"Bright New Day" (January 2012 Challenge Entry)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bry_Sinclair, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    This is my first entry into the monthly fanfic challenge, and so I’ve decided to explore an all new crew within my little nook of TLR’s Border Service: the Third Cutter Squadron and more specifically the crew of the U.S.S. Kukui. The events of this story take place at roughly the same time as my latest Silverfin WIP (which I am going to kick start again very soon).

    I hope you enjoy.

    * * * * *

    STAR TREK: Border Service
    Tales from the Third Cutter Squadron
    “Bright New Day”​

    Words: 6009​


    Security Section, U.S.S. Kukui
    En Route to Star Station Freedom, Tamsen Sector
    Stardate: 55228.7 (March 25th, 2378)

    Captain Kayden Nell entered the security section, heading for a room he had never had reason to visit in the eight months he had commanded the Border Cutter Kukui. He had only entered it once before, on his initial tour of the Sequoia-Class ship, before looking in on the main armoury and phaser practice range, then on to another section of his new command.

    The corridor was a short one, so he quickly reached the room he wanted, on the reinforced, forcefield shielded doors of which was written: BRIG. Tapping in his security code, the field deactivated and the doors opened swiftly. He entered to find the room as clean and sterile as it had been when he’d first inspected the facility; a central passage with a workstation opposite the entry at the far end, with two cells on either side (each contained a refresher, sink and a bench/bunk, with another fold-down bunk above it) all of which were contained behind their own forcefields, as they were all occupied.

    There were three members of the ships security force present: a burly Caitian petty officer, in full body armour and clutching a phaser carbine, stood by the entry; a petite red-headed human crewwoman (also in full armour) sat at the control console; whilst standing in the middle of the room, arms folded and scowling into one of the cells, stood Senior Chief Grey Barrett. As he approached Barrett—who was four centimetres taller, a good fifteen kilos of muscle heavier, and four years older than Kayden—the senior non-com glanced at him and gave the slightest of nods, before returning his scowl back to the cell, his arms folding across his broad chest in a menacing manner.

    Kayden suppressed a smile. For the sheer size of Barrett, he was a softie at heart—except when his people were in danger, then he became a juggernaut. He moved over to stand beside Barrett, his face fixed with an annoyed expression and purposefully not looking into the cell.

    “This better be good COB.”

    “Sorry Captain, but this prr’tak’Vas wishes to see you,” Barrett told him, slipping in a particularly unpleasant Ktarian phrase.

    Kayden took his cue and finally looked into the cell that Barrett intensely watched. Inside there were two diminutive Ferengi, one skulking back in the corner (obviously intimidated by Barrett), which the other stood so close to the forcefiewld that his ugly, bulbous nose almost touched the blue hue. Kayden focused on him, but the privateer captain held his ground.

    “Yes?” Kayden asked simply.

    “I will speak with you alone,” the Ferengi sneered.

    Kayden held his stare for a moment longer, then glanced at Barrett. “Give me the room COB.”

    Grudgingly, Barrett nodded. “Aye sir. Hollings, Val’Rrah out.” The two guards nodded and left with the Senior Chief. Kayden watched the three of them leave, as did the Ferengi—as best he could from behind the field. The doors closed and Kayden was left alone in the brig with the eight Ferengi, all of whom moved closer to their respective cell entrances.

    He turned back to the captain. “Well, what do you want, Bek?”

    The Ferengi gave him a sly smile, exposing his pointed, snarled teeth. “Captain, this has all been a misunderstanding. We are simple businessmen, out looking to make profit—away from the...reforms...” (he almost spat out the word, as though it left a foul taste in his mouth) “that are being imposed on us honest Ferengi by Grand Nagus Rom.”

    “You fired on my ship,” he pointed out, placing his hands on his hips.

    “My nephew, Krin,” he began, gesturing to the younger male he shared a cell with (who in turn cowered away from his uncle), “is an idiot—raised on too many holovids of Marauder Mo—he sees himself as some kind of vigilante hero. He opened fire without orders. The last thing I would want to do is alienate the Border Service, so couldn’t you just oversee this little incident and let us be on our way.”

    “Your ship has been reported for piracy in this region, as well as along the Cardassian border and close to the Badlands. These can’t all be ‘misunderstandings’.”

