprised manner. “I was unaware that there were any increasing hostilities or workload for the Four Squadron.”

That seemed to flummox Bouvier. “There isn’t at present,” she admitted slowly.

In reality, relations between the Federation and the Gorn Hegemony were vastly improving, following an incident during the war, when a Starfleet ship helped safeguard the First Descendant (their equivalent of a crown prince) from an assassin sent by the Orion Syndicate—Starfleet Intelligence suspected that the hit had been ordered by the Dominion, but there was no proof to support their suspicious. Though the Gorn hadn’t allied with the UFP in the conflict, things in the immediate region had quietened down considerably.

“I see,” she replied simply, though her tone spoke volumes.

Bouvier’s eyes narrowed as she scrutinised her. T’Rona held her stare levelly, her stoic exterior never slipping, though Bouvier seemed to be going through a variety of different emotions, annoyance and irritation being most prominent. Though T’Rona was lower in rank, she had more years of service under her belt and made sure to keep a close eye on what was happening within the Border Service and the Cutter Squadrons. Bouvier was determined to restructure the Service, with Squadron Commander’s and cutter Captain’s who would tow her line. T’Rona had spent ninety-two years in Starfleet, sixty-three of which were with the Border Service (the last eleven of which as a flag officer), so she knew the intricacies of the system and how it worked, and could spot an opportunistic member of the brass when she met one. Her long service history afforded her many contacts across every level of Starfleet, so she could see the way things were going back at Headquarters and what that would mean for the Border Service.

It was a dangerous path she was on, but she made sure that she couldn’t be considered disobedient or insubordinate in her suggestion or the pitch of her voice. Bouvier seemed to be trying to think of way to regain control of the conversation, as it was obvious that she had already decided what she wanted and T’Rona was going against her script.

“With our current tension with the Talarians, the re-emergence of the Chanok and these scavengers working within our area of operational area, the presence on a new Sequoia-Class would show those involved that Starfleet takes the defence of this area seriously,” she stated dispassionately.

The muscles in Bouvier’s jaw clenched and flexed, whilst she continued to scowl at T’Rona. After a long moment the Border Service Commander finally relented with the slightest of nods. “Very well Rear Admiral. I will allow the Third Squadron to retain the Kukui as well as the K’Shod,” she quickly added in an almost threatening tone, “for now.

“Though if the SCIS or Intel opt to lead the investigation, then they will be reassigned,” she finished

“Understood sir,” T’Rona replied with a nod.

“I’ll speak with SCIS and Intel personally. I will contact you when a decision has been reached. Bouvier out.” With that the screen reverted back to the Border Service logo, before displaying the report she had originally been studying.

The conversation had gone as well as could be expected. T’Rona had known that she wouldn’t be able to retain her expanded force forever, though she had expected a greater presence in the region for longer than a year. The Hercules was on loan from the First Squadron that patrolled the Romulan Neutral Zone—just like all the other Apollo-Class cutters—whilst the Lobo and Satyr would be rotated onto another Squadron to provide further cover (whilst other ships underwent refit or upgrades). She was determined however to at least hold onto the K’Shod and Kukui, as both crews had begun to settle and had established good professional and personal relationships with the other cutter crews, as well as the staff onboard Freedom.

Part of commanding a Squadron was to look out for its best interests, to keep if functioning at peak efficiency with whatever resources were at hand, so T’Rona wasn’t about to give up two ships that would be of more use to her in a region that needed the extra eyes, ears and muscle. Now that she had retained them, she was determined to keep them. In order to do that however, she would have to ask for support from the SCIS and SI representatives on Freedom.

She tapped the direct comm link that connected her office with the outer anteroom. “Lieutenant, have Commanders Macintosh and Drizuk report to my office on the double.”

“Yes sir,” the Trill promptly replied.

T’Rona closed down the report on her screen and brought up the details on the freighter Xeros, the cargo they had been carrying and the analysis that both the Silverfin’s Chief Engineer had conducted, as well as that of Commander Weir, and the reports that Intelligence Officer Macintosh and Drizuk (the SCIS team leader that had been assigned for the smuggling crackdown) had filed during their investigations. They had proven to work well together, and before Drizuk was transferred to another sector, she wanted to make use of him and his team. She would ensure that both the SCIS and Starfleet Intelligence supported her belief that the Border Service was best suited to lead the investigation—with their full support of course.

* * * * *
__________________
Avatar: Captain Susanna Leijten, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470, Border Service Third Cutter Squadron
Manip by: FltCpt. Bossco (STPMA)

Last edited by Bry_Sinclair; September 4 2011 at 12:16 AM.
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Old September 4 2011, 12:17 AM   #2
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

I've just realised that the piece I originally posted was a rough draft. I have since posted the proper version.

Bry
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Old September 6 2011, 04:38 PM   #3
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

Sickbay, Deck 4, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470
Docking Berth 2, Star Station Freedom

Lieutenant JG Tessi Jenka RN, Acting Chief Medical Officer of the cutter Silverfin, ran her final scan of Crewman Nyk Drim, before shutting her tricorder and setting it back on the equipment tray. The Bolian was trying not to stare at her as he always did during their session together—she suspected (correctly) that the Security Guard had a little crush on her, which wasn’t unheard of over the course of a lengthy treatment regime.

The rookie enlistee had been injured in a fire fight onboard a Chanok warship almost seven weeks ago. The weapons the hostile forces had been using had burned straight through the armour, skin, muscle and bone of his right shoulder. It had been a horrific injury, but she had seen much worse during the Dominion War. Had he sustained it prior to the war, his career would have most likely been over, but one thing conflict was good for was the evolution of technology and methodology. New means to repair such injuries had been developed in the midst of the fighting, designed to get as many trained soldiers back onto active duty as quickly as possible. Though she hated their origin, they had saved many lives and continued to do so now that the war had ended. Luckily, the Silverfin was exceptionally well stocked and she had been able to save the crewman’s shoulder and arm in surgery, and then spent the last seven weeks helping him with physiotherapy.

“It looks like we are done Mr Drim,” she told him with a friendly smile.

“Really?” he said, sounding a little disappointed. “We seem to be getting better at this, Lieutenant, seems to take no time at all now.”

