From the Watchtower: Introducing the Osprey

From the WatchtowerFrom the Watchtower we introduce the Border Patrol Cutter Osprey commanded by Captain Mercy Faraday-Thatcher, operating out of Star Station Hope, serving in the Sixth Cutter squadron. Its stories propel it into the thick of the action on the contentious and politically dynamite borders of the Watchtowerverse.

Osprey features the actions of this border patrol cutter. As part of the Sassy Sixth, it has done its fair share to help that particular squadron earn its reputation as fierce protectors of the space lanes through tough posturing and swift action. No wonder they’ve earned the name the Sassy Sixth. The squadron is also known as Tanner’s ‘Hell Hounds’ as they are commanded by Commodore Tekesha Nancy Tanner, a hard task master who expects the very best from her cutters.

Originally I wanted to explore a civilian aspect of a post Dominion War universe in what became the Watchtower Universe based on the shared Eleventh Fleet universe. However, as the stories of the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán and the Étoile Cheval developed, I found I wanted in on the Starfleet side of the story mechanics. Hence I created the Aegolius Harrier to explore the relief mission into Cardassia.

However, I’m a Border Dog, and I rather enjoy that aspect and niche of the Star Trek universe. Given the delicate balance of power dynamics in a post-War situation, I figured there were lots of story telling opportunities to be explored in an episodic manner from a Border Patrol perspective. So before long, I wanted to play with a Border Patrol vessel crew. I also wanted something a little different to my Kestrel story, so I conceived of a new crew as well as envisioning a larger playing field by creating the Watchtower hub for the Border Patrol squadron.

Captained by Mercy Faraday-Thatcher, I wanted someone who was different to McGregor. She’s fierce and despite her name, she shows little Mercy to those who stand in her way. However, Mercy is more glaringly idealistic, she wears her feelings on her sleeve but is softer and has a certain maternal aspect to her. In addition to this, she’s religious and believes in a God – whereas McGregor believes he is a god!

Oh and yes, if you’re a reader of my stories you’ll recognise something about her surname. It shares Faraday with the name of a certain Rear-Admiral in Kestrel (he’s her Daddy) and Thatcher is one of the surnames of the NX era Falcon’s engineer, Amelia DeWitt-Thatcher (who is Mercy’s ancestor). Hey, if you’re going to play in larger world you may as well allow yourself a few continuity nods.

(Likewise, I’ve given into my muse and renamed the ship from originally planned. To begin with, it was going to be called Cheiron, but I opted to go with my Birds of Prey theme that runs through the naming of most of my star starships.)

Another difference I envisioned for the Osprey crew is that they have a relatively new Executive Officer, Commander Gareth Hayes. In a fish out of water trope, the new XO is coming over from Starfleet and is getting his feet wet with the Border Patrol. This allows him to be a reader avatar in some guises to explain novel concepts. However, it also added a certain friction between captain and XO to contrast with the years old working partnership between McGregor and Molly (albeit there’s often a certain friction between them too!). Hayes is tactically minded and seems to be of the belief that he’s going to find the Dogs an easy switch. Hayes little realises he has to try and find a means of getting on with Mercy who is rather protective of her crew and reluctant to let just anyone in.

The Crew of the Osprey

Captain Mercy Faraday Thatcher — Regina King

Captain Faraday is a born and bred officer of the Border Patrol Service. Her family line can trace members in the branch back to the very inception of the branch; her ancestor is the noted and notorious Eliza DeWitt Thatcher of one of the founding vessels of the Border Service. She has the service in her blood and is fiercely proud of her lineage and the work of the Border Patrol Service. This does mean that Faraday sometimes carries an attitude when it comes to dealing with those from the Fleet, especially its ‘brass’. However, despite her pride, she will always recognise the skilled, capable and brave officers she does meet and where possible recruits them to her ship.

The Captain may be Mercy by name but she has a hard as nails reputation that means she is far from merciful in nature. She is forthright and plain speaking honest person who often speaks through actions and harsh words. Mercy brokers no arguments and does not back down. She rules her ‘seas’ with a firm hand yet maternal hand. However, she is fiercely protective of her charges – both the crew and the inhabitants of the worlds that fall into her patrol route.