    “Someone is trying to sully my good name!” he protested. “Ship ident-codes can be easily copied or rewritten, and my ship isn’t the only Grimit-Class one in the quadrant.”

    “You didn’t stop after we identified ourselves and ordered you to stand-down.”

    “You were still shooting at us!”

    “I hate to sound like a child, but you did start it, Bek.”

    The Ferengi sighed in exasperation. “Whatever, that’s in the past and I don’t hold it against you, Captain. But surely you can see it was an accident. Let my crew and I out of these cells and we will be on our way.”

    “I’m afraid I can’t do that: you violated interstellar law by firing on us in an unprovoked attack, refusing to submit for inspection, and exceeding the established warp speed limit for this sector whilst in an unmodified vessel; your ship is now impounded and needs to go through the proper legal channels before it can be released; and there’s the little matter of the falsified data in your computer.”

    Bek leered at him in a way that made Kayden’s skin crawl. “Captain, I’m sure we could come to some kind of agreement that would benefit both of us—you a cutter captain and me a very successful businessman. We could help each other out and become very wealthy in the process.”

    Kayden glanced at the closed doors, then stepped closer to the forcefield and lowered his voice. “How?”

    “All you’d need to do is provide a little information to me, so that I can keep ahead of the patrols and keep my specialist routes clear—they have very high profit margins. Just information, it’s never hurt anyone in the past.”

    Kayden paused and thought for a moment. He was surprised at how blatant Bek was being with his offer and keenly aware at how eight pairs of eyes bore into him. Kayden had had several dealings with the Ferengi; three times as skipper of the Kukui for the last eight months, once as Captain of the U.S.S. Sojourn for the six months he had been an officer in the regular Fleet, ten times over the eight years he’d served as a Colonel in the Bajoran Militia, and at least five times when he’d been a member of the Resistance—so he knew how to deal with them.

    As the moment stretched, the other Ferengi fidgeted, but Bek kept his eyes locked onto Kayden. Slowly, he focused back on the pirate captain. “I’d be your plant?”

    “For a very generous share of my profits and any luxury goods you wanted, but which may be difficult to obtain.”

    “Who better than a Captain in the Border Service?”

    “Precisely,” Bek stated cockily with another toothy smile. “Even she doesn’t—”

    A look of horror crossed his face and he clamped his lips tightly shut as he realised his slip. Kayden had caught it however and a sly grin tugged at his lips. “So you’re partnered with a woman, that’ll prove helpful.” He turned towards the entrance but paused and looked back at the Ferengi. “I’ll add bribing a Border Service officer to the list of charges against you.”

    With that, he stepped out of the brig and into the security section corridor. Barrett was leaning against the bulkhead opposite the door, arms comfortably folded and his left foot flat against the metal wall panels, whilst the two guards stood on either side of the door. As Kayden left, Barrett nodded at his people and they entered the brig to resume their posts.

    Barrett pushed off of the bulkhead and followed Kayden as he headed for the exit. “Did he give you anything useful?”

    “He’s working with a woman, one with quite a few connections by the sound of it. I didn’t get a name as he clamped up quickly when he realised his slip, but piracy is still very male dominated so it shouldn’t take too long to narrow down the list.”

    “Sounds like a plan, Skipper.”

    They stepped into a turbolift and Kayden ordered it to the Bridge. The Sequoia-Class was a small ship, similar in size of the Nova-Class surveyor, with a crew that numbered only in the eighties, so the ride was a short one. The doors parted and Kayden led the way. The Bridge was similar in design to the Intrepid-Class, though with a much more compact feel to it. He stopped by the tactical console right next to the turoblift alcove.

    “Anything to report, Lieutenant?”

    Kenzi Adall, his Trill tactical officer, looked up at him. “All quiet sir. No signs of any other privateers, all systems are running smoothly.”

    “Anything from Scroggins?”

    She smiled mischievously. “He says that the ‘bucket of bolts’ is holding together for now and, aside from the smell, everything is alright over there. Zuu is still trying to sort through their databanks to see what is real and what is just garbage.”

    Kayden glanced across the Bridge at operations, where Maeta Zuu usually stood, though was now being covered by Ensign Li, then back at Adall. “Very good, Lieutenant. Can you establish a secure comlink with Admiral T’Rona on Freedom and patch it through to my ready room.”

