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Out of Bounds
Son'a Ambassador O'Faur comes to DS12, engaging in an abrupt meeting with Commodore Knapp and Admiral Nechayev. She shows them an image of a Cardassian shipyard constructed within Son’a territory at the edge of the Briar Patch. When Knapp asks whether the Ambassador has lodged a complaint the Cardassian government, she notes that the territory is in dispute from before the Dominion War. She then threatens that if the Federation does not intervene, they cannot be held responsible for the consequences.
"Captain's Log, Stardate 56512.6: The Excelsior is en route to the disputed region where Admiral Nechayev will attempt to mediate."
In the Excelsior's conference room, Admiral Nechayev introduces Captain Shelby and Commander Lefler to Commander Tolian Naros, who she notes that has been assigned by Starfleet Command for the duration of their mission. Admiral Nechayev then advises them that she will be conducting negotiations between the Son'a and Cardassian delegations aboard the Excelsior. When Shelby asks what Naros' role will be for the mission, Nechayev begins to tell Shelby that those orders are classified, but Naros interrupts her, saying that it is a fair question. Naros tells Shelby that he's on a special assignment for Starfleet Command and that he will be dropped off before arriving at their destination. She'll learn more later. Nechayev, in an uncharacteristic move, apologizes for "her oversight".
Naros then informs them that he will need a runabout and the use of a science lab. Lefler notes that the Excelsior only has one runabout, but she'll have it ready in the afternoon. Naros then tells them that they'll need to hide his departure as much as possible, suggesting a near-warp launch to minimize the impact on Excelsior's arrival time. Lefler doesn't think this will be a problem and will have the runabout prepared accordingly. Nechayev then tells them that they have a lot of work to do - Naros' launch is scheduled for 05:30 the following morning. She then dismisses the group.
As they depart, Shelby asks Naros to indulge her for a moment. She notes that he seems to carry "quite a bit of weight" with Nechayev. Naros appears surprised at this suggestion. Shelby wonders why Nechayev is giving him carte blanche for this mission and then keeps drilling for answers, asking him where he is taking the runabout and why he needs the use of a science lab. Naros simply tells Shelby that there's nothing more he can tell her except that he's on a special assignment for Starfleet Command. Shelby then notes that Naros is an El-Aurian, noting that they "show up when you least expect them". Naros simply nods and smiles in agreement with that statement.
Later, Shelby storms into Nechayev's quarters and asks her what is going on. Nechayev tells her that she has been ordered to give Naros a "certain amount of leeway". She had nothing to do with their situation - she's just following orders, having the same questions as Shelby and getting the same lack of answers. Shelby then notes that Naros hasn't been in Starfleet in years. Nechayev assures Shelby that Naros is as fit as either of them, perhaps more so. Shelby raises concerns about the reassignment of the Independence's tactical officer and the fact that one of her science labs has been commandeered and made off-limits to her crew and asks if she's overreacting. Nechayev suggests that Shelby isn't overreacting - she would have reacted the same way when she was a captain. Nechayev then suggests that they'll have "bigger fish to fry" soon enough and she has more pressing concerns, like finding a first officer - unless Shelby would prefer that she assign one to her. Shelby then storms out, telling Nechayev that she's going to get to the bottom of things. As the door closes, Nechayev says that she knows Shelby will - she's counting on it.
Later, in a turbolift, Ensigns Ro and Barrett discuss the departure of their crewmate, Brad Rawlins from the Excelsior, owing to his marriage to Lana (apparently a "shotgun wedding" owing to her pregnancy). Barrett then asks where Ro is heading - he's meeting with Lieutenant McCabe in Science Lab 4. Barrett expresses disbelief that McCabe is ordering them around in his first week on the job. Ro reminds Barrett that he outranks them. When Barrett expresses disbelief that he graduated from the same Academy class that they did, Ro jokes with Barrett, telling him that he won't tell McCabe he said that.