Commander Gareth Hayes — Shane West

Commander Hayes is only a recent transfer to the ship, coming to us from the main Starfleet branch. The XO is ambitious but cool headed. Hayes appears to be genial though somewhat serious. He has shown some discomfort getting use to the rigours and ways of the Border Dogs. He is extremely capable and very committed to his role as the ship’s executive officer, even if he feels cut out from making decisions on the ship, knowing that Faraday does not trust him yet.

Lt. Commander T’Renna — Emily Deschanel

The Lieutenant is a typical Vulcan – serious, intelligent and logical. However, as with any Vulcan there is more to her than meets the eye. She is for all of her Vulcan composure concerned and protective of the younger crew members. Her choice to serve in the Border Patrol Service has always been a mystery; however, there is no doubting her commitment to her job or her skill at performing her duties.

Lt. Commander Leann Mbeke — Tamala Jones

Captain Faraday handpicked Mbeke to become the ship’s head of security after the Lt. Commander carried out a thorough investigation into the crew following suspicion that a crewmember was an informant to the Maquis. Despite Mbeke’s putting several noses out of joint in the course of her investigation, Captain Faraday was impressed by the conduct and detail of her investigation. Leann is a passionate woman, often larger than life in social circumstances but in a professional capacity is all business and thrives on details, assembling clues and sifting through evidence or interrogating suspects.

Lt. Commander Jaara ‘Plugs’ Torel — Connie Nielson

The chief engineer is a kind and patient Trill with a strong maternal instinct and very protective of her charges and the ship. This stems from her joined status and numerous lifetimes as a mother. Kindly, Jaara works in a mentor style fashion, encouraging her charges and keeping a calm engineering section. ‘There’s enough things down here that can get over heated without the chief being one of them’ being her adage.

CMO Lionel ‘Suthy’

CMO Lionel ‘Suthy’ Sutherland — Ted Danson               

A kindly doctor, with more words of advice to dispense than medicine, he can sometimes over step his mark but always with good intentions. He often stands up to Mercy when she gets too involved in a case. Equally he can be the match to her powder keg, wanting to save lives and protect the vulnerable no matter the cost. A onetime high standing figure in Starfleet Medical, his contentious stands and argumentative nature with the bureaucracy led him out into the field again. He sought to work with the Border Patrol Service in order to bring medicine and care to the wild frontiers.

Master Chief Petty Officer Mitch Duncannon — Hugh Dillion

As Chief of the Boat, Mitch Duncannon reserves the respect and trust of enlisted and commissioned crewmembers alike. He is solemn often but cracks many jokes and makes light banter to lighten serious moods and reassure the younger crewmembers. He often takes them under his protective and guiding wing, showing them the ropes, regardless of their rank, division or commission. He is the respected and trusted ear of the Captain who places her faith in him and him in her.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Shelly ‘Sparks’ Logan — Lucy Lawless

This NCO is a light-hearted, joyous soul, always ready with a quick remark but equally serious when it comes to getting down to business. She abuses the non-commissioned status of her rank to be frank and less than formal, but never unprofessional. She always has an ear for what is happening among the crew and often helps to step in and fix personal problems and not just engineering ones. Logan is a strong and cool-headed leader, stepping in many a fray with composure and assurance.

Petty Officer Se’yut Manyu — Laz Alonso

Initially, Se’yut might be mistaken for being gruff and uncouth, but the Cameroe PO is just plain and simple. Manyu is fiercely loyal to his captain and feels bonded to her by a vow of the forest. He joined the crew as an enlisted officer after the Border Patrol chased rogue Kzinti clans away from his world. Among those who saved Manyu’s clan was a young and fierce officer of the name Mercy Faraday. Manyu pledged a forest vow to serve Mercy for her bravery in saving his people. He brought his keen forest hunter skills to his job and excelled in tracking and chasing down targets. Hearty and loud, Manyu is a popular figure among the crew.