    “Can do, Captain.”

    He gave her a faint smirk then headed towards his office. As he approached the doors, he overheard Barrett tell Adall, “You’d better be nice about the Commander’s predicament, Lieutenant. Next time it could be you and the ship might be a lot less pleasant than a Ferengi privateer.”

    Kayden made a mental note, Next time we seize a ship and have to pilot it back to base, Adall will supervise. Chuckling as he sat down at his desk, the monitor came alive with the Border Service motif, before being quickly replaced with the handsome face of Rear Admiral T’Rona whose appearance was, as always, impeccable.

    “Good afternoon Captain Kayden, is something amusing?”

    He quickly wiped the stupid grin from his face and shook his head, the earring on his right lobe jingling softly. “My apologies sir. I thought I’d better inform you of the results of my discussion with the Ferengi captain.”

    T’Rona clasped her hands on top of her desk. “Continue.”

    “Well, as expected, he tried to bribe me into becoming a mole for him—providing information for him to evade patrols and ensure the longevity of his illegal trade routes. He unwittingly let slip that he was working with a female cohort in this region.”

    “Interesting. To my knowledge there aren’t many female pirates in the region. Did he provide you with any more information regarding her identity?”

    “I’m afraid not. My Ops Manager is currently going through their computer records to see if there is anything in them that could tell us more. But seeing as how merc ships are few and far between, and ones with a woman in command are even rarer, it may help to narrow down the suspect list—that is, if they are involved in the gun running.”

    “I will inform Commander Macintosh of this development and have him begin work on compiling a list of potentials. Keep me informed of any further developments.”

    “We’ll reach the station in a little over twenty-four hours, but if anything comes up in that time I’ll notify you immediately.”

    “Good,” T’Rona told him, then paused. Kayden had had many conversations and meetings with T’Rona over the last eight months and had gotten to know her habits and mannerisms pretty well in that time, so he knew that there was another matter she wished to discuss with him. He waited for a few seconds before she sat up a little stiffer (something he didn’t think was possible). “Captain, something has come up regarding the Kukui that I will need to discuss with you. However I would prefer to do so in person. Once you arrive at the Star Station, could I ask that you come to my office.”

    “Of course sir.”

    “Very well. Freedom out.”

    The screen returned to the Border Service delta. He deactivated the terminal and sat back in his chair, his fingers tightly interlocked and resting on his stomach as his brow furled. What did she want to see him in person about? He hadn’t heard of anything regarding the Kukui, but being new to the Border Service (and Starfleet in general) he didn’t have the wide range of contacts that many other captain’s did. However, he could take an educated guess, what with the Kukui only being on temporary assignment to the Third Squadron, following the Talarian Incursion just thirteen months ago; they were being reassigned.

    An uneasy feeling clenched at his stomach as he sat in the stillness of his ready room, listening to the hum of the warp engines.

    * * *

    Cockpit, Ferengi Privateer
    En Route to Star Station Freedom, Tamsen Sector

    Everything rattled and grated and groaned. Commander Matthew Scroggins found it hard to believe that a ship, such as the Ferengi privateer he now found himself on, managed to fly without being torn to pieces. It was small, grubby, humid, and stank—an odour not dissimilar to festering milk. Five years ago, he had once boarded a garbage scow and it hadn’t smelled as bad as the Ferengi ship.

    He repressed a shudder just as the old junker juddered again. He checked the display, nothing more than a micro-recalibration—something all ships usually did without anyone ever noticing, but on his current posting everyone was keenly aware of it. With only eighty-five people onboard the Kukui, there weren’t many to spare for manning the seized vessel, so he had just a crew of just ten split into three shifts: one in the cockpit, another in the engine room, and a floater (to go wherever they were needed). The tenth member of his crew was Lieutenant JG Zuu, who was attempting to make sense of the Ferengi’s computer core and records.

