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‘But It's A Miranda Class!'

Starbase 49, the Gan'hoar System

"Jex wait up." Noah Cutler came tripping down the gangway behind the ebullient Leoini Jex trailing his and her gear.

Her response, "Come on Cutler, hurry up."

She hurried on down the corridor, leaving her hapless friend to do the donkeywork. Cutler was naive enough to happily do so without much complaint.

He was young looking. Very young looking. He looked more like a Starfleet cadet than a graduated ensign. The dark haired fresh faced Filipino, with soft hazel brown eyes and a frame that was neither short nor tall, neither thin nor full, was rather average in fact. This appearance stemmed more from the posture he held, and his lack of outward confidence.

As Jex rounded each corner, she looked up and down the length and breadth trying to find a viewport. Noah saw her brown tawny hair, tied up in a ponytail, bob up and down as her slender form skipped down the different corridors. The ponytail only served to make Jex appear younger than she was. It also served to highlight her Trill spots, which Noah bargained, was the reason behind the adopted hairstyle today for meeting her new shipmates.

"What's your rush? And what are you looking for? Do you not know the way?"

She stopped and roundly asked him. "Do you want a slap? I'm trying to get a view of the ship." She started to march on.

Glumly, he recalled his first assignment from the Academy. "But it's a Miranda class, meaning no mystery as to what it will look like."

She stopped and rounded on him again. "Is there no romantic voyager soul to you Noah?" And she marched on again.

"But you can find a Miranda in every port just about."

Once more, she stopped and rounded on him. "Actually that's not true. Ever since 23..."

"Oh don't do that again Jex." The ensign had a tendency to quote random facts, or almost facts, as Noah liked to tease her. "They're nothing more than a work horse for the Federation. My granddad told me that the Mirandas are the ford pick up of Starfleet. I mean I didn't expect to get posted to one of the new Intrepids or a Galaxy or a Nebula class; But a refitted Excelsior or, perhaps considering we've been posted to the border patrol, maybe an Akira. But a Miranda!"

"What's wrong with the Miranda? In their heyday, they were a glorious ship. Oh they were seen as the poor cousin of the Constitution just because we didn't have the flagship as one of our own, but that did not mean we were not worthy."

Cutler sighed. "You're doing it again."

With barely a look over her shoulder she replied. "Eh! What?"

"Talking like you was there."

She shrugged her shoulders as if not comprehending his thoughts. "But I was, or should I say, Jex was."

"Ugh! Why is it before I ever met a Trill I thought it would be fascinating to learn of their life stories and gain from their life experiences? Ever since I met you, I can only say that trying to live with one of you is exhausting and bewildering. I can't keep up with the whole is it Leoini speaking, or Jex speaking, or is there a difference or not?"

"You mere humans always find it difficult to comprehend; I guess you have to be a Trill to understand. Anyway, we might not have been a flagship, but, one of our own did give the flagship a bit of a thrashing once upon a time."

"And that's a good thing?"

"Well obviously no, but my point is, if even Kirk's great Enterprise can get a kicking from a Miranda then you ought to have more faith and confidence in the ability of your future steed." She did not wait for his reply but turned another corner and then cried out as she ran to the midway point of the corridor lined with large viewing windows. "Look there it is!"

Jex stood transfixed in front of a massive spaceport window. "The USS Kestrel." Leaning against the window, Leoini pressed against the transparent aluminium as if that would help achieve a better, keener look and took in the sight.

Cutler came to stand beside her, settled the bags on the deck and not as enthusiastically looked out into the hanger holding the Kestrel at bay. She breathed in happily, placed her hands on her hips, and surveyed the ship as if it were hers alone. "A sight to behold. Our first berth and the beckoning of a whole new range of adventures."

"Yeah." Cruising up and down the border, same ole, same ole. The lack of enthusiasm in his grunted affirmation told just how little he meant the agreement. Jex thumped him on the shoulder. "Ow! What was that for?"

"Don't besmirch the Miranda. It was my first ship. Or Jex's should I say. And now I can say mine too - Leoini's - or should I say Leoini Jex." She gave him an impish smile and saw Cutler visibly wince as he tried, once more, to get his head around the concept.

Jex then turned to remember that first berth. The USS Joxter that she, as a he, had served on for the first four years of her, his, career.

Cutler turned his attention more fully to the ship nestled in strong beams of lights. And he suddenly found himself feeling a flutter in his stomach. Ok, so the posting was not a plum assignment, the ship was not a ship of the line, but Jex was right, it was his first posting and he stirred with some excitement and trepidation. Or was it just nerves?

He had heard some wild stories about the Border Service and when he asked about his future commanding officer other officers had simply shook their heads in consolation and mumbled something about his being a ‘pain in the ass', ‘one of a kind, thank God' hell raiser within Starfleet. Cutler had subscribed that to the apparently more laid-back approach of life aboard a border patrol vessel. He wondered now, was he wrong in that estimation - was McGregor a true nightmare?

"Come on then Noah. Time we presented ourselves aboard."

She bounced off remembering her very first tour and the nervous excitement she felt at the pit of her stomach. That sensation was no less true this time round either. Leoini was thrilled with the prospect of excitement and new worlds. Her wildest dreams seemed to all be coming true at once. Not only had she been accepted in the Trill initiate program, she had successfully been conjoined, and then passed her final year at Starfleet Academy after having to defer it in order to undergo the Trill initiate program.

Jex was rambling off facts, she knew from memory, over her shoulder to Noah, who only half-interestedly listened, hearing it for the umpteenth time. Noah was also now finding himself growing nervous about their impending reporting to the Captain and the sight of the vessel through the windows that was to be his home for the next duration.

"... with a length of 243 metres, a beam of 150 metres and a height of 63 metres with eleven marvellous decks of technology and power. The Mirandas were first commissioned in 2270 and production continued until 2285. But of course, since then the class remains in service receiving a huge variety of refits. At this stage it is a proven venerable class and is, as you say, the veritable workhorse of the Federation."

Cutler acknowledged her pause in commentary with a non-committed ‘uh huh'. She continued on, unabated. "With a tonnage of ..." Noah zoned her out as his eyes swept the lines of the curved hull buttressed by two boxes that converged on the upper hull and swept back to the rear with its two large hangar bay doors.

Underneath the fin like nacelles, at present dormant and thus devoid of the glow that normally showed the immense power coursing through the engines, bestriding the rather compact saucer section, gave the vessel a look of confidence and security. Above it all, the torpedo pod sat regal like, a perverse tiara, ready to rain fire down upon any foe,  master over all the ship. Noah listened back in as Jex finished quoting her specifications.

"Of course, I say a standard level Structural Integrity Field, but since the Kestrel was brought into the Border Service I dare say it has had a number of alterations and modifications to its specifications. The Border Service is notorious for that. I guess it is just as specialised for its missions. So best, pay no heed to most of the specs I said. They're probably wrong in this instance."

She whirled round enthusiastically to Cutler, as if these bald facts conveyed the true majesty and wonder of space flight and exploration alone. "Though still, just imagine, despite its age, it can maintain a maximum warp speed of 9.2 for 12 hours! Of course, normal cruise is warp 5 and the maximum cruise is warp 6 but still!"

"Yes Jex, all very interesting."

"Yes it is isn't it? Come on then." She started bounding down the last corridor to the docking ring attached to the berthed ship.

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