Meanwhile, in Science Lab 4, Naros meets with Artim. While looking at a map of the Briar Patch, Naros asks Artim if he's tried navigating some of the concentrations of gas within the patch. Artim says that he has, but that is Naros wants a "hot-shot pilot", that he should talk to Jenna McFarland. Naros then tells him that he needs both his piloting experience and his knowledge of the Patch - he asks if Artim is the right pilot again. Artim suggests that he might be. Naros tells him that the mission would be covert, dangerous and highly classified. He then tells Artim that they will launch before the Excelsior reaches the disputed area and head directly to the Patch. Their mission is to investigate why the Cardassians would be sending supply ships to a particular location within the Briar Patch. Artim says that it sounds like a challenge and that he's honored by Naros picking him for the mission.
At 05:30 the following morning, the Excelsior briefly drops out of warp in an unknown star system, then jumps back to warp. Soon thereafter, Naros' Danube-class runabout can be seen flying away, towards the Briar Patch and its destination.
McCabe briefs Ro regarding one of the patch artifacts they had recovered earlier in the year on the Independence (the other having been transferred to the Grey Research Facility). McCabe noted that they've not been able to get any meaningful data from them. Ro then asks McCabe if he likes the Excelsior - McCabe does, liking the fact that he's around people that he graduated with from the Academy. Ro then notes that if Rawlins were still onboard, they could get a game of Parrises Squares going, as they were always better than he was at the game. McCabe wishes that he would have had a chance to see Rawlins before he left. Ro notes that Shelby had regrets about his departure as well - she would have liked to have performed her first wedding as captain and she had to reassign Barrett to Ops. McCabe, expressing a bit of ambition, asks if the First Officer's position is open. Ro suggests that Lefler is likely to get the job, but that McCabe should tell Shelby that he's interested in the position.
The Excelsior and her escorts approach the site of the disputed Cardassian base - both Son'a and Cardassian fleets have converged at the location. Shelby informs Nechayev of their arrival. Nechayev asks Shelby to have the delegations meet her in the conference room. Shelby asks Lieutenant Luko to tend to the matter.
In Science Lab 4, Ro asks McCabe if he's tried an isolytic scan on the Patch artifact. McCabe notes that he did - it was the only thing that caused a change in the sensor readings, but he was unable to trace it. Ro then recalls that the tetrahedrons they encountered last year also responded to such scans. McCabe says that he's read the logs of that mission and wonders if the artifacts are related to the tetrahedrons. McCabe suggests that there might be a connection between the Grey, the tetrahedrons and the Patch artifacts and suggests that Ro talk to Lefler about the possibility. Ro expresses discomfort about going to Engineering, noting he's been avoiding it since Corey Aster transferred aboard the Excelsior. McCabe agrees to talk to Lefler, leaving Ro to compile a thin report for Captain Shelby.
Meanwhile, in the Briar Patch, Naros' runabout is trailing a Cardassian Hideki-class patrol vessel to its destination. Artim asks Naros how old he is. After a brief exchange on whether Artim would actually want to know or not, Naros admits that he's 642 Terran years old, which translates to 55 on El-Auria. Naros then reminisces about growing up on El-Auria and the subsequent devastation of his homeworld by the Borg and how his people were scattered across the galaxy as a result. Artim suggests that he and Naros are not that dissimilar, noting that he left Ba'ku because he never really felt free there, being afraid that he'd never leave. Naros suggests that such fears need to be confronted. Artim then asks about Naros coming out of retirement. Naros tells Artim that he enjoyed his time on Norpin IV. When Artim asks him about not having a command of his own, Naros notes that he was a non-commissioned officer in Starfleet for most of his career, only being commissioned an officer during the Dominion War. Not having any desire to command, he felt that retirement was an appealing option after the War concluded.