    Scroggins looked over the displays once again, ran another system diagnostic—his forth one since his shift had started—and once everything appeared to check out, slouched back into the pilot seat in an effort to get comfortable. After a month on routine patrol, monitoring the ship activity in the unclaimed regions of space between the Federation and Talarian Republic, he was eager to get back to Star Station Freedom. The Kukui was state of the art, with holodecks, a fully equipped gym, and a comfortable mess hall come recreation room, so the crew weren’t lacking of facilities to enjoy in their downtime, but back on Freedom he had something worth getting back for; a rigorous tumble with Commander Garrett, which did them both the world of good and suited them both—given the Kukui’s temporary status with the Third Squadron. It wasn’t that Scroggins wouldn’t have said no to something more than their current physical relationship, he just couldn’t give more than he could afford to lose—the Dominion War had made him very protective of his heart, after losing Sam.

    The gargling swish of the entry hatch shook him from the sad memory of his former fiancé. He looked over his shoulder as Zuu stepped inside the cockpit, looking flustered. The young Bolian was bright and very eager to prove herself—their patrol assignment had been her first onboard—but always came off as being a little skittish, no doubt time and experience would take care of that.

    “Um, Commander, do you have a moment?”

    “Sure thing, Maeta. What can I do for you?”

    She took a few steps further into the cockpit and handed a PADD to him. He took it and then gestured to the empty navigator’s seat. As he glanced over the information she slowly sat down. The report was her initial diagnosis of the computer system, which was very thorough but lacked any real findings.

    “It doesn’t look like there is much of any use here.”

    He noticed her flush slightly and cast her eyes downwards. “Yes sir, sorry sir.”

    “Maeta, what’s the problem?” he asked with a supportive smile.

    “It’s their databanks, sir. They have hundreds of files and sub-files, locked behind firewalls, which contain nothing. I’m having to take on each barrier on its own as no two are alike, so what works on one wouldn’t on any of the others. It’s increased the amount of work tenfold. I’m not sure we could find anything useful without a full computer forensic unit working non-stop on this system. How they ever managed to find anything baffles me!”

    His smile widened. Zuu was regular Fleet through and through, not used to the nitty-gritty work that the Border Service undertook. “It’s not uncommon for smugglers to work like that. In case they are caught most try to wipe their records, but if they can’t do that then they leave us with a web of useless leads and corrupted files to wade through.”

    “Oh? I hadn’t thought of that, sir.”

    “Well I’ve been a Border Dog for the last ten years, Maeta; I’ve learned a few things—as you will in time.” He looked back at her report, absently stroking his stubbly chin. “Maybe you should transfer over some of the files to the Kukui, let them take some of the load off.”

    “No sir. I’m alright,” she told him quickly.

    “No one will think less of you if you ask for help. Isn’t there a Bolian saying about a wise man knows when to ask for help?”

    She blushed again, tucking a rogue lock of her golden hair behind her left ear. “I just want the rest of the command staff to know they can depend on me, sir.”

    He rested a hand on her shoulder. “Trust me, Lieutenant, we all know. But part of being in the Border Service is to work as part of a team to achieve our goals.”

    She nodded. “Aye sir. I’ll transfer some of the files now.” With that, she stood up and left the cockpit.

    Scroggins smiled to himself and shook his head. “I was never that young,” he mused.

    The ship shuddered again.

    * * *
     
  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Bridge, U.S.S. Kukui
    Approaching Star Station Freedom, Tamsen System
    Stardate: 55231.7 (March 26th, 2378)

    “The Dockmaster has cleared us for berths three and four,” stated Lieutenant Impol Cha-B’oq from the conn, the Kasheetan’s long dusky-orange face remained forward, watching the viewscreen and the looming Star Station.

    “Thank you, Lieutenant,” Kayden replied, then glanced at Adall. “Inform the Commander we’ll take berth three and they can have four.”

    “Aye sir,” the Trill replied cheerfully.

    He looked back at the reptilian helmsman. “Take us in, slow and steady.”

    “Slow and steady it is.”

    Kayden sat in his chair, legs loosely crossed and outwardly appearing the epitome of calm. Inwardly however the opposite was true. His impending meeting with Admiral T’Rona had him on edge, it was likely he and his crew would be bidding the Third Squadron farewell and heading off for another region—where he would have to get to know a new CO and other skippers, as well as a whole different way of doing things. It was a daunting prospect; one he wasn’t looking forward to announcing.