She couldn’t help but notice how the elongated lobes of his ears went darker when he looked at her, a response to various biochemical processes that went on with Bolian’s when faced with a prospective mate—like a human’s cheeks flushing. Though flattered, Jenka had vowed when she’d entered Starfleet to never get involved with a shipmate.

“I’ll see you in a couple of days then,” he said as he hopped down off the biobed.

“Um, Crewman, that’s you’re treatments finished. Period.”

The look of shock and horror that crossed his round face was very touching. His treatments should only have taken four weeks, but due to an allergic reaction to some of the drugs used, they had been forced to go down a slower path, but that had now come to an end.

“Oh,” he mumbled, sounding as though his whole world had just come to an end.

“I’ll let Master Chief Syva know you are cleared for full active duty,” she told him, making sure to keep her tone pleasant, yet professional.

“Oh, ok.”

Drim looked about ready to say something else, but then apparently thought better of it and then headed for the exit, his shoulders slumped and his head drooping. She watched the guard leave, then cleaned up the medical equipment she had been using and took the tray back to the trolley where all the others were kept.

Corpsman Echor was seated at the wards computer terminal, fighting to keep from smirking. During her weeks onboard, Jenka had come to enjoy working with the young Tellarite, but now she stopped and scowled at the non-com.

“What?” she asked.

“Nothing,” Echor replied quickly.

“Seriously Jili, what’s wrong?”

Echor looked up at her, a wide grin threatening to tear her face in two. “Surely you can see how much Nyk likes you.”

“I hadn’t noticed,” she lied.

“Yeah, right,” Echor stated, sounding unconvinced. She leaned forward over the console and lowered her voice—even though they were alone. “I heard from a reliable source down in Security, that Mr Drim was working up the courage to ask you out.”

“Who told you that?” Jenka demanded, moving closer to the medic.

“A reliable contact I have among my fellow non-coms down in the Armoury. Scuttlebutt has it that the kid is nuts about you.”

Jenka groaned and cover her face with her hands. She had thought it was just a crush, she hadn’t realised he was actually on the verge of asking her out—which she had unceremoniously shot down just moments ago. She would have politely declined had he asked, but rejecting him before he even did so would be tough on the rookie.

“Dammit,” she muttered to herself. “Thanks for that, Jili. I feel terrible now!”

“Here to help,” the Tellarite replied cheerfully, then turned back to her duties.

Heading through to the medlab, bypassing the CMO’s office altogether, she propped herself up on one of the stools and sighed heavily. The day had started off bad enough—it was the five week anniversary of her rejection letter from Starfleet Medical, telling her in no uncertain terms that her place on the Medical Officer’s Advanced Training Programme (an elite scheme for nurses, corpsmen and medtechs to qualify as doctors) had been withdrawn and given to another—and now she had crushed a young man’s self-confidence.

It’s no wonder they rejected me, if that’s my bedside manner, a blunt voice in the back of her mind chided.

“Just be quiet,” she muttered to herself, never realising she had spoken aloud.

The selection committee had accepted her and given her the opportunity she had wanted since she served in the war, but her sudden temporary posting to the Silverfin had put a spanner in the works, and the committee hadn’t been willing to give her a leeway. She could reapply the following year, but there was no guarantee that she would get in. So when the cutter’s surgeon returned from his ‘secondment’ on Betazed, she was essentially homeless.

She shook her head. The last thing she needed was to dwell on that, Doctor Mbeki was off-ship for several weeks, seeing to the Chief Operations Officer—who was being treated for an unknown mental trauma he’d sustained at the start of the year. Besides, I’ve got a shattered ego and broken heart to help mend now.

* * * * *

Bridge, Deck 1, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470
Docking Berth 2, Star Station Freedom

With the cutter nestled safely in dock at Freedom, the crew were on some much deserved liberty, utilising the Star Station’s recreational facilities to the max. A skeleton crew remained on each shift, as per regulations, to carry out a number of minor tasks and duties that needed to be covered. As such, Commander Amorin—the Silverfin’s Benzenite First Officer—was supervising just two others on the Bridge; Petty Officer Jethro “JJ” Jackson was at Ops and Ensign Jose Tyler V was at Tactical.

For his part, Amorin sat at the Engineering station. Even when he was on watch, he never liked to sit in the Captain’s Chair—to him, that was Susanna Leijten’s place, not his. Besides, after his poor judgement during their encounter with the Chanok, he didn’t deserve to occupy the centre seat. A Star Stallion badly damaged and a rookie severely injured under his command. Luckily for him, the shuttle had been repaired (though it had taken a week to bang out all the dings and repair the fried systems) and Crewman Drim was on the mend and due back on active duty when they launched; but even knowing that, he couldn’t help but kick himself at his reckless tactics and rash choices.

I told Susanna I wasn’t suited for command, he scorned himself. Three years ago, after Captain Ja-Inrosh had been killed in action and Leijten promoted to fill the vacancy, her first act as CO had been to promote him to Commander and First Officer. He had argued against the promotion, resolute in his stand that he was an engineer, nothing more. But with high crew losses across the fleet, the chances of getting an experienced officer for a cutter were slim to nil, so he had (grudgingly) accepted, fully intending to return to his previous post when a suitable replacement could be found. But that hadn’t happened, and thing only got worse after the stop/loss order was rescinded and many left the uniform behind. Over time he had grown more comfortable in his role, even enjoying the diversity it provided, but in the back of his mind, he had always hoped to return to his vocation.

I could always put in for a transfer, he mused. There are always ships in need of good engineers. That way the Silverfin would get a First Officer worthy of the position.

He shook his bulbous head. Looking for the easy way out wouldn’t help; he’d still feel as bad as he did. He had had three years in the job, yes there had been tough times and difficult assignments, but they had always managed to get through relatively unscathed. The Chanok encounter was the first time he had failed at anything in his career, it was a feeling he wasn’t used too and left a bitter taste behind.

“Commander?” stated Tyler—obviously not the first time the young human had called to him.

Amorin looked over his shoulder at the fresh-faced ensign. “Yes, Mr Tyler?”

“I’ve got an incoming transmission from Betazed, its Doctor Mbeki, sir.”

