Chapter 11 - And Another Day

“The station is currently encircled by a massive tachyon minefield with the defense turrets set to fire on anything they trip,” Starbase 1-1-3's Andorian commander, Captain Vet Ston informed the now fully staffed Sisko bridge.

“As well, we have a scattering field up to prohibit transport onto or off the station. You should have the bypass frequency already so that your teams can get through.”

Kaii nodded to Ranma. “They have been sent to the NSO transporter room, as well as transporter rooms one and two where the marines are staged.”

Ranma nodded approvingly. “How is the researcher?”

Ston shrugged a bit. “The Federation has conceded to a couple of his demands to buy you time to get here, so he's not threatening to blow everyone up every ten seconds anymore, but he's still ancy.”

“And his main demand is still the Bird of Prey and safe passage, right?” Ranma asked.

Ston nodded. “The Federation has one en route, but it's still eighteen hours away and I can all but guarantee this situation is going to deteriorate long before then.”

Ranma smirked, looking towards the helm display. “Captain, this situation will be resolved in a bit over twenty-seven minutes.”


“Commander Gras will be with us,” Rei stated, motioning towards her team. “We will be on primary BGE or bad guy elimination. Bravo team will be secondary, with a primary goal of securing the hostages.”

Rei continued to talk, mentioning Delta team and the potential of explosives removal. Shelton and Parker watched Jitsia, and Rei begin to chat after Rei's quick re-briefing in the NEO transporter room.

“How the hell did that happen?” Parker asked.

Shelton shrugged. “Probably the same way *that* happened,” he said, pointing towards Kio who seemed to be looking at Jitsia and Rei chatting and laughing with a jealous look on her face.

“Sometimes I don't even know where I work anymore,” Parker blinked as Anthony desperately tried to get Kio's attention.

Kio finally stopped glowering at Jitsia and Rei and turned to Anthony. “Yeah?”

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, why?”

“You look distressed.”

Kio sighed. “She found a new friend, so now she won't be bothering me anymore every time she's sad and lonely.”

“That's good, right?” Anthony asked.

“Yup,” Kio nodded.

“So?” he prodded.

“So why does it make me upset?”

Anthony shook his head. “I warned you.”

Kio groaned. “Yeah, I guess you did.” She looked to Rei again. “Even though you warned me about something completely different.”


“Yeah,” Kio nodded. “So many times people have been there for me when I have been vulnerable. When I have broke down.” She looked to Anthony and smiled. “When I have needed support.” She then turned back to Rei. “Maybe I kind of liked being the one they come to for once. Paying it forward. Doing my part for karma.”

Anthony, finding it strange to see his friend so philosophical, smirked a bit.

“I am pretty sure it's not against the law for her to have more than one friend.”

Kio chuckled. “I guess you're right.”

“FIVE MINUTES OUT FOLKS!” Rei called out, motioning for everyone to get on to the transporter pads.

As Kio, Anthony, Ian, and Yayo stepped onto their transporter pad, Rei, Jitsia, Parker, Shelton, and Masters hopped up onto theirs. Jitsia looked at Rei's jumpsuit and grinned.

Rei noticed this and grinned back. “What?”

Jitsia pointed to the patch on her shoulder; a version of the Sisko's NSO mission logo that was done up in the matching camouflage of the jumpsuit. Rei smirked a bit and nodded.

“Whatever you said to him worked,” Rei grinned.

“I just presented the arguments that you asked me to give him,” Jitsia said, looking towards her own shoulder.

“Does yours say 'Miyazaki' on it?” Rei asked.

“Why would it?” Jitsia replied, looking to Rei. “Until I am transferred there, I am an officer of the Sisko.”

Rei grinned at Jitsia, before allowing her eyes to drift down a bit. Just above where her combat vest began, next to the zipper of her jumpsuit, were three black, square pips, indicating her rank.

“Your pips are crooked,” Rei pointed out.

Jitsia attempted to look at them but couldn't quite adjust her head enough to see. She sighed and turned to Rei. “Would you mind?”

Rei nodded and set her rifle on the pad. She walked over to Jitsia and unzipped her jumpsuit a bit before adjusting the collar and tugging at the suit in a couple of places to get it just the way she thought it should be.