    Effortlessly, Cha-B’oq manoeuvred the small cutter into the docking port, the gangway moved into place, the umbilical’s connected and the ship’s systems secured whilst in dock. The Kasheetan was an experienced pilot with the Service, with reflexes faster than anyone else Kayden had served with, so he knew the ship was in safe hands during the routine procedure, as he himself was distracted with what might be.

    Once the Kukui was berthed, Kayden stood up and looked around at his crew. “I want all after action reports filed by the end of the shift, after that I hope you enjoy your five days of R&R.” He took a deep breath and then focused on Adall. “Lieutenant, I have a meeting with the Rear Admiral. The ship is yours until Commander Scroggins returns from handing over the Ferengi ship.”

    “Of course Captain.”

    He headed for the turbolift and then descended through his ship. En route to the airlock he checked in with Barrett, who was readying their prisoners for transferral to station security, and was pleased to hear that everything was going smoothly—the Ferengi were remaining uncharacteristically sullen. He stepped through the airlock, along the transparent gangway and onto Freedom only a few minutes after leaving the Bridge.

    On the Star Station, he made his way through the familiar corridors, maintaining his calm visage. He had heard from others in the past that Bajorans weren’t especially good at lying, but Kayden had done all he could to master the skill—it helped when playing politics (something he had proven to be very adept at). Despite his unconventional past, on paper he looked like a ‘yes man’, someone who knew when best to shut up and advantageous to kiss ass—being a thorough administrator and commander during the early years of the Bajoran provisional government, when the politicians argued, debated and deferred any decision, it fell to people like Kayden to take action and get things done, whilst appearing to support the ministers who were more interested in consolidating their new found power than helping Bajor.

    If there was one thing that was very clear to him, it was political manoeuvring. Unfortunately his ship and crew were a pawn in a very unsettling game of chess played out by the Brass. Whatever happened, he would do all he could to ensure they didn’t get dragged into it.

    Stepping into another turbolift, he ordered it to the level he needed. Star Station Freedom was an old H-Class station from the mid-23rd century, considered by many to be the younger sibling of the G-Class—with the same general design though just over half the size—so it retained some of the design features and styling of its early days, such as the external docking berths being lower down on the facility than newer bases. It made the trek from ones ship to the office complex a long one, which didn’t help an uneasy Captain.

    He tried not to let his mind run away and start speculating about what he was about to face, as he made his way through the maze of corridors. When he reached T’Rona’s office complex he stopped outside the door to the anteroom, took a breath and then approached. The doors swished open effortlessly and he stepped in to find the Admiral’s Attaché, Azaal Kasan, sitting behind her desk on his right, whilst the comfortable seating on his left was vacant, ahead of him were the double doors to T’Rona’s office.

    Kasan looked up at him and smiled politely. “Good afternoon, Captain Kayden. Can I help you?”

    “Good afternoon, Lieutenant. I was asked to report in as soon as we docked. Is the Admiral free?”

    The dark haired Trill checked her work terminal for a moment and then focused on him. “She’s free, go on through.”

    “Thank you.”

    Not dawdling, he headed straight through the doors and into the office. It was a comfortable space, with viewports that looked out onto the twinkling stars along the Talarian border. Her desk was directly opposite the entrance, but there was also a small conference table on his right and a couple of couches on his left, everything she needed to host private meetings and briefings. He found T’Rona behind her desk, studying her screen, with small stacks of PADDs neatly arranged on the surface, along with an antique Vulcan tea set. She didn’t look up as he entered.

    He approached her large mahogany desk and stood in front of it, hands clasped behind his back, eyes forward. T’Rona’s eyes flicked towards him once he stood in front of her.

    “Please take a seat, Captain Kayden.”

    “Thank you sir,” he replied formally, lowering himself onto the forward edge of one of the guest seats, his body tense.

    It took her a few moments to finish up what she was working on, before she deactivated her console and focused solely on him, hands clasped together on the surface of her desk. He remained composed as he maintained eye contact.

    “Captain,” she began, “as I’m sure you are aware, the Kukui is on temporary assignment to the Third Cutter Squadron.” He nodded his understanding, bracing himself for what was coming. “Your presence in the squadron has been appreciated and you have made many valuable contributions to our operations.