Artim and Naros' chat is interrupted by their approach to a tetrahedron tethered to a Cardassian research station protected by several ships. On Naros' orders, Artim makes a close flyby of the station. Their runabout comes under attack by several patrol vessels, causing their dorsal shields to fail. Unable to complete a scan of the tetrahedron, Artim pulls the runabout into a metreon cloud to mask their location. Artim suggests a change in their "modus operandi", their plan of attack, in how they deal with their situation. When Artim suggests that they inform Starfleet about the station, Naros tells him that wouldn't be sufficient. The Cardassians are "playing with fire" - if they don't find out everything they know, the Federation could get burned. And if the Grey are able to figure out the tetrahedrons, there may be no stopping them. Artim then reminds Naros about the destruction of the Osiris system when the Grey last encountered a tetrahedron, which Naros was aware of. Artim then remembers about the gravitational effects the tetrahedrons have when they are exposed to an isolytic pulse. He and Naros begin to run simulations on a new plan to "shake up the Cardassians a bit".
Lefler discusses her recent discussion with McCabe regarding the possible link between the Grey and the tetrahedrons in Shelby's ready room. Lefler notes that, without a sample or interior scan of a tetrahedron, that link cannot be proved. When Shelby asks Lefler about any information McCabe might have regarding Naros or his mission, she says that McCabe is as out of the loop as they are. When Shelby asks what she makes out their situation, Lefler echoes her suspicions but reminds her that no regulations have been broken - they might have to let things play out. Shelby then noted that McCabe asked about the vacant First Officer position. Shelby told him that she'd consider him, but that Lefler was her first choice. Lefler is flattered, but she feels that she serves the Excelsior better as her Chief Engineer, suggesting that if she were to be cloned, then she could serve as both.
Back on the runabout, Naros and Artim hope they have the correct frequency for the isolytic pulse. After a brief exchange on how scared they are, they initiate the pulse, which shakes up and disables the patrolling Cardassian vessels. Artim lands on the tetrahedron while Naros goes to the runabout's airlock to attempt to get a sample. Naros marvels at the "utter perfection" of the tetrahedron's design. Artim warns Naros that the Cardassian vessels are beginning to recover - this speeds Naros' attempts to obtain a sample of the tetrahedron. The patrol vessels begin to approach. Naros completes his work and the runabout pulls away and back towards another metreon cloud.
"We may have a problem...."
On the bridge, Barrett notes that Artim has been gone for two days and asks if anyone if they know where he is. Shelby says that she doesn't. Ro jokingly suggests that he's on a mission to save the universe and then mockingly complains that he never gets the exciting missions. Counselor Elbrey warns Ro that he should be careful what he wishes for - he might just get it. Shelby turns to Elbrey, asking her if she knows something that the rest of them do not. Elbrey wishes that she did. She then tells Shelby that there is an increasing lack of trust in the crew, hoping that it isn't the sign of a larger problem. Shelby then asks her if she sensed anything from Commander Naros. She did not - and she couldn't say if she did unless it endangered the ship. Suddenly, Elbrey tells Shelby that the talks had broken down. This is confirmed when Admiral Nechayev enters the bridge and suggests that she take the Excelsior to red alert, as there may be a problem.
Shortly thereafter, Nechayev asks if the delegations have responded to their hails. Barrett responds in the negative. Luko reports that the Son'a vessels are powering up their weapons. Shelby, exasperated, tells Luko to hail the delegations again. Ambassador O'Faur responds, telling Shelby that the Son'a are tired of waiting. She demands that the Cardassians remove the station from their space immediately or they will move it themselves. Nechayev asks the ambassador to give her time to contact the Cardassians and arrange a meeting. O'Faur, obviously angry, dismisses this possibility and issues an ultimatum - the Cardassians have ten minutes to begin moving the station. She then closes the channel.
Luko reports that the Cardassians are arming their weapons as well. Nechayev orders that the Cardassians be hailed again. Just then, Barrett then reports that they are receiving a coded subspace signal from Commander Naros. Nechayev turns to take the message in Shelby's ready room, but Barrett tells her that the signal is for Captain Shelby's eyes only. Shelby goes to her ready room to take the message, giving Luko the bridge and leaving Nechayev startled. A few minutes later, Shelby returns from her ready room and tells Barrett to open a channel to both delegations. She issues an ultimatum of her own, telling both sides to send a delegation to the Excelsior in five minutes or face the withdrawal of the Federation from their dispute, leaving them to their own devices. After closing the channel, Shelby invites Nechayev to join her in the conference room. Nechayev, intrigued, agrees.