Parker and Shelton looked on in awe as Rei nodded approvingly while she zipped the jumpsuit back up.

“There we go,” Rei smiled.

“Thanks,” Jitsia smiled. She looked Rei over a bit before sighing. “Your eye still looks swollen.”

Rei nodded. “I was clocked pretty well,” Rei acknowledged. “I am sure it will be fine.”

“I know some pressure points that might help,” Jitsia said, bringing her hands towards Rei's face.

“ONE MINUTE!” Shampoo's voice bellowed out over the communication system, sending both Jitsia and Rei leaping away from each other.

“Maybe later,” Jitsia said, charging up her rifle.

Rei nodded quickly, picking hers back up and getting ready for transport.

Parker looked to Shelton. “What... the...?”

Shelton looked to Parker and shrugged. “This show gets better every day, man.”


The ten NSO soldiers materialized on Starbase 1-1-3 where they were greeted by Ston and several security officers.

“I'm Commander Rei Hino,” Rei said, walking to Ston and shaking his hand. Ston looked the group over as he shook Rei's hand. He would be lying if he said that he wasn't a bit intimidated by both the clothes and the gear the ten were carrying, something that wasn't easy to do to an Andorian.

“I'm glad you could make it,” he finally said, motioning for the group to follow him. “As I explained in my situation report, Palax, the researcher, has barricaded the door with explosives and...” he sighed, bringing up a security camera feed for Rei and the group to see.

On it was a man, wearing a bulky, blinking vest, speaking to someone on a communication terminal as he paced back and forth. Ston moved the camera towards the doorway as he finished talking.

“...hostages,” he concluded, showing two Starfleet officers tied to each other, next to what appeared to be a spatial charge.

“How is he controlling those explosives?” Jitsia asked.

Ston moved the camera again to show a small four-button device clipped to one of his pockets. “I assume one of the buttons is for his vest, and the other three for the door bomb, and the two by the other hostages.”

Ston moved the camera around a bit more and showed a group of six more people, three each tied to a spatial charge. Ston sighed and looked at Rei. “The only way in there is through a maintenance duct which will bring you in from the east,” Ston brought up a diagram of the room and showed it to Rei.

Rei looked it over and pointed towards another area of ductwork. “What about that one?”

“That's a life support duct,” Ston said. “That would be a pretty tight squeeze.”

Rei nodded. “Sounds good,” she grinned, turning to Kio. Kio sighed and nodded, looking to Anthony.

“What?” he asked.


“Yeah, I'm stuck,” Anthony growled. Kio smirked as Yayo and Ian yanked him out of the duct.

“You'll fit without your backpack,” Kio said. Anthony sighed, not keen on leaving his spare rifle, power cells, med-kit or ammunition behind, but he didn't really want to sit here and let them have all the fun either.

He quickly pulled the pack off as Ian boosted Kio into the duct. Anthony climbed up behind her, followed by Yayo, then Ian.

“You okay?” Kio whispered to Anthony.

“Yup,” he whispered back, crawling through the tiny air duct. “The view back here is canceling out my claustrophobia.”

Yayo smirked as she pushed Anthony slightly. “Would be nice if your butt wasn't so big. None of us can see anything.”

Kio blushed brightly as she began to crawl faster. “We- we need to keep moving.”

Both Ian and Yayo chuckled at Kio's uncomfortableness, despite Anthony grumbling at his ass being referred to as 'big'.

He was a muscular man. It came with the business. It wasn't his fault they were crawling through a space that was only meant to push air, not people. He was pretty sure he was going to have to smack Ian around later.

Yeah, Yayo said it, but Ian laughed, and he wasn't one to stay mad at a lady.

The group all came to a stop as they reached the end of the ductwork. Kio looked through the vent grating and saw the researcher. His discussion with whomever he was talking to was more animated now than it was when they saw him on the security camera.

Almost below them were the two spatial charges with the six hostages tied to them. Across the room was the door with the other two.

“Exiting will be a challenge,” Kio whispered, realizing that there was no way they could turn around and slide out feet first.

Anthony nodded. “Just give the word, and I'll push,” he whispered back.

Kio rolled her eyes as she activated her comms. Ian, at the tail end of the group, was setting up a tricorder to deal with the detonator.

“Yuki to Hino.”