    “I was speaking with Vice Admiral Bouvier earlier this week regarding the Kukui’s future,” she continued, her expression remaining fixed and her eyes locked onto his. “Her initial intention was to reassign you to the Fourth Squadron; however I managed to convince her that you would be best suited to remain here, due to the Talarian Incursion last year and the re-emergence of the Chanok—whereas the situation along the Gorn border has remained relatively quiet since the war. She has agreed to this decision.”

    Kayden felt the knot in his stomach loosen a little. Truth be told, he didn’t particularly want to go anywhere else. But there was one thing he needed to know. “May I ask, how long for?”

    “I believe that the Vice Admiral still wishes to reassign you to the Fourth Squadron; however it is my intention to ensure that the Kukui remains here—barring any major incident or event. I have many favours I have yet to call upon, all of which I am willing to utilise to ensure that your ship remains where it is. Not only will the squadron benefit from the added tactical strength the Kukui can provide, but it will allow your crew to become settled and better acquainted with the dangers and hazards in the region.”

    He felt a wide smile spread across his face. “Thank you sir. I know that’ll mean a lot to my crew.”

    “You are welcome, Captain.

    “I expect your report and mission logs be filed by the end of the day,” she added, easily returning back to operational matters.

    “Of course Admiral.”

    “Dismissed.”

    He quickly left her office, eager to get back to his ship and let the crew know the good news. As he stepped into the anteroom once again, Lieutenant Kasan looked up at him. His mood must’ve been infectious, as she started to smile. Leaving the Trill to her duties, he headed back through the station towards the docking ring. He would need to wait until Commander Scroggins and his team were onboard, before he informed the crew that their future was secure, after which he would have one very important call to make.

    His smile widened as he thought about the reaction he would get.

    * * *

    First Officer’s Quarters, U.S.S. Kukui
    Docking Berth 3, Star Station Freedom

    Once Captain Kayden had made the announcement, the mood onboard bolstered. After months of uncertainty regarding where they would eventually find themselves, the crew had a definite answer. Scroggins knew that many of them had made friendships with the other cutter crews and the station personnel, as well as a few subspace romances—such as Lieutenant Adell, who had become involved with Ariene Neera, of the U.S.S Obion, following a bar brawl on Freedom—then there were the likes of Scroggins himself, who had a far more relaxed relationship with someone else in the squadron.

    One thing that the news did mean was that Scroggins now faced a dilemma; to keep things as they were with Commander Garrett, or to maybe take their arrangement further.

    After Sam had died in his arms, he had done everything possible to keep from getting too attached to another person. But over the last three years, there hadn’t been anyone he had clicked with as he had with Garrett, they could talk easily to each other (when they actually conversed, most of their communication was far less coherent), and there were times he found himself thinking of Garrett in a more romantic setting.

    He was pacing back and forth in his quarters, casting looks at his terminal, contemplating whether or not to place a call to Garrett. The lighting was low and his black-and-grey uniform jacket had been discarded on the back of a chair, whilst the dark red undershirt was zipped down to his chest in an effort to make himself feel more comfortable, not that it helped—he could have been walking around as naked as the day he was brought into the universe, and still feel trapped and constrained. What if he made the call and the answer was no? It would most likely end what they had, as he had no clue if Garrett ever wanted more or not. A scarier thought was, what if the answer was yes? Where would that take them?

    Toughen up Matthew, a strong voice demanded. Take the plunge, see what happens. If it falls apart then it wasn’t meant to be. Accept that and move on.

    He stopped in his pacing and nodded to himself. He knew what he had to do and there was no more putting it off. As he was about to take his first step towards his desktop computer, it chirped.

    “You are receiving a signal from Commander Garrett of Star Station Freedom. Do you wish to accept?” the computer asked in her gravelly tone.

    “Oh crap,” he gasped.

    “Please restate inquiry.”

    Taking a deep breath, he stepped over to his desk and slowly sat down, his palm sweating. After another breath, he focused on the screen. “Computer, accept signal.”

    There was another chirp as the screen came to life with the Border Service logo. It was then replaced with the handsome face of Commander Lucas Garrett, whose dark hair was cropped short, his square jaw cleanly shaven, and his soft grey eyes focused completely on Scroggins.

    “Hi Lucas, this is a surprise.”

