Apr 14

Where there is Hope …

Star Station Hope

Star Station: Hope – ‘Watchtower’
Shared Federation borders: Tzenkethi, Cardassian, Breen, Klingon
Border Patrol Squadron: 6th Cutter Squadron,
Commanding officer: Commodore Tekesha Tanner
2376

So here it is, Star Station Hope otherwise known as Watchtower. Whilst is was not the deciding factor, I have to say I loved the brief appearance of this station in TWoK as Regula Station. The station was of course a redress from the Motion Picture’s orbital office, where it also looked cool. Then it was realised on screen again in TNG episodes, scaled upwards and downwards again in a few versions of TNG and DS9. It was the scaled upwards version though that struck me as an ideal station setting for my Star Station.

While there was a temptation to go for something novel and different, I figured the fact the station is a part of the utilitarian and functional Border Patrol Service where the feasibility of its being a part of the Border Patrol’s ring of defence and outlook stations relied on economics, durability and availibility. It seemed that this design lent itself to the Starfleet mode of functionality that we saw onscreen (i.e. all those set and prop redresses).

But I liked the design too for it simple functional lines and yet it also held a certain simple majestic beauty to it too. Ok maybe that’s just me but I could easily envision it in my imagination as this busy hub of trade, commerce, transport and the centre of diplomacy and border security. Thus I was decided on it as the design for Star Station Hope.

What is a star station you say? Well it is parlance put forth by TheLoneRedShirt. Those of us who write Border Patrol stories/crews call him the Granddaddy of the Border Dogs as he was writing Border Patrol stories before many of us. In his vision, shared by me but also permitted with his kind authority, was that the Border Patrol Service operated its own stations from where it operated its fleet of vessels. Its stations would serve defence purposes primarily, tracking traffic on the space lanes, monitoring emergency calls, maintaining a careful and wary eye on the interstellar neighbours and orchestrating the cutter squadrons that patrolled the border land zones.

“Welcome to Star Station Hope. We wish you a pleasant stay. Information kiosks are situated across the Promenade. Visitors are asked to keep their security clearances on them at all times. Luggage and personal belongings should not be left unattended. Temporary accommodation can be found on the Promenade levels.”

Neighbours was the other going concern at this stage for the conception of the station. Along what border would  the star station be tasked for that would colour greatly the setting and story telling. Given that the station would have a diplomatic presence there was the opportunity to present all the usual faces from Trek as onboard the station but the actual space it occupied would determine some of the political situations that would face the staff of Hope and the attached cutter squadron.

Thus, I set it on a crisscross of borders and open space. The virtue of space being three dimensional meant I did not have to limit it to just one border and so add to the frictions and complications that would arise. Also the vision of the Star Station was that it would operate within a sphere of influence – a lighthouse if you will shining out and acting like a coast guard protection base – helping those in distress, providing navigational assistance, offering intelligence gathering and of course protecting the borders.

Given the post Dominion War setting it seemed too good too rich a backdrop to not have some sort of Cardassian shared border. And I was fascinated too with the notion of the closer ties between Klingons and Federation during the war but how that would pan post war. Surely, a victorious Klingon Empire would be posturing for more influence and prestige on the interstellar stage. It seemed too rich a vein to not exploit, especially with the canon established tensions between the Cardassians and the Klingons to spoil the party further.

So yes, expect some Klingons gate crashers and peace spoilers along the way. This guy in particular, below, will be a nasty piece of work determined to unravel the peace in order to achieve glory.

General Broki, KDF

However, there will be others who will hopefully run counter to the usual Klingon fare as I’ve always enjoyed the political and thoughtful klingons as much as the nasty always wanting a fight klingons.

And in addition, I opted to put the Tzenkthi (yes the cat Kzinti from TAS) and the Breen on nearby borders, cause well if you’re going to do a border story you might as well make things messy, complicated and dangerous. That and the fact, I enjoyed too much my Kzinti character from Kestrel too much to not try and tackle these guys. They’ve been quiet for too long and after the Dominion War might they not decide to bestir themselves in a time of tumult and unrest?

Choosing the Breen as another adversary was deliberate too on account of the fact they had such a delicious little mystery to them that was built up onscreen for a time as though it were going to lead to a big reveal. Alas, no such big reveal came and they essentially petered out but I dare say that they were fairly disgruntled at the conclusion of the war and of course more or less universally reviled for entering int the war on the side of the Dominion. I decided then to include the Breen to hopefully begin to play into the mystery of their origin and species and strange motivations and just how they would play nice in the new political situation post Dominion War.

The inclusion of the Breen also allowed me to develop a little slice of backstory for the station and the crew too. In a personal way the Breen will play as a spectre for the crew of Watchtower as we learn early on that the station was almost destroyed by a Breen attack on the eve of their entry into the war when they attacked Earth. Not only does this give a personal pained backstory for many of the characters to be introduced it is also a defining moment of failure for those charged with defending the borders.

That’s a brief glimpse into something of the political situation and setting Star Station Hope finds itself in. More soon on realising the station and the personnel, Starfleet, diplomatic and civilian who populate it.

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