The maintenance shaft was far bigger and allowed Alpha team to walk, albeit crouched, towards their target. Although that did allow for faster movement, it did require them to start farther away, and it was basically an uphill climb for them.

The group was also worried about sparks that seemingly shot at them out of nowhere.

“I think this Starbase is in violation of several safety regulations,” Parker pointed out.

Rei nodded as she looked worriedly at a pipe that seemed to be leaking coolant onto the floor. “No wonder this guy is pissed off.”

“Yuki to Hino,” Kio whispered into Rei's ear.

“Go,” Rei whispered back.

“We're in position,” Kio informed her. “It's going to be messy for us coming out as we'll have to come out headfirst.”

Rei groaned. “I guess that can't be helped.”

“We really couldn't have crawled here feet first, ma'am,” Kio sighed.

“I know, I know,” Rei said, shaking her head. “I'm not upset with you.”

There was some silence for a moment before Kio continued. “Corporal Kagurazaka has determined that there is no constant transmit on the spatial charges, so we're going to set up a dampening field which will keep the target from being able to activate the detonators remotely.”

“Good,” Rei smiled. “Wait till we get there to activate that,” she instructed. “We'll be there in just a moment.”

“Aye,” Kio said, closing the channel.

Rei's group continued moving on. Jitsia scurried up a bit and whispered to Rei. “She seemed really worried that you might be angry at her.”

Rei nodded slowly. “We've had issues in the past,” she confessed. “I think she might have been worried that they were resurfacing.”

“Hm,” Jitsia mumbled, continuing to walk as the group rounded the final bend, the hatch that would take them into the room about 100 meters in front of them.


Ian passed the tricorder up to Yayo, who passed it to Anthony, who passed it to Kio, who stuck it on the wall. It was programmed now to jam the frequency of Palax's detonator, keeping him from blowing up the room.

“I can't believe she thought I thought she was mad at me,” Kio quietly groaned.

“You didn't?” Anthony asked?

Simultaneously, Palax was grumbling at the suit on the other end of his communication terminal. Palax, a half Klingon, half Orion was flailing his arms in frustration at the man.

“Look, I think I have been very patient with you people,” he growled.

“Please, Mr. Palax,” the suit pleaded. “We have your ship en route. It was just a very old ship that we had mothballed, and it took a while to get it running again and to get someone who was able to fly it to you.”

“You could have just gotten the Empire to send someone for me!” Palax exclaimed. “This all could have been over with a day ago!”

“You have to understand,” the suit said, doing everything he could to calm Palax down, “I am restricted with what I can do by both Starfleet and the Council. The fact I got you a ship at all should show you how willing we are to resolve this in a matter that spares both blood and shows mutual respect towards each other.”

Palax sighed and nodded, calming down a bit.

“No!” Kio said. “Just when she grumbled, it kind of made me feel like it's my fault she sent us through this tiny vent.”

“Uh, we probably should have this conversation elsewhere,” Yayo whispered.

Kio looked down at Palax who was looking around the room. She bit her lip worriedly, concerned that he might have heard them.

“Crap,” Kio whispered.

Palax quickly walked over to one of the two groups of hostages. He looked to one of them and kicked him in the stomach, hard, causing Kio to grimace.

“This is my last warning about talking,” he growled.

The hostage coughed a couple of times before Palax started to walk away. He stopped, however, and turned, something catching his eye. He looked right at the air duct where Bravo team was.

Kio looked right at him.

She was certain their eyes met, but the angle of the vent made it impossible that he saw her.

The tricorder lights, however.

Kio hit the activate button on the tricorder as Palax realized something was going on and moved towards his detonator. In one quick motion and before he had a chance to do anything, Kio had her hands back on her rifle, flipped it from 'phaser' to 'projectile' mode, and fired, sending a single round through the vent screen, and passing through Palax's head.

Palax dropped to the ground, dead.

Kio knocked out the screen and pulled herself out, falling to the ground. She quickly righted herself as she hit her communicator, the rest of Bravo team tumbling out behind her.

“Kio to Hino, the target is down.”

“What?” Rei called back.

“He was going to detonate; I took him out.”

There was a slight pause before Rei answered. “Great work, we'll be in there in a second.”

“LIEUTENANT!” Ian screamed from the doorway where he was attempting to untie the hostage.

