• From the Watchtower, introducing the Aegolius Harrier
    As part of the TToT15 Blog Like a Boss challenge, I present another Watchtower Universe focus. The Aegolius Harrier is a Starfleet ship – which is strangely a […]

  • In reply to: jespah wrote a new post, Focus on Andorians, on the site Barking up the Muse Tree Focus on Andorians Focus A focus (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) […] View

    I love the Andorians! I think E1981 used the right word in describing them as enigmatic – especially given that as much known as they were in the Trek verse they were little fleshed out – until ENT that is.

    Shran works as a terrific insight into the Andorian culture and species and yet works as an individual too who happens to be Andorian.…[Read more]

  • ThumbnailFrom the Watchtower, introducing the Étolie Cheval
    As part of the TToT15 Blog Like a Boss challenge, I present another Watchtower Universe focus. The Étoile Cheval is a second civilian ship set within my […]

  • In reply to: falsebill wrote a new post, Trying to beat the Block 2014, on the site FalseBill's Blog Site Well hello dear reader, So it’s blog time again, and before I get to the Free-4-All Blog, I just want to take a s […] View

    Aw awesome falsebill, better late than never for the break the block as the real purpose is to help get traction going on a story. Well done for progressing forwards on that front and a good job of it too.

  • In reply to: enterprise1981 wrote a new post, Boldly Speculating: A Brief History of the Klingon Empire’s political structure, on the site NCC-1981: A Fanficcing Enterprise Even as their empire expanded to the stars, the […] View

    Another interesting speculation. I like how the speculation uses titbits from canon and parallels gaps to possibly similar Earth based historical examples (for example the rise of the High Council akin to that of the House of Commons). Very interesting and well put together.

    Despite the many detractors that Klingon society was too simplistic…[Read more]

  • ThumbnailReview and Discussion
    Continuing my story review and discussion of the opening Osprey story, ‘Running the Gauntlet’ as part of my From the Watchtower series of blogs we turn to take a closer look at chapters, 2, […]

  • In reply to: trekfan wrote a new post, Who Should I Kill?, on the site Red Shirt Eulogies Ah, the joys of writing. I’ve recently found my stride again for my story Star Trek Challenger: Fool’s Errand and I’m glad for it, no […] View

    Gonna copy and paste my thoughts from the forum thread for the sake of posterity on the Blog. Especially, as it is a very valid and difficult question. One I think many of us have faced and struggled with. Particularly, those like you who have written many varied stories and stories of a certain magnitude and length.

    You need to read Game of…[Read more]

  • In reply to: trekfan wrote a new post, Possible Victim Number Four: Kyne Tolera , on the site Red Shirt Eulogies And now onto our final victim, the last remaining security officer from the Crazy Horse. (She currently […] View

    Another Crazy Horse survivor. Surely they all warrant surviving! But maybe that shows that the percentage or probability odds of continuing to survive the Borg is astronomically high.

    It has to be said, I am fond of characters who are more background but who do feature in stories. Such characters tend to populate many of my own stories. In…[Read more]

  • In reply to: trekfan wrote a new post, Possible Victim Number Three: Ronnie Jellico, on the site Red Shirt Eulogies Who Should I Kill? We now take a look at our third victim, Ronnie Jellico, former helmsman of the Crazy […] View

    Ronnie is from the first page a memorable character. So automatically one shouts out don’t kill him. But I refer you to my Game of Thrones response on the forum where I encourage you to consider the freedom of killing anyone and term none as safe from the bullet. His death could provide the biggest shake up factor for the readership and show the…[Read more]

  • In reply to: trekfan wrote a new post, Possible Victim Number Two: Trisha Reynolds, on the site Red Shirt Eulogies Who Should I Kill? Our next possible victim is Trisha Reynolds, the Challenger ops officer and best friend […] View

    For this comment:
    Trisha is a character that I feel channels a lot of ops officers. She’s a jack of all trades, master of none (much like many ops officers) and sees ops as a dead-end to her career. Ops is where officers go to get stuck for years on end as their peers pass them by in rank.
    Trisha should die. (That would be Molly Cartwright t…[Read more]

  • In reply to: trekfan wrote a new post, Possible Victim Number One: Taurik, on the site Red Shirt Eulogies Who Should I Kill? First up is our resident Vulcan, senior officer, and chief of engineering, Taurik. Who Is […] View

    You know, every crew needs it resident Vulcan! How can you be thinking this trekfan? I hereby revoke your Trek fan fiction license!