The edges of him mouth (hidden by his breather mask) tugged upwards. It had been a while since he had spoken with their Chief Medical Officer, a man who was wiser than his years and was a friend and confidante to many onboard—he had been there when Amorin had needed to vent about the change in his career track.

“Patch it through here, Ensign.”

“Aye sir.”

Turning back to his console, he cleared one monitor for the comlink. The Border Service delta appeared for a few seconds, before being replaced with Mbeki’s kind face, easy smile and shaved head (which he did to hide the fact his hairline was receding).

“Amorin. How’re things back at the homestead?”

“Good. We’ve got a few days respite, before we need to head back out,” he paused for a moment. Lowering his voice as best he could, he asked, “How is Kolanis doing?”

The smile faded and a troubled look crossed his face. “Still no change I’m afraid. We’ve run every scan and test the centre has available, but there is no evidence of any physical trauma or neurological instability that could be causing his condition. They’ve even called on the Vulcan Institute of Neuro Science for assistance—no one knows the humanoid brain better—but it even has them stumped. So we’re having to go back over our options.”

Amorin was saddened to hear that there were no developments. Lieutenant Commander Kolanis Daezan had been affected by ‘something’ onboard the ghost ship U.S.S. Cairo, which had appeared close to Talarian space, three years after being reported MIA along the Neutral Zone. He had been taken home to Betazed for treatment, which everyone had high hopes for.

“Is he any better?”

Mbeki shook his head. “I’m afraid not. We have to keep him in a coma; otherwise he goes from screaming to crying to babbling incoherently.”

“I’m sure I speak for everyone onboard, when I say that we’re thinking of him—and you of course, Tunde.”

His friend smiled softly at his attempt to lighten the mood. “Thanks for that Amorin.” Mbeki looked over his shoulder at the relatively deserted Bridge. “I had actually wanted to talk to Susanna. I take it she’s not onboard at present?”

“I’m afraid not. She is meeting with Hank Mitchell, an old friend who is on Freedom.” Amorin noticed a slight smirk creep across Mbeki’s lips. “What is it?”

The doctor shrugged his shoulders. “Oh, it’s nothing. I can try her again later. How long are you in dock for?”

“We’re hoping for five days R&R.”

Mbeki scrutinised him for a moment, his smile slowly disappearing. “Is everything alright Amorin?”

Had Amorin had eyebrows, they would have shot up with surprise. Thanks to the apparatus he had to wear in order to survive in an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere his face was unreadable to most—except those he had worked closely with over a number of years. Though he considered Mbeki a friend, he had though that he was doing a good job at hiding the little outward nuances that something was bothering him.

“It’s nothing.” Mbeki’s eyes narrowed. “Really. I’m fine.”

“You know, Amorin, as unreadable as your face is, you’re a terrible liar. What’s the matter?”

Sighing heavily, Amorin knew it was pointless to continue the charade for much longer, once Mbeki caught the scent of a problem he wouldn’t let up. Keep his voice as low as he could, he began to outline what had happened seven weeks ago, making sure to include the extensive damage to both Drim and the Stallion.

“What’s the Captain had to say about all of this?”

“She couldn’t have been better.”

“And Drim?”

“His treatment has gone well and he’s due back on full active duty.”

“I don’t doubt that, but how is he?”

“I...eh...I haven’t had a chance to speak with him,” Amorin admitted sheepishly.

“You haven’t spoken with him in seven weeks? Amorin you can’t just ignore the man the rest of the time either of you are onboard. You need to speak with him, see how he’s doing, let him know how sorry you are for what happened. It won’t abolish the guilt you’re feeling, but it will be a step in the right direction, and it’ll help him in more ways than one.

“The first chance you get, Amorin, you speak to him. That’s an order,” Mbeki added.

“You can’t order me, Doctor, I outrank you.”

“Starfleet Medical regulations give me the authority as both the Silverfin’s Chief Medical Officer and a certified counsellor.”

Amorin held his hands up in mock surrender. “Alright sir. I will speak with him when I can.”

“Good.” Behind Mbeki there was a page for him, asking him to report to the psychometric laboratory. “Sounds like my tests were finished sooner than I’d expected. Tell Susanna I will comm her later, and I better hear that you’ve spoken with Crewman Drim or there’ll be trouble.”

“I will. Silverfin out.”

The monitor reverted to the delta for a moment, before going dark. He studied his reflection on the dark panel and found himself feeling a little foolish. He knew that he should have spoken with Drim, to see how the young Bolian was doing. Of course he’d heard from Master Chief Syva and Nurse Jenka how he was holding up, but all of it was very technical.

He was just fortunate he had a friend who was willing and able to give him a kick in the ass when he needed it.

* * * * *
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Avatar: Captain Susanna Leijten, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470, Border Service Third Cutter Squadron
Manip by: FltCpt. Bossco (STPMA)
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Old September 6 2011, 08:46 PM   #4
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

I had been wondering if there would be any more about this interesting cast of characters. Good to see another Silvefin story.

A lot of serious and ugly politicking going on within the upper echelons of the Border Service. Let's hope Silverfin and her crew won't fall victim to it.
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Old September 6 2011, 10:35 PM   #5
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

Well with Sigourney Weaver cast as Rear Admiral T'Rona, do you honestly think she'll take any crap?

I actually have a few ideas for Silverfin-based stories saved which I might start work on, seeing as how my Trident series is stubbornly refusing to write itself!
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Old September 6 2011, 10:42 PM   #6
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

I can't remember if I've posted the photomanips on the U.S.S. Silverfin before, but I thought I would add the links for them in case I hadn't.

All the work was done the the fabulous FltCpt. Bossco over at http://stpma.net/.

Firstly the main cast:
http://i1107.photobucket.com/albums/...SSilverfin.jpg
[NOTE: I envision Tony Todd in the role of Commander Amorin, or someone with an equally fantastic voice]

And secondly, some of the more important guest stars:
http://i1107.photobucket.com/albums/...rfinPart02.png
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Old September 6 2011, 11:28 PM   #7
Lazarus
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

This is the first "Silverfin" work I've read and I'd just like to express my admiration, it reads as well as most of the official Star Trek books that I've bought over the last few years.