Kio turned to him as Rei's group came in. “What?”

“The dampening field seems to have triggered the timers on these bombs. We have about thirty seconds to get the fuck out of here.”

Rei turned to her group. “Tag these people quick!”

The NEO team quickly started putting transport enhancers on the hostages as Rei called Ston. “We're going to have an explosion here in about fifteen seconds! Evacuate the area!”

“ROGER!” Ston replied.

“Tagged!” Shelton replied.


Bravo team, Alpha team, the body of Palax, and the still tied up hostages beamed off the station and back to the Sisko. Eleven seconds later, a massive explosion ripped through section 718 of Starbase 1-1-3, being contained slightly by emergency force fields and containment bulkheads.


“The damage to the station is pretty massive,” Ston reported. “But we had pretty much everyone evacuated from that area anyway, so there were no casualties.”

Ranma smiled at the fellow captain. “I am pleased to hear that, at least.”

“I thank you for your team's excellent work in saving my people's lives,” Ston added.

“I will pass your thanks along,” Ranma nodded. “But it's what they do, so I am sure they will tell me that no thanks will be needed.”

Ston grinned. “Well, if you will excuse me, I have a bit of work to do.”

“Take care,” Ranma nodded as the communication closed.

Shampoo looked up to Ranma. “Where to?”

Ranma shrugged. “Where do you want to go?”

Shampoo thought about this for a bit. “Let go that way,” she said, pointing towards a star.

“Sure, why not,” Ranma nodded.

Shampoo stood and walked up behind Ikuhara. “That way,” she repeated, again pointing. “Warp six.”

Ikuhara programmed in a general heading that corresponded with Shampoo's instruction of 'that way' and nodded.

“Engage,” Ranma smiled, sitting down.


Kio walked up to Rei's quarters and hovered her finger over the door chime for what was probably the fourth time. Each time she had quickly scampered away, unsure of exactly what she was going to say, or what she really wanted to talk about.

She knew what she was upset about and why she was up there, but she was having a really difficult time assembling the thoughts into well-thought-out sentences for some reason.

She sighed, ready to scamper away again, but this time her finger stopped her. It seemingly, with a mind of its own, forced her to push the button. Kio now had no choice. She would have to stand there and wait for Rei to answer the door.

After about fifteen seconds, Kio came to the conclusion that Rei wasn't home and decided to leave. Before she could turn and run away, the doors opened and Rei stood there, half-dressed, her hair in shambles.

“Kio?” Rei asked.

Kio stared at Rei for a moment. “I- I woke you.”

Rei nodded. “Yeah. It's okay though. Come in.”

Rei turned around and moved into her quarters and motioned for Kio to sit down on her couch. Rei walked over to her replicator and ordered a couple of glasses of green tea.

Kio looked to Rei's quarters. They seemed to be... messier... than they were the last time she was in here. Lots more clothes on the floor than Kio thought there should be.

Rei, dressed in a long tank top that left little to the imagination, handed Kio her tea and sat down on the couch next to her.

“Thank you,” Kio nodded.

“So, what's up?” Rei asked.

“Um,” Kio stammered for a bit, trying to avoid making eye contact with Rei. “I really felt that you should know that it was my fault that the target on the starbase tried to detonate the bombs. I was talking to Anthony, and he heard me, then saw the tricorder...” she trailed off.

Rei chewed on this for a moment. “You came over in the middle of the night to give me an after-action report?”

“Kind of...”

Rei sighed. “You should have been more disciplined, Lieutenant,” Rei stated, “But really, had we moved in the other way, we likely would have not noticed the dampening field having activated the bombs till it was too late to do anything but save ourselves.”

Kio thought about this as Rei took a sip of her tea. She looked Kio over, letting her eyes linger on her lieutenant bar for a moment. “And just because you're an officer now doesn't mean you're not going to make mistakes. Trust me,” Rei sighed. “You're looking at one who's made some pretty stupid ones lately.”

Kio looked to Rei for a bit before turning away. “I was mad at you,” she quietly said.

Rei, who had assumed they were finished, nearly dropped her tea. “Why?” Rei scooted closer to Kio. “I told you it wasn't your fault you had to crawl through the vent that way.”