    Actually, it has to be said, Vulcans are standard fare in Trek fic and so it is easy to dismiss the characters. However, a really well written Vulcan will show facets that allow the logical mind to also possess an…[Read more]

  • Inspired by the blog posts of Mdg, jespah and TemplarSora’s I thought to offer up a story review reflection for one of my most recent stories to the site and a brand new series. From the Watchtower, we take a closer look at the opening Osprey story, ‘Running the Gauntlet’.

    Run the gauntletgauntlet 2  (ˈɡɔːntlɪt) — n1.            a punishment in which the victim is forced to run between two rows of men who strike at him as he passes: formerly a military punishment2.            run the gauntlet                a. to suffer this punishment                b. to endure an onslaught or ordeal, as of criticism3.            a testing ordeal; trial4.           and run the gauntlet of something Fig. to endure a series of problems, threats, or criticism.

    Story Intentions
    [caption id="attachment_556" align="alignright" width="243"]Spiessgasse_Frundsberger_Kriegsbuch_Jost_Ammann_1525 Spiessgasse Frundsberger Kriegsbuch Jost Ammann (1525) Wiki Commons[/caption]
    In my introducing the Osprey post a quick introduction was given to the characters and setting of the border cutter. The story served as an introduction to the crew though as a vehicle mostly served to present the ship’s captain Mercy Faraday and new executive officer, Gareth Hayes.
    The story also serves as an introduction to the more regular Trek side of my Watchtower Universe as stories from a civilian perspective with the bounty hunter Beks Knight and the cargo trader Tabatha Chase have largely dominated the scene to date. Ushering in the Osprey we get our first big welcome to the Watchtower’s ‘Sassy’ Sixth Cutter Squadron and it hints at the larger world of the Watchtower sector, particularly in the later chapter: The Bigger Picture.
    The purpose of the story is to introduce these characters and give them all a shout out but of course give particular focus to the dynamic between the captain and XO. It also had the purpose of setting up some of the problems for this region of space.

    ‘The Gauntlet’
    Shared Federation, Tzenkethi, Breen, Cardassian border
    USS Osprey, Deep Space Border Cutter, Gryffon class, Sixth Cutter Squadron
    Captain Mercy Faraday Thatcher, Commanding
    Osprey Cover Running the GauntletFrom the location blurb heading the first chapter the reader hopefully realises that this cutter is patrolling some rough seas, with a number of contentious parties on their border stretch. Breen, Tzenkethi and Cardassians are all going to provide plenty of drama and trouble surely in a post Dominion War setting (which is exactly what they are going to do). As the story progresses, we learn however the problems are not solely these parties alone. There are Kzinti clans, Orions, rogue smugglers and pirates, terrorists and a group called the Ashers. All of these threats are seeded for future stories involving any of the series in the Watchtower Universe.
    With Osprey, the intention is yes to tell stand alone stories but in the feel and guise of Deep Space Nine, we are going to see continuity and ramifications because the ship is not Voyager flying away in search of the way home, nor is it the Enterprise in any of its guises flying ever onward in search of discovery or running to the next crisis. If Osprey creates a problem or is unable to solve it, that problem is going to be around for their next patrol.
    Part of that approach then, is to create certain landmarks that will play a role in the Osprey tales. These will range from Star Stations, relay stations and out posts to regions of space, such as the one mentioned in the location blurb starting the story – ‘The Gauntlet’. ‘The Gauntlet’ we are to learn is a troubled region of space in other ways too, presenting rough – indeed dangerous – passage to any who travel through it. Think of the Black Nebula or the Badlands, The Briar Patch, etc and you can get an idea of the sort of Trekian type of fare we are dealing with. A nasty spot to cause trouble for ships and opportunities for criminals and warring parties. Yup, don’t expect any postcards reading: The Gauntlet ‘Wish you were here’.

    [caption id="attachment_566" align="aligncenter" width="587"]Briar Patch Briar Patch – it ain’t got a patch on ‘The Gauntlet’[/caption]
    The region of space gives rise to the story title but as the definition of running the gauntlet reveals, the characters are going to endure a series or onslaught of ordeals, threats and trials. For the stories inception, I wanted to throw a lot of stuff at the characters and to try to do at the one time. This would help to bring themes of trust to the fore in the story as everyone is faced with a challenge and to work with one another.
    And we of course know that the class of ship is not canon and is a Deep Space Border Cutter, meaning that perhaps this will differentiate the story from other Starfleet regular stories. For the reader, they might wonder if this means anything different for the characters or the story to be told. I think it does in its own way but you the reader can judge better for yourselves.
    The choice of ship was talked about in the Introduction blog but suffice to say, the ship looks like an Intrepid class only it has no variable warp geometry warp nacelles and has a forward shuttle deck (where the mess on VOY was) and an underside shuttle bay. The design reasoning being the rapid launch and retrieval of the Border Patrol’s specialised craft the Star Stallions (think beefed up shuttles crossed with a Runabout).