Good work!
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Old September 6 2011, 11:55 PM   #8
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

Why thank you Lazarus

I have to give a huge thanks to TheLoneRedshirt for letting me loose in his little nook of fandom (what with the Border Service being his idea).

If you're interested in reading some more of the Silverfin's missions, here's what I have so far (in chronological order):
Ambush - http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=129445
S.O.S. - http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=129565
Lost And Found - http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=127937
The Ties That Bind - http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=129852

I do apologise for typos and some very obvious mistakes, I tend to write as quickly as I can to get it done and then post it. After all I'm a fanfic writer, not an editor

If anyone is interested in more details as to the ship, her crew and the Third Cutter Squadron, I have been developing quite a bit for my own reference that I can share.

Bry
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Old September 7 2011, 02:27 AM   #9
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

I know that I would, definitely, be interested. Glad to see you writing about Silverfin again. I've been missing the Border Service stories.

Keep it up, Bry. You're one of my favorite authors.
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Old September 8 2011, 11:37 PM   #10
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

Central Park, Star Station Freedom
Tamsen System, Talarian Border

Before being demoted from Starbase to Star Station, the facilities large, domed arboretum had been considered one of the best in the sector. Under normal circumstances, as the bases were converted to meet the needs of the Border Service, the gardens were usually among the first thing to go, but in this instance the designers had had a change of heart and kept it—though slightly reduced it in size. Since becoming operational as Freedom, the unique garden had been nicknamed ‘Central Park’, which had since stuck and become its official designation.

Susanna Leijten had never spent much time in the garden, usually too busy when the Silverfin was docked to take a moment to smell the roses. But now she strolled along the paths, enjoying the artificial sunlight in the fake blue sky, taking in the vast expanse of flowers, shrubs, trees, grasses and streams. Despite the size of Central Park, it was sparsely populated, which gave the impression she and Henry “Hank” Mitchell were alone on their leisurely walk.

Hank served on Freedom as the Squadron Quartermaster, the man responsible for ensuring all the cutters and support ships were fully stocked and loaded before heading out, and someone she had first met twelve years ago on Star Station Cheron. During the two years they had served together, before he had retired to take care of the family ranch, they had become involved in what was arguably the most intense and fulfilling relationship of her life. Reunited seven weeks ago, just hours before the Silverfin had left on the smuggling crackdown, things had sparked between them once again, though neither of them had broached the issue about what was developing between them. All she knew was that she was once again spending time with a man who made her giddy and tingly, like a schoolgirl with a crush, and she didn’t want to quash that sensation by putting labels on their relationship—even though, in the back of her mind she knew that it needed to be done.

“It ain’t Earth, but its close enough,” Hank stated in his customary Texan drawl.

“Freedom does have holodecks to simulate outdoor locations,” she reminded him.

He chuckled. “Ah know, Suz. But there’s just somethin’ about this place that feels like bein’ back home.”

“I guess us space-brats just don’t understand that. Give me a viewport looking out into the blackness of space and I’m happy.”

He shook his head, tutting in an exaggerated manner. “Yer’ve been out in space too long, Suz. Yer need to get back to yer roots, with some good ol’ dirt under your feet and get yer hands dirty.”

“Serving on a cutter my hands get plenty dirty, thank you very much. Next thing, you’ll be suggesting I try getting on a horse again!”

Hank had to stop as he laughed, the bellowing noise carrying in Central Park. All the while, Leijten winced at the memory of her bruised buttocks following the one and only time he had tried to teach her to ride.

His laughing didn’t last long and he gave her a sympathetic look. “Ah’m sorry, Suz. Gus has always been a peaceable beast. Ah still don’t know what made him throw you off. He ain’t done it again.”

“Not everyone has your way with animals, Hank.”

Mitchell turned to look at her with his kind, sky blue eyes—they were perhaps his nicest feature. He held her gaze for a long moment, making her giddy once again. He was handsome, kind and open, though radiated strength and masculinity, all of which was focused solely on her—making her knees weak. He moved in closer to her, lowering his face to hers, and she knew what was coming next. His lips were gentle but with an underlying passion that he kept in check—their newfound ‘relationship’ hadn’t developed to anything physical, though she knew it was yet another area where they were both very compatible.

The kiss was long and lingering, his strong hands holding her close and the heat of their bodies was intense. Everything around her faded away as she was enveloped in their tender embrace—they could have been standing in the middle of Freedom’s Ops Centre and she wouldn’t have noticed another living soul.

The combadge Hank wore on his checked shirt chirped. “Weir to Mitchell.”

Slowly, unwillingly, their lips parted and he gave her a sad smile, before tapping the pin. “This is Mitchell. What can ah do yer for, Commander?” he asked.

“Senior Chief, I apologise for interrupting you on your day off,” the Squadron Maintenance Officer began, her voice tinted with a slight German accent, “but I’ve just heard from the Sector Supply Office, that shipment that was due in two weeks will be here the day after tomorrow.”

“What?” he asked annoyed. “Why the hell are they doin’ that?”

“They didn’t say. Just that it was en route and would be here in forty hours.”

Hank muttered a few profanities under his breath before sighing heavily. “Ah’ll meet yer in Cargo Ops in ten, Commander. Mitchell out.”

She looked up at him and gave him a knowing look, which he returned with an apologetic smile. “Sorry Suz. Ah gotta deal with this.”

“I understand, Hank. I should check back in with the Silverfin,” she told him, knowing that if anything came up Amorin would inform her. “Should we cancel tonight?”

“Hell no! Do yer know how hard it is to get a table in that Trill place? Ah’ll see yer at eighteen hundred.”

Her smile became an affectionate one. For the rugged and manly exterior, he was a hopeless romantic at heart. “Until then.”

He nodded before headed for the exit. He had only gone a few steps before stopping and looking back at her. “Yer know, Cap’n, yer could pull rank over Commander Weir. Order me to stay.”

Leijten laughed. “One thing you learn early commanding a cutter, you never get on the bad side of your maintenance officer.” She pointed to the exit. “Go.”