“Because I'm stupid,” Kio said, looking back to Rei. “I was thinking 'Oh yay we're friends', then I was thinking 'Oh look, she's bitching at you again for something she told you to do!',” Kio sighed. “Then I get back here, and I realize that I'm just jealous.”

“Jealous?” Rei blinked.

“Because you're friends with Commander Gras now.”

Rei chuckled. “I'm friends with lots of people, Kio…” Rei trailed off slightly before sighing. “Well, not lots, but more than one.”

Kio nodded. “I know.” She leaned back. “Must be a great feeling.”

Rei looked at Kio strangely. “That's got to be the strangest thing I have ever heard you say, and that's saying a lot. Anthony is your friend. Both Yayo and Ian seem to be your friends...”

“They don't need me though,” Kio whispered.

Rei finally got it. “Of course they do,” she said. “Friends need friends, even if they don't come crying to them on a daily basis.”

Rei sighed and took Kio's hand. “Look, despite any disagreements we might have I assure you that you will still be my friend and I'll be happy to come to you with any problems I might have.”

Kio smiled. “Okay.”

Some rustling from Rei's bed is heard. Kio turns and looks to see a very disheveled-looking Jitsia pull some of the covers off her yet making a point to keep them above chest level looking back at her.

“I can come to you with any problems too, if you want to be my friend too, Lieutenant,” she groggily smiled.

Kio blinked, then looked to Rei, a half-perverted grin, a half scowl crossing her face.

Rei chuckled nervously then turned to Kio. “Yeah, this is totally what it looks like,” she admitted.

Jitsia motioned for both to come to the bed. Kio shook her head, causing Jitsia to laugh.

“It's sleepy time now,” Jitsia explained.

Rei nodded to Kio who simply shrugged, realizing that there was little point in fighting against something she apparently did in fact want, even if she wouldn't admit it to herself, and removed her boots and jumpsuit. Within a minute she found herself the 'meat' in a Jitsia-Kio-Rei sandwich. Unlike the last time she was in a position where she had a face full of Rei's hair, this time she drifted right off to sleep, content in the fact that she was not alone anymore.

Even if the fact that the naked Jitsia smooshed up against her was giving her some very, very, confusing, conflicting, and awkward thoughts.


Shelton, having just returned from having drinks with some friends down in the lounge, stopped at the entrance of the conference room. There he saw Parker, who was giggling. In the conference room, on the floor, apparently crying, was Anthony.

“Whuuuu?” Shelton drunkenly asked.

“Wanna see something funny?” Parker asked.

Shelton nodded.

“Computer! Where is Commander Rei Hino?” Parker demanded.

“Commander Hino is in crew quarters A-03,” the voice replied, echoing throughout the conference room.

“WHY ARE YOU TORMENTING ME?!” Anthony screamed at Parker.

Parker looked to Shelton, chuckling.

“Computer, where is Commander Jitsia Gras?”

“Commander Gras is in crew quarters A-03.”

“STOP IT!” Anthony screamed.

Shelton began to chuckle as Parker continued.

“Computer! Where is Lieutenant Kio Yuki?”

“Lieutenant Yuki is in crew quarters A-03.”

Shelton and Parker both laughed uproariously.

“Sexy party!” Shelton slurred.

Anthony looked to both before standing and charging. Both officers took off running from the deranged enlistee, their lives depending on reaching their own quarters before he could catch them.

After losing track of the two officers, Anthony wandered around A deck a bit more, stopping in front of Rei's quarters where he stared lustfully at the door. He sighed heavily before moping off towards the turbolift to head back to his own quarters.

He would trust Kio to make her own decisions and believed her when she assured him that she was only into boys, but he still wanted to know what was going on in there.

Not quite enough to grab an EVA suit and go outside while they were at warp though.

After a couple of minutes, Anthony found himself outside of his home. Stuck to his door was a small piece of paper. He pulled it off the door and unfolded it, seeing Kio's handwriting on it.

He smiled slightly as he read what was written on it.

'Thank you for both watching over and trusting me. K.'

Anthony chuckled a bit and walked inside his quarters. He kicked his boots off and flopped onto his bed, falling asleep both fully clothed and holding on to Kio's note.


Gosnell met Makoto and Rei outside of the lounge. He sized up the pair before smiling at them.