Ambassador O'Faur and Gul Malek join Shelby and Nechayev in the conference room. Shelby tells Malek to haul their station back to Cardassian space, prompting Malek to ask what kind of compromise is being proposed. Shelby then tells O'Faur to have the Son'a fleet back off and permit the Cardassians to withdraw their station from the disputed area. O'Faur complains that she has had enough and that there will be war. Shelby then tells them both that the Cardassians are hiding something very powerful in the Briar Patch. O'Faur demands an explanation. Shelby suggests that the Son'a are more powerful than the Cardassians in this region and would win any armed conflict regardless of what the Cardassians are hiding. She also suggests that Cardassians would lose their "treasure" to the Son'a in any case, if the Grey don't get to it first. After Malek accuses Shelby of threatening the Cardassians, which she deftly disposes of. Malek then tells them that he will take her recommendation to his superiors - he will report back to them shortly. As Malek is leaving, O'Faur warns him that the Cardassians would be well advised not to trespass in Son'a space going to and from whatever they are hiding in the Briar Patch. She then turns to Shelby and Nechayev, thanking her "Federation friends" for providing an "amicable outcome." Nechayev tells her that they are not friends. The Son'a will withdraw their ships and the Federation will be watching them.
The Most Important Thing....
"Captain's Log, Stardate 56583.5: The Cardassians have moved their station out of Son'a space and into the Briar Patch. Both sides remain tense but no one's firing weapons."
Lefler and Shelby meet in the ready room. Lefler, after a lot of thinking, finally decides to accept Shelby’s offer. As Shelby is congratulating her, Naros walks in with his new orders. Starfleet Command has assigned him to be the Excelsior’s new First Officer. He also tells her that McCabe has been assigned to the Excelsior to continue his work on the Patch artifacts. After telling Naros that she needs to verify his orders, she tells him to talk to Luko about getting setup with quarters. Naros departs. Visibly shocked, Shelby apologizes to Lefler, who reassures her that it’s probably for the best. Shelby wonders if she stepped on one too many admirals' boots. Lefler is sure that she'll "give 'em hell".
Later, Shelby and Naros meet for a drink in her quarters. Shelby emphasizes that trust is the most important part of the relationship between a captain and her first officer. Naros agrees, noting that part of his job is also to balance out Shelby by bolstering her strengths and helping her recognize her weaknesses. Naros says he recognizes how good Shelby and her crew are and hopes to prove himself in whatever comes next. After a moment of deliberation, Shelby welcomes her new first officer aboard.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Commander Tolian Naros and Lieutenant Matt McCabe, as well as the first of Ensign Artim Ibanya's many assignments for Naros.
- Shelby: "You're El-Aurian."
- Naros: "That's right."
- Shelby: "El-Aurians have a way of showing up when you least expect them."
- Artim: "I think we've got the right frequency."
- Naros: "I certainly hope so Ensign, any less and we'd simply alert those destroyers to our presence, any more and we could be destroyed along with the artifact."
- Artim: "Er, are you as nervous as I am?"
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|Star Trek: Hidden Frontier Chronology|
"In Memory Of"
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"In Memory Of"
Cast and Crew
|Commodore Ian Quincy Knapp||David W. Dial|
|Captain Elizabeth Shelby||Risha Denney|
|Commander Tolian Naros||Larry LaVerne|
|Doctor Henglaar||John Whiting|
|Lieutenant Commander Robin Lefler||Joanne Busch|
|Lieutenant Luko||Terence Schoshinski|
|Counselor Myra Elbrey||Barbara Clifford|
|Ensign Ro Nevin||Arthur Bosserman|
|Ensign Jenna McFarland||Adrianne Lange|
|Ensign Andrew Barrett||Tyler Bosserman|
|Ensign Artim Ibanya||Beau Christian Williams|
|Ambassador O'Faur||Barbara Clifford|
|Lieutenant Matt McCabe|