    Chapter 1
    ‘Welcome to the Dogs’ kicks things off with a jolt as we jump straight into the fray with our Border Dog heroes. The ship is readying for an interdiction assault on an Orion slaver ship.
    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="165"] Mercy Faraday Thatcher[/caption]
    Mercy Faraday-Thatcher strides onto the scene suited and booted and gives the heads up to the four teams who are about to step into danger’s way. Mercy’s obviously a seasoned hand at this as she tells her crew what is what and outlines the plan of attack. With the wizardry of the holo-tech tactical table, Faraday offers a play-by-play plan and lays down her expectations. Clearly she has a tactical mindset and expects her crew to follow her orders without complaint. This demonstrates her faith and trust in her crew, and apparently they in her.
    However, we soon see that there is one figure amongst the number whom Faraday seems to have a slight troubling issue with: her executive officer, Gareth Hayes. Hayes is new to the ship and worse than that (in Mercy’s eyes) he’s not a Border Dog, he’s a Fleeter. Is her uncertainty with Hayes down to his being a Starfleeter alone or is there something more to it?
    I wanted a strong figure obviously for my captain and from the off, Mercy shows her experience and commanding presence with her rather blunt presentation. However, her approach does not appear to invite any discussion or input. We don’t see what’s happened prior to this as it is all happening on the fly as they respond quickly to intel and sensor find of the slaver. Mercy tells as much but for new XO Hayes it has to be a little disconcerting. Might he even have justifiable umbrage about the entire situation? Part of the character conception for Faraday is based on one of my own writing traits of writing characters who are not always entirely likeable. Or certainly, not always likeable. Faraday fits this mould in lots of ways – there’s tons to like about her but there’s plenty to have issue with. And, in my own opinion, Mercy makes for a good Border Patrol captain but I have my doubts that she could actually pass muster in Starfleet (in fact she pretty much wouldn’t – certainly not as a Starfleet captain).
    [pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]“No Battle Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy.”

    (German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke)[/pullquote]
    The op preview helps to give us a run down of what should happen and what to expect when the action goes down. In one way, it serves to assist the writing of the action later as the presentation helps to explain much of that narrative allowing the story to focus on the reactions of the characters. It also lends the opportunity to deviate from the plan as things potentially go south. After all, the best laid plans and all of that, especially in light of the words “No Battle Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy” (German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke). We do learn however that Mercy is a real take charge and hands on captain and is not about to be left out of any fire-fight. She’s going to direct things from the bridge before beaming aboard the slaver herself. As Trek fans, that immediately raises the warning bells.

    [caption id="attachment_568" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Holographic tactical displays - Battleships come to life! Holographic tactical displays – Battleships come to life! Screencap from Promethesus[/caption]
    The op plan serves also to highlight some other features. Firstly, despite the normal depiction of the Border Dogs being on older vessels and the hand-me-downs of Starfleet, the Osprey appears to be quite techy with the fancy holo-tactical table display and a forward launch bay. There’s also mention of new weapons and weapons designed by and for the Border Patrol Service. The ‘rat-trap’ 22s torpedoes are an invention by TheLoneRedShirt but are a common toy used by the Border Dogs to zap their enemy. Essentially, they create an electromagnetic pulse on contact with the enemy that causes them to drop out of warp. Since the work of the Border Patrol often requires them to conduct interdiction assaults they need a powerful weapon in their arsenal but one that does not necessarily cause too much damage to the enemy.
    Additionally, the Border Dog have their own specialised weapons. Again, much of the inspiration for these are owed to the works of TheLoneRedShirt (or Granddaddy of the Dogs as I like to call him – though he might not like that name). The carbines are like the phaser rifles seen in canon, just bulkier and with shorter butts to allow for movement in tight confines as they conduct interdiction missions. Likewise, other weapons such as the ARC and the CPR being sported by corps man Ryuu, are weapons akin to the rat traps designed to stop an enemy or hostile group in crowd control but without causing irreparable harm.