He gave her a wink before turning and walking out the exit with his customary casual swagger. She watched him go with a cheeky smile, admiring the way his well-worn jeans clung to his glutes. Sighing to herself, she looked around Central Park once again before heading for the exit as well. She’d head back for the Silverfin, ensure everything was running smooth, then put a call in to Juliette, her sister, on Starbase 201. She needed some sisterly advice about Hank, about whether or not she was nuts to start things back up with him—even if it was what she really wanted. But the memory of the thirteen months after he’d left weighed heavily on her, she had been a wreck after he left and she wasn’t sure she could go through that again.

* * * * *

Flight Deck, Merchantman Tydonis
Ricktor System

Tarae’a strutted onto the cramped Flight Deck and was immediately taken aback by the foul stench of unwashed bodies. She sneered at the assault on her delicate olfactory system, glowering at the two men the body odour emanated from. Jonjong Nos and Kint, her Yridian navigator and Ferengi helmsman respectively, neither of whom had much a concept of personal hygiene (she was lucky if either of them evacuated the refresher after they’d used it) or respect for females—even those that paid for their services. She suffered them as they were both good at what they did, and trying to find replacements was too much hassle at short notice.

Making sure to breathe through her mouth she barked, “Report.”

“We’ve arrived on the outer edge of the Ricktor System,” stated Jonjong, the bathi stick tucked in the corner of his mouth wiggled as he talked—the smoke and spicy scent of the bathi stick wasn’t even enough to mask the hours of sweat, bad breath of flatulence that had built up in the Flight Deck. “No active emissions on sensors.”

I wish the same could be said for in here, she snarled to herself.

“I told you I could get us here without anyone spotting us,” Kint stated, his whiny, high-pitched voice grating on her as it always did.

“Begin scans of the Starfleet wreckage—that’s what they want,” she told Jonjong, ignoring the Ferengi for the moment. The Yridian nodded his wrinkled head and got to work. She then looked at the diminutive pilot. “If our contact is correct, we shouldn’t be interrupted. But keep an eye on the sweeps, just in case.”

“Yeah,” he replied simply, not looking back.

Tarae’a scowled at the back of his chair for a moment, before turning on her stiletto and heading back into the corridor. The doors grinded closed behind her and she paused to take a few deep lungful’s of clean air, then headed for a ladder. The Tydonis was built well over a century ago, at a time when cargo haulers needed to conserve as much power a possible, so in place of turbolifts the crew had to make do with stairs and ladders to get between the three decks. The top deck housed the cockpit, crew cabins and a galley; the mid deck was for the ships computer and sensor systems, fuel tanks, and the upper level of the holds; whilst the bottom deck was for the holds and engine room. It wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination comfortable or attractive, but it was hers.

Born into servitude, she had been nothing more than the plaything of master after master, all of them titillated to have a real Orion Animal Woman to violate. But Tarae’a was a sly and cunning slave, biding her time, building a secret reserve of money she stole from her unsuspecting masters and their many guests—there was no point in trying to escape, without the means to succeed. At twenty, she belonged to a high-ranking Red Orion (she never knew any of their names, referring to each person that owned her as ‘Master’) when she was ready to make her move. As her rotund Master had her pinned under his flabby body, sweating and wheezing on top of her, she had strained her neck up and bit into his throat. As his blood flowed down her oesophagus, he gargled and groaned, unable to call to the guards that stood outside his door. Even to this day, ten years later, she could still taste the metallic tang of his blood in her mouth.

Once he went limp, she slid out from under him, took her time and washed up, before leaving his chambers and telling his guards that she had worn him out and he wasn’t to be disturbed. Using his security codes, she overrode the sensors to mask what she was up to, gotten into his personal shuttle and left the ship. She was half a light-year away before his body was discovered.

In the ten years since she had liberated herself, she had procured the Tydonis from a junkyard, hired on a small crew and started working for herself. She had quickly made a name for herself, willing to take on any job for the right price, building up a large clientele and an impressive list of plants. Her most recent job was proving to be highly profitable, whilst her latest contact was perhaps the most useful and reliable she’d ever had.

Stepping off the ladder onto the cargo deck, Tarae’a smiled to herself as she approached the last three members of her crew. Bahqo, her Lissepian engineer, was tinkering with the grappler arms on one of the maintenance pods, whilst D’Gal sat in the small craft going over the pre-flight checks and Kyada stood at the holds only computer terminal. Her smile widened a little at the sight of the broad Klingon squeezed into the pod, but she quickly wiped it from her face as she approached the yellow-skinned Malvarian.

Kyada looked up as she approached and nodded her bald, elongated head Tarae’a’s direction. “Good to launch here.”

Nodding at the deckhand, she then headed for the two pods that sat in the middle of the hold. D’Gal noticed her first, his dark eyes moving over the curves of her exposed green flesh—of which there was quite a lot on display. The Klingon never hid his appreciation of her voluptuous figure or jade-coloured skin—he had left more than a few teeth marks across her body over the three years he’d worked for her.

“Problems?” she asked Bahqo.

The tall and portly mechanic stood up, wiping grease and grim on his already filthy jumpsuit. He shook his head and then absently stroked one of the tendrils of skin the hung down from his chin. “No ma’am. Just recalibrating the arms.”

“Good,” she said simply, before climbing into her pod and running through the checks. Bahqo moved over to join Kyada, as Tarae’a fit the headset in place. She opened the comlink to D’Gal. “Ready to make some easy money?”

“Always.”

She smiled then opened a separate like to Kyada. “Open the doors.”

Ahead of them the large cargo doors groaned open slowly, the faint shimmer of the atmospheric forcefield visible. Tarae’s sealed the pods hatch and then powered the engines. It was time for the vultures the pick the carcasses clean.

* * * * *
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Old September 11 2011, 01:24 PM   #11
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

Chapter 2


The Bazaar, Star Station Freedom
Tamsen System, Talarian Border

With the crews of two cutters, two scouts, a buoy tender and a handful of civilian freighters and transports in dock, Freedom was bustling with activity. Finding a table in an eatery was difficult and the bars were pinned, but somehow Harriet Llewellyn-Smyth and Innis Kalm had gotten lucky and snagged a couple of free chairs outside a little Bajoran bistro. The service was a little slow, but that was to be expected—besides, neither of them had anything else on for the rest of the day.

When a flustered young Bajoran woman finally got to their table, Llewellyn-Smyth couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She pulled her order-PADD out of a pocket on her apron.

“Sorry for the wait.”