“Okay,” he started. “Everything-”

“What the hell happened to you?” Rei interrupted, pointing to a black eye that Gosnell had, and a bandage on his forehead.

Gosnell turned and looked towards the lounge. Inside, one of the waiters looked at him, smiled, did the whole 'finger-gun-bang' gesture, then walked off. Gosnell turned back to Rei.

“I fell.”

“Don't you think it's time you conceded to their demands?” Makoto asked.

Gosnell sighed. “I guess,” he groaned, spitting out a tooth. “Anyway, as I was saying, everything is good for you guys. She's in there, eating breakfast.”

“Good,” Makoto smiled.

“I made things easier for you guys too,” Gosnell smiled.

“Huh?” Rei asked.

“I added a little Andorian Tart Powder to her cereal,” he grinned. “Not much, just enough to loosen her up.”

“YOU DRUGGED HER?!” Makoto yelled.

Gosnell nodded. “Yeah.”

Rei went to whollop Gosnell but didn't have a chance before Makoto sent him flying through the lounge doors, knocking them from their supports. The two women then stepped over him and headed into the restaurant-slash-bar. Gosnell, whose resistance to 'shellacking' had been growing over the past week, slowly stood, and followed them in.

“ATTENTION STAFF!” he yelled. “I concede to your demands!” Gosnell sighed. “You may now call me 'Freckles'.”

The entire staff cheered as Makoto facepalmed. Rei simply shook her head as she and Makoto walked over to Usagi's table.

“Hey,” Rei smiled.

“'Sup,” Usagi said, not looking to them.

“Can we sit with you?” Makoto asked.

Usagi shrugged. Rei looked to Makoto who shrugged as well. The pair sat down and 'enjoyed' an uneasy silence for a moment before Rei noticed Usagi had no food.

“Where's your breakfast?” Rei asked.

“Had them take it back,” she explained. “Tasted like Andorian Tart Powder.”

“How-” Makoto blinked. “How do you know what that tastes like?”

Usagi looked to Makoto. “I'm not THAT innocent and naïve, Makoto,” Usagi grumbled. “I'm not a child.”

“Here's your Lucky Charms!” the waitress beamed as she set the gigantic bowl down in front of Usagi. Usagi grinned to her before turning back on her stern look face and pointing it at both her friends.

“I'm sorry,” Makoto said.

Usagi shrugged. “I understand,” she mumbled between bites. “You shouldn't expect me to know anything more than how to be a failure.”

“Usagi,” Rei said, leaning forward. “We came here to apologize to you for what we did.”

“Apology accepted,” Usagi stated.

Rei and Makoto looked at each other. Both were worried about Usagi's frame of mind right now. Neither of them was quite sure how to take her acceptance of their apology.

“Really?” Rei asked.

Usagi nodded. She ate a couple of more bites before setting her spoon down and turning to Rei.

“I know you guys want to look out for me. I love you for that.” Usagi sighed a bit. “But do it as friends, not as guardians.”

Makoto looked to Usagi softly, “But... we...”

“No,” Usagi said, taking Makoto's hand. “No, you're not. Maybe once, not now.” Usagi looked towards the window at the stars streaking by. A couple of tears welled up in her eyes as she continued to speak. “If there is one thing JC taught me that is far more important than any of the engineering technobabble is that I am my own person.

“You guys are invaluable to me as my friends, but friends aren't afraid to let other friends fail since failure is how we learn.”

Rei slouched down in her chair a bit as Usagi ate some more. Makoto simply sat there quietly, watching Usagi. Rei, after a few minutes, finally asked what she was pretty sure she already knew the answer to.

“You loved him, didn't you?”

Usagi nodded. “I still do.”

“I was watching you guys in the shuttle bay,” Rei confessed.

Usagi looked to Rei, somewhat surprised at the shame on her face. Rei shook her head as she laughed slightly.

“It was weird, watching you two. I am pretty sure he loves you too.”

Makoto turned to Rei, for the first time feeling like what they did was wrong.

Usagi, for her part, sighed and went back to her breakfast.

“It doesn't matter now.”

She laughed.

“It didn't matter then,” she corrected. “Unless you are going to go assassinate his wife for me.”