    “T’Rona has just informed me about the Kukui’s future, so I thought I’d call and say congratulations.”

    “Yup, you’re stuck with us.”

    Garrett chuckled. “I could think of worse crews to have to work with.” There was an uneasy pause in the conversation. Before Scroggins could pluck up the courage to say anything, Garrett got in there first. “I was wondering if maybe you wanted to grab a bite to eat or a few drinks, you know to celebrate.”

    Scroggins grinned. “That sounds good to me. Know any places?”

    “I’ve heard lots of positive feedback about the Bajoran place.”

    “I’ll see you there at nineteen-hundred?”

    Garrett gave him a relieved smile. “Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you there.”

    “Sure thing.”

    After Garrett’s face disappeared from the screen, Scroggins slouched back in his seat feeling both drained and elated, with a large helping of terror on the side. Regardless of the butterflies in his stomach, he couldn’t help but smile as he went for a quick sonic shower.

    * * *

    Captain’s Ready Room, U.S.S. Kukui
    Docking Berth 3, Star Station Freedom

    Kayden Nell sat in his office, going over the last of the reports the department heads had submitted, listening to some soft Bajoran jazz—something he had always wanted to play, but had never had any ability for. Most of the crew were on liberty aboard Freedom, celebrating the good news and blowing off some steam. He would join them soon enough, but he was waiting on a reply from the message he’d sent. Distances being what they were, combined with the fact the Starfleet operated by a ‘standard’ twenty-four hour day, meant that he had to opt for a recording rather than a real time transmission.

    He was just going over Doctor M’Varr’s sickbay statistics when the communications panel lit up. He quickly saved the CMO’s report and opened up the incoming communiqué. As he’d expected it was just after dawn in Rayda, a small town in Kendra Province. Through the windows the sun sat on top of the hills, as the long grasses and tall stalked flowers swayed in a gentle breeze. The small study was furnished with handmade, dark wood furniture, whilst numerous original paintings hung on the wall and family holophotos lined the desk—it was a warm and homely room, one he missed.

    Sitting in front of the monitor was Kayden Eban, Nell’s spouse for the last five years, and on his knee was their daughter Jai. Eban was tall and lean, with a slim face and triangular jaw line, with a mop of light brown curls on his head, but it was his vibrant green eyes that everyone noticed about him first. Jai looked very little like either of them, with her light peachy-grey skin, slight neck crests and bony facial ridging; it was only the five faint edgings on the bridge of her nose that she shared with her parents. A child born of a Cardassian father and Bajoran mother—though exactly when wasn’t known, rather estimated to be early 2369, before the withdrawal—they had adopted her after they had married, both falling in love with her big blue eyes and passionate gung-ho manner.

    Eban looked serene and tranquil, but as an artist there was little that stressed him out, whilst Jai was all smiles.

    “Hello Nell—” Eban started.

    “Hi dad!” Jai interjected, making Kayden smile.

    “I’m glad to see you back in port, safe and sound. Its great news that you’ll be staying with the Third Squadron—and that your boss will fight tooth and nail to keep you there. Since things are settling down, we probably should revisit what we discussed before you transferred into Starfleet.”

    Kayden knew what was coming; when he’d decided to switch from the Militia to Starfleet, they had spoken about Eban and Jai coming with him (if he was on a ship that permitted families). It had gone back and forth as they had gone over the options, the benefits and the drawbacks, but ultimately, Eban had agreed that he wanted them to remain together if possible.

    “I know that the Kukui isn’t large enough for civilians, but seeing as how you work in a very concentrated area out of a station which you’ll visit frequently, I was thinking that we could move there. That way we’ll be waiting for you whenever you get in. We’ll need to talk a little more on the matter—arrange accommodation, schooling, and renting out a little studio for me—but the sooner the better.”

    “Please dad,” Jai pleaded. “He’s trying to force me to be an artist!”

    Kayden chuckled at the mock scowl Eban gave her, before starting to tickle her sides making her squirm and squeal. “You’ll be a fine artist in a few years time, and will thank me for all my guidance and brilliance.”

    When Jai managed to get away, she darted out of range of Eban and the camera. Kayden felt a sad smile on his face, she had grown since he’d last been home—there would be more that he was missing too.