    [caption id="attachment_569" align="alignright" width="210"]Mitch Duncannon Hugh Dillion in Flashpoint aka ,Mitch Duncannon’ Chief of the Boat.[/caption]
    The teams are clad in black armour. Honestly, the whole walking into a hostile situation in the future wearing pyjamas is just insane so it made perfect sense for the characters and the Dogs especially to suit up in advanced like armour suits. Give them a cape and they can be Batman. Maybe not – but it is the future so you could expect as much and many other fan fictions also choose this more grounded (read sensible) approach to this story telling.
    We get a quick introduction to a few of these guys. Quick brush strokes in a fast and furious run through. We meet The CoB – Chief of the Boat Mitch Duncannon. He seems rather taciturn and monosyllabic. He is. Well we discover he is plenty able to voice his opinion and one gets the impression he’s the person on the boat with the ear of the captain. This is a little pairing we will learn more about as the story progresses. What we hopefully glean here though is that he is tough and can finish Mercy’s sentences, implying they’ve a long standing relationship. Mitch is in his black armour – but he’s the type of character you always expect to be in such armour – in fact it may even serve as his pyjamas!
    There’s an introduction to Leann Mbeke, a flirty and fun Halian figure who appears to treat the situation lightly until she takes umbrage at possibly letting the culprit get away. Mercy’s focus is on rescuing the slaves however and this serves to mollify Mbeke.
    Another non-com enters the scene – Chief Petty Officer Shelly Logan aka ‘Sparks’. I like my non-com characters and although I’ve never served, I rather imagine these guys, especially the petty officers, are the back bone of making things work within the navy. Also, I don’t like to play with too many top tier officers and like to explore some of the lower deck dimensions in my stories. Whilst a CPO is hardly bottom of the pecking order, Shelly offers a slightly different attitude to proceedings.

    [caption id="attachment_570" align="alignright" width="354"]Ryuu - Gantz costume Ryuu – Gantz costume[/caption]
    The character who is a little different is the young Ryuu. He’s different in costume, in rank and in age. Darkly dangerous with an eagerness to enter the fight, he is more motivated about trying out his new toy – that is weapon. Ryuu sports a different kind of armour tactical suit to the others. Partly because I figured him to be this lithe, thin reed of a guy who was young, fast and cocky. However, a heavy armour suit did not seem to fit for him. Then in watching Gantz I came across a young actor who could portray the cocky but youthful thrill seeker. Kurono (Kazunari Ninomiya) was a perfect fit and actually, he altered the part by changing the character species from Denobulan originally (because they are lithe, fast and good climbers according to canon reference) to being human. (Exclusive reveal: To help him play the part, the character is also going to be part augment but as yet this is not a feature that has come up in story.) In Gantz, the character had to wear these ridiculous alien suits but I figured the design actually could work for a future setting of Trek where thinner fabrics could be designed with strength and durability. In my own mind, said suit is probably not as protective as the armour sported by the others but Ryuu depends on agility and speed so for him the pay offs out weigh the cons.
    The hope of course is to show a little sci-fi tech with a Trek flavour but also that has a certain feel to it that makes it feel at home within the Border Patrol Service. Not all of the ships in the Dogs have such fancy toys (McGregor looks on enviously – and thinks how he might procure them not quite through the proper channels) but this hopefully sets up the Osprey as one of the Border Patrol’s ships of the line, which is one reason why it has so many officers of rank on board, which is not the case on other Border Patrol ships. These are all little details that fill my head you see, so the blog gives me the chance to share what might otherwise remain unknown. 😛
    You’ll note a few call outs to my stories – Falcon and Kestrel all get a mention as team names and of course all fitting to the ship’s Osprey name. I guess if you’re going to have meme for your hero ship names you may as well embrace and run with it. If you keep a careful eye you’ll note a few other shout outs and hints that link these stories as well. Faraday-Thatcher as a surname hints at Mercy’s ancestry – a certain fiery engineer and a certain rear admiral is one for starters.

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="970"] Ryuu – The Little Dragon Gotta have a few bad ass characters – look at him wield his Concussive Pulse Rifle (CPR)[/caption]
    The opening chapter comes to an end. The gauntlet is about to be run as the ship moves in to intercept the Orion slaver. There’s a plan but will it pan out. The last words go to Hayes from Mercy. She welcomes him to the Dogs. Despite the fact that he’s been on board for a number of weeks now it seems this is the first real test of whether Gareth is going to measure up.
    But Gareth’s not the only one about to face a trial here…

