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TheLoneRedshirt

Where it all began . . . The Origin of the Border Service

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For those of you new to the concept of the Border Service, I thought I'd provide the more-or-less canon background. The idea came from Diane Carey's Star Trek novel, Ship of the Line, which included the Border Service Cutter USS Bozeman and her Captain, Morgan Bateson. You may recall the Bozeman from the TNG episode, "Cause and Effect."

 

In Ship of the Line, the Bozeman receives two new officers from the Enterprise and both Bateson and his first mate, Gabe Bush, provide these new additions a crash-course in the role of the Border Service. Here's an excerpt -

 

"Now boys, before you square away your gear, let me give you a short course in border patrolling. Have you heard anything about this service?"

 

Mike Dennis glanced at John Wolfe, and neither wanted to speak, but as senior of the two apparently Dennis was pressed into service. "I've head, uh . . . they call you 'Bulldog Bateson," sir."

 

Bateson cleared his throat and uttered, "Ummm-hmm," and Bush caught some amusement at the new officers' discomfort. At least Dennis had the nerve to admit what he'd heard.

 

"You two know each other?" Bateson asked.

 

"No sir, just met," Wolfe said, as he glanced around the tight bridge and its two cramped decks, styled generally like any other Starfleet ship, except smaller and more utilitarian.

 

"Not exactly a starship, is it?" the captain stated. "That's right. It's not. Tell 'em, Gabe."

 

Bush took one step forward. "This is a Soyuz-class border cutter authorized by the Starfleet Border Service. You may consider us, in a way, descendants of the United States Coast Guard, which in turn derived from the 1915 merging of the Revenue Cutter Service and the Lifesaving Service. In fact, the first United States naval commission went to Captain Yeaton is 1791, the master of a revenue cutter. The historic tag "cutter" is picked up from the early days of the British Revenue Service, which actually used cutter-rigged sailing ships. If you want to know what that is, look it up. The United States Revenue Service used schooners rather like the fast Baltimore Clippers, but they were still called 'cutters,' and we still call ourselves that today. It keeps us tied to our long traditioin of coastal security,and we're proud of it!"

 

"Verily," Wizz Dayton confirmed from up-deck.

 

With a nod, Bush added, "And this is no office building. No three eight-hour watches. Here we run standard military four-on eight-off. We dog our watches on the Bozeman. That provides seven watches instead of six, so crew members stand different watches instead of the same watch every day. The duties of a border cutter are smuggling patrol, towing, traffic control, buoy and lightship maintenance, import-export regulation, tariff and trade-law enforcement, and aid and rescue. Oh, one thing that surprises new men is that we tow with heavy duty clamps."

 

"Clamps?" Wolfe repeated. "Why not use tractor beams, sir? That's standard -"

 

"Why use energy that has to be replaced when you can use a clamp that doesn't?"

 

Oh, that moment of superiority felt wicked.

 

"That's right," Bateson said. "You'll also learn to set your whole being to short-range callibrations. Everything we do is short-range. We're not a powerpack, we're not a showboat, and we're never going to be in a history book." He made a gesture toward the main screen, where the great starship was just pulling around a planet to clear herself for light-speed. "But we've got one thing that makes us equal to Enterprise herself. You're wearing it."

 

Clinging to his tiny brass shot glass, Dennis gazed at him as if he liked what he was hearing, and Wolfe looked down at his uniform as if seeing it for the first time in quite a while. Bush understood how they felt - he too tended to forget sometimes.

 

"Ships are like people, boys," Bateson continued. "They have jobs, specific jobs. This is a border cutter. That's all it's meant to be. The dream of this ship is not great exploration, not making headlines or even delivering cargo. This ship wants a secure border and a stable Neutral Zone. As her crew, that's all we should want. We're cogs in a bigger machine. If a cog stops, the machine fumbles. We're a working ship, not a glory factory. We're not the knights. We're the castle guard. If you want something else . . . get over it."

 

* * *

 

From Ship of the Line by Diane Carey. Thanks for providing the inspiration, Ms. Carey! - From the next generation of Border Dogs serving in United Trek and other Star Trek universes.

 

 

 

 

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Awesome. Never realized the Border Service, as we know and love it, had it's roots in Trek Lit.

Funny thing is, I actually have that novel on my tablet. Just never got around reading it. Got a reason to now.

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CeJay, it's a good read - one of Diane Carey's better novels IMHO, although the second half doesn't fit either Prime Universe or UT canon. There's actually an earlier Star Trek paperback from the mid 1970's that featured a "Border Patrol" ship near the Romulan Neutral Zone. I can't for the life of me remember the title of the book or the author - I've tried searching for it with no luck. It's set in the earlier TOS era, 2266-68, I believe. These Border Patrol types were Starfleet cast-offs and everything they had from weapons to ships were all hand-me-downs. It was a rough and tumble bunch with a female captain who carried a cutlass! That book and Carey's novel provided a lot of the basis for the Bluefin and her crew (and the reason why I have Bateson as an admiral in the Border Service by 2376).

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CeJay, it's a good read - one of Diane Carey's better novels IMHO, although the second half doesn't fit either Prime Universe or UT canon. There's actually an earlier Star Trek paperback from the mid 1970's that featured a "Border Patrol" ship near the Romulan Neutral Zone. I can't for the life of me remember the title of the book or the author - I've tried searching for it with no luck. It's set in the earlier TOS era, 2266-68, I believe. These Border Patrol types were Starfleet cast-offs and everything they had from weapons to ships were all hand-me-downs. It was a rough and tumble bunch with a female captain who carried a cutlass! That book and Carey's novel provided a lot of the basis for the Bluefin and her crew (and the reason why I have Bateson as an admiral in the Border Service by 2376).

I wonder if you're thinking of "The Entropy Effect" by Vonda N. McIntyre, which featured a tough female  Captain Hunter, who commanded Aerfen. Don't recall if she carried a cutlass, it's been years since I read it. Her ship was considered a fighter vessel of some sort, not specifically a border ship.

 

Hell of a read either way, if anyone here gets a chance. One of my favorites, and set during TOS, despite the STTMP cover. One of the first novels published after the film, if I'm not mistaken.

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I wonder if you're thinking of "The Entropy Effect" by Vonda N. McIntyre, which featured a tough female  Captain Hunter, who commanded Aerfen. Don't recall if she carried a cutlass, it's been years since I read it. Her ship was considered a fighter vessel of some sort, not specifically a border ship.

 

Hell of a read either way, if anyone here gets a chance. One of my favorites, and set during TOS, despite the STTMP cover. One of the first novels published after the film, if I'm not mistaken.

 

Thanks! - could be. Like you, it's been years since I read the book in question.  I'm fuzzy on the story line but as I recall the female captain and her Border Patrol crew were a scruffy bunch - their uniforms were a hodge-podge of fleet issue and customized bits, plus they were armed with phasers, disruptors, swords, etc. They seemed almost like pirates, except they were the 'good guys,' patrolling the Romulan Neutral Zone.

 

I'll have to see if I can find a copy of "The Entropy Effect" through Amazon. Captain Hunter sounds familiar.

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