“That’s quite alright,” Llewellyn-Smyth told her, in her perfectly pronounced Cambridgeshire accent, accompanied with a friendly smile.

The server returned it. “What can I get you folks?”

“I’ll have the fried shrimp with katterpod salad,” she began, “could I also have a side order of garlic mopa bread.”

“And to drink?” the younger woman asked as she tapped in the details.

“Is the kava juice freshly squeezed?”

“All day, every day,” the waitress stated what was no doubt an advertising slogan.

“Put me down for one.”

The server nodded and added that to her order, then turned to Innis. The young woman looked up at her fellow Bajoran and only then seemed to notice him, with his dark eyes, jet-black hair, sharp cheekbones, narrow jaw and easy smile. She blushed a little and anxiously tucked a rogue lock of hair behind her ear. Llewellyn-Smyth hid a smile, when they had first met (eleven years ago) she had had the same reaction to his good looks, though it wasn’t long before she found out he would never be interested in her in the same way—but that made room for them to become good friends.

“And, um, what can I get you, sir?”

He gave her a wide smile. “I’ll have the hasperat soufflé, extra spicy please.”

“Our hasperat soufflé is the hottest in the sector,” she told him with a mark of pride.

“I’m glad to hear that,” he replied, the smile growing wider which made the servers cheeks an even darker shade of crimson. “And I think I’ll have a kava juice as well.”

The young woman quickly entered his order on her device and looked back at him. “Sure thing. Is there anything else?”

“No thanks, Miss…?”

“I’m Naria,” she replied with a giggle.

“Thank you Naria.”

The server quickly headed off towards the kitchen to place their order, casting a longing look back at their table. Llewellyn-Smyth had to chuckle and shake her head. Innis just looked at her.

“What?”

“Don’t get the poor girl’s hopes up, Kalm.”

“What do you mean?”

She raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean. It’s like the Night Owl all over again! That Rigellian waitress would have imploded if you’d ask her to.”

“I’m just naturally a very friendly guy.”

“No, you’re a flirt—even with women.”

He chuckled. “What you call flirting, I call being nice.”

“There’s being nice and then there’s being ‘nice’,” she told him with air-quotes for emphasis.

Feigning ignorance he looked back towards Naria, who was staring at him from inside the bistro, and gave her a little wave—which she return a little too-enthusiastically. “You’re just jealous that people like me more than you.”

“Except for Ensign Tyler,” she retorted and looked out into the crowds that filled The Bazaar, though out the corner of her eye, she saw his head whip back to look at her, a look of shock on his chiselled features.

He tried to cover it up. “I don’t know what you mean,” he said, trying to sound nonchalant, and failing miserably.

Smiling, she looked back at him. It was now his turn to blush. “Kalm, there’s no point in denying it. I’ve known you too long. Jose is just your type of guy; smart, fit, blond and totally uninterested.”

Before he could retort, Naria returned with their drinks and set them down in front of them—she noted that Innis’ was slightly fuller than her own. He gave her quick smile, before looking back at Llewellyn-Smyth. A little disheartened, the server left again.

“Harry, you’re talking crazy. There’s nothing going on between me and Tyler.”

“Just my point,” she retorted with a smirk. “You’re not exactly subtle, Kalm. Tyler is always uncomfortable around you. Granted, I don’t know him that well, but he was starting to loosen up a little before you arrived, but now he’s right back in his shell.”

“But, I…eh…you see,” he stuttered, before stopping and sighing. “And here I thought I was being subtle.”

She gave him a supportive look. “Kalm, you’ve got many wonderful qualities, but subtle isn’t one of them. You’ve been on the hunt ever since the get-together the night you and Nurse Jenka came aboard.”

“And you’re only bringing this up now?”

Chuckling, she reached over and patted his forearm. “I thought you might have worked it out yourself by now.”

He slouched down a little in his seat. He looked out into the crowds of The Bazaar as they went about the stores and venders in the large open marketplace, though didn’t really seem to take in anything or anyone in particular. For her part, Llewellyn-Smyth sat quietly, knowing he would continue when he was ready.

After several minutes of quiet between them, he looked back at her and sat up again. “Was there even any point?”

“Sorry Kalm, I don’t know what his preference is. Like I said, he was only just starting to loosen up before you arrived.”

He groaned. “Great, I’m two months into an open-ended temporary assignment, and I’ve already made a fool of myself!”

“Aside from me, I doubt anyone else has noticed,” she told him sympathetically, then quickly added, “Except Tyler, of course.”

Innis groaned again. “It’s a good thing you’re not a counsellor!”

“Here you go,” Naria stated as she suddenly appeared at their table, hold two large, square plates. “Extra spicy hasperat soufflé,” she began, setting Innis’ dish down in front of him, “and fried shrimp with katterpod salad and garlic mapa bread.” With both plates on the table she looked between the two of them. “Is there anything else I can get for you?”

“I’m alright, thanks Naria,” Innis said a little solemnly.

“So am I,” replied Llewellyn-Smyth, as the tangy aroma reached her nose. “It smells wonderful.”

Naria gave her a friendly smile. “Enjoy your meal.”

Alone at their table again, she picked up her cutlery and started to plan her attack on the delectable looking food in front of her. She then glanced at Innis, who was staring down at his meal, looking sorry for himself.

“Tonight, what say you and I hit the bars and drown out sorrows in a pitcher or two of Samarian Sunsets?”

He gave her a low chuckle. “You and sunsets don’t mix, remember that weekend we had Armstrong City?”

“After getting off the lunar transport and into the first pub, the rest of that trip is a bit of a blur,” she admitted.

“Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.”

“Come on Kalm, we’re Border Dogs, it’s expected of us to get into trouble in port.”

He laughed. “Oh alright then, but I’m not bailing you out of the brig this time!”

Her smooth brow furled. “What do you mean ‘this time’?”