    Thoughts and Reflections
    To my own mind, I think the opener serves its purpose to give quick broad strokes of some of the main ensemble and the emphasis on Mercy is intended and I think it helps give a better impression of who this woman is. It is different to how the captain characters of McGregor and Cyste Ryaenn made their entrance into their stories. There rumour, speculation and inference all hint to their characters and in their actual ‘onscreen’ introduction you either agree or disagree with some of those conclusions. Here, with Mercy, you are forming opinions based on how she presents herself. It is actually quite a different approach for me. I think it works to show a character with a number of facet and one who is not entirely fitting to a hero mould but someone who could fit that role for the reader for sure.
    The remainder of the cast are mere background seemingly and they do indeed appear against a backdrop of setting the scene and some exposition of the ship and region. I don’t think they get short shrift and the story telling devise here requires that things truck along quickly.
    If anything, there’s a nagging doubt that some of the characters are on appearance sakes, bad ass for the sake of being bad ass. Mitch and Ryuu in particular are wary suspects in this regard. However, Mitch is an experienced hand so he should come off as fairly bad ass. As for Ryuu, well he’s the possible weak link but we see he gets a focus in the third chapter of the story, Little Dragon, where hopefully he might prove he merits this presentation.

    Next time…
    Apologies, this review is obviously longer than I intended but that’s just for starters and to offer an overview on the story.
    In my next story review and discussion, we will treat chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5 at least. Thanks for reading. Obviously, please feel free to share your thoughts.

    Did the chapter and story setting fit my intentions in your opinion? What did you think? Were some details too much? Were others too scant? Is Gareth getting a raw deal? Is Ryuu bad ass? Is Mercy a fair captain? These and more, please offer comment.
    Meantime, boldly reading, boldly writing, boldly reviewing …cropped-Miranda-Fave-header2.jpg
     

     

  • ThumbnailStar Station Hope. Watchtower.

    In another ‘From the Watchtower’ post we look at Star Station Hope, known as Watchtower. It forms the centre of the Watchtower Universe stories and of course in-universe serves as […]

  • ThumbnailOsprey #1 — Running the Gauntlet The story concludes with a frantic chase in the midst of a storm, injured personnel, a damaged ship and a hostage situation.

  • ThumbnailOsprey #1 — Running the Gauntlet Hayes and Faraday share a heat to heart moment. Can they make their command team partnership work? Meantime, the storm rages, questions remain and past legacies produce trust […]

  • ThumbnailOsprey #1 — Running the Gauntlet

    The slaves rescued, the mission for the Osprey is far from over. Caught in a massive storm within ‘The Gauntlet’ the Border Patrol Cutter Osprey must navigate the treacherous […]

  • From the Watchtower we introduce the ship of the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán – stories about a civilian cargo freighter crew captained by the adventurous Tabatha Katherine Chase. Ship and crew only want to make a profit but fates lands them amid the political intrigues and criminal plots within the Watchtowerverse.
    The Adventures of the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán tell the tales of a civilian freighter crew, captained by Tabatha – ‘don’t call me Tabby’ – Katherine Chase. The crew run into their share of scrapes and many a character and central to the action and almost a character in its own right is the ship itself the grandly named: Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán. Given Tabatha’s tastes in clothes and general behaviour, one might assume the name is purposely as preposterous as her.

    Concept of the characters and series
    The series was conceived to be an opportune way to explore a civilian side of the Trekverse but offering up adventure and trouble and a-plenty by basing it on a travelling cargo freighter, especially one under the command of a trouble magnet like Tabatha Chase. Since the ship would be civilian the characters had to be a more homely, yet more gritty, and bag plenty of character to make them the type of personality you could imagine would face the dangers of space on board a non-Starfleet ship, with a minimum of luxury and comfort.

    Tabatha Chase
    [pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”99%”]“I am Captain Tabatha (don’t call me Tabby) Katherine Chase, of the Corellia class Medium Endurance Freighter Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán.