    Eban looked back at the screen. “Call me when you’re free. Right now I have got to go and sort her out,” he said with a wicked smile. From off camera Kayden could hear Jai giggle. “I love you Nell.”

    “Love you too, dad!”

    The image of him family then disappeared.

    Kayden would need to finish off his reports and put them through to T’Rona, after which he’d need to contact the station and find out how they were for space, check out what education option were available, and find somewhere on the Arcade that Eban could set up shop. Soon he would have his family close by, which would make his life in the Third Squadron all the sweeter.

    * * *

    END
     
  3. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Great story, Bry! As usual, you provide vivid imagery but in a subtle fashion. Great character work, too. Glad the Kukui and her crew will have a true sense of beginning now that their home station is settled. I think Rear-Admiral T'Rona is more than capable of holding her own against Vice-Admiral Bouvier. I have to wonder, though, what sort of "favors" the stoic Vulcan Squadron Commander can pull in? ;)

    I hope this story is a "beginning" in its own right. I'd like to know more about the mysterious woman who is behind the privateers. Good fodder for more Border Dog stories! :)
     
  4. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Glad you enjoyed it TLR.

    This weekend I'll hopefully get "Hidden From View" restarted and work on it until it is finished, in which the question of the female partner of the Ferengi is answered.

    As for more from the Kukui, I may very well give them their own little spin-off (I've still got their Caitian CMO and Russian Engineer to introduce).
     
  5. chanukajes

    chanukajes Commodore Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, the Gateway to the Galaxy
    This has a good pilot-y feel to it. Well done. :)
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Thank you jespah.

    I always like to fill out my universe a little, so I'm trying to devise interesting characters and crew combinations for my Squadron--some of who I will visit from time to time, but the main focus will always be on the Silverfin.
     
  7. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    An excellent introduction to your crew and their mission. I've got a soft spot for the Border Dogs, and you've brought this group to life already.

    I particularly like the idea of a Bajoran captain whose transferred over to Starfleet/Border Service from the Militia. That has to be a pretty difficult transition in mission and means.

    Great work! :bolian:
     
  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Thank you Gibraltar.

    The idea of an officer who was former Bajoran Militia is something I've thought about for a while, so decided to make it Captain Kayden. In my head, Bajor entered the Federation as of January 1st 2377, at which point the vast majority of the Militia (roughly four-fifths) transferred into Starfleet service--the remaining personnel would serve as a Bajoran Homeguard.

    Kayden began as an administrator at Militia HQ just after the Occupation (when things were in a serious mess and no one could agree on anything). He always gave the impression of following his orders and agreeing with what decisions were eventually made, but behind the scenes he was working to ensure that people were fed and clothed, and that things wouldn't get worse before the provisional government took action. He would later go on to command a patrol ship for a few years, before Bajor became a member of the UFP. So he has a wide range of skills to draw upon (not to mention commanding his own cell in the Resistance).
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    You've clearly really taken to the Border Service, haven't you. Good. It's a fun place to be and you do a great job of filling that universe with compelling characters and situations.
     
  10. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    The Border Service is a fun topic to write about and you write about it well. I need to start reading up on the Silverfin to see what I've been missing. :)
     
  11. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Thank you gentlemen. The Border Service is a fun place to be.

    ***WARNING: SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION PLUG FOLLOWS***

    Dnoth, if you fancy reading more, here are the rest of my Silverfin stories to date (in-universe 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
    Hidden From View - http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=147303

    Originally I intended the Silverfin to be just a one-off (Lost & Found), as a part of another plot idea based around my "Convergence" story (http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=127445), but I wound up liking them more than my original idea. So they have taken off from there.
     
  12. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    It's ok to be shameless. In fact, that's useful to me. I think I'll get to reading.
     
  13. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    An interesting tale - no big explosions, just a slice of life aboard one particular Border Patrol ship. Nicely done with lots of interesting little tidbits about characters and their situations. Hopefully, we will see lots more of them seeing as we get this new start for the crew.
     
  14. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    I know, that's not like me at all! :)

    Glad you liked it Fave. The Kukui will have a few guest appearances in the future. Wouldn't mind exploring them in their own spin off (love those little ships), but I've got plenty on my plate as it is.