* * * * *

Captain’s Quarters, Deck 3, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470
Docking Berth 2, Star Station Freedom

Leijten had had a quiet afternoon onboard the Silverfin. As she’d expected, there was nothing to report from the Bridge and with the vast majority of the crew off-ship, the Cutter felt oddly empty. She’d checked in with Engineering and found Elak ko’Parr th’Shaan still hard at work, which wasn’t unusual for the Andorian—who often had to be ordered to go on shore leave. During their latest assignment, she had become aware of a personnel problem he was having with an officer in his section. Though th’Shaan had wanted to have him transferred out, she had asked that he try to help Ensign Feeznar get better settled. So far the Chief Engineer didn’t seem to be having much success, but was keeping at it, as per her orders.

Before she’d left, she’d told th’Shaan that they could discuss the matter in more detail, and privacy, in the morning. She hated the idea of someone slipping through the cracks on her ship, but just couldn’t understand what the problem was with the diminutive Girinite engineer. On paper, he looked to be a very promising officer but going by the reports she’d been getting from th’Shaan over the last seven weeks, that wasn’t that case. He had graduated with Ensign Tyler ten months ago, but whilst Tyler had gone into Advanced Tactical Training, Feeznar had been posted to the U.S.S. Hiroshima for six months before being transferred to the Silverfin, which had been in need of an additional officer in the engine room—though during his time on the Steamrunner-Class ship, he hadn’t had any problems or complaints against him.

It wouldn’t be the first time an officer omitted a few truths in order to get rid of a problem crewmember, she told herself, as she sat at her dresser and finished off applying her makeup.

After leaving Engineering, she’d retired to her quarters, left a message for her sister—who’d been in the middle of surgery—then caught up with a few correspondences she’d been putting on hold for the last few weeks. At 1700 hours, she started getting ready for her date with Hank, giddy butterflies clustered in her stomach, as during the afternoon she had decided to use their dinner together to bring up the topic of their current relationship—what it actually was and where they were heading. The thought of the awkward conversation made her nervous, as she’d never been overly good with romantic relationships in the past, and didn’t want to screw what she and Hank had.

She had decided to let her curly hair down, opted for natural looking makeup, and chosen a knee-length, black dress with thin shoulder straps (her favourite ‘dressing-up’ civvies) for the evening. Dressed, makeup applied, she picked up the delicate gold chain with a small latiunm pendant and carefully fixed it around her neck. The necklace had been the gift Hank had given to her on their two year anniversary together, how he’d been able to afford it she had never been able to figure out, but it was only something she wore for very special occasions—of which, this was most definitely one. She was just checking her hair—still secretly pleased that there wasn’t a single grey—when her monitor chirped.

“If he’s calling to cancel, there’ll be hell to pay,” she muttered to herself as she moved over to her workstation and activated the monitor.

The Border Service logo appeared, before being quickly replaced by the youthful face of Lieutenant JG Azaal Kasan. “Captain Leijten,” the dark-haired Trill began, “Rear Admiral T’Rona needs to see you and Commander Amorin in her office immediately.”

Leijten had met T’Rona’s new aide on several occasions and was surprised at her hyper-efficient manner, especially in one so young. She glanced down at the civilian attire then back at the attaché. “Right now?”

Kasan gave her a nod and a sympathetic look. “Those were her orders, sir.”

“Understood Lieutenant. Tell the Admiral, we’re on our way.”

“Acknowledged. Kasan out.”

Sighing, she picked up the combadge she’d left next to her monitor—she hadn’t planned on taking it with her—fixed it in placed and tapped the pin. “Leijten to Amorin.”

“Go ahead, Captain.”

“Commander, meet me at the docking port, on the double. We’ve been called into a meeting with Admiral T’Rona.”

“I’ll meet you there,” with that the channel closed.

Leijten headed out into the corridor, knowing that whatever the meeting was about, the Silverfin was about to be called into active service again. Urgent summonses to the Squadron Commander’s office always meant that something big was going down, and it would fall to the Silverfin and her crew to deal with it.

* * * * *
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Old September 14 2011, 02:12 PM   #12
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

Love amongst the stars. I like stories with a healthy dose of romance and relationships. But it always become a little bit more interesting when it's the captain who is in love.
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Old September 14 2011, 07:51 PM   #13
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

More great character work, Bry. You have a gift for writing engaging dialogue in even the most mundane of settings. Looks like the quiet is about to end with the summons to the Squadron Commander's office. So much for Leijten's and Hank's date.

BTW, just wondering who you would cast as Admiral Bouvier?
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Old September 15 2011, 10:17 AM   #14
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

I'm really not sure on who I'd cast for Bouvier.

It would need to be a mature actress with some clout behind her, stern, with a 'pinched' face (she is never going to look happy about anything).

I would love to say someone like Helen Mirren, though I always think of Bouvier being a brunette. Or perhaps maybe Annette Bening. I'm not really sure. Will give it some thought though.
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Old September 15 2011, 01:41 PM   #15
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: Silverfin - "Hidden From View"

Office of Rear Admiral T’Rona, Star Station Freedom
Tamsen System, Talarian Border

When Leijten and Amorin arrived at T’Rona’s office, Lieutenant Kasan was taken a little aback by the Captain’s appearance, but quickly told them both to go in. Amorin followed Leijten through the double doors and into the comfortable office space, from which Rear Admiral T’Rona oversaw the operations of the Third Squadron.

As well as the Vulcan Squadron Commander, there were four others seated around the small oval-shaped meeting table to one side of the room. Amorin knew Lieutenant Commander Stephen Macintosh, the Squadron’s Intelligence Officer, quite well—having had more than a few briefings from the younger human in the last two years he been posted to the Star Station. Lieutenant Commander Mahr geven Drizuk was in charge of the SCIS team that had been attached to the Squadron for the smuggling crackdown, though Amorin had attended a few briefings with the Tellarite, he didn’t know much else about him. The last two officers, also both Lieutenant Commanders, commanded the two scout ships that were with the Third Squadron. Ilahn was the tall and strapping Deltan CO of the H’krii, and Bethany Forbes of the K’Shod, who was petite and raven-haired. Though he knew Commander Forbes, Amorin had never worked with the K’Shod. The H’krii was a different story, they had had numerous assignments together with the scout and her crew, though the last time he had spoken with Ilahn had been when the H’krii had taken Commander Daezan and Doctor Mbeki onboard for transport to Betazed.

Aside from the Admiral, they were all surprised to see Captain Leijten stroll in wearing a black dress, though she didn’t seem fazed by it. They took two empty chairs; Amorin sat next to Macintosh and opposite Ilahn, whilst Leijten was at the end of the table, facing T’Rona.