Rei laughed, even though she shouldn't have. “Sorry, Usagi. You told us not to be your guardians anymore. You'll have to do your own assassinations.”

Rei and Makoto laughed.

Usagi simply nodded and looked back out the window thoughtfully.

Rei and Makoto stopped laughing.


<Nifty Star Trek Doorbell Sound>

“Come in!” Ranma called from his thinking chair, looking out over the fore section of the U.S.S. Benjamin L. Sisko. The doors slid open, and Shampoo walked in. The Amazon looked around Ranma's quarters, not seeing him at first before he waved from the chair.

Shampoo smirked a bit, pondering whether to join him on the chair or not, but decided that Ranma would likely throw a fit, as well, Akane would decide to take that time to come home – on a likely unauthorized break - and mallet the poor Captain.

Instead, she simply walked up and sat in the window frame in front of Ranma, leaning up against the transparent aluminum that protected the occupants from the cold vacuum of space.

“You want to see Shampoo?” she asked.

Ranma nodded. “You have time to chat?” he asked.

Shampoo nodded.

“You mind if I ask you something personal?” Ranma continued.

“No, go ahead,” Shampoo said, curious where this conversation would go. She knew exactly where she hoped it would go, which is why she changed her underwear before coming here, but that was likely being VERY optimistic.

“Pop said he offered you your own command,” Ranma said.

Shampoo nodded.

“You declined?”

Again, Shampoo nodded.

“Did he ever bother telling you what ship it was?”

Shampoo slid down a bit more. “Yeah,” she admitted. “Before Panda left,” Shampoo explained, causing Ranma to laugh slightly, “he explain about Miyazaki and that Miyazaki was ship he want Shampoo to command.”

“And you turned it down again?” Ranma asked.

Once again, Shampoo nodded.


Shampoo looked to Ranma curiously. “You want Shampoo to leave?”

Ranma shook his head. “No.” Ranma laughed slightly. “Why does everyone assume that?” Shampoo grinned at Ranma as he chuckled some more.

“Quite the opposite, in fact,” he continued. “But it just seems like such a good career-”

“Something more important than career,” Shampoo stated, interrupting Ranma. “Shampoo home on Sisko. Shampoo life on Sisko.” She paused for a moment before smiling. “Everything that make Shampoo, Shampoo, because of Sisko.”

She leaned forward and looked right at Ranma, unblinking with her eyes gazing deep into his, as she spoke. “Shampoo could be demoted to Petty Officer, and it be okay, so long as I on Sisko.”

Ranma looked past her for a moment, before allowing his eyes to move back to hers. “I know how you feel. I declined a promotion to Admiral for the same reasons.”

Shampoo smiled. “You no tell Shampoo that.”

“No,” Ranma said. “Are you mad?”

Shampoo shook her head. “Though Shampoo thought we had 'no secrets' promise.”

“You didn't tell me you were offered a command position,” Ranma countered.

Shampoo smirked. “Fair enough.”

The pair sat in silence for a moment before Shampoo leaned back against the faux glass again. “Also, if Shampoo go to another ship, I miss Ranma.”

Ranma smiled slightly. They'd had this conversation before, and it always ended the same. Shampoo would acknowledge that she still had feelings for him, but in the end, he bluntly states that he married Akane.

Ranma just looked at it as part of her game that she played to keep Ranma on his toes.

“I've heard. Who would you miss more? Lt. Jansen, or me?” Ranma teased.

Shampoo stood, slowly meandered her way up the chair, looked down to Ranma before leaning over, putting her mouth right next to his ear, and began to whisper.

“Shampoo take Amanda with her.”

Ranma scoffed. “Over my-” he started before Shampoo moved slightly, placing herself noses to nose with him. Ranma froze. He stared straight into her eyes as she stared into his.

“Shampoo no want to ruin friendship,” she whispered, her face becoming dead neutral, “but Shampoo cannot much longer fight self.”

Ranma tried to get his wits about him. “I love Akane...”

“Shampoo know,” she said. “Shampoo know.”

Shampoo slowly gave Ranma a short, quick kiss before pulling away from him. She stood, straightened out her uniform, and patted Ranma on the shoulder.

“Shampoo see you in morning, Ranma!” she giggled as she bounced out of the room.

“Yup,” Ranma blinked, able to do little more than watch the stars streak by.