    Record holder of the Kessel Run. Pilot extraordinaire. The sole owner of ‘Chase Haulage and Astral Shuttle Enterprises’ – putting the zing into cargo distributzing. Honorific Queen of the Nabooshka septs and certified professor of antiquities from the Galen Institute. One part owner of the steed Icarus’ Wrath which incidentally was the Gold Cup winner last year. Duchess of the asteroid moon Zepta pi 561 in the Contar system and Rear of the Year winner 2359, Rigellia Prime. But you can call me Tabatha.”
    Tabatha Chase, Adventures of the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán #1 ‘A Preposterous Prospector’[/pullquote]
    Given the concept for the series and its setting,  the ship’s captain – that is master and commander or skipper, to use the parlance of civilian merchant traders – therefore had to be larger than life. Well didn’t have to be but I figured it would lend to a more colourful story and would offer a character with the potential to land the ship into all manner of trouble and hi-jinxs, since after all the stories could not rely on the visiting on an unexplored world trope (that said, I am working on a treasure hunter in the Trekverse type concept where idea this may play into it) nor could they be involved in all the big bad plots of the political machinations. The joy of creating a civilian crew within a large expanded universe, being explored in other story serials, of course was the fact it offered all those delicious complications, troubles and strife as a background setting for which to get mixed up in.
    I wanted my skipper to be large and colourful and life loving but to have a mercenary edge to them as well. So for Tabatha Chase, the bottom dollar (erm credit) is the bottom dollar (erm credit or latinum bar). Or at least that’s the front she presents to us, how true it is remains to be seen. Born and bred on the borderlands, she’s feisty and tough and knowledgeable because these are the traits she needed growing up. My vision for the character was someone who could come against my Border Dog McGregor and give him a run for the money. That idea grew in my head and it was Tabatha Chase who swaggered onto the scene. That initial connection between concept and McGregor would of course last, playing out in their banter and interaction in the Multiverse Round Robin II which provided the first opportunity for them to interact. And it carried over to the reveal about the connection between McGregor and Tabatha.
    Core things to know about Tabatha Chase: (what? Did her own introduction not tell you enough?) big hair, big smile, big zest for life, the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán is her love and pride and home, she’s Chase by name and by nature, a sublimely ridiculous fashion sense, and oh, big guns, cos gun it or run it is her motto.

    Dale Garrow
    If Tabatha Chase was an old hand (I don’t mean old Tabatha! – oops) at travelling the stars as a civvie, I needed a set of eyes that would work for the reader to help them explore this take on the Trek universe. To that end, Dale Garrow, formerly of Starfleet, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed albeit with baggage over from his dismissal from Starfleet. Garrow would serve as audience avatar and help me to put in the details of the ship and way of things by virtue of needing things explained to him. However, his lack of knowledge would play into his naive attitude and completely unprepared nature for the scrapes the Rabbit gets into.

    [caption id="" align="alignright" width="134"] First Mate Bora[/caption]
    Bora
    Pitted against this, I needed a seasoned hand to be Tabatha’s XO – I mean first mate. Bora fits that mantle well. In contrast to Tabatha, he’s more serious though not necessarily dour (even if Tabatha teases him sometimes so). He’s more wary about the deals they make and the choices Tabatha takes. His motto is bring plenty of fire power into a negotiation and to always expect trouble – I think it comes from being around Chase too long. However, he also acts as a grounding figure for Chase, providing a link to her past as the brother of her one time lover who was killed. It lends a certain perspective to Chase and shows that under all that bluster there is a woman capable of love and loyalty.

    Meetra Ros
    Meetra Ros is a Caitian cos well I wanted a Caitain but also I wanted a sweet little dove to be the navigational whiz, cook and many other part jobs that she does. Her inclusion helps to lend the rather motley, ramshackle nature of the merchant business. It takes all sorts and not necessarily the meanest and toughest – after all – many of those folk are bound to find more violent means of employment. Meetra also helps to lend a familial feel to the boat – again that is ship in merchant trader parlance. Her sweet, trusting and kind nature in contrast to the others but serving to bring out their softer sides as well. Additionally, she’s sweet and hot and adds a certain spice to the proceedings for Dale Garrow – and maybe Bora.

    Ellioh Hex
    I also like me a character who pushes the limits and adds a complexity to how they need to be written. A Trill usually fits the bill then in that case. However, the character of Ellioh Hex is more than that as he is a young man subsumed by the centuries of lifetimes of his forced upon him symbiont. As a host, Ellioh lost much of himself to the overwhelming memories of the Hex symbiont. It’s a tragic turn that offers a chance to explore an eccentric and heartbreaking figure. Hex also provides another important link to Chase’s past, appearing in Chase by Name. Chase by Nature  as Meara the engineering partner who took Tabtaha in when she stowed away on board her ship. Where Meara took Chase in and was like an adoptive mother to her, the roles are reversed when the Hex symbiont is placed in Ellioh, and it is on Tabatha to protect and look over Hex now.

    Nesquith
    Rounding out the crew, we have Nesquith. A rather uncouth, coarse, selfish and greedy bugger. He’s not pleasant to look at or be around. But he has a charm all of his own. Er maybe not. However, Nesquith stands to show that perhaps in order to survive on the border you may have to think only for yourself.