“Captain, Commander,” T’Rona began, “I apologise for calling you into this meeting at such short notice, however we must move quickly on this.

“We are going to be looking into the scavenging and smuggling of restricted Starfleet technology, that the Silverfin uncovered seven weeks ago,” she continued, getting straight to business. “The Third Squadron will be talking the lead in this operation, with the full support of Starfleet Intelligence and the SCIS.” She gave the four Cutter officers a moment to take in the information, then looked at Drizuk. “Commander.”

The Tellarite nodded. “Thank you, Admiral.” He got up and moved over to the computer monitor, tapped in a command and brought up a graphic of an Orion freighter.

“This is the Xeros,” he began, “the ship the Silverfin apprehended carrying Starfleet weaponry—among other armament from various other species. None of the crew has spoken, not that we expected any of them too—they’re always going to be more afraid of the ships master than anything we can do to them.

“It looks like they tried to delete their central processor, but our computer forensic unit has managed to retrieve parts of the data,” he continued, with a hint of pride in his voice. “We have some of the locations they targeted—which we already knew from the vessel identification numbers your Chief Engineer discovered,” he said with a nod to Leijten. “However, it looks like they are just one rung on this particular ladder. There are various financial transactions, which we are still trying to track down—though with gaps in the data, it is proving difficult.”

“What was the Xeros’ role in all this?” Ilahn asked.

Drizuk shook his head. “We believe they may be salvagers and couriers. Going by their computer records, they spent between ten and eighteen hours at each site, too long for just taking on cargo.”

“So they’re the grave robbers,” stated Forbes, the disgust clear in her voice.

“One team that we know of,” the Tellarite told them, with a nod at Macintosh.

“SI believes that there may be several ships out there doing the leg work,” the Intelligence Officer began. “These people are just the middle men, hired by arms dealers to go to the former battlefields and look for specific items: Starfleet tech—due to its high-quality and the fact that under normal circumstances it’s impossible to get on the open market. Once they have it, they sell on to the dealers and then move on to their next job, whatever that may be. The dealers then go on to sell the weapons, either to a specific buyer or up for auction.”

“You sound very sure of this, Commander,” Leijten said, clasping her hands on the tabletop and leaning forward, “just how good is your information?”

Macintosh matched the Captain’s gaze. “Its sound, of that you have my full confidence.”

After a moment, she nodded then looked between him and Drizuk. “How many scavenger teams are we dealing with?”

“Not many. We suspect no more than half a dozen,” answered Macintosh, “less now the Xeros has been impounded.”

“Our investigations are continuing,” Drizuk added. “But as Admiral T’Rona said, this is something we need to move quickly on. They’ve already had seven weeks to alter their operations and cover their tracks, so we may catch them as they start to relax a little.”

“I take it that’s where we come in,” said Ilahn.

“Correct Commander,” T’Rona replied. “As far as we can determine, there are several battlefields without our operational limit that haven’t been targeted yet. The H’krii and K’Shod will be sent to patrol these sites, monitor them for suspicious activity.”

“Are we there to make a statement?”

“Preferably not, Commander Forbes. If these sites are going to be targeted by the scavengers, our aim is to catch them red-handed. A covert approach should be adopted for as long as possible—which is why I am sending the scouts into the debris fields, as opposed to full-fledged cutters.”

“What will our object be, sir?” Leijten asked.

“Commanders Macintosh and Drizuk believe that the weapons are being taken to neutral territory, where they either being exchanged or sold at autonomous trading stations. As you are well aware, Captain, usually the Border Service has no authority in those regions, but seeing as how it is illegal technology—of Starfleet origin—being sold, we have legitimate reason to operate within the region. However, we cannot stop and board every ship, that may give away our objective.

“The Silverfin will patrol the Federation border in the Armus Sector, conducting long-range scans. There are three independent outposts within range that are highly suspect,” T’Rona concluded.

“Won’t the scavengers and dealers get suspicious if a cutter just appears along the border?” inquired Amorin.

“The U.S.S. Kukei has been performing a tour in the region for the last four weeks. Border Service operating protocols require ship rotation after thirty days, so the Silverfin will merely appear to be relieving the Kukei.” T’Rona looked around the table. “There will be a full strategic briefing at twenty-hundred hours—Commanders Forbes and Ilahn, it would be advisable if both your XO’s and COB’s were present. All three ships will depart in the morning, the Silverfin at oh-six-hundred and the scouts three hours later.

“Questions?”

Amorin looked around at the three skippers, all of whom seemed to be mulling over the details. There were bound to be questions as to locations, secure frequencies and other such mission-specific matters, but they would all be covered later in the evening. On his part, everything seemed straight forward and sound. They were going for a two-pronged approach, the scouts looking into where the weaponry was coming from, whilst the Silverfin would focus on where they were heading.

He did know that they crew wouldn’t be happy about their liberty being cut short, they had all been hoping for longer than the mandatory seventy-two hours R&R at Freedom. But they were tried and tested Border Dogs, they knew the drill and would do their duties like the professionals he knew them to be.

After several moments of silence, T’Rona gave a single nod. “Very well, I will see you all at the strategic meeting, which will be in briefing room two. Dismissed.”

Amorin, Leijten, Ilahn, and Forbes all moved to stand up from the table, whilst Drizuk was heading for the exit.

“Captain,” T’Rona spoke up when they were all on their feet, “could you stay for a moment longer.”

Leijten nodded and stayed where she was. He gave her a quick look, but she merely shrugged her shoulders, before sitting back down. Amorin then looked at the other end of the table, where T’Rona and Macintosh both still sat. Obviously, there was something more going on that wasn’t for anyone else’s ears.

He followed Ilahn out of the Admiral’s office, the doors closing behind him. He paused for a moment and glanced back at the doors, before leaving the office’s anteroom and into the corridor. He would need to get back to the ship and inform the crew of the change in their orders, cancel leave for tomorrow and ensure that all system status reports were filled and signed off.

* * * * *
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Avatar: Captain Susanna Leijten, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470, Border Service Third Cutter Squadron
Manip by: FltCpt. Bossco (STPMA)
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