Corpsman Ryuu Sora Takeshi —  Ninomiya Kazunari

Ryuu Takeshi enlisted at the earliest age to the Border Service, attending the Andorian AnKorr Training Academy. Here Ryuu underwent intensive training, specialising in combat which he excelled in. Though unassuming in stature, Ryuu is lithe, lightning fast and lethal. He was assigned to the Osprey upon graduation. Ryuu is often petulant and moody but in truth the young man is grieving the loss of his family and has much anger to handle. Serving in the Border Patrol has given him a purpose and a focus for his anger and he has flourished under the tutelage of Mitch Duncannon. He continues to prove himself to be a promising officer with uncanny skills. There are worries that he is often reckless and despite focusing his rage into his work, his lethal skills are an expression of the hurt that he feels and the revenge he thirsts for.

Ryuu – The Little Dragon

The Ship

Griffin class, model design by KevinL

The other big difference is the setting in more ways than one. In one sense, the Kestrel feels very isolated on its stretch, whereas the Osprey is part of a defined larger support network. However, in addition to that, the Osprey is new and powerful, a modern and specialised vessel developed specifically for Border Patrol operations, unlike the Kestrel, which as a Miranda class is the old work horse ‘Ford pick-up’ of Starfleet.

Given that writing in Watchtower is based in a later time frame to Kestrel, I needed and wanted scope to have a different kind of vessel and obviously one more modern and fitting to a post Dominion War timeframe. It would also serve to help differentiate this cutter from my Kestrel. The ship’s design and origin once more owes allegiance to the grand master of all things Border Patrol, TheLoneRedShirt. It was he who found and suggested the Griffin class as a Border Patrol cutter. The Griffin class is based on the Valkryie model design of KevinL. TLR envisioned it as a vessel for the Border Patrol and as the star of his Dragon’s Slayd story. In that vision, the ship was actually a pre-cursor to the Intrepid class paving the way for its unique design. Here are the details as outlined by TheLoneRedShirt:

Griffin – Class Deep Space Cutter
The Griffin – class was originally developed in the 2340’s as a perimeter action vessel, designed to escort larger task forces and protect the capitol ships. However, the need for perimeter action ships waned, so the Griffins were attached to the Border Service where their range and speed proved valuable in the sparsely populated space lanes. Unlike the Alabacore – class, the Griffins did not rely on the system of Star Stations for support. Instead, these deep space cutters would remain on station for weeks, even months at a time without the need for resupply. Similar in appearance to the newer Intrepid-class starships, the Griffin-class introduced the elongated primary hull that has become more prominent in contemporary starship design. These cutters are speedy and well-armed, providing a valuable counter to pirates and smugglers who frequented the interstellar void. By 2377, seventeen of the ships remain in service.

Specs: 720,000 metric tons, Crew: 200+, Type X phaser arrays, Twin forward/single aft torpedo launchers, Maximum speed: Warp 9.5, Smallcraft: 2 Star Stallions / 4 Type 8 Shuttlecraft / 4 Type 9 Shuttlecraft / 1 Workbee
Taken from United Trek forum as posted by TheLoneRedshirt


The ship however in my own personal canon in its present incarnation is an updated redesign, incorporating many new technologies that were test bedded and embedded in the Intrepid class. Both classes were designed at the same time, sharing design briefs and many technological advances. This was because the Border Patrol had lobbied hard for the funding for a specialised larger vessel, rather than inheriting older sometimes obsolete vessels no longer of use to Starfleet. The Griffon, or Gryffon as I prefer to call it, therefore was designed a joint venture, exploring new technologies suited to many of the specific duties required of it in the Border Patrol. All of which helps to explain why the Intrepid is such a plucky, hard and resolute vessel as exemplified by the exploits of Voyager (it had Border Patrol blood and sweat poured into it).