    Dr. Ajshae & Braham Oses
    Lastly, to help add to the mix and the mayhem, the ship acquires two mysterious passengers just before all trouble breaks loose. A Vulcan woman who identifies herself as Dr. Ajshae is in short one hard Vulcan bitch. And a very lethal one at that who demonstrates an uncanny ability to kill and carries with her a sabre weapon. She’s dangerous obviously but what her agenda is – is not so obvious. Who or what is she working for? And why is she interested in the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán? … And a doctor of what exactly?
    The other passenger, Oses Braham, is a Cardassian male. He seems far more genial than Ajshae but again their joint agenda is unclear. And just why is a Cardassian (especially in dangerous times such as these) be doing travelling around with a Vulcan. A Vulcan and a Cardassian walk into a bar … what’s the punchline?

    Others
    [caption id="" align="alignright" width="178"] The bumbling proud warrior Merk[/caption]
    And by virtue of writing in this gritty colourful merchant trader side of the Trek universe and by virtue of writing in a shared expanded universe, there’s a raft of other colourful characters that the crew are going to meet. In Way of the Blade we are introduced to a Klingon odd-couple pair.

    Merk
    Yet to be introduced in the Way of the Blade tale is the character of Merk a bumbling Klingon, more oaf than warrior. Merk is a potential new crew hand to the ship as Tabatha gets embroiled in a blood oath and a treasure hunt. Part of that hunt will rely on the less than stellar antics of Merk who really wants to prove himself as a mighty warrior but other than his breath, he’s unlikely to fell too many enemies.
    There’ll be a host of others that they’ll meet along the way. The good, the bad, the ugly. As well as featuring casts, characters and/or settings from the other Watchtower Universe tales. That’ll include bounty hunter Bex Knight and dread of dreads for a freighter captain, those dogged Border Dogs of the Osprey.
    In addition, TheLoneRedShirt provides John Colt and his merry lot from the crew of the Eschaton (it seems all trader merchants get drunk when they name their ships) and Chase also makes an appearance in TLR’s Rock Jockeys: “Gold-Plated Trouble”.

    Concept for the ship
    Obviously, being a civilian crew and ship, the design had to be something different and non-Starfleet, especially since the intention was to explore Star Trek from a more rustic, gritty, down and dirty, civilian perspective. To that end, I needed a design that was not Starfleet, suitably different but … not too different. Therefore, in the best tradition of creativity, I stole ship designs from other popular science fiction settings.
    The Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán therefore came from, of all things, the stable of the Star Wars universe. The ship design selected was the Consular class and with the creative zing of fellow fanfic author TheLoneRedshirt the following details were imagined and dreamed up for the class.

    Corellia Class [based on the Consular Class from Star Wars]
    561px-RepFrig_multiview.jpg
    RepublicC70Frigate-TCW.jpg
    General Information
    Crew: 6 – 18, Passengers: 20 in standard configuration, 100-person evacuation limit
    Classification: Medium Endurance Freighter
    Planet of Origin: Denobula – Jishnul Industries Shipyards
    Production Start Date: 2270 (Mark I)
    Production End Date: 2355 (Mark IV)
    Dimensions
    Length: 115 meters
    Beam: 42.61 meters
    Height: 27.3 meters (not including antennae array)
    Decks: 4 habitable
    Deck Layout
    Deck 1: Flight deck, Comm station, access to gun turrets/ dorsal airlock.
    Deck 2: Main deck – Ship’s Galley / Mess / Lounge, Captain’s quarters, crew berths, Sick bay..
    Deck 3: Engineering, Main cargo deck, Engineer’s quarters, Additional berths.
    Deck 4: Half deck for additional cargo areas and ship systems, Landing struts, Deuterium storage, access to gun turret, ventral airlock.
    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1023"] Cutaway diagram of the Endurance Medium Freighter Class[/caption]
    Mass
    Empty: 379,500 lbs
    Max Takeoff: 705,000 lbs
    Max Payload: 314,500 lbs
    Defensive Systems & Weaponry
    Standard Navigational Deflectors. Optional Defensive Shield System.
    Standard Duranium Single Hull (Mk I-III), Duranium/Tritanium Hull (Mk. IV)*
    Standard Level Structural Integrity Field
    Weapons: Varied – Standard version is unarmed. Options include: Point defense lasers and Tri-quad-phaser mounts. Owners have been known to adds additional weaponry such as Merculite missile launchers, particle-beam emitters, ion cannons, disruptors and rail-guns. (Note: Jishnul Industries, Inc. does not condone the addition of illegal weaponry to any spacecraft.)
    * Many owners add Endurium or Carbonite plating to their vessels for increased protection.
    