As well as bringing durability to the table, the ship is outfitted with a top of the line sensor suite, with a specialised sensor pod atop of the vessel, helping the class to navigate treacherous regions of space, to carry our search and rescue missions, and to keep a constant vigil on Federation borders as well as being able to track criminal activity.

Additionally, the ship houses two separate launch bays to help utilise SAR missions. A forward facing upper launch bay, where on an Intrepid class the captain’s galley might be located, and a lower rear facing launch bay. From these the Border Patrol craft Star Stallions may be launched at speed and retrieved quickly too. The scope also permits for small craft in duress and rescued to be housed temporarily within the lower shuttle bay.

Gryffon Class [based on KevinL’s Valkyrie model design]

Griffin underside. Note the additional launch bay for Star Stallion operations
General Information
Accommodation: 130 crew (32 officers, 98 enlisted), 4 guests, 500-person evacuation limit
Classification: Light Explorer/Scout
Development Project Started: 2363
Production Start Date: 2369
Production End Date: Production Halted
Expected Hull Life: 120 years
Length: 343 metres
Width: 133 metres
Height: 62 metres
Decks: 16 (Primary Hull -14, Sensor Pod – 2)
Mass: 710,000 metric tons
13 x Type-X phaser arrays
4 x Burst-fire photon torpedo tubes 
Mark 22 “Rat-trap” torpedo – When this torpedo detonates, it emits an intense electro-magnetic pulse. The goal is not to destroy a ship, but disable it. The Mark 22 is effective against civilian ships and most pirate / Maquis vessels. It is not effective against heavily shielded warships. First developed in the 2350’s, it is part of the standard load-out of all Border Service cutters (except Buoy Tenders and Warp Tugs).

Mark 88 “Pole-axe” torpedo – Due to the limitations of the Mark 22, development began in the 2360’s of a more potent warhead, capable of disabling (without destroying) larger vessels. By 2370, the prototype Mark 88 entered testing with dazzling results. Rather than an EMP burst, the Mark 88 uses a powerful ion pulse with an energy level similar to a Level 8 ion storm. Capable of disabling larger vessels, deployment was delayed by the Dominion war and torpedoes are only now becoming available for use.

Defensive Systems
Standard Shield System
Standard Duranium/Tritanium Single Hull
Standard Level Structural Integrity Field
Transporter Systems
4 x 8-person General Purpose
4 x 22-person Emergency Use
2 x Cargo
Atmospheric flight: 900 kph
Standard Cruise: Warp 7
Maximum Cruise: Warp 9.5 (for 12 hours)
Maximum Rated: Warp 9.95 (for 1 hour)

Refit Cycle
Minor: 1 year
Standard: 1 year
Major: 20 years
Auxiliary/Support Craft
1 x Aerowing-type Integrated Craft/Captain’s Yacht
1 x Type-11 Shuttlecraft
4 x Star Stallions
2 x Type-8 Shuttlecraft
4 x M1-A1 Work Bees
    1. This class of ship typically carries a magazine mix of Mark 88 “Pole-axe” torpedoes, Mark 22 “Rat-trap” torpedoes, ans Mark IX photon torpedoes.
    2. The firing chambers can be modified to fire quantum torpedoes.
    3. Much of the primary hull of the Gryffon-class is manufactured using the space frame of the Intrepid-class. Modifications were made to the stardrive section to accommodate a different nacelle structure than the Intrepid as well as a support strut on which is carried a specialized sensor pod.
    4. Other modifications include clearing out space on decks 3 and 4, enabling the Star Stallions to launch from the front of the saucer section; this design element combined decks 3 and 4 into a single double-deck, reducing the deck count of the main body from 15 to 14. The egress for the standard shuttle complement was moved to the lower aft section of the ship, on decks 13 and 14.

Specifications based on and extrapolated from details pertaining to the Intrepid class ship Advanced Starship Design Bureau and Daystrom Institute, specifics for Griffin/Gryffon class from KevinL’s Valkyrie design page, and by The Lone Redshirt and Miranda Fave and CamSPD.

The crew of the Osprey feature in their first story Running the Gauntlet.Miranda Fave signature