Power Plants
    One 650 plus Cochrane warp core (Mark I-III), 1000 Cochrane warp core (Mark IV)
    One Quantor-Flux Fusion Reactor
    Drive Systems
    Two Long-Voltrans Tri-Arc Warp Field Generators
    3 Dyne 577 Radial Atomizer Engines (Sublight)
    8 Ventral/ 3 aft thrust vector exhausts (Atmospheric Flight)
    42 RCS Thrusters
    Performance
    Atmospheric flight: 900 kph
    Sublight: .75c without relativistic distortion
    Normal Cruise : Warp 6
    Maximum Cruise : Warp 8
    Emergency : Warp 8.3 (for 9 hours)
    (Note: Some modified ships have reportedly reached Warp 9. However, this speed exceeds the rated structural integrity fields and is considered highly unsafe.)
    

Refit Cycle
    Minor: 18 months
    Standard: 5 years
    Major: 25 years
    Expected hull life: 125 years
    Auxiliary/Support Craft
    None standard – owner provided
    The cargo bay is designed to handle one smallcraft, plus there is an external docking port on the engineering section.
    4 Escape pods
    Forward cargo pod can detach and serve as an emergency landing craft (one-time use).
    Other
    Computer Core: Standard – Daystom Mk VIII, Optional – OmniSense 1000
    Gravimetric cargo crane
    Transporter alcove (Cargo / 2 person)
    Internal cargo winches
    Optional external tractor beam
    

Flight deck RRGSummary
    The Corellia-class was developed by the Jishnul Corporation of Denobula in the late 23rd Century. During this era of rapid expansion, demand was growing for sturdy, economical and dependable transport craft to ferry cargo to the far-flung systems of the frontier. The design team addressed the ‘givens and druthers’ presented to them, prioritizing them as follows:
    *A sturdy craft, capable of planetary landings (0g – 4.9g)
    *Modular components, providing flexibility of lading/repair and replacement
    *A proven warp drive, with redundancy in key systems.
    *Affordable to purchase, operate and maintain.
    *Ability to operate with a small crew
    *Easily upgraded by the owner.
    The Corellia prototype was built in 2268 and put through a demanding series of tests. Though the marketing division was under-whelmed with the ship’s less than graceful lines, they developed a successful advertisement campaign based on the phrase: “Beauty fades but toughness endures.”
    Production began in 2270 and continued all the way to 2355 when the final Mark IV model was produced.
    The Corellia-class Medium Endurance Freighter met and exceeded its design specifications, becoming one of the most popular transports of the late 23rd / early 24th centuries. This class ship can be configured as a Deuterium tanker, Grain hauler, Medical ship, Passenger transport, Patrol frigate, and Courier. The vast majority of these ships were fitted as General Cargo Carriers. Most of the ships were sold to Corporations in the Federation. As these were retired, they were purchased second-hand by myriad private interests. Starfleet purchased two as training vessels. It has been rumored that the Maquis have acquired at least four of these vessels.
    In spite of a few notable short-comings (inadequate standard computer cores and cramped personnel space, to name two) they are immensely popular with their crews. Even in the 2370’s many of these ships continue to operate; almost all are heavily modified by their owners with unique paint jobs and upgrades in defences and engine performance. It is a given that no two Corellias are exactly alike, though their distinctive silhouette makes them easy to spot.
    Specifications from Wookieepedia, Miranda Fave and The Lone Redshirt with Trekno-babble derived from the Advanced Starship Design Bureau and compiled by CamSPD.
    Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán (created by Miranda Fave)
    The Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán ship’s master is Tabatha Chase. Chase heavily modified her Corellia class. It is heavily armed and pushed to its limits in order to make greater profit margins. The ship comes in a rust red hull sporting numerous mounted weapons turrets.
    The Eschaton (created by The Lone Redshirt)
    The Eschaton ship’s master is John Colt. The Eschaton has a blue livery, though not as heavily armed as the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán the ship is able to defend itself.
    Both captains share a ‘friendly’ business rivalry and often contest the record for the ‘Kessel Run’. Stories involving the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán will often make reference to John Colt or the Eschaton. A tale of the Eschaton can be found here.

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    Thank you FalseBill. As for casting choices, well they are a fun little extra dimension especially at the outset in creating the characters and dynamics to have a visual to picture. After a time, I think you usually end up with your own mental image of characters but it’s a fun diversion at the start.

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